To the Editor:
How does a lone 17-year-old boy who is walking to the home of his father’s fiance in Sanford, Fla., end up dead? This young man in a “suspicious” hoodie and armed with Skittles was followed by another man with a gun, that’s how! There’s always a bad outcome when someone has a gun and the other person is defenseless.
This kind of vigilante, cowboy justice comes from a law called the "stand your ground" law and states that if you think your life is in danger, you can use whatever force you think appropriate, even a gun! That’s what George Zimmerman did. This law means that Floridians can open fire anywhere at anytime without fear of the courts. Since its passage, dozens of Floridians, including gang members, have used the stand your ground law to defend killing others.
Our society failed Trayvon Martin. The all-female jury ruled George Zimmerman not guilty of the killing of an unarmed person that he tracked down. It was said that the jury followed the letter of the law, and that law – stand your ground – is tied to ALEC, a corporate lobbyist group. Through ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), corporations and politicians vote behind closed doors to rewrite many laws to end your rights and freedoms.
George Zimmerman’s father is a retired magistrate. Martin and his parents are black without connections to anyone with clout. In Illinois, the concealed weapons law that was recently passed in Springfield is a precursor to a stand your ground law. Even with a concealed weapons law in Illinois, 300,000 people have now been deputized with the potential of 300,000 more George Zimmermans.
The whole world has been watching how we, as a Democratic society, treat our members! Shame on lawmakers passing these bills – shame on ALEC!