Wilfred (“Bubba Billy”) Watson of Pensacola, Florida, has a stark warning for New Yorkers fleeing the Covid-19 pandemic. “Get within six feet of me, and you’ll be permanently quarantined.”
Watson, 78, takes the coronavirus seriously and explained that he i in the high risk category—because of his age and his being treated for an STD--and has the right to defend himself. He made it clear that he is allowed to carry a firearm, and is quite capable of using it, despite the fact that he has not shot anyone in the last thirty years. Watson indicated that Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ laws make it legal to shoot un-quarantined New Yorkers. “Those people from New York. They git close to me, and I’m gonna stand my ground. That’s the law.”
Interestingly, a senior attorney in the Florida Attorney General’s office, who wishes to remain anonymous, indicated that Watson may be correct in his understanding of Florida law. She explained that ‘stand your ground’ means you don’t need to retreat when someone physically threatens you, and there’s “no question that a New Yorker who has not been quarantined poses a real physical threat.” Nonetheless, the official counsels against shooting New Yorkers, and raised the following issues: “How do you know that someone is a New Yorker who has not self-quarantined, and how do you know you won’t be prosecuted?” The decision to prosecute or not prosecute someone is up to the local district attorney, and that individual might choose to prosecute the shooter.
Furthermore, if the shooter is charged with a crime, he would need to hire an attorney to represent him; that’s expensive, even if one is found innocent, and, of course, one never knows what a jury will do.” Her advice to Watson is to just move away if a New Yorker or anyone else gets too close.
Bubba Billy, nonetheless, remains undeterred: “I can represent myself, and there ain’t no jury within a hundred miles of here that’ll put me away for shooting a New Yorker.”