The Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman affair in Florida has ignited the debate over whether or not a free people have the right to defend themselves from bad guys or whether they must retreat when confronted. As usual, the left is attempting to use this case to try to take away our right and our ability to defend ourselves and is once again calling for more gun restrictions and the repeal of the “stand your ground laws” that many states have enacted in the last decade. At the hart of the issues is whether or not a free people should be required to retreat when attacked and should they be allowed to use a firearm as a means of self defense.
Before the stand your ground law, if you were confronted by a bad guy, you had a duty to attempted to retreat. For example, lets say that while sitting in your living room you get a knock at the front door, you answer it and a 6’5″, 250 pound man on PCP pushes his way into your house, and while screaming “I’m going to kill you,” starts coming toward you in a very aggressive manner. At this point you have three options. You could stand and fight, you could run out the back door or you could stand there while he kills you. In this case it just so happens that you have a firearm within reach which you use to shoot and kill the bad guy. The police come and investigate and an anti-gun prosecutor decides that you where at fault because, although you could have run out the back door to get away, you elected to shoot and kill the bad guy. You are charged with a crime and must now at great expense and heartache have to defend you actions. Hopefully, if you don’t get the equivalent of the O J Simpson jury, you are acquitted.
Now, I am fully aware that should the above situation occur, in the vast majority of the cases no charges would be placed. After all, common sense says that if you are sitting in your living room watching Pawn Stars and a bad guy breaks in, you have every right to defend yourself. Unfortunately some in our government don’t employ the common sense standard.
The fix for those times when the police and the prosecutor care more about the rights of the bad guy than they do about the law abiding citizen is the stand your ground law also known as the Castle Doctrine. The original intent of the Castle Doctrine was to protect a person in their home from criminal prosecution and civil liability should they use force, even deadly force against a bad guy.
Many states with Castle Doctrine type laws have expanded them to cover any situation where a person is in a place where they are legally allowed to be and confronted by a bad guy. These states refer to the law as “stand your ground.” The basic difference is that the Castle Doctrine covers a person in their home, stand your ground covers a person anyplace they are legally permitted to be. Virginia is a stand your ground state as is Florida.
To the liberal mind, the right to self defense is a foreign concept, to a conservative, it is one of THE most basic rights we had and one granted by God which no man has the right to infringe. But does the Castle Doctrine or the stand your ground law mean that a person can kill another without just cause and get away with it? Absolutely not, and that is where the arguments coming from the left are flawed.
Lets take the above example and modify it. You are sitting in your living and get a knock at the front door. You answer it and a 5’4″, 110 pound kid tries to sell you a magazine subscription. You have heard that some of these attempts to sell magazine subscriptions are fraudulent so you pull out a gun and shot and kill the kid. You are still in your own home, you where minding your own business and you thought a crime was being committed. In your mind you believed you where doing the right thing. Clearly you overreacted by shooting the magazine salesman, even if he was committing fraud, and you are charged and convicted of murder. The Castle Doctrine was your defense but was rejected by a jury and rightly so.
The situation in Florida is a tragedy as the life of a 17 year old was taken much too soon. Whether or not George Zimmerman was acting within the law will be decided in the courts. If he was, then he will be acquitted, if not, he won’t. Nothing about the stand your ground law will prevent Zimmerman from being convicted if it can be proven that he was the primary aggressor. If that is the case, then it was Trayvon Martin who was standing his ground and thus should be protected under the law.
The attempts to repeal laws like the Castle Doctrine or stand your ground are nothing more than the anti-gunners seeing an opportunity to try and take our guns away. It is an old and worn out play and it will fail just like it has in the past as long as we pro 2nd amendment citizens continue to fight for our basic freedoms. We can not let the left muddy the waters on this issue buy using the incident in Florida as a justification to infringe on a free peoples right, and in my opinion responsibility to defend ourselves.
Make no mistake about it, the left fears gun owners, a fear that in a republic such as ours is a good thing.