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Quite the World, Isn't It?

Florida, and a law that protects racism and criminals

Like most others, I awoke this morning with a sense of outrage over the Florida verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, and his acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Social media, as you might imagine, has been buzzing over this, and it’s chilling to see how some of our fellow citizens view the case, and the verdict.

Two lines of thought have emerged from some of the conversations. First, that the prosecution booted the case and didn’t provide the necessary evidence to counter the provisions of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The second is an undercurrent among some whites best summed up by a comment posted on a friend’s page responding to a statement of confusion and desire to hear some of the jurors explain their thinking. The response included:
Truthfully, I had no horse in the race myself, and speaking of race I can't stand how people make everything about race. There's how many black boys killed in cities by senseless violence like Chicago every wkd and no one says a peep? I just think you don't convict a man just because people want him convicted. The charges of Manslaughter and 2nd Degree Murder weren't proved and reasonable doubt was all over the place in this incident. I'd rather live in a country a man/woman walks free any day than in one which we convict an innocent man/woman of charges they aren't guilty of. The law is the law, whether I like it or not, I can't stand some of the laws we have on the books in our great country but I must learn to live with them, and under them. I hear you though. I will say though you can't go attempting to kick the %$#& out of the neighborhood watch guy and expect him to roll over and cry Uncle. So, we ought not act like the kids an angel... it's a shame he was killed. I was 17 and had I done that at that age I woulda expected trouble if I were messing with a man with a gun.
One can defend this verdict only from the bizarre perspective that "stand your ground" is in some way a defensible law. Which in itself is a perversion of the concept of freedom, and justice. That a person with a gun can chase down someone and then claim self-defense in the subsequent confrontation is Kafkaesque. And to defend the verdict as just is the result of intellectual acrobatics. To say "I can't stand how people make everything about race" misses the point (and evidences a racist world view) that this case was all about race. That was what made Zimmerman "suspicious" of Martin in the first place. Suspicious of an unarmed black teenager who had every right in the world to walk unmolested down that street that night. The central issue: Do we as American citizens have a right to walk the streets without being provoked and attacked by fellow citizens?

In Florida, the answer is, "no." Especially if you’re a black man spotted by a self-appointed, gun-toting neighborhood guardian.

The chances are slim that the federal government will intervene here by charging Zimmerman with violating Martin’s civil rights. But it should on the grounds that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is vague enough to grant legal cover to the antagonist in a confrontation, and ultimately is a license to kill.
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