If Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton has her way, no one will be able to "stand your ground" when it comes to defending one's self against victimization by thugs and criminals. But currently, 22 states allow their citizens that privilege, and Fulton's congressional testimony on Tuesday is meant to stop it, according to Fox News.
The dead Florida teen's mother is upset that her son's killer remains free after shooting the unarmed youth to death in a case that drew national attention, but not because of a defense which used the law. George Zimmerman's defense team did not use 'Stand Your Ground' (SYG) in their efforts to legally obtain a 'not guilty' verdict. Yet, Fulton believes that it was the SYG law that provided the legal system with the ability to let an adult killer go free, and she wants that law changed--in all states--as a result.
Sybrina Fulton told members of Capital Hill that "this law does not work." But how does it not work? According to the deceased teen's mother, it doesn't work because her son was killed and the man who shot him walked free from legal consequences for that death. But a jury found him not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin because he was defending himself from attack by the youth.
Opponents of this law believe it gives people the impression they have a license to kill others when other courses of action could be taken to avoid a fatal conflict. And while some people might perceive it that way, a burden still exists for any shootings to be justified in the eyes of law enforcement and the courts in the end. And that means a SYG shooting could still warrant an arrest and guilty conviction of murder if the required reasoning for the shooting is faulty and unsubstantiated by the evidence.
Martin's death, a horrible tragedy, was one not really meant to fall under the jurisdiction of SYG. And that's why Zimmerman's defense team chose not to use it to justify the shooting.
Unfortunately, the law has been credited with being the reason George Zimmerman got a not guilty verdict in Seminole County Florida, when that isn't the truth at all. Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting came through a jury deciding that a preponderance of the evidence showed the two males fought only after both contributed to the conflict that night. Both could have walked away at different points in time, with no one suffering physical harm. But neither one did.
In true SYG fashion, however, the law is meant to give those under immediate threat of injury the ability to defend themselves rather than retreat. And the citizens in 22 states want that right, as they have shown their legislators, who enacted those laws on their behalf. Thus one angry mother or two should not be able to hold sway over the entire congressional body in Washington to usurp the will of the people in this matter and cause thousands of citizens to not be able to defend themselves in dangerous situations. And it doesn't look like they will based on the Fox News report, which quotes Rep. Louie Gohmert of saying that "the states are doing quite well...without our interference."
George Zimmerman was not defending himself from Trayvon Martin at the start of their altercation, so he didn't have to stand his ground or pull his weapon. And Trayvon Martin was not defending himself from George when he threw the first punch, so he wasn't standing his ground against an attacker. So this case isn't even a SYG kind of case. That's why it doesn't matter that Sybrina Fulton wants the law changed or abolished, because as tragic as the loss of her son's life is--and it is a tragedy, the death wasn't due to this law being enacted. And changing this law will not bring him back, nor would its absence have prevented his death.
This young man died because he came back and confronted a man he already knew was suspicious of him, and he dared to start a physical fight with him anyway. That's not standing one's ground; that's picking a fight.
Unfortunately, the only winner in the Zimmerman and Martin altercation appears to Benjamin Crump, the Trayvon Martin family attorney, as his law practice has went from an obscure Florida practice to a more high-profile one now. Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara hasn't fared as well, taking more heat for representing his client than gaining any favorable press or new clients. And there is the $1 million dollars the homeowner's association paid out to Sybrina Fulton, for the death of her son.
Sybrina Fulton has every right to speak out against SYG in Congress as a citizen, but the tragic death of her son does not give her the right to speak for thousands of other citizens, who may want the right to protect themselves through this law in 22 states. Photo credit: Huffington Post