In light of the recent events which have taken place in the George Zimmerman trial, the acquittal of Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin and the racial tension surrounding the case and verdict; it prompted me to research the “Stand Your Ground Law”. While doing so I came to a Moment of Clarity; Stand Your Ground isn’t about race its about “feeling threatened.
The law has been in place since 2005 and was put into action because of a case which set precedent; a white on white shooting. The case which set the bar for this law to exist took place in Florida where James Workman a 77 year old man shot and killed Rodney Cox age 35. Cox traveled to Florida after Hurricane Ivan to work with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); while Workman was somewhat displaced from the hurricane living in a RV in the driveway of his damaged home. James Workman and his wife Kathryn had a vacation home in North Carolina and initially moved there until a neighbor contacted them about a person camping near by hooking up a hose to their home.
The Workman’s fearful of thieves and intruders went back to their damaged Florida home and began camping out in their driveway in a RV to make sure their belongings remained safe. That same night after 2am; Kathryn saw a man approaching the door of their damaged home; although they were in the RV Kathryn was alarmed and notified her husband James. James grabbed his .38 caliber pistol and stepped outside to confront the alleged intruder not knowing what was going on. Although it isn’t certain what James was doing it is only known that Workman indeed shot Cox and both were white males. It is also said that Cox had called the police earlier that day saying that someone tried to break into his trailer and being that he wasn’t from Florida he had no clue where he was. Could he have been going to the Workman’s home to ask what the address was since it was across the street from where he was camping?
No one knows, all that is know is that James Workman shot Rodney Cox twice, Cox died and now there is a law passed based on that case. Stand-your-ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.
This brings us to the George Zimmerman trial; simply put the prosecution couldn’t prove that Trayvon retreated from the conflict and/or was not a threat to Zimmerman. While it is definitely immoral and we all have our opinions one thing for certain is that the laws are outdated and need to be amended with conditions and/or exclusions – a set of rules within the law. George Zimmerman admitted to approaching then 17 year old Trayvon and failed to listen to the 9-11 operator’s directions of “we don’t need you to follow him”. But it still wasn’t enough to prove that Trayvon wasn’t the aggressor. So now what are some things that we can do to prevent something like this from occurring again? My suggestion is push efforts to change laws like “stand your ground” or anything that is like it. What are your suggestions? Please share your thoughts and most of all educate yourself and share this story with someone who may not know the truth!