I was looking for a way to talk to kids about the Treyvon Martin case and found this article from the Points of View Debate blog site. It will be up to individual parents to decide how to talk about the many controversial aspects of the case. It goes beyond the issues of race, vigilantism and guns that have dominated the headlines and focuses on the law at the crux of the case.
“In addition to the complexities of the case itself, there is also a debate about a law in Florida known as Stand Your Ground. This law states that in a confrontation, a person is not obligated to flee, but may act in self defense. Many states require people to attempt to flee from an attacker, and do not allow self defense unless the person has no other choice but to fight back. Florida’s Stand Your Ground law allows people to fight back with deadly force even if they have a chance to escape without using deadly force.
Similar laws are on the books in many other states, but not all states, and Zimmerman’s actions would probably be found illegal in many of these states. The conflicting police reports between the homicide investigator and the other police officers are also a major source of controversy.
What do you think? Did Zimmerman commit a crime, or did he simply defend himself? Do you think Stand Your Ground is a good law or a dangerous one?”