by Jeremy Leaming
As scrutiny of so-called “stand your ground” laws builds in the aftermath of the killing of Florida youngster Trayvon Martin, President Obama weighed in today calling Martin’s death a tragedy.
After his announcement of the nomination of Dr. Jim Kim to lead the World Bank, Obama was asked about the young African American’s death at the hands of a so-called neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla.
Obama said, “I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
The president added, “But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
Obama noted, that he could not elaborate at much greater length; the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into the matter earlier this week. Pressure has been building for the federal government to take action because Florida officials have not arrested the shooter, George Zimmerman, because of the state’s expansive law that provides greater protection to those who claim self-defense in using deadly force. The Florida Conference of NAACP Branches had urged the federal government to get involved, saying it had no confidence in Florida officials to handle the matter.
Though the president and many others are taking a serious look at Martin’s killing, and the Florida law, also called “Shoot First,” or “Make My Day," Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera provided buffoonish commentary saying the hoodie Martin had been wearing “is as much responsible for [his] death as George Zimmerman was,” TPM reports. Rivera continued this clownish string of commentary with, “What’s the instant association? It’s crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stick up a 7 – 11, the kid is wearing a hoodie.”
During a march supporting Trayvon’s family in New York City, many wore hoodies. Trayvon’s father, Tracy, said his son did not deserve to die as many in the crowd changed “we want arrests.”
After Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said he would temporarily leave his position, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, also called on the authorities to arrest Zimmerman. “We must stay focused on the arrest and ask the police department to track Mr. Zimmerman’s whereabouts. Our community deserves better and Trayvon’s family deserves justice,” he said.
ProPublica provides more information about Florida’s “stand your ground,” and the other states that have similar measures. “Florida is not alone,” Cora Currier reports for ProPublica. “Twenty-three other states now allow people to stand their ground. Most of these laws were passed after Florida’s.”
[image via werthmedia]