Different day, same tired "Stand Your Ground is license to kill" argument

Different day, same tired "Stand Your Ground is license to kill" argument
(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

There will always be people who don’t understand Stand Your Ground laws to some degree or another. The same can be said about any law, of course, but this one is different.

Advertisement

You see, this time, we have the media actively arguing against the law and misrepresenting it, all in an effort to undermine the measure.

The media isn’t unbiased anymore, obviously. They’ve made that pretty clear, and they’ve also made their opposition to Stand Your Ground laws pretty obvious, too. I mean, they’ve claimed they’re licenses to kill, for crying out loud.

And they’re still pushing that tired trope.

In America, seemingly any interaction, from the innocuous to the intimidating, can end in gun violence.

Consider this year alone.

April saw multiple high-profile shootings. In Kansas City, Ralph Yarl, a Black 16-year-old with dreams of pursuing a career in engineering, was shot at point blank range for ringing the wrong doorbell. A group of young cheerleaders in Texas were shot when one accidentally entered the wrong car in a grocery store parking lot. Kaylin Gillis, 20, was fatally gunned down in rural New York after mistakenly pulling into the wrong driveway. And Kinsley White, a six-year-old from Gastonia, North Carolina, was shot alongside her parents when her basketball rolled into a neighbour’s garden.

None of those were actually Stand Your Ground cases.

You see, for Stand Your Ground to apply, one must be faced with enough of a treat that a reasonable man would be in fear for his life.

Literally no reasonable man would be in fear of a six-year-old girl chasing a ball.

Advertisement

There’s a lot to criticize in these cases, particularly on a case-by-case basis, but they’re not Stand Your Ground cases.

But maybe the next case the author brings up will be different. I’m sure they can’t all be this bad.

The violence continued into August, when University of South Carolina student Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, 20, was fatally shot when he violently attempted to enter the wrong home near campus. At the end of the month, police announced the killing was legally justified, citing state self-defence laws.

<record scratch>

Say what?

Are you freaking kidding me?

Donofrio “violently attempted to enter the wrong home” is a hell of a way to say that the resident had reason to believe he was the victim of a home invasion if you ask me.

Yet even this isn’t a Stand Your Ground case. It’s a Castle Doctrine case, and yeah, the killing was most definitely justified.

Home invasions often lead to people being violently beaten or killed, so a reasonable man would consider there to be a very real threat there.

Oh, but it gets better.

Experts say these unpredictable acts of violence are made worse by so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws, provisions that the US Commission on Civil Rights once dubbed a “license to kill.”

“If this is the sort of thing where ‘stand your ground’ can be enforced, then every US postal worker, every Amazon delivery person, every pizza delivery person, every Girl Scout volunteer, anybody knocking on your door now becomes someone who’s subject to be shot,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said of the Ralph Yarl shooting in an interview on MSNBC.

Advertisement

That’s right. The author presents a home invader being shot and killed as he “violently attempted to enter the wrong home” as an “unpredictable act of violence.”

And then we get to the whole “license to kill” nonsense that ignores the fact that one has to be in fear of their life in order to justify the shooting regardless.

All Stand Your Ground laws do is remove the duty to retreat, which means that a prosecutor can’t notice a small gap in a fence or something and decide you could have escaped rather than use lethal force, despite the fact that you didn’t even know that gap existed.

If you’re not under threat, though, you’re not justified to fire.

Even being knocked on your butt isn’t enough to justify shooting someone, even in a Stand Your Ground state.

So, if that’s a license to kill, James Bond books and movies lied to me.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member