BY TAMARAH WALLACE
If one was to steal from a thief or set an arsonist’s possessions on fire, would they be wrong to do so? Such questions reflect arguments that have been disputed for millennia and simply ponder the notion of morality, an entity that seems to consistently outwit the grasp of humanity from the age of Socrates through to modern times. Now, the people of Florida face an inquiry that cannot be excessively contemplated without resolution within the walls of a hypothetical philosophy class but rather one that could affect the lives of their loved ones as well as their own.
“It’s already hard to define ‘stand your ground’ and this new legislation makes it even harder,” AP Psychology teacher Steve Franzone said.
The already controversial “Stand your Ground” law has a proposed new addition to its allowance of the use of deadly force in self-defense — without the obligation to retreat or flee. The law without alteration and as of now supported by the Florida Supreme Court, requires defendants to prove before a trial why they’re entitled to the law’s protection but now this process would shift so “that the prosecutor would need to prove before trial ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ why a defendant couldn’t claim they lawfully stood their ground” says the Tampa Bay Times. With this addition, the prosecutor would have to make a case before even wholly evaluating the information, allowing for more possibly guilty parties to escape prosecution.
“This change seems pretty unnecessary because the point of the ‘Stand your Ground” law is to protect people who use self-defense- this is just more protection for a law that many think is already pretty lax,” junior Talia Slann said.
Tensions have always run high in regards to the “Stand your Ground” law, however, they have diffused generally after the height of the 2012 Trayvon Martin case wherein an unarmed young African American boy was fatally shot while the aggressor was absolved of any crime. This exemplar shows how incredibly biased the law can be and how it could potentially free a guilty party. However, now, many see the benefit of being able to safeguard their livelihood and loved ones and feel that it is a necessary evil.
“If it seems like someone is going to cause you harm, you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself,” senior Alec Shears said.
Another student agreed with the sentiment, offering a more decisive statement.
“You have the right to protect yourself and your possessions- that is without question,” senior Gaby Sanchez said.
The “Stand your Ground” law is a logical step for mankind amid the violent culture that many experience throughout their daily life. From news stories to primetime entertainment, violence is inescapable and security in one’s ability to defend oneself is undoubtedly crucial.
So while it is evident that the “Stand your Ground” law is necessary, it still has many implications that cannot simply be ignored that involve closing the gap between factual evidence and truth. The Republicans in the Florida legislature ultimately had the right idea in wanting to alter the law, but in doing so, endeavor to make an already large problem worse.