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‘Stand Your Ground’ Law needs immediate review

“Trayvon Martin made the wrong decision and now he is in the cemetery,” “Messing with drugs and living a thug life will land you one of two places ...,” “The hoodie is just as responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

These are some of the statements that have recently been reported in the media. Trayvon Martin, 17, walked to the store for Skittles and tea on the afternoon of Feb. 26 and walked back home with his hoodie on because it was raining (whether it was raining or not, he had the right to wear his hoodie). He was followed and approached for “looking suspicious,” and was killed in what police deemed a “self-defense shooting.” Rather than allowing the proper authorities to handle the report of suspicious behavior, Zimmerman initiated the series of events that led to Martin’s death by overstepping his bounds as a neighborhood watchman and disregarding the advice of the 911 operator. But for Zimmerman’s actions, Martin would be alive today. Neither Martin’s suspension from school nor his previous mistakes or behaviors negate the fact that Zimmerman was overzealous in pursuing Martin. Zimmerman had a proclivity for contacting police. Why did he not allow them to do their duty to serve and protect?

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law needs to be reviewed and revised immediately. Any time one can use a law to justify a shooting because they fear for their life, there is a propensity for error in judgment; it can become a license for vigilantism. Am I saying that Zimmerman was playing the role of a vigilante? I am not. I do not know everything that transpired because I was not present when the confrontation occurred, but I do believe that Trayvon’s death could have been avoided had Zimmerman not felt empowered.

This death was such a tragedy in that a teenager innocently walked from the store with his hoodie and ended up in the morgue because he looked suspicious. Is this acceptable in our society? Absolutely not! My heart and prayers go out to Trayvon’s family because any mother could sympathize with the pain of the loss of a child compounded by the senseless “profiling and mislabeling” of our youth. I have a husband and two adult sons who wear hoodies; they prefer wearing hoodies rather than jackets, especially when jogging or working out. It is both their preference and their right to wear them. Wearing a hoodie makes you no more a thug than wearing a suit makes you a businessman or wearing jersey makes you a pro athlete. Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgeway, both prolific serial killers, fooled many by the way they dressed and by the way they lived proving, once again, that appearances can be very deceiving.

This tragic shooting was yet another example of a person being profiled by appearance. Our society cannot continue to judge and misjudge people based upon how they dress or look; it is unjust to continue the biased practice of profiling.

STEPHANIE HART

Albany

Comments

waltspecht 2 years, 8 months ago

If you are going to dress like a THUG, expect people to percieve you as one. Most Gangs have, and fly colors. That is how the Gang Unit can identify some of them. Others have changed their ways and hide their colors from the Cops. In the old days the street gangs wore their name on a jacket, much like the Motorcycle gangs still do. As to the law, it really doesn't apply if the situation is as described by Zimmerman. With someone beating your head into the ground, it is basic self defense. For it's hard to retreat with someone sitting on your chest. By the way, I sometimes wear a Hoodie myself, and it is hard to tell from behind what my race is when I do. However I really believe it is more demeanor than appearance when it comes to profiling. Did you know there is a gang whose colors are hoodies with eye holes cut out in them so they can quickly be reversed to hide identities?

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agirl_25 2 years, 8 months ago

.....and I quote you, Stephanie... "Wearing a hoodie makes you no more a thug than wearing a suit makes you a businessman or wearing jersey makes you a pro athlete"...... and I say to you........"standing in a garage doesn't make me a car"........now does it?


Your argument has been rehashed a thousand times.....I too am sorry that a child is dead and not one among us will ever truly know what happened that night but Zimmerman, for Trayvon is silenced and his side will not be told. Now it is up to the court to decide and a jury of Zimmerman's peers. My argument is........ I do not beleive Trayvon to be the angelic little chap that everyone is depicting him to be but I am not saying Zimmerman had the right to shoot him. I am saying maybe Trayvon DID in fact provoke him, DID in fact come up behind him and hit him. Who knows....we won't ever know..... at least I don't think we ever will. I only hope this ends soon and it ends fairly and without a lot of anger and bitterness. I too have to agree with walt, it is demeanor, more than appearance when it comes to profiling.

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MRKIA 2 years, 8 months ago

WHATEVER MARTIN'S APPEARANCE OR DEMEANOR IT WAS NO CONCERN OF ZIMMERMAN'S. ANGELIC? BESIDES THE POINT. HOW DO YOU PROVOKE SOMEONE WALKING ALONG MINDING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? BUT... YOU HAVE AN ARMED STRANGER STALKING YOU BY CAR AND ON FOOT. ADD THE INCREDIBLE FEAT OF HITTING SOMEONE FROM BEHIND AND BREAKING THEIR NOSE. THE POLICE IN SANFORD HANDLED THIS CASE BADLY FROM THE START AND WTH THE MEDIA'S HELP LET THIS EVENT SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. BUT LISTEN TO THE UNEDITED 911 TAPES, THE SMOKING GUN. WALT, I DISAGREE ON THIS ON.

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Holli 2 years, 8 months ago

The unedited tapes have Zimmerman talking with the police dispatcher. He is letting her know where he is located and where the "man" is at. It took a while before she realized he was following to tell him to stop. By that point, Martin was running and Zimmerman lost him, but stayed put like the dispatcher asked. He was to wait for the police to arrive. Now according to Martin's girlfriend, whom he was talking to while being followed, he told her he lost him but could still see him. He said he was going to confront the man following him. I am sorry to say, but a scared little 17 year old does not go out for a confrontation. I too am a mother and would never want to live this scenario. But I have to look at what is being presented by both parties. I think the girlfriend gave away more than she was supposed to and that is why we have not heard more from her.

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agirl_25 2 years, 8 months ago

Zimmerman was concerned because he was part of the neighborhood watch. I read there had been 8 burgarlies, 9 thefts, and a shooting in the last 13 months in the neighborhood where the shooting took place. The police had been dispatched 402 times during that period. No wonder they had a neighborhood watch. Another poster, Sally_O said the same thing in a post she made earlier-----"Yes, they said that on TV last night about the many burglaries they had. That would certainly justify a call to 911 about a person acting suspicious in the neighborhood." (I have copied and pasted her quote for you.) And no, I don't think it is fair for the press to continue to show 4 year old pictures of Trayvon. Why does the media continue to show photos of a young Trayvon Martin (even the hoody picture has been air-brushed to make him look young and innocent; I’ve seen the same photo with an older face) and then the George Zimmerman mug shot. There are photos that show Zimmerman dressed nicely and smiling; there are photos of a thuggish Martin with gold teeth and tats, making finger signals). We never see them in the stories about Trayvon, do we? We never see stories about his life, about his social media accounts, about what kind of a person he was, do we? Most news sources continue to show the photos that bias viewers against Zimmerman. Is Zimmerman's fate going to be decided by the press or by a jury of his peers? No one knows what went on but 2 people and one of them is dead.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 8 months ago

"Any time one can use a law to justify a shooting because they fear for their life, there is a propensity for error in judgment;"

If I fear for my life, I'm going to make a quick decision, and yes, maybe an error in judgment. If I don't, there is a very good possibility that I will be dead. So is the victim always wrong? Why is it someone else's right to attack me?

My gun stays with me at night. If you walk into my bedroom, you're going to get shot. I'm not stopping to ask you what you're doing there or offer you milk and cookies.

It's easy to be an armchair quarterback when it hasn't happened to you.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 8 months ago

Way to go Trixi,you know what you are talking about,Sometimes people have to make a judgement call.It may not always be the right one,but when your life is atsteak,what would you do?

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