August 8, 2013 Updated: August 8, 2013 at 9:04 am
Is it time to take another look at "stand your ground" laws? Here are some of the letters we received in response to the Aug 4 point/counterpoint on the issue:
Concealed carry's responsibility
In reference to Paul Paradis (Community Conversations - Aug. 4, Gazette) and his opinion on "stand your ground," I find he violated the first commandment of concealed carry. His example of Scott approaching Cervini, as Cervini was allegedly burglarizing a vehicle, was a critical mistake. If you are carrying a firearm you do not willingly place yourself in a situation, particularly when no person is being threatened, to confront a perpetrator. This is at least provocative and increases the probability of confrontation.
Carrying a concealed weapon includes the enhanced responsibility of anticipating potential adverse outcomes. If your life or the life of another are not being imminently threatened, call law enforcement to handle the situation.
Barry Schultz, Colorado Springs
Put yourself in the same situation
Re: Sunday's paper stand your ground, good idea, bad idea? Paul Paradis stated his argument clearly as to why one needs to protect themselves in today's society. When faced with a serious threat you must decide to fight or flight, but when cornered or knock down and being pummeled the option of fleeing is not there.
Rosemary Harris Lytle wrote about the feelings of losing a youth to violence, I know when I was 17 I was nearly 6 feet tall and 200 pounds and thought myself invincible. The youth of today measures themselves through their group affiliations, in her article she indicates that minorities are the victims and cannot be perpetrators. The NAACP should focus on family values and career opportunities, and not race-baiting hatred of anyone that is not black.
In the case of George Zimmerman (a mixed- race man) he was a member of the neighborhood watch. On the night in question he had phoned 911 and was seeking police help. He was directed to stay back and not follow. From all accounts he was in retreat, but Trayvon Martin attacked and was on top of Zimmerman. So if you put yourself in the same situation and had at your disposal a means of protection would you not use it?
I think by having laws that protect citizens rights to defense must be maintained, perpetrators and thugs need to know that there are people out there prepared to defend themselves when threatened. Be it on the street, your backyard, your home, or place of work you need to feel safe. The police department does their best, but they are not there for your personal protection 24/7.
Rob Blancken, Colorado Springs
Support for state's gun laws
I think that Paul Paradis' well-thought out column was right on and I agree with everything he said; however, I also believe in the laws that have been passed for gun control.
Carol Dominguez, Colorado Springs
There was a reason for self-defense
Rosemary Harris Lytle is so off-base it is not funny. First of all, George Zimmerman did not stalk Trayvon Martin as he was near the clubhouse. Martin walked by the house he was staying in and called the girl and then walked past the house he was staying in to find Zimmerman. What about Martin's duty to retreat? He was walking in the rain.
Why would he go back to the clubhouse looking for Zimmerman? Zimmerman had bruises to his head and a broken nose. Do you not think there was a reason for self-defense? "Stand your ground" laws are not flawed laws. I wish Colorado had a "stand your ground" law. It was stated that the "stand your ground" law in Florida dropped the crime rate in Florida by 25 percent.
Ralph Zrubek, Florissant
Duty to retreat arbitrarily enforced
I used to admire the NAACP greatly for its defense of civil and constitutional rights. Then, Sunday, I read an opinion by the president of the regional NAACP, which is nothing but an agglomeration of racist stereotypes, concocted statistics, and arguments by way of the fallacy of the general rule.
"Stand your ground" is nothing more than a mass media slogan. Generally, laws so labeled remove some aspect of the duty to retreat, the latter a concept invented by a judge and first instituted by judicial opinion. The "duty to retreat" is adopted only in a minority of states, 19 at the most having some form, often limited to specific circumstances. The duty to retreat arbitrarily limits the constitutional right of self-defense. It has never been either common law or constitutional law in the United States.
The duty to retreat reverses the burden of proof from prosecution to defendant, and contrary to the Fifth Amendment requires the defendant to give evidence against himself.
Since there are no real limits upon or standards for the duty to retreat, it is imposed arbitrarily by judges and prosecutors. The only sure way to defend oneself against the duty to retreat is simply not to be there in the first place. How this might help "coloreds" over "whites" is dubious.
Yet, this kind of legal segregation is exactly what Harris Lytle advocates. Or perhaps she just thinks that in this one case it would have kept one "colored" kid alive and one "white" cop wannabe out of his neighborhood.
Her argument is still racist, and presumes the evil intent and automatic guilt, of "whites."
Eldon Dickens. Colorado Springs