Connection between Iraq War and "Stand Your Ground" Laws?

It appears that “Stand Your Ground” is to neighborhood watch as the Bush Doctrine is to national defense.

The Trayvon Martin case has caused us to again be confronted with perennial issues present in American culture. As this story continues to unfold, the debate over whether George Zimmerman acted in self-defense or not opens deep questions about the role of guns in our society, the nature of justice, racial and other prejudices, and even the divisions of left and right politics.

Much scrutiny is now being given to the reasonability of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws that, like in Florida where Martin was shot and killed, are on the books or being considered in many states. Statistics on justified homicide claims following enactments of such laws along with complementary anecdotal evidence from some of these killings would strongly suggest that these statutes have emboldened citizens to take the law into their own hands—to figuratively and literally shoot first and ask questions later.

It appears that “Stand Your Ground” is to neighborhood watch as the Bush Doctrine is to national defense. There was a time when American military force was viewed as the last resort to be used only when necessary and when no other options were available. A provocative, preemptive strike based on the supposed ill-intent of another country was considered unworthy of American values. The invasion of Iraq in 2002 radically shifted military policy from a stance of defense to one of offense. In doing so, a sort of international “Stand Your Ground” was established.

So there appears to be a larger ideological framework that informs the laws that George Zimmerman and others have stood behind as they have not merely defended themselves but have pursued others with guns drawn. And it all seems to reflect something within our cultural psyche that deserves serious examination.

We must ask ourselves some very tough questions about our souls as individuals and about our soul as a nation when we effectively authorize lone citizens to become judge, jury, and executioner. As much as the gun slingers of the wild west appealed to our collective imagination, we still held the line that there should be no place in a civilized society for vigilantism. That line appears to now be in the process of being erased…and sadly enough, in the name of justice.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Bennett April 02, 2012 at 12:22 PM
It's not a matter of becoming judge , jury and executioner . It's giving a citizen confidence and permission to avoid becoming yet another victim . There's been a lot of that going on of late . Quick thinking and common sense of course , but above all else , don't be a victim , STAND YOU GROUND !!
Jeremy Clark April 26, 2012 at 09:27 PM
You obviously don't understand what the so-called stand your ground law actually does. It does NOT allow people to 'shoot first' but rather it removes the duty of a citizen to retreat when faced with life-threatening situations. This duty is currently on the booksin most states. This statutory duty can lead to a jury being required to Monday Morning QB a situation to determine IF a person who was in fact faced with a life threatening situation COULD have retreated. The removal of this requirement does not reduce the burden of proving reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury before a citizen may use deadly force.
Tom Bennett April 27, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Hi Jeremy , That was very presumptuous of you . I'm not aware of anything in my comment that would lead any reasonable person to say it's obvious I don't understand the Stand your Ground law ( not "so-called " ) stand your ground law . The legislation is an extension of the Castle Doctrine and is also known as " Line in the Sand " or " No Duty to Retreat " depending on which state your looking at .Once a law is passed it then becomes subject to interpretation. Law libraries are full of volume after volume of cases ,both civil and criminal where a precedent was established . I don't know you therefor I can't say for certain if you understand this law or not , but in my opinion you seem to be promulgating your interpretation . You'll further take notice please that I said quick thinking and common sense should prevail . No one wants this to become the wild west and no sane person would shoot someone in the back that was trying to run away , UNLESS they had just seriously or fatally done harm to a loved one . Actually I was thinking Craig Weidman's letter commenting on the Trayvon Martin case could be well intentioned until a re-reading comparing the Stand your ground Law as it relates to the neighborhood watch to the so-called Bush Doctrine as it relates to national defense got my attention.That's a stretch , it's completely lame and of course I don't agree . Don't be a victim , as we were twice , Stand your Ground !!!
Jeremy Clark April 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Tom, I am responding to the author's lack of knowledge not yours. I support these changes in the law.
Tom Bennett April 29, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Thanks Jeremy . Duh . My neurosis reared it's head again . Thought I was being criticized the way this blog sight sent your comment to me . Sorry about that .


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