Like millions of individuals around the world, I've been following the story of the killing of Trayvon Martin, an innocent, unarmed teen. Yesterday afternoon, though, the true import of the murder hit me. I grew up in a middle-class family, and I'm as white as the Ace of Teeth, I've never had to look over my shoulder, concerned about my personal safety... this kind of thing just doesn't happen to people like me.
Yesterday, I worked an uncharacteristic day shift- when I finally got home, the first person I saw on the street was the son of a good friend of mine, a divorced African-American mother of two boys. Her elder son is in college, studying aviation, and he wants to be a commercial pilot. Her younger son, who I saw when I got home, is still in Middle School, and is involved in several extracurricular activities. All I could think upon seeing him was, "What would I do if anything ever happened to these boys? How would I feel?" I'd feel devastated, which is the proper human emotion in the face of such horror.
Of course, proper human emotion is foreign to right wingers, as this horrific collection of Fox viewers' comments demonstrates. Just reading that combination of racism and bloodlust proves to me that there's no place in society for a "stand your ground" laws.
Meanwhile, the murderer of Trayvon Martin remains unincarcerated (I'd never call someone so hemmed in by fear and hatred free), but the Sanford police department has a history of corruption and a failure to treat attacks on black men seriously.
How do well-meaning people push back on "shoot first and don't bother to ask questions" laws? In Florida's case, letters to the tourism board and the Disney Corporation would not be unwarranted- who would want to travel to a location where unprovoked attacks by armed nutbars aren't even investigated by the police? I've been to Florida once, but I sure as hell would not wish to travel to a place that has given civilians the power to engage in state-sanctioned murder.