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The Missing Part of the Gun Violence Equation 

Response to the Stand Down or Stand Your Ground article.

James Williams’ “Stand Down or Stand Your Ground?” (the Source Weekly, 7 June 2012) omits a statistic that fairly screams for inclusion and would provide an absolutely necessary context within which to evaluate the issue.  He states that while there were an average of 12 “justifiable homicides” in Florida during the period 2000 to 2004, there were 35 for the period since 2005, a period about half again as long (for those who might miss the math).  The author readily points out that “there are no statistics on how many, if any, of those incidents might have been unavoidable.”  Fair enough and objectively phrased.  But a statistic that is readily available is how many non-justifiable homicides occurred during the time frames cited.  Is Stand Your Ground working?  Does preemptive action on the part of would-be victims save their lives or those of their companions?

Mr. Williams makes a reasonable assumption regarding shooting victim, Trevon (sic) Martin’s, intent and movements prior to the shooting.  But I am even more confident of my conclusion that, contrary to his clear implication that Mr. Zimmerman not only “followed” and “confronted” him, but then shot the young man because he believed him to be “a real suspicious guy” the death was a result of an altercation that may have become a matter of survival.  This, admittedly, seems to have been a situation that may well have been avoided had a handgun not been a part of the mix.

I think the lesson here is one of civility.  If one is armed, he or she has a moral duty to play contemplated actions ahead for various likely results and avoid those most damaging and irrevocable.  Similarly those who would chose to exacerbate a situation should do so with the knowledge that, pushed into a tight enough corner, a citizen may do whatever it takes, based upon the threat perceived.  The thing for law enforcement and juries to consider is the ease with which someone can be provoked into threatening behavior and then themselves become a victim of premeditated deadly violence.



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