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Archive for 9. July 2013

Trayvon’s Right to Stand his Ground

there’s a key question that I really wish someone would ask with regard to the Trayvon Martin trial.did Trayvon Martin have a right to stand his ground?this isn’t just a key question fis probablyr the case, but also a clear weakness in the concept of a Stand Your Ground laws.

few conflicts are so simple as having an easily identifiable perpetrator and clearly identifiable victim. Usually both parties feel that they are justified in their actions. Zimmerman was probably sincere in his belief that Trayvon was a threat to his community. Perhaps this was motivated by race, or maybe it was motivated by the crime trends of the neighborhood as expressed by Zimmerman. He, therefore, felt justified in following Martin. When confronted by Martin, he almost certainly felt threatened.

What about Martin, however? Here was a young man being pursued by a stranger. Did he have, by virtue of Florida law, a right to stand his ground in the face of a threat? After all, the law should apply equally to Trayvon and to Zimmerman. Unfortunately, Trayvon did not survive the cinflict to make such a claim.

This is the hidden contradiction of Stand Your Ground laws. Only the survivor can make this defence. The law enshrines the dangerous ethic of “might makes right” or puts the law on the side of whoever shoots first.