My best friend wrote me an e-mail a few hours ago that got me to thinking. Here’s what he wrote:
I keep hearing people who support the murderer in the Trayvon case saying that the “stand your ground” law in that state should get Zimmerman off scot-free. Well, Trayvon “stood his ground” against an armed stalker who was chasing him through the streets — and he died as a result! If “stand your ground” laws are supposed to mean anything then I don’t see how it could possibly protect a person who chased down, confronted, and murdered someone in the streets. It only makes sense if you are confronting an intruder who has come into your own home.
Of course, it being Florida (or LA, standing for Lower Alabama — thanks, Cort, for that one!), laws that make sense are in short supply. The law there favors the gun-toter, and “Stand Your Ground”, in particular, assumes that the shooter is the aggrieved party, rather than the aggressor. It has less to do with defending oneself than it does with shooting first and asking questions (or making excuses) later. And in the case of Trayvon Martin, it has nothing at all to do with an unarmed person under attack defending himself against a raging gunman.
It used to be that you had to actually find yourself under attack before you could shoot in self-defence; now, that condition has been removed. You can shoot, basically, at any old time, merely on the pretext of feeling threatened. Even if the threat is all in your own fever-swamp of a mind (as appears to be the case with George Zimmerman, who ignored a police dispatcher’s warning to leave Trayvon Martin alone), there is still the chance of getting acquitted if you can convince a court that you felt threatened, and therefore had no choice but to shoot and kill.
And, seeing as Florida is the wang-end of the Deep South, when all’s said, with all the racist mores of a Lower Alabama, well — there’s a good chance that Zimmerman’s racist perception of a threat in Trayvon’s very appearance will, absurd as it sounds, form the basis of his legal defence. After all, how was he to know that all black kids aren’t thugs? Especially lanky black kids in hoodies, out after dark and buying convenience-store snacks. Gawd! Don’tcha know canned tea and Skittles are dangerous?
There’s just one problem with that: Racist legal defence is still racist.
And innocent black kid is still innocent…and very, very DEAD.
And stupid gun laws are stupid…and still on the books.
And worse, they’re probably coming to Canada, too. Harpo & Co. are very much in the pocket of the NRA lobby. Meaning, the next Mayerthorpe Massacre…could be perfectly legal. After all, that crazy motherfucker was just standing his ground against the threat of the nasty, scary Mounties! See how that works?
I’d rather not. But I fear we will. If not immediately, then soon.