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‘Stand your ground’ laws recall the Wild West
The Southtown Star ^ | April 20, 2012 | Professor David McGrath

Posted on 04/21/2012 10:44:28 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The so-called “stand your ground” law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman to shoot and kill Treyvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., without an initial arrest once was a principle that nearly every American believed in.

And we were reminded of its key provision every Saturday night in prime time when watching “Gunsmoke,” among the nation’s longest-running and most popular TV programs.

Each episode began with the same scene on Main Street in Dodge City, Kan., with Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness, in a gun duel, staring at another man who stood 60 yards away. After several seconds of music and tension, the other man would reach for the handgun in his holster, which prompted Dillon to draw his gun faster and shoot him first.

No need for any investigation or police inquiry to determine whether it was a justified shooting because whichever cowboy drew last was standing his ground in self-defense.

Only two problems with this allusion. The first is that TV viewers understood that the law was needed in the West of the 19th century — when lawlessness prevailed, when you could not dial 911 and when every man carried a six-shooter or a rifle out in the open. Such circumstances, of course, did not apply to the America that watched westerns in the movie theater or on TV in the 1960s.

The second problem was that it was universally accepted that lethal self-defense was justifiable only against someone who was armed. Had Matt Dillon or Wyatt Earp or Lucas McCain of “The Rifleman” show tried to claim self-defense against an opponent who possessed only a club, slingshot or a bag of Skittles, not only would his reputation as a hero be jeopardized, he’d be thrown in jail and possibly sentenced to hang by Judge Roy Bean.

Fast forward 37 years, well past the last broadcast episode of “Gunsmoke”: Thanks to the National Rifle Association and its close friends like Florida Gov. Rick Scott, citizens are packing just like in the Wild West. In the state with the fewest gun restrictions in the country, Zimmerman’s right to carry the weapon he drew on Martin hasn’t been questioned.

But Florida’s NRA-loving legislators went the Wild West even one better — freeing pistol packers to fire on any man, woman or child, even if they’re not carrying a gun, as long as the shooter feared for his or her life.

I was not a resident of Florida in 2005 when Gov. Jeb Bush issued this license-to-kill en masse. So I am going to give its legislators the benefit of the doubt, confident that more than one must have pointed out that the law could be far too loosely interpreted — not only by bigots and paranoids but also by normal folks who happen to be temporarily disgruntled, disoriented, nervous or just naturally fearful of, say, teenagers, homeless people or strangers with moustaches, black hats or hooded sweatshirts.

What was everyone else thinking?

In the movie “Shane,” among the most highly acclaimed westerns of the aforementioned era, Jack Wilson, a kind of neighborhood watch captain hired by cattlemen, and played by Jack Palance, regularly got away with murder. He followed and confronted the poor homesteaders, threatening them with his malevolent grin and emasculating insults, driving them to make a move for a weapon out of fear and desperation, a move that cued their instant execution by the much-faster Wilson.

But even that sinister hit man was more regulated than Zimmerman, insofar as Wilson had to be careful not to shoot a homesteader who had only a hoe or a buggy whip or a can of iced tea.

After more than a month of protests and media debate, due process finally has been followed, with Special Prosecutor Angela Corey filing charges of second-degree murder against Zimmerman.

Whatever happens in the ensuing plea or trial, the next step should be repeal of the “stand your ground” law that permits people to act as judge, jury and executioner and that has led to the tripling of the number of so-called self-defense killings in Florida since its inception.

The law must be stricken from the books — not only in Florida but also in each of the other dozen or so states where legislators passed it while apparently temporarily insane.

****

David McGrath is an emeritus professor of English at the College of DuPage and author of “The Territory,” a story collection.


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: banglist; florida; georgezimmerman; lmm; trayvonmartin
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Got that?
1 posted on 04/21/2012 10:44:33 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"The law must be stricken from the books — not only in Florida but also in each of the other dozen or so states where legislators passed it while apparently temporarily insane."

Apparently.

2 posted on 04/21/2012 10:48:09 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Please...comparing this with nearly 50 year old TV shows? One’s no one has seen ? When now all they show is swishy ‘metrosexuals’. This goon would have us all disarmed and victims. Which is the end game.


3 posted on 04/21/2012 10:55:55 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (And yet...we continue to tolerate this crap...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

An armed society is a polite society. QED. Criminals hate armed citizenry.


4 posted on 04/21/2012 10:58:13 PM PDT by VRWC For Truth (Throw the bums out who vote yes on the bailout)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Another idiot that disregards all the evidence that Zimmerman was being beaten to death and had no option other than shooting his assailant.

Reading opinions like these, you’d think Zimmerman shot Martin from across the street because he didn’t like his hoodie.


5 posted on 04/21/2012 10:58:44 PM PDT by Kellis91789 (The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The media is turning this into the “No One Is the Boss of Me” law, the “Kiss My Ass, Jerk” law, but I thought it was about legal issues and lawsuits, and such.

The freepers that speak legalese and can translate it to we street level posters, need to post the language that we need to counter this effort with, what is a sentence or two description of the original purpose of laws saying that we won’t be prosecuted for self defense?


6 posted on 04/21/2012 11:01:26 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Romney is a Mormon Bishop, as was his father, his uncle was in line to be the Mormon Prophet/Pope)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Only two problems with this allusion. The first is that TV viewers understood that the law was needed in the West of the 19th century — when lawlessness prevailed, when you could not dial 911 and when every man carried a six-shooter or a rifle out in the open. Such circumstances, of course, did not apply to the America that watched westerns in the movie theater or on TV in the 1960s.

David McGrath is an emeritus professor of English at the College of DuPage and author of “The Territory,” a story collection.

He's also an idiot. The places with a lot of violence back in the "wild west days" were the big cities of the East with gun control laws. As Heinlein, a far better writer dead than McGrath is alive, said, "An armed society is a polite society."
7 posted on 04/21/2012 11:04:57 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have news for professor Unicorn; Gunsmoke was a television show.


8 posted on 04/21/2012 11:05:31 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

For a professor, you are a REAL idiot.

911 in the Gunsmoke era? Gotcha!


9 posted on 04/21/2012 11:09:50 PM PDT by Brad’s Gramma (PRAY for this country like your life depends on it......because it DOES!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Better the Wild West than the present Europe!


10 posted on 04/21/2012 11:10:23 PM PDT by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m an undersized guy, and as such I’d see a lot of people as a real threat should they want to do me harm.


11 posted on 04/21/2012 11:11:34 PM PDT by wastedyears (There can be only one.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Where the heck is the barf alert???


12 posted on 04/21/2012 11:13:17 PM PDT by mainevet (Get an M1911 or two or three or four)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.”


13 posted on 04/21/2012 11:14:31 PM PDT by juno67
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
In the movie “Shane,” among the most highly acclaimed westerns of the aforementioned era, Jack Wilson, a kind of neighborhood watch captain hired by cattlemen, and played by Jack Palance,...

This professor is a drooling moron. Palance played a gun for hire. Alan Ladd's character most resembled a modern neighborhood watch captain.

14 posted on 04/21/2012 11:16:02 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: Kellis91789

[[‘Stand your ground’ laws recall the Wild West]]

but apparently getting one’s head smashed to bits on a sidewalk doesn’t ‘recall the wild west’ to that writer-


15 posted on 04/21/2012 11:28:02 PM PDT by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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To: TigersEye

True, Palance was a stone cold hit man.

Next time you watch the movie, notice Palance getting on his horse in the town scene, when he swings his leg over the saddle at (Shane?) it is a powerful example of an actor using his body to say a page of dialogue.

When he mounts that saddle, it is the biggest body language F***Y*U, that I have ever seen in real life or film..


16 posted on 04/21/2012 11:53:34 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Romney is a Mormon Bishop, as was his father, his uncle was in line to be the Mormon Prophet/Pope)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Got that?”

No! I do not have that. I’m so uncertain that if my head is being bashed upon the pavement repeatedly I really Am uncertain!!!


17 posted on 04/22/2012 12:00:59 AM PDT by Carthego delenda est
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Typical dumbass professor attempting to equate Hollywood entertainment “rules”or “values” with real life. Honestly, this is a primary example of why our educational institutes are churning out ignorant and unemployable young adults at an ever increasing rate.
18 posted on 04/22/2012 12:04:56 AM PDT by Pox (Good Night. I expect more respect tomorrow.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Lawlessness still prevails in many places. Dialing 911 often only tells the cops where to find your body. The equal force idea is only feasible when both parties are evenly matched physically.

Trayvon Martin was a tall, broad shouldered and muscular MAN, not a little boy, 6 inches taller than George Zimmerman and probably in better shape.

In actual combat situations the "fairness" principle is a load of crap. The only applicable rules are whatever it takes. No one in the "wild West" was expected to submit to being pounded to death by an "unarmed" assailant.

Chicago should keep it's idiots at home.

19 posted on 04/22/2012 12:07:05 AM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: ansel12
I don't have to watch it again I can see it in my mind. Palance was a great actor and that was one of his best parts.

The movie Shane is really totally unfit as an analogy for the Zimmerman/Martin incident. There was no law there. Ownership of property was in dispute as was the reality in the west in many places. There was an active dispute, or war, going on and everybody knew who was on what side. Those things made the backdrop and the framework for the whole drama of Shane and none of them exist in the events surrounding Zimmerman/Martin.

I recommend a rubber room some Xanax and a cup of chamomile tea for Prof. McGrath.

20 posted on 04/22/2012 12:09:05 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That analogy to a old time western movie hardly makes sense. No, I ain’t got it.


21 posted on 04/22/2012 12:16:14 AM PDT by BIGLOOK
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To: TigersEye

“I recommend a rubber room some Xanax and a cup of chamomile tea for Prof. McGrath.”

“David McGrath is an emeritus professor of English at the College of DuPage” which the article fails to mention is a community college. I don’t know, maybe that’s the same as any other college.


22 posted on 04/22/2012 12:19:09 AM PDT by Carthego delenda est
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Actually, a better case could be made that it was young Martin who misinterpreted the “stand your ground” principle in that confrontation, to his misfortune. Jurisdictions without SYG would have required him to retreat to the house where he was staying to avoid the altercation.


23 posted on 04/22/2012 12:23:40 AM PDT by VietVet (I am old enough to know who I am and what I believe, and I 'm not inclined to apologize for any of)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So-called “stand your ground” laws (laws, I like that) are a great example of how we’ve basically thrown out the Constitution and remember none of the Declaration.

My little brain is trying to think of any valid reason why a law would be necessary to codify the inherent right of self defense. As if I’m only allowed to defend myself in my house. Right...

Suddenly, the light turns on. Bing !

Oh... (duh)... if Courts don’t acknowledge Common Law, common sense, the Constitution, etc., i.e., they side with the attacker instead of the attackee... well then legislatures might see an opportunity to pass a “stand your ground” law to try to make it clear to Judges that it’s legal for citizens to defend themselves.

Even my little pea-brain can figure out the source of the problem: the Judicial system humors pathetic legal defenses based on the attacker’s attorney claiming that the victim had no right to defend themselves from their client.

I guess it’s welcome to legal “bizzarro world”. Well, until we clean out the moral deadwood in the Judicial system.


24 posted on 04/22/2012 12:25:35 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: Carthego delenda est

As far as a professor who reaches way outside the subject matter he teaches and pretends to be smart about it it probably is like most other colleges.


25 posted on 04/22/2012 12:26:56 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: Kellis91789

When seconds count the cops are minutes away.
Zimmerman was a fool, but the law is a good one. The left is pissed because it gives law abiding citizens the legal means to fight back. It also means that it puts citizens on a level playing ground with Urban Yoots.
If a faggy lefty wants to be culled by some urban thug, so be it. But most of the people are sick and tired of being targets and the fact we could be in more trouble defending ourselves than the thug who attacks us.


26 posted on 04/22/2012 12:34:36 AM PDT by Yorlik803 (better to die on your feet than live on your knees.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Of course, regarding this particular professor’s (???) childish lie of a column, deadly force employed in self-defense is certainly legitimate if one reasonably believes that one’s life is in danger.

Having one’s head banged on the sidewalk, IMHO, clearly fits that bill. Just to get into all the minutia (since we’re talking about a “professor’s” column), one could reasonably assume that one would soon be rendered unconscious, after which, given the maniac bashing one’s head against the sidewalk seems a rather hell-bent fellow, one could certainly reasonably assume that said fellow would continue the bashing after one lost consciousness. Ergo, it’s a most appropriate time to avail oneself of one’s weapon and finish the bugger off (IMHO), and I doubt it would take very long for the attackee to work through all these details in their mind in that situation.


27 posted on 04/22/2012 12:36:24 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: WKUHilltopper

“Please...comparing this with nearly 50 year old TV shows? One’s no one has seen ?”

being 75, I watched them all!!!!


28 posted on 04/22/2012 1:05:10 AM PDT by dalereed
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Stand your ground” laws are just plain old common sense.


29 posted on 04/22/2012 1:11:05 AM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: dalereed

“being 75, I watched them all!!!!”

I always caught Gun Smoke on Sundays! :)


30 posted on 04/22/2012 1:11:42 AM PDT by WKUHilltopper (And yet...we continue to tolerate this crap...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

To the Prof. Dumbass, Don’t give up your Day Job!
Stay out of jurisprudentia!


31 posted on 04/22/2012 1:19:57 AM PDT by GOYAKLA (Recall/ Impeachment Day, November 6, 2012. FUBO)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
‘Stand your ground’ laws recall the Wild West

I understand the situation; but I don't see that it is a problem.

One incorrigible budding career criminal was permanently stopped before he could rack up a large body count.

One intended victim was able to successfully defend himself against an intended deadly attack from the above criminal.

That's just one small victory for civilization, compared to the thousands of violent crimes every year wherein the perpetrator should die, but doesn't.

32 posted on 04/22/2012 1:31:34 AM PDT by meadsjn (Sarah 2012, or sooner)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

‘Stand Your Ground’ and ‘Self-Defense’ are different legal entities.

Both applied in this instance, but this was classic self-defense.

Apparently you have to be a Professor not to understand the difference.


33 posted on 04/22/2012 1:40:47 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: PieterCasparzen

So many Black youth perps seem to be unusually adept at the methodology needed to quickly and effectively subdue an opponent. From where are they learning these tactics and skills? Are they “instinctive”? Or is there (aside from the military) some sort of underground school where offensive and lethal hand to hand combat skills are being taught to Black youth?


34 posted on 04/22/2012 2:05:32 AM PDT by 4Runner
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What is with the spate of moronic columns trying to use Hollywood fiction to set up straw men that the writer attacks with false logic and outright lies?

He might as well argue for a change in the laws of physics based on what he saw the coyote and the roadrunner do.

What an ultra-maroon.


35 posted on 04/22/2012 3:31:31 AM PDT by M1911A1
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

History is nice; too damn bad most people don’t study it before writing their articles.


36 posted on 04/22/2012 4:03:10 AM PDT by navymom1
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To: 4Runner

I’m not sure you have to be a black youth to be unusually adept at subduing an opponent. You just have to be young man in your prime, with athletic skills. Treyvon M. was about 6 foot 3 inches tall, weighted 170-180 pounds, about 20 pounds less than George Z. I would describe George M. as short man with a slender build, certainly much lighter than the mug shot photo from 5 years earlier. I have no doubt that Treyvon M. was eating his lunch, George had a broken nose, bloody head wounds from hitting the concrete walkway. During the scuffle on the ground this pistol was probably felt by Treyvon M. in George’s clothing. Once that was discovered, both were going for the pistol, George naturally felt he was in mortal danger, so he fired in self-defense. We don’t know if the pistol was out in plain view when he fired or if it was still in his jacket and fired thru the clothing. Trayvon M. could have been hit in a non-lethal area, but sadly that night this bullet or bullets? were deadly


37 posted on 04/22/2012 4:08:33 AM PDT by Colorado Cowgirl (God bless America!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“After several seconds of music and tension, the other man would reach for the handgun in his holster, which prompted Dillon to draw his gun faster and shoot him first”

I had trouble getting past this part. I know it might be a small and nitpickey point, but in that scene Dillon did not draw faster. He did shoot the other guy before he got shot himself, but Dillon did not shoot first. James Arness insisted that Dillon would only return fire and never shoot a man that had not shot at him first.


38 posted on 04/22/2012 4:08:57 AM PDT by crude77
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

(The so-called “stand your ground” law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman to shoot and kill Treyvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.)

What allowed Mr Zimmerman to shoot Mr Martin is a human beings right to defend their own life.
As our FOUNDERS stated, it is a right given by our Creator and one guaranteed in our Constitution.
You may not like that, but a fact is a fact...........


39 posted on 04/22/2012 4:21:01 AM PDT by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

By “wild west” he obviously means Hollywood sound stages. It’s Hollywood, not history. Too many people confuse them.


40 posted on 04/22/2012 4:33:09 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The author seems to ignore the fact this particular case disproves his assumption that dialing 911 is adequate to defend the victim from an attacker.

GZ was attacked while he was in the due process of defending a community from burglaries. GZ had just spoken with 911, giving them a several minute head start to arrive at the scene. That still was inadequate time to prevent Trayvon from attacking GZ and begin smashing his head against concrete.

We still have not heard of what permanent neurological damages have been caused by Trayvon’s unwarranted assault upon GZ.


41 posted on 04/22/2012 4:36:37 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: VRWC For Truth
An armed society is a polite society. QED. Criminals hate armed citizenry.

Especially corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

42 posted on 04/22/2012 4:53:22 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This guy’s an idiot.


43 posted on 04/22/2012 4:53:37 AM PDT by Free in Texas (Member of the Bitter Clingers Association.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
He's almost right - we shouldn't need the stand-your-ground law. It should be a matter of common sense and go hand-in-hand with all other God-given rights. If someone physically attacks us, it should be our right to deal with it in any manner we can, up to and including using our 2nd Amendment Rights. There are many cases where laws, supposedly intended to "grant rights" actually limit them to the scope of the law.

I'd love for the "perfesser" to put that in his pipe and choke on it.

44 posted on 04/22/2012 5:08:13 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"The so-called “stand your ground” law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman to shoot and kill Treyvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., without an initial arrest once was a principle that nearly every American believed in."

The State's investigator said under oath on the stand that he had no evidence that contradicted Zimmerman's story. So, that story is the story that stands. What was that story?

Zimmerman was returning to his truck on advice of the 911 dispatcher to stop following the suspicious person. Trayvon could've returned to his dad's condo easily. He turned around, came back, cold-cocked Zimmerman and was beating the crap out of him, threatening to kill Zimmerman, when he got himself shot and killed.

"Stand your ground" has zero to do with this incident. Zimmerman was on his back and could not retreat.

Why is it, that so many "professors" are so stupid and uninformed?

45 posted on 04/22/2012 5:37:42 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (.Are they stupid, malicious or evil?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Only two problems with this allusion. The first is that TV viewers understood that the law was needed in the West of the 19th century — when lawlessness prevailed,

Does he mean like present day Chicago?

46 posted on 04/22/2012 5:43:18 AM PDT by tbpiper
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Funny. Statistically speaking, the Wild West was a lot safer and more peaceful than a lot of cities.


47 posted on 04/22/2012 5:46:25 AM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
"Stand your ground" has zero to do with this incident.

I wouldn't say zero. The "Stand your ground" law will give Zimmerman an opportunity to win immunity from prosecution and lawsuit for this justifiable homicide. An important provision of the law that is being invoked in this case.

48 posted on 04/22/2012 5:51:06 AM PDT by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I must be lost, from what I understand Zimmerman fired in self-defense. Not sure why all the drama about the “stand your ground” law it shouldn’t be the issue. If someone has you down beating your head on the pavement your life is indeed in danger and you have the right to defend yourself. I have never heard that self-defense depended on the other person being armed- if someone is trying to kill you, with their bare hands you will be just as dead as if they shot or stabbed you if you can’t defend yourself. Isn’t self-defense allowed in every state in the U.S.? I would hope so.

As to the analogy to the western shows, yes you can now dial 911 but unless you are incredibly lucky- lottery winning lucky the response will not be fast enough to change the outcome if someone is trying to kill you.


49 posted on 04/22/2012 5:59:36 AM PDT by Tammy8 (~Secure the border and deport all illegals- do it now! ~ Support our Troops!~)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Liberals have imposed an unjust and insane system of “zero tolerace” on public school children. Now they want to impose it on adults.

Zero tolerance makes the victim who defends himself with violence against a violent attacker equally guilty and equally punished for the violence.

This is what they do to Europeans who defend themselves and others from predators.


50 posted on 04/22/2012 6:01:53 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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