I love hoodies. I wear them all the time. I had no idea my life could be in danger from wearing one. That is, if I fit a certain profile, like being a young African-American male.
The media firestorm rages and a nation is galvanized over the story of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, armed with a semi-automatic handgun, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year-old high school student wandering around talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone and who, in Zimmerman’s mind, looked like a threat. Geraldo Rivera, never one to miss out on controversy, blames the hoodie that Martin was wearing as an obvious threat.
Of course, wearing a hoodie is not a threat. Pointing a gun at someone, chasing them down and then shooting them to death, has nothing to do with hoodies. It does, however, fit in with the mentaility of the “Stand Your Ground” law, in force in 24 states, which allows for any “justifiable” threat to be reason enough to lawfully shoot to kill. This is what state prosecutors believe would make it difficult to convict Zimmerman. However, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, says the law is to protect homeowners and not for chasing down someone to shoot them. ALEC, by the way, is the group that pushes their own fully written bills through state legislatures, such as “Stand Your Ground.”
ABC News provides a very useful timeline. In it, it refers to change.org and its petition to bring the killer of Trayvon Martin to justice. The local police force in Sanford, Florida, have yet to act and Martin’s family is pleading for action.