26 March 2014, 14:24

US 'stand your ground' law, brutal murder disguised as self-defense

US 'stand your ground' law, brutal murder disguised as self-defense

In the US, Florida’s "stand your ground" law is only promoting brutal murder and is disguised as self-defense there, and in many other states nationwide. Instead of Americans just running away from danger, they face it and pull the trigger, claiming that the person they shot dead was killed because the they feared for their life, using the gun in self- defense.

Ever since the groundbreaking incident happened between shooter George Zimmerman and now deceased Trayvon Martin, Americans have been acting quite differently after the court ruled in Zimmerman's favor, claiming that the "stand your ground" law protected him from being convicted of murder. In fact the controversial law has been in place for at least 10 years in 26 states. After the ruling in Trayvon's case, aggressors took note of how to get away with the harshest crime yet –murdering someone in cold blood only to claim that it was for self-defense reasons.

To illustrate, an altercation may take place, someone claims to be in fear of their life, and the victim is then shot and killed. The murderer states they did it in self-defense as they were in fear of their own life. In February of this year, something like that happened. Twenty-five-year old Cyle Wayne Quadlin pulled the trigger on 36-year-old Kriston Charles Belinte Chee and killed him as the two had been involved in a heated confrontation with one another at a Walmart in Arizona. Police officers did not charge Quadlin with murder because they figured the killing was all in the name of self-defense. "Mr. Quadlin was losing the fight and indicated he 'was in fear for his life,'" said a police spokesperson, according to a slate.com article.

In an entirely different incident, Michael Dunn was found guilty of four counts of attempted murder in Florida, however police did not charge him with first-degree murder. Even though Dunn shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was unarmed, Dunn reported that he saw something that looked like a gun in his vehicle. This was supposedly enough for the jury to conclude that Dunn did not commit a crime, but was protecting himself.

Taking into account all of these recent incidents, it becomes clear that an unarmed person can be shot dead in America, just because somebody thought the other person might possibly be armed. To make it even less of a blur to understand, in Florida's self-defense stature it states that, "A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself."

Sad but true, "stand your ground" defenses have been on the rise in Florida in the most recent years. One research found that it has happened over 200 times since the introduction of the policy in 2005 and has been used 70 percent of the time. Unsurprisingly enough, a Tampa Bay Times 2012 study pointed out that while "stand your ground" cases have only been on the rise, so have gun sales in Florida.

Now, the US has yet another "stand your ground" case to deal with, one which is much higher in profile. The FBI official that shot Ibragim Todashev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, dead claims to have pulled the trigger on the suspect in self-defense. Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton conducted an investigation on this matter and found that the agent did not commit “intentional misconduct or acted with any degree of malice.” The statement claims that Todashev left the kitchen and "moving in his (agent’s) direction carrying a long pole of some sort ... with the end of the pole pointed toward him as if intended to be used to impale rather than strike."

During that point in time, the FBI agent shot at him three or four times in a row, with the medical examiner finding seven gunshot wounds on the body altogether. However, it seems safe to say that shooting someone seven times is a little bit extreme in the case of self-defense. Plus, agents who work for the federal government should have been given special training in terms of how they should professionally handle situations such as this one. Instead, the FBI official took matters into their own hands, and shot at the man in question several times.

Americans could be on the brink of losing their lives if they make a naturally aggressive person angry, who also happens to be in possession of a firearm. If a person disagrees with the manner someone else is acting in they can shoot them as maybe many think irrational or unexplainable behavior must mean violent, deadly behavior. Sadly enough, it is unknown as for how many more states will introduce a type of “stand your ground” law and how many Americans will take advantage of this so-to-speak free pass, allowing them to get away with murder, granted they fear for their lives.

Unfortunately so, we cannot ask Todashev if the pole he supposedly had, was taken as a way to defend himself. Maybe, just maybe he was in fear of his life and knew what that FBI agent, who got off the hook, really had in mind for Todashev. Society will never know Todashev's accounts of that day. Though one matter remains clear, as long as the notorious "stand your ground" law stands strong in America, more innocent lives will be lost due to someone else's exaggerated fear.

Voice of Russia, Slate.com, Dotnews.com

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