Opinion: Standing My Ground on ‘Stand Your Ground’

Joseph Rabinovitsj

Joseph Rabinovitsj
April 24, 2012

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?

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Comments

6 Responses to “Opinion: Standing My Ground on ‘Stand Your Ground’”

  1. mringler on April 26th, 2012 12:05 pm

    It’s sad, but interesting to see how a good-idea can be so sloppily be turned into a very dangerous reality. I’m glad the legal system recognizes the need for self defense, but is both disappointing and frightening that it’s turned out to support trigger-happy people.

    josephrabinovitsj Reply:

    Self defense is indeed an issue that must be addressed by the government with caution. However, I don’t understand what the government was THINKING would happen by allowing for people to take lethal action based upon mere hunches regarding any sort of hostility. Instead, I believe that the best legislation out there in the way of self-defense policies is that of California, where malicious intent of an aggressor must be proven and the victim must attempt to flee the aggressor before he/she can take lethal action against said agressor

  2. amacfarlane on April 27th, 2012 4:58 pm

    It is truly a terrifying law, But it has sparked commentary in the New Yorker: http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/How-much-ground-do-you-want-to-stand-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i8770834_.htm

    josephrabinovitsj Reply:

    And some great commentary that is! the New Yorker has a very valid point: is the only reason anybody would sell assault weapons to the public is to allow people to take advantage of the stand your ground law? That is just absolutely absurd to me.

  3. coneel on April 30th, 2012 2:59 pm

    Although I think that Zimmerman had no right to shoot Martin, I was disgusted to see although posts and pictures on facebook condemning Zimmerman to hell and other profanities. Its sickening that people who no next to nothing on the matter would be so quick to condemn a man with a wife and kids who may truly have been trying to defend himself.

    josephrabinovitsj Reply:

    I does agree, the sitch-hunt like condemnation of Zimmerman is too much and I do not condone cob-like mentality as it can be used as a dangerous tool. However, the fact that Zimmerman had a family is beside the point. Charles Manson was a family man himself and he was a mass murderer. Zimmerman’s family does not change the fact that he chased Treyvon Martin, who in fact did not have any weapon on his person, for two minutes. That does not constitute self-defense to any standard.