Since when is a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea considered a weapon? Apparently, it always is in the town of Sanford, FL.
We’ve all heard about this story by now, some of us later than others. Interesting that it’s just NOW generating outrage, when in fact, the actual crime occurred back in February. For those of you who don’t know, here’s the rundown.
On February 26th, while most of us were at bars or home, watching the All-Star Game, a child, a CHILD, was being murdered-a murder that was audibly witnessed by another 13-year old child. (There is so much anger within me regarding this story, I don’t think I or anyone else can write anything that will express this adequately.)
Trayvon Martin was on his way back to a family member’s home in a gated community in Sanford, FL, when he was approached by the “self-appointed” neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Now, Zimmerman felt that Martin was behaving “suspiciously”, which okay, fine, that’s how you feel. He even decided to contact the police to report this, which is also fine. What’s not okay is his vigilante decision to take the law into his own hands. Feeling “threatened” for his own life, he followed the young boy, and then shot him in the chest.
Yes, the issue here is that a young, unarmed boy was murdered, but I think the even larger issue is that his murderer is still free. Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” bill gives any ordinary citizen the right to act in self-defense, even if it means fatally injuring your alleged assailant. According to the cited webpage, “…a person using any force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action and cannot be arrested unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.”
So what do we do now? Maybe, just maybe, Zimmerman was truly acting in self-defense. Or maybe he was trying to prove a point to any would-be criminals in his community. The only way we can even begin to hope to understand his train of thought is to get the legal system involved, to investigate this potential homicide. Trayvon Martin’s family has started a petition on the Change.org website, urging people to sign so they can present this petition to Florida’s 18th District’s State Attorney (see link below). This isn’t going to promise that there will be justice for this young boy, but it will hopefully cause these vigilantes to think twice about pulling the trigger.