Duty to retreat is being done away with because whether someone could have retreated is an uncertain and highly subjective test to apply in a legal setting.
Overall I’m in pretty good shape. I have respectable numbers in the weight room. I can swim 1500 meters in 20 minutes… 100 years ago that would win me a gold medal at the Olympics. Modern Olympians do it in 15, but 20 is pretty good for an amateur. I’ve also completed a number of long distance swims, and I feel I’d be able to do the English Channel if money weren’t an issue. Yep, I’m a very strong swimmer. I’m also tall. You’d think I’d also be a good runner too then, right? Nope. For one I’ve got a bad knee and bad ankle on the same leg… doesn’t bother me swimming, but running hurts. The pain forces you to go slower, even when you don’t want to. Even when I was younger, I was never a strong runner. I’m tall, but oddly proportioned, with a long torso and short legs. This gives me a very odd and inefficient gait. When I was in Basic Training, one Drill Sergeant took to calling me “Barney”, because I apparently look like Barney the Dinosaur while running. Thank god that nickname didn’t stick. But to be honest, that description was pretty dead on.
The point is, I look like someone who should have no problem running away from trouble. But the reality is, I’ve been outrun by overweight middle school kids. Confronted with someone who means to do me harm, why is it on me to justify defending myself instead of running? I have zero faith in my ability to simply run away. But will the police share that view? Will a prosecutor? Will a judge and jury? Why should some monday-morning-quarterback’s opinion supercede my own judgement of the situation? As long as its clear that it really was self defense, and that I wasn’t actually the aggressor, then why shouldn’t that be the end of the legal test?
That’s just my own situation. What if someone has a young child with them? Or an elderly parent? Or a handicapped sibling? Should they have to leave that person behind while they flee?