Monday, July 22, 2013

Stand Your Ground

Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy. My sincerest respect and admiration goes out to his parents and those who loved him.  The dignity and composure that they have maintained through their loss and the subsequent events clearly shows them to be people of the highest character. I don’t know if I could have been as strong as they are.

From the first bits of news about the shooting that spewed forth from our ratings motivated media, I withheld my opinion. I did this for lack trust in the information that we were receiving. As the information leveled off, I had little doubt that George Zimmerman would go on trial for second degree murder.

One constant out of the information that was given to the public, was the fact that Zimmerman got out of his car and pursued young Trayvon. The error of this action was amplified by the fact that the sheriff’s dispatcher, with whom Zimmerman was speaking over the phone at the time, told him to stay in his car. That one simple fact, in my mind, makes Zimmerman unquestionably responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin.

I had no doubt that the jury would come back with a guilty verdict. However, I did not receive the instructions on the letter of the law that the jury did. As were many Americans, I was dumbfounded by the verdict.

I hold no fault with the jury. I would not have wanted to be in their position and would not likely have been chosen if I had been a candidate. I’m sure that they acted to the letter of the law.

There are rumblings now to repeal the Stand Your Ground Law. What that could mean is that without such a law, an actual armed criminal will have the advantage. The criminal will have the advantage because the intended victim, whether armed or not, must attempt to run before taking a defensive posture.

In other words, only when the criminal overtakes the victim, or the victim is rendered unable to flee, can the victim fight back with deadly force. The imbalance of this hypothetical situation, in favor of the criminal, is obvious. A savvy citizen is aware of the surroundings and potential danger and will do everything reasonable to avoid such of a situation. However, if confronted, the citizen deserves the right to fight for self preservation.

In the case of George Zimmerman, he needed to Sit His Ground by staying in the seat of his car with the windows up and the doors locked. Once he left the car, he gave up his safe posture by his own initiative. If there is any need for change in the Stand Your Ground Law, it is to ensure that behavior such as George Zimmerman’s makes a person unquestionably culpable for the death of another. To repeal the law would be an injustice to victims of violent crime whether they defend with guns, pocket knives or martial arts.

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