The stand your ground law has quickly become a controversial topic amongst US citizens since it was introduced in 2005 in the state of Florida, it has since been passed on by 26 other states, all though its different in every state the principal stays the same. It’s so controversial because so many people have completely different opinions on it and because there are so many instances of controversial homicide cases where it has played a major factor in the judges and juries final decision.
One of the more known cases of the stand your ground law happened in April of 2012, a 22-year-old man named Cordell Jude shot and killed Daniel Adkins Jr, a pedestrian who walked in front of Jude’s car just as Jude was pulling up to a Taco Bell drive-thru located in Arizona. Jude claimed that Adkins had waved his arms in the air, wielding what Jude thought was a metal pipe, it was actually a dog leash. Jude shot the 29-year-old Adkins, who was mentally disabled once in the chest area. Jude suffered no legal consequences for these actions.
In my opinion I believe that the stand your ground law is necessary in some situations but is too easily abused, what I mean by that is that there are too many cases in the grey zone. In these cases, its extremely hard to decide what the outcome should be because there is no textbook answer and if the person accused actions are justified. Because of some of these infamous cases there has been plenty of protests like black lives matter. Black lives matter especially got involved in the case of the deadly killing of Trayvon Martin which is probably the most publicized case of the stand your ground law. The encounter happened on the 26th of February in 2012. George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin a 17-year-old high African-American high school student. The 28-year-old Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community where Martin was visiting his family relatives at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman shot Martin who was unarmed during a physical altercation between the two. Zimmerman eventually received a second degree murder charge and an included offense of manslaughter. He ended up being proved not guilty in part due to the stand your ground law.
This led to a lot of outcry and dissatisfaction form the public, after the shooting Zimmerman was criticized by the Martin family and the media as well for following Martin and for carrying a gun. Protests were staged all across the us prior to Zimmerman receiving his murder charges, over 2.2 million signatures on a change.org petition, created by Martin’s mother calling for Zimmerman’s arrest. It was the websites largest petition ever. Because Martin was wearing a hoodie that faithful night, hoodies were used as a sign of protest towards the handling of the case. Additionally, some professional athletes, including Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James as well as the entire Miami Heat roster, donned hoodies in Martin’s honor.
Bags of Skittles candy and cans of Arizona iced tea were also used as symbols for the protests. Martin was reported to be returning form a 7-Eleven convenience store with these items when he was killed. Walkouts were set up by students at over a dozen Florida high schools, thousands of people attended rallies around the country to demand Zimmerman’s arrest. A number of high profiled citizens made public statements on the matter including president Obama speaking to reporters on the matter. According to Zimmerman’s father, Zimmerman received death threats after the shooting and was forced to move out of his home. In parts of the US various acts of vandalism, assaults and crimes were connected in part to alleged revenge for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Film director Spike Lee retweeted to his 200,000 Twitter followers and address in Sanford Florida that supposedly was Zimmerman’s, which forced a family out of their home to avoid harassment after they received hate mail and unwanted visits from reporters. Lee was criticized for his tweet and later issued an apology for having tweeted the incorrect address. Lee also settle financially out of court with the Florida couple for an undisclosed amount