By Diana Robinson-Bardyn | New Smyrna Beach
The world is perplexed when the police force in a small southern town nonchalantly accepts a vigilante’s claim of being threatened by an unarmed boy.
Today a small town in Florida is the center of a national controversy and global interest. Not since talk of chads and the U.S. presidential race of 2000 plunged the nation into uncertainty has Florida been the focus of so much international attention.
It is not a surprise that headlines in Der Spiegel read “Die Schande von Sanford”, The Shame of Sanford. In the French and German press there are ample references to President Obama’s statement, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
There are differences between children and adults, and there is a difference between a child carrying a bag of Skittles and a man carrying a lethal weapon. The world takes note when the police force in a small southern town can so nonchalantly ignore those differences. Together we are learning that we have a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that seems to provide a legitimate “license to kill” – a kind of green light coverage – to any vigilante who is threatened by hoodies, dark skin or Skittles.
Florida’s criminal justice system is not without questionable racial disparities. It is a criminal justice system known for sentencing children to life without parole (JLWOP) for non-homicidal crimes, a practice that disproportionately affected young African-Americans, and judged them, sometimes at the age of 14, as irredeemable. The Supreme Court ruled against this barbaric practice unique to the US and Israel in Graham vs Florida in 2010. At the time 77 of the 129 offenders sentenced as juveniles to life without parole were in the State of Florida. The remaining 52 were scattered in 10 states.
A new report published by The Sentencing Project, a national organization working for a more effective criminal justice system, found “extreme” racial disparities in the number of juveniles sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed before their 18th birthday.
Yes, there is a difference between a child carrying a bag of Skittles and a man carrying an armed revolver. Young Trayvon Martin was killed in cold blood. He was killed because of a dangerous mindset that judges hoodies and dark skin as suspicious. He was killed because of Florida’s shoot first law, a law that empowers and legitimizes racist vigilantes by providing them with a defense they would not otherwise be entitled to.
Zimmerman is still free because the Sanford police determined that a 220 pound armed White man who was in pursuit of a 140 pound unarmed Black kid could credibly claim he was threatened.
That is incredible, and that is the shame of Sanford.
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Looking for something?
New on bluetabletalk…
- The Parched Truth About American Jobs
- When Are 12-year Olds Sex Offenders?
- Obama Admin Secretly Obtains Trove of Associated Press Phone Records in “Unprecedented Intrusion”
- Failing to Heal: Hunger Strikes in Guantánamo and the Role of Medical Professionals
- US Foreign Policy on Trial in Guatemala’s Genocide Trial
- Future Politics: Fast Forward or Full Reverse
- Survival of the … Nicest? Check Out the Other Theory of Evolution
- Victory for Lake County 8th Grader as School Board Settles Gay-Straight Alliance Lawsuit After One Day
- America Wages War on Sex
- How Reinhart-Rogoff and the Austerians Produced a Sloppy Scholarly Fraud
- National Day of Reason Reaffirms the Separation of Church and State
- Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
- Dump the AARP
- Why Pride, Dignity and Respect Hold the Key to Ending Violence
- ACLU Statement on Miranda Rights of Boston Bombings Suspect
- Painting a Grim Picture of Art Education
- Following Push by ACLU, Lake County School Board Decides Not to Ban All Clubs
- The Case for Platonic Marriage
- CEO Pay: The French Have a Better Idea
- Fracking the First Amendment
The good man understands what is right,
the bad man understands profit.
“The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds — where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough — a modest living— and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.”
–Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
'He leaves us a lesson, which is to never accept any injustice.'
–The French President, François Hollande, speaking of Stéphane Hessel, dead at age 95.
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…”
Around the web…
Above the law"The laws, Cicero wrote in the days of the Roman Republic, “are silent in time of war.” But what if the war has no end, no defined enemy, no defined territory? How can markets work if the financial behemoths are too big to fail and too big to jail? If the national security state has the power of life or death above the law, and Wall Street has the power to plunder beyond the law, in what way does this remain a nation of laws? " --Katrina van Heuvel
Waking From My Moral Coma"It is the killing, it is the permanent war, it is our deranged national priorities. It is the system we live under which requires the serial deaths of all those innocents to maintain our economic health that should appall us. We sup upon the blood and bonemeal that is the byproduct of the idea that is America, and we sleep. And we sleep." -William Rivers Pitt
- Diana on Is Your Bubbly Soap Making the Kids Sick?
- Bob HILL on Vocabulary for the New Millenium: Reconciling Independence with Interdependence
- Gerry Tatham on Alan Grayson. “Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.”
- Rabbi Stanley Howard Schwartz DD on Alan Grayson. “Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.”
- j j on SOTU 2013: Not a Game-Changing Agenda
Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition