Stand Your Ground Law = INJUSTICE!

Apr 5, 2012
by: kaylac

I am very interested in the essay by Anthony Turner, “Trayvon Martin, Unarmed and Innocent” from the New York times because it’s speaking about an injustice hate crime killing that happened in Florida to a boy name Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman is a 28 year old white and hispanic man who killed an African American 17 year old boy name Trayvon Martin. In justice killing happen everywhere but it’s a serious and cruel when it’s because of hatred towards a different race or nationality. I’m learning more about the Trayvon Martin case right now, and in particular what i’m wonder about is why Zimmerman was not arrested and witnesses were not used as evidence. I was researching this question online, and Anthony Turner’s article in the New York Times caught my attention because it was explaining the situation and gave good details about Trayvon and Zimmerman’s background and about that night. The background and how the investigation took place surprised me. I saw an unnecessary killing unsolved, no justice.

“That is one reason Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which justifies bodily harm or death if the person feels intimidated or threatened, is so flawed : Any one could feel threatened if they are scared or paranoid about their safety. And it seems that Zimmerman was paranoid. A recent New York Times article said that Zimmerman “had placed 46 calls to 911 in 14 months, for reports including open windows and suspicious people.” But simply “looking suspicious” in someone’s eyes shouldn’t give that person the right to put his hands on you. Or shoot you in the chest.” The quote I chose here is basically saying that Florida has a law that allows people to harm or kill a person that seems “intimidating” to them but its not fair because anyone can be intimidating to ANYONE. Also that Zimmerman was paranoid because he placed a lot of calls to the police from this year alone. I think this is very important with the whole situation because this is probably the reason why Zimmerman isn’t behind bars now. It makes me wonder, if there justice for anyone who lives in Florida? Anyone can kill anyone and just say the person was intimidating or the person threatened me. Also is there any type of fairness in that law? Anyone can get away murder now, like Zimmerman. There should be restrictions on that law for example if they do an investigation and find out that something else besides intimidation or threatening occurred the person faces time.

Another sentence Turner wrote that stands out for me is, “Part of the problem is that the media-- including some black celebrities-- depict black males as dangerous. In many music videos we’re the same people who talk about shooting, stealing people’s money and being tough in the ‘hood’. That has an influence on both young men of color and on perceptions of us. In my neighborhood a lot guys sag their pants, wear hoodies and walk with a distinct swagger and cold glares. However, there is a big difference between copying a “tough” look and actually being a real threat.” I think this is also an important part of the essay because this is the most true part apart of it. I agree with him about the media portraying black males as dangerous, and also black females as sexual targets. The media is partially to blame, but some people should also understand that t.v and actual life are two different things. There are also people in my neighborhood and family who have a distinct swagger also. Some of them do look intimidating but if you bother anyone they would have no reason to bother you. Some people are intimidating but harmless beings. I also agree with him when he says looking harmful and actually being harmful are two totally different things.
The third sentence that I liked was, “As a young black male myself, I sometimes get the sense that other people judge me on my appearance. The fact that im a black kid in a hoodie is a mark against me (even though I don’t do anything “suspicious at all).” I agree with him on how people judge you because of the color of your skin and what you wear. When im around my guy friends I sometimes see people looking at us and we’re not doing anything wrong but laughing and having fun also police come and stop us for no reason at all but because of how we look its a problem. Also when i'm by myself in a different element I see people looking at me and I sometimes wonder if they’re judging me.

What I appreciate about this writer’s work is that he speaks from facts and experience also that his experiences are similar to mine. I look forward to seeing what he writes next because I can relate to what he believes and his logic about things. I would have written an essay similar to his if given the same task. I would definitely read more of his essays and should enough would enjoy it.


I agree

Submitted by birdsongklc on Tue, 2012-04-17 15:40.

Fisrt off, I loved the way you organized your thoughts about this article. It was very clean and percise and you went to new topics quite smoothly. I think that law is rediculous. I think there is a line between self-defense, and going after someone that appears "tough" or "suspicious." Unless your life is truly threatened one has no cause to harm another person.

In the Zimmerman case, its obvious that after making countless calls to 911, he decided to take things into his own hands. If that law were not in effect, he would be in his rightful place behind bars. I liked the connections yiou made about judging someone by their appearance and the media. The media never tells the truth, but somehow the public finds themselves believing every word of it. Media definitely creates some of the prejudice against many ethnic groups.

I've also had some experience with stereotypes. Coming from a private school, I'm often judged as a stuck up, goody two shoes, rich white girl that gets every thing I want. In reality, I am the low end of the middle class and have to earn what I get,and nothing is given to me on a silver plater. A lot of the time people will take oine look a a school uniform, or a hoodie and baggy jeans, and make assumptions. It's one of the many bad habits that society needs to quit.