Trayvon Martin: He could be anyone's son
The senseless shooting death of Trayvon Martin is the worst fear of African American parents. The idea that someone would look at our child and render him a threat, with no more evidence than the sight of a black boy wearing a hoodie in a residential neighborhood is frightening. It is also inspiring The Talk in households through out Seattle and the country. I recount my family's talk
Like President Obama, I look at pictures of Martin and see someone who could've been my son. That is a reaction shared by many in this era of blended and interracial families.
Martin's death has united Obama and the Republican presidential candidates, however briefly. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum denounced the killing and called for an investigation and justice. NPR has the best compilation of Martin-related quotes from the presidential campaign trail.
The Florida police come in for criticism from everyone, including themselves. They now acknowledge, they didn't do the most thorough investigation, although they stand by their decision not to press charges against George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has remained silent about the shooting, But The Washington Post sent reporters to scour his neighborhood, resulting in a compelling profile.
Martin's death goes beyond the racial aspects, the stereotypes that lead people to fear, suspect and kill black men. Florida's "stand your ground" law must be tightened so a wanna-be cop can't slip through a loophole and kill an unarmed boy. The law was promoted by gun-rights advocates and signed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2005. It allows people to use deadly force rather than retreat if they feel threatened, even if they are not at home. Credit Bush for hastening to make clear today that be believes the law can be invoked in Martin's case. Bush says a lot more, including this pointed sound bite:
“Stand your ground means stand your ground means stand your ground," Bush said. "It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”
The nation is riveted by this case. But I look at the walleyed grief on the faces of Martin's parents and feel a kinship that goes beyond race or generation. Trayvon Martin could have been your son, or mine.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics