Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stand My Ground

Reading the paper this morning, I see that there is a proposal in the legislature to repeal Louisiana's Stand Your Ground law.  Yeah, really.
Nevertheless, state Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, has filed a proposal to repeal the law here.
“Around the country a lot of young men, particularly young black men, have lost their lives, and individuals who pulled the trigger are using this stand-your-ground grounding as a logic behind it,” he said. “I think we need to rethink that.”
Louisiana's Stand Your Ground law is found as a part of another statute, regarding self-defense.  More particularly, it is found in RS 14:19, which says in part:
C.  A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using force or violence as provided for in this Section and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.

So, if I'm where I have a right to be, there is no legal reason for me to retreat from violence.  I can retreat if  necessary, but there is no legal reason to do so.  If the aggressor is threatening violence, then I can meet that violence without needing to retreat.  That sounds reasonable to me.

I would ask Rep Bishop if those "young men, particularly young black men" (his words, not mine) are committing an aggression, or a burglary, or some other unlawful activity, just exactly what does he propose that the person do?  Should I have a duty to retreat in my own home, or in a place where I lawfully have a right to be?

This proposal by Rep Bishop has no chance of making it out of committee, much less in making it through the legislature, but reporting on it does sell newspapers and prompt blog posts.  It does show that Rep Bishop has a constituency where he feels a need to protect young aggressors from the foibles of their own actions.  It would be better if he would spend as much effort in protecting the good, honest law-abiding people that he represents.  I know that it's tragic when a family loses a "young men, particularly young black men"  but the law is designed to protect the person who is in a place where they have a right to be.

This proposal is a waste of the legislature's time.

No comments: