Friday, March 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin and 'Stand Your Ground'

The death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, raises concerns about the conduct of the shooter. However, in my opinion the 'Stand your Ground' (SYG) law is not to blame. If George Zimmerman approached Mr. Martin and then engaged in a fight with him, the law will clearly preference the position that Mr. Martin was the innocent party - the SYG law doesn't change this. I think the issue here is that the relevant phone call did not come out until the aftermath of the incident. In the aftermath of that evidence, the Justice Department have opened their own investigation and that is appropriate. The key point here is that members of a neighborhood watch are supposed to 'stand and report'. In the absence of compelling evidence of imminent/actual criminal activity, they are not supposed to challenge members of the public on the street.   The SYG law was designed to rid Florida of the idiotic 'responsibility to retreat' rule and empower the natural right of self-defense. It was not designed to make everyone a sheriff's deputy. If Mr. Zimmerman breached Mr. Martin's rights, Mr. Zimmerman is looking at a very serious jail term.

While living in Florida in 2010 I worked on a nightclub security team. While doing this job I felt that I had the power to protect myself with the backing of the law. I would not feel the same way in the UK. Perception of an ability (or inability) to defend oneself is an exceptionally important part of individual freedom.

No comments:

Post a Comment