Target: Governor Nathan Deal
Goal: Drop law that permits a person to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat
A twenty-two-year-old Georgia man, Rodrigo Diaz, was shot and killed recently after accidentally pulling into the wrong driveway. His killer, Philip Sailors, claims he felt threatened by the young man when he shot him. Since the shooting, Sailors has been charged, but his lawyers intend to use the Stand Your Ground law in his defense.
Rodrigo Diaz, 22, was on his way to an ice skating trip he had planned with friends on the day of his death. With his girlfriend and two friends in his car, he pulled into the driveway he mistook for a friend’s. The driveway belonged to sixty-nine-year-old Philip Sailors who immediately ran outside, shouting at Diaz and his friends to get off his property. Diaz was, according to his brother, already reversing when Sailors emerged from his home. Frightened, he rolled down his window to apologize to Sailors. Sailors shot him in the head. Diaz’s girlfriend was holding Diaz when police arrived on the scene, and attempting to get a response from him, but it was too late.
Police arrested Sailors and he has been charged with murder. Sailors claims that he thought Diaz planned to rob him, and was only acting in self-preservation. His lawyers intend to use the infamous Stand Your Ground law in his defense. Under this law, a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat. The person has no obligation to retreat first. The Stand Your Ground law is currently being used in the defense of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager.
Sailors’ lawyers suggest that Sailors’ status as a Vietnam War veteran led him to being on high-alert at all times. However, being a war veteran is no excuse for murder. Rodrigo Diaz, a visibly Latino man, was already in the process of backing out of Sailors’ driveway when he was shot in the head. He and his friends had not even emerged from their car. There was no significant reason for Sailors to feel threatened. The Stand Your Ground law has been used as a shield by murderers for too long. Sign the petition below to ask Georgia to drop this law immediately.
Dear Mr. Deal,
Recently, a Georgia man was shot and killed for the crime of mistakenly pulling in to the wrong driveway. His killer, Philip Sailors, has been charged with murder, but intends to use the Stand Your Ground law in his defense.
The Stand Your Ground law has been used as an excuse to use a disproportionate level of violence for minor, non-violent incidents – pulling into the wrong driveway, reaching into a pocket for candy – for too long. It allows violent individuals to shoot first and ask questions later. When a law does more to protect the aggressor than it does to protect the victim, something is wrong. It is time for this law to go. I am writing to ask you and other Georgia legislators to drop the Stand Your Ground law immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Geoffrey Fairchild @ Flickr.