The shooting of Trayvon lst week is drawing fire from both sides! Both Sides??? What the hell is the other side? The gang side? I thought we as a society decided to outlaw Gang violence. I thought that we as a society decided that Gangs were bad. That Gangs violated the spirit of freedom and replaced it with a thugeristic way of being. A morality that was reprehensible, unlawful, underworld, adjective, adjective!!! Isn’t that why we have enacted law’s invalidating the very essence of of Gang’s throughout America? Gang Violence….BAD, right? Everywhere, Right?
So I’m reading about Trayvon Martin, a child only seven years older than my son. A child whose photo is the picture of made inAmerica, at least the America that 12% of the population has no choice to be included in without “Self Deporting”. An America where freedom reigns for all right? An America where we have laws that protect unarmed children, I mean we have laws that protect them right? I mean, it’s against the law to kill a child and go home, isn't it? Especially if the child is unarmed, and we know he or she is unarmed, you can’t kill them right?
Enter Florida, the Sunshine State and the Stand Your Ground law. In most States, if an intruder enters your home, or even enters the land surrounding your home, and you feel that person is a threat (obviously a post worker is excluded unless of course he’s brandishing a gun) and you shoot and kill that person, you have committed an act of self defense, based upon the Castle Law. In Florida, under Governor Jeb Bush, that law was modified a little, but the consequences of that modification obviously were not recognized when the modification was introduced into law. As it reads the law says;
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
Here’s the thing, it would be great if everyday citizens could recognize thugs and take them out. The problem is they can’t, and this law seems lead emphasis to that point.
The challenge with ready, fire, aim lawmaking is the consequences are seldom thought out. Consider another case where this law was invoked. A man, David James, was playing basket ball with his daughter, an 8 year old, while being watched by a child on a skateboard. Another man named Trevor Dooley took issue with the child on the skateboard and in defense of the child on the skateboard the father(James) playing basketball with his daughter attempted to ward Mr. Dooley off. It turns out that Mr. Dooley was armed. Dooley drew his gun, and shot David James, who died in front of his 8 year old daughter, for attempting to assist a child on a skateboard. The shooter claims that Mr.James caused him fear, and that he was simplyStanding his Ground, in accordance with Florida law. This is a real case that is being argued in court now, along with countless others as a result of this Florida Law, and It’s about to be joined by the Trevor Martin shooting. That’s because the Stand Your Ground Law, which again was enacted under the Ready, Fire, Aim rule of lawmaking rules legalizes killing with the defense that it was self defense, apparently even if you have to travel while armed to Stand your ground.
All that said, even in the most liberal interpretation of the Stand your Ground law, this shooting would seem to have problems. Let’s look at the facts; the child was running away, and Zimmerman went into pursuit. The 911 officer that Zimmerman was talking to told Zimmerman to cease the pursuit. The pursuit caught the attention of neighbors who also called 911, apparently the child ran hard and loud. The child was on the phone during the pursuit looking for answers from a 16 year old friend who told him to run. Zimmerman said that he felt in danger (perhaps Zimmerman was diabetic considering Trevor Martin was armed with Skittles) and yet, while feeling in danger of his life, Zimmerman pursued and cornered this mortal threat. Cornered Trevor must have done something to make Zimmerman feel even more threatened and Zimmerman shot Martin in “Self defense”.
This would be laughable in any state except Florida where Zimmerman was questioned and released, without charges. No Murder, no Manslaughter, not even aggravated assault, just released. Zimmerman said that Martin was up to “no good” that “these @!$%#s always get away”. What do you supposed made him feel that way? Was it the sweat pants? The Hoodie? Or was it because Martin was a Black child? What if Martin was your child? What would your answer be?
Black Americans have lived with persecution since slavery and sadly this is just another example. My son is 10, and I have no illusions. He has already been called a @!$%#. I remember the first time I was called a @!$%#, I was eleven. I still remember it clearly. Being black in America can be painful regardless of what some say, you can never erase the first time you are called a @!$%#, never. Being black in America means pain is measured in measured in hours not severity. So the family of Trevor Martin will not get justice, even if Zimmerman is put away, even if Zimmerman gets lethal injection, Trevor is not coming back. His life ends at seventeen, before he could ever become an adult, because he went to the store at halftime during the Allstar basket ball game to buy candy while wearing a Hoodie in the rain. And his killer? So far the local police have concluded that he was just standing his ground.