The Truly Scary Part of the Trayvon Martin Case

The Trayvon Martin case was back in the headlines on Friday after a Florida judge revoked the bond of accused killer George Zimmerman. Apparently Zimmerman misled the court by not disclosing the $200,000 (!)  that he has managed to raise for his legal defense through a website. He has been ordered to surrender to authorities within 48 hours.

The horror of the murder itself and Trayvon’s personal story have been prominent in public discussion of the event; hoodies and Skittles will forever carry a heavier, darker symbolism. And I will not attempt to compete with the many excellent pieces on that theme. But what is truly frightening to me about what happened is not that it happened, but that it may have been legal.

Now, I’m certainly not defending Zimmerman’s interpretation of the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida; I haven’t read enough about the law and its interpretation to give a fair opinion. (Though I find little to dispute in this analysis of my former boss Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.) The scary thing is that there is actually a legitimate debate about whether the murder–on its face such a horrible, indefensible act–is sanctioned by law. Though Martin and his family fully deserve our support, compassion, and empathy, we should not cast aside the urgency of changing these types of laws throughout the country.

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