The stand-your-ground laws have altered the traditional rule of self-defense in a way that makes us all less safe. Under traditional self-defense rules a person has a duty to retreat if reasonably possible to avoid killing. The Stand your ground doctrine alters that duty under certain circumstances, and allows the person the choice to kill or retreat when they could reasonably do either. For example, if you believed someone was attacking you while you were in your car, and you could drive away – the traditional duty to retreat requires you to drive away and call the police. The stand your ground rule alters this duty and gives you the option of killing the person. The problem is that it is often the case that people are mistaken about the actual threat. The duty to retreat lessens the risk that a tragic mistake occurs because it requires the person to leave the situation and get professional assistance if that is possible. The stand your ground rule lets people in crisis make the life and death decision on their own, when there was a reasonable alternative to leave. That is why the stand your ground rule does not make us safer. Most killing happens as a result of a series of tragic mistakes, choices, and miscommunications that could have been prevented if someone had left the scene, taken a time out, or retreated. Most people in crisis are not trained to make life and death decisions. People should be encouraged to retreat from violence if it is a reasonable opportunity to escape danger. The duty to retreat saves lives, and we are less safe now that it no longer exists in certain relatively public places in Florida and North Carolina.