You must defend what is lawfully yours. But the question is – to what extent? Does the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law give us freedom to protect ourselves as we see fit or does it give common people the license to kill, provoked or unprovoked? It is a crucial point of debate.
The ‘Stand your Ground’ law is a self-defense law that allows people to protect what is rightfully theirs. It has been applied in some states to its fullest, where any kind of violence or attack against an individual or his/her property deems a defensive action. This law was passed quite recently, in 2005 and has been in the spotlight ever since. People are debating whether to adopt it in its entirety or trim it to suit the needs of individuals and the state.
The most fundamental problem with this law is the rise in completely justifiable homicide rates. People are attacking and even killing others just on the basis of an assumed attack on themselves, their family or their property. This has led to a rather blurred line between what can be termed justifiable and unjustifiable/ unreasonable attack. Proving that a violent act was in self-defense has become easier because of this law.
This has led to a rise in acquisition and ownership of dangerous arms. Which adds to the problem of gun violence and its impact on young kids. The attacks on college, schools and even work places is a clear indicator of the exponential rise in violence among people, and critics believe this to be a result of laws like ‘Stand Your Ground’.
This law has been called as the “shoot first” law by many of its critics. This means that an individual does not ask questions or seek explanations before taking a measure as extreme as attacking another person. This eliminates any space for reasonable discussion of motive or reason; thus eliminating any chance of gathering evidence that the accused were in fact protecting themselves or looking for an excuse to attach others.
‘Stand Your Ground’ has also seen complaints from officials in the protection services and police force saying that instead of reducing their workload, it has doubled it, because of the frequent tussles and squabbles, and serious violent acts in neighborhoods.
Complications of a serious nature can also arise with this law, like discriminating people on the basis of race or religion or belief. People can use the self-defense law as a cover for acting out their deepest and darkest motives.
This law makes it difficult for people to trust others, thus erasing any and all kinds of community bonding. People will be scared of mistakenly venturing into another’s lawn or playing in their yard or even going over to greet neighbors, thanks to the unreasonable tenets of this law.
Another inherent problem is that with the support if this law, people will take things in their own hands, which might mean taking the problem a tad too far. Where an intrusion could have stopped at a fist fight or verbal abuse, now people will be worried about death and fatal attacks.
In a bid to make people feel more protected, this law leads them to becoming manic worriers who will constantly be scared of an attack on their lives and will view everyone else as a predator.