Skip to comments.Floridians back “Stand Your Ground” law
Posted on 04/25/2012 5:38:36 AM PDT by marktwain
In the wake of the Trayvon Martins death, many on the Left have been blaming Floridas Stand Your Ground law, a statue passed last year that allows use for the use of deadly force in self-defense (my home state of Georgia passed a similar law a few years ago). They say that the law empowered George Zimmerman to target Martin and claim self-defense.
While I have no opinion on Zimmermans guilt or innocence in the case at this point I believe too little is known to jump to conclusions one way or the other, the ire over the Stand Your Ground law seems a little misplaced and, in some cases, dishonest. Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment scholar, explains:
The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that a person is justified in the use of deadly force if (1) 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 (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).
The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.
If the factual claims of Trayvons supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman. So Floridas self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.
Floridas rule that deadly force may be used to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm or the imminent commission of a forcible felony is the norm throughout the United States. [ ] Like the majority of American states, Florida does not mandate that victims of a violent crime attempt to retreat before they defend themselves. The retreat rule is irrelevant, regardless of whether you believe Trayvons advocates or Mr. Zimmermans advocates.
According to one side, Mr. Zimmerman was the criminal aggressor. Thus, he would have no self-defense rights at all. According to the other side, Trayvon attacked Mr. Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, got on top of him and continued the attack. So Mr. Zimmerman would have had no ability to retreat. Either way, the retreat rules for lawful defenders have nothing to do with this case.
Despite what the gun prohibition lobbies claim, the no-retreat rule has deep roots in traditional American law. At the Supreme Court, the rule dates back to the 1895 case of Beard v. United States, in which the great Justice John Harlan wrote for a unanimous court that the victim was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground, and meet any attack upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force as, under all the circumstances, he, at the moment, honestly believed, and had reasonable grounds to believe, were necessary to save his own life, or to protect himself from great bodily injury.
The great progressive Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes also expressed the unanimous opinion of the court that if a man reasonably believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm from his assailant he may stand his ground and that if he kills him he has not succeededthe bounds of lawful self-defense. Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife (Brown v. United States, 1921).
According to a survey released yesterday by Public Policy Policy a Democratic polling firm used by the Daily Kos, Floridians are largely not buying the fuss over the law in the afterman of Martins death:
Floridians generally support the firearm self-defense law that George Zimmerman will use as part of his defense in the Trayvon Martin case, but they also support him being charged with second-degree murder because they think he is guilty.
42% of Florida voters support the Stand Your Ground law, and 32% oppose it. Republicans overwhelmingly support it (60-13), and independents like it as well (45-31), but Democrats oppose it (24-50).
49% think Zimmerman was appropriately charged, while 25% think he was not. The verdict is more narrow when it comes to his actual guilt of said charge31% believe he is guilty, and 26% think him innocent. Despite the hullabaloo, 46% believe Zimmerman will be able to receive a fair trial, and 37% think he cannot.
Floridians generally do not believe Zimmerman was motivated by racism when he killed Martinonly 32% think he was, and 45% think he wasnt.
With recent developments in the case, we may never know what exactly happened in Sanford, Florida in late Feburary, but Martins death has, been politicized to the point of absurdity, taking away any real possibility of a fair trail for Zimmerman, something he should be entitled to whether a jury ultimately finds that he commited a crime or not.
Its not surprising that the anti-gun lobby would launch an attack on Stand Your Ground laws. They would use just about any random act to do so, even though their ultimate goal of disarming the public would leave law-abiding Americans without a reasonable means to defend themsevles.
I'm confused by this writer. Unless bouncing someone's head off a sidewalk is a new game, it will definitely cause great bodily harm.
...damn straight...the law gives Floridians one more way to protect themselves from people like Trayvon Martin.
I wonder how much the home burglaries have decreased in the neighborhood since poor wittle waif Trayvon has assumed room temp?
This Floridian supports the Stand Your Ground law.
I'm afraid a lot of people would sacrifice Zimmerman to avoid riots.
..GET A ROPE!
or a log chain and a pickup
Stand your ground doesnt go far enough.
Id like to see a law saying that you can pursue with deadly force. The police sure wont help you.
Four months ago, my daughter had her home broken into and all her valuables (cash, computers, TVs, guns, a few pieces of furniture, etc.) taken. She got there in time to see the thiefs pickup truck pulling away and she followed the thief back to his home. With the pickup in his driveway, she called the cops and told the cops that she was parked outside of the thief’s house and that her possessions were in plain sight and in the pickup. The cops told her that since nobody was hurt, it was an insurance problem not a police problem and she should just go home and file an insurance claim. (Nevada)
yet another great Democrat Astroturf Stunt is blowing up in their faces
“Four months ago, my daughter had her home broken into and all her valuables (cash, computers, TVs, guns, a few pieces of furniture, etc.) taken. She got there in time to see the thiefs pickup truck pulling away and she followed the thief back to his home. With the pickup in his driveway, she called the cops and told the cops that she was parked outside of the thiefs house and that her possessions were in plain sight and in the pickup. The cops told her that since nobody was hurt, it was an insurance problem not a police problem and she should just go home and file an insurance claim. (Nevada)”
OUTRAGEOUS! We actually had something quite similar happen to us. A bunch of our stuff found in a stolen car parked at Cabrini Green in downtown Chicago. The police called the owner of the car (who was a neighbor of ours) and told her to come get the car. She found all the stolen stuff in it and refused to take the car until all the stolen goods were returned to the rightful owner. Cops just wanted her to take her car with all the stuff in it! They couldn’t be bothered! And then they wonder why police are getting an AWFUL reputation as slugs!
It remains to be seen if SYG will even be the defense for GZ.
I’m thinking not - just simple self-defense as TM had him pinned to the ground, he could not get away, and was in reasonable fear of serious or even fatal injury. Maybe there was a fight over the gun - maybe not. Either way he had the right of self-defense.
That says it all.
Also, from a legal standpoint and as I understand it, SYG isn't even applicable here, since George Zimmerman was on his back getting thumped, and in that situation any "duty to retreat" is obviously moot since you can't retreat.
As they should.
AND--I would be extremely reluctant to approach any house--especially a stranger's house--at night and would be careful anytime.
Not long ago, in a rural area, I got lost in the woods. Night fell.
I had no choice but to cross a stranger's land to reach the road.
As I walked down his long driveway, a car approached, obviously the owner coming home.
The car slowed as it approached me.
I was very, very, very careful to keep my hands exposed, to stay in the headlights, and to do nothing threatening.
The man stopped. His boy was in the car with him.
As soon as he rolled down his window, I said in my most polite manner: "I'm sorry. I got lost in the woods, and I'm trying to get back to the road."
It helped that I was walking away from his house.
He relaxed and told me to proceed.
It is true that I am white and have a sophisticated, educated accent. But even so--I was very, very, very careful. I couldn't help wondering later how it might have been had I been otherwise.
My advice to anyone who finds himself in such circumstances--especially if not white and not having a sophisticated, educated accent--is (1) to avoid any such circumstances if at all possible and (2) to be very, very, very, very, very careful if you can't. Never mind being right. Be safe!
I understand the arguments against the castle doctrine, but self-defense--especially as our world becomes more and more dangerous--trumps them.
Those in support of SYG are smart enough to imagine themselves or their loved ones in a situation in which they desperately need SYG.
Those who oppose SYG can only imagine other people using SYG to defend themselves, and they do not want them to be able to defend themselves. This implies that they either: want to oppress and control others, and/or want to protect those who want to oppress and control others, and/or are so terrified of unexpected loud noises that they are frightened to death from the very existence of guns in the world.
Do not forget ignorance or misinformation. Most of those who oppose SYG believe what they have been told by the MSM. They have been told that SYG means that people who get a concealed carry permit have a license to kill anyone they want at any time. That is what has been put forward, for the most part, by the MSM.
Most of these misinformed people would support SYG if they knew the facts.
I wonder if they had fingerprints from previous burglaries in the area that might match Trayvon’s.