After Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law received national attention following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, those of us who were stunned by the killing feared that the widespread support of Stand Your Ground across the country as it revealed itself in news punditry, social media, and the comments section of nearly every website that carried a Trayvon Martin story, would only lead to more shootings; shootings where the victims will frequently be young and black; shootings were the shooters will all too often be older and white, and able to avail themselves of attention-seeking pundits whilst making allusions to deep-seeded suburban prejudices and taking donations from supporters in sympatico across the country.
That fear seemed substantiated when Marissa Alexander, a black woman, failed to successfully argue Stand Your Ground when she fired a warning shot near her abusive ex-husband who was assaulting her. It was clear that Stand Your Ground, as a consequence, created the appearance that certain protected classes of people would be given automatic deference in shootings whilst others would not. A white man can shoot and kill a black teen. A black woman can not even threaten her male attacker.
Jordan Russell Davis’ killing at the hands of 45-year old Michael David Dunn, is the realization of every fear we have had since George Zimmerman fled the state, then was seemingly allowed every courtesy from police and prosecutors thereafter. Stand Your Ground does not have to claim another victim. It hasn’t yet, and it won’t unless a jury of Floridians decide that it is okay for a white man to shoot a black teen, return to his car, then drive back to his hotel and presumably enjoy the rest of the evening before fleeing the city the next morning after learning that he killed his victim.