Basically, if for some reason you are "afraid" of someone, it's OK to chase them down and murder them. Like, for instance, if they happen to be a young black man carrying a package of skittles.
Remember all of those people arguing that laws against hate crimes were making people into criminals due to "thought crime"? The "Stand your ground law" is the opposite. It makes murders into innocent people because they "reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” ...he can shoot to kill, regardless of whether the shooter is the one who initiated the hostile confrontation." So "thought non-crime" saves the day.
I don't want to over-do emotion-ridden language, but where is the line between this and lynching? Some details are different, but aren't the motivations and effects the same? Just not an entire community involved in the act of the killing, but there is still someone chasing down another person and killing him.
What states have "Stand Your Ground" laws? Reuters.com
MSNBC video on "Stand Your Ground" Laws. These laws correspond to a 40% increase in "justifiable homicides" According to the MSNBC report, 75% involve people of the same race. That still doesn't justify Zimmerman's action.
These laws are favored by the NRA. CNN. "The statute has led to many nonprosecutions after investigations -- it is hard to find that a person did not act in self-defense when the person that was being defended against cannot refute the allegations, i.e., dead men don't talk. "
At the very least, it seems to me that Trayvon's murder was a hate crime. I can't even comprehend that a white person walking through the neighborhood would have been killed in the same way. He was killed in a racially motivated chase-and-murder. How is that not a hate crime?
I’d like to begin my reply by posting nearly the entire sections of Florida law that comprise what is known as the “Stand-your-ground law.” I will add my comments below the pasted sections of code.
2011 Florida Statutes CHAPTER 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
(5) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
Let me begin by saying that we will most likely never know what happened between Martin and Zimmerman. Having said that, my personal view is that Martin didn’t deserve to be shot—no matter what Zimmerman claims happened. Unfortunately, there are way too many stupid, trigger-happy people in America for us to allow almost anyone to own a gun. But that aspect of the story is getting no traction in the media.
Given what facts we now know it would appear that Zimmerman reported to the police that Martin punched him and was slamming his head against the sidewalk when Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired. If Zimmerman has enough evidence to prove his version of events is plausible (something that is in serious question as of this writing) his actions were justifiable under Florida law. The key here, as it is in many legal situations, is the word “reasonable.” Under the law as long as Zimmerman can make a credible argument that a reasonable person in his position would have felt that they were in serious danger he was justified in shooting Martin. Many people if their head was being repeatedly slammed against a sidewalk would feel like their life was in danger. For some reason, the police believed they found enough evidence to support Zimmerman’s use of deadly force. That means that the police bought Zimmerman’s story that Martin was beating him. Time will tell whether Zimmerman and the police were correct or whether Zimmerman is a hothead. The key to that determination will be the word “reasonable.”
Problem for me is, it looks like Zimmerman was stalking Trayvon, and had no reasonable basis for doing so other than his amateur profiling. It looks like much of this is based on Zimmerman's version of the story. We don't even know, really, if there was blood on him and if so, was the blood his or was it from the man he just killed. If his head was really slammed into the sidewalk, and he got away without a skull fracture or a concussion, that's interesting. DId the police take photos? Since there was a murder involved, why wouldn't there be a photo of the supposedly attacked man / killer, before he was cleaned up? Why would a murder not be investigated, instead of blowing it off as "yeah, probably stand your ground. Well, take care, man. Glad you didn't get hurt".