Some drivers exchange words or gestures, stop at a light and one driver confronts that other. One driver punches the other and gets shot! Did I make this up? I took some poetic liberties but this situation among others – happen all of the time. Take a look at this story here.
Here is where I have an issue. If someone is attacked and the defender cannot get away and/or has people or property to protect – I am fine with self defense. What I am not fine with is if someone is passive/aggressive (pretending to be passive but lying in wait) and then unloading on a bad guy/gal. I think we as a people should give other people allowances if they are behaving badly and try to avoid confrontation.
In this post I will spell out what is happening today with stand your ground laws – the good and the bad and what is common sense in these situations. I’ll also go over what my mother taught me as a kid and what it means today (sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt me).
What used to happen if someone had to defend themselves in many states was a person had to try to avoid the fight or attack. If the person could not avoid – only then would he/she be acting legally. Many times a robber would get shot in the home he was robbing and the homeowners would be arrested. You see they had a duty to try and getaway even in their own home.
Here in California I don’t think we have a stand your ground law but one is assumed to be in fear of his/her life if someone breaks into their house. This fixed some of the nonsense in CA where now robbers know if they break into someones house – lethal force can be used.
But if the same robber tried to attack you in the street or in your car – NOTHING is assumed. The victim may find him/herself in the position of acting the way a reasonable man would. The cops have some leeway but they are looking for common sense.
In California one cannot carry a gun in the glove box unless he/she has a concealed weapons permit (they are not given out easily). So most people cannot defend themselves with weapons when they are out and about (except pepper spray or stun guns). So I would argue in California one really has to be reasonable. You don’t have your “body guard” in your pocket in case you miscalculated!
So stand your ground laws can be helpful I think in states that allow citizens to carry and if the people use some kind of reasonable man standard (as we have in CA). Guns while can be helpful for self defense, can also be misused by children. I view guns as a double-edged sword. If you have a gun here you need to have a trigger lock I think.
What I think is wrong in some of the states that have stand your ground laws is there does not seem to be a reasonable man standard. Only immunity if one follows the letter of the law (unfortunately laws are written by people). This can lead to gun owners thinking they are living in the wild west. Anything goes so long as you can prove who started it. Does this make sense?
Admittedly I only see the news stories about abuses and not all of the times these laws help people so I cannot suggest any action. I just don’t know how large the issue is vs the good these laws do. I just see problems if people start thinking guns and stand your ground laws will fix anything.
I think most gun owners are reasonable people and I think most lawmakers are trying to draft laws that help the people. I also think poorly written laws have unintended consequences and maybe need to go back to the drawing board.
For those of you who think because of my karate or championing self defense – I ought to give stand your ground laws a pass with no critique – I disagree.
I hope you have enjoyed my point of view? Keeping in mind the rules of civility – what is your opinion?