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Trayvon Martin also had right to stand his ground

July 30, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

Much has been said and written about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, and most discussions center on Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law that probably influenced the jurors who decided George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and was justified in shooting Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin was singled out because he was a young, black man who happened to be wearing a hoodie and looked like he didn't belong in the neighborhood. Had George Zimmerman remained in his vehicle and followed at a distance, Trayvon Martin would have continued on his way home, and George Zimmerman would have fulfilled his duty as member of the neighborhood watch. But he chose to get out of his vehicle and approach the young man, thereby creating the confrontational situation that quickly escalated.

It was decided that George Zimmerman had the right to "stand his ground," and was justified in doing what he did to defend himself. Did Trayvon Martin have the right to "stand his ground" and did he have the right to defend himself? He did. He was walking on a public street and was confronted by a stranger who did not have the right, the authority or any reason to follow or question him. George Zimmerman put himself in the situation, initiated the confrontation and shot Trayvon Martin when the young man turned on him. The "stand your ground" rule should have been applied to justify Trayvon Martin's actions.

The Florida law was most likely intended to provide citizens legal protection under the law by bestowing on them the right to defend and protect themselves, their families and their property. It was not meant as a license to kill.

Only George Zimmerman knows the series of events that led up to the shooting. What is known is that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin and chose to follow him. He then got out of his vehicle and confronted him. He shot the young man whom, by his actions, he (Zimmerman) had forced into a "stand your ground" situation.

Jose Contreras Jr., Victoria

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