It would have been tragic enough if the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Florida were the first to show the lethal folly of so-called Stand Your Ground laws. But, in fact, these outrageously dangerous laws have been adopted in many states, making it easy for shooters who kill to claim self-defense.
Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old student, was shot last month as he walked home one night with a snack in hand. His killing has stirred national outrage and protests because there is evidence he called out in alarm over his cellphone as the armed stranger closely pursued him. At the same time, George Zimmerman, the shooter, was on the phone with a police dispatcher, who told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”
Mr. Zimmerman, who got out of his car to pursue Mr. Martin, claimed a confrontation occurred that caused him to defend himself because he “reasonably believed” he would be harmed.