Shoot first, plead self-defense later


Clearly I’m behind with my homework. I need to find out more about these “Stand Your Ground” laws, of which there are apparently 21 around the US.

It gives the benefit of the doubt to a person who claims self-defense, regardless of whether the killing takes place on a street, in a car or in a bar — not just in one’s home, the standard cited in more restrictive laws. In Florida, if people feel they are in imminent danger from being killed or badly injured, they do not have to retreat, even if it would seem reasonable to do so. They have the right to “stand their ground” and protect themselves.

Say what? In Florida, even in a situation where retreat is possible and safe, they can opt to stand still and kill someone?

The story that seems to be emerging is that knife-edge vigilante George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin walking along a street in a “gated community” and decided to follow him and call the police to report the fact that Martin was walking along a street; the police told Zimmerman to stop following Martin; Zimmerman went on following Martin anyway, and caught up with him and shot him. Is that about right?

But they have this deranged law, so Zimmerman can just say it was self-defense, and the police can’t arrest him and prosecutors can’t prosecute him.

This is crazy. It’s stark raving nuts.

The lawyer for Trayvon’s parents, Benjamin Crump, said at a news conference on Tuesday that Trayvon was speaking to his girlfriend on his cellphone minutes before he was shot, telling her that a man was following him as he walked home.

Trayvon told his girlfriend he was being confronted, Mr. Crump said. She told him to run, and he said he would “walk fast.” Trayvon was headed to the home of his father’s girlfriend after a visit to a convenience store, carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea.

Trayvon asked, “Why are you following me?” Mr. Crump said. The girl then heard a faraway voice ask, “What are you doing around here?” Mr. Crump added. Then Trayvon’s voice falls away.

“She completely blows Zimmerman’s self-defense claim out of the water,” Mr. Crump said.

Mr. Zimmerman had reported a “suspicious” person to 911 shortly before the encounter, saying a black male was checking out the houses and staring at him. Mr. Zimmerman, a criminal justice major, often patrolled the neighborhood. He had placed 46 calls to 911 in 14 months, for reports including open windows and suspicious persons.

In the 911 call, Mr. Zimmerman, using an expletive and speaking of Trayvon, said they “always get away.” The 911 dispatcher told him not to get out of the car and said the police were on their way. Mr. Zimmerman was already outside. A dispute began. Mr. Zimmerman told the police that Trayvon attacked him and that he fired in self-defense.

A “suspicious” person – because he was walking down the street. Aren’t there laws against calling the police for frivolous or invented reasons? That’s always been my impression. It’s also always been my impression that we’re allowed to walk down the street. Mind you, I do sometimes wonder, when I see those Neighborhood Watch signs in people’s windows – but I nevertheless retained the belief that as a matter of law we were all allowed to walk down the street.

The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, who fought the law when it was proposed, said: “The consequences of the law have been devastating around the state. It’s almost insane what we are having to deal with.”

It is increasingly used by gang members fighting gang members, drug dealers battling drug dealers and people involved in road rage encounters. Confrontations at a bar are also common: someone looks at someone the wrong way or bothers someone’s girlfriend.

Under the old law, a person being threatened with a gun or a knife had a duty to try to get away from the situation, if possible. Now that person has a right to grab a gun (or knife, or ice pick, as happened in one case) and use it, without an attempt to retreat.

We are a crazy people. We must be, to allow this kind of thing.

Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says that his organization tracks laws in 21 states that extend the self-defense doctrine beyond the home. The usual label for such laws — “stand your ground” — is politically charged, he said, suggesting that a more apt label would be “Shoot first, ask questions later.”

Laws like the one in Florida allow situations like the Trayvon Martin killing, he said. “We’re heartbroken, but we’re not surprised.”

I feel dirty.

Comments

  1. Desert Son, OM says

    We are a crazy people.

    Scene from the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day:

    John Connor: “We’re not going to make it, are we? As a species, I mean.”

    Terminator T-800: “It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.” (1991)

    I don’t think the Hollywood entertainment industry speaks a lot of truth, and I don’t think that self-destruction is an essentialist quality of humanity . . .

    . . . but there are days where I’m not so sure.

    Between the murder of Trayvon Martin and yet another edition of the misogyny language game in the “I get email” thread . . . how’s the meme go: “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore?”

    Still learning,

    Robert

  2. eric says

    A horrible law…but I can’t help thinking that if their races had been reversed, Zimmerman would be in jail and the prosecutor would be out collecting evidence – despite what the law says on paper.

    IOW, the law itself is only half of the problem; racially biased application of it (and the need-to-retreat laws it replaced) is just as much a problem.

  3. says

    I certainly hope the feds charge Zimmerman with a hate crime and put him away forever.

    Aren’t there laws against calling the police for frivolous or invented reasons? That’s always been my impression.

    I had an uninsured person threaten me with that possibility after she hit my car and claimed she had caused no damage. “They’re going to arrest you when they look and don’t see any damage.” I called 911 anyway. Nothing like that happened.

  4. says

    There are valid reasons for ‘stand your ground’ laws. The problem is that the gray area in these laws is too large and requires the whole ‘reasonable’ standard. And, as we’ve all noted, many folks aren’t anything close to what could be considered ‘reasonable’.

    A stand your ground/castle doctrine style law is reasonable. I should have the right to defend myself and my property. I just fail to see how that right applies in this situation. The murdering scumbag picked the fight, and he would have left nothing at risk but his pathetic excuse for pride by retreating.

    Duty to retreat laws do a lot of victim blaming, and are thus problematic. But stand your ground/castle doctrine laws were never meant to apply to situations like what happened here, and frankly, probably don’t and are just being used as an excuse/scapegoat for the cops who just flat out didn’t do their damn jobs.

  5. says

    But if the account in the Times is accurate, “Stand Your Ground” laws are not the same as castle doctrine laws. At all. They appear to apply anywhere. Zimmerman wasn’t in his castle, he was outside following a kid merely because the kid was walking down a street in Zimmerman’s “gated community.” The law applies to bar fights and road rage, according to the Times. Nothing to do with castles.

  6. says

    Also, the Times reports pretty extensively on the way prosecutors are trapped by this law. That doesn’t sound as if the law is reasonable and just being badly applied, it sounds as if it’s a bad law.

    Where are Rieux and Helen and Ken and the other lawyers around here. We need some lawyers!

  7. 4oz of reason says

    Although self defense law varies from state to state, most sources on legal self defense usually cite the standard (meaning, if you can explain these, you have a good chance of arguing self defense) as: means (they have the capacity to do bodily harm or kill), opportunity (they are within reach or range to do harm), and intent (they have either stated or have shown through their actions and behavior that they mean to do harm). Without these three things, it’s much harder to succeed with a claim of self defense (in most cases, in most states. I don’t know how these “castle” bills would affect this). So with that in mind:
    Means:armed with Skittles, a can of tea (it’s… heavy, I guess?)
    Opportunity: standing outside of arms reach, no gun
    Intent: has been walking away for two blocks, attempting to leave the situation
    vs.
    Means: holding a firearm
    Opportunity: standing within firing range, has a gun
    Intent: has been following for two blocks, has drawn a gun.
    So even if Zimmerman is telling the truth, and Martin did attack him, it sounds like he had a much better case for self defense than Zimmerman did.

  8. Art says

    I suspect that if the DA wanted to push it Zimmerman could be prosecuted even with the existing law because he had no reasonable reason to fear serious bodily harm and thus no reason to shoot. Zimmerman was armed with a handgun and is facing a slightly built kid armed with Skittles. As long as Zimmerman had the common sense to stay out of arms reach, which should be a requirement for carrying a gun, he was not in danger. Even if Martin attempted to confront Zimmerman clearly displaying the gun, and announcing he was armed, would have removed any doubt. Even if Zimmerman lacked the common sense to avoid the unequal fight Martin had, by all accounts, enough common sense to avoid a gunfight armed only with Skittles.

  9. Maria says

    Sad thing though. Dig into the history of Stand your Ground laws. It seems that many were drafted for the protection of victims, mostly women, who were attacked. Used successfully in such cases. For example attacked by abusers/husbands/boyfriends/stalkers in and could defend themselves. If they did kill their attacker not be held criminally liable for this act even if it was discovered that they had an option to run away, call for help, or seek shelter etc.

    They were meant to empower victims and never intended to be used to protect bored aggressive mall ninjas scumbags with delusions of power. But then again, there is a saying about intent and law.

    I really hope the prosecution gets creative and manages to put him away within the letter of the law.

  10. Paul Neubauer says

    I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a lawyer, but I find it difficult to imagine that even the most stupidly-written “stand your ground” law would make “it was self-defense” a magic incantation that absolutely prevents arrest or prosecution. Sure, it can make the job of the prosecutor more difficult, as it was obviously intended to do, but a presumption of innocence in any criminal situation simply means that the burden of proof is (rightly) on the prosecution, not that the police must presume that everyone is innocent and therefore cannot even arrest anyone.

    I also understand that a claimant of self-defense need not prove that the other party actually had all the elements cited by 4oz of reason above. All that is really necessary is that the claimant had reason to believe that the other party had the means, opportunity and intent.

    In this case, Zimmerman was clearly the aggressor/initiator. He was told by the 911 dispatcher to avoid the confrontation. He proceeded anyway, without any indication of fear. To claim afterward that he was legitimately in fear for his own life or health seems less than convincing.

    I also look at his history and think about 46 calls to 911 in 14 months. He looks like a flake to me. I suppose I can’t really judge that he is clearly nuts, but around here I would expect the 911 dispatchers (or the responding police officers) to have set him down for a little explanation of the difference between “something suspicious” and an actual emergency and that an open window or the like does not warrant treatment as an emergency. Most people probably don’t know the regular, non-emergency police number offhand, but if he was a mainstay of the neighborhood watch, I would have expected him to have that on his speed-dial. Why was this guy not already cited for being a pest and a nuisance?

    All in all, this case seems more than a little fishy.

    Paul

  11. says

    —They were meant to empower victims and never intended to be used to protect bored aggressive mall ninjas scumbags with delusions of power. But then again, there is a saying about intent and law.—

    I still don’t get exactly how the law ‘ties’ the hands of the prosecutors. They have found evidence that contradicts the claim of self defense.

    He gets to meet force with force, and since all evidence points to him starting the confrontation (by stalking the victim) it should be open and shut.

    I think the ‘justice’ system is deliberately mishandling/misreading this law, and the latent conspiracy theorist in me is wondering why.

  12. says

    There are strong similarities between the US and Australia, but also important differences.

    Here concealable weapons are severely controlled, and all firearms have to be licenced. I am a cattleman and a gun owner, and every time I go to renew my licence I have to demonstrate to the licencing police that I have a valid reason for ownership. Putting a beast injured beyond recovery out of its misery is a valid one, as is vermin control. But self-defence is definitely not.

    Up to about the time of the Civil War, most Americans lived in small communities or on the frontier. A gun culture got going amongst the settlers, first for defence against perceived threats from native Americans, then to help keep black slaves under control. And if enough strangers out there are packing iron, then the unarmed man is at a distinct disadvantage, and has thus a strong motivation to get hold of a gun too.

    Pretty soon, it was the Wild West, and the culture of the frontier has spread throughout the country.

    As long as the law allows “bored aggressive mall ninjas scumbags with delusions of power” (nicely put, Maria) to walk around the town and city streets armed to the teeth, this sort of thing will happen again, and again, and again. (I could go on.)

  13. Stacy says

    @WithinThisMind:

    I think the “justice system” is deliberately mishandling/misreading this law, and the latent conspiracy theorist in me is wondering why

    Oh, yes. And do you really have to wonder why?

    There’s plenty of empirical evidence showing the systemic racism against African Americans in USAian society. The cops in Sanford don’t even have to be conscious racists (though of course they could well be) to simply “feel” that they ought to use the existence of this law to give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt.

    Had the colors been reversed? A black man follows an unarmed white kid and shoots him dead–do you think for a minute that he’d have been let go? That the PD would not have investigated? That the victim’s body would be tested for drugs and alcohol and the shooter would not have been tested?

  14. Stacy says

    @Ian MacDougall #13

    A gun culture got going amongst the settlers, first for defence against perceived threats from native Americans, then to help keep black slaves under control.

    Ian, It’s very important to me that I don’t derail this thread, because the subject is far too important.

    But I want to mention that your analysis, while it’s one I would have agreed with a short time ago, is probably actually a simplification that glosses over some very interesting and under-appreciated historical facts (for one example, the wild wild West was never as wild as Hollywood would have us think. For another, gun control was often a an attempt to restrict African Americans’ access to guns.) Gonna go out on a limb here, and recommend a book I haven’t read yet (it’s on my list), based on a lecture I heard the author give.

    Gunfight, by Adam Winkler.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/8608/1/

    FTR, I’m a (mostly) lefty, with no love for guns. But the subject is more complicated than political heuristics admit. I think this case is more about racism than gun culture (not saying I think gun culture is utterly blameless here.)

  15. says

    Stacy,

    The Wikipedia article on the history of gun politics in the US is pretty good IMHO. While nobody can summarise history adequately in a blog comment, I don’t think I was too wide of the mark. As for the Wild West, I read an article somewhere once that claimed that a lot of the cowboys in the old West were actually black. Also US Army training gave black recruits confidence in handling firearms post Civil War, and it became increasingly difficult for the Jim Crow system to confine firearms to white communities. Jim Crow could only survive as long as blacks lacked the means to defend themselves.

    A great interest of mine over the years has been the comparison of the US and Australia as frontier societies, particularly in the light of Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis. Hollywood’s treatment of the Wild West has been designed to fill movie theatres, not to be historically accurate. None the less, it still has relevance, because the ‘national character’ – how people see themselves – still owes a lot to the frontier in both countries, and in the case of the US, THAT was what was tapped into by all those Hollywood westerns.

    People liked thinking of themselves as rugged individualists, whether it was true or not.

    Thanks for the link. I haven’t had time to read it yet, but I will.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_States

  16. Svlad Cjelli says

    I’m creative enough to co-opt this law for killing people for fun minutes after reading it.

    Do you believe I’m uniquely gifted? Does Florida?

  17. Bernard Bumner says

    This law is practically a mandate for murderous bigots. If Zimmermann had been accompanied, rather than alone, we would rightly be calling this a lynching.

  18. says

    —-There’s plenty of empirical evidence showing the systemic racism against African Americans in USAian society. The cops in Sanford don’t even have to be conscious racists (though of course they could well be) to simply “feel” that they ought to use the existence of this law to give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt.—

    Oh, I think that’s definitely a part of it. I think that the cops on the direct scene were acting under racism. But I think the ‘hands tied prosecution’ folks may have elements of something else.

    I also think there is an element of ‘see, this is what happens when we let people think they can defend themselves, you should sit and wait like good little drones for the cops to save you’ in how this is playing out. Ye old ‘don’t argue with the man’ is playing out here as well, I think. There has been some well-deserved backlash against the police lately, and thus the latent conspiracy theorist in me is wondering if some of the higher-ups aren’t spinning this as ‘look, this is why you need us! When you get the notion you can defend/stand up for yourselves, this is the kind of atrocity that happens!’.

    I admit to bias in this regard, based on previous interactions I’ve had with law enforcement. I’m lucky now to live in a place where the sheriffs are good people, but I grew up in a town where even the cops in neighboring towns made comments about what assholes the ones in my hometown were.

  19. says

    There is an upper length limit in replies in someone comments that I try to adhere to, if only out of politeness.

    My full response is over at http://nwfreethinker.blogspot.com

    In short, your post seems to advocate doing away with tacky little details like investigations and trials in favor of a trial in the court of public opinion supervised by Judge Lynch.

    Abandoning needing *proof* for an arrest in favor of “because I feel this way”.

    Having observed “reasoned discourse” breaking out in other, similar, discussions… a saved copy of comments on another site also seems a prudent step if one is to take the time to engage.

  20. says

    —In Florida, even in a situation where retreat is possible and safe, they can opt to stand still and kill someone?—

    As an explanation for why such a thing is necessary – I have a family member who is, well, let’s just go with ‘toxic’. Best guess is undiagnosed (due to her uncooperative nature) NPD. A couple years back, before I moved, she showed up at my place uninvited and unwelcome. Since I was doing some moving around of stuff, the door happened to be unlocked and she barged her way inside.

    She immediately started haranguing and threatening me, repeatedly raising her hand like she was going to slap me. Under duty to retreat laws, my option was ‘leave and hope the cops show up in 5-10 hours to take a report’. In other words, leave her alone in my home to do as she pleased, namely, help herself to all the things she’d arbitrarily decided were ‘hers’ – family heirlooms, photos, things I’d bought while I’d happened to live with her, etc… I was legally NOT allowed to stop her or even to defend myself the times she did decide to actually strike me, since I could easily leave. And, let’s be frank, I wouldn’t have gotten any of it back even if I had receipts, video evidence of me buying/being given the items, and sworn statements from Jehovah, Buddha, and Allah that the things were mine, the cops wouldn’t have done a thing.

    In this case, I broke the law by grabbing her, dragging her to the front door, and literally throwing her out. I got lucky in that the cops weren’t anymore responsive to her call than they would have been to mine and after a couple hours of screaming invective at my house, she left. Then I moved several states away.

    So, I support stand your ground laws because they are necessary. But this was not a case for such a law and the evidence in this case is such that the law does not apply.

  21. says

    @ 21 – excuse me?

    One, since when is “proof” needed for an arrest? Two, where is the bit where I advocate “doing away with tacky little details like investigations and trials in favor of a trial in the court of public opinion supervised by Judge Lynch”?

    You’re saying my post advocates the murder of George Zimmerman by a lynch mob. I’d like you to withdraw that, please.

  22. Bernard Bumner says

    …In short, your post seems to advocate doing away with tacky little details like investigations and trials in favor of a trial in the court of public opinion supervised by Judge Lynch.

    Abandoning needing *proof* for an arrest in favor of “because I feel this way”…

    Are you really suggesting that there is no case even for arrest of the suspect?

    I have an opinion about Zimmerman that I fully expect to form absolutely no part of any formal proceedings against him.

    The anger is that there is at the very least prima facie evidence of a potential crime and some appearance that it is not being properly investigated. Many commentators, and plenty of them more than familiar with due legal process, are suggesting that a bad law might be impeding law enforcement officials from acting proportionately.

    Do we wait until evidence is lost and the investigation irretrievably flawed before complaining?

    Your show of mangnanimity is all well and good, but rests on the assumption that the wheels of justice are turning in concert, let alone even trembling.

  23. says

    —And, Within? TMI. Way too much. I don’t want your marital history here.—

    (insert eyeroll here) Individual in question was my AUNT. Your response was certainly informative.

  24. eric says

    @17:

    I’m creative enough to co-opt this law for killing people for fun minutes after reading it.

    Do you believe I’m uniquely gifted? Does Florida?

    Nope, FL’s thought about it. Their own state prosecutors have called the law a nightmare.

    The irony here is that anyone who knows about this case could legitimately say they ‘fear for their life’ if they see Zimmerman walking/running down the street towards them. After all, they know the guy has pulled out a gun and shot other people in that situation. But this would just lead to Hatfield vs. McCoy bloodbaths in the streets. I very much applaud the Crumps for demanding prosecution and changes in the law, rather than calling for violence or revenge.

  25. says

    These laws warp the concept of self-defense beyond recognition. They’ve been around for years now, so it’s interesting that most people have not really noticed them yet. Before they were passed, though, there was a similar kind of precursor behavior among the police. Cops have often take a shoot first, ask questions later approach to anyone who dares resist arrest. This applies even though the situation is typically that the cops outnumber the suspect(s) by 2-to-1, or in some cases as much as 5-to-1, even though the original complaint might have been a simple drug offense or disturbing the peace, even though they entered a private residence (often by force), even though the cops drew their weapons first, even though they pinned the suspect into an inescapable situation, and even though they attacked first. Despite these facts, such assaults have repeatedly been ruled self-defense and are not prosecuted for a killing of any kind, let alone murder.

    To put it more simply, law enforcement is above the law.

    When you allow the authorities to get away with that kind of abuse, it doesn’t surprise me when legislators codify exactly that kind of arbitrary context-free thinking into the law itself.

    Now take all of this and impose the racist, sexist, and classist assumptions of society on top. We get all the same abuses, but they’re disproportionately channeled against the weakest and most disadvantaged. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    @GayCynic:

    You are willfully denying the facts of the case. The assailant here was larger, armed, and had a car. In every way he had the advantage. There was no reason to fear, and no signs of fear were shown. It was a targeted killing more along the lines of a hunt than anything else.

    The victim was not engaged in a crime and no evidence of such has appeared. Indeed, nothing so far implicates the victim in any crime at any time in the past — not that this would be relevant to the case. All the victim did in this case was make an active attempt to flee, at varying degrees of pacing, and dreadfully enough did not succeed.

    Considering skittles and iced tea to be a deadly weapon on par with a knife is completely ridiculous. Why would anyone attempt to make such an implication?

    There is no direct evidence of any kind that Zimmerman was actually injured by Martin. Even if the police observations are accurate — the same police that did not attempt to take a murder suspect into custody — Zimmerman could have easily given himself minor injuries in order to make his defense look more plausible. In any case, even supposing that Martin did attack Zimmerman, he had far more than enough reason to strike someone chasing him down with a gun. That’s what you would call self-defense and legitimate fear for your life.

    Unrecorded and unsubstantiated call, you say? Hah. You do realize that essentially all communications are recorded at the network level these days? In many cases, the telecoms are actually required by law to have continuous wiretaps, and the justification given is precisely later use by law enforcement. Even if we couldn’t obtain the direct audio itself, which I suspect the prosecutors already have, the call logs and the witness testimony are more than plausible.

    Besides the call to the girlfriend, there was also the call to 911 which lasted a while, was absolutely recorded (as all 911 calls are), and has Martin screaming right on it. On the other hand, it doesn’t reveal anything that would justify Zimmerman fearing for his life.

    The fact that you try to defend Zimmerman when no one has presented any credible evidence that supports his claims is truly astounding. It suggests you essentially favor vigilantism and standards of evidence well beyond reasonable. Considering you have overlooked the facts of the case and blindly trust the local police over what witnesses and the state and federal prosecutors have uncovered, you are hardly showing neutrality here. There’s more than a slight tinge of racism to the case, and you don’t even notice it.

    All of this says quite a lot about you, whether your realize it or not.

    @WithinThisMind:

    Your personal case is totally different. There was no killing, it took place within a personal residence instead of public, you had actual reason to believe a crime would be committed, et cetera, et cetera. There’s absolutely no need for kind of law Florida has to cover much more obvious cases of defense of self or property. It was passed due to authoritarian and violent impulses, not because they wanted to actually protect people. Existing law was more than sufficient for the latter.

    The fact that you couldn’t trust the police to do their jobs and respond to a simple trespassing call is awful. That’s a separate issue of police corruption and poor priorities which has to be addressed. It’s become more prominent in more places in recent years, as far as I can tell.

  26. says

    —There was no killing, it took place within a personal residence instead of public, you had actual reason to believe a crime would be committed, et cetera, et cetera. There’s absolutely no need for kind of law Florida has to cover much more obvious cases of defense of self or property—

    Like I said, some kind of stand your ground law needs to be in place to prevent the victim blaming that duty to retreat laws create, but such a law is designed for defense of self, others, or property. Not in a case like this. If anything, anti-stalking laws should be coming into play here, and stalking situations are why various groups are trying to get similar laws passed in areas that don’t have them.

    —Well it sounds marital, and personal, and bitter. I don’t think you should be airing it in public. It’s creepy.—

    I am sorry that the reality that many of us have had to deal with the fallout of dysfunctional family dynamics creeps you out. http://whatprivilege.com/non-survivor-privilege-and-silence/

    I’m sure those of us who have also had the joy of being stalked will also keep silent regarding our feelings on self-defense and stand your ground laws, as those situations are also ‘personal’, make us ‘bitter’, and you could find them ‘creepy’. And yes, a few of them are ‘marital’. In spite of the fact that they are the reason many of us supported laws such as this one in the first place, since we have been faced with the reality that the police don’t respond and fleeing just results in the stalking continuing.

  27. says

    Yes yes yes, but given that you said it was a relative, it just is too much washing-dirty-laundry-in-public, at least for my taste. I realize that’s not a rule or anything – but I really don’t want to host family quarrels. I’m basically nudging you to be more discreet – or to have “better boundaries,” as the saying goes.

  28. says

    No, this is a thread where we are discussing stand your ground laws and I responded with why I supported them by discussing an occurrence where I could have been in a lot of trouble due to not having the right to stand my ground. I gave this response as part of my statement that stand your ground laws are necessary, they just need to be better written and more sensibly applied than this Florida mess.

    As I stated already, your reaction has been extremely informative.

  29. says

    I understand all that, but I think it was too much. You could have discussed it in more anonymous terms, and you should have.

    And knock it off with the “very informative” crap – you sound like Nigel.

  30. says

    I did not give any names, nor locations, refrained from dialogue, etc… You cannot identify any of the players except myself (whom you know only via the pseudonym I use here) nor where the story took place save that it was one of 29 states. You cannot even tell when the story took place, save that it was between 2-10 years ago. Thus, your criticism that it was not ‘anonymous’ enough seems kind of…lacking.

    Rather than actually address my argument – that stand your ground laws have a purpose – you chose to derail. I did indeed find that informative. I even provided you with a link that discusses why I found it informative.

    Stand your ground laws are something feminists should be supporting, since the situations in which they come most strongly into play (domestic violence and stalking) are also situations in which the victims are predominately women.

  31. says

    Within, I didn’t “choose to derail,” ffs, I attempted to moderate the comments. I get to do that here. I meant (as I think was obvious) you were not anonymous enough because you said it was a relative. The relative herself could recognize it, for all I know.

    Drop it now. I get to moderate comments here. I found yours distasteful. That’s all.

  32. Josh Slocum says

    GayCynic: what inflammatory bullshit. Dishonest and unfair.

    WithThisinMind: I found it creepy too. In order to share that level of personal detail one must have some sort of track record in any given venue, a relationship where one is known to the writer and commenters. Even that doesn’t permit just any old thing to be shared. But you don’t have that and that’s why what you wrote seems awkward.

    Notice that no one is denying your experience, belittling it, or anything of the sort. They’re talking about crossing somewhat more subtle social boundaries. Does this mean some commenters can go further than others? Why yes, yes it does. And that’s not “unfair” or a “double standard.” That’s how human social interaction works.

  33. Josh Slocum says

    Oops, sorry Ophelia. Shouldn’t be feeding the conversation, and not mine to say anyway.

  34. Svlad Cjelli says

    Remind me again how guns work in the States. I know I’ve heard there’s a “permit”, but is it comparable to a “license” elsewhere?

  35. Sili says

    If this is how the law works, then what is to stop someone from shooting Obama, and claiming that his ‘socialist’ policies made them feel threatened?

    Or just their congresspeople and senators. Doesn’t this law pretty much make the Gifford shooting reasonable self-defence?

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