Of the continuing efforts in many quarters to demonize “Stand Your Ground” law, despite mounting indications that it will not make the difference in determining George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence at trial (on which see my Cato colleague Tim Lynch’s writing here and here, as well as mine), Ann Althouse asks: “Why inject an inapplicable, controversial issue? To inflame passions? To skew judgment? To take any opportunity/nonopportunity to push your pet issue?”
The thing is, “Stand Your Ground” hadn’t really been a pet issue one way or the other for many of those who now harp on it. I think the better answer is: because many people yearn for ways to blame their ideological opponents when something awful happens. It’s much more satisfying to do that than to wind up wasting one’s blame on some individual or local police department for actions or decisions that might not even turn out to be motivated by ideology.
Consider, for example, the efforts to set up the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council as somehow the ultimate villain in the Martin shooting. Left-wing groups, assisted by labor union and trial lawyer interests, had been pursuing a campaign against ALEC for months before the Martin case, in hopes of making the group radioactive among generally liberal donors like the Gates Family Foundation and the Coca-Cola Co. Nothing had worked — until the synthetic Stand Your Ground furor finally afforded an opening.