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Letter: Here’s how ‘Stand Your Ground’ really works

Re Tuesday’s “Stand Your Ground” letters from Jerry Tepe, John Kjellman, Bob Longabaugh and Jeff Field:

New Hampshire RSA 627:4 says that “force is not justifiable if:” I(b) “He was the initial aggressor,” III(a) “. . . except that he or she is not required to retreat if he or she is . . . anywhere he or she has a right to be, and was not the initial aggressor.” RSA 627:4, II says, “A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person when he reasonably believes that such other person: (a) Is about to use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person.”

Deadly force does not necessarily mean a gun. A knife, baseball bat or steel toe work boots can kill.

Florida law is similar to this and the prosecution has the responsibility to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”



Legacy Comments4

Under NH's SYG law, which of the two, Zimmerman or Martin, was the initial aggressor? Which one had a right to be on that street? Based on the facts presented, there may be no easy answers, but Florida's SYG law buttressed Zimmerman's actions in shooting Martin, whose only apparent offense after leaving a candy store was having the misfortune to encounter an overzealous and armed (do the two go together?) neighborhood watchman.

I quite agree that there are no easy answers in this case. However, I do not agree that SYG law had any relevance to guilt or innocence here. GZ apparently did not actually pull his gun and either threaten or shoot until he was lying on his back having his face punched and his head pounded into concrete. Option to retreat not exercised? Are option to retreat in the immediate face of deadly force, option to follow without authority or backup, and no option to retreat under exercise of deadly force somehow equivalent? Also, let us please consider that the pro-Trayvon activists like to display pictures of Trayvon as he was at the age of about ten. Here's an update: My take on this case: If I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I'd have voted for Manslaughter and held to my opinion. He was inexcusably reckless while lethally armed, and should have done nothing beyond report and let the police do their job. Regardless of that fact, he was apparently not displaying or threatening with his weapon when violently attacked by Trayvon, who (so the story goes) was announcing that GZ was going to die that night. if Trayvon had survived that violent encounter, I'd have voted for a murder conviction if Zimmerman had died, and attempted murder if both had survived. I wasn't there, but that's where all of the evidence leads me after extensive research over many points of view. Zimmerman is a fool. Trayvon was no angel.

Thank you Thomas for pointing that out. It does make me feel a little better about NH's SYG law, but I'm still troubled by it. It there are credible and reliable witnesses around, perhaps there is no problem, but if there aren't, the old saying, "dead men don't talk," still applies. Under the law the court pretty much has to accept the shooter's version of what happened. If he says he felt threatened, who's to say he didn't.

John V, So defending self/family is OK - only if there are witnesses? Reality check - If there were all those witnesses around --a predator would look for another opportunity to take your stuff, health or life.

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