Abuse of “Stand Your Ground”

According to an article by the Washington Post Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “stand your ground” laws Tuesday, saying the measures “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense” and may encourage “violent situations to escalate.”

Holder is 100% correct, but the simple fact is that statutes like “stand your ground” have been put into place in more than 30 states.

The basis and intent of the law is honorable, but the letter of the law allows for terrible situations, like the one in the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

The intent of the law is to allow you to defend yourself, your family, or the property without the obligation to retreat.  However, the broad definition of defense is the issue at hand.

Unfortunately, the laws don’t really consider how a situation starts or escalates, just simply the exact moment that lethal force is used in “self-defense.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter who starts the fight, or who escalates the fight.  All that matters is that at the moment that force is used, the person claiming self-defense must be in reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death.

This is a slippery slope.

Technically, I can walk up to you, punch you in the face and then shoot you if you return punches that make give me reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death.

It just doesn’t make sense.  It opens up opportunities to get away with murder because if a person kills another and there are no clear witnesses to the altercation, no one can really know with certainty if reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death was present.

States with these laws need to take a step back and think about the intent of the laws and realize the potential for abuse.

Trayvon Martin did nothing wrong the night of his murder.  For all we know, the punches thrown could have been him defending himself.  But we’ll never know because he didn’t get a chance to tell his side of the story.

George Zimmerman got away with murder.  He may not have planned it.  He may not have intended it.  But he did do it.  He killed an innocent teen because he assumed he was a criminal.  He initiated the entire encounter and claimed defense.

It just simply does not make sense.

#justice4trayvon #justicefortrayvon #nostandyourground

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