And at least it is in the news.
A young black male--teenager--is walking through a "gated community." He is visiting his dad's fiancee's house, and is thus there legitimately. He is walking with a bag of skittles in one hand and a paper cup of sweet iced tea in the other.
An older Hispanic male--a man who wanted to be a cop but never made it and who is acting as a neighborhood watch captain--acts in violation of the neighborhood watch manual and the advice of the police dispatcher he called to alert of a "suspicious person" in the area by following the black teenager.
The young black male runs from the older Hispanic man, who catches him and initiates a struggle. The older Hispanic man shoots the black teenager, killing him on the spot. Moments before this, the boy was on the phone with a friend and was overheard asking the older man, "Why are you following me?" He told him to leave him alone.
The older male alleges the teenager was drinking, altough there is no evidence he was. The kid had just walked from a convenience store where he bought the candy and tea. Ironically, there is evidence the older male was the one drinking including his slurred speech, but police do not follow their own guidelines and test him for drinking.
Amazingly, the shooter claims self-defense.
This is because of a state law passed in 2005 that allows a person to "stand his ground" and meet force with force if necessary, including deadly force.
The shooter's motivation can be understood by his call to police, where he describes the boy as a black kid with a hoodie on, jeans, and tennis shoes. This is what passes as menacing in American nowadays, at least to people living in gated communities.
Interestingly, the "Stand Your Ground" law's legislative sponsor, Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, said it wasn't written to give people the power to pursue and confront others.
"That's not what this legislation does," said Baxley, a Republican. "Unfortunately, every time there is an unfortunate incident involving a firearm, they think it's about this law, and it's not."
Sorry, sir, it is about this law. When you passed it, I remember saying in my classes that this kind of thing would undoubtedly happen. Now that it has, you have to take responsibility for it.
When a man in a car is told by the police not to follow a boy on foot, and he follows that person anyway, and when the man has a gun and the boy does not, this is clearly not self-defense. It is murder, plain and simple.
And the phone call that the victim--Trayvon Martin--made just before his death to a friend, will show that the man who killed him--George Zimmerman--had no reason to think Trayvon was a threat to him. He killed him because Trayvon was black and he thought Trayvon was up to no good. And Mr. Zimmerman did not want "these assholes" to get away, like they always do.
This is the final result of being barraged with media coverage of black crime for decades. People like this Mr. Zimmerman see a black person, especially a young black male, and immediately assume he is up to no good. And some of these people, like those who want to be cops but can never be because of dangerous personality traits like his, end up taking the law into their own hands even when it is not warranted.
This is murder. And the police must step up and do something about it. Now.