Op-Ed: 206 Trayvon Martins, Ignored
by. C. D. Michel
Over the last year, more than 200 black seventeen year olds were murdered in the United States. None of them were Trayvon Martin.
It is the perception of conflict and violence that drives our attention. So it comes as no surprise that politicians try to drive our attention toward issues with which they can make political points, and away from the real issues that are difficult to solve or that bring them criticism. In the White House enhanced hysteria over a Florida self-defense verdict, there has been an unsubtle shift of the conversation in precisely the wrong direction, to long standing laws and court decisions governing self-defense. Florida is a “stand your ground” state, meaning only that one part of the law of self-defense does not mandate anyone to flee an attacker. The rest of Florida’s self-defense laws allow the use deadly force, but only if otherwise legally justified. Even with the stand-your-ground component, this is far from a license to kill. There are many legal strings attached to using deadly force –in any state.
Regardless, the case against George Zimmerman case had nothing to do with Florida’s “stand your ground” law. At the instant when Zimmerman pulled the trigger on his handgun, he and Martin were engaged in full contact combat. There was no “stand your ground” issue, because nobody had the option of retreating – regardless of who “provoked” the initial confrontation.
Nonetheless, Barack Obama has used this tragedy as a platform to shift the national attention from the event itself to the individual-empowering self-defense laws he is ideologically opposed to. Meanwhile, Obama and the spinmeisters of racial politics are largely ignoring the causes of the other 206 seventeen year old black males murdered in the last reporting year, 188 of whom died from gunshot wounds.
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