Self defense now illegal?

To the Editor:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants a "review" (i.e. repeal) of so-called Stand Your Ground laws. Are we going to accord thugs and criminals privilege over law-abiding citizens?

According to the Washington Post, Eric Holder claimed, in a speech to the NAACP, that the so-called Stand Your Ground statutes, currently enacted in more than 30 states, "senselessly expand the concept of self-defense". I guess he'd be more comfortable with laws that give more rights to prospective assailants than to the victims. Holder's speech to the NAACP produced cheers when he promised to go after these statutes.

Incidentally, the NAACP and other "civil rights leaders" are encouraging AG Holder and Pres. Obama to go after George Zimmerman, whom a jury found not guilty of Murder in the 2nd Degree and Manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin, for civil rights violations based on the fact that Trayvon was black and that Zimmerman is a "white Hispanic" who pursued and shot him for no other reason than that Zimmerman is a racist that hates blacks. Intentionally overlooked are two important factors: 1) race was never introduced as a factor in the trial. In fact, the only mention of Mr. Zimmerman's relations with blacks was that he often mentored black youth and had associations with several people in the black community. The testimony of more than 30 witnesses and an investigation by the FBI (a division of AG Holder's own DOJ) found zero evidence of racist activity or beliefs being held by Mr. Zimmerman ever in his life, and 2) subjecting Mr. Zimmerman to a Federal trial after he has already been exonerated amounts to "double jeopardy" i.e. being charged twice for the same crime, which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Pre-trial comments by many involved, on both sides, pleaded for there to simply be a hearing in court to determine the truth. That whatever the decision of the court, they'd be satisfied. They only wanted a "fair hearing". Apparently that only applies as long as the verdict comes down in their favor. If not, they can always count on such peace-loving individuals as the so-called "Reverends" Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to come to their rescue, establishing plans for "protests (riots?) in over 100 cities".

Yep. They're all for the rule of law, until something doesn't go their way. Then, it's "civil disobedience", protests, riots, and lawsuits (read, temper tantrums) until they get their way.

Getting back to Holder and his desire to get rid of Stand Your Ground, what he would accomplish by the repeal of such laws is the emboldenment of the criminal element and increased risk of harm to law-abiding individuals. In a nutshell, all Stand Your Ground laws say is that, in a situation where you are in a place you are legally entitled to be, pursuing activities you are legally allowed to do, if you are menaced by another individual and threatened with harm you do not have the legal obligation to run away. That's it. You have the right to defend yourself and your family from attack. Radical idea, huh?

I'll tell you what's radical: In some states that don't specifically have such laws on the books, if you are legally engaged in activity in a public place and some thug confronts you, you are legally required to leave the area. If there is a way out, you must take it. Your assailant has no obligation to leave you in peace. YOU have an obligation to give way to his/her belligerence.

I wonder what the result could possibly be to telling these punks that they are free to confront anyone, up to and perhaps including throwing the first punch, and they are protected from retaliation by their victim, provided they leave an avenue of escape?

Stand Your Ground isn't some radical idea promoted by people who want to return to some "wild west" version of life and "vigilante justice". It's an acknowledgement of man's universal, natural right to defense. Of his home, of his family, of himself. Every living organism shares this universal right. It doesn't come from government. It doesn't come from the State. It comes concurrent with the physical state of being alive and the primary obligation to protect, preserve, defend and live that life to the absolute best of your ability.

Lawrence Black

Danville, Vt.


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