stand your ground laws
I include the former in the title because, as the token “rightie” on MSNBC, it didn’t particularly surprise me to see him fold like a cheap paper box to the culture there and utter these moronic thoughts about the Zimmerman/Martin case:
Because there is no defense for shooting down a young black man in a middle class neighborhood with Skittles. Armed with Skittles.
The man works for a news organization, for heaven sake (or one that claims to be a news organization). There is no excuse for he or any other MSNBC employee to be this incredibly ignorant about what happened to the point that they think they’re credibly describing reality. Here’s a clue, Joe … Martin didn’t attack Zimmerman with Skittles. He attacked him with his fists. Oh, and key point – Martin initiated the violence. Got it?
And people are now claiming two other things that have no basis in reality. One, that “stand your ground laws” are new and should be repealed and two, it was the stand your ground law that got Martin killed.
Dealing with the last first, no, what got Martin killed was choosing (notice the word) to attack George Zimmerman by hitting him in the nose and breaking it and then jumping on top of the man and bashing his head into a sidewalk. Grow up people … Martin was the aggressor and it had nothing to do with “Skittles”. Pretending otherwise is just willful ignorance.
But to the “stand your ground laws”. Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection does a little research about the law and provides us with this:
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.
That’s from an Indiana case ( Runyon v. State, 57 Ind. 80) in 1877 where the court found that no one is required to “retreat” when faced with what they surmise is a deadly assault.
In fact, the late comer to the game are these so-called “duty to retreat” laws. Branca notes:
Stand-Your-Ground has been around a very long time. Indeed, it has always been the majority doctrine in the United States, with only a minority of states adopting a generalized duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. Even today, only 17 states apply such a duty.
And, as with most stupid laws, common sense tells you the law provides perverse incentive to criminals:
A criminal who knows he can seize physical control of his immediate surroundings with no fear of death or grave bodily harm being visited upon him is emboldened to do exactly that. You get more violent aggression from the criminal element of society, not less, when you force law-abiding citizens to cede control to violent criminals. It’s Heinleins’, “An armed society is a polite society,” turned topsy-turvy.
Check out hot burglary statistics in the UK since guns have been banned. They make the case.
Everyone has a right to self-defense up to and including using the force they feel is necessary to preserve their life. No one has a “duty to retreat”. Because doing so only encourages criminals to up the ante. The fact that supposedly bright people are unable to understand that and insist victims further endanger themselves and their lives instead of defending themselves speaks to a cluelessness about human nature that is really difficult to comprehend.
But we all know they’re out there — and they look a lot like Joe Scarborough.