Skip to comments.Stand Your Ground Is Not New - It is based on an old and valuable principle.
Posted on 07/25/2013 10:02:55 AM PDT by neverdem
In our discussions of the Stand Your Ground principle, bogeymen and shadows predominate. We hear much of the National Rifle Association, of the conservative nonprofit ALEC, of the South, and, particularly ludicrously, of white supremacy. Disinformation and hyperbole, too, are rife. To take the more extravagant of the rules critics at face value would be to conclude that permissive self-defense regimes are recent inventions a hijacking of the justice system by would-be vigilantes and their enablers.
But all of this is rather silly. In truth, the Stand Your Ground principle, which holds only that one may fight back without the duty to retreat if attacked, has been restored as the American norm after a short and naïve hiatus. What we are witnessing now is the resurrection of an old and valuable principle. As Andrew Branca of Legal Insurrection notes, the first explicit reference to the notion comes not in 2005 with the passage of Floridas now-infamous law, but instead in the case of Runyon v. State, all the way back in 1877.
The weight of modern authority, the court wrote,
establishes the doctrine that when a person, being without fault and in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel force by force, and if, in reasonable exercise of his right of self-defence, his assailant is killed, he is justifiable.
Thus, just a half-century after Oliver Wendell Holmes issued his immortal line that detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife, such detached reflection was legally required in most of the country. By 1980, in all but a few states, the attacked were required to retreat, and to justify themselves to a jury if they did not. The principle appeared to be dead.
Rare are the instances of a people clawing back their autonomy from a growing government. But here is one such case. The abject failure of weaker crime initiatives in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s ushered in a remarkable turnabout during which the same forces that led to more permissive gun laws also led to pointed criticism of duty to retreat imperatives, resulting in Castle Doctrine policies, which apply inside the home, as well as to Stand Your Ground provisions, which apply everywhere. In the 1970s, even Texans had tamed themselves, officially adding retreat requirements to their legal frameworks. But by 1995 the law had been weakened, and by 2007 Governor Rick Perry had signed full repeal, arguing that the right to defend oneself without having to run away was intuitive to human nature.
By 2001, as Steven Jansen and M. Elaine Nugen Borakove have argued(PDF), Americans were experiencing the perception that the due process rights of defendants overshadow[ed] the rights of victims, a lack of trust in the states capacity to help them if they ran into trouble, and, after 9/11 in particular, a diminished sense of public safety. The result of this, Jansen and Borakove contend, was that people had a desire to be proactive in their own defense. The rise of professional police forces from the 1840s onward had largely taken matters of law and order away from the People; this would restore some of the balance.
As a result, as Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra of Texas A&M University noted in a paper that is critical of Stand Your Ground,
from 2000 to 2010, more than 20 states passed so-called castle doctrine or stand your ground laws. These laws expand the legal justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense, thereby lowering the expected cost of using lethal force and increasing the expected cost of committing violent crime.
How one might increase the expected cost of committing violent crime is obvious. But the other part lowering the expected cost of using lethal force is just as crucial. Reacting to the duty to retreat changes in the 1970s, prosecutors quickly realized that it was an awful lot easier to ask a defendant in court why he hadnt retreated than it was for that defendant actually to retreat during a fight. Consequently, society, as Brance argues, observed ever more miscarriages of justice with law-abiding defenders receiving lengthy, sometimes life-long, prison sentences because of the generalized duty to retreat.
Opponents of the reestablishment will almost certainly have their work cut out. Despite the ongoing liberalization of firearm and self-defense law, the crime rate today is around 50 percent of what it was 20 years ago. What critics said would happen if law-abiding Americans were permitted to carry guns has not happened, and predictions that removing the duty to retreat would turn the United States into Tombstone have proven equally flawed. Meanwhile, as anybody who watched the master-class in fanaticism to which Angela Corey treated spectators of the Zimmerman trial can attest, prosecutors appear to be no less zealous. The resurgence of interest in Stand Your Ground is the natural byproduct of a failed experiment. Americans have long memories. ¡Viva la Restauración!
Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate for National Review.
Examples are numerous that show in many instances that retreating, running, or defending, are more dangerous than attacking back.
Mother nature will show you to stand your ground. Think you can outrun a bear of a mountain lion? Stand and face them and you have a better chance.
The political implication is that liberal progressives do not want people to go around standing up for their rights and stand their ground on religion and abortion or even questioning them on taxes!
They recommend you just lay back and enjoy it.
They recommend you just lay back and enjoy it.
I think they want you on drugs for the above reason.
“Stand your ground” is an extension of the “castle doctrine”, the right to defend the domicile in which you reside and all appurtenant structures on what is defined as the parcel where the domicile is located. “Stand your ground” is that mobile portion of location that moves with you as you travel away from the dwelling. It may be the blanket at the beach, or the vehicle in which you are traveling, or even the portion of the sidewalk which you are so proudly striding down.
“Stand your ground”, though, may be more important for its provision of at least partial immunity from civil actions taken against the protagonist by those acting on behalf of the antagonist. Therefore, the home invader whom you shot while he was pillaging your residence has little resort to a civil judgment for injuries done to him while engaged in criminal activities or fleeing the scene.
Do you mean the fact that Holder and the NAACP are pushing for reversal of " Stand Your Ground" laws,
even though it was never part of the Zimmerman legal defense ?
EXACTLY SO !!
The Virginia legislature considered passing a stand your ground law recently. I think it passed the house. But then the legislators realized that stand your ground exists in common law and that a legislative enactment would screw up the common law so it was dropped.
Should have been:
Despite or because of
Your explanation of stand your ground is a good one.
Two supporting thoughts:
1) The subjectivity associated with a person’s ability or will to retreat was being exploited by prosecution attorneys when “excessive force” (also subjective) was thought to be offensive by the state. Stand your ground protects the victim (the one defending self) from the subjectivity and civil or legal action associated with it.
2) A persons ability or will to retreat always depends on unique characteristics of the individual, the circumstances and the environment. A man could flee except his wife and children would be showing up any second or were also there. Retreat would mean running through busy traffic. Etc.
Stand your ground and Castle Doctrine does not replace “Self Defense”. It actually protects the person that acted in self defense from other litigation. Arguments that suggest “SYG” or “Castle Doctrine” are not needed are vaild provided there are reasonable prosecutors.
The right to defend yourself is as old as mankind.
The left in general doesn’t want you to have a self-defense mindset, because you might apply it to them.
Think about this, a bit in the abstract.
Why would any person favor making it illegal or even more difficult for another person to use force to repel force?
The obvious answer is that they envision themselves, or someone else they support, using force to impose their will on you at some point in the foreseeable future.
There is no other answer.
Plus, the criminal class makes up most of their constituency, and they don’t like their voters getting shot.
John Lott mantains that Stand Your Ground laws pre-date the United States.
I do not believe that many people on the other side are there out of sincere good will - primarily because of this point. The woman this week who was attacked with a knife at a gas station and shot her attacker may have shot him more than once, possibly after he was down. Considering that he attacked her, and she only had a .22, I don't blame her for the lack of detached reflection. I would not vote to convict even if a medical examiner could tell that he was unable to continue the attack at the time that the fatal shot was fired. It's unreasonable to demand the precision of a detached professional, when a thug initiated violence and her life is on the line.
Survival of the Fittest!
“The right to defend yourself is as old as mankind.”
Of course it is. The amazing thing is that limp brained liberals can’t seem to understand that to deny the right of self defense is to deny the right to life and is in effect to grant the attacker the right to assault someone. I suppose I should not be surprised since the same people deny the right to life for unborn babies. Liberalism really is a mental failure.