Nov 19, 2012

While many of us were celebrating the re-election of President Obama it may have gone unnoticed that the law that has received much of the blame for the death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin also won a victory in Florida.

Here is how Mother Jones is reporting the story:

The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in February turned a national spotlight on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Following widespread outcry about the killing—in which George Zimmerman shot the unarmed 17-year-old Martin allegedly in self defense—Florida Gov. Rick Scott convened a task force to evaluate the 2005 law. This week, the group came back with their report. Their conclusion? The controversial law is just fine as it is. But there's just one problem: That verdict flies in the face of much troubling evidence to the contrary.

Stand Your Ground essentially makes it legal to shoot one's way out of any situation that feels threatening: Unless law enforcement authorities can prove that's an invalid explanation from a shooter, a resulting homicide can be deemed justifiable under the law, and the shooter is immune from criminal and civil prosecution. As Mother Jones reported in June, Florida's Stand Your Ground law kicked off a wave of such legislation across the country, with 24 of them passed elsewhere since, thanks to much backing by the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The evidence to date indicates it is terrible public policy. Since the spreading of the law, multiple studies have found that Stand Your Ground laws:
  • don't deter crime
  • are associated with significant increases in homicides
  • are racially discriminatory—homicides involving white shooters and black victims are 11 times more likely to be deemed "justifiable" than those where the scenario is reversed.

Click here to read the entire article.


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