American Bread: Stand Your Ground
In 2005, Florida enacted the country’s first “stand your ground” law. “Shoot first”, as it is known by critics, allows a person to use deadly force without retreating in order to defend him- or herself.
“Stand your ground” came to national attention after the 2012 Sanford shooting of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, on neighborhood watch, called police to report a trespasser. Advised to remain in his car, he got out and followed Martin, an unarmed teenager. A fight ensued, resulting in the shooting death of Martin. Zimmerman’s lawyers opted not to pursue “stand your ground” immunity. Still, the jury was instructed to consider Zimmerman’s right to “stand his ground”, and ruled in his favor. The tragedy, and the belief by many that it was a result of racial profiling, hit a nerve with Americans, who compared Trayvon Martin’s death to that of Emmett Till’s in 1955.
In Jacksonville, in 2012, Marissa Alexander was denied “stand your ground” immunity in her first trial for firing a warning shot in the direction of an ex-husband whom she feared, and two of his children.
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