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Outrageous Laws: Revisions Overdue

Common sense and moral obligations should outweigh bad laws.

As I write this, my boys are with their neighborhood buddies (what we moms call the militia) down the street and through the woods playing fascinating war games—something I completely love about them. They may one day defend our nation. And they have missed it so considering their time in the woods has been limited this year partly due to wet weather and cold temperatures but also partly due to a confrontation last fall that had me quite apprehensive for them.

And this apprehension has remained patiently and quietly waiting deep in my consciousness but the Trayvon Martin case in Florida has propelled it to the forefront of my mind. My heart goes out to the Martin family who has endured what no parent should ever have to endure. It’s a nightmare that’s become a senseless reality all due to a law that actually protects people who might impulsively act before thinking.

Do you think the Stand Your Ground law needs to be revised? Tell us in the comments.

Last fall, I wrote about my research on which was fueled by an incident in my neighborhood. It is not an unusual sight to see a group of camouflage clad boys ranging in age from 7–15 running around my neighborhood playing airsoft games in the woods behind our house and neighbors’ on a daily basis. And there is one neighbor who has on occasion made a “stink” about the kids being near his property.

So for my son’s 15th birthday, he had planned a big airsoft party. Two new friends were here and made the poor choice to duck behind this neighbor’s trash can to hide from the others. That was without a doubt a poor decision on their part and I do not condone their behavior. I completely understand how this could upset anyone and I would completely understand scolding these kids and talking to the parents.

But the neighbor came out, pointed his gun at them and angrily told them he could shoot and kill them for being on his property. He then made them sit on his front lawn to lecture them, gun still in hand, and when two other kids came looking for their friends, he made them sit in his yard as well. The Sheriff was called by both parties. The Sheriff explained that he understood both sides but that the law would be on the neighbor’s side. Even more disturbing, when I got a copy of the sheriff’s report it stated “parents were upset at the MERE fact that a gun was brandished at the children”.  I couldn’t believe what I had just read.  This falls under the “Stand Your Ground Law”. I feel this law needs to be revised.

What is right about killing someone for being on your property who is not a threat but the law says you can “feel threatened and defend” yourself? As in the Martin case according to news reports, he was not on Zimmerman’s property and even if he was walking through his yard, how could he feel that he was in imminent danger of a young man with a bag skittles? 

Zimmerman called 911 and was instructed not to pursue Trayvon but he ignored that instruction and did so anyway resulting in a child taken from this world too soon. Trayvon wasn’t breaking into a house. And I personally feel that’s the only time one should feel threatened. If an uninvited stranger is in your house, then there’s a problem. Where did common sense go? Our society shouldn’t be so paranoid that we feel threatened by someone's appearance, race or that he takes a shortcut walking home.

Brian Saunier April 18, 2012 at 08:11 PM
A 15 year old in full cameo with a gun that looks realistic can easily look like a adult and frankly who cares if it was an adult or a teen, I am not going to ask someone how old they are if I feel my life or the lives of my family are in danger. The laws in Georgia support the homeowner, you freely admitted this neighbor had made a "Stink" before you should have told all teens to stay away from that house and property. His "Stink" before was probably a warning to stay off his property, he apparently got feed up from multiple offenses committed by your child and his friends. Post the Sheriff's report please.
Angela Chao April 19, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Hey guys, we appreciate all the comments and your willingness to share your opinions. We do want to kindly remind everyone that Patch is s community platform, and we'd like to keep things civil and respectful. We all have different views, and it's a great thing we're voicing and sharing them, but no need to turn the conversation into personal attacks. Thanks again for all the input! Let's be respectful to our neighbors, even in the cyberspace.
Cindy Butson April 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM
If there is anything else you guys want to take out of context and argue over, you can have the last word. My final statement is that I think this is a gray area (feeling threatened) and I think most juries would see this as a gray area. Maybe you'd like to give your opinion on other "mom column" topics like "Encouragement in the Midst of Defeat" or "We Are a Work in Progress" or "Make Time for Breakfast". Though, seriously, warn me because if it is anywhere near anything positive, I'll be floored! May you find something better to do than personally attack the writer of a mom's column because her opinion differs from yours.
noreply April 20, 2012 at 03:00 AM
The only reason I found this article was because it was a Tweet from acworth.patch.com. I don't subscribe to any patch tweets anymore. I can't think of a more opinionated subject in the Kennesaw / Acworth area than "Moms, children, firearms, and self-defense" I did find some stats at teenhelp.com "Violent crims are committed by teens every year. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (1) provides these statistics on teen violence regarding violent crimes:  In 2000, about 1,561 youth under the age of 18 were arrested for homicide.  In 2000, nine percent of the murders in the United States were committed by persons under the age of 18.  One in ten teens arrested has been engaging in a violent activity that could have resulted in the serious injury or the death of another person."
Bruce Guercio December 24, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Way back in the late 50's and early 60's, as kids, we used to walk from our street to the main drag where the local stores were located. Our normal path took us across the front lawn of this very old lady's house/ small farm. Of course we always made it a point to walk on her lawn. Simply because she would yell at us from her window to get off her property or she would shoot us with salt pellets. We would walk on her grass, and she would fire off the salt shot at us. We thought is was great fun, even if we were to get some pellets in our skin which would burn/sting for days after. When our parents found out about our actions, we were always yelled at and punished for bothering the lady. Never once did any of our parents blame her. We were always made to go and apologize to her for our bad behavior. As I got older, I realized how wrong our actions were, and have always tried to respect other peoples property after then. I truly believe, that the escalation of violence is partly the result of parents, attacking others for their children's wrongful actions. Teachers are blamed for "Johnny's" bad behavior in class, or his failing grades. Adult neighbors are accused of being mean/grumpy just because they don't want kids running over their yards. Therefore, these kids feel they can act, do or say anything disrespectful to adults because their parents will take their side and defend their actions.

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