Less than a month since an unarmed, black teen -- with no criminal record and every right to be in a gated Florida neighborhood -- was shot to death by some repeat 911 dialer and crime watch volunteer named George Zimmerman, we've been collectively stunned by the fact that the state's Stand Your Ground law has thus far precluded his arrest.
Also known as the Castle Doctrine, the law allows you to use deadly force to protect yourself if you merely believe you're in mortal danger. What's more, it does not require that your first try to retreat from the threat. In fact, evidence is beginning to emerge that Zimmerman did just the opposite and pursued the teen. So, Unfair Park wondered: Could what happened to young Trayvon Martin happen in Texas? We now realize that's a dumb question. Of course it could. We're the Shoot First, Ask Questions Later State.
Deadly force is authorized "to protect the actor [that's you] against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force" or "to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery."
As long as the person "reasonably believes" these things are happening, killing is kosher. But here's where it gets interesting : "A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section."
And just in case there was any confusion about whether the shooter needs to retreat: "in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat."
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