Now the death of Trayvon Martin is the latest in that line. Maybe this is the kind of case that is so sad and so tinged with racism that Florida will think hard about the very scary place where their self-defense laws have taken them. Maybe.”—
PEG here: I’m mixed about “Stand Your Ground” laws and instinctively tend to favor “strong” self-defense rights. I’m willing to be swayed on this because I haven’t thought that hard about it.
That being said it seems to me that “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t apply here. Zimmerman shot Martin as he was attempting to flee, as the 911 tapes reveal. Even under “Stand Your Ground” that is murder.
The problem here is not “Stand Your Ground”, the problem is that the police decided to cover up his killing by asserting that it was defensible under “Stand Your Ground.” Instead of using “Stand Your Ground” as an excuse, they could have planted a gun on Martin and this would have the same effect: they lied or abetted a lie in order to make murder look like legal homicide.
The problem here is that the chief of police in this instance seems to believe that white people have a blanket right to kill black people and is willing to subvert his oath and due process and break the law in order to ensure that this “right” is protected. That is obviously utterly despicable, but “Stand Your Ground” is neither here nor there. More importantly, if “Stand Your Ground” is repealed after this, this may or may not be a good thing in itself, but it will lead us to believe we have solved the problem, when we won’t have attacked it. The problem is racist police officers.
(You might argue that “Stand Your Ground” laws contributed because it created an atmosphere where some people feel justified in going around shooting people left and right, which I would find fair-though-debatable, but that’s not what I’m seeing. What I’m seeing is a narrative under which “Zimmerman is walking off scot-free because of ‘Stand Your Ground’”. No, Zimmerman is walking off because police officers masqueraded a murder as a self-defense killing.)
I’m writing all this in good faith. Am I missing something, here?