The Instigator
Method2Madness
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Mentat
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Stand Your Ground!!! PoW!

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Mentat
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,000 times Debate No: 22992
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

Method2Madness

Pro

Should the "Stand Your Ground" provision within self defense law/Justifications be repealed, or is it a crucial right that should be afforded to all law abiding citizens in the mist of danger?...I believe repealing this law interferes with the right to liberty and deprives civilians the right to defend themselves against an attack on their lives. Furthermore, self defense justifications provide a foundation for victims to stand on, to at least be heard and understood in light of a legitimate threat...let's talk about it...at this stage in society, does such laws promote more violent or is a necessary response to the realities that exist within our communities to date??
Mentat

Con

I accept to debate this issue on the Con side and would like to thank Method2Madness for the opportunity to weigh in on this heated issue. I will be debating against the necessity, benefit and effectiveness of "Stand Your Ground" legislation.

Although, not explicitly defined, I assume my opponent does not wish to debate a specific resolution, but any of the many Stand Your Ground laws passed and pending in the country today, including the now famous 2005 Florida statues on Justifiable Force(1). Since there are over twenty states with Stand Your Ground laws on the books and more still in their respective legislatures, I don't think it would be prudent to focus on individual implementations as many differ on important details. Also since there is no single Stand Your Ground provision shared by these many diverse laws verbatim, I would like to define what we're talking about, at least in a broad sense.

Stand Your Ground(SYG) legislation states that persons are justified in using force, up to and including lethal force, against another if the person reasonably believes it necessary to defend themselves from a perceived threat. This is similar to the more common Castle Doctrine(CD), but as SYG does not depend on the location of the altercation, persons in public places can still claim their actions legally justifiable under this law.

No rules have been set by my opponent, however I ask that we refrain from presenting new arguments in the last around for obvious reasons and use the remaining rounds for argument and rebuttal. I also would like to state that I will not be arguing on any specific SYG case and may only touch on some anecdotally if they are relevant to prove a point. I ask that my opponent does the same. For example, I will not make claims regarding Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman or anyone else's guilt, character, motives, intentions, etc.

I assume the burden of proof is on Pro to prove that this legislation is necessary, beneficial and effective.

If my opponent agrees to these terms, then I will await Pro's argument in support of SYG legislation.

I look forward to a good debate and wish my opponent the best of luck.

(1) http://www.flsenate.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
Method2Madness

Pro

Every man has a divine right to life and should not be restrained from defending that right in order to maintain survival. SYG is neither a license to kill nor a get out of jail free pass; it is a foundation for victims to at least provide some rationale in the role they played in the circumstance. of course, it will always be up to the fact finders (jury) to determine if such justification is legitimate with respects to the level of threat presented by the opponent; however, the laws which govern the land can not be so cut & dry to the point where victims of eminent danger are not at least heard and given equal protection under the law. There are still an overwhelming amount of prisoners incarcerated as a result of their inability to successfully justify their actions as a matter of self defense; however the legislation is still necessary because it levels the playing fields and offers protection to the other side of the spectrum.
Under the umbrella of SYG, technically all parties are victims; it is not a matter of granting someone a right to kill another, it is instead a matter of determining if it is fair to hold the survivor completely liability of their actions which was in response to the actions of the opposing party. Not all cases are the same and any man would free himself of danger if possible, therefore the act of retreating is a voluntary response whenever available. In a scenario where a person does not intentional expose themselves to excessive risks, they should have the right to defend themselves against those who subject them to such risks in an attempt to threaten their lives.

Of course there's going to be people who sought to abuse and misuse any justification for a wrongdoing (for instance insanity pleas), however that does not negate the significance of such legislation to protect those who legitimately deserve the opportunity to be heard, understood, considered and protected. Everyone should have their day in court and all cases should be analyzed with a fine tooth comb but this legislation is necessary because victimization is an actual concept in the world we live in. Society should not have to simply bear all evils and turn an eye to those who sought to ward off attack in order to survive. ALL persons deserve equal protection under the law; this encompass offenders, victims as well as those who become offenders in order to avoid becoming victims.
Mentat

Con

R1 Every man has a divine right to life and should not be restrained...

Humans have a right to life. I disagree that in all circumstances people "should not be restrained" from defending that right. As a person, each of us believes our survival is the most important, but as a society we must weigh whether the deceased also had a right to survival. If we provide sweeping justification for people to act against forces they deem threatening to their survival with force of their own, our streets become battlegrounds. Enumerating a right to retaliation via legal decree will have more drastic results than it will beneficial because it will give people the authority to defend their survival based on their own subjective measurement of danger.

R2 Provides a legal foundation for victims to stand on

What is probably the root of this whole issue is the fact that the word victim is a swinging door. Proponents of these laws see the shooter as the victim that defended himself while opponents see the man on the ground as a silenced victim of assault. We must take action in cases like these to ensure that both the individuals rights are and have been maintained. Pro is wrong in saying SYG is a foundation for victims since it holds the account given by the survivor as solid evidence for his own actions. The moral: If you can kill a man in a dark alley with no witnesses, you're innocent. This is not acceptable in the 21st century.

R3 Any man would free himself of danger if possible

Since R3, SYG is just protection for those people who cannot retreat to safety. This unfounded generality serves as a way to cast aside a huge portion of unlawful murders in order to simplify the argument. A Miami man saw someone stealing a radio from his car and pursued him. The thief swung a bag containing radios at the man, who blocked it and proceeded to stab the thief to death[1]. This was all captured on video, but a Florida judge found the man innocent of murder under the current Florida SYG law since the bag of radios could have killed the man. Did this man free himself from danger? Was it possible to do so? Could he have called the police? All obviously "yes". Yes he could have called the police and won in a court of law. Did he do so? No, he left the man to die on the street. Then he went home, took a nap, hid the knife and proceeded to sell 2 of the stolen radios[2]. He was STILL found innocent of murder under the current SYG law. If this doesn't cheapen human life, I don't know what does. Of course, this isn't indicative of all the cases before the courts, but they doesn't have to be. The fact that these laws are so broadly written and difficult to enforce ensures that they will used to justify heinous acts of murder.

R4 it will always be up to the fact finders (jury) to determine if such justification is legitimate

I wish this were the case, but it is often not. Many laws permit administrative determination of guilt. That is a single judge, sometimes an officer, is allowed to determine whether or not the murder was legally justified under the SYG provision. If the shooter claims self defense and there are no witnesses or evidence to the contrary, then the officers can allow the shooter to leave since they have no legal grounds to detain him. This happened in the Zimmerman case that will now be decided by a judge in the absence of a jury[3]. Whenever someone is murdered, the one who admitted to pulling the trigger should be held and questioned thoroughly before any determination can be made and should be tried before an unbiased jury. Otherwise it would cheapen the life of the deceased and allow evidence to age and become unusable. In the Z case, Travon's body was drug tested while Zimmerman was allowed to sleep in his bed, reports that contradicted Zimmerman's were not documented and the shooter's background was not investigated prior to that determination[4]. This is not an isolated case.

C1 SYG laws promote vigilantism

Vigilantism: One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one's own hands[5]

http://s7.postimage.org...

We give to certain individuals the power to use their judgment to enforce the law. These people are held accountable for their treatment of criminal activity. Police officers are the only people charged with the ability to decide if force is necessary to neutralize a situation. Circumstances exist where citizens are forgiven violent acts against aggressors in light of evidence, but a sweeping law that allows civilians to use lethal force whenever one feels threatened will open the door to more justifiable murder. In fact, it has. In the 5 years that SYG has been law in Florida alone, cases of justifiable murder have tripled[6]. SYG allows an alternative to calling the police in a time of danger that should only be forgiven on individual basis and not provided as an enumerated protection. PO's are trained in firearm use, law and defusing confrontations. They're checked for mental and psychological health where the average citizen is not and should not be provided the same rights. "We don't call 911" is not only stupid, it's damaging, lawless, subjectively justifiable and now legal in many states.

C2 Turns the public sphere into a battleground

Anywhere in any public place, your actions might lead others to feel threatened and they may legally kill you. A study done by the University of Notre Dame found that those carrying guns are more likely to perceive others of having guns[7]. It's logical to assume that if you believe others have guns, you are more likely to feel threatened. People that feel threatened with guns are the meat and potatoes of this argument. In all but one of the cases in which this law was used as justification in Florida, the victim was unarmed. The sheer breadth and appeal to subjective feeling of this law makes it unrealistic and harmful to society. The law has since provided immunity to members of gang-shoot outs, victims of verbal disputes over property, defendants that have chased down and murdered aggressors, a teen who stabbed his bully to death etc[8]. Murderers should be behind bars, not acquitted on interpretive technicalities.

C3 Cheapens human life

Like the Z case, when admitted killers are not initially seen as potential murderers, but law abiding defenders, it does a disservice to the US in two ways. First, the deceased is not allowed a fair trial because his killer was not charged of a crime. It is safe to say that the deceased did not agree with the killer's assessment of the situation. Murder is illegal in the US. If the admitted killer is not charged as a murderer despite having killed the other, this is a wrong to the deceased because the initial conclusion of the police taint any further judicial action. If the evidence or lack of it supports his claim of defense, then so be it, but the truth of the matter is he killed a man and for the dead man's sake, should initially be seen as the aggressor in situations of admitted or reasonable assumption. The second is simply that the man that killed another is walking the streets, sometimes right after the killing. If the investigation is ongoing and evidence is still being compiled and analyzed, releasing a man because he states that his actions were in self defense causes great harm to the lives of those in the community. Cases involving the loss of a life should be handled with care.

C4 SYG is survivor-biased

SYG is like evolution. It benefits those who survive an encounter. If A and B get into a fight and A kills B, then A can claim SYG defense and be granted immunity if successful. If B kills A it's opposite. If one side cannot provide their side, the side that can will use every legal avenue available to plead their innocence. To do otherwise would be stupid. Since we are getting only one side of the argument, we should not take the killer's statement as default and just let the evidence speak for itself.

Sources: http://pastebin.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Method2Madness

Pro

Method2Madness forfeited this round.
Mentat

Con

Well this is disappointing. I extend my arguments.

While I have the time and characters.

"Z case" is the Zimmerman-Martin Case, I was low on characters.
C[1, 2, 3...] are contentions and R[1, 2, 3 ...] are rebuttals.

Here are the sources from the last round, so they're on the same page:

Sources:
[1] http://www.reuters.com...
[2] http://www.miamiherald.com...
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[4] http://abcnews.go.com...
[5] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[6] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[7] http://newsinfo.nd.edu...
[8] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[9] http://www.floridatoday.com...
[10] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

I hope these fofeitures aren't reoccuring. My arguments still stand.
Debate Round No. 3
Method2Madness

Pro

Method2Madness forfeited this round.
Mentat

Con

Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
Method2Madness

Pro

Method2Madness forfeited this round.
Mentat

Con

My opponent has forsaken this debate and left my arguments uncontested and dropped which is unfortunate, but I think it's obvious I won the debate. Please vote CON. I thank those that read and considered my arguments and I am willing to debate others on this topic if challenged.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Method2Madness 2 years ago
Method2Madness
Mentat...Thank you for accepting my debate. Please state your argument.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Xerge 2 years ago
Xerge
Method2MadnessMentatTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit....
Vote Placed by vmpire321 2 years ago
vmpire321
Method2MadnessMentatTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF's