Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reason #214: Conviction

Continuing the recent spate of Stand Your Ground news, a man in Texas was convicted of murder today--after a mere five hours of jury deliberation--after unsuccessfully using that state's Stand Your Ground law as his defense.

What is not in dispute is that the man, Raul Rodriguez, left his house to confront neighbors about the excessively loud party they were having, and shortly thereafter shot and killed an unarmed schoolteacher named Kelly Danaher.

From a certain point of view, the conviction actually reinforces the conceit behind Stand Your Ground laws. Supporters claim that the laws are not meant to protect aggressors, and if one attempts to hide behind it, this suggests that they will ultimately fail.

But leave aside the fact that a large majority of Stand Your Ground defenses prove successful (seventy percent in Florida), and the fact that you're twice as likely to get away with a homicide if you lie in a Stand Your Ground state.

Even if we could trust the judicial system to properly weed out all the bullshit Stand Your Ground Defenses and prosecute those people accordingly, the bigger problem with the laws might be that more people are willing to at least, pardon the pun, take a shot at it. Rodriguez, in fact, went so far as to say "I am standing my ground here" to police dispatchers immediately prior to shooting the guy.

Whether or not the jury happened to agree with him, it's clear he acted as he did while fully conscious of what his story would be afterward. Would he still have shot an unarmed man if he didn't think that would be an option? Would be have brought his gun in the first place?

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