Self-Defense or Deadly Force

Is using a gun as a means to end an otherwise marginal disagreement the same thing as self-defense in a life threatening situation? Not to me, it isn’t.

The stand-your-ground law, with current variations in 46 states, allows anyone “the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation,” [Wiki]. Certainly, the idea of this law seems perfectly fine: a person will not be deemed guilty of homicide by using deadly force, as a form of self-defense, in their own home, car, or any place they have the right to be. Now, I thought you could already claim self-defense in this case, that you wouldn’t be deemed guilty, if you were defending yourself from an imminent threat. However, having a law that ensures this could not be so damaging. Right?

Not really. People have begun to use this law as an excuse for their unjustified killings. Now, I am not saying that these people are guilty one way or another, but this law contorts common law, and perverts the idea of self-defense.

I am also not saying I know what the decision should be in a court case, when I have not been there, and do not know, the proceedings of case. As such, the heavily publicized Trayvon Martin case is what makes the discussion of this law so important. Is it legal to stand your ground and use a deadly weapon for self-defense? Or not?

I am not asking for us to decide the case of Trayvon, regardless of how many have already done so. Rather, I ask that the discussion of this law be brought to the table. This law needs to be reevaluated, so that there is a clear difference, within the definitions set out by the law, between self-defense and senseless killing, as it certainly seems to be the situation with the murder of Jordan Davis.

A trial needs to be carefully discussed amongst jury members, but if the law is unclear, how can their verdict be? So I only ask that the law be reevaluated to define self-defense and life-threatening so specifically, that there is hardly any room for indecision.

But for all the words that I have not said, Lucia McBath provides a compelling testimony for the discussion of the stand-your-ground laws. Please watch. Please listen. And let me know what you think about the law and its repercussions.


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