The death of Trayvon Martin has directed a national spotlight toward Florida and that state’s Stand Your Ground statute. Since it pretty much gives license to any gun-owner to murder someone in the name of self-defense, the victims of this law are rarely heard from. However, Jason Rosenbloom was shot in the stomach in 2006, left for dead by the gunman, and lived to tell his side of the story.
In 2006, Jason Rosenbloom was a resident of Clearwater, Florida, his property next to a retired police officer named Kenneth Allen. Two two got into a dispute about garbage bags. Rosenbloom put eight on the curb; Allen confronted him, saying he was only allowed six. The conversation escalated from there with the two parties giving different versions of the events.
Allen says Rosenbloom started a shouting match with him, came onto his property, and tried to force his way inside the house. Rosenbloom says an argument took place, but he was never closer than three feet to Allen’s house. He also says Allen closed his front door, and Allen reopened the door pointing a rifle at Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom raised his hands in surrender when Allen shot him in the stomach and again in the chest. Then, Allen went back inside.
Whatever the exact sequence of events, police sided with Allen after a cursory investigation and never charged or arrested the retired officer. In late 2006, Rosenbloom told the New York Times that “his case illustrated the flaws in the Florida law. ‘Had it been a year and a half ago, he could have been arrested for attempted murder,’ Mr. Rosenbloom said of his neighbor, Kenneth Allen.”
Rosenbloom has since moved to Hawaii to “get as far away from Florida as possible” and members of the press have reached out to get his views on the Martin case since Rosenbloom is widely seen as the first victim of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. At the same time, journalists have also reached out to Allen who maintains that Rosenbloom was shouting expletives at him and trying to force his way into Allen’s home. And he has absolutely no remorse six years later.
…”He meant for me to be dead and he never called 911,” said Rosenbloom, 36, adding that Allen, now 65, bent over him and using an expletive, warned him not to tangle “with an ex-cop” as he lay bleeding on the ground.
"The police closed it on his words alone," said Rosenbloom, explaining how the case that began with a complaint about him leaving eight trash bags on the curb instead of the regulation six, was closed after what he described as only a summary investigation.
"They made me the bad guy," he added.
Allen, contacted by phone in rural Georgia, said on Thursday he had “no regrets” about shooting Rosenbloom, describing him as a “little punk” who was “lucky to be alive.”
He denied using profanity after shooting his neighbor, who he claimed had forced his way into the house and threatened to “beat my ass.” (cont.)
Since the law was put into place, these stories are much more common in Florida. Opponents of the law call it a “shoot first, question later” law that has done nothing to curb the violent activity it was meant to reduce. Florida’s violent crime rate has remained in the top five for the past three decades with no downward trend in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, cases of justifiable homicide have tripled in the years since Florida passed the controversial law, with just 30 in 2005 to over 100 in 2010.
Florida is one of the easiest states to buy a handgun. Now, Florida is one of the easiest states to fire a handgun at someone and not go to jail.
Florida may want to rethink their gun laws.