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A Progressive’s View of Gun Control II- “A License to Kill”-The Trayvon Martin Shooting Incident 03/21/2012
This story has legs, the stench of which has reached my nostrils here in Hawaii. Conservatives seem to think, at least according to their blogs, that this was an isolated and unfortunate accident that should not have an effect on the “Stand Your Ground Law” in Florida. This has been the most heinous example of racism, obviously supported by the State of Florida since we have yet to see an arrest, that I have seen in recent years. The conservatives say “well here comes Al Sharpton to stir up to pot” I say just don’t stir it, but blow it up! The issue here is the principle of the law and how it applies in practice. This incident has made it clear that it needs to be abolished or substantially rewritten. A key excerpt from the law is below:
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."
Is it open season time on young black males? I have said in many articles that I am for the right to bear arms, but you will damn well be held accountable for the unjustified use of a firearm. So this Zimmerman fellow could hide his trigger happy instincts behind this law? How is a 17 year old boy, with ice tea and candy presented any real threat? The reports also mentioned that Mr. Zimmerman was told to back off once he gave the report of the boy’s presence to law enforcement, not to stalk the boy. So why follow the boy unless you wanted a confrontation? The man is physically more massive than the boy and the victim was found unarmed except for the lethal weapon, a can of iced tea. There was no real probable cause for Mr. Zimmerman to harass the boy outside of the fact that he had been aware of a rash of burglaries committed by black men in the area. Well, that is not good enough. The fact that Florida law enforcement seems to be dallying around and not making the arrest in this case is riling the black community and justifiably so. So, according the Florida provision, Mr. Zimmerman did what he did to avoid great bodily harm, is that so? Well, I consider this murder a civil rights violation that should be charged as such at a minimum of second degree.
I am so tired of hearing how Mr. Zimmerman is not a Rambo and that he was raised in an integrated community and thus not a racist. These are the same platitudes I have heard all my life and I am not impressed as they fall on deaf ears. The law as written gives any vigilante type license to shoot anyone they want under THEIR assessment of a lethal threat and, of course for many, young black males fit the category merely based on their mere presence in areas of town where others feel that they do not belong. The fact that conservatives make excuses for the perpetrator and the law that he hides behind will not endear them to the black community.
Funny. this reminds me of another similar provision in Texas, which resulted in an unjustified firearm related homicide…..
There was this one incident in Houston suburb some four years ago. It was the case of this man who called 911 to report a burglary in progress at his neighbor’s home. He knew that the neighbors were away for a time. He, it was reported, was the grandfatherly type and wouldn’t hurt a fly. The men were of Hispanic background. The 911 staff repeatedly advised him to stay in his home and not get involved and that the police would be along to deal with it. The man kept on saying that he could not allow these two men he identified to get away with what ever they were taking. He said that he had a shotgun and was prepared to go and stop them. It turned out that he did confront the two men and shot them both. They were unarmed. The autopsies on both men revealed that they were shot in the back.
Through some twisted application of a Texas law that allows assaults of this nature, this man was not held accountable for this act. Doesn’t the ‘Code of the West’ frown on shooting men in the back? Could the fact that these men were non-white allow this man to do this and not have his conscience seared quite as much? I could consider the law a splendid one, if he acted to protect the lives of his neighbors or his own life. I could understand lethal force if the men had broken into this man’s home. As it was though, this fellow was not in any danger and there was not anyone in either house whose lives were at risk by the activities of these burglars. He deliberately took action to kill when he was told by professionals not to, and he is not held accountable, how?
These laws and provisions enacted by Texas and Florida merit closer examination. Heads are going to roll and I have an ample wicker basket to catch them all! I can only hope that this tragic incident in Florida continues to attract public attention to the very nature of these laws, giving the worse kind of vigilante, blood thirsty scum “A License to Kill”.