Few elements of this case have been more widely misunderstood than the “stand your ground” (SYG) element. Quite simply, Florida’s SYG law, statute 776.012, simply rescinded a previous requirement that one had to retreat if possible before using deadly force in self-defense. This did not particularly change the rules of engagement. The previous law had demanded retreat only if it could be accomplished in complete safety to oneself and other innocent people present. It is hard to imagine a situation in which one WOULD kill another person if they could have simply walked away unscathed.
The evidence showed incontrovertibly that Zimmerman, straddled by his attacker in the MMA mount and being savagely beaten while supine, could not possibly have retreated or otherwise escaped at the time he pulled the trigger. His wise lawyers knew that from the beginning, Craig Sonner when I spoke with him in March of 2012, and Mark O’Mara and Don West when I discussed it with them a couple of months later.
The media is largely either confused or deceptive about this, and so I’m afraid are many lawyers, including the Attorney General of the United States, who has called for an end to SYG laws. Florida Governor Rick Scott empanelled a blue-ribbon committee to study the law last year, which included some vociferous anti-gunners. Nonetheless, their collective recommendation was to leave SYG in place. The Governor now stands up in defense of it as well, as seen here: Protesters stand up to ‘stand your ground,’ but laws likely here to stay.
Stevie Wonder has announced that he won’t perform in Florida until SYG is done away with. Stevie Wonder, through no fault of his own, is blind. He has my sympathy for that.
But the other opponents of SYG seem to be willfully blind, and for that, there is no excuse.