It occurred to me the other day that people I love could be in jeopardy if they are in a “Stand Your Ground” state. My boyfriend is Native American (1/2 white, actually) but he is pretty dark compared to my lily white self. His son, who I love very much, is also very brown even though he has a white mother. For ease I will refer to him as A. A is 11 and free ranges about the neighborhood all the time. There’s an old folks home behind his dad’s house and it’s not uncommon for him to jump the wall and take a shortcut through their parking lot.
It occurred to me the other day that A could go to Circle K to get some candy, which he does frequently, and never come home. All it would take is one white person assuming he was up to no good. After all why would a brown boy be jumping over a fence or cutting through private property!? Because that’s what kids do? Because I did stuff like that all the time when I was a kid. But if someone is suspicious of his motives, like Zimmerman they could confront him, get into a scuffle with him and then shoot him. If the shooter professed to be afraid of A at the time, they’d walk on the charge of murder.
The thought makes my blood run cold. Evidently I’m not the only one to whom this potential nightmare has occurred. Joy-Ann Reid, a TV and Radio personality wrote an opinion column in The Miami Herald, stating her intention to stay the hell out of Florida.
I’m quitting Florida tourism for now, because my conscience won’t let me travel to a state that I love, but where it’s not safe for my sons to walk the streets.
Her reasoning is pretty damn sound if you ask me. She notes that:
A Tampa Bay Times study found that Stand Your Ground claims were successful 73 percent of the time when the victim was black (regardless of the race of the shooter) and 56 percent of the time when the victim was white.
Since the law passed, the number of “justifiable homicides” in Florida has tripled, and the number of concealed-carry permits has ballooned to 1.5 million people. That’s one in 17 adults.
The whole column is worth the read. I’m glad she’s taking action to protect her kids. I hate the fact that she feels like she has to do it though. Unfortunately for us and other members of my family who are non-white, we all live in states that have similar “Stand Your Ground” laws as Florida and moving isn’t an option. So until the NRA’s stranglehold over state politicians is loosened, teenagers of color, heck of any color, in “Stand Your Ground” states will have to be that much more wary. So here’s some advice: 1) don’t go to Stand Your Ground states, particularly if you are a person of color; 2) never go anywhere alone but if you’re a bunch of teenagers, particularly of color, don’t go anywhere in a groups of teenagers either; and 3) if you choose to carry a gun, you’d better be the fastest and most accurate shooter in the corral. Although in most states teenagers can’t technically carry concealed so adults of any color will have the leg up in that regard. So I guess their just shit out of luck. Who knew the U.S. could revert back to the Wild Wild West days…..Smells like Liberty, amiright?*
* for the sarcastically impaired, this is total unabashed snark