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Stand Your Ground
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Clinically Insane
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Jul 15, 2013, 11:38 PM
 
I'm curious...

From a purely philosophical standpoint, removed from any specific case.

If you are

1) In fear for your life.
2) Can safely flee
3) Are not in your home.

Should you be allowed to use deadly force?
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:46 AM
 
That's a tough thing to judge without specific circumstances, how do you know you can safely flee from a given situation?
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Jul 16, 2013, 01:11 AM
 
Because I said you could.

Let's not get into edge cases without considering the fundamental intent of not having a stand your ground law, i.e. if you can flee in this situation, the use of deadly force is not allowed.

For this consideration, I present an idealized construct. So idealized it can be abstracted into three requirements. The actual scenario is irrelevant as long as it fulfills said requirements.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 01:20 AM
 
Philosophically speaking I say yes. Practically speaking I'm skeptical. Because of that "elastic standard" that we call reasonable doubt.

OAW
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 01:24 AM
 
That sounds like you don't think deadly force outside your home should be allowed at all.

Am I misreading you?
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 02:10 AM
 
If I could safely leave a situation I wouldn't feel my life is in danger.
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Jul 16, 2013, 02:24 AM
 
To give an answer to your question: no, you should not be allowed to use deadly force if either you can flee safely or the perp is fleeing (e. g. a robber who has stolen your bag at gun point and is running away).

But I think I would edit your list: I don't think it matters whether you're at home or not, so I would simply delete 3). Moreover, I would add a stipulation that adds proportionality as a criterion.
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:16 PM
 
My position is basically what Shaddim said.

OAW
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
If I could safely leave a situation I wouldn't feel my life is in danger.
That's an excellent point I hadn't thought of.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
To give an answer to your question: no, you should not be allowed to use deadly force if either you can flee safely or the perp is fleeing (e. g. a robber who has stolen your bag at gun point and is running away).

But I think I would edit your list: I don't think it matters whether you're at home or not, so I would simply delete 3). Moreover, I would add a stipulation that adds proportionality as a criterion.
So many people disagree with you, eliminating number 3 actually complicates matters.

If I didn't put in that caveat, 90% of the people who answered "may not use deadly force" would switch it to "may use", because they want the privelige to put a cap in an intruder.

I'm staying away from proportionality at the moment because I want a simple set of criteria which can be responded to in binary terms without losing too much nuance. Proportionality starts to get into edge cases.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
1) In fear for your life.
2) Can safely flee

These do not go together.
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subego  (op)
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Jul 16, 2013, 02:35 PM
 
As I said to Shaddim, that's a good point.

Let's flip it around then. What's the point of stand your ground then?

Stand your ground says you don't need to flee, even if you could safely do so. The only time you can really safely do so is when your life is not in danger. If your life is not in danger you cannot use stand your ground as a defense.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 03:23 PM
 
I think it depends on whether you define safely as only 100% certain. That seems a little strict to me.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 03:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What's the point of stand your ground then?

Stand your ground says you don't need to flee, even if you could safely do so. The only time you can really safely do so is when your life is not in danger. If your life is not in danger you cannot use stand your ground as a defense.
Great question.
The law seems tailored for internet tough guys. Let's play it out:
Guy gets into a situation where things are getting scary.
He begins to fear for his life.
Realizes he can easily flee, saving himself and any violence that may occur.
Decides, "Gosh darnit, I shouldn't have to flee! This is my home/street/town/country! What will my neighbors/peers/buddies think if I get away without putting up a fight?"
Uses deadly force.

It bypasses logic, bypasses the court system, bypasses common decency. Hell, the person you shot doesn't even need to have a deadly weapon. You could, in theory, pick a fight, get your ass kicked, and fire a deadly shot at the end to finish things.

I'm really struggling here to figure out the real intent of this law. It's certainly not self-defense. Self defense is self preservation. Picking a fight doesn't fit. Escalating a conflict doesn't fit. More and more it's starting to stink of the "My home and my self are of paramount importance. If I even think that they are being threatened, I reserve the right to take away the lives of those I perceive as a threat." Considering the average ability to make judgement calls in this country, combined with a long history of racism, classism, sexism, etc, that's not an agreement I'm ok with.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 03:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
As I said to Shaddim, that's a good point.

Let's flip it around then. What's the point of stand your ground then?

Stand your ground says you don't need to flee, even if you could safely do so. The only time you can really safely do so is when your life is not in danger. If your life is not in danger you cannot use stand your ground as a defense.
The only circumstance I can think of where I could flee but I'd stand my ground, provided I wasn't at home, would be if a friend or loved one was in imminent danger and they couldn't get away.
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Jul 16, 2013, 04:00 PM
 
Also a good point. It goes outside the abstraction, but I consider that my fault. In the same way I added the "not at home" requirement to sharpen the focus as tightly as possible, it needs to be taken into account there isn't much philosophical difference* between "I am in fear for my life" and "I am in fear for another's life".


*At least in the abstract terms we're dealing with here.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 05:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
As I said to Shaddim, that's a good point.

Let's flip it around then. What's the point of stand your ground then?

Stand your ground says you don't need to flee, even if you could safely do so. The only time you can really safely do so is when your life is not in danger. If your life is not in danger you cannot use stand your ground as a defense.
You should not be allowed to use deadly force, or if you do, there should not be a law backing up you killing someone without some sort of verification of justified self defence. From what little I have read about the trial, this does not to me seem justified.

As a paid up member of the internet tough guy club, I'm ashamed to admit that when I had guns pointed at me (by cops) I became extremely cooperative.
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Jul 17, 2013, 02:18 AM
 
@Demonhood
Very clever post.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
So many people disagree with you, eliminating number 3 actually complicates matters.
What do you mean so many? I think you were the first to comment on that bit. And even if »so many did«, it doesn't make my statement wrong.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm staying away from proportionality at the moment because I want a simple set of criteria which can be responded to in binary terms without losing too much nuance. Proportionality starts to get into edge cases.
Without proportionality, simple becomes simplistic. When you are in a fist fight, taking out a gun and shooting the other person should not be a legitimate form of self-defense.

Right now, Stand Your Ground seems like an extraneous addition to other laws which already regulate what constitutes self-defense and what doesn't.
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Jul 17, 2013, 02:57 AM
 
I've seen physical altercations where one of the people didn't stop and the other ended up dead. It's not always "just a fist fight".

If I can leave a bad situation, I will, and have. If someone has broken into my home, however, I won't stay out of the way or run if my family is in potential danger. If I can shoot and kill the intruder, I will.
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Jul 17, 2013, 08:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
...
3) Are not in your home.
...
What if you're homeless! Maybe the stand your ground laws are to protect the homeless?
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 08:19 AM
 
I would add some way to specify that you weren't the one to put your life in danger in the first place though.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 10:23 AM
 
I found this, more to follow

U.S. Supreme Court
Beard v. United States, 158 U.S. 550 (1895)

Beard v. United States

No. 542

Submitted March 13, 1895


Decided May 27, 1895

158 U.S. 550

Syllabus

A man assailed on his own grounds, without provocation, by a person armed with a deadly weapon and apparently seeking his life is not obliged to retreat, but may stand his ground and defend himself with such means as are within his control; and so long as there is no intent on his part to kill his antagonist, and no purpose of doing anything beyond what is necessary to save his own life, is not guilty of murder or manslaughter if death results to his antagonist from a blow given him under such circumstances.

The case is stated in the opinion.

THE LONG VERSION:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...=158&invol=550
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 11:04 AM
 
"A man assailed on his own grounds, without provocation, by a person armed with a deadly weapon "
Those are a fairly stringent set of requirements to meet. I believe the criteria in the OP were meant to avoid this being applicable.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 11:17 AM
 
I thought that anything on your own property was already covered under traditional self-defense, and the only thing SYG changed was to extend that to every other place.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 11:48 AM
 
I think this is more to the point:

so long as there is no intent on his part to kill his antagonist, and no purpose of doing anything beyond what is necessary to save his own life, is not guilty of murder or manslaughter if death results to his antagonist from a blow given him under such circumstances.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 01:14 PM
 
"without provocation" is critical otherwise you can abuse it by initialing a conflict and then losing.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 01:44 PM
 
Stand your ground is more about if you DO kill someone you won't be charged. That is why Zimmerman's lawyers didn't use that defense in court.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 02:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What do you mean so many? I think you were the first to comment on that bit. And even if »so many did«, it doesn't make my statement wrong.
So many as in "so many in this forum", not "so many in this thread".

Likewise, I think you may believe I intend to keep number 3 because of you being "wrong". While I do disagree with you, that's not my rationale for its inclusion.

The point is purely one of narrowing focus. If we eliminate 3, then the discussion becomes focused on those who feel you can behave differently when on your property.

That's a totally legit discussion, but it's a different discussion, and is going to drag us away from the topic.

All I intend to do is eliminate a variable for purposes of analysis. I'm not trying to say that variable doesn't exist.


Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Without proportionality, simple becomes simplistic. When you are in a fist fight, taking out a gun and shooting the other person should not be a legitimate form of self-defense.

Right now, Stand Your Ground seems like an extraneous addition to other laws which already regulate what constitutes self-defense and what doesn't.
This is the same. I'm not saying proportionality is meaningless, I'm saying it adds another variable. However unlike the variable above, which is really a separate question entirely, the variable of proportionality is directly related.

I fully intend to add variables, but frankly, people are giving such awesome answers without them, I'm not convinced now is the time to start adding them.

Let's make out a little more first, then you can touch the hoo-haa.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 03:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Stand your ground is more about if you DO kill someone you won't be charged. That is why Zimmerman's lawyers didn't use that defense in court.
Stand Your Ground is part of the self-defense statute in the state of Florida. It's applicable whether one is charged or not. This is why its verbiage was included in the instructions given to the Zimmerman jury. The GZ defense team chose not to invoke SYG in a pre-trial immunity hearing before the judge because GZ would have had the burden to prove he acted lawfully based upon a "preponderance of the evidence". Instead, they waived that and went to trial where the prosecution had the burden to prove "beyond a reasonable" doubt that GZ did not act in self-defense.

IOW ... the defense realized that GZ could not withstand cross examination during a pre-trial immunity hearing due to his many conflicting and inconsistent statements. So they made a strategic gamble that they would be better off with the jury trial than with the judge. Clearly it paid off.

OAW
     
subego  (op)
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Jul 17, 2013, 03:18 PM
 
Hey y'all. We've got a thread for this already.
     
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Jul 17, 2013, 03:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
IOW ... the defense realized that GZ could not withstand cross examination during a pre-trial immunity hearing due to his many conflicting and inconsistent statements. So they made a strategic gamble that they would be better off with the jury trial than with the judge. Clearly it paid off.
Said absolutely no criminal defense attorney (that isn't some pandering jackass) after a cursory examination of the available evidence.

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Jul 18, 2013, 02:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Hey y'all. We've got a thread for this already.
Word.
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Jul 18, 2013, 03:47 AM
 
Okay. I'm rewriting the question based on Demonhood's post.

If you are...

1) In fear of harm
2) Can safely flee
3) Armed
4) Not at home

Are you obligated to flee?
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 08:08 AM
 
Yes, harm != death
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 09:46 AM
 
Obviously, there was a need for stand your ground laws or they wouldn't have been passed in so many states, some very recently. From a casual look at it, it appears that they are most useful to victims of domestic violence, and in many cases minority victims of domestic violence. So the circumstances of the prosecutions of these folks should be a good guide as to what's different about these laws that makes them necessary.
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Jul 18, 2013, 11:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
what's different about these laws
There's a fairly recent "social club" for legislatures were they go on fun trips to exotic places and meat interesting people. Strangely there aren't any dues and they all come back with nearly identical legislation they submit to their state legislature.
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay. I'm rewriting the question based on Demonhood's post.

If you are...

1) In fear of harm
2) Can safely flee
3) Armed
4) Not at home

Are you obligated to flee?
Change that to "4) Not at home, in your place of business, or in your vehicle" ... and then my answer is YES.

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
Obviously, there was a need for stand your ground laws or they wouldn't have been passed in so many states, some very recently. From a casual look at it, it appears that they are most useful to victims of domestic violence, and in many cases minority victims of domestic violence. So the circumstances of the prosecutions of these folks should be a good guide as to what's different about these laws that makes them necessary.
Most domestic violence occurs in the home. SYG has nothing to do with that. Defending oneself in the home is already covered by the Castle Doctrine.

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
There's a fairly recent "social club" for legislatures were they go on fun trips to exotic places and meat interesting people. Strangely there aren't any dues and they all come back with nearly identical legislation they submit to their state legislature.
Otherwise known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Change that to "4) Not at home, in your place of business, or in your vehicle" ... and then my answer is YES.

OAW
Why not in your vehicle?
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:33 PM
 
Fleeing in a vehicle can be very dangerous to innocent bystanders. It can also result in injury and/or death to the driver. Ask yourself this ... you have a CCL and keep a firearm in your car. You're at a red light. Car pulls up behind you and a guy gets out, approaches your window with a gun in an attempt a carjacking. Yeah I suppose you could speed off through the red light into the intersection. And assuming the guy doesn't shoot you through the window there's still a good chance you could get broadsided by a truck or hit a pedestrian crossing the street. I guess philosophically I don't think there should be a duty to retreat in your home, car, or place of business. Even though your car is on the public roads ... inside that car is private space. Understand where I'm coming from?

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:44 PM
 
I do, and as it narrows focus, I approve, but is that how carjackings go down? I would assume if your victim is impeded from forward movement, you're similarly impeded in your escape.
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I do, and as it narrows focus, I approve, but is that how carjackings go down? I would assume if your victim is impeded from forward movement, you're similarly impeded in your escape.
Sometimes. If it's a crew one car will stop in front of you while another comes up from behind to box you in. But in many instances it's just a few guys in one car trying to catch you slipping.

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 08:57 PM
 
If its a car jacking just get out of the car. Its easier all around. But if I was a juror I would consider the car the same as a house in that situation.
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
If its a car jacking just get out of the car. Its easier all around. But if I was a juror I would consider the car the same as a house in that situation.
This was sound advice at one point in time. But when fools started killing people even after they gave up the car that approach is somewhat iffy at best.

OAW
     
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Jul 18, 2013, 09:25 PM
 
Perhaps I live in a fool's paradise, but I feel car beats gun.
     
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Jul 19, 2013, 12:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
This was sound advice at one point in time. But when fools started killing people even after they gave up the car that approach is somewhat iffy at best.
OAW
This I had not heard. I live in the land of unlocked doors.


Originally Posted by subego View Post
Perhaps I live in a fool's paradise, but I feel car beats gun.
bullet > glass
     
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Jul 19, 2013, 12:30 AM
 
Duck!
     
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Jul 19, 2013, 08:48 AM
 
Technically, (legally, anyway) "use of deadly force" does not necessarily mean "shoot the bastard." It can mean "employing a deadly weapon without discharging it," as in pointing a gun at the threatening individual. And such use is so exceptionally situation-dependent that it is not a good candidate for any hard and fast rules.

I was taught to prevent situations from becoming serious by leaving. That's easy to say, but how can you tell that the guy "following you" is actually following you? That leads to tactic number two: go to a public place. Stepping into a very public place is a great way to change the dynamic of a potentially dangerous situation. But what if that same guy starts following you again after you've tried to end the issue? Is there a reason to let a threatening individual prevail and make a law-abiding citizen continue to fear for his or her life? The answer to that is a big, fat "maybe."

I think the Attorney General and the President are wrong in blaming "stand your ground" statutes for shootings. There's substantial evidence that making self defense statutes broader, providing for legal use of force in more situations, having made a serious impact on the dramatic reduction in violent crime over the past decades. But the 24 hour news cycle makes it seem like people are wandering around shooting people for "looking at them funny" on a daily basis. The events in Florida are an extreme exception to any application of the "stand your ground" principle.

I personally would be hard pressed to answer how I might react if I felt I was in a situation like that described in the original post. But I want people who plan to victimize others to know that it is a real, serious, and LEGAL possibility that they might wind up being on the losing end of their actions because citizens have the legal right to defend themselves.

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Jul 24, 2013, 06:53 PM
 
Does this legalize gang fights?
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