Florida teenager Trayvon Martin had every right to stand his ground against “crime watch” volunteer George Zimmerman. They have it backwards in Florida.
A burglar who breaks into a house in Florida would have the right to claim self-defense if his life was put in “imminent danger” by a confrontation with the homeowner based on the way the Sanford Police Department in Florida is handling the killing of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in the wrong. The police dispatcher told him not to follow Martin; the dispatcher told him to wait for the police.
Zimmerman followed Martin anyway. Martin was being profiled by Zimmerman. You can tell by the remark he made to the dispatcher. The only crime Martin had committed was to be Black, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking in the rain. Zimmerman adds this up to be Martin “up to no good, on drugs or something.”
Zimmerman chases Martin down — hunts him down. The person who is in the wrong does not get to be the one who claims self-defense. Zimmerman is not a cop, but he’s playing one. He is armed. Martin has every right to get away, to run.
“In Florida, if people feel they are in imminent danger of being killed, or badly injured, they do not have to retreat, even if it would seem reasonable,” New York Times. But Martin does retreat; he feels imminent danger. He was talking to his girlfriend on the phone and told her he was being followed. She told him to run. They have it backwards.
The reality of a situation like this gets clouded when a Black male runs.
He is automatically considered guilty.
The reality of a situation like this gets clouded when a Black male runs. He is automatically considered guilty. That is why 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who is armed with nothing more that “Skittles and a can of iced tea,” does not get “Stand Your Ground” on his side.
It is an armed Zimmerman who was wrong to chase after Martin, then confront, and put Martin’s life in “imminent danger.” Martin, who has no idea who Zimmerman is, has a right to be afraid and has a right to defend himself. The rights of Trayvon Martin are being trampled.
How is this going to work out in the future, that armed citizens can pursue and confront people they thing are up to no good, shoot them and then claim self-defense? The Sandord Police have said that they have found no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim. Have they looked at anything yet, because everything that happened shows that they have it backwards.
Martin had every right to get away from Zimmerman, so there is no way anyone can say that Martin put Zimmerman’s life in peril. Zimmerman put both his life and Martin’s in peril by the decisions he was making. Martin was trying to get away; how could he be putting Zimmerman’s life in peril by trying to get away from him?
Only a Black male can put a person’s life in imminent danger by running away from them.
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.