Linda, a long-time criminal defense lawyer, will be our guide through this very in-the-news topic. In light of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and the rise of “stand your ground” laws in many states, as lot of people are re-examining what should constitute self-defense under the law.
Linda will explain some of this to us in a little opening presentation, and then either moderate the meeting herself or I might do it if she wants.
Discussion Questions –
- What does the right of self-defense mean under the law? Does it vary much by state? What about in California?
- So, what rights do you have to self-defense and what can you not do just by calling it self-defense?
- Why have many states adopted “stand your ground” laws in recent years? Are these laws really that different from more traditional self-defense laws? (See one of the links below that says they are not).
- Do these laws discriminate against anyone?
- Should self-defense laws be changed?
- State “stand your ground” laws, like Florida’s, are different and controversial and are being pushed by the NRA.
- A more thorough, non-New York Times discussion of same, as some of you have requested non-NYT links when possible.
- A legal scholar (who often writes at a liberal-ish legal blog) says wait, the stand your ground laws aren’t really so radical or different from the way state self-defens laws used to be.
Of course, we can get into a lot more than just what the law should be. I’m always fascinated by how the White and Black publics see this kind of incident so completely differently. I’d suggest we discuss why.
This should be a lively discussion of a hot issue! Bring your opinions and I’ll bring the gavel.