AP Photo/Yakima Herald-Republic, TJ Mullinax, File
Usually, when we talk about someone using their personal experience to fight for political change, we tend to be talking about some anti-gunner. It’s normally someone who lost a loved one to gun violence or was somewhere a mass shooting took place, something like that.
But that’s not always the case.
For example, an Arkansas man is fighting for a “Stand Your Ground” law because of his own experiences with self-defense.
A controversial defense law that would give Arkansans the right to defend themselves with lethal force, awaits voting at the state capitol.
A local man is fighting for the bill after he said he would have died had he not defended himself from his attackers.
“The people got back into their car and were yelling something, backed their car out in between me and the gas station and they were yelling, cussing, spit at me out of the passenger side of the car. And I was like, ‘man it’s Christmas why don’t you go ahead and leave me alone?’” said NWA local, Jesse Pettry.
For Pettry, Christmas morning took a turn for the worst.
He ducked his head down and just started throwing punches over and over and over again. His cousin got out of the car with a weapon and hit me in the back of the head. “All I remember is I saw black and white and then some colors and then some black again,” said Pettry.
Pettry was attacked in a Florida gas station parking lot in 2002.
After being almost beaten to death he reached for a knife in his pocket and stabbed his attacker.
This was a defense that changed his life forever.
While Pettry used a knife, the truth is that Stand Your Ground laws aren’t explicitly about guns. While they’re the primary self-defense tool in this day and age, it’s not the exclusive domain of the firearm.
Hell, you could use a katana for self-defense, and it wouldn’t matter much in the eyes of the law in most places (maybe in New Jersey).
Pettry, however, was protected thanks to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground provision.
The news report is complete with an account claiming that Stand Your Ground is a license to murder, but that’s a load of crap. We’ve all seen far too many people convicted despite claiming self-defense for that to fly. Stand Your Ground laws don’t just let you say that you’re in fear of your life and all is forgiven. It requires there to be a reasonable fear, not your claims of irrational terror.
In other words, if you shoot someone without your life appearing to be in danger, you’re hosed. More to the point, you should be hosed in that circumstance. I’m not going to shed a tear for you.
But we’ve also seen what happens to a law-abiding citizen who acts in self-defense but is prosecuted anyway. I’m sorry, but that is why I will always support Stand Your Ground laws, no matter how much fearmongering anti-gunners try to muster.