This article was originally published on OpsLens.com on Nov 14th, 2016.
By Chris Wagoner:
Ongoing protests, as a result of one party winning the recent presidential election, demonstrate the protestors’ inability to handle reality.
Some of the protests have turned violent, with innocent people being beaten and seriously injured as well as some protestors being arrested by police. But I wanted to take a minute to make a public service announcement for all the protestors out there (and even maybe someone who may become one of their victims) to try and help keep them safe and out of jail.
First and foremost, if you are under the impression that Joe American is going to sit idly by and watch you destroy his or her property, you missed part of the reason this recent election went the way it did. Second, I want to try and help you from being arrested or even worse, injuring yourself or getting killed.
You see the protests take place most of the time in the major cities with large populations of people who voted against Trump. So the protestors can be pretty sure that the populace as a whole is not the type to fight back or for that matter be armed. But a word of warning do not try those type of protest in Florida! They don’t call us the “Gunshine State” for nothing. With the most concealed carry permits of any state at over 1.6 MILLION and laws that allow for the carrying of a rifle or shotgun, loaded, in your vehicle in plain sight, without a permit, make for a lot of armed law abiding citizens in Florida. As it should be!
I know as a seasoned cop, you would think I am against the average citizen having a firearm, especially in their car. You would be very wrong! I am for every law abiding citizen that is able and willing to be armed. Why you ask? Because they are hard targets for criminals, and I have had more than one armed citizen help me out on the side of the road when I needed some help. None of my incidents involved guns, but they were armed citizens who stopped to help me when I was having to fight with a suspect by myself and citizens who carry are the type who are law abiding, good people and the kind that would come to the aid of a cop in need, and I am grateful for that.
So to the protestors I say, know your laws before you protest, especially before you decide to get stupid and try to harm the wrong people. In Florida it is perfectly legal for someone who is being attacked by a crowd, physically attacked, to defend themselves, and that includes up to using deadly force, if needed, to stop the threat to their lives or the lives of others. So, not only can a protester who is attacking someone be shot by the victim to defend themselves, they can be shot by a bystander to protect the victim. Read Florida State Statute – 776.012 use or threatened use of force in defense of person. By Florida law we (law abiding armed citizens) do not have to try and flee either. If I have the right to be where I am, I have the right to defend myself there. If a protest turns violent and the protesters decide that attacking someone is a good idea, they may find themselves needing medical attention, or worse. You see attacking a person while in a group of thugs seems to be the way it happens, but that is also the very situation that could result in someone getting shot by the victim or an armed bystander. I will not sit idly by and watch someone be punched and kicked by a crowd or thugs. Yes I know, “You can’t shoot them all!” and that is true, but who wants to stick around and find out who is going to be shot next after the first one goes down?
According to Florida Law, if a crowd of people block traffic, and prevent the law abiding citizens from being able to drive away or continue on, they are committing the crime of False Imprisonment. That’s a felony in Florida, and a forcible one at that. Reading that same law I cited above, a law abiding armed citizen may use deadly force to stop a forcible felony. So, if you, the protestor, box in a family or individual in a vehicle and refuse to let them leave when they make it known they want to, don’t be surprised if the armed citizen decides to make you let them through. And yes, it is perfectly legal to use your car as a weapon if needed to escape a forcible felony when you are in fear of being dragged from your car and beaten. So even if not armed, they still have the car to use if they feel threatened.
Protestors, you need to understand that blocking traffic, pulling people out of cars and beating them, even attacking people just walking down the street doing nothing wrong is NOT the way to get people to listen to your thoughts and what it is you’re demonstrating for. Such actions simply make people angry, and more likely to fight back against the force being used against them.
So here is a word of warning to all of you protestors who think you are going to be allowed to get away with this violent, illegal behavior. If you decide to try this stupidity in Florida (or in the other places where people are second amendment followers, we, the law-abiding citizens, who do not want to be held against our will on the highway, dragged from our cars and attacked, will fight back, we are armed and willing to protect ourselves and our families, if needed. This includes using our firearms to defend ourselves as a last resort when forced to. So don’t be surprised when you try this stupidity in the wrong place, one or more of you might end up getting hurt by your intended victims. We will not be intimidated or allow others to be harmed if we can help it. All you are proving by these protests is that you can’t handle being a loser, get over it and suck it up!