While I do not consider myself a liberal, I do tend leftward on social and economic issues. Thus, I had a typical knee-jerk liberal reaction against redneck racism when I first read about the shooting of Trayvon Martin. That is, until I read that the Stand Your Ground principle was under fire. Although I voted for Obama, support the public health care option and think that the wealthy should pay fair taxes, I also believe that the right to bear arms, unfettered by government, is essential to American freedom. Granted, I am withholding my National Rifle Association dues until after the election because I cannot support Republic candidates who have NRA backing. But, to paraphrase the slogan, you will only take my gun by prying it out of my cold, dead hands.
Here is my take on Stand Your Ground and the Martin case: As an instructor in martial arts and self -defense, I tell students that if they are threatened the wisest choice of action is to get away. That is, if they can do so without placing themselves in even more danger, which is entirely possible. I believe that if someone forces violence upon me, flight or fight should be my choice, without worrying about arrest should I decide on the latter.
Martin, it now appears, was no saint and had a record of disciplinary problems. The shooter, George Zimmerman, also had brushes with authority. Atop that, he has all the earmarks of a wannabe cop, the type of wannabe cop who fancies himself a lawman and likes to act as such, but has not – and probably could not – make the grade. Most likely, he should not have been carrying a handgun. Zimmerman had no business tracking Martin after he called authorities. Stay put and there is no shooting, no controversy. The argument can be made that no matter what Martin did after he was confronted, the blame for his death falls on Zimmerman because his actions made possible the confrontation. If Martin laid hands on Zimmerman first, without actionable provocation, he shares the blame.
It seems to me that neither individual acted rationally or responsibly. Sort it out before challenging the wisdom of Stand Your Ground.