Stand Your Ground (35 States) vs. Duty to Retreat (15 States)

But what exactly do these terms mean? [UPDATE: Sorry, had the numbers completely swapped in the original title; d'oh!]


The Ohio Legislature has just passed a bill that would move Ohio from "duty to retreat" to "stand your ground"; it's now in front of Gov. DeWine for signature. But what does that mean?

[A.] The "duty to retreat" is something of a misnomer (though a very common one); it's not actually a legally binding duty (the way a parent has a duty to support a minor child, or a driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving). Rather, it's a provision that, under certain circumstances, failing to retreat from a confrontation will effectively strip you of your right to use deadly force for self-defense.

To see how it works, let's first set aside situations where you may not use deadly force for self-defense regardless of whether you're in a stand your ground state:

  1. You generally can't use deadly force for self-defense in most states unless you reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury or some serious crime: rape, kidnapping or, in some states, robbery, burglary, or arson.
  2. In particular, you can't use deadly force purely in retaliation, once any threat has passed.
  3. Nor can you use deadly force against a simple assault, unless you reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury.
  4. You often can't use deadly force merely to protect property, but it's complicated.
  5. You generally can't use deadly force where you are yourself engaged in the commission of a crime (e.g., if you're robbing someone and he fights back, you can't "defend" yourself against him).
  6. You generally can't use deadly force if you attacked the victim or deliberately provoked the victim with the specific purpose of getting the victim to attack or threaten you.

Now let's set aside situations where you may use deadly force for self-defense, again regardless of whether you're in a stand your ground state:

  1. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc. (see above) and you can't retreat with complete safety. This would cover most situations where, for instance, you're facing an attacker who has a gun, since one generally can't safely retreat from a gun.
  2. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc. and you're in your home, or (in some states) on other property that you own or in your vehicle or in your workplace. At least the "home" aspect of this is often called the Castle Doctrine, on the theory that your home is your castle.

So what does that leave for the duty-to-retreat / stand-your-ground debate?

  1. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc.
  2. You're outside your home (or similar place).
  3. You're not committing a crime, and you aren't the initial aggressor, and (generally speaking) you are where you are legally entitled to be.
  4. In duty-to-retreat states, you are not legally allowed to use deadly force to defend himself if the jury concludes that you could have safely avoided the risk of death or serious bodily injury (or the other relevant crimes) by retreating with complete safety.
  5. In stand-your-ground states, you are legally allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself, regardless of whether the jury concludes that you could have safely avoided the risk of death etc. by retreating.

As best I can tell, the current rule is that 15 states, for now including Ohio, fall in the duty to retreat category, with the states being bunched up quite a bit geographically; the other 35 states are stand your ground:

Stand your ground (35 states plus PR, CNMI)
Duty to retreat except in your home (AR, MA, MD, ME, MN, NJ, NY, RI)
Duty to retreat except in your home or vehicle (OH)
Duty to retreat except in your home or workplace (CT, DE, HI, ND, NE)
Duty to retreat except in your home or vehicle or workplace (WI, GU)
Middle-ground approach (DC)
No settled rule (AS, VI)

Pennsylvania does impose a duty to retreat when you're faced with an attacker who is not displaying or using a weapon "readily or apparently capable of lethal use"; but since most threats of death or serious bodily injury tend to come from people who have such weapons, or are physically restraining you in a way that prevents a safe retreat, I view the Pennsylvania rule as being more on the stand-your-ground side.

The rule in federal cases seems to be ambiguous, and it is in D.C. as well. The D.C. formulation, for instance, is a "middle ground" that "imposes no duty to retreat, as it recognizes that, when faced with a real or apparent threat of serious bodily harm or death itself, the average person lacks the ability to reason in a restrained manner how best to save himself and whether it is safe to retreat," but "does permit the jury to consider whether a defendant, if he safely could have avoided further encounter by stepping back or walking away, was actually or apparently in imminent danger of bodily harm." Query what exactly that means.

Still, I think this reflects the general pattern:

  1. Over 2/3 majority of the states are stand-your-ground, and most of them took this view even before the recent spate of "stand your ground" statutes.
  2. There is however a significant minority in favor of a duty to retreat.
  3. Of course, none of this tells us what the right rule ought to be.

NEXT: Guidance on Filing Sealed Documents

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  1. The headline has 35 states as duty to retreat and 15 stand your ground.

    The infographic in the article has it the other way around.

    Something is not right here.

    1. The headline was wrong, sorry, fixed!

  2. Public self help is the sole factor that unifies all low crime jurisdictions. Some are religious, some secular, some rich, some poor, some authoritarian, some democratic. All have robust self help. The criminals fear the neighbors more than they fear the police.

    I support a duty to kill. All law abiding citizens should be armed and trained to use them in high school. If they fail to pull their weapon, and to safely shoot at a violent criminal, during a violent crime, mail them a fine of $100. Kill all violent criminals on the spot.

    Crime is the biggest failure of the lawyer profession, and of its agents, the police. They allow 15 million common law crimes, 5 million being violent. They allow a billion internet crimes. The lawyer profession is in utter failure in this most important function of government.

    1. No one believes you.

  3. Wish the headline (35 states duty to retreat) was right instead of the graphic (35 states stand your ground), but I think it is not.

    1. D’oh! Sorry, just spotted the error, fixed it.

  4. Of course, none of this tells us what the right rule ought to be. . . but it does tell us that federalism is alive and well (at least for this issue).

    It appears the differences closely align to state population density (with a couple of exceptions):

    1. The differences also closely align to being New England, which seems roughly as relevant as population density does. Puerto Rico, FL, and PA all have high population density but SYG laws. (PR changed this year, and PA changed this decade — both part of a much broader trend.)

    2. Interesting hypothesis. However, not well supported by the data.

      I pulled that list into a spreadsheet and matched it to a scoring of the states with stand-your-ground (0) vs duty-to-retreat (1 with intermediate scores for DC, OH, etc) and ran a regression analysis. Admittedly, it’s a quick and dirty analysis but the R-squared valued was only 13%. In other words, there’s a little bit of alignment but it’s not very close.

  5. No, of course there is no ‘right’ position with respect to a qualitative rule and a judgment call.

    But as I understand the law, a basic principle is that a person even when they are wronged is required to mitigate damages. That is, if for example an arsonist sets fire to your home you cannot just sit there and watch it burn to collect the insurance. You must call the fire department and try to save as much of it as possible.

    So in a situation where an individual can avoid shooting and wounding or killing another person without endangering themselve they should be required to do so. That is not an attack on gun rights, it is in defense of human rights.

    1. The contrary position is that, while the government cannot mandate resistance to criminals, it should never punish it; The refusal to submit to evil is a virtue, not a wrong.

      1. But what if your “resistance” was completely unnecessary in the first place and the resistor created the situation. I think the government has an interest in deterring vigilantes who unnecessarily create the need for themselves to use deadly force in the first place.

        1. A ‘vigilante’ would not fall under stand your ground in the first place.

          1. How do you explain George Zimmerman? If he was literally anywhere else, instead of on self-appointed “neighborhood watch” nothing bad would have befallen anyone.

            1. I wondered at the time, but never found out, if there were any more burglaries in that apartment community after he shot Trayvon.

              1. Who cares? Life is more valuable than property. I know this commentariat is filled with immoral people who think otherwise, but they are wrong. No acceptable moral system would countenance it. You would never get to that rule from the original position, because no one would want to risk their own life in case another thinks they harmed their stuff.

                1. As has been pointed out, “Stand your ground” requires everyone to get a gun, or else you end up unarmed and dead like Trayvon Martin, with only the guy with the gun alive to tell the tale. No wonder the gun manufacturers’ lobby is in favor of it.

                  1. Nah. The Trayvon’s of the world need to stop attacking people, then nobody would need a gun. You know, like how all we need to do is teach men not to rape or something, then rape will go away. But that’s a kind of Garden of Eden situation that’s impossible.

                    1. That is Zimmerman’s version of what happened. The guy with the gun.

                    2. It’s also the eye witness’s version of what happened, and the forensic evidence’s version of what happened.

                    3. Actual evidence doesn’t get in the way of a captcrisis opinion, remember that folks.

                    4. It’s also the eye witness’s version of what happened, and the forensic evidence’s version of what happened.

                      As usual, Brett distorts matters.

                      He also ignores that nothing would have happened if Zimmerman weren’t a gun-toting busybody.

                    5. And women wouldn’t be raped if they locked themselves in their bedrooms and never went out. Dressing in burkas would help, too.

                    6. Pointing a gun at someone is aggravated assault so surely you mean people like Zimmerman, right?

                  2. Hello, 35 stand your ground states, many have been that way from the start. Strangely enough, full of people who haven’t gotten a gun, and yet haven’t ended up dead like Martin.

                    Maybe because they also refrained from attacking somebody who did have a gun?

                2. Please, let me know what objective moral basis you build your moral foundation on, and why it is not acceptable to build moral choices different than your (yet to be revealed) system.

                  (never mind your false choice of life vs. property)

                  1. Rawls. No person in the original position would accept a rule where they could be killed merely because the potential killer believed they harmed stuff.

                    1. Rawls’ black box thought experiment of setting up a government based on you not knowing where you would stand within that system, is just that, a thought experiment.

                      So, I repeat, where is this objective moral foundation that one can’t be killed for “stuff”? I note downtread for you, that the government kills people for “stuff” all the time, and maintains a level of force that will be used to kill people for “stuff” if they try to take it. Works quite well as deterrence. Yet, even in our post-democratic America, it’s still there. People must accept it as legitimate I would think, don’t you?

                    2. I wouldn’t say that there are no circumstances ever in which someone can be killed for “stuff”, but to make that the rule rather than the extreme exception is to say that human life is no more valuable than stuff. Please tell me you don’t actually believe that.

                    3. Additional thought: property rights are the foundation of individual human rights. If you can’t own yourself, you can’t have any rights.

                    4. Krychek, but admitting that there is nuance and there are times that people can be killed for “stuff” and that it’s not a bright line, you’re accepting the premise.

                    5. Well, if the “stuff” is nuclear launch codes and the person trying to steal them is a terrorist who wants to nuke Manhattan, then I would make an exception. But just because I acknowledge the existence of rare exceptions doesn’t mean I can’t subscribe to a general rule that people shouldn’t be killed over “stuff”, because lives are far more valuable than stuff.

                      So, as a general rule, and rare exceptions notwithstanding, do you or don’t you agree that human life is more valuable than stuff, and people shouldn’t be killed over it?

                    6. Additional thought: property rights are the foundation of individual human rights. If you can’t own yourself, you can’t have any rights.

                      So I don’t own myself if I can’t morally kill people whenever I decide they might infringe on my stuff? Or my activities? Then isn’t every murder moral? This is getting into extreme Randian territory where the only moral act is the most selfish one. Rand was a bad person and so are her acolytes. Choosing a moral system that permits you to disregard the life and needs of others simply indicates sociopathy, not considered moral judgment.

                    7. LawGuy, don’t take a position someone makes, then make a extreme version of it. That’s what you did right there. It’s fallacious, and disingenuous.

                      So, again, your acceptable moral foundation that killing in defense of stuff should never be allowed has crumbled. You’ve built it on sand mon-frere.

                    8. don’t take a position someone makes, then make a extreme version of it. That’s what you did right there. It’s fallacious, and disingenuous.

                      It’s the logical implication of what you are arguing. If stuff is the foundation of human rights, and if the highest moral duty you have is to own yourself, why are you not morally justified in doing whatever you want to any other human whenever you believe your stuff is at risk. Or for that matter to gain more stuff?

                    9. Why wouldn’t this hypothetical person in the original position reason, “But all I have to do is refrain from going around attacking people and stealing stuff, and I’m not only safe from being shot by my victims, their shooting burglars and muggers makes me safer from burglars and muggers, too!”

                      Why does the original position prevent you from wanting a society where the law abiding are better off at the expense of criminals being worse off? Statistically, they’re more likely to be on the winning side of that equation, after all.

                    10. I don’t think that’s a fair phrasing to put to the original position to begin with, because i doubt most people are arguing some generalized ‘harm stuff’ criminality. Nor would someone in the original position consider it only from the perspective of the person killed, because otherwise no one would support any law enforcement action at all, since ‘i shouldn’t be killed’ would be the starting point of any such analysis (and all law enforcement risks death).

                      A better way to put the question to the original position would be something like ‘In what situations should inimical actions which have thus far only harmed property risk harm to the perpetrator of those harms?’

                      Of course, Rawls is kind of BS anyway, since no one is ever in the original position, and thus we can never actually know how someone in that position would answer. Might as well read tea leaves. Different people will reach different answers to the above question, and since none of them are actually in the original position, Rawls is useless at resolving moral questions. All answers via Rawls methodology depend on outside moral beliefs – it’s a method of confirming bias, not arriving at independent conclusions.

              2. So do you have any evidence that Martin was a burglar, or are you being a jackass?

                1. Trayvon Martin Suspended From School Three Times: Report

                  “The investigator later saw Martin mark a door with “W.T.F.” or “what the f–k,” the report said. When the school cop searched Martin’s backpack the next day looking for the graffiti marker, he reported he found women’s jewelry and a screwdriver described as a “burglary tool,” the report said.

                  According to the report, the 12 pieces of jewelry included silver wedding bands, earrings with diamonds and a watch. The investigator asked about the jewelry and “Martin replied it’s not mine. A friend gave it to me,” the report said.

                  He declined to name the friend. The jewelry was impounded and photos of the pieces were sent to Miami-Dade police, but Martin was only suspended for the graffiti. No evidence was ever released that the jewelry was stolen.”

                  Note the weasel words: No evidence was ever released.

                  Martin was a burglar. In fact, at the time he was shot, he was on suspension from school over the stolen goods found in his school locker.

                  Right from the beginning, when NBC doctored the 911 call to make Zimmerman sound like a racist, and they ran with years old photos of Martin to make him look like a cute kid rather than the crack smoking thug he really was, there’s been a concerted effort to replace the actual facts of this case with an elaborate fantasy.

                  A fantasy that lives to this day, despite falling apart in court.

            2. How do I explain Zimmerman? That wasn’t a stand your ground case in the first place. It was ordinary self defense: You can’t retreat with your attacker pounding your head into the pavement.

              Nor was Zimmerman a vigilante.

              The left have built up a remarkable work of fiction about what happened that night, but none of their fantasies held up in court.

              1. So you don’t agree that he could have just stayed home and no would have died?

                1. So your interpretation of stand your ground means that the person claiming it can never leave their house for any reason? How is that different from duty-to-retreat-except-in-home?

                  1. No my interpretation is that people unnecessarily insert themselves in situations such that it will inevitably come up. Zimmerman could have literally been doing anything else and no one would have died. He could have even been in that neighborhood walking around. He chose to appoint himself a watchman and get himself involved in a situation like this.

                    1. When you say that it’s “inevitable”, you are trying to make a distinction without a difference. You are saying that Zimmerman should have stayed home so that he wouldn’t have to defend himself. Or if he did walk around, he had to avoid all contact with anyone else who might theoretically be a threat.

                      Yes, Zimmerman could have been doing anything else. Under what legal or moral law was he compelled to be doing that anything else? What is your justification for restricting his right to walk around his own neighborhood or to talk to the people he saw?

                    2. What is your justification for restricting his right to walk around his own neighborhood or to talk to the people he saw?

                      That’s not what he was doing. He was sitting in his truck being a cop wannabe.

                    3. Distinction without a difference, bernard. Even assuming your description, what is your justification for prohibiting someone from sitting in his truck being a cop wannabe?

                2. Trayvon could have stayed home as well and he would still be alive.

                3. Thugvon could have stayed home too, and not doubled back to attack Zimmerman.

              2. Also, this was probably a mistake engaging with you on this topic. I forgot that you believe that stuff is more valuable than people and therefore your morals are extremely deficient in matters of life and death.

                1. I repeat: None of these fantasies held up in court. It was a quite ordinary, open and shut case of self defense, with no element of stand your ground.

                  1. Brett stick to is or ought, don’t jump between the two.

                    I know you’re pretty out and proud about shooting people to protect property is cool and good, I don’t know why you’re being cagey.

                  2. But he wouldn’t have needed to defend himself if he just didn’t engage with this watch thing at all. That’s the point.

                    1. How is that at all relevant, when ‘his watch thing’ was perfectly legal?

                      That’s no different from saying, “She wouldn’t have been raped if she had just dressed conservatively and not gone clubbing.”

                      The legally relevant point is that he wouldn’t have needed to defend himself if Martin hadn’t assaulted him.

                      Don’t tell people that they’re wrong to exercise their rights if it might lead to somebody attacking them. Tell people not to do the attacking!

                    2. “She wouldn’t have been raped if she had just dressed conservatively and not gone clubbing.”

                      Fuck you. That’s a completely bullshit comparison and you know it. It’s absolutely disgusting, but completely consistent with your depraved morals. You should be ashamed of yourself, but you probably have some kind of personality disorder where you can’t. In that sense I pity you.

                      There is a huge difference, morally speaking, (not that you understand those) between going out and having fun not hurting people and going out armed as a self-appointed watchman looking to “protect” people. The latter is looking for a fight.

                      Again. Fuck you. You are a bad person, and you should feel bad about this comparison.

                    3. No, it’s a perfectly valid comparison. Zimmerman was acting entirely lawfully, doing nothing he wasn’t fully entitled to do, and that you think he should have been hiding at home to avoid provoking a violent thug into attacking him, for the obnoxious offense of being on the sáme sidewalk means nothing except that your own moral judgment is bizarrely twisted.

                      Martin attacked Zimmerman. That he did that is NOT Zimmerman’s fault.

                    4. Are you saying being part of a community watch is unlawful and justifies another person assaulting and attempting to murder you?

                      Zimmerman had called 911 about 50 times over the prior 6 years and in all those cases he had NEVER laid hands or attempted to lay hands on any suspicious individuals. That was not how he operated. He merely observed and reported, and that is what he was doing when Trayvon Martin assaulted him.

                    5. Trayvon could have kept walking and not attacked Zimmerman and no one would have died.

                    6. Zimmerman was playing cop. It may be legal but it is not the same as being out at a club. Again. Fuck you. Please reconsider your morals, you deeply shitty person.

                    7. Bellmore, we don’t know which party initiated the physical altercation. We only know Zimmerman was behaving bizarrely which led to the confrontation…and at some point Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s defense also established Zimmerman was interested in fighting but he was a pussy. We also the Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges based on Zimmerman’s bizarre behavior that night. Bottom line—if you believe Zimmerman’s use of force was “reasonable” then you are a pussy like Zimmerman AND the 6 women on the jury that found his force reasonable.

                    8. “We also the Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges based on Zimmerman’s bizarre behavior that night.”

                      FBI records: Sanford police investigator felt pressured to arrest George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin shooting

                      “The lead Sanford police investigator who sought manslaughter charges against George Zimmerman told the FBI that a sergeant and two others officers tried to pressure him into making an arrest in the controversial case — even though he didn’t think there was enough evidence.

                      Sanford Police Officer Chris Serino first made headlines when evidence released in the case showed he sought manslaughter charges against Zimmerman even while his chief publicly said there was no probable cause to arrest him. But a document released late Thursday casts doubt on Serino’s prior sworn affidavit seeking criminal charges and raises questions about the credibility of the star law-enforcement witness in the murder case against Zimmerman for the shooting death of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.

                      Records released Thursday show that Barnes, a 25-year veteran of the department, told the FBI that he believed the black community would be “in an uproar” if Zimmerman was not charged. “The community will be satisfied if an arrest takes place,” the FBI quoted him saying. Barnes “felt the shooting was not racially motivated, but it was a man shooting an unarmed kid.””

                      IOW, the charges were for PR purposes.

                    9. Bellmore, ARREST!! Totally different from recommending charges as I know you are well aware. It’s amazing how dumb people become when it suits the result they desire—Trump shows that. Arrest in a manslaughter case often comes months after the incident. Read Serino’s report and you will agree with the manslaughter charges especially in light of Zimmerman lying on national TV.

                    10. Bullshit, LawTalkingGuy. You are blaming the victim and it’s just as reprehensible as blaming a rape victim. If anyone needs to reconsider their morals, it’s you.

                    11. “Zimmerman was playing cop. It may be legal but it is not the same as being out at a club. Again. Fuck you. Please reconsider your morals, you deeply shitty person.”

                      No, F YOU and the double standard you rode in on.

                      It is the same as being out at a club, in every relevant aspect. He was doing nothing he wasn’t legally entitled to do, and was assaulted over it, and that is the end of the relevant considerations.

                      People should never be told to refrain from exercising their rights to avoid assault. People should be told to refrain from assaulting people for exercising their rights.

                    12. Bellmore—Zimmerman is a proven liar and thus not credible. Once again—read the Sanford PD final report in which they recommended manslaughter charges due to Zimmerman’s bizarre behavior which created the toxic environment.

                2. “stuff is more valuable than people and therefore your morals are extremely deficient in matters of life and death.”

                  Wrong answer. It is ALWAYS the owner of the “stuff” that is asked if he believes that his “stuff” is more valuable than a life.

                  You’re asking the wrong person. The person STEALING the stuff has already made the determination that the “stuff” is more valuable than HIS life.

              3. I’m generally supportive of the concept of stand your ground in theory, but one problem it creates is that had Trayvon Martin also been armed, he could just as well have shot Zimmerman first and then claimed that *he* was standing *his* ground. And he’d have had a far better argument for it since he was basically walking down the street minding his own business when Zimmerman accosted him.

                1. That’s not what happened. Trayvon jumped Zimmerman, and started to beat him up. Maybe, just maybe, had Trayvon acted like a civilized human and talked to Zimmerman, this all could have been avoided as much as if Zimmerman was home playing Skyrim.

                  1. If Zimmerman wasn’t on self-appointed watch duty looking for trouble none of this would have happened at all.

                  2. Trayvon wasn’t required to talk to Zimmerman. Just because some busybody wants to talk to me doesn’t mean I have to talk to him. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was basically none of Zimmerman’s business why Martin was taking a walk.

                    What Martin knew at that moment was that he was being followed around by a white guy, and if you’re a black guy, being followed around by a white guy generally means something bad is about to happen. OK, so Martin may have been too quick to throw a punch, but isn’t he just as entitled to act in what he believed to be his own self defense as Zimmerman was?

                    1. Apparently you live in a world where sharing a sidewalk at night with a black man entitles him to attack you, and you have to either lie there and accept your well deserved beating, or hide at home avoiding sidewalks black men might use.

                      The majority of Americans don’t want to live in your world.

                    2. Oh, so you think all Zimmerman was doing was sharing a sidewalk? What color is the sky on your planet?

                    3. A white person being followed by a black person is statistically far more likely to be attacked than vice versa.

                      The fact is, Zimmerman, who was the elected community watch leader, saw an individual behaving suspiciously. He called the police and then proceeded to observe the individual so he could tell the police where he was.

                      Martin, then committed a totally unprovoked assault on Zimmerman, broke his nose, got on top of him and according to witnesses, pounded on him, MMA style and then repeatedly smashed Zimmerman’s head against the concrete. According to Zimmerman, Martin saw his gun and said he was going to kill him with it.

                      There is zero evidence to dispute any of this and there are eye witness, phone records and timeline, and forensic evidence to verify almost all of it.

                    4. The Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges because Zimmerman was a grossly incompetent watch “leader”.

                  3. Sure, but I don’t know why this is difficult for you to understand, but if Trayvon had acted civilized, and not attacked Zimmerman first, none of it would have happened. You can’t lie in wait in ambush, which is what Trayvon did, and call it “stand your ground.” Even in your own home, if you do that, courts have called it murder.

                    1. We don’t know which party initiated the physical altercation. We do know that Zimmerman initiated the incident and the Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges.

                    2. That is just not true. Trayvon attacked Zimmerman, and then when Zimmerman was getting his head pounded, and only then, after calling for help and with none coming, he shot Trayvon.

                    3. mad_kalak, you are simply wrong. Zimmerman is a known liar and he is not credible. He lied to a national TV audience about the whereabouts of his wife on the night of the incident…why would someone with nothing to hide lie on national TV??

                      Furthermore if you believe Zimmerman’s use of force was reasonable then that makes you a pussy like Zimmerman…the Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges because the men and women in the PD aren’t pussies like you apparently are.

                    4. Sebastian Cremmington

                      “The Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges because Zimmerman was a grossly incompetent watch “leader”.”

                      This is a complete falsehood. After an extensive investigation, Sanford PD Police Chief Bilk Lee told the State’s Attorney that they did not have evidence to make an arrest.

                      The lead investigator later sent a recommendation for negligent homicide, but he stated that he did not believe that there was evidence to support those charges and only sent it so the investigation could be continued The State’s Attorney found no grounds to file charges.

                    5. ARREST!!! There is simply no way you are as DUMB as you are pretending to be!!! Manslaughter defendants are often not arrested for months even up to a year!! Murder suspects are generally arrested. There was almost no evidence that Zimmerman murdered Martin but the manslaughter case was solid.

                2. “when Zimmerman accosted him.”

                  That’s one of those fantasies that didn’t stand up in court, but people just don’t want to give up. There’s no evidence that Zimmerman accosted Martin. Rather, the evidence is that Martin went back to attack Zimmerman.

                  1. That’s easier to believe when Zimmerman was the only witness who survived their confrontation.

                    1. Well, there were eye witnesses that saw the encounter, moreover, Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend noting to here his violent plans.

                      Plus a jury of your fellow citizens thought that it was self-defense.

                      Try again.

                    2. I say again: There were a lot of fantasies spun about what happened that night, to try to rationalize that Martin wasn’t in the wrong.

                      They were comprehensively refuted in court, but nobody seems to want to give them up.

                      Zimmerman acted lawfully. He didn’t confront Martin. Martin doubled back to attack him, unprovoked, and was shot in lawful self defense.

                      And this was proven in court.

                    3. Just to be clear, had I been on that jury I probably would have voted to acquit Zimmerman because I think there was plenty of reasonable doubt. That doesn’t mean he acted appropriately.

                      And, convicted or not, his life has been permanently ruined by the encounter, and I’m fine with that too. Being a busybody isn’t a crime, but there are collateral consequences.

                    4. The jury found Zimmerman’s force reasonable because the prosecution presented a murder case when at best it was a manslaughter case. Plus a high priced jury consultant got a biased witness on the jury. Bottom line—the prosecutors AND Crump and Sharpton should share blame for Zimmerman being found not guilty. Sanford PD wasn’t familiar with homicides so FL should have sent a state police to investigate because the suburban cops like the one who was at Parkland HS weren’t up to the challenge of a homicide investigation.

                    5. Remember that when Zimmerman explained what happened to the police, he had no idea if one, five, or even ten people had watched the whole thing from their windows (or even if a security camera on one of the units had captured it — although those were a bit rarer then).

                      Since he knew the police were on the way, he didn’t even know if the responding police officer had observed some of the event and had stayed back and called for backup upon realizing there was a gun involved and could counter his story with great credibility.

                      And, are we truly to believe that Zimmerman, after attacking Martin without justification and knowing that the police were on the way and that surrounding residents had likely just heard gunshots and would be looking out the window decided lay down on the pavement and smash his own head into it to create the injuries consistent with his “story”.

                      Only a complete idiot would make up a fake story like that knowing that there were very likely eyewitnesses who could easily counter the story. And, only a very bright person could come up with a fake story that matched all the evidence with just a few minutes to think about it. I don’t think Zimmerman’s IQ is either 80 or 145 so I find claims that he made up the story very, very suspect.

                    6. Zimmerman is a proven liar and so he isn’t credible. So why would someone lie on national TV as Zimmerman did if they had nothing to hide?? That said this clearly wasn’t a murder case so that is what throws most lay people off when discussing this case because generally people eventually charged with manslaughter aren’t treated by authorities like people suspected of murder. So Crump and Sharpton and the prosecutor are all guilty of malpractice for framing this as a murder case when at best it was a manslaughter case.

                    7. @mad_kalak

                      You wrote “Well, there were eye witnesses that saw the encounter,”

                      But that does not appear to be entirely true. As far as I can tell from the detailed descriptions of the trial, several witnesses only looked out when they hear gun shots — and did not see the “encounter” apart from that — and only one witness offered a rather ambiguous description of the “encounter.” Martin’s girlfriend’s testimony did not support Zimmerman’s case.

                      I am not criticizing the jury’s decision. I was simply pointing to the fact — and it still appears to be a fact — that Zimmerman was the only witness to the whole of the encounter.

                3. Martin had no grounds for shooting Zimmerman. Zimmerman did nothing to make Martin reasonably believe he was in imminent danger of death or grave bodily injury, until after he assaulted Zimmerman and Zimmerman pulled the gun in self defense.

                  By that time, Martin had forfeited any right to used deadly force, by assaulting and attempting to kill or seriously injure Zimmerman.

                  1. Nobody knows which party initiated the physical altercation…we just know both were interested in MMA and Zimmerman knew Martin was a teenager and Zimmerman knew he had a gun and had called the police.

                    1. We know that Zimmerman had injuries consistent with being beaten like a pinata, and Martin had scuffed knuckles and a fatal gunshot wound. That’s pretty consistent with Martin initiating the physical altercation.

                    2. Lol, Bellmore is a big pussy just like Zimmerman!!! That was why Zimmerman didn’t fight like a man after he initiated a confrontation—he’s a pussy that with his free hand when straight for his concealed gun instead of trying to push a teenager off or simply kick Martin in the groin.

                    3. If Martin was in fear for his life. why didn’t HE call the police or attempt to flee?

                      The evidence presented during the trial proved that Martin very easily could have made it safely to his father’s fiance’s home, where he was staying, but turned back to confront Zimmerman.

                      Also, regardless of Zimmerman’s interest in MMA (his instructor testified that he almost no skill in it) eye witnesses testified that Martin was on top on Zimmerman and raining blows on him and pounding his head into the concrete, while Zimmerman yelled for help.

                      Zimmerman had a broken nose, swelling to his head and lacerations on the back of his head from the attack.

                      The only injuries found on Martin’s body were wounds on his knuckles and the gun shot wound.

                    4. You are a big pussy if you agree with the jury of 6 women that Zimmerman’s force was reasonable. The jury consultant won the trial at voir dire by getting 6 women including 1 that was biased.

            3. You are very misinformed on the Zimmerman case. He was not “self-appointed” but the elected head of the community watch group.

              When Trayvon Martin ambushed him, assaulted and attempted to kill him, he was merely trying to observe a suspicious individual from a distance and report his whereabouts to the police.

              1. Oh wow he was elected by a bunch of other busybodies. Great moral defense there.

                1. It doesn’t matter because Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges because Zimmerman was grossly incompetent in executing his watch duties.

                  1. No, they recommended charges to calm down the local black community, despite knowing they didn’t have evidence to convict.

                    1. Wrong, you are a liar just like you pussy heroes—Trump and Zimmerman.

                2. Busybodies? Neighborhood watch members have generally been considered civic minded volunteers, who give their time to make their communities safer.

                  The tradition started in response to notorious cases of community apathy, most notably the Kitty Genovese murder.

            4. Zimmerman’s actions did not fall under a Stand Your Ground law. His claim, since he was being beaten by Martin, was one of self-defense.

              Normally, if you get into a physical altercation with someone and YOU initiated the brouhaha, you cannot then use deadly force. However, if the other person initiates physical contact, you are entitled to use deadly force when in the throes of physical battle and fearing for your life. Stand Your Ground has absolutely nothing to do with that.

              Zimmerman’s actions fall under the latter.

              What he did prior to Martin initiating physical contact is immaterial.

              1. Wrong, manslaughter takes into the behavior of the parties leading up to the physical altercation—this incident is an example of two idiots crossing paths and one ends up dead…clear case of manslaughter in which a competent prosecutor probably puts Zimmerman in prison for a year or two and then Zimmerman’s life would probably be better than it is now.

            5. Kindly explain how being the eyes and ears of your community is somehow deserving of having yourself knocked to the ground and having your ears grabbing in the process of beating the back of your skull into the pavement.

              Zim was doing nothing immoral, threatening or illegal prior to this incident. The angry idjit who died “keepin’ it real” was solely the cause of his own demise.

              1. Read the Sanford PD report which recommended manslaughter charges—Zimmerman was behaving bizarrely that night which created the tense environment.

              2. “Kindly explain how being the eyes and ears of your community is somehow deserving of having yourself knocked to the ground and having your ears grabbing in the process of beating the back of your skull into the pavement.”

                It is part of white privilege.

            6. This is why it is difficult to have a discussion about Zimmerman. Folk like lawtalkingguy makes comments and he has no idea as to what actually happened.

              At the time he was shot by George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin was already a suspected serial burglar, stolen gun trafficker, and multiple drug abuser with a self-documented history of committing violence against other people, and enjoying it. It is nothing more or less than a statement of absolute fact to describe Trayvon Martin as matching the dictionary definition of a “thug” well before he ever encountered George Zimmerman.

              George Zimmerman was on his way to the store when he noticed a figure in the rain lurking outside the window of a home in his community which had just recently been burglarized. This is very suspicious activity, and Zimmerman called the police dispatcher and followed the suspicious character from a distance while relaying information to the dispatcher, including when asked that he was unsure of the race of the individual.

              When that figure noticed Zimmerman following him in his truck at a distance, he sprinted away between buildings, and quickly disappeared in the dark. Zimmerman left his truck in a vain effort to keep the suspicious person in sight for responding officers, but gave up his attempt when the dispatcher told Zimmerman “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman then walked to the next cross street to provide the dispatcher the address of the last known location of the suspicious person, hung up his phone, and began walking back to his truck.

              The first part of the whole Martin-Zimmerman incident was over when Martin was standing safe in front of his home, and Zimmerman broke of to return to his truck to meet the police. More than four minutes had passed since Trayvon Martin ran away.

              The second part of the whole M-Z incident was initiated by Martin when he CHOSE to double back, confront and assault Zimmerman. Trying to blame Zimmerman for that decision is pure dishonesty.

              Out of the darkness, Trayvon Martin came up behind George Zimmerman, and said “what you followin’ me fo’?”

              Martin then sucker punched Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, mounted him like an MMA fighter, and began raining down blows along with smashing his head back into the concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman repeatedly cried for help from his neighbors, and while several called 911 at some point in the fight, only one man stepped out briefly to yell at Martin to stop attacking Zimmerman, but he offered no help in stopping the attack. Rachel Jeantel, the girl who was on the phone with Martin, later said in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN that she believed Martin thought Zimmerman might be gay, rendering the attack a gay-bashing.

              After enduring an attack estimated at more than 40 seconds in length Zimmerman drew his pistol and fired one shot in self defense. It was later proven in court that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense. The use-of-force expert who testified during the trial said that he was surprised that Zimmerman waited as long as he did to draw his gun and fire upon Martin, and that he would have been justified in doing so much earlier.

              George Zimmerman was reacting to suspicious behavior, and did not know or care about the race of the person he was following. He did not initiate contact, and did not fire until well after he was attacked and well after he was legally justified in using his gun in self-defense. He did nothing criminally wrong the night he was forced to shoot Trayvon Martin, and only made the tactical mistake of leaving his vehicle and exposing himself to attack from a violent young predator.

              The facts are in. The jury decided correctly based upon those facts. It is up to each individual whether to accept the clear facts, or stand on illogical emotion. Standing on emotion means helping perpetuate the race problem. Yes, it is sad that Martin was killed in this incident, but the facts show that he wantonly attacked Zimmerman, and Zimmerman had every right to defend himself against this unlawful, felonious, and deadly aggression.

              1. Zimmerman lied on national TV so he isn’t credible. If you read the Sanford PD report that recommended manslaughter charges you would find out Zimmerman was the worst junior detective on the planet and his behavior was simply bizarre that night…until we found out after the trial Zimmerman’s wife left him the night before.

                Furthermore if you read about the jury you would come away thinking one of the 6 women was biased which is more malpractice by the prosecution…which unethically overcharged Zimmerman with murder.

                1. Sebastian was unable to offer a single refutation of anything that I posted. He went off in multiple directions that have nothing to do with the incidents of that night. We know why.

        2. I think the government has an interest in deterring vigilantes who unnecessarily create the need for themselves to use deadly force in the first place.

          Already taken care of:

          You generally can’t use deadly force if you attacked the victim or deliberately provoked the victim with the specific purpose of getting the victim to attack or threaten you.

          1. Provoke can be interpreted pretty narrowly though. I mean you don’t necessarily have to provoke anyone to still be injecting yourself into situations that might end up in violence, where if you weren’t there at all, there would have been no violence in the first place.

            1. “Whoso meddleth in strife not his shall be like he who taketh a passing dog by the ears.”

            2. “There” being a public street.

              1. Yeah, just because something is public doesn’t mean I HAVE to be there with a gun “patrolling” I can make better choices that don’t result in me being hurt and a kid being killed.

                1. Look, nobody shares your belief in a moral duty to hide at home in order to avoid ‘provoking’ criminals into attacking us.

                  If somebody is in a place they’re entitled to be, acting lawfully, and they’re attacked, it’s the attacker’s fault. Period.

                  1. No I think we have a moral duty not to put ourselves in situations where we get to use violence against others in defense of stuff. People carrying guns are anticipating and ready to use violence.

                    You think stereos are more valuable than people. Don’t lecture me on morals. You clearly don’t have them.

                    1. That’s right, Trayvon shouldn’t have attacked Zimmerman. Totally. And not just for “stuff”, but for the offence of “following him” or possibly “being creepy”, which are even LESS valuable than a human life.

                      Do you see how silly you look here?

                    2. We don’t know which party started the physical altercation. We do know according to the lead detective Zimmerman “profiled” Martin and got the profile wrong. So we know right off the bat it was a botched “profile” of a gang member.

                      Btw, you people have the worst heroes—W Bush and Dennis Hastert and Zimmerman and Trump…have you considered finding a new hobby??

                    3. Again, we do know, because Zimmerman had multiple injuries consistent with being beat up, and the only injuries Martin had were scuffed knuckles and the gunshot wound.

                      I don’t care if you’re enough of a lunatic to think that Zimmerman viciously beat Martin about the fists with his face before shooting him. Any rational person looks at the evidence and concludes that Martin was the attacker.

                    4. Bellmore—you are an idiot. Zimmerman is not credible but we know he was interested in MMA and he wanted to be a hero. We don’t know which party started the scuffle only that Zimmerman is a pussy that was interested in fighting.

                  2. So you don’t think carrying a concealed weapon AND being neighborhood watch carries any moral duty?? Because the Sanford PD recommended manslaughter charges in part because Zimmerman was grossly incompetent in executing said duty.

                    1. The Sanford PD recommended NO charges against Zimmerman. They found that he acted lawfully, in self defense.

                      It was only after pressure from the pro-criminal, anti-self defense Left, that a special prosecutor was appointed and the witch hunt against Zimmerman commenced. The jury acquitted him on all charges.

                    2. Wrong, they recommended manslaughter charges. People don’t understand that people being charged with manslaughter often walk around for months without being arrested and booked. So I remember reading about a drunk driver that killed someone going the wrong way not being arrested for almost a year.

                    3. They did NOT recommend manslaughter charges. Do some research. The Chief of Police said there was no probable cause to make an arrest, The lead investigator later sent a recommendation of negligent manslaughter, but he made it clear that this was a formality to allow the investigation to continue. He later stated that there was no evidence to support a manslaughter charge.

                      Did you watch the trial? I watched nearly all of it. Prosecution witnesses were helping the defense’s case. If the defense rested without presenting any evidence, Zimmerman still likely would have been acquitted.

                      Zimmerman did not have a legal responsibility the absolutely most cautious and reasonable thing. He was perfectly within his rights to report the suspicious individual and to keep an eye on him.

                      When Martin attacked him, Zimmerman was complying with the suggestion of the 911 dispatcher to not follow Martin and was headed back to his vehicle.

                      There was absolutely no justification of Martin’s vicious assault on Zimmerman.

                      The eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence, phone records, and timeline evidence all supported Zimmerman’s version of the story and no evidence was presented to refute any aspect of it.

                      The facts and the law were both clearly on his side.

                    4. You are not this dumb!! You are conflating “arrest” with pressing manslaughter charges. The issue Sanford PD had was the phone call witness was being withheld from them by Crump, so had the phone witness been a thug then Martin might have been up to no good but the phone witness ended up strengthening the manslaughter case. Furthermore Zimmerman lied on national TV which means he is not credible and people generally lie when they are hiding something.

                2. And what is the public’s recourse then, if, as was the state of play in this neighborhood, the police had demonstrated an inability to police.

                  1. Actually the lead investigator asked why Zimmerman believed “they always get away” when the guys he spotted actually got busted…but Zimmerman didn’t get the credit. So the lead investigator believed Zimmerman wanted to be seen as a hero…and only after the trial did it come out that Zimmerman’s wife left him the night before so Zimmerman wanted to be a hero to win back his wife. So that is why Zimmerman behaved so bizarrely that night.

    2. The issue is, the “duty to retreat” basically means you have to run away if threatened with deadly force. Let’s give a few examples.

      1. You’re a security guard, out, walking to work, with your firearm. A thug with a knife brandishes it at you, attempting to rob you. You have a duty to “run away” if you can. Attempting use your firearm is actually illegal. If you show it, and the thug then closes with you, you’re not actually allowed to use it legally if you can run away.

      2. You’re driving your grandmother home from church. When you get near her house, you see two thugs with gasoline and a lighter starting up a fire to burn down her house. You get your gun out of your glove compartment, and wave it at them, telling them to get away. But if they don’t, you can’t legally shoot them. And if they approach you threateningly, you still can’t legally shoot them. You have a duty to get in the car, and drive away, allowing them to burn down the house.

      1. You are vastly oversimplifying this, speaking as if there is uniformity on this from state to state, which there is not, and therefor, you are wrong.

        Point 1. The guard may not be able to safely retreat, therefore he is likely justified in using deadly force. Turn your back on a knife attacker? Not me.

        Point 2. In Texas, for example, Texas Penal Code Sec. 9.42 says Deadly Force be used to prevent or defend against arson of a dwelling.

        1. The idea that it would ever be possible to retreat safely from another person threatening lethal force is nonsense.

          1. Not at all. You mean to tell me you can’t retreat from a guy with a knife safely, if he’s on foot and you have a car? Or if he’s 50 feet away and you’re both on foot? You can’t even TRY to back away?

            1. “You mean to tell me you can’t retreat from a guy with a knife safely, if he’s on foot and you have a car? ”

              If I’m already in my car, I’m not being threatened by a guy with a knife unless said person is in my car with me.

              If I’m not in my car, I have to turn my back on the guy with the knife who has already threatened me to get in my car. No, that is not safe.

              “Or if he’s 50 feet away and you’re both on foot? You can’t even TRY to back away?”

              Backing away is not safe, I’m not looking where I’m going and I could end up tripping and falling, leaving me even more vulnerable.

              I could turn my back to him and run, but unless I know with certainty that I am faster than he is, which is impossible, that’s not safe either.

              1. It seems you’re arguing in favor of a “Stand your Ground” type system as a de facto type system, even in a “Duty to Retreat” type law system.

                Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the Stand Your Ground laws, as a matter of course. But if you’re in a Duty to Retreat state, odds are the judge will disagree with your opinion on what is safe, and what isn’t.

                If you’re 50 feet away from a guy with a knife in a Duty to Retreat state, and you try arguing that you can’t turn your back to run, or can’t back up slowly because you might trip, so you can’t “possibly” retreat safely….the Judge may disagree with you. And probably will. Just something to consider.

                1. There are mitigating circumstances in every situation that are plausible. I’m disabled. While I ‘can’ run it’s painful and I won’t get far. By your semantics argument all that is required of me is to take a step back and I have ‘retreated’.

                  If the person is faster than I am, which is quite likely considering I’m disabled, running doesn’t mean much if I won’t make it to some safe location within a matter of seconds. It’s possible if I’m standing at my car door with an unlocked door.

                  But I would also guess you haven’t been in life/death situations much. You lose fine motor control. Unlocking a car door isn’t as easy as you think when that kind of fear grips you. Then if he busts the window open before the car is started and in gear, now you’re in an even worse situation as before.

                  Your hypothetical is falling apart here.

                  Now, don’t get me wrong I’d definitely not just shoot at someone 50 feet away who is holding a knife even if they’re threatening me. I’d give them as much warning as possible and every chance to move away or leave. Sometimes people just have nefarious intentions but the victim is the one trying to defend themselves, not the aggressor with nefarious intentions regardless of the reaction of the person defending themselves.

                  1. There are mitigating circumstances, certainly. If in the relatively rare case a disabled person is threatened with a knife, it is difficult to run. And certainly that would be taken into account.

                    In the more common situation that a non-disabled person is threatened with a knife (and more common, just by virtue of the relative number of disabled versus non-disabled persons) then it is a different circumstance.

                    The very nature of the Stand your Ground versus Duty to Retreat argument lies with these circumstances, and how they are, or could be, evaluated.

            2. “Or if he’s 50 feet away and you’re both on foot? You can’t even TRY to back away?”

              If backing away is safe, why is it justified for a cop to shoot in that situation.

              In my opinion, the standard for self defense lethal force for Joe Nobody, should be exactly the same standard that is applied to the police.

              1. “If backing away is safe, why is it justified for a cop to shoot in that situation”

                Cops operate on different rules. They are typically required to confront the subject. Retreat for them contradicts their basic law enforcement responsibilities.

              2. Generally speaking it would NOT be justified for a cop to shoot a man with a knife who was 50 feet away.

                1. True.

                  However, the cops would have a duty to confront the suspect, rather than a duty to retreat. The cops would need to (typically) approach the suspect, while calling for the suspect to put down the knife, or even chase after the suspect. If the suspect was to turn on the cops from a lethal range, without putting down the knife, the cops would be justified in shooting.

                  By contrast, the private citizen in duty to retreat states, would have the duty to remove themselves from the situation. If they were to confront the suspect, the citizen would be liable for any lethal result, even if the suspect later turned on them with the knife.

            3. “No true Scotsman” fallacy.

        2. >Point 1. The guard may not be able to safely retreat, therefore he is likely justified in using deadly force. Turn your back on a knife attacker? Not me.

          And yet, that is often argued by prosecutors in these states.

        3. Point 1: Again, if the guard can safely retreat, he has a DUTY to do so. Whether he can safely retreat against a person with a knife…that’s for the court and jury to decide. If he’s 20 feet away from a guy with a knife who is threatening him…. you going to KNOW that a jury won’t rule against you?

          Point 2: Texas is a Stand Your Ground state….

          1. The issue I have with this is thus: When you have mere seconds (if that) to overcome fight/flight/freeze response and make a decision that could cost you your life or save it, courts have months to pour over every fine detail to decide whether or not you were right.

            1. “The issue I have with this is thus:”

              Which is really the crux of the stand your ground versus duty to retreat argument.

              Stand your ground gives the benefit of the doubt to the person being attacked. Duty to retreat, largely doesn’t give that benefit of doubt. I’m in favor of the Stand your Ground argument. But it’s important to understand what “Duty to Retreat” really means.

      2. That is not how duty to retreat works. It only applies if the person can flee in complete safety to himself and others. In most circumstances, you cannot run away from an attacker, with a knife, in complete safety.

        The duty to retreat would only really come into play where there is a rather obvious, easy and totally safe way to retreat.

        For example, if someone is threatening you with a knife, from a good distance away, and you can easily get behind a secure, locking door, or drive off in your vehicle, the duty to retreat would probably apply.

    3. [I]n a situation where an individual can avoid shooting and wounding or killing another person without endangering themselve they should be required to do so. That is not an attack on gun rights, it is in defense of human rights.

      Self-defense is a human right. Your proposal (currently in effectin 15 states) diminishes that right — is an attack on human rights.

      1. But there is no need to defend yourself if you aren’t in danger.

        1. Thank you Capt. Obvious.

          1. Occasionally the obvious needs to be stated.

        2. Both duty to retreat and SYG self defense laws are predicated on the person using deadly force, or other innocent people being in danger.

        3. I’m not sure you’re following.

          The existence of a duty to retreat is only relevant if you are in danger.

    4. Sorry Sidney, if someone is attacking me, the last thing I am concerned about is their “Human Rights”. In my opinion THEY forfeited their rights when they decided to attack me. If they decide to abandon their attack and leave, then there isn’t really much I can do legally, so it is pretty much on the attacker.

  6. It might be interesting to ask how each state ended up in one camp or the other.

    If I remember right, Florida, (Which started the concealed carry trend.) was traditionally a stand your ground state. Then the state supreme court, more or less out of the blue, ruled in a case that the state was, and always had been, duty to retreat. I gather the ‘always had been’ came from the fiction that the court wasn’t actually changing anything, but instead just pointing out something everyone had inexplicably never noticed.

    Then the state legislature put things back to stand your ground, by statute.

    1. In Illinois (ha!) it’s by old state supreme court decisions. IL had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the 7th Circuit into the 20th century in order to pass CCW.

  7. “Of course, none of this tells us what the right rule ought to be.”

    The right rule ought to be two-tiered.

    You should be able to use self defense if you have a reasonable belief that there is an imminent of death, etc. and you can’t retreat with complete safety…


    There is an actual risk of imminent death, etc.

      1. If you elect to use deadly force when you could have retreated, and your reasonable belief was mistaken, you should be held accountable for your choice.

        1. Shouldn’t the “or” be an “and” then?

          1. “Shouldn’t the “or” be an “and” then?”

            I don’t think so. I’m saying that if you stand your ground when you could have retreated, you have to be in actual danger. If you couldn’t have retreated, you can have a reasonable belief of actual danger.

            So basically strict liability if you choose not to retreat when you could have.

        2. If you own a gun for self defense a critically important resource is Andrew Branca’s “The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen, 3rd Ed.”

          It is by far and away the definitive source of information on how to keep yourself out of jail after any self defense incident.

    1. “and you can’t retreat with complete safety…”

      Complete safety doesn’t exist. This condition would never be satisfied. Viewed honestly, it’s a nullity.

      1. There are rare cases where one could retreat, in complete safety, from a threat of lethal force.

        For example, suppose you were 100 feet away from me, armed with a knife and threatening to stab me to death. I am on my front steps, armed with a gun. There is a secure locking door to my home a few steps from me, that I can easily get behind, before you could reach me to stab me.

        In that case, I could flee, in complete safety, into my my home, and call the police.

        Of course, you might try to break down the door to get to me and stab me. But, I still have the gun and if you breached the door or began to breach it, the situation would have changed and I could probably shoot legally. Plus, I would have the Castle Doctrine on my side, in many duty to retreat states.

        But, from a practical standpoint, it would be unusual to be in a situation where you are both in imminent danger of death or grave bodily injury, and have the ability to flee in complete safety.

        1. “There are rare cases where one could retreat, in complete safety, from a threat of lethal force.”

          No there aren’t. Complete safety doesn’t exist.

          It doesn’t exist sitting in an ez-chair in your living room alone.

          It certainly doesn’t exist when faced with armed attacker.

          Safety is always relative, it is never complete.

          1. You are being a bit too literal. If a neighbor rings your doorbell they “might” be planning to kill you. But, that doesn’t mean you can shoot them through the door.

            In the example I used, the person would no longer be in imminent danger or death or great bodily injury, with the man with the knife locked outside.

            In this context, complete safety means that if you can reliably end the imminent threat by fleeing, you must do so, before using lethal force.

            One thing to keep in mind is that factors required for self defense, like innocence and imminence can change from moment to moment during a confrontation.

            If you threaten me with a knife, from within 20 feet or so, you are an imminent threat. If I then point my M1 Garand at you and you immediately drop your knife or run away, you would not longer be an imminent threat, and I could no longer justifiably shoot you.

        2. I believe MatthewSlyfield is making the point that epistemologically, however safe a course of action might seem, you can’t know that it’s completely safe. Maybe the assailant is an expert knife thrower, or maybe they rigged a boobytrap so an anvil will fall on your head when you open the door.

  8. I mean, it’s better to have these laws than not. But they are not worth when all it takes is some silly liberal State’s Attorney who will prosecute regardless.

    1. When the process is the punishment.

  9. In Massachusetts use of lethal force where only nonlethal force is legally permitted can be considered voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. I don’t know how general this rule is.

    1. Imperfect self-defense is widely recognized as a mitigating circumstance in assault and homicide cases, although obviously not necessarily in that specific way.

  10. As this post illustrates, I do wonder how much practical difference this really makes. Are there notable instances where prosecutors relied on the duty to retreat to rebut a self-defense claim? Or instances in stand your ground states where killers didn’t get charged (or, perhaps, were acquitted at trial) in situations where they could have safely retreated? I don’t recall hearing about either in my state (which enacted a stand your ground law after I started practicing).

    1. The pro-criminal lawyer will always prosecute the victim. That is because the criminal is a good client, generating many worthless, make work, rent seeking lawyer jobs. The victim generates no lawyer job and may rot.

      The lawyer profession is the most toxic occupation, more toxic than organized crime. It must be stopped to save our nation.

      1. So tell us how the legal profession hurt you.

    2. My understanding is that:

      – gun rights advocates believe in the absence of stand your ground, disagreements about whether someone could have safely retreated will force gun owners to the expense and uncertainty of trial. For example, several years back, there was an off duty police officer (Joseph Walker) who shot a guy in a road rage incident. Witnesses agreed that the other guy was in a rage; Walker showed him his badge and his gun; and the guy charged at him, at which point Walker shot. The issue at trial was whether Walker could have turned his back, gotten in his car, and driven his family away safely. Walker was acquitted, but went through a full trial. (I’m not sure if he paid his legal expenses or there was crowdfunding or what, but a lot of normal people would end up spending $50K to defend themselves).

      – On the other hand, gun control advocates on this issue are worried that stand your ground permits gun owners to execute people when they could safely leave. If you’re walking down a public street and someone pulls a knife and tells you you’re not wanted and should leave, it’s offensive, but maybe as a society we’d prefer that you leave and call the police.

      1. That is the ridiculous, rent seeking lawyer viewpoint. It is totally biased in favor of the lawyer client, the vicious thug, making our cities unlivable.

      2. The jury supported the victim. But the lawyers made their money, first.

        1. It would be nice if the prosecutors office had to pay for the defense fees in the event of an acquittal. Until then, the prosecution is still punishment.

          1. I like that idea. I would extend it to all prosecutions.

          2. A thousand times this. The government should always have to make you whole if you are acquitted.

            1. In this particular case, it appears that the defense was funded by the police union.

          3. Not disagreeing, just asking. How about in the OJ Trial?

      3. “someone pulls a knife and tells you you’re not wanted and should leave, it’s offensive, but maybe as a society we’d prefer that you leave and call the police.”

        It’s not merely “offensive.” Someone pulling a knife on you for whatever reason, regardless of what he says, is using deadly physical force against you. You are entitled to protect yourself by returning deadly physical force.

        I take it you’ve never been in such a situation.

        1. No, I think that, demonstrably, (35-15!) as a society we’d prefer that you gun them down. So as to discourage others from emulating their criminal behavior.

          1. Brett prefers to gun people down simply to discourage others. He considers himself pro life and a moral person.

            1. No,
              Brett prefers that if you are threatened with deadly force, you have the legal right to respond in kind.
              You seem to prefer the second option, that if you are threatened with deadly force, you have to run away if at all possible.

              1. Lol Brett is on record as saying that he would shoot people in defense of stuff. He just likes killing.

                1. The government, might I say, has guys with guns that kill people in defense of “stuff” all the time. Try just taking a stroll, for instance, into a nuclear power plant to take the “stuff” that obviously, you know, has less worth than a human life.

                  Is okay with the government decides some “stuff” is more valuable than a human life?

                  1. I actually think theft should be handled civilly. There are several obvious ways to prevent someone from getting nuclear material that don’t involve shooting. And, assuming they obtain such material, at that point they transition into being a risk to others, which has different moral considerations.

                    1. Sure, there are lots of ways besides guns. Power plants all have fences with razor wire. The guards don’t want to have to actually shoot someone. But they certainly will if they have to, just for “stuff.”

                      Now, I’m not opposed to the idea that theft should be handled civilly. If guy who stole my car was caught, I’d rather have the $ for the car than the guy in prison. But the folks who steal petty stuff, they can’t pay court fees as it is right now, so what makes you think in the real world they could pay for stolen property?

                    2. That seems to be a rather high risk proposal you are advocating for…

                      Hypothetically speaking, a terrorist walks to a nuclear power plant with a knife. He threatens anyone who tries to stop him with a stabbing. Do you REALLY propose that it is wrong for people to stop the terrorist with deadly force, until he obtains nuclear material? Really?

                    3. Hypothetically speaking, a terrorist walks to a nuclear power plant with a knife. He threatens anyone who tries to stop him with a stabbing.

                      Aren’t we in the realm of threats to human life at that point? I mean he has a knife and is threating people in this scenario.

                    4. LTG,

                      No, he’s only threatening those who try to stop him. You have a duty to retreat. If you don’t try to stop him, there’s no threat to you.

                    5. Even if you don’t have a knife and don’t appear to be visually armed, if you try to just stroll into a power plant, it’s going to end in the use of force against you, including being shot. I can think of multiple scenarios, realistic ones too, aloha snack bar.

                    6. Well what is the likelihood that he somehow gets the material safely on his own? I mean are we assuming that he has the technical capability to just seize the nuclear material without great risk to himself from trying to overcome physical barriers? And assuming he can transport it safely without harm to himself or others?

                      Are we also assuming that the people at the plant cannot understand that the terrorist is obtaining the material to kill people at a later and imminent date?

                    7. See those goalposts you just moved…neither can I. I forgot my telescope today.

                    8. Mad,

                      I didn’t move any goalposts. If there is a causal nexus between the act and danger to human life, then that is what’s at issue, not lethal force in defense of stuff. No one would characterize ripping out someone’s breathing tube as simple theft.

                    9. LTG,

                      “Well what is the likelihood…”

                      Do you really want to take that chance? Call in 1 in 1000 for the sake of argument. Do you want to take that chance?

                2. Whether a stereo is worth a human life is a valid question. I want every would-be burglar asking it of themselves.

                  1. It’s a valid question because you are a selfish person with no respect for human life who has some kind of personality disorder.

                    1. Well, we’ve reached the fallacy ad hominem stage of the debate between you an Brett. I’ll take that as a sign that you’ve lost (quite handily), since all ya got left is insulting someone’s character and saying that because they don’t agree with you, that they must be mentally ill. How Stalinesque.

                      That doesn’t bode well for your ability to handle evidence/arguments presented to you on other topics.

                    2. Perhaps you should more fully elaborate on what it is acceptable to 1) Threaten someone with deadly force for
                      2) Use deadly force for.

                      Rape? Battery? Theft of supplies critical for life? Theft of supplies important for life? Theft of dangerous materials?

                    3. “[S}ince all ya got left is insulting someone’s character and saying that because they don’t agree with you, that they must be mentally ill. How Stalinesque.

                      1) You have no clue what Stalinism is do you? I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with calling peopel mentally ill.

                      2. We are talking about morals. When someone has bad morals, like Brett, it tends to reflect poorly on their character. People who value stereos over human life have bad character. It it not an insult, just an observation. As for personality disorders, that’s the easiest way to explain how someone could have such a shocking disregard for human life.

                    4. Rape: considering the level of trauma and the legitimate fear of death that would likely accompany such, lethal force is likely justified.

                      Battery: same rules that have always applied. If there is a reasonable fear of death or grave bodily harm.

                      Theft of supplies critical for life? Theft of supplies important for life? Theft of dangerous materials?

                      What is the causal link or nexus between the theft and the likelihood of someone dying as a result of the theft?

                    5. LTG,

                      Sure, let’s give you an example.

                      Someone stops one of the current trucks containing the COVID vaccines, in order to steal the vaccines Can you use deadly force to stop them? Why or why not?

                    6. Should I assume for the purpose of this hypo that the thief is completely uninterested in using the Covid vaccine on other people and indeed, intends to destroy it/let it be spoiled? Because I think that would get fairly close to a moral justification for use of force. But the causal chain between death and the theft may still be very complex in that scenario. If he intends to redeploy it to other populations, even if those are maybe less at risk, I think the moral justification for force would be considerably more complicated.

                    7. This is silly, and your argument fails because you are relieving the criminal of agency.

                      A thief makes a decision to put himself in a situation where his life may be in danger because of an immoral action he wishes to take. You keep ignoring that step in order to label the non-thief a monster for defending his property.

                      Perhaps property is or is not worth less than a life. That is a thought that society should perhaps insist be contemplated by the thief before it insists that it be contemplated by the one who is robbed.

                      In fact, if thieves were confronted with overwhelming evidence that their lives would likely be forfeit for trying to take someone else’s property, theft would probably diminish. Incentives matter.

                      You must not live in California. Here, theft is not punished (up to a pretty high limit of almost $1,000). Thus, stores suffer rampant shoplifting by gangs of “youths,” all of whom take just under the $1,000 limit. This is obviously an immoral act on the part of the thieves. It is also an immoral act on the part of the state, since it encourages such theft–and this theft drives up the price of goods for the law-abiding (including the least among us, for whom we should have special solicitude).

                      Now I would not advocate that a store use violence to stop such thievery. But the state of affairs is evidence that in the absence of effective sanctions, the immoral among us (thieves) will continue to act immorally. Now, on the level of an individual citizen–who probably can ill afford to continually surrender his property–I do believe that the sanction of deadly force should be allowed. If enough individuals inflicted that sanction, I suspect that the immoral among us (thieves) might decide the benefit does not exceed the possible cost.

                    8. LTG,

                      Just, for the record, you don’t believe it’s worth using lethal force to stop someone from stealing vaccines against a lethal pandemic? Because they “might” use them on other populations, rather than the ones they were intended for?

                      Is that REALLY the argument you’re making?

                3. I’m on record as pointing out that “stuff” doesn’t fall from the sky, we buy it with the finite hours and days of our lives. Literally, I trade hours of my life spend doing something somebody else wants me to do, instead of what I want to do, to get this stuff.

                  And when somebody walks off with my stereo, I don’t get those hours of my life back, either.

                  It’s fine for you to be casual about this stuff when it’s pieces of somebody else’s life that are being made off with.

                  1. So you’re incredibly selfish and think that a few of your hours are worth more than an entire human life. Only someone with a personality disorder could possibly come up with such a callous formulation. You are depraved. Get help.

                    1. Yes, I think the rights of those who are behaving legally and morally trump those of people who are behaving illegally and immorally.

                      I’ve got a thumb on the scale in favor of the victim, and against the aggressor.

                      I think that’s how it should be, if we want a peaceful society. We want crime to be a really, really bad choice.

                    2. No you just like the idea of hurting people for selfish reasons. Seek help.

                    3. LawTalkingGuy, so far you have four times said Brett has some kind of personality disorder. Besides violating this forums code of conduct, perhaps it is you, who finds it necessary to resort to ad hominems, and expletives, who should – well, at least tone it down and address the issues.

                      For reference:

                      “We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic.”

                    4. LawTalkingGuy is just so certain of his own moral intuitions, that he’s having trouble understanding that most people reject them, and for good reason. Not just because they’re horrible people.

                      If you want a low crime society, crime has to have nasty consequences for the criminal. Mere proportionality won’t cut it, because the people who commit crime have lousy decision making skills. They’re not going to refrain from burglary because they might have to give the stuff back if they’re caught. They might refrain if they risk being shot if they’re caught.

                      In fact, the US has a relatively low rate of “hot” burglaries, exactly due to the fact that breaking into an occupied house is mortally dangerous. In countries like England, where use of violence against burglars is highly disfavored legally, a large percentage of burglaries are hot burglaries, the most dangerous sort for home owners, because the residents can be forced to reveal where valuables are hidden.

                      Favoring violence by victims clearly has positive effects in terms of the behavior of criminals. If the criminals don’t like it?

                      They can try not being criminals.

                    5. Why do you liberal pieces of shit think the lives of illegitimate black thugs are worth more than my right to home and security?

                  2. For most of us work is not anti-life, Brett.

                    1. No, but he is making an important point. Life is a finite resource. When someone robs me of my property, he is robbing me of my time. In order to replace that property, I have to devote my time to earning the money necessary for replacement. That is money that I then cannot use to buy something else that might be necessary for life–such as food or medicine or shelter. More fundamentally than that, the thief IS robbing me of an irreplaceable resource, my time.

                      Even more importantly, the thief has agency. He is an actor. He can avoid any threat to his continued existence by simply choosing not to steal. That everyone advocating for the thief on this thread keeps overlooking this is mystifying to me.

                      Game theory is illuminating in this argument. Game theory convincingly suggests that a bad actor will not cease his bad actions until the reaction to his behavior is or equal or greater magnitude. Now, given the incompetence or inability of the state consistently to catch and punish thieves–and given many states increasing refusal to truly punish those thieves who are caught–the rule-following players in the game are at a severe disadvantage. I suspect that if the rule-following players began to behave as badly (or worse) than the thieves, the thieving might stop.

                      This would be a good thing. I think this is along the lines of what Brett is saying.

                    2. Yes, but that time is still time spent living.

                      Property should never be equated to life.

                      Not that theft should not be punished, but a thief does not forfeit their life; there are plenty of other punishments.

                      I suspect that if the rule-following players began to behave as badly (or worse) than the thieves, the thieving might stop.
                      This is a vigilante fantasy.
                      Criminals are usually not great game theorists; they rarely think they’re going to get caught, or are desperate due to an external reason. So your tit for tat analysis is not germane.

                      The lawless west was full of vigilantism, and not known for rock solid property protections.

                    3. LadyTheo,

                      You’re just as selfishly depraved, thinking that a few hours of your time is worth more than entire human life.

                    4. “Property should never be equated to life.”

                      You should never put someone else in the position where he has to choose between his property and your life. But if you do, you don’t get to complain about his choice.

                    5. You should never put someone else in the position where he has to choose between his property and your life.

                      You’re straight-up advocating for the death penalty for theft, just not administered by the state. Which is sure to be both effective and fair.

                    6. “Property should never be equated to life.

                      Not that theft should not be punished, but a thief does not forfeit their life; there are plenty of other punishments.”

                      Get used to the fact that a large part of the population don’t share your views, and the laws are being crafted to reflect their views, not your’s.

                      If the thief doesn’t like that robbing somebody could result in their being shot, they have the option of finding a lawful line of work.

        2. If a guy pulls a knife on you and you have to kill or be killed, that’s one thing.

          But if you reasonably feel that a guy is a threat and you have to kill or retreat, at that point you really just suspect the guy of a crime. He is supposed to have due process, trial by jury, the ability to confront the witnesses against him, etc.

          1. If he pulls a knife on you, that’s assault…

        3. I was trying to lay out the arguments neutrally, but have learned a lot from the responses. Two related points.

          1) I should have said “it’s criminal” rather than offensive in the knife hypo. (I meant to imply both that it was a criminal offense and that the knife wielder was in the wrong by “offensive,” but I was unclear).

          2) I left out a more aggressive argument in support of stand your ground – that the initial aggressor is the wrongdoer, and that the law abiding gun owner in the hypothetical should not be required to flee, based on moral grounds, deterrence, and other arguments. My bad.

          For what it’s worth, my personal feelings are that when someone can almost certainly safely flee with no danger to property or person, I’d prefer that they do so and call the police, for public safety reasons, but I’m not clear how often it’s clear that someone can almost certainly safely flee.

          I think being ordered to leave by a knife-wielder is a pretty instructive case, although it’s one that’s unlikely to occur – if someone is a reasonable distance away and says “get out of this neighborhood or I’ll kill you” and isn’t closing the distance, as a matter of public policy, I’d prefer the victim to leave and call the police, but wouldn’t advise her to take her eyes off the bad guys until she’s safely away.

      4. How can you reliably see into the mind of the crazy knife brandisher? Particularly if you are a normal person that doesn’t encounter knife brandishers all that often. A knife is a deadly weapon at 20 feet fairly reliably if the attacked has intent.

      5. Yes, I realize those are the competing positions. My question is about how much they really end up mattering in the real world (my impression being, not very much—or at least much less than the advocates on both sides seem to think).

        I hadn’t heard of the Joseph Walker case, but from the coverage of the trial I found it seems like the arguments about how he should have left the scene were more focused on trying to show that he was the initial aggressor than to show he had a duty to retreat at the actual time of the shooting.

  11. Kill ’em all, let God sort out his own!

    1. Wasn’t that the bumper sticker on the car of the guy who dumped a bag with a puppy in it, then got kicked in the nuts by Steven Seagal?

      1. It’s also what, according to legend, the papal legate said to the crusaders at the sack of Béziers:

  12. If you’re in a duty to retreat state, explore the ramifications of retreating all the way into a stand your ground state.

  13. it is more complex than the graphic implies

    Mass changed the law from pure duty to retreat some years back

    stand your ground just encourages cowboys

    1. “Mass changed the law from pure duty to retreat some years back”

      Can you please be more specific?

    2. re: “stand your ground just encourages cowboys”

      Evidence, please. I see that claim thrown around a lot. I see precisely zero data supporting it. States with stand-your-ground have no more or less vigilantism than states without.

        1. Wow, citing something the includes an increase in justifiable homicides as a general increase in murders – actual crimes – does NOT help your argument.

          Or maybe you didn’t actually ready the referenced McClellan or Humphrey’s studies?

          1. That’s exactly the point: Shooting the other guy makes it a lot easier to make the homicide appear justifiable. That’s the whole point of not giving the guy who did the shooting the benefit of the doubt.

            1. People obeying the law is a bad thing.
              Got it.

              Are you sure you have ‘logic’ in your world?

        2. Did you read the link you provided? I don’t think it says what you think it does. In particular, it does not support aripiant’s claim nor does it rebut mine.

          And that’s even taking the study’s conclusions at face value. When you read the disclaimer (the sentence about model overfit), the conclusions are modest at best.

    3. I don’t think SYG laws encourage cowboys. Situations where deadly force would be justified under SYG, but where one could flee in COMPLETE safety to themselves and others, are extremely rare.

      I do think that the anti-self defense crowd falsely HYPING SYG as a “license to kill”, has probably led to a few “cowboys” shooting without justification and ending up in prison for murder or manslaughter. Micheal Drejka, who kill Markeif McGlockton after being shoved to the ground outside a convenience store in FL, might be the best example of this.

    4. Riiiight. And concealed carry reform would make blood run in the streets. Remember that one?

      35 states. Where are all the cowboys?

  14. This actually came up recently in the Vinalhaven (ME) stabbing, AKA a home invasion gone bad. Grand Jury no bill, AG also refused to prosecute.

    1. This actually came up recently in the Vinalhaven (ME) stabbing

      Unless “this” refers to the general concept of self-defense, it did not.

  15. “In particular, you can’t use deadly force purely in retaliation, once any threat has passed.”

    Colorado (where I was from) is not only a “stand your ground” state but actually a “make my day” state. That’s the way my dad, a defense lawyer, explained it to me.

    He told me a case where some guy shot three teenagers to death. Shot in the back while fleeing. They had intruded in his house.

    The DA prosecuted and lost. Anyone here know that story and can verify whether it is true or not?

    1. As the post notes, in addition to authorizing deadly force to protect against imminent death or serious injury, many states also allow it to prevent or terminate (what you reasonably believe to be) a serious crime, which will almost always include burglary (or at least residential burglary). Thus, in Colorado,

      any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

      Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-704.5(2). Note, however, that that does not authorize killing someone who has already committed a burglary in retaliation. I couldn’t find the case you’re talking about, but it certainly appears that similar conduct can have serious consequences.

      1. Thanks for the note. The case I was thinking of happened a year or two earlier (my dad passed late 2017). And it did involve pot plants just like the one you linked. From searching the Post archives it seems there were a lot of cases like that.

  16. “Pennsylvania does impose a duty to retreat when you’re faced with an attacker who is not displaying or using a weapon “readily or apparently capable of lethal use””

    Since FBI data shows that you’re more likely to be killed with fists and feet than with any type of rifle, this seems pretty nonsensical.

  17. The lens through which self-defense was viewed up until the 2000’s was the “crime run amok” situation of the 70’s and 80’s. Even Hollywood would portray public policy as protecting punks and criminals who would victimize normal people. I think that was a fair portrayal of policy at the time especially in disarming people in urban areas.

    Before that minor criminals were portrayed as “victims of the system” only committing their crimes because society did not provide for any other avenue by which they could meet basic life needs. Theft was a necessity not an option for instance. Then the pendulum swing went from providing public welfare to the abuses that lasted almost two decades before bipartisan support reigned that in during the 90’s.

    And now what we are seeing is almost the exact same thing that happened in the 60’s occurring again. Apparently all the lessons were forgotten and now criminals are “victims of the system” and well meaning normal people who defend themselves from violence are the evil doers. Can’t wait for the next Bernie Goetz to happen in NYC because we are not far away from that portion of events.

    1. Only A Lad.
      Great song.

  18. An analysis should include deadly force used against police in a no knock warrant situation. Think Breonna Taylor.

    I realize that talk of killing police is likely to greatly shorten your own life. What I was thinking is that police training should include a discussion about making a citizen fear for his own life that triggers a legal use of force by the citizen to defend himself. These laws of self defense should apply equally to citizens and police.

    1. In the Taylor case, while they had a no knock warrant, the police instead chose to knock extensively and announce themselves as police, before entering. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, did not believe they were police and opened fire on them, thinking they might be Breonna’s drug dealer ex-BF and or his associates.

      Ironically, if they had gone in no knock style, Kenneth Walker probably wouldn’t have had time to get his gun and wound a police officer with it, and nobody would have been harmed.

      There are plenty of options for occupants, short of opening fire, when people claiming to be police pound on the door.

      They should have asked to see badges and called 911 to report the alleged police at their door to verify if they were who they claimed to be.

      If they communicate to the knockers that they have called 911 to verify:

      a) If they really are police, they will likely hold off a moment, until the dispatcher makes the verification.

      b) If they are home invaders, they will likely flee, realizing that the police will be there any minute.

      1. Your defense of the police tactics would be a lot more credible if they hadn’t also timed the raid for the middle of the night – when they knew the victims would be sleeping and would be fuzzy-headed on waking. Your expectations of the level of rational thought in such a situation are unreasonable.

        1. The idea of a no knock raid it to catch the suspects off guard, so they won’t have time to commit violence or destroy evidence.

          The Taylor raid just seemed cursed. Going in, it probably didn’t seem like an ideal candidate for a no knock.

          The police expected that Taylor would be home alone. Given that fact, I don’t think a no knock was necessarily the best tactic. The officers apparently thought the same thing, as they decided to knock, though they were not required to.

          They did not anticipate that she had a new, idiot, thug boyfriend there with her. (Kenneth Walker had a clean record, but his phone records showed that he was a drug dealer and had planned a home invasion in a group chat and boasted that it wasn’t his first).

          If Breonna had been alone, she probably would have opened the door, and it is likely that nobody gets hurt.

          If they had done it as a no knock, Walker probably wouldn’t have had time to get his gun, and again, nobody gets hurt.

          They seemingly chose the right method for the situation they thought they were going into, but Walker was a dangerous, unforeseen, random element, who seriously wounded an officer and got Breonna killed.

          For the record, Taylor and Walker were wide awake, watching a movie when the police knocked on the door. But, I could see a scenario where a different group of suspects might make bad decisions after being awakened in the middle of the night.

    2. For the most part, the laws of self defense do apply equally to citizens and police.

      If you reasonably believe that someone is about to use unlawful deadly force on you, you can preemptively use deadly force against them, even if they turn out to be a police officer.

      Likewise, if a police officer reasonably believes you were about to use (or actually are using) unlawful deadly force against them, they can attempt to use deadly force to stop you.

      Yes, that means that there are some situations where it’s theoretically lawful for either of two parties to kill the other. (And while I haven’t spent a lot of time digging into the details, that seems to be the case for Breonna Taylor.) That’s an inevitable consequence of permitting self-defense in the face of a reasonable mistake.

      1. It seems that the High-Noon Hollywood version of a shoot out on the street still applies. Both parties threaten the other. Whoever shoots first and shoots best wins.

      2. I think the Atatiana Jefferson case might fall under the category of a situation where either party might have been justified to shoot, or at least where neither party did anything unlawful.

        Jefferson had forgotten to close her front door late at night. I believe she had been airing out the house after a small fire or something like that.

        A concerned neighbor called police and the dispatcher sent an open structure call to a patrol car. The officers, believing there might be an intruder, approached the home stealthily.

        Jefferson, hearing noises, got her handgun and searched the house. According to her nephew, she pointed the gun out the window towards one of the officers, believing he was a prowler. Tragically, the officer, thinking she was an intruder, looking to kill him, fired and killed her,.

        The officer has been indicted on murder charges. But, it is theoretically possible that Jefferson did nothing wrong by pointing the gun at what she thought was a prowler and the officer did nothing illegal by shooting what he thought was an intruder pointing a gun at him.

        Of course, the details of exactly what happened will be critical, and it is possible he will be convicted. But, this was at least in the ballpark of the scenario you brought. up.

    3. To prove, the Police are justified in that behavior, have them randomly given, the no-knock treatment. Let’s see, how many ‘well-trained’ Officers pass muster.

  19. Yes, I think as a general rule no-knock warrants should be limited to hostage situations.

    Instead the police should show up, and suggest to those inside that they call the local police station and confirm that the people on the other side of the door really are cops in possession of a warrant. And then wait a decent interval for them to do so.

    1. I think the use of no knock warrants should be very limited. But, in cases where the police can convince a judge that there is good reason to believe that, if they knock, they will be met with armed force or that hostages will be taken, they should be allowed.

      This would generally mean places like places with heavily armed drug dealers, terrorists, etc.

      In such cases no knock warrants are probably safer for the police, occupants and neighbors.

      Ironically, if the Breonna Taylor warrant had been executed as a no knock, she would probably still be alive, as her boyfriend probably would not have had a chance to get his gun.

  20. Another aspect of some SYG laws, most notably Florida’s, is that they sometimes shift the burden of proof.

    In many States, justifiable use of lethal force has traditionally been an affirmative defense that must be proven by the defendant. Though, from what I have read, even absent legislation, court rulings are moving more towards putting a lesser burden on the defense.

    Florida’s law puts more of a burden on the prosecution to prove a use of force was not self defense. It also, IIRC, allows for a SYG hearing, which, if the defendant prevails, would shield him from al civil and criminal liability.

    1. In many States, justifiable use of lethal force has traditionally been an affirmative defense that must be proven by the defendant.

      That was the common law rule, but to my knowledge every state except Ohio has abandoned it, and requires the prosecution to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. And I’m not aware of any state that made the change as part of Stand Your Ground legislation.

      You are correct that Florida’s law provides for a special pretrial hearing where a judge can grant an early dismissal based on self-defense. As far as I know this vehicle is unique, and it’s certainly quite unusual.

      1. The argument in favor of Florida’s law is that a person forced to defend himself, should not suffer the financial and social disaster of a homicide prosecution, even if he would be acquitted.

        Without that law, prosecutors feel obligated to file charges if there is a homicide; even if justified.

        1. A naive person would think that a grand jury of intelligent, rights-aware citizens would simply refuse to indict someone who was defending himself.

          But then we run into (a) the phenomenon of the ham-sandwich grand jury and (b) I don’t think grand juries are even required in FL.

      2. “Florida’s law provides for a special pretrial hearing where a judge can grant an early dismissal based on self-defense.”

        A consequence of some anti-gun prosecutors deciding to make the process the punishment, in an effort to make armed self defense de facto ‘illegal’ even if the statutes said otherwise.

  21. In California, a “stand your ground state,” it is not what “you” reasonably believe, it is what a judge thinks some abstract “reasonable man” would have believed.

    Also, in California, you can use deadly force if you were the attacker but ceased the attack, even momentarily, but the person you attacked armed himself with a deadly weapon, or otherwise continued to defend himself in a manner that could result in serious bodily injury (or death).

    Finally, in California, it is the judge, not the jury, who decides whether or not you were acting in lawful self-defense.

  22. it’s amazing to me that dishonest people STILL are defending Thugvon Martin, when it’s clear that he initiated the altercation to impress his future baby momma.

    1. I’m not shocked at all. Where the facts have the wrong implications, they can’t be true. Don’t you understand that?

      Both the left and the right are departing reality, in favor of comfortable fantasy worlds where their side are innocent of all wrong, and the other side are monsters who are never in the right.

      In the left’s world Trayvon Martin was an innocent victim. The country wasn’t riven by riots this summer. Hunter Biden is a hyper-competent businessman whose profits have nothing to do with “the big guy”. It goes on and on. They’ve got the MSM conspiring to reenforce their fantasies, so the bubble is pretty airtight.

      In the right’s world Donald Trump didn’t really lose the election, and none of Trump’s problems are due to his own screw ups. I find that fantasy fairly annoying myself, for all that I think the election wasn’t entirely on the up and up, and at least some of Trump’s problems are due to enemy action.

      The right’s bubble isn’t as air tight as the left’s, but they’re working on it, as a regrettable consequence of their efforts to escape having to live in the left’s bubble.

      I don’t think this ends well.

      1. I agree with this. We’re heading toward a complete societal collapse.

        And yes, in my view, while the election was not even close to on the up and up, I don’t believe it would have come close to making the difference in any state he lost

      2. What really won’t end well and may end up precipitating the collapse is our insane borrowing/printing binge that will lead to our losing reserve currency status.

        1. US currency being the reserve currency is based on the size of the US currency available and the US being more open about is policies than other countries and the US (unlike China which is the only other country with enough currency to even be considered but clearly manipulates it’s currency to help it sell stuff abroad) not manipulating it’s currency

          1. Right, but it’s also based on the idea that we have a tax and economic system behind those dollars. It’s clear to everyone now we’re not willing to pay our debts or take a reduction in lifestyle to avoid taking on that debt in the first place.

  23. While lots of laws allow SYG in a vehicle I have seen different lawyers have different answers to the question ‘does a boat qualify as a vehicle in terms of SYG?’. As someone who owns a 42 ft catamaran I cruise (and live on) for months at a time it might be more than a theoretical question for me.

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