Today I got a comment on one of my posts that started off with the best lead sentence ever:
This is the first intelligible writing I have found on the internet today.
Dude, love you, man. Or woman. Whoever.
That is exactly what I think about my own writing whenever I publish a blog post. But sadly, I rarely have someone echo my own thoughts so precisely.
Here's the entire comment, which concerned my Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law applied to Trayvon Martin also post.
This is the first intelligible writing I have found on the internet today. If we put race aside and look at the real facts, which were, Zimmerman followed, got out of his car with a loaded already engaged firearm, got into an altercation, and shot an unarmed teenager just yards away from his home. That's all we do know. You made so many clear points here I was wondering why no one else seemed to state exactly what you did.
Pleasingly, I noted that today President Obama echoed the central theme of my post:
Obama: "If Trayvon Martin was of age and was armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we think he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened. And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems we need to rethink [Stand Your Ground] laws."
Here's the way I put it:
There Martin is, walking along, minding his own business, when a guy starts following him in an aggressive, intrusive manner. Eventually they get into some sort of altercation. At some point Martin realizes George Zimmerman has a gun.
Florida's Stand Your Ground law says you don't have to flee if you fear for your life, or if you are threatened with bodily harm. You can defend yourself on the spot.
So likely if Trayvon Martin had beaten Zimmerman to a pulp, even killing him with his bare hands, Martin could have gotten off by claiming that he thought he faced death or bodily harm -- just as Zimmerman did, garnering a "not guilty" verdict that absolved him of manslaughter or murder.
As noted in my previous post, Martin wouldn't even had to prove that he truly did face death or bodily harm; all that is necesssay is thinking that you are.
This shows the absurdity of Stand Your Ground laws. In this case, either Zimmerman or Martin could have used that Florida law to escape punishment. But Martin died in the altercation, so only Zimmerman got to claim self-defense.
Martin clearly could have also, though, if he had lived and Zimmerman had died.
After all, Zimmerman was the guy who got out of his car with a gun and followed the teenager in the dark. If a guy with a gun is following you in a threatening fashion, you certainly have a right to defend yourself.
Thus Stand Your Ground laws reward the survivor, not the deceased, even if the survivor was the person who provoked an altercation. Just tell a jury "I feared for my life," and you can get away with murder. Literally.