Letter: Is this the type of world in which we want to live?
What kind of society do we want? In 2011 the Legislature expanded New Hampshire’s self-defense law, just like Florida did, to allow people to stand their ground and claim self defense without a duty to safely retreat if they feel threatened in any place they have a right to be.
After the George Zimmerman case, we now know how this can play out. If a person is armed with a firearm and gets into an argument and then feels threatened, he can shoot and kill the other person and then claim self defense. Provided there are no other witnesses, the shooter will be the only one who can testify about who the initial aggressor was and whether the act was self defense. It will be extremely difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was not self defense. This is particularly concerning in an environment in which more and more people are walking around exercising their right to carry firearms, concealed or not, on their person.
I was waiting in line to buy a newspaper recently, and the man in front of me had a pistol strapped to his hip. As I uneasily eyed the gun, I wondered whether the man was an emotional person. Perhaps he was easily angered. Perhaps he was aggressive and picked fights. I certainly had no idea and, thanks to the lack of governmental oversight, I doubt the authorities do either. What I did know was I did not feel safe.
Some might argue, “If’n you don’t feel safe, then arm yourself!” Is this the type of society we want? Do we really want to solve disputes at high noon in the center of town? I love old Western movies, but I don’t want to live in one.