I am sure that most of you have read of the Trayvon Martin murder case. Well, I would call it murder. Actually, as best as it can be stitched together, a 17-year old male was walking through a “gated” community carrying the deadly combo of a Skittles bar and some tea. He can legally do this.
Now, George Zimmerman, a 28 year old male was doing the “neighborhood watch” that day. He was, carrying a gun, legally – according to Florida law. According to this would-be cop, Trayvon, who was carrying a bottle of tea and a Skittles bar, looked suspicious. There was a confrontation and Trayvon was shot and killed. There were no witnesses and, of course, Trayvon Martin was dead. Hence, all we have is the word of Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, the shooter, was legally carrying the gun and Florida has a “stand your ground” law. Basically “stand your ground” means that if you feel threatened, and you have a gun, you can shoot to kill. So, as horrible as this may look, at first glance, it would appear that Zimmerman did no wrong! He said he was threatened.
In most states, if you are carrying a concealed weapon, and someone seems threatening to you, you have to make an attempt to move away, leave, escape, etc. If all else fails, you can pull your gun and threaten your adversary. If that fails, well, you do what you gotta do. In Florida, you can skip all the prelims and just blow your adversary away — as Zimmerman did to Martin. Real civilized. Maybe Florida should be classified as a third-world state.
There is a bit more to the story, Martin was talking to his girlfriend on the phone when Zimmerman started to pursue Martin, so she was able to provide some insight as to what she heard, but in the final analysis, the girlfriend was not there.
This “stand your ground” law was pushed hard by the National Rifle Association saying that it would allow citizens to better protect themselves from violent crime. Hence, if you shoot someone, and there are no witnesses to state otherwise, all you have to say is that you reasonably believed you were being threatened. The other witness can’t contradict you, since he is dead! The legislation was signed by Governor Jeb Bush.
According to a 2010 review by the St. Petersburg Times, reports of “justifiable homicide” tripled after the law went into effect. It has been invoked in at least 93 cases with 65 deaths. It was successfully used in a defense in neighborhood arguments, bar fights, road rage, and even a gang shootout!
Even though Zimmerman has yet to be arrested, there is such a public outcry that surely something will be done. There may be a trial but Zimmerman’s defense is actually pretty strong.
I am sure that most of us would like to see Zimmerman spend some jail time (maybe a lot of jail time) but it may do society a lot better if he were set free. Why? Because there just might be such a public outcry that the “stand your ground law” will be repealed. That would serve society very well. The “stand your ground” law is simply a license to commit murder!
There are a number of web sites that are encouraging people to send Skittles wrappers to the Sanford Florida police chief but in all candor, I can understand why the police chief did not arrest Zimmerman. What would you charge him with? There were no eye-witnesses that say he wasn’t just following the law, and police are loathe to arrest someone when there seems slight chance of getting a conviction.
There is a racial aspect, Mr. Martin is African-American, and Mr. Zimmerman is Latino, but, as yet, I haven’t seen enough information to show that this was a factor. It is true that Zimmerman first called the police and reported a “suspicious” character. Would the character have been “suspicious” if he were white? Would Zimmerman even have noticed him?
If you want to get more involved: Tribune of the People