Category Archives: Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin: How You Can Help End STAND YOUR GROUND


In a New York Times op-ed, by Ekow N. Yankah, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, we get some sobering analysis of what has happened. We need calm and contemplation as we forge ahead. Mr. Yankah makes a case for this being, in part, a matter of faulty law.
There is a way you can help change the law and you can find it here.

For now, Mr. Zimmerman is free but he does have more legal issues to contend with. And he must live with what he did. It was repeatedly said in the Zimmerman trial that this is not supposed to be about race. But it is. Even if we set race aside for a moment, Mr. Zimmerman is only protected by the most contrived of law.

Shortly after the news broke of the killing of Trayvon Martin, I posted about it. You can read that post here. At the time, I responded to the assertion that Mr. Zimmerman was responding to Mr. Martin’s hoodie. That didn’t add up then and it doesn’t today. It wasn’t enough for George Zimmerman either. He knew, as anyone with a passing knowledge in Florida law would know, that he was protected by Florida law, the highly controversial STAND YOUR GROUND law.

It is about race. We have made a lot of progress over the years but did we somehow magically resolve all issues on race? We can seek out justice. And part of the solution is the law. You can make a difference by signing a petition to ask the U.S. Justice Department to review STAND YOUR GROUND here.

An update: From the Washington Post, the latest on Attorney General Eric Holder against STAND YOUR GROUND, you can read that here.

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Filed under Democracy, George Zimmerman, Justice, Law, Media, Race, Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin

Hoodies Don’t Kill People

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 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.

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Filed under Commentary, Trayvon Martin