Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting Away With Murder?

So I recently saw this article shared by a fellow AVENite. To summarize, about a year ago in Florida Jorge Saavedra, a freshman, finally got fed up with the junior bully, Dylan Nuno, who rode his bus. From other info, it sounds like Nuno gave a lot of people problems. The two were supposed to have a fight at one of the stops. Saavedra brought a pocket knife to school that day, and got off two stops before where the fight was supposed to happen. Nuno followed him and started to beat him up. Saavedra brought out the knife and stabbed him twelve times. The judge threw out the case last week, claiming that Saavedra was acting in accordance with Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

I googled the Stand Your Ground law, because I had never heard of it. It says that if you are in your home and someone breaks in, you are allowed to use any defensive force, including deadly, to protect yourself. In any other place, the same thing applies if you have "no duty to retreat." Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but I take this to mean a public place, or a third party's property. In such a place, you may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

From a legal standpoint, it does seem that Saavedra is off the hook. He was not in Nuno's home, so he had "no duty to retreat." Nuno struck first. Saavedra defended himself. That is allowed under the Stand Your Ground law. However, I'm not sure that there shouldn't be some sort of punishment here. I think Saavedra used excessive force. I mean, he stabbed the guy twelve times. Once or twice should have left him able to get away.

I don't think Saavedra should be be heavily punished, though. I have been heavily bullied myself, so I can identify with him. I know how scary it can be. I understand why he brought the knife that day. He even got off at a different stop in an attempt to avoid the fight. So obviously he's not the type of person who thinks violence is the answer. I can imagine myself doing what he did. I can see myself being attacked and having a weapon to defend myself and maybe going overboard. It could have been built up frustrations and pain that he was given the opportunity to let go of, so he did. It must have been empowering.

Of course, because of the way people are, there will be repercussions for killing him. He'll have to carry that around with him for the rest of his life unless he's a psycho/sociopath, which I don't think he is. And there have been plenty of people who have been acquitted for murder and society still shuns. Look at Casey Anthony, for example. So maybe the right thing happened with his case being thrown out. He doesn't keep it on his record forever and he doesn't serve jail time, but his name is known and associated with the killing, so he'll still have to face up to what he did.

Song of the Day: "A Better Place, A Better Time" by Streetlight Manifesto

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