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Posts Tagged ‘Treyvon Martin’

The Stand Your Ground Law

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?”

 

Is this the Conflict that leads to Change?

It’s an interesting day for any writer who wonders at the role bedroom politics, race politics, partisan standoffs and the politicizing of our planet are having on this generation. There are contradictions breaking out in each of these realms today that should give us all pause. And while on the face of it, each of the following news reports seems inherently at odds, the hope is that out of all this conflict and confusion, could come change. Let’s hope so. 

First, the Treyvon Martin case. Regardless of what you think about the arguments and evidence, the fact is George Zimmerman’s acquittal has left many African Americans feeling vulnerable. A jury ruled that Martin’s death was not racially motivated but whether you believe that or not, there is no doubt it still involved guns and vigilantism. And that Treyvon Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had not come out of his house because he thought the hooded African American teenager looked “suspicious.”  Zimmerman’s acquittal has also left Americans of all backgrounds questioning if the fact that we have an African American President has impacted race relations the way so many hoped it would? We talk a lot about the need for the Republicans to diversify and for the Democrats to move beyond race politics but this begs the question of how far we have to go.

Then there is the filibuster threat against the female Democrat nominated by Obama to head the EPA. Just a few days before the beginning of hearings on how to reform filibusters. A Senator who believes he is serving the needs of the people in his home state and isn’t blinking about the tactics he is willing to deploy to hold up Gina McCarthy’s nomination because he wants answers on a levee project for Missouri. If we demonize US Sen. Roy Blunt for his filibuster, how do we sanctify Texas State Senator Wendy Davis? Can you have it both ways? She was filibustering for women’s access to preventative health care. 

And by the way, that nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, once worked for Republican Governor Mitt Romney. is that another conflict? Or a sign that it’s time to de-politicize our concerns about the climate? 

Then there is Gloria Steinem telling the Wall Street Journal that, even though she isn’t personally supporting him, she doesn’t think Eliot Spitzer’s recent legal challenges involving that prostitution scandal should prevent him from seeking office. “He’s a very intelligent, talented man who made a mistake,” she said. “It’s up to the voters.” In some polls, nearly half of New York women said they thought both Adam Weiner and Eliot Spitzer’s transgressions shouldn’t affect their decision to get back in to politics.  The significance of who is saying this cannot be understated, Ladies. It’s Gloria Steinem. I wouldn’t quite call this the end of gender politics but I would say it is surprising.