It Is Impossible

I have been obsessing with the news on Trayvon Martin, watching every TV spot, reading every on-line post, shushing Tom so I can hear every radio interview.

What I am watching, listening, waiting for? For someone to say it is impossible. Impossible in any state under any law in this country to pursue an unarmed young man, shoot him, and call it self-defense. Impossible. Instead, I hear analysts seriously debating this point. Parsing it, arguing it, shaking their heads over Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Is it true?

Have we set up a legal world where the belief of the armed man—not the innocence of the victim—controls the legality of the shooting? Where you can create a situation, then claim you felt threatened and stood your ground, and the law recognizes that as a defense? I simply cannot believe it.

If this is true—that fear is the standard we have adopted, that you can stand your ground and shoot someone if you feel “threatened”, no matter how irrational that might be—who do you think will be the inevitable victims? It will be those whom we are taught to fear: the different, the ones whose skin color isn’t ours, those who don’t have as much money as we do, those who see the world through a different lens, those who act in ways we don’t understand, those who wear clothing we don’t like. And the law will say, of course you were afraid, you were right to SHOOT these scary people???

It is impossible.

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