Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is excellent in theory.
But only in theory..
In my opinion the basis of the law is very worthy. The ability to defend yourself with lethal force when necessary. But it should only be when necessary.
Here is where you can find the law:
I agree with the majority of the law. It protects those that have to take a life to save their own. You come to my house with the intention of breaking in and robbing me or worse? You can better believe I WILL defend myself.
The problem that I have with this law? Specifically it is this section: (I emphasized the words in red)(3)‚ÄÉA person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. ¬†
Let’s pick this apart, shall we?
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity–so far so good. This means normal law abiding citizens…
and¬†who is attacked — here is where I have the first problem. Who is attacked. This, to me at least, indicates that the bad guy¬†initiated¬†the conflict. In other words, cases like¬†http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2012/03/fl-man-cleared-in-stand-your-ground-stabbing.html¬†in which a man chased a thief who stole his car radio then stabbed him to death when the thief swung the bag of radios at him, borders on¬†vigilantism. ¬†
I don’t believe stand your ground should apply when the person is shot or stabbed while trying to flee the scene. There are 237 cases of Stand Your Ground listed at this website:¬†http://www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground-law/data
While I didn’t read them all, several that I did read include details of being shot in the back or the back of the head. This is just wrong and thankfully many of them were found guilty.
The next place that I have a problem is —in any other place where he or she has a right to be¬†has no duty to retreat ¬†
I think that there has to be a duty to retreat. Meaning that you have got to try to remove yourself from the situation first. Then, and only then, are you justified in killing someone away from your own property. If you can walk away, you should. Under the law as it is, as long as you are not “committing a crime” you can provoke someone until they want to hit you and then you can kill them.
Using these flaws in the law, a man that killed another for texting on Monday is claiming Stand Your Ground. The story is here¬†http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/24442737/2014/01/14/accused-theater-shooter-heads-to-court
Apparently, a former police officer was upset that a man was texting in the theater and did not immediately stop when commanded to by this former police officer. This former officer escalated the incident until the victim threw a bag of popcorn at him. He then answered this with a gunshot.
Stand Your Ground?
This man was not attacked first, he initiated the conflict. Nor did he remove himself from the argument. Both points that should be necessary for stand your ground.
but they aren’t..
I don’t believe Stand Your Ground will apply in this case. I really hope it’s doesn’t. But his lawyers are arguing that it does apply. That he was ¬†“in fear for his life”
From popcorn?! Oh let me guess…he was afraid that the popcorn would accidentally become lodged in his throat and cause him to choke him to death.
I really believe that the Stand Your Ground Law needs to be modified and updated. The word unavoidable needs to be included. The duty to retreat when possible needs to be added as well. Otherwise, we have situations like these where anyone can and will claim Stand Your Ground.
Tell me, what do you think of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law? I’d like to know!