The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Stand your ground.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,271 times Debate No: 36196
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




1st round acceptance. This has nothing to do with Trayvon Martin, I simply wish to debate the merits of Stand your ground laws across the country.


Great debate topic PRO.

Stand your ground laws contribute to violence that would otherwise not happen if the Stand Your Ground Laws were not in place.

I accept this debate and will be arguing that Stand Your Ground Laws are unnecessary to protect the right of self defense and promote unnecessary violence / aggression.
Debate Round No. 1


I found this definition of stand your ground off wiki and find it to be suitable for this debate, if you don't think so, present an alternative definition in the next round.

"A stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation." (1)

Given that definition I'll continue.

I. Not every victim has the means or opportunity to evade or flee a situation.

II. No one should be forced by law to flee when they are in the vicinity ,at the time of the situation, legally, when the situation was initiated by the aggressor.

III. The law should be designed to aid the innocent, not the criminals.



Stand your ground removes the right to retreat before using deadly force. Whereas someone could avoid / retreat from a dangerous situation before deadly force is called for, stand your ground removes that legal obligation

1. The law protects the most violent when both aggressors are wrong.

Stand your ground law comes into affect where retreat is entirely possible, and even logical. This is the case with George Zimmerman, who legally had the right to follow someone until a confrontation took place. It is entirely possible that if Trayvon Martin would have won the fight and killed George Zimmerman with his bare hands or a weapon, he could have invoked the stand your ground law. This is the problem with the law. It favors the person with the deadliest force, because the narrative will be dictated by living.

Consider some of the cases where the stand your ground law has been invoked and been succesful:

Owen Eugene Whitlock killed his son in law over a barbeque grill

Tavarious China Smith, a drugdealer, has invoked the stand your ground law two times, both in drug deals gone wrong, and has served no time in jail for the murders.

Maurice Moorer killed his ex-wife's boyfriend
What happened: Maurice Moorer fired more than a dozen shots at his ex-wife's boyfriend, killing him in his car. The shooting occurred after a dispute between Moorer and Eddy Moore earlier in the day. Moore was sitting in his car outside Moorer's house when Moorer stepped outside with a gun and shot at least 15 times. Police argued he had lured his rival to the house. But Moorer said Moore had been threatening to kill him and appeared to be reaching for a gun. Police found a gun in his back seat under some laundry.

Denounce Harden:
What happened:
Deounce Harden and Steven Deon Mitchell had argued in the past over Mitchell's ex-wife, whom Harden was dating. Harden showed up at the carwash where the Mitchell worked and the two men began arguing. Harden shot and killed his unarmed adversary in front of the business. Harden then called the police, who found him standing over the body, holding a gun.

The outcome: The prosecutor declined to file charges against Harden, even though Mitchell was unarmed. The shooting was deemed justifiable "under a new state law that allows the use of force when a person is being threatened."

2. The law is not applied consistently:
A Tampa Bay Times analysis of nearly 200 cases — the first to examine the role of race in "stand your ground" — found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time.

3. The law is not needed to protect self defense
Justifiable Homocide has always been an affirmative defense. Retreat has already been limited to being "a reasonable effort to retreat".
In a scenario where retreat is impossible or retreat would increase the danger to the would be victim, stand your ground law would not have any affect. In a case where someone is being robbed for instance, the stand your ground would have little if any affect if the victim shoots the aggressor.

Debate Round No. 2


How exactly is retreating a right? The point of stand your ground is so a victim can react when provoked, if they could see the future and avoid these situations, then I'm sure they would, but we can't see the future now can we.

"1. The law protects the most violent when both aggressors are wrong."

I'm not sure if this is your wording or my interpretation, but in all violent crime, there is a perpetrator and a victim. The law is designed to protect the victim when they are presented with lethal force, instead of having to retreat. Why should the victim have to retreat? Honestly, I don't believe Zimmerman should have been protected by stand your ground as he initiated the confrontation. He ignored what the 911 operator told him to do, so he shouldn't be protected by stand your ground.

Also, the Florida stand your ground law only applies to people who are lawfully inhabiting the place of the event and is void if they're engaged in an unlawful activity. So someone messed up when prosecuting Smith (1).

"2. The law is not applied consistently:"

"A Tampa Bay Times analysis of nearly 200 cases " the first to examine the role of race in "stand your ground" " found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time." What does this have to do with anything unless we know the race of the perpetrator? How does this show SYG (Stand your ground) is applied inconsistently?



Thanks PRO for catching my wording mistake. I meant the obligation to retreat, not the right to retreat.

1. I'm not sure if this is your wording or my interpretation, but in all violent crime, there is a perpetrator and a victim.

It is naive to think so. In many cases the "victim" goes back and gets their gun, returning to the scene, provoking a second round of confrontation, and kills the "aggressor". Also, consider a gang shootout where both sides use the stand your ground defense:

Neighbors shooting each other and both (successfully) invoking stand your ground defenses:

2. Why should the victim have to retreat?

The victim only has to retreat when it makes logical sense to do so. The victim does not have to retreat when retreat would further increase the danger or retreating is not possible. Zimmerman had a right to be where he was when the confrontation took place, however that was the only place that would inspire a confrontation.

3. How does this show SYG applies inconsistently?

It shows that someone is less likely to go to jail for killing a black person. Regardless of the race of the perpetrator, the message is the same.

Debate Round No. 3


1. That is ridiculous. I'm going to call bull on that type of scenario unless you can provide a source. I'm not sure why you're providing these scenarios of people who use SYG. If both parties are alive, there's no need to press charges, unless it's for criminal discharge of a firearm.

2. You're not necessarily answering my question. I believe that if you are confronted, you shouldn't have to retreat. Period. Why should you have to? Why should you have to have no choice in your actions because someone confronts you? If you are confronted, you should be able to respond with an equal amount of force.

3. Not really, and race of the victim of does matter. In America, the majority of murders are black on black. So with that in mind, it would make sense for more blacks to be killed in a SYG situation. I would provide a source for the b/b murder, but I'm on an iPad and I can't highlight. Just google black on black murder statistics and click the link to ""


trippledubs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


There's the source I meant to post in my last round for black on black murder rates.

I'm just going to wrap up by saying that my opponent hasn't shown an instance in which a legitimate murder occurred and the criminal got away with it because he somehow invoked SYG. All of the instances my opponent posted have an aggressor and a defender. Past criminal record is of little matter, because if they fulfil the states SYG laws, it wouldn't change anything. SYG is designed to do 1 on thing. Legally allow those in danger to protect themselves without having to flee and without having to worry about criminal prosecution.


I apologize for missing a round. Back to it:

My source for specific cases is the Tampa Bay Times, linked above. They did an extensive review of Stand Your Ground cases and created a comprhensive database. In 43% of the cases, the person claiming an affirmative defense under stand your ground initiated the confrontation.

You have not provided any research for me to rebut. Your source above merely is an opinion decrying the high rate of african american homicide rates compared to other populations in the US and abroad. SYG only increases this statistic.

SYG was SUPPOSED to protect law abiding citizens, but it fails that objective miserably. It only serves to increase the odds that murderers will walk. In my sources above, and you click around the database, there are plenty of cases that make you cringe. This is not what the law is designed for, but that is how it is being used.

Many confrontations are not as simple as "Good guy vs. Bad Guy". In those cases, there are already plenty of laws that provide sound affirmative defenses. IE castle doctrine and self defense.

I understand your empathy with victims in a case where someone is accosted by the real deal criminal, but self defense law already protects them.

Why should you have no choice in your actions because someone confronts you?

This is a false dillemna. There are plenty of choices. The choice to engage in deadly force should be the least preferable option, and the law should provide incentives that serve to decrease resorting to this option unless absolutely necessary. You should not shoot to kill someone else, but to protect your own. This is the principle of double effect.

Before shooting, if the situation could be avoided, that would protect both lives. The SYG law provides legal protection for violence that otherwise would not take place.

Plenty of cases where the SYG has been applied could have been completely avoided with a little more sound judgement. I believe that, specifically in the George Zimmerman case, the violence episode could have been completely avoided. I believe that if TM would have won the fight, it is reasonable that he would have applied the SYG law and claimed that he was being pursued by an unknown armed assailant for unknown reasons and he acted in self defense when Zimmerman egressed from his vehicle and starting chasing TM.

There is already legal protection for cases of self defense. I believe that part of the law should be an obligation to retreat, like there was before SYG. Before SYG if an intruder is in the home, the "make my day law" applies and the homeowner has much more legal protection. You should not have the same legal protection following around teenagers inviting confrontations.

I've shown multiple cases where the SYG has been applied to protect criminals and people who acted criminally when they could have easily avoided the whole situation. I believe that if the SYG would never have been passed, more people would be alive, because shooters would not be so eager to pull the trigger.

I believe I have provided ample evidence to support my claim that the SYG law is garbage and should be repealed. Thank you PRO for a good debate. Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by natertig 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Stand your ground laws are strictly self defense laws that need to be in place so people do not feel bad about shooting someone that is coming after them. Pro had better conduct, more convincing arguments, and his sources actually checked out. Pro wins here. Seems like Con is okay with people not being able to protect themselves how they see fit.