Published on March 22nd, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Stand Your Ground Law Under Fire, Study Emerges Highlighting How Holding a Gun Can Enhance Violence
Interest in the Trayvon Martin case has also piqued interest in an until-now infrequently mentioned law in Florida allowing a broad claim of self-defense in homicide cases, known as the “Stand Your Ground” law.
As a person who believes in responsible gun ownership and robust Second Amendment rights, I have to say, this is the dumbest-ass law that I’ve ever heard of this year, and that’s saying a lot. But under it, ostensibly, shooter George Zimmerman remains out of jail with no pending charges despite the fact that there is 911 audio of the self-appointed neighborhood watchman stalking down and killing the teen on a public street.
However, it also seems that what went down the night that Trayvon Martin died could be an example of a phenomenon cited in a recent study done on guns. The study examined whether holding a gun affected one’s tendency to believe others possessed firearms, and it turns out that that may actually be the case:
“Beliefs, expectations and emotions can all influence an observer’s ability to detect and to categorize objects as guns,” [Notre Dame Associate Professor and researcher] Brockmole says. “Now we know that a person’s ability to act in certain ways can bias their recognition of objects as well, and in dramatic ways. It seems that people have a hard time separating their thoughts about what they perceive and their thoughts about how they can or should act.”
A press release on the study continues:
“For example, other research has shown that people with broader shoulders tend to perceive doorways to be narrower, and softball players with higher batting averages perceive the ball to be bigger. The blending of perception and action representations could explain, in part, why people holding a gun would tend to assume others are, too.”
Brockmole says the findings “have practical implications for law enforcement and public safety.” Do you think the “Stand Your Ground” law allows people like George Zimmerman to get away with murder?