All You Need to Know About Irrational "Self-Defense" Laws in Three Pictures (Updated):
That's Ezekiel Gilbert. He was acquitted yesterday in the murder of Lenora Ivie Frago, who had taken $150 from Gilbert for sex and then refused to have sex with him or give him the money back. So he shot her, not wanting to kill her (and it did take her a few months to die). But because Texas allows people to use deadly force in order to retrieve stolen property (and because the sex did not occur, despite prostitution being illegal, the money was considered stolen), Gilbert, for lack of a better phrase, got off.
That's Ralph Wald. He was acquitted last week for the murder of Walter Conley. Conley had been in the middle of having sex with Wald's wife, so, like any reasonable person, Wald claimed that he assumed his wife was being raped and shot Conley dead. His defense was Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which allows anyone who believes that he or she is facing danger in his or her home to use deadly force. Wald said his wife was in danger, so he shot first and asked questions later. Oh, wait, actually he didn't do that last part. He told police he was glad the guy was dead.
That's Marissa Alexander. Last year, in Jacksonville, Florida, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a shot in the air to warn her husband, Rico Gray, to back off her. He had been arrested previously for domestic violence against her, beating her when she was pregnant, and on that day in 2010, he "approached her in a rage" when Alexander drove up to their house to get clothes. She was trying to move out and get away from Gray. Before she fired the shot, he had chased her through the house, broken down a door to get at her, and cornered her in the garage. The judge said she should have fled instead of firing twice into the air. At trial, her Stand Your Ground defense was rejected because the jury did not believe she faced imminent danger. She was convicted of aggravated assault and given the mandatory sentence. She is still in prison.
Look at the pictures. Here's your homework assignment. See if you can figure it out: What is different about Alexander?
Update: Several rude readers have pointed out that Alexander was not necessarily the innocent victim her defenders maker her out to be, as if that invalidates the point here. Nope, sorry. She's in jail for 20 years for firing a gun and harming no one. Wald and Gilbert are free after murdering people and using bad laws to shield them from punishment of any sort.