Written by: Sara Horatius
In wake of the Trayvon Martin Case, the “Stand Your Ground” statute in Florida has been subjected to a lot of scrutiny over the last couple of days. African American communities all across the United States are concerned that “Stand Your Ground” laws will have a drastic effect on African American males in the future if this law is not repealed in Florida and in many other states.
On Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida, 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who was visiting his father in a gated community, went out to the store to buy snacks. On his way back to his father’s house, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, called the police and told them that Trayvon looked suspicious and that he looked as if he was on drugs. Zimmerman proceeded to follow Trayvon, even after the 9-1-1 dispatcher told him not to. By the end of the night, the result was a dead 17-year-old teenager and a man who was able to walk away free from being arrested because he claimed the stand your ground defense.
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute allows people to use deadly force inside or outside of their home if there is a reasonable belief that they had to defend themselves from death or serious bodily injury. People who have killed another person out and claim this type of self defense will be provided with immunity from being arrested or prosecuted. Let’s look at how this law was applied in the Trayvon Martin case and how it might have an effect on African American communities in the future.
First, African American males should not wear hoodies because any African American male that wears a hoodie is presumed to be suspicious, as claimed by Zimmerman and Geraldo Rivera. Second, you are allowed to follow an African American male in a community that has a low ration of them, even after you are told not too, because most likely that male does not belong there. Make sure to scream the stand your ground defense, especially when you realize that the African American male who you have just killed was not really a threat because all that he has on his person is a bag of Skittles and a bottle of ice tea; however, you might have had a reasonable fear that he would have thrown some Skittles in your eyes or splashed some ice tea in your face. Finally, do not worry; the police will most likely believe you because African American males, like Trayvon Martin, always gets away and are probably up to no good.
For more on this case and the “Stand Your Ground” Law
The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.