Reason has more news today on the story of Marissa Alexander, who is facing a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence under Florida's 10-20-life law for defending herself against an abusive spouse. She is the latest in a line of cases that shows that, at least in Florida, standing your ground with a gun -- even if you don't hurt anyone -- can, in fact, be more akin to putting yourself on shaky ground ... and it can mean you face a lot of prison time.
Like [George] Zimmerman, [the man who fatally shot Trayvon Martin,] Alexander held a carry permit. Unlike him, she did not injure or kill anyone, and the aggression against her is well documented. Yet she was arrested immediately, and she potentially faces a longer prison sentence. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, which is punishable by a sentence up to life. But given the known facts of the case, he is more likely to be convicted of manslaughter (assuming he is convicted), which has a maximum penalty of 15 years. Notably, the same prosecutor who overcharged Zimmerman, Angela Corey, is the one who threw the book at Alexander.
There are two major issues here: whether Alexander's use of force was justified under Florida's law and whether, assuming it wasn't, a 20-year prison sentence is just punishment given the circumstances. The answer to the first question seems to be yes, and the answer to the second one is certainly no.