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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shoot First, Ask Questions Never

While I am a proponent of the right to bear arms and protect oneself against violence, this is more than a bit scary:

Macon Telegraph - AP
Georgia's "shoot first" Law

The self-defense law has come to be known in Georgia as the "stand your ground" law. It spells out that a victim "has no duty to retreat" if threatened with attack, a matter on which the law had been silent. It also provides a shooter who defends himself with deadly force immunity from civil liability.

Jurist - University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Georgia 'shoot first' law takes effect

Accountability for one's actions should never be removed from this deadly equation. I predict this will be abused by some xenophobic personalities to the point that there will be deaths and injuries resulting from a "perceived" threat which never truly existed - fear based solely on a difference in appearance, dress, or attitude. Or religion. Or skin color. Or political bent. Which is amply demonstrated by this striking little tidbit:
Jury: Passenger did not threaten to strangle baby - CNN.com

Pulling the trigger of any weapon is an absolute last resort - and I've owned a gun for 18 years. Additionally, innocent bystanders are about as likely to be hit by the stray lead of an amateur's gun as is the intended target. While I've never actually had to brandish a gun when being threatened by a stranger, I've had my hand on it a time or two. I find words are far preferable to weapons - to a point.

Many of this country's ills stem from a total lack of accountability - particularly in the political arena. I could even accept formally declared duels between two consenting parties as legally sanctioned activities. But are we now to allow random shootings on the street which are devoid of oversight? Accountability has been a major deterrent to violent chaos in the streets. This law, which reeks of political pandering, seems tantamount to unleashing a Pandora's box of violence upon society.

The law already allows an individual to defend himself when threatened with deadly force. It has typically fallen upon the judiciary to separate legitimate civil and criminal complaints against a shooter from those that are not. But as with the legal system in general, it has failed. Common sense, isn't.

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