YAGT: Stand your ground law...

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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I want to talk specifically about the stand your ground law. Obviously we will look at the Trayvon Martin case and others, but this thread is NOT about Trayvon Martin, but more importantly the law and whether or not it needs to be changed.

A friend and I were having a conversation the other day and we happened upon this conclusion. Depending on the verdict of the Martin/Zimmerman trial, we almost have a precedent that it is legal to use a gun during a fight. This seems to be an EXTREMELY slippery slope. Where do you draw the line?

Most of us being men in this forum, I think its safe to say most of us have been in at least one or two fights in our life. Shit happens. Now I've not been in any fights since the age of 18, but I wouldn't judge someone who was. A fight out at a nightclub or a bar. A disagreement at a sporting event. An argument in a traffic accident or road rage incident. The list goes on and on, but fights do happen.

Sometimes fights are simply pushing and shoving. Sometimes they escalate to punching and/or a wrestling match. The vast majority of these cases are NOT life threatening. Someone might get their ass kicked, but very rarely will it end fatal.

Well, with this stand your ground law, it brings in a MASSIVE gray area for when someone 'feels' their life is threatened. So basically, if I get in a fight with some guy who starts whooping my ass a little bit, I'm legally entitled to shoot him? Sure, if he doesn't stop he could kill me, but its just a fight, I'll probably just end up bruised and battered.


It just seems that this stand your ground law is WAAAY to dangerous. I'll be stunned if lawmakers don't revisit this law, as I think it is grossly irresponsible.


Discuss, but let's please try to keep it on topic of the law itself and not stray to racial issues, specifics about the Trayvon case etc... We have enough of that in the other threads.
 

BladeVenom

Lifer
Jun 2, 2005
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The media ignores the roughly 15,000 murders a year where the victim was unarmed, and concentrates on one ambiguous case of self defense.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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It depends on the nature of the fight.

Are any fights good natured? Most of the time adrenaline is high, overreactions are common and common sense is non-existant. In addition, doesn't that just create a huge gray area that you are asking completely untrained individuals to make snap judgements in a pressure packed situation?
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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Don't start a fight if you don't want to get shot.

Who says the person who got shot started the fight? Hell, a lot of times you don't even know who started the fight. Do we base it on who threw the first punch? Or who pushed the other first? Or how about who made the first insult?


Does that mean I can start a fight with someone, start getting my ass kicked and then shoot him? Then I'll say, if he didn't want to get shot he shouldn't have fought me?
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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Are any fights good natured? Most of the time adrenaline is high, overreactions are common and common sense is non-existant. In addition, doesn't that just create a huge gray area that you are asking completely untrained individuals to make snap judgements in a pressure packed situation?

A fight, probably not unless we're talking about consented boxing and such, but a participant of a fight could have not initiated the altercation and in fear of his life.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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The media ignores the roughly 15,000 murders a year where the victim was unarmed, and concentrates on one ambiguous case of self defense.

I'm not the media, I'm a guy who is trying to make a damn good point, IMO. Please refute any of the situations I have given. I outline theoretical cases that could easily happen. The precedent is going to be set by the ruling in this case. This is a relatively new law that I think needs to be VERY carefully considered and reconsidered, as it is an extremely dangerous subject.
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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Who says the person who got shot started the fight? Hell, a lot of times you don't even know who started the fight. Do we base it on who threw the first punch? Or who pushed the other first? Or how about who made the first insult?

Does that mean I can start a fight with someone, start getting my ass kicked and then shoot him? Then I'll say, if he didn't want to get shot he shouldn't have fought me?

You're asking the question, not him. Certainly there have been fights where an individual started it and then finished it via gunshot. It's then up to the relevant authorities to make sure of that.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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A fight, probably not unless we're talking about consented boxing and such, but a participant of a fight could have not initiated the altercation and in fear of his life.


How do you figure? I cannot pick a fight with someone and start getting my ass kicked so severely that I fear for my life? Often times there is a loser in every fight. Sometimes that guy losses VERY badly. Are you saying that every guy who starts the fight wins the fight? Certainly people think they are going to win a fight and end up getting absolutely demolished. I'm sure you could argue that in some cases they feared for their life. After all, that is a very personal feeling and as I mentioned is very subjective. Hence the gray area and the concern I have with the law.
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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I'm not the media, I'm a guy who is trying to make a damn good point, IMO. Please refute any of the situations I have given. I outline theoretical cases that could easily happen. The precedent is going to be set by the ruling in this case. This is a relatively new law that I think needs to be VERY carefully considered and reconsidered, as it is an extremely dangerous subject.

What parts of this law are unprecedented relative to previous self-defense laws?
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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How do you figure? I cannot pick a fight with someone and start getting my ass kicked so severely that I fear for my life? Often times there is a loser in every fight. Sometimes that guy losses VERY badly. Are you saying that every guy who starts the fight wins the fight? Certainly people think they are going to win a fight and end up getting absolutely demolished. I'm sure you could argue that in some cases they feared for their life. After all, that is a very personal feeling and as I mentioned is very subjective. Hence the gray area and the concern I have with the law.

Where did I say that? Since you're giving hypotheticals, have mine since you're clearly not understanding me...

Bob is walking down the street. Custer threatens him if he doesn't turn around. Bob continues walking. Custer swings. Bob swings back. Custer is larger, and Bob fearing for his life pulls out a gun and shoots him.

Yes, there are situations where Custer could get his ass kicked and shoots Bob as a result. There are also cases where people accidentally (or purposely under the guise of mistake) shoot family members entering their homes at night. A utilitarian viewpoint that removing the right to self-defense in public altercations where the ability to retreat exists will result in a net reduction in death, but I don't ascribe to that.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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What parts of this law are unprecedented relative to previous self-defense laws?

I wouldn't say the law itself is unprecedented. In Florida it has been around since 2005. However, there has been a rise in gun ownership in the last few years. A lot of states have also enacted more and more liberal gun laws, mimicking the SYG law in Florida. Furthermore, this Zimmerman case could set a precedent that was previously not mentioned in the law. The law states that if you are attacked, you do not have to retreat and can meet force with force.

The Zimmerman/Trayvon case brings to light the gray area with who is the 'aggressor' in a standard fight. Trayvon may have made the first strike, but Zimmerman provoked the attacker by stalking him. I do not wish to make judgements on the right or wrong of this specific case, but I think we can all agree that its a shitty situation for both parties to be in. Being followed by someone is certainly a scary situation that could provoke anyone to 'fight or flight'. The point I'm trying to make is, the attacker or aggressor is not always as clear cut as the law would like it to be. As a result, this case may set a precedent that even if the deceased party isn't 100% clearly the aggressor, if you fear for your life you can shoot him.
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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I wouldn't say the law itself is unprecedented. In Florida it has been around since 2005. However, there has been a rise in gun ownership in the last few years. A lot of states have also enacted more and more liberal gun laws, mimicking the SYG law in Florida. Furthermore, this Zimmerman case could set a precedent that was previously not mentioned in the law. The law states that if you are attacked, you do not have to retreat and can meet force with force.

The Zimmerman/Trayvon case brings to light the gray area with who is the 'aggressor' in a standard fight. Trayvon may have made the first strike, but Zimmerman provoked the attacker by stalking him. I do not wish to make judgements on the right or wrong of this specific case, but I think we can all agree that its a shitty situation for both parties to be in. Being followed by someone is certainly a scary situation that could provoke anyone to 'fight or flight'. The point I'm trying to make is, the attacker or aggressor is not always as clear cut as the law would like it to be. As a result, this case may set a precedent that even if the deceased party isn't 100% clearly the aggressor, if you fear for your life you can shoot him.

This law is not the first to state that a person being attacked does not have to retreat. It's not even the first in Florida; since you're bringing up Zimmerman/Trayvon again (which you said wasn't the point of this thread), go read about it.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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Where did I say that? Since you're giving hypotheticals, have mine since you're clearly not understanding me...

Bob is walking down the street. Custer threatens him if he doesn't turn around. Bob continues walking. Custer swings. Bob swings back. Custer is larger, and Bob fearing for his life pulls out a gun and shoots him.

Yes, there are situations where Custer could get his ass kicked and shoots Bob as a result. There are also cases where people accidentally (or purposely under the guise of mistake) shoot family members entering their homes at night. A utilitarian viewpoint that removing the right to self-defense in public altercations where the ability to retreat exists will result in a net reduction in death, but I don't ascribe to that.



I suppose we will have a difference of opinion on whether or not it will result in more or less deaths, as this is probably difficult to prove and can be argued one way or the other. Let me say this though.

Here are a few statements that I think should be easily accepted. I think most would agree that ANY situation which requires the use of a gun is a highly stressful environment. If you are engaged in a fight, adrenaline levels are probably elevated and decision making is most likely not as good as it normally is. Hindsight is 20/20 and what you may have thought was genuine fear for your life may have just been a misunderstanding of the situation.

Please correct me if any of these premises are grossly incorrect.

Now allow me to make one more. The VAST majority of gun owners are highly UNTRAINED. Both in terms of skill and situational awareness and decision making.


I believe all these statements to be true. Given this information. I would prefer if the decision to use or not use a gun is an absolute last resort and that if someone had a reasonable ability to retreat, he or she should be expected to do so. This law basically states that, even if you can get away, if you want to use deadly force anyway, we trust your judgement.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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This law is not the first to state that a person being attacked does not have to retreat. It's not even the first in Florida; since you're bringing up Zimmerman/Trayvon again (which you said wasn't the point of this thread), go read about it.


I appreciate the difference of opinion and I do enjoy debating the points with you. However, you're being a little bit of a dick. How about instead of making vague statements like 'go read about it', you actually address the points I've made.
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
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I have a question I have yet to have somebody answer.

Where was the need for SYG? Self defense claims are already decided in court. If self defense claims are found valid in court why not use court decision to ensure SD claimant is immune from lawsuits?

Was there a rash of people claiming self defense jailed for which we may have had a reason for SYG?

Did the NRA just need somethng to do since Obama has done nothing to infringe upon gun owners and their membership was flatlining??

Why did we really need these laws?
 

Fern

Elite Member
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
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Well, with this stand your ground law, it brings in a MASSIVE gray area for when someone 'feels' their life is threatened. So basically, if I get in a fight with some guy who starts whooping my ass a little bit, I'm legally entitled to shoot him? Sure, if he doesn't stop he could kill me, but its just a fight, I'll probably just end up bruised and battered.

No.

In the situation you describe the law requires:

He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law#Florida

Fern
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
11,757
0
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No.

In the situation you describe the law requires:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law#Florida

Fern



Right, you have to believe death or great harm is coming. But how do you decide that Fern? If I just got taken down and someone is on top of me punching me repeatedly in the face, how do I know that he is going to stop before something serious happens? In most cases once he's seen that I'm beaten he will stop, but by that point it will be to late for me to choose to use a weapon. So I'm forced to guess whether or not he is going to continue hitting me after I'm completely beaten. Thus, it could be easily argued that anytime a serious fight occurs, the person who begins losing decisively has the right to use deadly force, if capable.
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
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318
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I suppose we will have a difference of opinion on whether or not it will result in more or less deaths, as this is probably difficult to prove and can be argued one way or the other. Let me say this though.

Here are a few statements that I think should be easily accepted. I think most would agree that ANY situation which requires the use of a gun is a highly stressful environment. If you are engaged in a fight, adrenaline levels are probably elevated and decision making is most likely not as good as it normally is. Hindsight is 20/20 and what you may have thought was genuine fear for your life may have just been a misunderstanding of the situation.

Please correct me if any of these premises are grossly incorrect.

Now allow me to make one more. The VAST majority of gun owners are highly UNTRAINED. Both in terms of skill and situational awareness and decision making.


I believe all these statements to be true. Given this information. I would prefer if the decision to use or not use a gun is an absolute last resort and that if someone had a reasonable ability to retreat, he or she should be expected to do so. This law basically states that, even if you can get away, if you want to use deadly force anyway, we trust your judgement.

I didn't argue that less deaths would result. I think that point is irrelevant. I'd rather a jailbreak occur resulting in five murderers escaping and killing a dozen people people rather than execute an innocent man as well as the murderers. Likewise, I would rather see ten innocent Trayvon Martins killed by evil white supremacist if it meant one person was able to legitimately use a gun to kill a violent assaulter, rapist, or murderer in self-defense. And I doubt that is too likely anyways; Zimmerman has now been arrested for second degree murder, and I doubt the justice system is error-prone enough to let a great number of faux-fearful individuals get off free anyways.

I don't know if I agree with that. A person definitely knows when they are in fear of violent attack. It's a basic biological impulse to be able to discern threats and deal accordingly with them. Whether they correctly discern between a guy that will kill you vs a guy that will send you to the hospital with severe injuries isn't really important to me.

You might be right on the last point, but I'm also pretty sure that CCW holders are on average better trained than the average Joe-shoots-deer-with-the-family-sometimes, the former being the types more likely to use a gun/have on available in cases of being threatened with violence.