I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on the Treyvon Martin case. As usually, each side has been quick to rush in, while not enough facts have risen to surface.
Here’s what we do know:
Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin by an emergency dispatcher.
Based on a recording of a neighbor’s 911 emergency call, someone was screaming for their lives that night. Zimmerman says it was him. Many people, including me, say that is sounds like a boy, instead of a man. (Experts have said that there is no way that the voice could be the older man’s – but they do not have a recording of Martin’s voice to say conclusively that it is his.) Either way, the recording is one of the most chilling sounds you’ve heard in a long time.
Here’s what we don’t know:
Did Martin turn and confront the man who had been following him?
Did Zimmerman go out that night, set to kill somebody?
Was Zimmerman a racist?
Here’s where I finally come down on this: Of course, we need a full investigation so that this family has some justice. But most importantly, the Florida law that allows a person to shoot another without even an arrest as long as he says that he “felt threatened” has to be changed.
Here’s the uncomfortable part – I diverge from the liberal block on the Second Amendment, the section of the Constitution that allows citizens to have guns in the first place. I am a moderate on this issue. I believe sane, law-abiding people should be able to own and use guns. That doesn’t mean there should be no regulations, but there shouldn’t be a lot of them because that’s how rights get eroded.
But the central question of this case, to me, isn’t race and it really isn’t even the Right to Bear Arms. It’s Florida’s ridiculous, insane, unjust, digusting “Stand Your Ground” law. In most states, you have the obligation to retreat before being forced a gun on another human being in self defense. Not in Florida and several other states that have fallen suit.
All Zimmerman had to say was that he felt threatened, and today he is a free man. Although I doubt it, he may have used his weapon in self defense. As of this moment, we may never know since he has not be charged for murder or even manslaughter.
Zimmerman should be arrested and have his day in court, and we may have a better idea of his guilt or innocence. But it is not clear that he can ever be due to this law. That’s why it is bad for our society and needs to be overturned immediately.