Stand Your Ground
"Stand your ground" is a clause that states that someone has the ability to respond to threats or force without fear of retreat (CNN). The difference between stand your ground and most "self-defense" state clause, is that you have to attempt to try to get out first, and "not retreat" should be the last resort. In other words, you are guilty and must be proven innocent in a "self-defense" case. In a "stand your ground" state you are innocent before proven guilty.
Now that we know the difference between the two clauses. Let's examine a few of the cases. I won't get into much detail as I am pretty sure the media has exhausted these cases. In particular let's examine the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon was staying with his father who lived in a primarily white neighborhood. He decided to go to the store to purchase a bag of skittles, wearing a hoodie. Zimmerman (his shooter) was a college student at the time and volunteered as a watch man.
Apparently, Zimmerman saw Trayvon as a threat. Trayvon was 17 years old, unarmed. He (Zimmerman) called the police to inform them of his suspicions. The police informed him not to pursue the victim (Trayvon) and he violated their orders. He was armed and approached Trayvon. Now this is where it get's messy. Depending on which article you hear it says Trayvon attacked Zimmerman. Some say they got into an altercation. Obviously, the two rumbled. I mean I don't know about you, but if someone approaches me at night questioning me and making me feel uncomfortable, I will not be nice about it. It will either end up with a heated argument or a fight if you swing at me first. My momma always taught me to stand up for myself and not become anyone's punching bag.
The point is Trayvon was unarmed. I think Trayvon was winning the fight and Zimmerman got angry that he was getting his behind beat by a 17 year old. Hey, that is just my opinion. The case is Zimmerman was not arrested. He was left to walk freely because of this clause. Some articles suggested that he won the case by pleading self-defense afterwards. I think he won because he had a great lawyer and the right colored skin, but who am I to say?
Now let's take the same example and review Marissa Alexanders case. Marissa who is 36, fired a warning shot at her husband who had abused her. At the moment she was trying to defend herself from his physical abuse. Now the articles all say "alleged." Why? Well quite simple, whenever cases involve domestic abuse, most of them don't even make trial. It's either the victim drops the charges, the investigation takes too long, or they just don't see it as a big deal. It is not taken seriously by the court system and usually swept under the rug. If the abuser, aggressor happens to get charged they might get 1-3 years in jail. Then you wonder why physically abused victims feel hopeless and unprotected.
Marissa spent half a dozen years between jail and house arrest for a warning shot (read this sentence again). She didn't kill the man, she didn't even hit a limb. In Trayvon's case, he was fatally shot. Zimmerman get's off. Mrs. Alexander was originally sentenced to about 20 years in jail. Let's not even get into the Drejka pulls out a gun on McGlockton, over a push from an argument in a parking lot. I mean a push justifies you pulling out a gun on someone in Florida.
So what is flawed here? We all know the obvious. There is a loop hole in the system that only seems to work for one side of the globe. Obviously, if you are of color you better have some deep pockets (a whole lot of money) like OJ to get out of something like this. I mean a warning signal sent this woman to half a dozen years of incarceration, originally charged with 20. While others who were fatally killed, their killers got aquitted.
Why am I writing this article, you may be asking yourselves. Well, I couldn't help it after watching the BET "Rest in Power" about the Trayvon Martin case. There is something about watching another mother mourn the death of her son, that compelled me to write this article. I am not sure if it's seeing that boys face that makes me feel like that could be one of my son's. It can be one of your son's, nephews, cousins, it can happen to any of us. Now there are plenty of other cases that have transpired since Trayvon, but this one in particular cut me really deep.
If it wasn't for social media we probably would've never know about this case. So I can only imagine how many other cases like these have surfaced. How many of these cases must continue to occur before we realize it's another attempt to keep killers running free. Biased enough, these cases only seem to work when the white male is holding the gun. I am not sure who needs to be killed next before a change happens in our court system.
I do not expect anything to come out of this article. I just want to raise awareness. With that being said, I definitely suggest watching "13th" Netflix documentary to get an idea of how the jail system works. I also suggest reading the Willie Lynch letter so you can understand how racism was cultivated among black slaves. I want you to get as informed as possible to see how these issues affect all of us. Even if you don't fit the demographics of who this is affecting, it will eventually find it's way to your front door.
Jane Elliot once said, "God created one race, the human race. Man created racism." So why do we give each other so much heat when we don't chose to assign ourselves to one race? The anti-defamation act was designed to segregate us from jobs, to medical benefits, to stereotypes. Do you really think it was designed to help us unite? It is has always been that way from the beginning of time. Segregate first, cause tension among groups of people, make them feel hopeless, inferior. It has been countless of times, throughout history to just about every race. It is our typical response to resolve matters we do not understand. We reject change, by oppressing those who look different. Make them believe that they are less than the privileged. If they don't end up killing themselves, they eventually will end up being killed. So times have not changed, just the game.
Now all the cases discussed above are all found in the state of Florida. How ironic, right? However, since I am all about education. Below are the states that also have the "stand your ground" clause:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
So before you get into an altercation with someone please review this article where it explains thoroughly how the "stand your ground" clause is defined. You never know if you may be the next Trayvon Martin, Marcus Brown, Marissa Alexander, Philando Castile, McGlockton and so many others. I encourage that you help each other find a common ground of peace. If we have come to a point where people are getting killed over skittles, hoodies, and arguments over parking spots, we have digressed to a point of extinction. I'm not sure when this hate will end but I hope by typing this article we can learn to deliberate peacefully, and find a compelling bone in our bodies to do better. Typed by a concerned mother and wife of a black man.