Imagine you’re walking home from the store after picking up some snacks. You notice a man following you in his car. You go and cut through the yard where a car can’t go and the man gets out of his car and starts following you through the yard. You’re talking to someone on the phone and telling them that this creepy guy is following you. It’s really starting to freak you out. What does this man intend to do to you? Luckily, this is Florida so you turn around and confront the man who may intend to do you severe physical harm. The man continues to approach so you stand your ground and attack the man. The man pulls a gun but you bash his head against the sidewalk killing him before he can use it.
The above is a scenario that follows Florida’s stand your ground law and fits all of the facts presented in the case with the exception of who ends up dead at the end. If it happened like this, do you think Trayvon Martin would not have been arrested immediately? Do you think Trayvon Martin would not have been charged with murder soon after? Do you think Trayvon Martin would have been found not guilty of murder? How about if he used a gun to kill Zimmerman instead?
The scales of justice are stacked against black men in particular and minorities in general in so many ways. Injustices are thrown at them on an almost daily basis. How could you not be angry if it were happening to you? And yet we live in a world where white people threaten revolution because their imaginary freedoms are pretend being taken away and where minorities rioting over actual freedoms being taken away are looked upon as misguided at best and less than human at worst. Ta-Nehisi Coates says it best:
It is painful to say this: Trayvon Martin is not a miscarriage of American justice, but American justice itself. This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended. To expect our juries, our schools, our police to single-handedly correct for this, is to look at the final play in the final minute of the final quarter and wonder why we couldn’t come back from twenty-four down.
To paraphrase a great man: We are what our record says we are. How can we sensibly expect different?