COTTO: The need for "Stand Your Ground" laws

Legitimate self-defense ought to be recognized in any civilized society. Photo: Stand your Ground /

FLORIDA, July 17, 2013 — Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law will now take a role in the national discussion. Stand Your Ground, SYG, allows people to harm aggressors if they have legitimate reason to believe that their lives are endangered.

Whether or not one has the ability to retreat is irrelevant. 

SEE RELATED: Stand your ground: Uneven enforcement might be adding to racial divide

Despite the law’s straightforward nature, no shortage of pro-Trayvon Martin activists earnestly believe that it is a magnet for violence and vigilantism. Many also choose to insert race into their arguments because they believe that, in accordance with violent crime statistics, a perceived aggressor might very well be black.  

Race and the law are two paths which ought never cross. If this is not the case, then one race ultimately receives special privileges, if not rights, at the expense of others. So, any racial grievance with SYG ought to be regarded as tripe.

The reality is that SYG was designed to protect the interests of those who find themselves with the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time — as Zimmerman certainly did with Martin.

SYG critics should remember that Zimmerman’s refutation of the charges against him was not the law which they deride, but rather a traditional self-defense claim. Of course, SYG is the defining aspect of Florida’s self-defense law. Still, to assert that SYG allows murderers to run free is absurd.

SEE RELATED: ALEC’s pathetic response to criticism over Stand Your Ground

Should one wish to look at Zimmerman’s scenario in a logical fashion, it becomes apparent that Martin was the violent offender. The scars on the back of Zimmerman’s head, formed as a result of having his skull slammed into concrete, are proof enough of this.

When Zimmerman reached for his gun and shot Martin, he chose the only alternative to dying in a particularly gruesome manner.

How on the face of this Earth people opt to sympathize with a character like Martin defies rational consideration. Had Zimmerman not reached for his gun and either been murdered or subject to lifelong brain damage, Martin would probably have gone on trial.

In short, SYG laws, even if not used as an alleged victim’s court defense, are an invaluable asset to any free, civilized society. The sad case
of George Zimmerman, and the horrific case of Trayvon Martin, prove
this beyond the faintest shadow of a reasonable doubt.

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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