It is time for the state of Florida to recognize that its residents are hiding behind the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. ‘Stand Your Ground’ has become the “go to” excuse to shoot first and then say–“I felt threatened.” In the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman felt “threatened” by Trayvon because he reacted to Zimmerman’s “stalking” of him…and he stalked him because he fit the “profile”. The profile being a young black male walking along and minding his business. There are people who would and have said that Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty but those are people who haven’t had to worry about their boys simply walking to the corner market and coming home in a body bag.
The stories are endless of young black men being gunned down for simply being young black men and when I wrote the post The Responsibility Of Raising A Black Boy, I expressed my concern as a pregnant mother finding out the child I was carrying was a baby boy. Knowing how the world viewed him and the lengths to which they would go to discourage his success, including murder, sent my already stressed mind reeling.
The day I went to the hospital to find out the sex of my son, we were sitting in the waiting room and on the television, they were discussing the very controversial comments conservative William J. Bennett made on his talk show September 29th, 2005 in which he stated–“if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.” Bennett quickly added that such an idea would be “an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do.” But, he said, “your crime rate would go down.”
We both sat there and shook our heads, incredulous at what we’d heard and as the host of the show debated with her guests about how insensitive and wrong his comments were, my name was called to go find out what I was having. As we stood up, I looked at my boyfriend and said–“They are trying to exterminate y’all!”
William Bennett’s comments are nothing knew to the black community and neither is having to deal with the possibility of losing our young men to violence for no other reason than the color of their skin.
The recent use of the ‘Stand Your Ground Law‘ hasn’t been about standing your ground so much as it has been about using it as a smokescreen to hide the deep seeded hatred that has been bred for generations in this country. We are supposed to believe that seventeen year old young men who were buying junk food and listening to elevated music (things all seventeen year olds do) and until harassed, were unaware these men even existed, were somehow so dangerous that both Zimmerman and Dunn even saw phantom weapons which, they claim, is why they made the decision to shoot.
We tell our children to stay away from drugs and tell them to steer clear of the wrong crowd and now we have to tell them that even after doing ALL of that, there is still a chance that you will be shot and/or killed… so as a parent, what am I supposed to tell my son to help him avoid that? Would you know what to tell yours?
Raising children is already a hard enough job without having to worry and be constantly reminded that at any moment your child’s life could be taken based on a “feeling”. Enacting laws that allow for a person to act before they think has already been proven detrimental and two families are now dealing with having lost their sons to senseless, unprovoked violence with this law being used as the excuse for their deaths.
Gone are the days when we had to sit back and accept our children being harmed and with the recent campaign to end this controversial law gaining momentum, there is hope that the ineffectiveness of this law will be exposed and ultimately repealed. If nothing else, we owe it to the memory of those who died to have it taken off the books.