Michigan’s “stand your ground” law resembles Florida’s more than any other state
Graphic by Chris Lozos
The tragic death of unarmed Trayvon Martin in Florida was a direct result of that state’s odious “Stand Your Ground” law. The fact that George Zimmerman was acquitted of his death is a direct result, not of the six female jurors ignoring the law, but, rather, of them enforcing it to the letter. Zimmerman’s murder of Martin was completely protected by this hideous law.
As Michigan Radio reports, Michigan has a similar law that is more like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law than any other state:
States that adopt “stand your ground” laws generally indicate a person has no duty to retreat if they feel unlawfully threatened by another individual, regardless of where the person is.
If you use deadly force against someone when you feel unlawfully threatened by them, you are protected under these state laws.
According to a think tank called the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit group promoting government transparency, Michigan’s “stand your ground” law says is almost identical to Florida’s law.
The Sunlight Foundation used an automated textual analysis to compare these laws in different states. The tool takes online texts and compares them for identical wording and phrasing.
Out of all the states who have original legislation for “stand your ground” laws online, Michigan was the most similar to Florida. […]
The Sunlight Foundation’s analysis found that after Florida passed its “stand your ground” law in 2005, a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “adopted its legislative language as one of the model bills it proposes to legislators across the country on behalf of its member associations, in this case the NRA.”
The law, enacted on July 26th, 2006 with immediate effect, is now Michigan Public Act 310.
ALEC’s influence in Michigan in putting this law on our books isn’t surprising. Eight of the bill’s cosponsors were ALEC members:
- Edward Gaffney
- Dave Hildenbrand (now a state Senator)
- Rick Jones (has since left ALEC)
- Bill Caul
- Tonya Schuitmaker
- Leon Drolet
- David B. Robertson
- David Farhat
The message sent to young black men by the acquittal of George Zimmerman is clear as a pane of glass: YOU are responsible for the reactions of the people around you. If they are frightened by your appearance, YOU are responsible. They have no responsibility to use good judgment or to avoid confrontations with you that could lead to your death. That responsibility is all on YOU.
These laws are harmful to our democracy and, more importantly, to our justice system. And, once again, the corporatists are there ensuring that our world is a less safe and accepting place for minorities.