The more I read about the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year old, by a neighborhood watch volunteer who followed the black boy around his neighborhood, looking for an excuse to play policeman even though he was told by a 911 responder to stay put in his car, the more absurdly dangerous "Stand Your Ground" laws look to me.
And many others. Like a former Miami police chief.
Police officers are trained to de-escalate highly charged encounters with aggressive people, using deadly force as a last resort. Citizens, on the other hand, may act from emotion and perceived threats. But “stand your ground” gives citizens the right to use force in public if they feel threatened. As the law emphatically states, a citizen has “no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.”
...As Florida police chiefs predicted in 2005, the law has been used to justify killings ranging from drug dealers’ turf battles to road rage incidents. Homicides categorized as justifiable have nearly tripled since the law went into effect.
...Gov. Rick Scott of Florida can make all Floridians proud by being the first governor to reject and repeal such misguided laws.
Like a former police reporter who wrote a terrific piece on this subject, "Welcome to Florida. Beware of gunmen standing their ground."
It’s no wonder that professional law enforcement officials oppose these new laws. They are, at best, a license for any fool with a firearm to shoot anyone he decides to fear, and at worst, an invitation to murder.
Conservatives often argue that personal responsibility is the doctrine by which America will heal itself, and yet “Stand Your Ground” offers exactly the opposite. Rather than holding people accountable for taking human life and keeping the burden of proof on those citizens who choose to kill, the new standard requires society to prove that the taking of human life wasn’t necessary.
Like a talented cartoonist who said it all in eight comic, but not-funny, images.
Last month I blogged, "Best self defense technique: run away!" The Treyvor Martin killing/murder/manslaughter (almost surely, not self-defense) speaks loudly in favor of what I said.
If Stand Your Ground laws can't be repealed, as they should, at least they should be amended to require that before someone who feels threatened stands his/her ground, he or she has a duty to do everything possible to escape from the situation.
Walk or run away. Look for help. Head in the other direction. Whatever.
Nobody should have a right to kill another human being and call it self-defense when there were other options open to them. Nobody. Never. Ever.