That laws which allow anyone to “stand their ground” are inherently dangerous – they are a prescription for increased violence. Anyone looking for trouble can find it and then justify killing. These laws obstruct police and prosecutors from timely investigations. They also puts the burden on victims to prove they were not the criminal. (This is why virtually every law enforcement agency has opposed these laws).
That institutional racism is still a significant problem in our society, especially in law enforcement. It’s a simple question with an obvious answer: would the police have done the same thing if Trayvon had done the shooting? The Chief of Police declared before the investigation was over that there would be no arrest and prosecution. They treated Trayvon as a criminal “John Doe” and the initial investigation centered on his background – not the killer’s. The initial prosecutor put the brakes on the investigation and over-ruled the detective’s recommendation for an arrest of the killer. It happens every day, all around the country. I know, I fight it often in my cases.
That social action is necessary to overcome institutional racism. Without the work of the National Action Network and people being willing to take to the streets, nothing was going to happen. We must be willing to march.
That peaceful protests and insistence on following the law are a powerful moral argument that is hard to resist. Violence, revenge, character assassinations and other similar tactics divert attention at best and creates more violence at worse. By insisting only on the need for a thorough investigation and an arrest if warranted, Trayvon’s defenders took the moral high ground.