Tuesday, May 5, 2020

This Is Why We Have a Duty to Retreat

Two cases on the same night in Saint Paul, and two men are dead, and all because licensed handgun-owning men didn't retreat when they could have and should have.

Instead, their guns made them feel brave or made them think the other guy had a gun (since, as research has shown, people holding a gun are significantly more likely to think others are also holding guns).

 These two cases are both tragic and wrong. In the traffic collision death, a white man shot an unarmed Black man because the white guy said the Black guy was "reaching for his waistband." Gee, wonder where he's heard that defense before? I'm glad it's not going to stand up in court. (It better not stand up.) Unfortunately, only the white guy has survived to tell the tale of their altercation. But at least there are some impartial witnesses to part of it, and they don't support the white guy's version of how threatening the dead man supposedly was, according to the Pioneer Press article.

In the second case, an unarmed Black man, who was much larger than a second, armed Black man, wouldn't give up beefing with the armed man over his spot in a line at a gas station. Really stupid on both their parts, but one of them paid for it with his life. Toxic masculinity, I would say, played into this encounter, with the situation escalating from a few words exchanged to the larger man bumping the smaller, to an argument and the two of them pushing each other. If the permit-holder hadn't been armed, there might have been a fistfight or maybe it would have resolved without one, but because the smaller man had a legally owned gun in his car, someone is dead.

The duty to retreat in a confrontation is still part of Minnesota law, thank goodness, despite the efforts of state Republicans over the years to make us a Stand Your Ground state. But Democratic governors have vetoed their bills and now Democrats hold one house of our legislature, too, and hopefully after 2020 they will have both and get some gun safety legislation passed.

Stand Your Ground is bad law and every state that has such a law should repeal it.

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