Duty to die

As more and more states pass Stand Your Ground laws, we hear, from those opposed to civilian ownership and use of firearms, more and more strident objections to these laws. The main feature of the various Stand Your Ground (or Castle Doctrine) laws is that they remove the “duty to retreat” from threats (hence Stand Your Ground).

In the standard style of the anti-gun extremists, they couch their “arguments” in the form of hyper-inflated rhetoric, saying that removal of the “duty to retreat” is tantamount to legalizing murder. That’s a pretty tough position to defend, though.

Retreating from someone who poses a threat to you requires taking one of two very unwise courses. The first choice is to turn your back on the threat, and run away. It should be fairly obvious that turning your back on someone who has caused you to fear for your life is not a good way to keep yourself alive. Then, you may have to outrun your antagonist–good luck if you’re elderly, or (like me) disabled. It’s also well established that flight tends to inflame a would-be attacker (precisely the reason we are taught from childhood never to try to run away from hostile dogs). The only other choice is to try to back away. This, obviously, is not very quick. It also exposes you to the danger of tripping over something on the ground behind you–which clearly doesn’t help your situation.

In conclusion, the “duty to retreat” is merely a legal mechanism to make thuggery safer for the thug, at the expense of the safety of those he menaces. Lifting that requirement is a long overdue measure that will make society safer. If anyone has a duty to retreat, it is he who is menacing law-abiding citizens in the first place.

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