Musings on “Stand Your Ground” and dumb gun laws

My best friend wrote me an e-mail a few hours ago that got me to thinking. Here’s what he wrote:

I keep hearing people who support the murderer in the Trayvon case saying that the “stand your ground” law in that state should get Zimmerman off scot-free. Well, Trayvon “stood his ground” against an armed stalker who was chasing him through the streets — and he died as a result! If “stand your ground” laws are supposed to mean anything then I don’t see how it could possibly protect a person who chased down, confronted, and murdered someone in the streets. It only makes sense if you are confronting an intruder who has come into your own home.

Of course, it being Florida (or LA, standing for Lower Alabama — thanks, Cort, for that one!), laws that make sense are in short supply. The law there favors the gun-toter, and “Stand Your Ground”, in particular, assumes that the shooter is the aggrieved party, rather than the aggressor. It has less to do with defending oneself than it does with shooting first and asking questions (or making excuses) later. And in the case of Trayvon Martin, it has nothing at all to do with an unarmed person under attack defending himself against a raging gunman.

It used to be that you had to actually find yourself under attack before you could shoot in self-defence; now, that condition has been removed. You can shoot, basically, at any old time, merely on the pretext of feeling threatened. Even if the threat is all in your own fever-swamp of a mind (as appears to be the case with George Zimmerman, who ignored a police dispatcher’s warning to leave Trayvon Martin alone), there is still the chance of getting acquitted if you can convince a court that you felt threatened, and therefore had no choice but to shoot and kill.

And, seeing as Florida is the wang-end of the Deep South, when all’s said, with all the racist mores of a Lower Alabama, well — there’s a good chance that Zimmerman’s racist perception of a threat in Trayvon’s very appearance will, absurd as it sounds, form the basis of his legal defence. After all, how was he to know that all black kids aren’t thugs? Especially lanky black kids in hoodies, out after dark and buying convenience-store snacks. Gawd! Don’tcha know canned tea and Skittles are dangerous?

There’s just one problem with that: Racist legal defence is still racist.

And innocent black kid is still innocent…and very, very DEAD.

And stupid gun laws are stupid…and still on the books.

And worse, they’re probably coming to Canada, too. Harpo & Co. are very much in the pocket of the NRA lobby. Meaning, the next Mayerthorpe Massacrecould be perfectly legal. After all, that crazy motherfucker was just standing his ground against the threat of the nasty, scary Mounties! See how that works?

I’d rather not. But I fear we will. If not immediately, then soon.

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3 Responses to Musings on “Stand Your Ground” and dumb gun laws

  1. The Viggen says:

    From what I know, ‘stand your ground’ laws sound absurd. I can understand ‘castle doctrine’, ( I have not yet made up my mind, however ) but this case is so full of it, I doubt the truth will ever come out. I’m glad he was charged, though. I also wonder about George’s past; when I lived in Toronto, I was robbed 3 times by young black men, that sort of thing can colour your perceptions; It’s an entirely human reaction. But in this case, it sounds like george was hunting for sport. I am also metaforicaly robbed by major corprations every day, so I’m suprised more people in this world don’t just go crazy. As for Mayerthorpe, that was a C-F of RCMP incompetence, dealing with a nut.

  2. Polaris says:

    Florida is a rabid gun nut state with plenty of people who believe all blacks are criminals. If Zimmerman is put on trial before a jury of his absolute peers don’t be surprised if they let him off the hook.

  3. Cort Greene says:

    I feel just from knowing Lower Alabama and North Cuba well,that in this case the state DA mis-charged by going for a second degree murder charge on purpose which is harder to prove than manslaughter and this may let Zimmerman of the hook, plus being held in Seminole county they will find one ringer on a jury because of all the anti black feelings, shit most of these people think and act like they won the civil war.

    About 25 states have some form of Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground law and its roots go back to a US Supreme Court ruling on self defense in 1905.

    From what I know of the variant here, Zimmerman does not have standing to use it but anything is possible in this corrupt system.

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