Stand Your Ground makes sense
Pundits who’ve had a field day ripping apart Stand Your Ground laws repeatedly fail to mention that crucial “reasonable person” standard.
The wild speculation that the laws give broad license for vigilantes to go around recklessly shooting people are a totally irresponsible caricature. Ultimately, it is judges or jurors who determine what constitutes a reasonable fear under such a law, not the person who fires the gun.
A few examples: Under a Stand Your Ground law, you can’t shoot a fleeing criminal in the back. You can’t provoke an attack. You can’t use unnecessary force to stop an attack. Anyone who thinks that the law lets them “shoot first, ask questions later” will end up jail.
And no, I’m not going to get into the twisted case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, the facts of which are still not fully understood. But, whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense with Trayvon on top of him and no place to retreat — or whether, in the other version of events, Zimmerman initiated the attack — the Stand Your Ground law isn’t relevant.
The media have also been busy painting a picture that an epidemic of justifiable homicides has erupted since these laws have passed. The Wall Street Journal ran a story suggesting that an increase in justifiable homicides nationwide from 176 in 2000 to 326 in 2010 arose from a “shoot first” mentality.
But part of that increase is just a trick of numbers; it occurs because the laws have reclassified what is considered “self-defense,” not because more people are being shot.