Thoughts on "Stand Your Ground" laws?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2013
Thoughts on "Stand Your Ground" laws?
6
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 3:20pm

Maybe I'm missing something but I don't understand the sudden backlash against the "Stand Your Ground"  laws? The laws basically allow you to shoot in self-defense, right? What is wrong with protecting yourself when you're being attacked?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-24-2012

Pregnant2cute- what is "wrong"  is that numerous studies have shown that instead of achieving their (supposed) purpose of detering crime, they actually have led to an increase in it!

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/06/11/study-says-stand-your-ground-laws-increase-homicides/

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Mon, 07-22-2013 - 11:27pm

Gee, guess it all depends on your definition of "attacked". 


I think getting sucker-punched, thrown to the ground and having a guy sit on you and bash your head into the cement pretty much fits most people's definition of "attacked."


A year ago...I called the police rather than retaliate either verbally or physically; or allow him to continue to harrass law-abiding workmen.  The situation could have easily escalated--I chose to avoid it.


Don't you wish Trayvon Martin chose that path as well?  Instead, he chose to attack Zimmerman, who was forced to use deadly force to save his own life.


Personally, I doubt that most people who are under assault or the threat of assault are thinking..."now what is that law again?"  I think most people just react to either escape or to defend themselves as best they can.  In Zimmerman's case, SYG wasn't even a factor.  There was no time to react to the initial assault because it was a sucker-punch and immediately after, Martin was on top of him, so retreating or standing his ground wasn't even an option.


Just a reminder:  Zimmerman claimed self defense even though Zimmerman precipitated the encounter--with an unarmed younger man who had every right to be where he was.


Walking behind someone is not justification to be attacked.  It was perfectly legal for Zimmerman to walk around his own neighborhood and to publicly watch anyone he chose.  The only one who committed a crime that night was Martin when he attacked Zimmerman.


I am also guessing that some people feel "stand your ground" gives them the right to virtually unlimited firearms.  From the OP:  The laws basically allow you to shoot in self-defense, right?


Stand your ground has nothing to do with one's right to carry a gun or about how many guns you can own, it only removes the obligation to try and retreat (if possible) before physically defending yourself.


So I'd like to know the answers to these questions: Who determines what constitutes an "attack"?


Initially, the police...and then the courts.


What "well-regulated militia" do you drill with, if you claim a right to carry?

The "right to carry" is determined by state law.  As for your "well regulated militia," the Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment "protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes."


How do you prevent escalation?

If there were an infallible way to prevent escalation there would never be any violence or war, so if you discover one please share.

How do you prevent people from claiming that they were "threatened" and then use that as justification to kill or injure a person who presents no real threat, particularly  if there are no witnesses to either confirm or deny?

That's a problem police are having with gangs and drug dealers who are eliminating rivals and then claiming "stand your ground."  But just because there are no witnesses doesn't mean there is no evidence, and your actions are limited to what a "reasonable" person would percieve and do...and what is "reasonable" is ultimately up to the police or a jury.

Do you really want to have your child raised in a world of "might makes right"?

Where did you get the idea we were living in a world of "might makes right?"  I do, however, want my child to be raised in a world where they can defend themselves without fear of having their justice perverted by an ignorant mob with an agenda.

Inevitably that's where the RKBA and SYG crowd will take our nation if they get their way.  The weak, the old, the very young will definitely be at a disadvantage!

The right to self-defense is one of those unalienable rights, and has been a part of our country from it's inception and a cornerstone of English common law long before that.  Currently, 26 states have "stand your ground" and none of them has devolved into chaos.  I really think you should understand the law before becoming so afraid of it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

Gee, guess it all depends on your definition of "attacked". 

A year ago, the house in which I lived was adjacent to the house of an individual with anger-management issues.  Contractors doing work on my side of the property line were threatened with being shot--the cretin said if they set a foot on his property, he'd fire.  He was brandishing a firearm at the time.  I called the police rather than retaliate either verbally or physically; or allow him to continue to harrass law-abiding workmen.  The situation could have easily escalated--I chose to avoid it. 

Most civilians have little training in defusing or reasonably reacting to situations like the above.  Though it wasn't the basis for George Zimmerman's defense, there is reason to believe he had a mindset similar to the underlying rationale for SYG which:  "gives individuals the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. It is law in certain jurisdictions within the United States. The basis may lie in either statutory law and or common law precedents. One key distinction is whether the concept only applies to defending a home or vehicle, or whether it applies to all lawfully occupied locations".   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law  Just a reminder:  Zimmerman claimed self defense even though Zimmerman precipitated the encounter--with an unarmed younger man who had every right to be where he was.  

I am also guessing that some people feel "stand your ground" gives them the right to virtually unlimited firearms.  From the OP:  The laws basically allow you to shoot in self-defense, right?  So I'd like to know the answers to these questions:

  • Who determines what constitutes an "attack"?
  • What "well-regulated militia" do you drill with, if you claim a right to carry? 
  • How do you prevent escalation?
  • How do you prevent people from claiming that they were "threatened" and then use that as justification to kill or injure a person who presents no real threat, particularly  if there are no witnesses to either confirm or deny?
  • Do you really want to have your child raised in a world of "might makes right"?  Inevitably that's where the RKBA and SYG crowd will take our nation if they get their way.  The weak, the old, the very young will definitely be at a disadvantage! 

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Sat, 07-20-2013 - 12:36am

I'm guessing you are a Faux Fox News viewer?

Are you making that assumption because I know the facts of what I'm talking about and aren't just spewing the standard liberal talking points? ; )  But yes, I am a Fox News viewer...and I'm also a CNN viewer and also an MSNBC viewer, at least until the barf reflex kicks in after being fed too much propaganda and lies.

This argument might make sense if, say, you didn't pay attention to the details of the case until a few days ago. In reality, Stand Your Ground played a major role, from Martin's death to Zimmerman's acquittal...."

Actually, my argument makes sense if, say, you know what you're talking about.  Here's what Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, had to say, and as the lawyer putting on the defense, I think he probably knows what he's talking about...


"This is not a Stand Your Ground case, never was, it was traditional self defense," O'Mara said Thursday in his first one-on-one interview with a Tampa television station since Saturday's verdict.

"We never mentioned the words 'Stand Your Ground' in our defense presentation or in our arguments," O'Mara told 10 News Reporter Preston Rudie.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/325766/250/OMara-Verdict-the-same-without-Stand-Your-Ground

There's also that troublesome fact that "stand your ground" is moot because Zimmerman didn't have the opportunity to either "stand his ground" or retreat because Martin was on top of him, bashing his head in to the sidewalk.

Facts are the darndest things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 9:43pm

I'm guessing you are a Faux Fox News viewer?

Mother Jones, July 19th: "Since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, conservatives have argued that Stand Your Ground, Florida's expansive and controversial self-defense law, was irrelevant to the case. After all, Zimmerman waived his right to a pretrial hearing that might have granted him immunity under the statute, and his defense team chose not to raise it during the trial. Case closed, right?

This argument might make sense if, say, you didn't pay attention to the details of the case until a few days ago. In reality, Stand Your Ground played a major role, from Martin's death to Zimmerman's acquittal...." 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012

You always have a right to "reasonably" defend yourself.  Typically, the law required you to try and retreat from a confrontation if you could "reasonably" do so.  "Stand your ground" doesn't require you to retreat, if possible, before defending yourself.  The problem with the law is that it's being "used" by gang members and drug dealers to take out the competition, by claiming they felt threatened so they had to shoot the other guy.

In the Zimmerman case, it was never even brought up.  Zimmerman's defense was straight self-defense.  Zimmerman never had the opportunity to either retreat or to "stand his ground" because after the first blow, Martin was on top of him.