The months that have passed since the verdict of Trayvon Martin’s trial was released still remains hard for many as unfair violence continues to ensue across the nation. Sybrina Fulton, along with another Florida mother whose unarmed son was shot to death, testified before a Senate panel Tuesday and demanded that states change their “stand your ground” laws.
The legislation, which has been largely been contested as controversial by the African-American community, is present in at least 22 states and alters self-defense laws for citizens that feel they are being confronted with deadly force; it grants them the right to shoot first if they feel the need to protect themselves rather than retreating first. Florida was the first to have the law instituted in 2005.
During the testimony, Fulton shared how her family had just celebrated Trayvon’s 17th birthday three weeks before George Zimmerman killed him.
“He was simply going to get a drink and some candy. That tells me right there, his mentality. That tells me that he was not going to get cigarettes or bullets or condoms or other items of that nature,” she said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “Trayvon was minding his own business.”
Lucia Holman McBath, mother of Jordan Russell Davis, also testified. Davis, who was also 17-years-old, was killed in 2012 when Michael David Dunn fired nine rounds of ammo at a vehicle with four teens inside in Jacksoville. Dunn allegedly did so because they had loud music on and he thought he had seen a gun.
“There was no threat. No one was trying to invade his home, his vehicle, nor threatened him or his family,” McBath said.
“Even the Wild West had more stringent laws governing the taking of life than we have now. Stand-your-ground defies all reason. It goes against the sound system of justice established long ago on this very hill,” she added.
“Self-defense is a bedrock liberty of every American, and I would note this is not a new concept,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said, citing the Second Amendment.
But with communal support, the mothers’ opinion on the issue still remains firm.
“So I just wanted to come here to talk to you for a moment to let you know how important it is that we amend this stand-your-ground because it did not work in my case. The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today, and this law does not work. We need to seriously take a look at this law,” Fulton said.