What Trayvon Martin Has Taught Us (So Far)

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.

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2 Responses to What Trayvon Martin Has Taught Us (So Far)

  1. InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    “They also puts the burden on victims to prove they were not the criminal.”

    Person#1: It’s possible that there’s an ice-cream stand on one of Jupiter’s moons.
    Person#2: I don’t believe you.
    Person#3: Oh yeah? Prove it’s not there! You can’t, can you! Therefore, it’s there!

  2. I’d have to respectfully disagree with you on most of everything you have said with the exception of your last statement Mr. Fieger.

    Stand your ground laws are often times underappreciated, until the time comes you need to stand YOUR ground. At that very precious and important moment you become aware of what “Stand your ground” means. When someone is threatening the life of either you or a loved one with no regard for the law then it’s a very powerful deterrent to keeping these lawless types from threatening others.

    Your institutional racism statement is absolute rubbish. There is no such thing as racism as it pertains to black people who regularly and openly display their own racism. We see “Black TV” stations; The United Negro fund, The “NAACP”, but god forbid a white man do similar things without a national crisis. Wake up Mr. Fieger! It has to be a two way street with equal enforcement!

    All the Best.

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