Opponents Distort the Meaning of Stand Your Ground Law

By:  Jack Kenny
04/18/2012
       
Opponents Distort the Meaning of Stand Your Ground Law

Imagine you an armed citizen walking down a busy street with a holstered gun under your jacket. A honking horn or perhaps someone's shouted greeting distracts your attention momentarily and you unintentionally bump another pedestrian. Annoyed, he responds in a menacing tone: "Hey, watch where you're going!" Naturally, you reach for your pistol and blow the troublemaker away, right there in broad daylight on a street full of shocked motorists and pedestrians. And you walk away, free from arrest because, obviously, that hostile stranger was threatening you, right?

 
 

Imagine you an armed citizen walking down a busy street with a holstered gun under your jacket. A honking horn or perhaps someone's shouted greeting distracts your attention momentarily and you unintentionally bump another pedestrian. Annoyed, he responds in a menacing tone: "Hey, watch where you're going!" Naturally, you reach for your pistol and blow the troublemaker away, right there in broad daylight on a street full of shocked motorists and pedestrians. And you walk away, free from arrest because, obviously, that hostile stranger was threatening you, right?

 
That's ridiculous, of course, but it's not far from the way some people are describing the "Stand Your Ground" law that is at the center of the controversy generated by the fatal shooting in Sanford, Florida, of an unarmed teenager named Trayvon Martin and the long delay in arresting and charging George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator who has admitted shooting Martin, but claims it was in self-defense. The incident has received reams and hours of publicity, in no small part because of race and ethnic factors. Martin was a 17-year-old African-American. Zimmerman, 28, is (on his mother's side) Hispanic.
 
According to some news reports, Zimmerman and his lawyer plan to make Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law a part of their defense against the charge of second-degree murder filed against Zimmerman by the Florida special prosecutor appointed to handle the case. The law, backed by the National Rifle Association, eliminates the requirement that a person retreat, when retreat is possible, from an attack in any place, public or private, where that person has a right to be. And it allows a person to use deadly force, if necessary, to defend his own or another's life or limb. Yet New York Mayor Michel Bloomberg claims to see nothing of self-defense in the legislation.
 
Click here to read the entire article. 
 
Jack Kenny (photo)
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