MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In one respect -- amidst an acquittal verdict of George Zimmerman that has been interpreted depending upon the prism through which one sees racism in America -- what Trayvon Martin did when encountered by the stalking, armed-vigilante who defied police orders to stop following Martin, was quite simple: Martin followed the ALEC-NRA sponsored law. He "stood his ground."
A Turner Broadcasting HLN article states the legal base for a "Stand Your Ground" right to kill someone (and ironically details the double standard of the application of the law as applied to a black woman):
The “Stand Your Ground” doctrine in can be found in Florida Statute § 776.013(3) (2012). Here are some key parts of the legislation:
§ 776.013. Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
The “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida essentially gives individuals the right to protect themselves or others from serious bodily harm or death, and it gives them the right to use deadly force if no other non-lethal options are available. Most states give people this right within their own home, but Florida permits individuals to stand their ground anywhere they have a right to be without requiring them to retreat first.
In Florida, you can use deadly force anywhere as long as you:
--Are not engaged in an unlawful activity
--Are being attacked in a place you have a right to be
--Reasonably believe that your life and safety is in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else toward you.
By any account, munching on a packet of skittles and walking not far from the gated community his father lived in -- the same one where Zimmerman resided -- Trayvon Martin fits these criteria for having had the right, under Florida law, to kill Zimmerman, except he wasn't armed with anything but some candy. Zimmerman had the official NRA apparel strapped onto him: a loaded handgun.
Whoever was on top in the tussle that ensued when Zimmerman, explicitly violating a police warning, left his SUV to pursue Martin with a loaded firearm for nothing more than walking while black, male and young, Martin met all the ALEC-NRA written criteria for "standing his ground." Were he a concealed carry vigilante such as Zimmerman, he would have, according to the ALEC-NRA law been within his right to shoot Zimmerman if he felt his life in danger, if he even had the perception that he was physically in threat.
Zimmerman's impulsive, vengeful, racial sterotyping actions that day would have by any standards justified Martin shooting him, had he had a gun -- given that the "Stand Your Ground" law comes into play when you "reasonably believe that your life and safety is in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else toward you."
But were this scenario to have transpired -- that Martin had a gun and shot Zimmerman who was stalking him with a firearm and abruptly jumped from his SUV to confront Martin -- and Martin stood his ground, based on the law, and perceived that Zimmerman was threatening "his life and safety" -- and shot Zimmerman dead, does anyone doubt that a Sanford jury would have convicted Martin of second degree murder or manslaughter?
Because the "Stand Your Ground" law is all about race. Thom Hartmann has best described this in articles in Truthout that historically tie cruel and often murderous white militias that pursued runaway slaves to the current Florida law (which has also been enacted in other states). The first column "The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery" (which has received 100,000 Facebook likes) begins with essential historical perspective: