Stand Your Ground Trayvon


Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American, was shot and killed February 26th, 2012 while walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida. His accused killer, George Zimmerman, who has a Hispanic mother and a white father, told police he acted in self-defense and did not get arrested or charged with homicide. While on a private errand, Zimmerman saw Martin walking inside the gated community. He called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin's behavior as suspicious. Shortly afterwards, there was an altercation, which ended with Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin once in the chest. That altercation is why one of Florida's loosest laws, called "Stand Your Ground," allows people to kill if they believe their own life are at risk is wrong. While most states use the "Castle Doctrine," based on the expression "a man's home is his castle," meaning self-defense can only be used to justify a homicide if a person kills an intruder in their home or car, the Florida law applies anywhere. I believe that the "Stand Your Ground" law should be rewritten to be more restrictive. Even though the stand your ground law is issued in 25 states, the so called "justifiable homicide" nearly doubled from 2000-2010 as Joe Palazzoio and Rob Barry said in their article “More Killings Called Self-Defense”. Palazzoio and Barry acknowledge the fact that at this time when the overall US homicide rate is declining, more civilians are killing each other and claiming "self-defense.” James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, said that difference “is certainly, on the face of it, something that needs to be explored." He noted that “it is difficult to draw conclusions without deeper study." I believe in his words he is saying that the killing could possibly be for any reason at all.

Brandyn Keys is a graduating senior at Anacostia Senior High School.