Standing up to Stand Your Ground: an open letter

An open letter to Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, participating in the #StandWithOhio day of action to stand against the introduction of Stand Your Ground to our state.

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Dear Governor DeWine,

We are not at war with one another. We are not at war with our fellow citizens or other Ohio residents. We do not need a law that assumes an attitude of antagonism between neighbors.

So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are dangerous.[1] They promote the proliferation of deadly weaponry over disarmament. They choose the escalation of violence over peace.

Stand Your Ground laws are racist.[2] They increase the deadliness of suspicion and bias, and insulate prejudice against accountability. Such laws are inherently unjust.

When, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told his followers that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, it was not a commandment but a caution.[3]

Stand Your Ground is dangerous law, and it should not be enacted in Ohio.

Sincerely,

Rosalind C Hughes

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[1] “Conclusions: The enactment of Florida’s stand your ground law in 2005 has been associated with abrupt and sustained increases in homicide and homicide by firearm in the state.” From, “Evaluating the Impact of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Self-defense Law on Homicide and Suicide by Firearm: An Interrupted Time Series Study”, by David K. Humphreys, PhD; Antonio Gasparrini, PhD; Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD, in JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2582988

[2] “A paper in this issue analyzing the impact of Stand-Your-Ground
laws revealed a disturbing pattern of racial bias. Individuals (i.e.,
defendants) in Florida were more likely to avoid charges if the
victim was Black or Latino but not if the victim was white. Indeed,
individuals are nearly two times more likely to be convicted in a case
that involves White victims compared to those involving Black and
Latino victims.” From, ” Stand-Your-Ground is losing ground for racial minorities’ health,” by Valerie Purdie-Vaughns and David R. Williams, in Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 147, 2015; https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/davidrwilliams/files/stand_your_ground.pdf

[3] Matthew 26:52

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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