Today marks the two-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Vigils are being held in Florida and across the country in memoriam. But they’re only one of many ways that those outraged by the shooting and the Zimmerman verdict are choosing to remember a young life and, to also say, “Never again.” Confronting the new “self defense regime” says Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick will also mean tackling a new, warped “normal.”
The gun lobby has single-handedly made certain that the very definition of what one might reasonably expect from an altercation at a Walmart, a movie theater, or a gas station has changed. By seeking to arm everyone in America, the NRA has in fact changed our reasonable expectation of how fights will end, into a self-fulfilling prophecy about how fights will end. It should surprise you not at all to learn that of the 10 states with the most lenient gun laws in America, seven support “stand your ground.” In those jurisdictions shooting first isn’t merely “reasonable.” It borders on sensible.
Over on Al Jazeera America, the way forward, writes Rinku Sen, executive director of Race Forward and publisher of Colorlines, is:
… not by ignoring racial bias, endorsing a color-blind approach or focusing on people’s intentions. Instead, the path forward lies in understanding fully how such bias works in our public schools and prisons and at the ballot box — and how those systems enable or discourage discriminatory actions. … To breathe life into the national race debate, we must deal with race fatigue the way we deal with other kinds of exhaustion. We rest, and then we keep the muscle moving so that it does not atrophy. The prizes for our willingness will include a stronger body politic, a more unified community and real improvements in people’s lives, including the actual preservation of those lives.
Martin’s parents continue to fight the “Stand your Ground” laws that facilitated the acquittal of their son’s killer. Sybrina Fulton is scheduled to speak this Friday evening at the University of Connecticut.
How are you remembering Trayvon Martin’s life today?