Opinion: Standing My Ground on ‘Stand Your Ground’
The United States has done it again. With its abominable Stand Your Ground Act the United States manages to maintain its notoriety for defying all of the idealistic conceptions of democracies. This is definitely not the first time the United States government has botched its law-making abilities considering its large array of ridiculous policies from Prohibition to the Patriot Act. However, I’m not going to pick apart each of the wretched policies America has passed in the past because frankly it would be far too long for you members of the ADD generation to stand. Instead, I am here to address the Stand Your Ground policy that individual states including Illinois, Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Oklahoma have so foolishly kept in practice since Beard vs. U.S. 1895 .
Stand Your Ground asserts a right to self-defense against charges of homicide. Stand Your Ground takes the concept of ‘self-defense’ out of proportion to such an extent that it can simply degenerate into a legalization of unadulterated violence. In the case of Florida, chapter 776.02 Use of Force in Defense of Person of the 2011 Florida Statutes is a prime example of this Stand Your Ground perplexity. This section of the Florida Statutes asserts the worrisome claim that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force [if] he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” Upon reading this, I jumped back in my seat at the excessive vagueness of this statute. However the worst is yet to come.
This statute adds the abominable clause to this condition that the victim “does not have a duty to retreat.” After I interpreted this act as having the nerve to tell ME that it is my DUTY to use deadly force upon a most likely innocent person, my eyes melted my glasses off my face in rage. This enraged me so, mainly because the senseless vast majority of Americans will likely interpret the statute in the same way, and unlike me, many of these people will have the capacity to kill innocent people.
Now, after pointing out one of the fundamental problems with this Stand Your Ground policy, I wish to move to the more obvious problems, which lie in the fact that this policy is essentially legalizing premeditated homicide through its flagrantly vague verbiage. For example, do you really trust somebody who would, for example, carry a handgun, to have the capacity to “reasonably” determine whether they really risk bodily harm without being repeatedly menaced or chased down? (as stated by California’s Self-Defense Law ). I surely would not.
The night of Feb. 26, 2012 in Stanford, Florida, this Stand Your Ground policy proved its idiocy once and for all in allowing the neighborhood-watch guard George Zimmerman to shoot 17 year-old, unarmed Treyvon Martin. Stand Your Ground allowed Zimmerman to murder an unarmed minor solely under the pretenses that he looked suspicious. This is not self-defense; this is first-degree murder.
The most enraging part about this entire Zimmerman debacle is that the it took two and a half months for the Florida State Prosecution to muster up the nerve and the sense to actually press charges against Zimmerman. Then, to add insult to injury, the State Prosecution only tried him with SECOND-degree murder. Zimmerman’s murder of Treyvon was intentional and premeditated. He saw the unarmed minor and, according to his call to the police, chased innocent Treyvon Martin for two minutes until finally shooting him to death.
According to the Stand Your Ground policy, if Treyvon Martin had indulged in Florida’s absurd Concealed [firearm] Carry License, he would have been justified in shooting Zimmerman, who actually WAS menacing Treyvon Martin’s life…
Will the madness ever end?