What if Trayvon had been white? What if Trayvon had gotten the gun and shot George Zimmerman? What if Trayvon had been following Zimmerman? What if Trayvon was responsible for bringing down the world banking system? Thirty-three states now have Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws. Some have insisted that this was not a SYG trial because SYG was not introduced during the trial or during the jury instructions. That is naive at best. The Zimmerman trial was about race and SYG, and justice and fairness. Stand Your Ground is relevant because that law has fundamentally changed the core definition of self-defense. Mentioning SYG was not even necessary. SYG is a law that encourages violence and leads to the protection of the aggressor. Laws should not encourage violence. Before Stand Your Ground, self-defense required a "duty to retreat." Now the aggressor has protection over the victim. The victim was not given his right to stand his ground. SYG has changed the way human life is valued -- the victim's life has less value, if any value at all. The aggressor gets to decide.
How can Marrisa Alexander be convicted in FL and sentenced to a long term in prison for shooting a warning shot into the ceiling to scare her ex-husband away and not have access to the SYG defense? She was prosecuted in FL by the same DA as George Zimmerman. Whether people want to admit it or not, the law is not applied equally.
Stop and frisk; walking while black; driving while black; waiting in long lines to vote; being prevented to vote... anyone thinking these issues are not connected just does not want to see the lack of justice for many Americans. Being white has its privileges. It means you can go to the store and buy candy. It means you can wear a hoodie. And it means you can destroy the world's financial institutions without being held responsible.
Just think if minorities had caused the financial crisis. You destroy the biggest and most powerful financial markets in the world, you get a bonus. If you are black or brown and get caught with an ounce of pot, you can go to jail for a long time.
Politicians ram through laws that eliminate healthcare for women, or voting rights, and add pork that personally benefits them. But if you protest the ramming through of these bills or the elimination of your rights by exercising your first amendment rights, you can get arrested and go to jail.
What is next? How do we make something good come from all of this? The president is right when he says we need a national dialogue on race. But there are two races we need to talk about. We need to talk about racism and injustice. But also need to vote in every race and take each race seriously at every level. We need to stop directing the emotion and anger towards each other and instead direct the anger towards lawmakers who have passed laws that only work for the few. We need to change a broken system and fix laws so they are applied fairly. We need to vote for leaders who will work on behalf of the people and replace those who are not. People matter, our kids matter and the future matters. We need to work on this thing called life, and make it work for more people.