The importance of the Stand Your Ground law

Editorial Board/FIUSM Staff 

Florida Atlantic University has dedicated a course to Florida Statute 776 with the objective to answer whether or not we really need the Stand Your Ground law.

Our University should consider such a class that would serve as a forum of organized debate about the law and the controversy that surrounds it. It would initiate an educated discussion amongst the student body, driven (hopefully) by the facts rather than sensationalism or hearsay.

While the University has only joined the conversation through roundtable discussions, a more in-depth approach to the controversy, its complications and overall uncertainty seems like an appropriate action for the University to take in educating its students.

Most of our peers may not know that in the case of George Zimmerman, Stand Your Ground was not used in defense, although this case has taught the public most of what
it knows about the law.

Even more shocking is the fact that since the law was enacted in 2005, justifiable homicides in Florida have tripled, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

And for those that think Stand Your Ground is too young or uncertain to devote an entire semester’s worth of course material, the Tampa Bay Times identified 130+ cases in Florida where shooters cited the Stand Your Ground law to defend their actions.

In the seven years since it was enacted, the law has not only become an effective defense, but a hot topic of discussion and debate in the community. FAU officials said they saw a need for the course after the Zimmerman case created so much publicity about Stand Your Ground.

And it is true that the law has become a trending topic–whether on Twitter, in our neighborhoods or within the University.

It only seems appropriate for universities to facilitate conversations about such hot-button issues. Without such courses, what we know about topics like Stand Your Ground is merely what we seen on TV.

Instead, it is important for universities to evolve their curriculums based on these topics and serve as a forum for discussion and debate.

And for those who protest, you are not forced to participate in such an elective course. It would, however, benefit students to have the option; not only law students, but those of any major.

The topic itself is of great importance, but courses that facilitate respectful, organized debate are a great learning experience for all students.

If our University does decide to take on the Stand Your Ground curriculum, let’s just hope it is not during FAU’s unruly hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

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