Another case is dominating the news pages and the liberal media is once again attacking the Stand your Ground laws being adopted by more and more states. There are so many issues here that it is difficult to address them all, but allow me to add a little clarity to the insanity that is running rampant in the media.
- Confusing the issue. This is a classic ploy of the media. Rather than addressing the growing violence in the United States and the increased attack on innocent victims, one of two things happens: 1) An innocent individual is demonized for exercising his legal right and the criminal is canonized as some sort of saint (i.e. the George Zimmerman case); 2) Some idiot like Michael Dunn tries to use the law as a defense for stupidity and aggression (though Dunn did not actually invoke a stand your ground defense). Extreme and/or isolated cases are then used as fodder for the weak minded to oppose good laws.
- Some are arguing that these “NEW” stand your ground laws embolden people to react without thought or reason. There are two problems here. First, there is nothing new about Stand your Ground laws. In the case of Runyon vs. the State of Indiana (1877) the court ruled, “The tendency of the American mind seems to be very strongly against the enforcement of any rule which requires a person to flee when assailed, to avoid chastisement or even to save a human life . . . [Therefore,] [t]he weight of modern authority . . 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.” Second, the law is designed to protect the innocent from violent offenders – not embolden people to shoot at any perceived threat (just another red herring).
- Duty to retreat laws have failed. As you can see, SYG has been around a long time. Much longer than the 1877 ruling in Indiana. In an attempt to recognize the sanctity of all human life some states adopted “duty to retreat” laws that demanded that innocent victims, even under imminent threat have a duty to retreat. Forget about your life, health, or property, or the recidivist rapist chasing you down a dark alley, your first duty is to retreat. The result of these laws was an increase in violence and the emboldenment not of innocent victims, but violent criminals. That is why so many states have re-instated laws that protect the innocent and given them a remedy against violence or the threat thereof. This is why Robert Heinlein stated, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
- Some have suggested that Stand your Ground is being used for white on black violence. Here is what the statistics in Florida (the most controversial state for SYG show). In Florida, the statistics have been tallied by the Tampa Bay Times and, in 8 years, the defense has been invoked 133 times, resulting in 40 convictions (35%) and 73 acquittals (65%) with 20 cases still pending. Of those defendants who invoked the law, 40 have been listed as “Black” by the Tampa Bay Times. That represents 35% of all Stand Your Ground cases, even though African Americans only make up 16% of Florida’s population. Of those cases, 25 were acquitted (78%) and 7 were convicted (22%). What this means is that African American defendants in Florida have disproportionately invoked the Stand Your Ground law in their defense and have been more successful than white defendants at getting acquittals.
Facts are dangerous things people. I wish there were time in this post to discuss the violent crime rates in states that have handgun carry laws, stand your ground laws and laws designed to protect innocent victims compared to states with restrictive gun laws. The highest rates of violent crime in the United States are in those states with the strictest gun laws.
It is time to STAND YOUR GROUND when it comes to the false information being perpetrated by the biased media.