Standing on Shaky Ground

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Yesterday, we marched. Yesterday, we chanted. And yesterday, we stood in solidarity against an unjust law. Convening in Tallahassee, Florida, we organized a massive rally in a state that is ground zero for the outrageous ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that have propped up in dozens of states. Joined by the parents of both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, as well as surviving family members of Emmett Till, we marched by the hundreds to the State Capitol. ‘Stand Your Ground’ is an affront to the safety and security of our children, and we must reform this egregious law before we keep the nation standing on shaky ground.

There are moments when we must pause and absorb our reality. Trayvon Martin was an unarmed teen when he was gunned down and killed while walking home from a convenient store. Jordan Davis was also an unarmed teenager who was killed while sitting in a vehicle at a gas station. Two young boys with their entire lives ahead of them who were killed, and their families left mourning. Trayvon Martin’s killer was acquitted, and a jury failed to deliver a verdict in the most serious charge of murder against the man who shot and killed Jordan Davis. There is something seriously wrong with our humanity if we just accept this sort of injustice. We owe it to the families of Martin and Davis to do better; we owe it to ourselves to do more.

Self-defense laws, like any other laws, were designed to protect people in the face of danger. But when someone claims they feel threatened — even if there is no actual threat — and they have no obligation to retreat, that is a recipe for disaster. The way ‘Stand Your Ground’ is currently in effect, an individual’s imagination can even be used to justify a murder. Just because you think you saw something, doesn’t mean it exists. That is not reality, and that should never be tolerated on the books. ‘Stand Your Ground’ must be changed immediately, or else we will sadly see more and more innocents killed because of someone’s imagination.

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