‘Stand your ground’ stands for murder

Nate Henneke, Staff Writer

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently stated his plan to pardon convicted murderer Daniel Perry, an announcement that has sparked controversy statewide. In 2020, Perry was driving in downtown Austin when he encountered protesters that blocked his way forward. This is when Perry drove into the crowd where Garrett Foster was legally carrying an AK-47. Perry claims that this was when Foster raised his rifle, but before Foster could act, Perry unloaded five shots from his handgun, killing Foster. 

Now nearly three years later, Governor Abbott is fighting for Perry to be pardoned on the grounds that he was simply defending himself. Under the “Stand Your Ground” law, if Perry acted out of fear for his life, he did not break any laws. In the initial trial following the murder, the jury concluded that Perry aggravated the protesters prior to killing Foster. Before Abbott can pardon Perry, the Texas State Parole Board needs to approve the appeal, which has led to new evidence being found on Twitter, showing Perry to be a racist anti-protester. 

Perry’s defense has held onto the fact that he was acting out of self-defense, and if the Texas Parole Board agrees with his defense, he would be protected under the strong “stand your ground” law that Texas has. This law has become common, with 28 states adopting some form of it. These types of laws have led to unjust convictions and, in some cases, people getting away with murder. They encourage the use of violence as a response to being threatened; being able to defend yourself from potential threats should be protected under the law. However, the “stand your ground” style of laws should not be the method for providing self-defense guidelines.

State lawmakers should implement “duty to retreat” laws as a means to prevent complicated cases such as the current situation surrounding Perry’s pardon. If Texas had “duty to retreat” instead of “stand your ground” laws, there would be no question as to whether Perry committed murder. The protection of the use of deadly force that “stand your ground” laws provide has led to so many innocent and undeserving victims losing their life because someone with a gun felt threatened.