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Letter: Questions about ‘Stand Your Ground’

New Hampshire has a “Stand Your Ground” law similar to Florida’s. Here is my question:

Before his trial, George Zimmerman’s co-counsel Mark O’Mara stated emphatically several times that they would not use the “Stand Your Ground” defense but rather plead self defense. I was shocked to hear “Stand Your Ground” in the judge’s instructions to the jury. In New Hampshire, will “Stand Your Ground” instructions be included in every self defense case?

If so, I have a few more questions. If your 17-year-old son happens to play football and happens to be in good physical shape and is coming home in the rain with his hoodie raised, would you expect him to become fearful when he notices he is being surveilled by a 28-year-old man? Have you taught him there are predators out there? Have you taught your boy not to talk to strangers?

The keyword in neighborhood watch is “watch.” Would you expect your neighborhood watch people to carry guns? After a watch person has reported a stranger to the police, do you want the watch person to stay in place or surveil the stranger? Once the watch person and stranger make contact, do you at least want the watch person to identify himself and ask what the stranger is doing there?

More important, if your 17-year-old son believed he was being stalked by an older man, felt threatened, feared for his life or limb, if he had a gun on him, could he shoot and kill the “predator,” claiming “Stand Your Ground”? I am curious to know the opinions of the other million or so New Hampshirites. My opinion: Repeal “Stand Your Ground.”

NANCY HEATH

Epsom

Legacy Comments1

I can't answer the question about NH jury instructions, but I can answer the others. "If your 17-year-old son happens to play football and happens to be in good physical shape and is coming home in the rain with his hoodie raised, would you expect him to become fearful when he notices he is being surveilled by a 28-year-old man?" Perhaps. "Have you taught him there are predators out there?" Of course. "Have you taught your boy not to talk to strangers?" Of course. "The keyword in neighborhood watch is “watch.” Would you expect your neighborhood watch people to carry guns?" Not necessarily. "After a watch person has reported a stranger to the police, do you want the watch person to stay in place or surveil the stranger?" Yes. "Once the watch person and stranger make contact, do you at least want the watch person to identify himself and ask what the stranger is doing there?" Yes. "More important, if your 17-year-old son believed he was being stalked by an older man, felt threatened, feared for his life or limb, if he had a gun on him, could he shoot and kill the “predator,” claiming “Stand Your Ground”?" Absolutely not. You can't shoot someone because you feel threatened. That's ridiculous. You CAN shoot someone who is pounding your head into the sidewalk and punching you in the face. I would teach my son to not talk to strangers and also to go to a safe place if followed by one. The last thing I would do is teach him to confront a stranger that I've already taught him not to talk to. Giving children, even teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, conflicting instructions like that is begging for trouble. Why would you want your son confronting a predator? "I am curious to know the opinions of the other million or so New Hampshirites. My opinion: Repeal “Stand Your Ground.”" Stand Your Ground had nothing to do with the case you're referencing. Furthermore, it was the law in the US since the 1800's, until a so-called duty to retreat gave the upper hand to criminals. Legislators, having finally recognized that imbalance, have restored that right to law abiding citizens. Law abiding citizens should not have to run and hide from criminals. Criminals should fear confronting law abiding citizens, because they might be armed and prepared to defend themselves.

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