There is another story today in which a poorly-educated journalist felt compelled to comment on Florida’s version of the so-called “stand your ground” law:
A North Miami-Dade man was justified in fatally shooting a pipe-wielding, drug-addled attacker during a wild confrontation on a sidewalk four years ago, a judge has ruled.
The first-degree murder charge against Luis Martinez, 29, was dismissed late last month. It was the fourth Miami-Dade murder case dismissed by a judge since the 2005 passage of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
The law eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat before using deadly force to counter a deadly threat. The law also gives judges greater leeway in granting “immunity” to people deemed to have acted in self-defense.
The state’s Stand Your Ground law has drawn worldwide attention since neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a brawl in a Sanford gated community last year. In a divisive decision earlier this year, a Seminole County jury acquitted Zimmerman of a murder charge. Critics of the law say it encourages vigilantism and gives criminals an easier avenue to beat violent charges.
For anyone who actually understands stand your ground laws, there is nothing “controversial” about a law that merely reinforces the common sense of never turning your back on someone who is attacking you with deadly force. All that stand your ground laws do is extend the same common sense self defense rights regarding someone attacking you in your home to any other place you lawfully may be.
Without stand your ground, law-abiding citizens not in their homes have a legal duty to try to turn and run from someone attacking them with deadly force, something that would never been expected of police officers in the exact same scenario.
As far as the Trayvon Martin case goes, I watched every minute of the trial, and Florida’s version of the stand your ground law had nothing to do with George Zimmerman’s defense case whatsoever, and was only mentioned in passing in the jury’s instructions because it was irrelevant to his defense, which was classic self-defense under English common law that predated our nation’s founding.
As the state and defense witnesses clearly established, George Zimmerman not only lacked the duty to retreat, he lacked the ability after Trayvon Martin chose to initiate the confrontation, took Zimmerman to the ground, and pinned him there. Despite the hyping of the case by the media, in the courtroom it was always a straight self-defense case; either George Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force to stop Trayvon Martin’s unrelenting attack, or he wasn’t.
By intentionally distorting the defense in the Zimmerman trial, a serially dishonest mainstream media and their allies in the gun control movement have attempted a desperate flanking maneuver to weaken the concealed carry debate they’ve now lost nationwide.
We cannot allow them to build a deceptive narrative here, as they attempt to undermine a basic human right to self defense.