The above clip is Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) on Meet the Press today discussing President Obama's remarks about race, Trayvon Martin, and the Zimmerman verdict:
I was very proud, quite frankly. I think that it was timely, but more importantly, I think that he could feel the anger that was going around across this country, and he felt that he needed to respond in a way that I think took a lot of courage.
For him to basically say that we have a situation where a young man is basically convicted of his own murder, that someone can hunt you down and then say, I'm afraid and kill you, he made it clear that Trayvon Martin had rights as well. And he made it clear as well that African-American men, for history, for a very long time, have had to deal with this problem.
Let's keep that in mind as we move to an L.A. Times piece titled, "Marissa Alexander case emerges as symbol after Zimmerman verdict." Please read the entire article. Until then, consider this:
In combination, they can have the effect of warping a criminal’s incentives, he said. Self-defense laws reward shooters with permission to kill if they can prove they’re acting out of fear for their lives. At the same time, minimum sentencing laws mandate harsh punishments for those whose fear is judged to fall short of that threshold – regardless of context or motivation.
Under these laws, it’s in a person's interest to preserve the appearance of self-defense rather than mitigate the violence of his act, Newburn said. In theory, that could lead a person to kill in order to eliminate eyewitnesses.
“Yours is the only story being told if the other person is dead,” Newburn said.
Even a judge’s sentencing discretion expands in cases involving death because manslaughter doesn’t automatically trigger Florida’s “10-20-Life” provision. Newburn said the judge would have had more flexibility in sentencing Alexander if she had killed her husband, rather than shoot into a wall.
The acceptance of these flawed laws is destroying lives (literally); when the utilization of "self-defense" is this subjective, when someone can simply justify taking a human life with, "Hey, I was afraid!" even if they weren't, when "stand your ground" is exploited the way it has been, then our justice system has been turned on its inequitable head and does not serve its intended purpose. Quite the opposite.
"A young man is basically convicted of his own murder..." And a young woman in fear for her life is sentenced to twenty years for shooting a wall.