Poll: Most Americans Back Stand Your Ground Laws

The George Zimmerman trial brought self-defense laws in general, and so-called ‘stand your ground’ laws in particular, into focus, and the reaction to the verdict has included calls from many on the political left for such laws to be reexamined and, in the case of ‘stand your ground’ laws, repealed outright. According to a new poll, though, a majority of Americans support ‘stand your ground’ laws, although there are some unsurprising differences among the races:

A majority of Americans support controversial “stand your ground” laws, according to a new poll, but their views are sharply divided along racial lines.

Voters back the self-defense laws 53 percent to 40 percent, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac, but when broken down by race, black and white voters have opposite views. White voters support such laws in their state 57 percent to 37 percent, while black voters oppose the laws 57 percent to 37 percent. Hispanic voters are split, with 44 percent supporting the laws and 43 percent opposing.

In reality, of course, this is a state by state issue and, with some 38 states having some form of a ‘stand your ground’ law, it seems exceedingly unlikely that any kind of nationwide repeal movement is going to have very much political momentum.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    That’s because “most Americans” never expect to have these laws used against _them_.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Welcome to George Zimmerman’s world.

    Evidently most Americans believe that they might have to defend themselves the way Clint Eastwood would do it in a “Dirty Harry” movie. People romanticize the idea that they could deter a suspected assailant with a Second Amendment Special.

  3. stonetools says:

    According to a new poll, though, a majority of Americans support ‘stand your ground’ laws

    Well, settles it then-except in the case of universal background checks for gun purchases.

    Also too, it seems to me that what this polls shows is that most Americans are WHITE.

  4. James Pearce says:

    I have come around on Stand Your Ground laws. Screw Gandhi and MLK. Non-violence is for the birds.

    Might doesn’t make right, but it does make being wrong much much easier.

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: That’s because “most Americans” never expect to have these laws used against _them_

    So what? That’s the case about almost every law.

    And I may have to reconsider my support for Stand Your Ground laws. According to these statistics, it disproportionately benefits minorities…

    Seriously, if you look at those FBI statistics on SYG, it is most commonly applied when the two parties are of the same race. The percentages of whites using it against blacks is 454 cases, while the cases of blacks using it against whites number 209. Meanwhile, white/white cases represent 2,963, and black/black are 2,604.

    Finally, once again let me reassert that “Stand Your Ground” was NEVER a factor in the Zimmerman case. It kicks in once the confrontation starts, and Zimmerman’s account (borne up by all the available evidence and witnesses) states that he never had an opportunity to retreat. It was simple self-defense.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And I may have to reconsider my support for Stand Your Ground laws. According to these statistics, it disproportionately benefits minorities…

    Good point – it certainly benefited Trayvon Martin.

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: Screw Gandhi and MLK. Non-violence is for the birds.

    Gandhi and MLK had the advantage of going up against people who had consciences and a great deal invested in their self-image as decent, honorable people. Gandhi also said that the Jews should have submitted to the Nazis.

    To steal another line from that article, there’s an old joke with quite a bit of truth in it: “ad the Brits been Nazi’s, Gandhi would’ve been a lampshade.” And if Dr. King had been appealing to the Nazis’ better side instead of the American people, he’d have been turned into air pollution.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    .

    Gandhi also said that the Jews should have submitted to the Nazis.

    Who knew that Gandhi was a modern conservative?

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Just how did SYG apply to Martin? I don’t recall that SYG applies to confrontations that one chooses to initiate, but I haven’t looked at the actual law in a while.

    And yes, Martin did initiate the confrontation with Martin. According to the prosecution’s own case and witnesses, Martin had reached the back yard of the home where he was staying, then chose to go back and challenge the “creepy-ass cracker” instead of going inside.

    Maybe I’m being too literal, but “Stand Your Ground” requires one to actually, you know, STAND, and not go looking for a confrontation.

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: And stop being so deliberately stupid. You’re not that stupid.

    wr is, but you aren’t.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Maybe I’m being too literal, but “Stand Your Ground” requires one to actually, you know, STAND, and not go looking for a confrontation.

    Exactly, the fact that George Zimmerman initiated the series of events by looking for a confrontation has nothing to do with SYG.

  12. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Gandhi and MLK had the advantage of going up against people who had consciences and a great deal invested in their self-image as decent, honorable people.”

    Oh, yes. All those whites in Mississippi who felt it was their God-given duty to murder any blacks who dared to exercise their right to vote, they had consciences. Lester Maddox, who took axe handles to blacks who dared to want to be served in his diner clearly had a conscience, which is why the whites of Georgia promoted their self-image a decent, honorable people, elected him governor. The Klan — they were really great and peaceful folk, and only rarely commited murder.

    You really know nothing about anything, do you? I mean, except for buzz phrases you life from Rush and Fox.

  13. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Gandhi and MLK had the advantage of going up against people who had consciences

    Yeah, okay, whatever.

    I have nothing but respect for MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I just do not believe in non-violence anymore.

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Thank you, sir. I proclaimed you stupid, and you showed up and proved it.

    Most of the segregationists in the South, as I said, saw themselves as moral and proper and doing what they thought was right. It took Dr. King and his nonviolent movement to rub their noses in the immorality of their beliefs and practices and get enough Americans to own up to the immorality and unconstitutionality of segregation to change it.

    Dr. King appealed to the consciences of his opponents — and his movement ultimately won. Malcolm X preached violence and fighting back — and was killed by his own people.

  15. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Dr. King appealed to the consciences of his opponents — and his movement ultimately won. Malcolm X preached violence and fighting back — and was killed by his own people. “

    Both MLK and Malcolm X were assassinated. Neither of their movements really “won.”

  16. Todd says:

    I support the right to own a gun, but I think laws like “stand your ground” are ridiculous. If a citizen discharges a firearm at another human being they should be subjected to at least as much scrutiny as a police officer would be when they discharge their weapon.

    Most gun owners don’t bother me one way or another. But those who own guns, and act (whether honestly, or just putting on a front) as if they actually *want* to be in a situation where they can shoot somebody are truly scary … and dangerous. (IMO)

  17. JohnMcC says:

    With the invaluable help of the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St Pete Times) I looked into the impact of the Florida version of StandYourGround. What I concluded was that the effect was to make duelling legal. Acting on the advice about bringing a knife to a gunfight, my concealed carry permit is pending. And I just hate that.

  18. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Most of the segregationists in the South, as I said, saw themselves as moral and proper and doing what they thought was right. It took Dr. King and his nonviolent movement to rub their noses in the immorality of their beliefs and practices and get enough Americans to own up to the immorality and unconstitutionality of segregation to change it. Dr. King appealed to the consciences of his opponents — and his movement ultimately won. Malcolm X preached violence and fighting back — and was killed by his own people.”

    The Civil Rights Act wasn’t passed because Southerners finally realized they were wrong. It passed because the good people in the rest of the country forced it on them. In fact, many of your favorite politicians still believe it’s a bad law — just ask Rand Paul.

    You are right about one thing — most of the segregationists saw themselves as moral and proper. Even as they were blowing up black churches and murdering black children and turning firehoses and dogs on peaceful protestors, they thought they were doing God’s work.

    So did most Nazis. So, I suspect, do loser internet trolls. So what?

    Where you are not only wrong but blissfully stupid is the notion that MLK pointed out to them the error of their ways and they peacefully changed, embarassed at their earlier mistake. The Civil Rights Act was forced on the Southern states by the rest of the country — and sometime enforced with the National Guard. You might want to look up Orville Faubus. Or George Wallace.

    And I’m not sure what moron point you’re trying to make about Malcom X here. He preached violence and was killed apparently by his own people. MLK preached non-violence and was killed by a racist. Which one is less dead?

  19. stonetools says:

    John MacWhorter (no liberal he) has a thoughtful column on the differences between black and white reactions to the Trayvon Martin case:

    An America where there was not a high-profile case every two years or so of an innocent young black man killed by a white (or in the case of Zimmerman, perhaps white-ish) person under menacingly ambiguous circumstances would be one where “the race thing” would no longer be so occult, so loaded, and so resistant to true healing…..
    the perception of black men as inherently criminal is what most black people really mean by “racism” when they talk about its prevalence. Most can discuss more statistical manifestations on reflection, but what really sits in the gut is cases like Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and now Martin. Or, the related experiences that black men have that Obama mentioned having had himself, such as being trailed in stores or watching white women tensing up as they pass.

    The point is that its easy to discuss the the finer points of “stand your ground” laws if the Trayvon Martin was a “one in a million” case. However, its not. Black men are shot and killed by armed white men in murky circumstances on a semi-regular basis, and the killers tend to get away with it, with the law often stacked in their favor. The reverse almost never happens.
    What made Trayvon Martin’s death particularly egregious is that there would never even have been a trial (absent public protest) , so heavily was the “stand your ground” provisions tilted in favor of the armed killer.
    The attitude of the Sanford Police Department was pretty much “Ok, George, you said Trayvon Martin attacked you first for no good reason and you shot him in self defense. Alrighty then. We’ll take your word for it. Good shooting, and by the way, here’s your gun back.”
    The attitude of the Zimmerman apologists mirrored that of the police. Trayvon deserved to be killed , and the real injustice was that poor old George was even charged.
    A callous indifference to Trayvon Martin’s death has been part of almost every defense of Zimmerman , who is now a right wing hero. Jenos’ posts exemplify this attitude, but it’s there is every Zimmerman defender.

  20. stonetools says:

    @JohnMcC:

    What I concluded was that the effect was to make duelling legal. Acting on the advice about bringing a knife to a gunfight, my concealed carry permit is pending. And I just hate that.

    Mission accomplished then. The merchants of death and their lackeys the NRA are laughing their way to the bank over the corpse of Trayvon Martin. they are achieving their ideal of an “armed society” .
    The result of the SYG law is to privilege the killer. Shoot first, kill the other guy, and then if you tell the story right, you walk. It should be called the “leave no witnesses alive” law.

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @stonetools:

    The result of the SYG law is to privilege the killer. Shoot first, kill the other guy, and then if you tell the story right, you walk. It should be called the “leave no witnesses alive” law.

    That is pretty much dead on (pun intended).
    I think we should amend the Second Amendment to incorporate it into the Constitution.

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    No, the main point of SYG laws is to say that we do not value the lives of all people equally. It is saying that we do not value the lives of aggressors as highly as we value the lives of their would-be victims.

    “Run away if you can” is a superb rule — for school kids, who can pretty much count on finding an authority figure in very short order. In the rule world, not so much.

    In the absence of teachers, and without a cop on every street corner or more, it doesn’t work so well.

    Suppose I wake up in the night and hear a noise. I grab a gun and confront a burglar with a crowbar. In the absence of a SYG law, I have an obligation to flee my own home instead of confronting the jerk in my house.

    But under SYG, I can hold him at gunpoint. And if he comes at me, I can shoot him.

    The “duty to retreat” principle says that it values the life of a criminal attempting to commit a crime against me more than it values my right to be safe and secure in my home. And I believe that such beliefs are harmful to society.

    One final point: when someone deprives me of my right to defend myself, they have a moral obligation to keep me safe. To say that “we will not allow you to defend yourself, but we won’t make any guarantees about your safety” is intolerable.

    But let’s try an experiment. Let’s apply the SYG/no SYG rules here, with those who support SYG allowed to stand their ground and argue, while those who oppose SYG demonstrate their beliefs in the system by avoiding a confrontation with me and retreating. Any takers?

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    A plurality of Americans once supported anti-miscegenation laws. Depending on the wisdom of the electorate, especially an electorate motivated by fear of “other”, to predicate policy probably isn’t the smartest path to take.

    On an unrelated note, I’m SO thrilled to have the opportunity to read about this topic (and hear from the usual souls pontificating about it) for the 9,000th time this week.

  24. stonetools says:

    There are ways to fix the current SYG laws to prevent the “Zimmerman” problem.
    One example:

    The legislature can, however, fix the narrow scope of the law so that it bars an oppressor from pursuing a target and then claiming self-defense.

    One sentence is all it would take to improve a law that says “there is no duty to leave the area if the person is… in any other place where the person has a right to be” by adding the clarification “so long as the person acting in self defense did not pursue or initiate confrontation with the other person(s).”

    The law shouldn’t work overtime to enable confrontations while preventing a way to adjudicate them after someone turns up dead.

    We need to add a “no pursuit” clause to Alaska’s Stand Your Ground law. Otherwise, it isn’t a self-defense law. Defending and protecting are two concepts very different than stalking and killing. Current law makes no distinction. As it stands now, you are legally empowered to taunt someone, follow them, pick a fight, and then reach for your gun when you start getting your ass kicked. That is not self-defense. That is a hunt. You shouldn’t feel safely wrapped in the arms of the law as you watch your victim bleed out.

    If the law’s true intent was to codify the right to defend one’s self wherever they have a legal right to be, let’s make sure that’s what it does.

    Of course, people are going to want to do it. Unfortunately, it will have to wait till the “right person” gets pursued and killed-presumably, someone blond, white, and middle class.This may seem cynical, as everyone’s life should be valued equally, but hey, I call ’em as I see ’em.

  25. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Suppose I wake up in the night and hear a noise. I grab a gun and confront a burglar with a crowbar. In the absence of a SYG law, I have an obligation to flee my own home instead of confronting the jerk in my house.

    No. In every state in the Union, there is the castle doctrine that allows you to use deadly force in defense of yourself and others in your own home. This is not an issue.

    Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode (or, in some states, any legally-occupied place [e.g., a vehicle or workplace]) as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities permitting him or her, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend against an intruder — free from legal responsibility/prosecution for the consequences of the force used.[1] Typically deadly force is considered justified, and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases “when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to him or herself or another”.[1] The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of most states.

    The problem with SYG is that it recklessly extends the “castle” doctrine to EVERYWHERE, including to places where you initiate the confrontation. Th e unforeseen consequences is that the conflict initiator ends up being protected by the “self defense ” law-which is a miscarriage of justice.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    But let’s try an experiment. Let’s apply the SYG/no SYG rules here, with those who support SYG allowed to stand their ground and argue, while those who oppose SYG demonstrate their beliefs in the system by avoiding a confrontation with me and retreating. Any takers?

    Nope. It’s guns for all now. May the best shot win.

  27. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    Surely you are just being provocative? No one, after such a trial and all the discussion could remain as ignorant as you presented your comments?

    The Florida Stand Your Ground law had no bearing on the Zimmerman case.
    The police and prosecutors in the Zimmerman case reviewed the evidence, witness statements and Zimmerman’s statement and found no probable cause file charges based on plain old self defense.

    Only one state and the District of Columbia consider non-physical actions as provocation.
    Plus, define “oppressor”, define “pursuing”, define “target”. And even if someone is/was an aggressor, most states do permit the use of deadly force to stop an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, especially when there is no safe means of retreat/withdrawal.

    Stand Your Ground is not an extension of the Castle Doctrine outside the home. The Castle Doctrine presumes an uninvited person who had no right to be in the home is an imminent threat of death and serious bodily injury to those who are rightfully in the home. Stand Your Ground removes the duty to retreat from a location you may rightfully be when someone else threatens you with violence. There is no presumption of imminent threat nor right to act in the absence of a reasonable belief of imminent threat.

    You’d get further is you’d learn the facts and avoided wild-eyed hyperbole and blatant ignorance.

  28. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Surely you are just being provocative? No one, after such a trial and all the discussion could remain as ignorant as you presented your comments?

    Nope, I’m being knowledgeable .

    The Florida Stand Your Ground law had no bearing on the Zimmerman case.

    Wrong. Let me outsource to TNC:

    As I wrote yesterday, SYG is explicitly mentioned in the jury instructions:

    If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    Sullum says how the jury instructions apply “to the facts of this case.” But this is changing the argument. Bill Lee’s decision to not arrest George Zimmerman also don’t apply to the facts of this case. They apply to Sullum’s stated argument–“The George Zimmerman Case Had Nothing To Do With Stand Your Ground.”

    I do not mean to be pedantic here. The decision to not arrest George Zimmerman is critical in understanding why Trayvon Martin is a national cause célèbre and Justin Patterson is not. In looking at that decision, it is important to understand the changes enacted in Florida law in 2005, under SYG. Among those changes–making it very difficult to arrest someone who claims self-defense:.

    RTWT. Frankly, I thought people had given up the claim that SYG had nothing to do with the case. That has been comprehensively debunked.

    Plus, define “oppressor”, define “pursuing”, define “target”. And even if someone is/was an aggressor, most states do permit the use of deadly force to stop an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, especially when there is no safe means of retreat/withdrawal.

    All things that can be defined as part of the legislative process, just like “self defense”, “retreat”, and “intent.” That’s what courts and legislators do. They could start by reviewing Zimmerman’s actions in this case.
    The relationship between ” stand your ground” and the castle doctrine is discussed here. The nub:

    The Castle Doctrine and “stand-your-ground” laws are affirmative defenses for individuals charged with criminal homicide. The Castle Doctrine is a common law doctrine stating that an individual has no duty to retreat when in his or her home, or “castle,” and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend his or her property, person, or another. Outside of the “castle,” however, an individual has a duty to retreat, if able to do so, before using reasonable force. Stand-your-ground laws, by comparison, remove the common law requirement to retreat outside of one’s “castle,” allowing an individual to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat

    As you can see, the result of the “stand your ground” law is to to remove the common law duty to retreat, putting the person away from home in the same position as the person in their “castle” .
    I personally would do away with SYG altogether. But in the absence of that, limiting SYG to non-pursuers seems reasonable-unless giving people with guns an unlimited right to kill anyone who resists them is your goal-and let’s face it, that’s what you really want , don’t you?

  29. JohnMcC says:

    @stonetools: Mr Stonetools, I think your comments here are always among the very best — and thank you for the link to the McWhorter article. I don’t know though that I quite agree that the ‘merchants of death’ are actually the victors here. It feels to me as though they are my family members who are life-members of NRA. Like my Dad who treasured several shelves of trophies from pistol matches. Who I grew up shooting with (we called it ‘plinking’, and for a while growing up cans from the kitchen never made it to the landfill without a couple of holes from the old .22 that my granddad passed down to him for me).

    Had a sea-change in my life and grew my hair long (it’s almost all gone now, dammit) and inhaled. Had the experience of entering the back seat of a police cruiser head-first, airborne and traveling fast which was followed by being bounced off both sides of the local jail — just for being one of THOSE people. Several eye-opening experiences like that. Became the only liberal in the family.

    On this issue and at this time, yeah, they are the winners. They’re swell people. As much as I hated the fact that my Dad was usually packing, I have to admit that the entire human population within his eyesight was safer that when he was not there.

    It’d be a much better world for us all if we could follow the example of, say, the English. If not ever the average policeman felt the need for a pistol.

    Oh, well. “Next year in Jerusalem,” as I understand the old Jewish prayer goes.

  30. Tyrell says:

    In some places it’s “stand your ground”. Around here it’s the “go ahead, make my day” law.

    “You can go home pig or pork. Make your choice” Marshall Dillon (“Gunsmoke”)

  31. JKB says:

    @stonetools: “Among those changes–making it very difficult to arrest someone who claims self-defense:.”

    You mean making it difficult to arrest someone without probable cause that they’ve committed a crime due to their offering a plausible explanation of events that is not contradicted by other evidence? And such explanation does not preclude the arrest of said person should probable cause be discovered in the course of the investigation that their self-defense claim can be refuted to a reasonable doubt by other evidence.

    I understand, you are concerned that we are making it difficult for trained, experienced professional investigators and prosecutors to evaluate evidence and make rational decisions.

    But point in fact, Zimmerman was arrested on that night although not booked into jail. But he was handcuffed, placed in a police car and transported to the police facilities. Whereupon, he was interviewed by investigators who determined that there was not probable cause to continue his detention in the face of the evidence known at that time. Later, prosecutors examined the evidence and did not find sufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman with a crime and therefore ethically should not bring charges. A decision later shown to be reasonable given the complete lack of articulable case presented by the special prosecutor in the show trial.

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: You’re quite right about the Castle Doctrine. What threw me off was that there were a few states that even repealed that, and people were legally obligated to flee their own homes.

    So let’s change that to I find someone breaking into my car. I yell at them to stop, and they have the same aforementioned crowbar. (It’s a useful tool.) The criminal tells me that I can leave, or he will mess me up with the crowbar. I’m carrying a gun.

    The argument I’ve often heard is that laws such as SYG put a higher value on property than human life. I reject that argument. The criminal here is asserting that his right to take my property is greater than my right to defend it. And he is betting lives (his and mine) on his assertion.

    I’m not eager to kill someone here, but in such a situation I would draw my gun and inform him that I won’t be the one retreating. Depending on circumstances, I might tell him that he can leave, or that he’s going to wait for the police. And if he menaces me, thinking I’m bluffing or that he can take me with his crowbar, I’ll shoot. And since I’m not an expert shooter, I won’t be shooting to wound, but shooting for center of mass. And I’ll keep shooting until I’m certain he won’t pose a threat to me.

    And once again, because it apparently needs repeating, SYG had NOTHING to do with the ZImmerman/Martin shooting. Zimmerman never had an opportunity to retreat from the confrontation, and Martin actively sought it out. It’s utterly irrelevant.

  33. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Please modify your example to place me in a house within a hundred feet of this confrontation. I think I have an issue with your example in that you’re joining with wrongdoer in a duel that will breach the peace, maybe sending a bullet into my place.

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: If you’re within a house within a hundred feet of this confrontation, are you calling the cops at the sound of the smashed window, or are you doing what a lot of people here say Zimmerman should have done and minded your own business? Is my confronting a criminal in your neighborhood offending your sensibilities somehow? Is my asserting my right to keep what is mine voided in your neighborhood?

    The key element here isn’t me and my hypothetical gun, it’s the criminal who you think should be free to continue about his business. If he didn’t feel the need to take what he has no right to take, there would be no issues.

  35. Tyrell says:

    @JKB: Does the “reasonable suspicion” guide come into play here? I wonder about the Cleveland kidnappings and why police and the people around there did not have “reasonable suspicion” that there was something illegal going on in the home of A. Castro. A house that has boarded up windows and someone is still living there? That is enough “reasonable suspicion” send in the local school safety patrol. Add to the fact of missing women in that area and people should have checked this guy and his house out more.
    For a discourse, a funny one, on reasonable suspicion, go to “The Gauntlet” motorcycle scene.
    One of the best dialogues in movie history.

  36. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Since you asked…

    This is all for a car, right? Well I’m calling the cops after I get my wife and the cats to the other side of the house. When I see you brandishing a weapon right outside of my house I call again to tell them there’s a kook outside waving a pistol at some kid. If your bullet goes into one of my neighbors I’m working to take you down by encumbering you with a non-dischargable debt that’ll ensure you’re forever penniless as an example of what happens when a vigilante values stuff more dearly than life.

    Was it worth it?

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: So, you value more the thief (I never specified an age) and his right to steal more than my right to defend my property?

    How about I just pull the gun and tell him to break into your house instead, because you don’t believe in defending yourself as much as I do?

    Lemme give your neighbor one of these signs…

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: I’m working to take you down by encumbering you with a non-dischargable debt that’ll ensure you’re forever penniless as an example of what happens when a vigilante values stuff more dearly than life.

    So simplistic, and so wrong.

    1) I value my right to keep my stuff more than I value the right of someone else to take my stuff.

    2) I value my safety over the safety of someone who threatens me to take my stuff.

  39. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The sign made me laugh, thanks. In this neighborhood its half life is 6 hours max before an HOA compliance person takes it away.

    Which is in a way sort of my point. This neighborhood is typical of gated Florida communities with reduced lot lines and houses bunched up much closer together than a rural situation. Shots go awry and neighbors die. In none of these discussions is there any concern expressed for the safety of everyone else.

    I’d like to remove you from the confrontation and instead place you on a business trip across country with your family left at home. Do your feelings about this change with strangers shooting it out over someone else’s car in front of your house?

  40. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Shorter Jenos: I get to shoot the bad guys, and if the bullet misses and hits you, well it’s your fault because you’re a liberal!

    Fortunately for all of us, the notion of little Jay facing down the baddies with a gun only takes place in his own imagination as he is safely swaddled in his footie pajamas…

  41. JohnMcC says:

    As I said above, the Tampa Bay Times did a thorough study of the cases in which Florda’s SYG law was applied. http://www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground-law/

    A selected summary of their results:
    Did the victim initiate the confrontation? yes-104 no-48 unk-83
    Was the victim armed? yes 73 no 106 unk 21
    Did the defendant pursue the victim? yes 70 no 119 unk 46
    Could the defendant have retreated? yes 135 no 36 unk 64
    Was the defendant on his/her own property? yes 69 no 166 unk 0

    There were cases cited. I’ll summarize in my own words one that made me decide to get a concealed carry permit: Man (prior felony arrests) thinks he sees another man breaking into his car. He shouts. Man runs. He chases and catches the assumed thief. They fight. Man pulls a knife and kills the victim. No sign that the car was tampered with is found.

    Killer walks. No trial.

    Lesson: Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

  42. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    1) I value my right to keep my stuff more than I value the right of someone else to take my stuff.

    2) I value my safety over the safety of someone who threatens me to take my stuff.

    Of course you do! Especially in the heat of the moment. Put me out there watching my car getting keyed or the windows smashed in: I feel the same thing. If that ever happens to either one of us let’s remember the car’s insured and it’s not worth it.

  43. stonetools says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Thanks. Appreciate it. Frankly, I don’t blame you for applying for a CCW. If Florida lets a bunch of dickheads with zero training and a need to play Marshall Dillon walk around with guns, then it makes sense to get your own, if only to protect yourself against the dickheads. Heaven knows, reading the comments of Jenos and JKB, I feel the need to get some dickhead protection myself. They plainly view Zimmerman as a hero for having the guts to pursue(sorry, “follow”) and shoot a 17 year old teenager for the crimes of walking while black and daring to successfully resist a member of the master race. If only Trayvon had his own gun, then he could have shot Zimmerman and then created his own narrative of “standing his ground” after being stalked by a “crazy ass cracker” whose actions led him to believe he might be in danger of grievous bodily harm.
    Of course , had he done that, I bet Jenos, JKB, Jazz Shaw, et al, wouldn’t be quite so gung ho for SYG. It matters who is “standing his ground”, after all.
    Just remember, John, if you shoot somebody, “leave no witnesses” to muck up the narrative.

    It’d be a much better world for us all if we could follow the example of, say, the English. If not ever the average policeman felt the need for a pistol.

    Yeah, those crazy Brits. And Australians, Germans, Canadians, Japanese, Dutch, et al. What do they know, eh?

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: Dammit, I had a truly brutal comeback, and you went and got all polite. How the hell do you expect to survive around here if you’re gonna act like that?

    Anyway….

    If that ever happens to either one of us let’s remember the car’s insured and it’s not worth it.

    So the car’s insured. I still have to go through all the hassle of dealing with the insurance company, replacing the stuff, fixing the car, and then probably higher insurance rates. Because some jackhole decided he wanted my stuff.

    Also, the chain of events you’re positing is based on a whole chain of conditionals. I started off with “i find guy busting into my car and yell at him to stop.” Yes, I took it to IF he chooses to threaten me, and IF he doesn’t back down/run away when I draw, but you tossed in “stray shot hits your house.”

    I’m no lawyer, but there’s a legal principle called “felony murder.” It says that if you are committing a felony and someone is killed in the process, you’re legally liable. Even if you’re robbing a bank and your partner gets shot and killed by the cops, you can be charged with his death. I agree with that principle, and under it in this case the would-be thief would be legally responsible for any injuries caused as a result of his criminal conduct. I dunno if the law reflects that, but I agree with it.

    Morally, it’s arguable. And I’d feel like hell over it. But again, it was the criminal’s choices that drove the events.

  45. JohnMcC says:

    @stonetools: Late in this thread to make a comment, but when you wrote that if Trayvon had been packing he could have killed George Zimmerman and that then our right-wing friends here would have had a different reaction to the SYG laws, I was reminded that once upon a time so-called-conservatives were strongly in favor of gun control. That was right after armed Black Panthers had a demonstration (now-a-days called the ‘Alaska Carry’ I think) inside the Capital Building of the State of California. That was an edifying moment for them. It’s the lead-off for this very informative article:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/