I Hate It Here: The Loaded Gun of Stand Your Ground

By Will Malkus
Elm Radio Editor

So. Stand-your-ground Laws.

I want to be real for a second here. I want to be 100 percent honest. Stand-your-ground is the DUMBEST thing I have ever heard. Seriously. How could this nonsensical piece of legislature (and I use the term loosely) ever get ratified? I am absolutely baffled.

Now I’d like to make it clear that I am not talking about the Castle doctrine, which is separate from the Stand-your-ground law. The two do have a bit of overlap.
The Castle doctrine protects a person’s home, and gives that person the right to protect him or herself should he or she come under threat at home. The Stand-your-ground law, on the other hand, gives an individual the right to use deadly force in any situation, so long as the person feels he or she is suitably threatened.

So, here’s a good example. If I’m walking down the street, and a guy wearing a….no, you know what? Never mind. I was hoping to avoid mentioning Trayvon Martin in this article, but I can’t think of a better example of how mind-bogglingly idiotic and irresponsible this law is than that case.

So we’ll just have to do without an example then. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that you can see for yourselves all the ways that this can end horribly.

Like I stated before, I’m not trying to attack the Second Amendment or the Castle doctrine. Even though I have strong feelings about both, I have heard some very strong and very valid arguments in support of both of these things. But I cannot understand how anyone can defend this law. I can’t wrap my mind around that.

The main problem that I have with it, is that it specifically is targeted towards public places. Places that can (and often are) FULL OF THE PUBLIC. And why is this law even necessary? This is why justifiable homicide exists, to handle these sorts of cases. The only difference is, that justifiable homicide operates on a system of equal and opposite reaction.

If someone attacks you, you have the right to fight exactly as hard as you need to repel the attack. If that ends in taking their lives, then the evidence, both forensic and otherwise, should support you. Stand-your-ground just gives you an excuse to pull out a gun and start firing as soon as you feel threatened.

And okay, no, I can’t resist. If the Trayvon Martin case proved anything, it’s that this is just going to encourage vigilante justice. The case proves that neighborhood watch members who decide that because they can, they should start carrying guns. It also says that when their neighborhood is threatened, they don’t have to hesitate before shooting.

Look, the police officers train for years to be able to carry firearms and use them in the public in safe, responsible ways. Stand-your-ground assumes that all of that is unnecessary, and that when put in a stressful situation, every individual is going to react calmly and rationally.

This doesn’t eliminate the problem of being vulnerable in public; it just makes people think that they are a lot safer than they actually are, gun or no gun.

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