Stand Your Ground: Political Opportunists Attacking Your Rights To Protect Self, Family
In the wake of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the usual suspects are up to their usual politically-motivated tactics. The 'Reverend' Al Sharpton and 'Reverend' Jesse Jackson have been out, bullhorn and all, stoking the fires of hatred for their own selfish gains once again. While they may trumpet their intentions as purely for the defense of minorities, I personally don't believe for one second that they have any love for anyone but the man in the mirror. That 'Reverend' title is one of opportunity for them, not faith.
So what exactly does 'stand your ground' mean? Basically, it means just what you might think: you have a right to stand your ground, to defend yourself against harm from others. In Texas, we have the Castle Doctrine. The Castle Doctrine is derived from the concept that you, the individual, are the king or queen of your castle, or home and as such you should not have to retreat in the face of danger, but rather have the right to 'stand your ground', to defend you life and property with deadly force if need be. It's a bit different than the Florida law, but the concepts have common purpose.
The Castle Doctrine laws were expanded in recent years by the Texas Legislature to include ones occupied vehicle and workplace. In the Zimmerman case, critics have argued that Zimmerman could have easily avoided the situation by not following Trayvon Martin. But the fact remains that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, pounding away and could have knocked Zimmerman out cold. This would have left a (legally) armed Zimmerman and any bystanders vulnerable. Martin could have disarmed Zimmerman and God only knows what could have happened next.
The decision Zimmerman made is one that any of us would very likely have made in similar circumstances. It's often referred to as 'fight or flight'. You can fight or try to run away. But as was the case with Zimmerman, what if you find yourself unable to run? Then the fight aspect becomes your only reasonable option. The laws here in Texas are under attack as they are in Florida. And we'd better be ready for a fight.
While there are some differences between Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law and the 'Castle Doctrine' concepts behind Texas laws governing the use of deadly force, the basic premise is the same: you have a basic right to defend yourself against an attacker. And it is this premise that is under attack. Those who oppose the idea of self defense on racial grounds, as Sharpton and Jackson are doing, are seriously misguided, at best. They'd have you believe that 'Stand Your Ground' and 'Castle Doctrine' laws are designed give license to kill young black men. Whats so sad, is that so many people will choose to buy into this nonsense.
When you or your family are faced with a potential threat, the color of the individual posing the threat is the last thing on your mind. Your instincts to protect yourself, your family and yes, even your property dictate that you do what you must to stop the threat. In Texas, one of the most vocal opponents of Castle Doctrine has been Rep. Garnet Coleman, District 147 (Harris County-Houston). Coleman, like Sharpton and Jackson, continues to pursue this idiotic notion that somehow these laws are aimed at minorities. He authored HB 3773, a bill intended to gut the Castle Doctrine laws in Texas making it virtually impossible for anyone to defend themselves anywhere but in their own home and only after they've attempted to retreat. The bill went nowhere, at least this time around.
No reasonable individual wants to be put into a position of having to take the life of another person. But it is in our nature to defend ourselves and those we love from harm. Thank God you live in a state that understands that. Thank the legislature for having the fortitude to back up that fundamental right with laws that protect you. I pray that neither you nor I ever have to put that law to use, but it's a comfort of sorts knowing that, if someone decides to invade my home, my property or my place of work, my state has my back on the issue. Stay informed and lets not let the Sharpton's, Jackson's and Coleman's of the world stop us form protecting ourselves should the need arise.