Monday, July 22, 2013

Trayvon Stood His Ground

On July 19, 2013, President Barack Obama spoke to the Washington Press Core, where he said:
"And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these Stand Your Ground laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws."
 So-called Stand Your Ground laws sometimes called "No Duty To Retreat" seek to legally define an individual or individuals legal rights to Self Defense. Ostensibly, the Legal Right to employ Self Defense is a given, but the right to "use force" or fight is not - thus making the action mute. In the George Zimmerman - Trayvon Martin incident the evidence is clear that Trayvon chose to fight. Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman's actions, rejected his girlfriend's advice over the telephone to avoid a confrontation, sucker-punched Zimmerman, knocking him to the ground and began pounding his head into the cement sidewalk. At which point Zimmerman felt physically threatened and used deadly force.

Trayvon Martin could have retreated - Chose not to.
George Zimmerman could have retreated - Chose not to.
Trayvon Martin chose to Stand His Ground, he chose to fight and got killed doing so.

The following are excerpts from Wikipedia:
Right of Self-Defense
The right of self-defense (according to U.S. law) (also called, when it applies to the defense of another, alter ego defensedefense of othersdefense of a third person) is the right for civilians acting on their own behalf to engage in a level of violence, called reasonable force or defensive force, for the sake of defending one's own life or the lives of others, including, in certain circumstances, the use of deadly force.

Self-defense (United States)
In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use reasonable force in his or her own defense or the defense of others (see the theoretical background for why this is allowed). 
While the definitions vary from state to state, the general rule makes an important distinction between the use of non-deadly and deadly force. A person may use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury; however, a person may not use deadly force unless that person is in reasonable fear of serious injury or death. Some states also include a duty to retreat, when deadly force may only be used if the person is unable to safely retreat. A person is generally not obligated to retreat if in one's own home in what has been called the castle exception (from the expression "A man's home is his castle"). 
Runyan v. State (1877) 57 Ind. 80, 20 Am.Rep. 52, is one of the earliest cases to strongly support and establish in U.S. law an individual's right to initiate self-defense actions up to and including the justifiable use of lethal force against an aggressor. 
In Runyan, the court stated "When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justiciable."

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