Three simple words have tragically altered the lives of Trayvon Martin's family forever: Stand your ground.
"Stand Your Ground," the wildly inappropriate title for a self-defense law in 21 states, is the reason George Zimmerman walks free after shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin Feb. 26 in "self defense" in Florida as Martin walked home from a convenience store.
As Martin was making his way back to his house, Zimmerman, a local neighborhood watch volunteer, deemed Martin "suspicious," called the police - for the 46th time since the beginning of 2011, according to the Miami Herald - and told them he was going to chase after Martin, despite pleas from the operator to stay in his car. According to Zimmerman, after giving up the chase, he was attacked on the way back to his car by Martin and in self-defense, Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.
Zimmerman was a 200-pound 28-year-old man armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Martin was a teenager armed with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman has not shown an ounce of remorse for what he has done. This is justice?
The only good that can come out of this situation would be the repeal of the "Stand Your Ground" law. The law gives people wide latitude to use deadly force instead of retreating during a fight, according to the Associated Press, and is just vague enough for someone like Zimmerman to get away scot-free. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports the amount of justified killings nearly tripling from 13 to 36 per year since the law passed. That is not a trend that should continue.
It is time to uproot the shaky ground the law is standing on. Lives depend on it.