Debate Club

Sometimes There's No Choice but to 'Stand Your Ground'

By SHARE

The shooting in Sanford, Fla., confirms the value of "stand your ground" laws. As information trickles out, we learn that the shooter, George Zimmerman, had lost track of Trayvon Martin during the course of his service with the gated community's neighborhood watch.

[Vote: Should Bobby Rush Have Been Kicked off the House Floor for Wearing a Hoodie?]

When on his way back to his truck, there are reports that Martin came from behind and slugged Zimmerman, dropping him to the ground. Then Martin, who was 6-foot-3, jumped on top of Zimmerman and began slamming his head into the sidewalk and pummeling his face, breaking his nose and fattening his lip. This was witnessed by a resident who lives in front of where the attack occurred.

With this set of facts, we are not even dealing with Florida's SYG law. That law says that if you are in fear of your life or great bodily harm you don't have to retreat. Zimmerman had no way to retreat. The grass stains on the back of his shirt would seem to corroborate that he was simply acting in defense of his life.

If anyone has wondered why the police did not arrest Zimmerman, it's because they were looking at his broken nose and bloody head wound--plus the eyewitness reports that he was the one being pummeled--as objective evidence that Martin was the aggressor.

[Read America Safe for the Dick Cheneys But Not the Trayvon Martins.]

Even though Zimmerman was part of the community neighborhood watch system, some have questioned why he "pursued" Martin. Did Zimmerman make any threatening acts toward Martin that then incited Martin to respond? Or was Zimmerman simply trying to determine the location of a potential perpetrator for the police? These are facts that are unclear right now, and it might take further investigation to ferret out these details.

But Americans must avoid a rush to judgment. Years ago, Richard Jewell was "convicted" by the media and the American public as being the 1996 Olympic bomber, when in fact he was the hero who spotted the bomb in the first place, saving many lives. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and Jewell was exonerated.

The SYG laws are an important tool in protecting the right of self-defense. Asking a potential victim to flee could expose his or her back to an assailant. And that could be very dangerous. Victims should be able to defend themselves before they have run out of options.

Larry Pratt

About Larry Pratt Executive Director of Gun Owners of America

Tags
crime
law

Other Arguments

#1
2,934 Pts
'Stand Your Ground' Makes One Person Judge, Jury, and Executioner

No – 'Stand Your Ground' Makes One Person Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Michael Zalewski Member of the Illinois House of Representatives

#2
2,695 Pts
'Stand Your Ground' Laws Promote Vigilante Mentality

No – 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Promote Vigilante Mentality

Dan Gross President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

#3
-2,561 Pts
'Stand Your Ground' Laws Protect the Innocent

Yes – 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Protect the Innocent

Rich Morthland Member of the Illinois House of Representatives

#4
-2,695 Pts
Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Needs Work

Yes – Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Needs Work

Perry E. Thurston Jr. Member of the Florida House of Representatives

You Might Also Like


See More