Friday, March 23, 2012
The Geo. Zimmerman Shooting--media miss the point!
The recent controversial killing in Florida by George Zimmerman has brought out lots of sloppy thinking and propagandizing. The media and propagandists will exploit the public's lack of understanding of the law of self-defense. As I understand the facts, the stand your ground law is irrelevant to the killing. The law changed only one part of Florida's self-defense law. It no longer required that threatened persons (not in their own home) retreat before using deadly defensive force to meet offensive deadly force. The new law does not require the threatened person to respond to deadly force with deadly force. They still have the option to retreat if they so desire, use non-deadly force or other tactics if they so desire. Reports suggest Zimmerman, armed with a handgun, chased the victim. He then became the aggressor and is not protected by the stand your ground law or the usual rules for self-defense. Apparently the police did not arrest him because it was not until later, when they examined the 911 tape, that it appeared he had chased the young man. The case will be submitted to a grand jury. The Brady Center and other gun control and anti-self-defense forces will claim that the stand your ground law encouraged Zimmerman. It didn't! It is not a shoot first-ask questions later law. It does not change the usual rules that forbid using deadly force against those who are not threatening the defender with deadly force. It does not allow an aggressor to use the defense. Further, most citizens, and most criminals, don't know much, if anything about the law of self-defense.