When Does “Standing Your Ground” Become Murder?

I need to state my position up front: any person who is attacked should be able to defend themselves, and should not be obligated to “run away”.

That being said, there are a number of complicating factors. I’ve been in the position of seeing a suspicious person in the area, and I’ve called 911. I did not try to follow the person. That to me is the key thing with the Trayvon Martin is that George Zimmerman went on the offensive first. He became the attacker.

We had something similar in the OKC area. A couple guys went into a pharmacy to rob it; they were armed. The pharmacist pulled a gun and started shooting, hitting one of the robbers in the head; that guy when down while the other ran out. The pharmacist ran out and emptied his gun shooting at the departing robber. OK, so far no problem. The pharmacist came back in the building, got a second gun, and shot the robber laying on the ground repeatedly while standing over him. Clearly, the pharmacist crossed the line at that point from standing his ground to murderer. The robber on the ground was no longer a threat.

So it’s clear to me that Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense is at least suspect. He did the right thing by reporting a suspicious person in the neighborhood. If he had heard breaking glass or something, he could have reported that as well, while continuing to observe the area. But when he went looking for Martin, he became the attacker.

I know that if I were being persued by an attacker, I would try to defend myself. I don’t think Zimmerman has much of a case of self defense.

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2 Responses to “When Does “Standing Your Ground” Become Murder?”

  1. Tom Says:

    Yep, standing your ground should be that – not being required to retreat before defending yourself.

    In combat: you don’t shoot a non-combatant. And someone who is unable to continue the fight is a non-combatant. Of course, in combat, you do pursue a fleeing enemy. Civilians should not and cannot legally do so, except in extreme circumstances- very extreme.

    That being said, in spite of the Black Panthers, Al Sharpton an a zillion reporters looking for yet another sensationalist story, we still don’t know what the truth of he matter is. Any incident resulting in human death in civilian society (including police shootings) should be automatically referred to a grand jury. They have the power to view the evidence and to compel testimony, unlike the media.

    And, too, remember that the first eyewitness reported that Zimmerman was the one being attacked. So far, we don’t seem to have any witnesses immediately before the altercation of of the actual shooting. Nor do we have access to any of the forensic evidence.

    Be wary of assuming that what you’ve been told is actually factual. Unless you have proof, you cannot claim to know.

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