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"Stand Your Ground" Is the Real Concern

Updated on July 20, 2013
The Repeal SYG Movements sure could use some of that energy out there.
The Repeal SYG Movements sure could use some of that energy out there. | Source

The Verdict Is In, Let's Move On

He’s officially “Not Guilty”. The jury couldn’t take it back even if they wanted to. It’s done, fair and square. But there sure is a lot of frustration out there. That’s OK, it may be useful. Oh, but not for ranting and raving against the system or Zimmerman or life in general. But the energy…wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

George Zimmerman is, for now, out of the limelight. That’s fine. Like the "OJ Trial of the Century" (um, that’s the previous century) the Big Top was getting dusty. Anyway, it’s time to move on. The Martin Family will take some time to sort things out and decide later on how to proceed. And GZ will likely run silent and run deep, at least for a while.

The trial, blessedly short by comparison with others of this drama-quotient, put a strain on lots of people to differing degrees. I’m sure everyone will appreciate a rest. However you feel about the verdict, you have to agree that George Zimmerman did not enjoy being at the center of things. If there was ever a moment that could be re-lived…

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks before the NAACP this week.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks before the NAACP this week. | Source

Find A Better Fight

You need to find your local Stand-your-ground law and attack it like you would a child-napper. It’s that vicious, just standing by until the day it can wreak havoc, again. Because that’s what it’s done here alright, just made a real mess of things and at the dearest of costs for everyone.

Even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had some nasty things to say about Stand-your-ground. Speaking in Orlando before the NAACP this week, he stated that these so-called laws “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.” Essentially, they mix more elements in where less are necessary, in this case, specifically with taking someone's life as a last resort.

Holder and others are suggesting there are serious problems with the law. And they’re right. It leaves too many alternatives to “victims” for handling a situation and will only lead more often to injury or death. Either fundamental changes must be made in these laws or they must each be repealed over time. It’s clear that the real battle now must focus on changing these laws for the better.

President Obama addresses the nation.
President Obama addresses the nation. | Source

Even President Obama has joined in with some heartfelt comments about Trayvon Martin's death. It is, possibly, a gentle effort to help an American public understand why some of it is very unhappy with the Zimmerman verdict. Not to judge the verdict or address any shortcomings in the system, but just to mention that many, many people are hurt by this verdict. I mean, physically pained, and worried. And the reasons run deep and conger up feelings from days better left behind us.

And that's not to say that these "pained" folks are right, either. But it feels pretty real to them. This is just a huge mess and we're fortunate that folks out there have kept a lid on things, for the most part.

ACB News Reports on Obama

A peaceful gathering of Trayvon's  supporters.
A peaceful gathering of Trayvon's supporters. | Source

Take A Breath, Not A Life

The last time I saw this kind of energy in the streets was during the riots in Los Angeles following the “Rodney King” beating trial verdict where the police officers were found Not Guilty. And before that I’d seen it in southeast San Diego back when the Watts riots took place in LA (again).

Running through the streets, turning over cars and breaking stuff, setting things on fire, beating people up, it has always seemed senseless and illogical. And it has always ended up hurting only the people and businesses in the community, innocent, one and all. So, please, everybody take a deep breath, and chill.

Yes, there’s pent-up anger and confusion and disappointment, but wrecking property and hurting each other won’t make things better and, for you, could land you in much more trouble. Do you really need it?

Aside from that, any criminal activity will detract from news on the “repeal SYG” front and serve to discredit any momentum that does start building. Don’t think that just because there’s been a tragedy associated with Stand-your-ground laws that it will be easy to have them repealed or revised. Have you been paying attention to the fight over gun control? There’s nothing but a fight ahead and lots of deep feelings all around.

That's why it's so important for those showing their support on the streets and in marches and meetings across the country to keep up the good work and promote a peaceful dialog. Send a message that there are enough folks who care to be in this for the long run.

Of course, because there is such tension out there, it's a given that someone on either side will lose their cool and eventually do something physically provocative. Things could get out of hand. Hopefully, any instance will be minor leaving no real damage. Passion is sometimes difficult to reign in.

"Stand Your Ground" States

Even after Florida's SYG law is repealed there's plenty of work to follow.
Even after Florida's SYG law is repealed there's plenty of work to follow. | Source

Take Your Stand Here

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Florida Is A Good Start

As you can see there are plenty of places with a Stand-your-ground law, many legislated over the past decade. Unfortunately, these laws empower victims to act in ways in which they may not be trained. It emboldens them when it might be smarter to keep it on the down-low. It's an already emotional situation getting a steroid-like injection of "I gotta do something!" at, possibly, the wrong moment.

The Trayvon Martin case is not the only time the Stand Your Ground law has been used as a defense. But this particular time has captured the broken heart of a nation. Florida Governor Rick Scott has noticed and, though he still supports the law, he met with Trayvon's supporters Thursday to hear them express their concerns.

And that's, at least, how it starts.


Submit a Comment

  • John Frawley profile image

    John Frawley 4 years ago from Southern California

    No, not at all. One should always defend themselves and their family with the utmost zeal. But, be smart, and fight only when one must. If it means taking the life of your attacker, so be it. But other safe alternatives should first be exhausted. Like getting--or staying--out of the way unless some interaction is absolutely required. It's just a shame that this situation had to progress so far. Thanks for your comment.

  • Cagsil profile image

    Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

    So in essence, you're saying that self defense isn't to be allowed. You're saying that if your life was in jeopardy, then YOU wouldn't kill someone else to ensure you survive. Well, that's good for you. However, NO ONE has the right to make that decision for myself or anyone else. Nice opinion piece, but that's all it is in reality. It shows no "big picture" scope/view. That's what is truly a shame.