O’Mara says it’s simpler than that: It’s just
“Stand your ground” became law in
2005, and 16 other states have adopted
similar statutes. It differs from the
traditional standard of self-defense in
significant ways. People have always had
the right to defend themselves if they
have a reasonable fear of imminent death
or great bodily harm to themselves or
others. But traditionally, they were required
to try to avoid such a confrontation by
negotiating or retreating, if necessary.
The “stand your ground” law eliminated
the requirement for people outside their
homes to back off in the face of potential
danger. Proponents argue that the law gives
people the right to protect themselves.
Critics have called it a license to murder.
O’Mara says Zimmerman and Martin’s
encounter quickly moved beyond standing
one’s ground. According to O’Mara,
Martin smashed Zimmerman’s nose and
was smacking his head on the concrete
sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.
The identity of the person screaming for
help on the 911 tape for 40 seconds before
Martin was shot has been hotly debated;
O’Mara says it was his client. Forensics
show that Zimmerman was on the ground
shooting up, O’Mara says, and thus had no
opportunity to negotiate or get away.
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