Florida’s Stand Your Ground has stood center stage since the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin. On the one hand, certain sectors of society are calling for its repeal, and on the other, proponents vigorously defended its value and efficacy. Despite the public outcry for reform, every attempt to repeal or change the law has been defeated. This Article examines whether Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is inconsistent with commonly-held societal values, and if so, what might prompt a change in the law.
To that end, this Article relies on the jurisprudential framework established by Myres S. McDougal and Harold D. Laswell which identifies the law as an expression of community interests and a source of authority rooted in community values. The common interests, or values, identified by McDougal and Laswell are power, enlightenment, wealth, well-being, skill, affection, respect, and rectitude. This Article examines these values in the context of Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws and analyzing them from competing perspectives to conclude the law is inconsistent with commonly-held community values.
This Article concludes by exposing the legislature’s reticence to repeal the statute as a reflection of its entrenched mode of thinking. It calls for opposition voices to collaborate in advancing reform messages aimed at deconstructing the entrenched categories and restructuring them to prompt an amendment to or repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground statutory scheme.