I just want to make it clear that I am absolutely chilled by the precedent this could set BUT....please hear me out and just cool your jets and listen to my story with a "Spock" ear for a moment.
I *DO GET* why sometimes lawmakers would love to put this type of law into practice.
I am a complete chicken s**t. Always have been. I hate violence, and I have never owned, or even held a gun. Even in school I NEVER ONCE got in a fight. I ran. I was "the coward of the county". I was the boy that boys who were picked on by bullies picked on to make themselves feel better about themselves.
I've never struck a single human being in anger IN MY ENTIRE LIFE....until one day.
A few of you know that my wife is bipolar. One night, I was exhausted, and my wife was in rage mode. I was at my wits end, and my father was on his death bed. He had been dying of Parkinsons for 18 years, and we were very near the end. It was at that moment, in the middle of a extremely emotionally fragile moment, that my wife (in a moment of blind rage) said some very insulting things about my dying father. So for the first time in my entire life.....with her back to me....I took a huge wind up, and I slapped her in the back of the head as hard as I possibly could. Then I ran downstairs crying my eyes out. I couldn't believe I had done such a thing.
Her boys were downstairs. They tried to comfort me. They knew that I wasn't like their father (who hit their mom....a lot)....so one of them ran upstairs because he already knew what came next. But it was too late. Mom was already on the phone. You see.....when you live in a "zero tolerance" state...the police have absolutely no say in the matter. Someone is going to jail. The boys didn't want me to go to jail, because they knew this was not the same situation as when their dad hit their mom. But I distinctly remember when my middle step son said, "Ben.....I'm really sorry. I tried to stop her. I understand exactly why you did what you did....but you're going to have to put your shoes on now."
Even when the officer showed up and I explained the entire situation. He said, "Mr. Straley....I'm really sorry, and I understand exactly why you did what you did....but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to put your hands behind your back."
So the guy who never hit a single human being in his entire life spent the night in jail the first time that he ever did...at all...for anything.
My point is, in zero tolerance states, these stories are not unheard of. And I think police are often sick of catching people like me in their dragnet. It seems like no one can find a way to make any sort of BALANCED law in these cases. If you guys read the article, you'll see that what they are *TRYING* to do (albeit probably very badly) is stop cases like mine from bogging down their system so that they can TRY to go harder on repeat offenders. People who are honestly having *consistent* problems can be weeded out instead of getting buried in a sea of "one off" issues.
Am I making any sense???
That is indeed a harrowing story. But... and I mean this respectfully, fully acknowleding the desperate situation you were in and that I would have likely done the same, I would rather live in the society where I would have to go to jail if it happened to me, rather than the alternative. I also fully cop that it's easy for me to say that not having had to go through being arrested and all it entails.