Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Filipina’s View of Stand Your Ground Law

   My grandmother wanted me to be a lawyer so I can be a lawmaker.  I did not have the persistence to do the 8 long years in college.  When Martial Law ended I ran for a position in the City Council of Pasay City.  By then my grandmother was 92 and bedridden.  She asked her caregiver what day was my campaign parade.  The caregiver said she sounded like she wanted to march in my parade when she could no longer stand.  That was when I realized how bad I failed her.

   Recently there has been a lot of debate over the Stand Your Ground Law.  For my grandmother’s memory I would like to take a stab at how the law could be redefined:

   Section No. 1:  The Stand Your Ground defense should only be used if the victim is unarmed and alive.  A self-defense shooting does not have to kill.  One could aim at a leg, an arm, shoulder, etc.  Any person at the receiving end of a bullet would stop the assault to assess the damage and that should give the other a chance to run to safety.  When a person is shot and continues with the assault that’s a scene in a movie or television.

   Section No. 2:  Gun owners should be oriented and trained on aiming at the part of the body that would stop an assault but would leave no fatality.  Owning an item that could take a life should be licensed with complementary training and testing.  A driver’s license requires as much and yet driving does not kill as surely as a weapon.  Mental and psychological tests should also be given to gun owners since public safety employees take them and they are not always armed.

   Section No. 3:  The shooter is obligated to call 911 as soon as the other person is no longer a threat.  This would attest that the shot was done in good faith.

   Section No. 4:  If the gun owner has satisfied Section No. 2 but during the struggle the gun went off killing the other then it does not fall under Stand Your Ground because it was an accident.  Thereby should be called accidental shooting.

   Section No. 5:  If however the other person is also wielding a weapon then the incident does not fall under Stand Your Ground.  It should fall under an entirely different category such as duel, shoot out, war, etc.

   Laws should be defined in the context of the era it is operating.  The foregoing sections should make everybody happy.  Gun dealers would continue to sell their products.  The shooting victim would be alive to tell his side of the story.  The shooter will not have blood in his hands. (Genesis 4:8-9)  Training for the weapon license would create jobs and government revenue.

   But what do I know?  I’m just an old politicized Filipina with a third world sense of justice.

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