As I write this, my boys are with their neighborhood buddies (what we moms call the militia) down the street and through the woods playing fascinating war games—something I completely love about them. They may one day defend our nation. And they have missed it so considering their time in the woods has been limited this year partly due to wet weather and cold temperatures but also partly due to a confrontation last fall that had me quite apprehensive for them.
And this apprehension has remained patiently and quietly waiting deep in my consciousness but the Trayvon Martin case in Florida has propelled it to the forefront of my mind. My heart goes out to the Martin family who has endured what no parent should ever have to endure. It’s a nightmare that’s become a senseless reality all due to a law that actually protects people who might impulsively act before thinking.
Do you think the Stand Your Ground law needs to be revised? Tell us in the comments.
Last fall, I wrote about my research on which was fueled by an incident in my neighborhood. It is not an unusual sight to see a group of camouflage clad boys ranging in age from 7–15 running around my neighborhood playing airsoft games in the woods behind our house and neighbors’ on a daily basis. And there is one neighbor who has on occasion made a “stink” about the kids being near his property.
So for my son’s 15th birthday, he had planned a big airsoft party. Two new friends were here and made the poor choice to duck behind this neighbor’s trash can to hide from the others. That was without a doubt a poor decision on their part and I do not condone their behavior. I completely understand how this could upset anyone and I would completely understand scolding these kids and talking to the parents.
But the neighbor came out, pointed his gun at them and angrily told them he could shoot and kill them for being on his property. He then made them sit on his front lawn to lecture them, gun still in hand, and when two other kids came looking for their friends, he made them sit in his yard as well. The Sheriff was called by both parties. The Sheriff explained that he understood both sides but that the law would be on the neighbor’s side. Even more disturbing, when I got a copy of the sheriff’s report it stated “parents were upset at the MERE fact that a gun was brandished at the children”. I couldn’t believe what I had just read. This falls under the “Stand Your Ground Law”. I feel this law needs to be revised.
What is right about killing someone for being on your property who is not a threat but the law says you can “feel threatened and defend” yourself? As in the Martin case according to news reports, he was not on Zimmerman’s property and even if he was walking through his yard, how could he feel that he was in imminent danger of a young man with a bag skittles?
Zimmerman called 911 and was instructed not to pursue Trayvon but he ignored that instruction and did so anyway resulting in a child taken from this world too soon. Trayvon wasn’t breaking into a house. And I personally feel that’s the only time one should feel threatened. If an uninvited stranger is in your house, then there’s a problem. Where did common sense go? Our society shouldn’t be so paranoid that we feel threatened by someone's appearance, race or that he takes a shortcut walking home.