It's not good enough that now, in the wake of the murder, politicians like Gov. Rick Scott are "open" to revisiting the law. According to Gov. Scott:
"If there’s something wrong with the law that’s in place, I think it’s important we address it," Scott said Tuesday. "If what’s happening is it’s being abused, that’s not right."
It's not good enough that George Zimmerman still walks free. First, he wasn't arrested on the spot by the Sanford police, as he should have been if there was any question about the facts of the shooting; certainly the 911 tapes offer a counter-story to Zimmerman's. Even this law, pernicious as it is, shouldn't be carte blanche to shoot up the streets of the suburbs. The role of the police is to arrest; prosecutors determine if there's a case to be made against the suspect. But the Sanford Police Department in effect said that it was okay to gun down an unarmed, 140 lb. child simply because he was "suspicious". Secondly, not until yesterday did the state of Florida open a grand jury investigation into the shooting, almost a full month after the event. And the jury won't convene until April 10. But, he was "suspicious", so it took a while to figure out that maybe he shouldn't have been murdered on a public street, on his way back to the safety of his father's girlfriend's house.
It's not good enough that now conservative lawmakers are running from the limelight, or trying to protect the law which they were handed by lobbyists to rubber stamp. It's too late for this statement from one of the law's sponsors:
“They got the goods on him. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid,” said Peaden, a Crestview Republican who sponsored the deadly force law in 2005. “He has no protection under my law.”No, Mr. Peaden. It's too late to hide behind sophistry and claims that "my law never intended this". Laws create a climate, and a dangerous man was fed by that climate, of "Others" running rampant and ready to destroy his way of life. It was a short step from the passage of a law of "self-defense"—as if someone needs more permission to legitimately defend his life—to a climate that anything goes, it's time to go hunting the "bad guys". Just ignore the fact that people like George Zimmerman would never have the courage to go after real criminals; they'd shoot back, and probably kill him. Much easier to stalk and kill a teenaged boy so as to feel manly.
No rosy ending today. Sometimes the Hollywood ending doesn't apply. Just renewed determination to make sure that "not good enough" is tossed into the trashbin of history.
(This essay was inspired in large part by Black Snob's brilliant post on Trayvon Martin. I can only hope that I did it justice. Read it. It will do you good.)