Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is probably one of the most controversial and volatile pieces of legislation I have seen in my 25 years of legal experience as a practicing attorney in Florida.
When a celebrity get busted for driving drunk with an ounce of cocaine, they at least admit to having a problem and check into a clinic. When a politician gets caught having an affair, they at least suggest they have let people down and get counseling. But for some reason being racist is the only sin that provides political cover.
It's time we stop using their names and start substituting their deeds when they are mentioned. Instead of saying "George Zimmerman," let's just say, "that guy who killed Trayvon."
The 'warning shot' protection does not extend to felons. Just because they have a criminal record, they can't be afforded the same self-defense privileges as those without a criminal past? That makes no sense, particularly for those convicted many years ago.
I could see clearly: These strong, playful, intelligent and hilarious men would have to go back out into the world and play the roles they had adopted... to be seen, but not seen... to be safe in a world that fears them.
The Pistorius case presents no evidence of planning. To the contrary, if there is testimony that a heated argument preceded the murder, then that is more supportive of negligent homicide than premeditated murder.
No one should feel safe in the following states. These are states with the most Wild West gun laws where you are most likely to encounter someone -- anyone -- with a gun. And it is time to take a stand and do something about it.
We're in the midst of a series of high-profile trials of white Americans who fatally shot unarmed African Americans, which we are constantly told are not about race. Not only is this a losing strategy for the prosecution, but it's dishonest.
Of all the categories of victims who might justifiably agitate for more protection from the law, women facing down abusive partners in their own homes should be at the top of the list. And yet Stand Your Ground laws do nothing to help them. This is not by accident but by design.
When an All-Pro cornerback from the NFL's best defensive squad needs to have his 3.9 GPA from Stanford cited to stop white people's quivering, we have a problem.
African-Americans are often assumed to be a threat by virtue of their existence. In Dunn's testimony, it's clear that on the day he shot and killed Jordan Davis, he didn't see four teenagers who declined to heed his request that they turn down their music. From his eyes, they were a threat.
On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white man, fired 10 rounds into a parked SUV after arguing over loud rap music coming from the vehicle with Jordan and three other unarmed African American teenagers inside.
Sure, he'll be locked up (at least 60 years for Michael Dunn), but true justice requires a conviction for murder. This did not happen. The reason? Stand Your Ground.
If we can divorce race and firearms, we can talk about racial disparities in America and figure out if we need to create a more just system. And then we can talk about the Second Amendment.
What separates the Michael Dunns and George Zimmermans of the world from your average killer is their insistence that they are not only innocent but wronged.
The facts of the case really don't matter anymore, just the feelings and beliefs of the defendant. And when you add the race of the victims into the mix, the disparities in how the law is applied are clear. Basically, if a white man feels or believes he is threatened, regardless of the facts of the case, he can be justified in shooting and killing a black man. The reality of Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and 24 more states is that racial fear and hatred is now legally justified. Black men are always at risk -- as every black parent in this country has told their young boys and as the statistics now bear out.