A Few More Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Case

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The other night a woman told me she thought the controversy over the George Zimmerman trial was overblown. Mind you, she wasn’t defending what Zimmerman did. Rather, her argument was that with so many injustices in the world, it simply wasn’t right to devote so much attention to a single case.

This is a fair point. It seems to me, however, that this episode has struck a raw nerve with many people, not all of whom are black. Many of us have had that experience – on at least occasion – of being confronted by a hostile stranger. (The enduring popularity of the film, Deliverance, is due to the fact that it touches upon this common experience.) Many of us have had that sudden and unpleasant realization that one has angered, or perhaps simply attracted the suspicions of, someone for reasons that are not at all clear.

Such experiences are now even more disturbing because of the insane “stand your ground” laws that have been passed in many states. Thirty-one states have such laws. A stranger can shoot you for whatever reasons of his own and then tell the police that you “threatened” him. And chances are that he may get away with it. (Florida’s “stand your ground” law was a factor in Zimmerman’s acquittal.)

I love this country, but it’s increasingly becoming an uncomfortable place in which to live.

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