Just a few months ago, a young man lost his life. No matter the reason behind it, that is a tragedy. Now, before a dutifully appointed jury can hold a hearing to see if he lost his life lawfully or unlawfully, the case is being thrown about in the media. Tragically, it is turning into a second amendment issue.
The basic facts are this; the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American male who was unarmed. George Zimmerman was a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American, who was the community watch coordinator for the gated community where the shooting took place. Zimmerman who claimed self-defense was released after a two-hour long interrogation and, following a very public call for prosecution, Zimmerman was taken into custody on April 11, 2012, after being charged with second-degree murder in the Florida courts.
Now, with the case in pre-trail, both Second Amendment supporters and detractors are lining up to use it as ammo.
On March 19, 2012, less than a month after the shooting, Florida authorities announced they had picked a task force to review the Florida statute that deals with justifiable use of force, including the stand your ground provision. Similar activities are in being debated in the other stand your ground states. On April 5, Florida State Sen. Chris Smith convened another task force to examine possible changes to the state's self-defense laws as a whole.
On mother's day, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Treyvon Martin, released a video supported by Michael Bloomberg and the far anti-gun left speaking out against gun legislation like Stand Your Ground. In it she said, "Just like me, 30,000 mothers lost their children this year to senseless gun violence. Nobody can bring our children back. But it would bring us comfort if we can help spare other mothers the pain that we will feel on Mother's Day and every day for the rest of our lives. I'm asking you to join Florida by calling upon the governor of your state to reexamine similar Stand Your Ground laws throughout the nation to keep our families safe."
Zimmerman's CCW piece, a Kel-Tec PF-9, has even been trending in the news lately. A blogger on The Truth about Guns quickly dubbed it "the cheap bastard's carry piece."
In a bizarre twist, a Florida man started selling ten packs of Hoodie Targets with a can of ice tea in one hand and Skittles falling from the pocket. These targets, on the extreme of controversy, sold out in two days. While the distributor says he is no longer producing them, the Martin family has filed to trademark slogans using Trayvon's name to control his likeness.
Zimmerman's ties to his local Neighborhood Watch program have also harmed that program nationwide to one degree or another. Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene. No matter what the outcome of the Zimmerman case, the program has been shot in the foot. Hollywood even quickly retired the name Neighborhood Watch, an upcoming film starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn to simply, "The Watch" for fear of backlash. A good program has been around since the 1960s and actually dates back to the old Town Watch of colonial times where each citizen took an active interest in protecting his or her neighbors. Unfortunately, this spotlight is undoubtedly hurting it.
What needs to be fought out in the court by competent and clear minded professionals on both sides, is instead being used by such extremes as the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rush Limbaugh for their own agendas. Let us put away the rhetoric, understand that this is becoming twisted entertainment by the media to sell ad-space, and remain in support of your legitimate neighborhood watch and political lobbying regardless of the outcome.
And don't go buying any hoodie targets guys...come on.