July 26, 2013

M.D. Harmon: All Americans deserve the right to stand their ground

It doesn't make sense to give up public spaces to the control of criminals.

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The paper said blacks relied on the "stand your ground" defense in about a third of the state's cases where it was invoked, a rate double their presence in the state's population (16 percent).

They were successful in court 55 percent of the time, "at the same rate as the population at large and at a higher rate than white defendants," Hawley reported.

Jason Sullum, analyzing the same data at the reason.com website, said on July 19 that "Whites who invoked the law were charged at the same rate as blacks," so it's hard to say bias spurred such prosecutions.

And the law specifically prohibits people from starting fights and then relying on it for a legal defense: As law professor Alafair Burke noted on the Huffington Post website, "A defendant in Florida cannot claim self-defense if he 'initially provokes the use of force' against himself."

So, it appears that states that have "stand your ground" laws have every reason to -- well, stand their ground.

When will Maine join the two-thirds of states that don't surrender public spaces to criminals?

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:



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