Lady Justice by -JvL-
Whether we agree or disagree with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for murder in the Trayvon Martin case what's done is done. But this trial and the Florida "stand your ground" law that was a major factor in the jury's decision has now established a very dangerous precedent in America's already highly faulted judicial system.
This precedent has now very likely opened the door to the era of vigilantism in this country. It was only a matter of time until someone like George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, fully supported by this very questionable and debatable law, took the law into his own hands. The only surprising part of this tragedy is that it took so long.
There certainly is nothing wrong with watch groups protecting their neighborhoods; that's their prerogative and that's fine. But what recently happened when Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin is a stunning example of the law allowing a trigger-happy vigilante type to carry out his own special method of law enforcement.
That in no way can be good for this society. So the big question that arises is: what happens now, where do we in America go from here? Here is the lesson America must learn; this case illustrates what happens when the serious root causes of a problems are not addressed, not solved and are allowed to fester. What is absolutely astounding is how this movement to allow more and more American citizens to become pseudo-law enforcement officers grew so rapidly.
All 50 states in America now have concealed carry laws and more than 30 have passed some form of stand your ground legislation. This society is becoming an armed camp right before our eyes. Societal violence is a national problem that should be addressed by the federal and state governments in order to bring it under control. But that is simply not being done and so the individual states have taken upon themselves to enact these egregious laws.
A further question is: why aren't these governments concentrating on identifying and dealing with the specific factors that are fueling this nation's violence? Why haven't they found the ways to solve the rampant unemployment that is plaguing this nation? Do they understand why 50 million people are on food stamps and an equal number living below the poverty line? Don't they understand that people who desperately need work often resort to violence out of anger and frustration?
Don't they know that the massive disparity of wealth and income in America in which the rich want for nothing and the poor have nothing is a major contributing factor to the spread of violence? Have they identified and effectively dealt with the reasons that are causing the proliferation of illegal drugs that cause so much violence? We hear so often that multiple murders of innocent Americans are committed by angry individuals with mental problems; but, instead of addressing this problem the federal and state governments have been reducing funding and closing mental treatment facilities.
No, the leaders of our government certainly have not done what they should have to examine the root causes of violence in America and have only tried to minimize it by enacting laws that allow citizens to carry weapons and initiate confrontations that can so easily lead to tragic, unnecessary deaths; just like what happened with George Zimmerman. Dealing with societal violence by opening the door to vigilantism is not the answer, it will only exacerbate the situation.
Here's some advice to those who refuse to own guns but now have a great degree of fear as they live in this very dangerous society. Look into buying a taser, a non-lethal defensive weapon that uses electroshock to ward off an assailant's attack. Tasers are not classified as firearms and are legal in 43 states. These defensive measures are not for everyone and those who intend to purchase them should check first with their local law enforcement authorities to get permission and then follow associated guidelines.
We must not allow ourselves to sink into a national quagmire in which various elements of this society have developed such a lack of trust and fear of each other that they must resort to the use of deadly weapons to deal with mutual problems and to settle disputes with violent confrontations instead of using common sense and rational thinking.
This society that purports to be advanced and exceptional should be better than this but it certainly is not. We are allowing violence and brutality against our fellow citizens to escalate at a time when we should be pulling out all stops to find intelligent ways to stem its tide. The pervasive presence of violence in America is everywhere; it's fills our television screens, our newspapers, the radio, movies, and video games. And then we wonder why this country is so very violent?
What is so very troubling is that the more people use guns to justify their actions against their fellow Americans the more rapidly this nation will become a police state. At some time in the future I can envision a massive confrontation between this nation's ever growing police presence and the vigilantes and pistol-packing Americans that want to take the law into their own hands. And, of course, we know who will win that battle.
I believe that the trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin will be the spark that ignites an atmosphere of confrontation in this society, one that is currently impossible to imagine. What I can envision happening in the future is that many young men like Trayvon, after watching this trial and its controversial outcome, will never allow that violence to happen to them. If we think the proliferation of guns in America is a massive problem, just wait because we ain't seen nothin yet.
It's conceivable that these young men might use this law, just as Zimmerman did, to avoid incarceration by claiming they were within the law by standing their ground when they retaliated against vigilante types who had confronted them. Wouldn't that be ironic? How would our judicial system handle that?
In fact, stand your ground, not backed by any legislation, has been in effect in the Chicago inner city as well as in other cities across this nation for decades. Gangs are, in effect, standing their ground when confronted by other gangs who they feel pose an imminent threat to them. Is this what we want to happen if the judicial precedent set in the Zimmerman trial is allowed to escalate into vigilantism? Don't think that this insidious process of violence can't spread within America because once it gathers momentum it certainly can.
We're going to see more guns, more people using stand your ground and concealed carry laws, more vigilantes coming onto the scene and a great deal more violence, mayhem and havoc in this already very violent society unless we find the ways to derail this deadly process.
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