Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stand your ground?

A lot of us were upset by the Florida not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman (which doesn't mean innocent), but the bigger issue, to me, is the law that enabled one man to stalk another and then when the victim turned on him, to use a gun with intent to kill. The trial might be over but this law goes on and now has been interpreted to go way beyond self-defense.
The “stand-your-ground” law – when it interacts with race – can come perilously close to a return to the right to lynch black men in America – just for being be in the wrong place at the wrong time, for doing nothing wrong, except wearing a hoodie and carrying some Skittles. Perhaps the best way to react now is to raise awareness about these laws that all but sanction murder because in a one-on-one conflict, in which there are no reliable witnesses and in which one of the individuals is dead, reasonable doubt is a very hard hurdle to overcome. This verdict may give some racist vigilantes encouragement to single out and murder black men with a sense of impunity. That is simply unacceptable, to put it mildly. It is a terrifying reminder of how the past can become present again.
We must respect the jury’s decision. But we need not respect that law. And, unless we are to return to the era of lynching, it needs to be repealed.    Andrew Sullivan
This is the point. What stand your ground was intended to mean is if you are attacked when say coming out of a restaurant, you then have a right to defend yourself with lethal force if required. But if you start a fight, if you follow someone, if you say nasty words to them, then when they stand their ground, you, being the one with a gun, you have the right to slaughter them?

It's a law that needs to be rethought when it enables weaklings, such as Zimmerman's own attorneys painted him to be, to use deadly force to try to prove their manhood because nothing but a gun can do it.

It used to be that to even shoot someone in your home, you had to prove you were endangered. All Zimmerman could prove of his being endangered was a bloodied nose and a few small bloody spots on the back of his head where he went down and hit it on the sidewalk before the two ended up on the grass. Nothing happened to him that doesn't happen in any fist fight-- except he was carrying a gun and counting on his right to use it with this stand your ground law-- or was he sure he could use it because Trayvon was a black?

What happened that night wasn't stand your ground. It was a searching out of trouble, ignoring what the police said and then shooting to kill someone. When he pulled that trigger, with hollow point bullets intended to kill, pointing at the youth's chest, he knew he was about to kill.

Was it also racism? One has to wonder if the prosecution did a lousy job or didn't want to win the case. They let it be an all female jury without a single man or minority that wasn't also Hispanic. The people on that jury didn't understand what it's like to be black in this country, how they are guilty before they prove they are innocent. Did the prosecution only bring the case because they had to do it? When they allowed evidence as well as insert it themselves that led to doubt regarding Zimmerman's guilt, whose side were they really on? Did they throw the trial?

How about the other story coming out of Florida's legal system. A young mother, with a master's degree, had an acknowledged abusive husband who was ordered to leave her alone. When he came to her home, she tried to get away into the garage but could not; so she came back with a gun and fired it into the wall to frighten him off. The jury in Florida just gave her a 20 year sentence for that shot which killed and hurt nobody. Oh, did I mention she's black? 

To me, the ones defending Zimmerman and the things I hear from right wing pundits who have ignored any fact that didn't fit their version and Zimmerman's constantly reworked version, it is racism. From the start, the killer has been supported by the right wing-- economically and with their voices. By them he is admired. If that's amazing, it just shows how far they have fallen in terms of any recognition of true morality.

It appears, from what I read, that Zimmerman and his wife have neither one worked a day since this happened (fear dontchaknow). It has been right wing donations that enabled that. A guy whose own lawyers painted him as inept, that's the kind of man  stand your ground gun laws are supporting.

More in the video on my feelings about this but for anybody not viewing it, I think the whole nation needs to rethink these laws that do seem to enable a different kind of lynching; and if someone stands up for their 'rights,' someone of the wrong color, think that law will support them? It didn't the young black mother of three in Florida...

15 comments:

Tabor said...

I do not care of Martin was smoking pot on the steps of one of the houses, as I have written before, Zimmerman should have stayed in the car!

Rain Trueax said...

The interesting thing about the pot accusation (and the fact they never tested Zimmerman at all) is that pot would make Martin less violent, more placid and actually if people understood drugs better probably less likely to be violent. Now if Zimmerman had used meth, that'd be the whole other direction. We'll never know because the police didn't bother to check out Zimmerman's blood and he's not about to tell anybody the truth if he was say legally drunk that night.

Frankly the more I hear about this, the more I think racism is a factor in the court system and Zimmerman too. I know he followed him as a black youth in a place he felt he didn't belong but did he also shoot him because he knew he could get away with killing a black? Would he have resisted pulling that trigger if it was a white boy who had punched him in the nose?

OldLady Of The Hills said...

As far as I am concerned, RACE absolutely played a part in this as it did in the woman who was given 20 years for shooting into the ceiling, defending herself. The---to me---obvious Racism of the state of Florida and it's laws and leaders and citizens has already brought us back to the days of lynching. These so called STAND YOUR GROUND laws, Must Be Changed. But, the underlying problem is: Changing the people who passed laws like this in the first place. I pray that with so very many people speaking out against these laws---Maybe, they will be changed.
I find the attitudes of most all the people involved in this trial, incredibly scary and completely disheartening. Racism is alive and well in Florida and the people perpetrating it don't even realize they are Racists.

Tara Crowley said...

I can't for the life of me figure out why that woman was sentenced to 20 years. Unless it's about race. I haven't read enough about the case, but I hope she's appealing the decision. She didn't even aim at the guy!

Zimmerman, on the other hand, stalked this kid, ignored police advice to stay in his car, and provoked this altercation. I can't figure out why he didn't at least get manslaughter. Unless it's about race.

Rain Trueax said...

Years back, the only time Farm Boss was ever asked if he minded working for a certain boss was when that boss was a black man. He didn't mind and that boss was one of his better.

Ingineer66 said...

Zimmerman was a wanna be cop, that wanted to be the hero, but once Trayvon was bashing his head into the pavement and yelling that he was going to die tonight and reached for Zimmerman's gun then all of this becomes academic. At that point it became shoot or be killed. And all of the people that are talking about Zimmerman making sure he killed the only witness I say BS if he wanted to make sure he killed him he would have pulled the trigger more than once.
And the fact that Eric Holder is running around looking for evidence for a federal trial when the FBI has already said there is no evidence that there was a racial component is just doing a disservice to the American people. They can listen to the 911 tape and hear that he was not sure what race the person wearing the hoodie was. And I mean listen to the entire tape not the version that NBC edited and broadcast to make it look like Zimmerman a "white" Hispanic was a racist.

Rain Trueax said...

Ingineer, you are listening to too much rightie radio ;). The only evidence you have that Trayvon said that is the man who lived through it. When you shoot someone in the center of the chest, you don't need to pull the trigger twice. Zimmerman changed his story as he went along which says he was told what he had to say to get off. The trial was a farce and Florida didn't want to find him guilty. All the evidence there is that Zimmerman was in danger is a nose which happens when somebody punches you in it. Zimmerman stalked him and then lied about what happened. From what I've heard his other calls to the police about other instances pretty well nail who he is. And people who support him are only listening to the right-- who has been nuts on this all along!

Rain Trueax said...

For anyone who hasn't seen the Daily Show on this, here's the link-- The sunshine state??? This is the kind of funny that you are torn on whether to laugh or cry!

Ingineer66 said...

Did you not see the photos of the back of Zimmerman's head. The Doctor testified that produce a wound like that you would have to get knocked loopy. Zimmerman is likely a douche bag, but that is not a crime in the US. At least not yet. We would have to arrest almost every politician if it was.

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, I saw them. The kind of cuts you get when you get knocked flat and land on concrete but that fight ended in the grass. The thing you are suggesting is if someone came up to you and threatened you, you responded by punching them and it ended up a fistfight, where you are getting the better of it, instead of it ending as most do with one person winning, the other guy pulls his gun and shoots you in the heart. To me the cuts on his head were minor and there were doctors who said that. The next day he was prancing around showing the police where it all happened. Serious injury? Give me a break. You don't believe that either. stand your ground should not mean you can chase someone, threaten them, and when they respond as happens many men will, you can shoot them dead. I don't think anybody should find that reassuring. He was not seriously hurt. He was getting his ass kicked because he was a weakling that only a gun made strong!

Hattie said...

Of course you know I agree with every word you have written here.

Ingineer66 said...

Thanks Hattie. Just kidding.

Rain Trueax said...

It sure is interesting how this has again become a right-left wing issue and with rare exceptions, like McCain, it's right down the line as to how people will see it. Of course, every time he says something that makes me think I could like him, he comes back with something else to remind me it's not that simple ;)

Ingineer66 said...

I guess it became a right wing vs. left wing issue because the left starting with Obama made it a political issue and the right had to respond. The left politicians throw race into every issue they can because it distracts people from the real issues facing our nation right now.

Rain Trueax said...

You never cease to amaze me, ingineer. I wonder if you will ever wake up to the reality of who got the money and who really is taking over. I doubt it because despite what you say you have to listen to right wing radio and websites. Without that, you'd not parrot their words so perfectly. Obama didn't do this. He's not the bad guy. He's just the black guy!