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Those seem to be the justification and consequence of "Stand Your Ground" laws. Is rewarding fear - feeding fear with violence - the best way to live as a civil society? Is "reasonable belief of necessity to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another" how we decide whether a death is deserved? I am not a legal professional, and won't comment on the legality of the laws. What concerns me is using fear as a justification for violence. That justification should be repealed from the law.

Fear is like any other emotion: we feel it, but what stokes it varies widely from person to person. We have choices on how to respond to it. The GOP is Orwellian in its fixation on 'personal responsibility' for anyone but Anglo males. Not least in their misguided attributions is that fear is a primal response that we cannot and should not learn to modulate. They are profoundly and utterly wrong. Regardless of our feelings, we are responsible for how we act on them. But

Fear overwhelms the mind, causes you to project that which you find despicable in yourself onto others, breeds paranoia, and fuels self-justifying, self-serving behavior.

In Florida two days ago, a man, Curtis Reeves, was hit with popcorn by another man, Chad Oulson, while waiting for a movie to start in a theatre. Reeves responded by shooting and killing Oulson. Reeves had started the confrontation by expressing his displeasure that Oulson was texting during the previews, then escalated by going to his car and retrieving his gun when Oulson was uncooperative.

Reeves said he "was in fear of being attacked" by Oulson so he pulled his .380 semi-automatic handgun from his pants pocket and shot the victim, police said.
While contemplating and giving mindful responses is good on its own, it's the relevance to our political discussion that makes it worth a diary entry. We have an opportunity to re-frame the debate over gun responsibilities in general and the "Stand Your Ground' laws in particular by questioning fear as a justification for violence. We all have anxieties, fears, and panics. But we are all sentient beings. We all have a mind that allows us to respond to our emotions in a variety of ways.

Fear is not a reasonable belief, and should never be an excuse for being unthinking and uncaring - and violent.

May I find freedom from fear in my life. May I also in turn help others find freedom from fear in their lives. And may I meet the fear in our culture with the courage of the open heart, which acts with decisiveness but never divisiveness.

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