This is the first Father’s Day that Tracy Martin will spend without his 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin being alive. Cut down by the bullet of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who apparently thought that “watch” meant “kill,” Trayvon was merely walking home when Zimmerman menaced and murdered him. Since that tragic night in February, his father Tracy and mother Sybrina have continued to fight the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law which allows individuals to use deadly force if they feel threatened.
The operative word there being “if,” which leaves too much open to interpretation and the only person able to provide an opposing view is often dead.
A Tampa Bay Times analysis of nearly 200 cases — the first to examine the role of race in “stand your ground” — found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time.
“I don’t think judges or prosecutors or whoever works in the field of criminal justice is consciously saying black life is worth less than that of other ethnicities,” said Kareem Jordan, a criminologist at the University of Central Florida. “But at the end of the day, it could be something that’s subconscious going on if you look at how the media depicts black life.”
When Judge Ken Lester called for the arrest of Zimmerman’s wife Shellie — after she lied under oath about how much money they had available when Zimmerman posted bail — he explained why he was taking measures against the couple:
“It was apparent that Zimmerman’s wife had lied under oath, and clear that Zimmerman does not properly respect the law.”
What is also clear is that George Zimmerman has no respect for human life and that Tracy Martin will continue to stand his ground and fight for his son.
This Father’s Day, we should all pledge to take a stand for our young boys and men who are left fatherless and child-less through no fault of their own.