Georgia Says

Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on self-defense:

A Texas teenager recently shot and killed a burglar at his grandmother's house. Few would say he didn't do the right thing.

So maybe we need a "Stand Your Grandmother's Ground" law?

Let's not.

It's bad enough that the nation's series of "Stand Your Ground" laws are under attack since the George Zimmerman acquittal - including Georgia's and South Carolina's.

Despite the fact that the Florida law wasn't even invoked by Zimmerman. And despite the fact that the law merely codifies a natural, God-given right to self-defense.

Where do the armchair Einsteins get the right to insist that someone who is being attacked has the obligation to retreat? That's frankly none of the state's business. And how does a person know he or she won't be killed even in retreat?

One supposes that the experts on the sidelines are willing to bet your life on it.

We'll say it again: You have a natural, God-given right to defend yourself. And while flight is often preferable to fight, you are under no natural obligation to do so. Laws to the contrary are wrong, morally and practically - and, arguably, constitutionally.

Recently the South Carolina law was eroded when its Supreme Court ruled a stand-your-ground claimant must face a full criminal trial before having an appeals court consider his stand-your-ground claim. That's a dreadful shame - and the South Carolina legislature should fix that, first thing next January.

It's interesting, though: Lawmakers in nearly half the 50 states have passed such a law after careful deliberation, while many in other states have debated it. All the while, pointy-headed academics have written about it from their cozy dens and postulated about it in panel discussions — and yet they all expect you to process all their hand-wringing nuances and negotiate their little legal labyrinth in the blink of an eye while staring into the muzzle of a gun.

Thanks so much for the before-the-fact second-guessing, but no thanks.

Early next year, Stand Your Ground will be attacked in legislatures across the country, including Georgia and South Carolina - in an effort to strip away our natural rights, because of a case that didn't even address the issue.

Stand Your Ground laws do not create a right to self-defense; they only recognize that existing right in the law. But once on the books, neither should we retreat from them.

We urge our senators and representatives in Atlanta and Columbia to stand their ground.

The Telegraph, Macon, Ga., on opting out of additional Medicaid coverage:

Our state legislators and governor are running scared. What are they afraid of? Obamacare. Why are they afraid? Is it the cost of expanding Medicaid and opening up slots for 534,000 Georgians who would be eligible? No. They are bending to political ideology.

Georgia is not alone. Twenty other states, all controlled by Republicans, have decided to opt out of the additional Medicaid coverage that would be paid, for the most part, by federal funds. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible Medicaid recipients for three years starting in 2014 and 90 percent after that.

According to a McClatchy Newspapers story, Georgia is one of the states that will cover only the "poorest of the poor." How is that defined? "Parents must now earn less than the federal poverty level -- $19,530 for a family of three -- to be eligible for Medicaid," according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care research group. In Georgia and in 17 other states, only parents in severe poverty, "50 percent of the federal poverty level or lower," qualify for coverage, the foundation.

So what does this all mean? In simple terms, it means nothing. The state's decision maintains the status quo. Hospitals and doctors and volunteer clinics will continue as they do now providing health care services to indigents.

However, many rural hospitals and even large facilities cannot continue to provide services through their most expensive departments, their emergency rooms.

This ideological battle has real-world consequences of life and death to the poorest among us. The governor still has time to change direction, but in this battle, those who suffer the consequences have little voice. It's up to those health-care facilities and their lobbying organizations to make the case that keeping 534,000 Georgians off the Medicaid rolls is not only morally unjustified but financially irresponsible.



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