Trayvon Martin’s death was a great tragedy that brings sadness to all of us. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and community.
It is a great shame that some are using this tragedy to further their political ends. Indeed, Paul Krugman describes advancing his political goals as the “silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing.” That is as callous as it is cruel, and it is also incorrect. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was the basis for the American Legislative Exchange Council’s model legislation, not the other way around. Moreover, it is unclear whether that law could apply to this case at all. “Stand Your Ground” or the “Castle Doctrine” is designed to protect people who defend themselves from imminent death and great bodily harm. It does not allow you to pursue another person. It does not allow you to seek confrontation. It does not allow you to attack someone who does not pose an imminent threat. What it does is allow you to defend yourself and your family from immediate and real danger.
In the end, we will always respect people who disagree with us in matters of policy, but it is simply wrong to try to score political points by taking advantage of a great tragedy like Trayvon Martin’s death.