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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 24, 2013 at 6:29 AM

The case of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

The time to act is now

Protesters from Miami's PowerUCenter chant outside Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office after it is closed for the evening Wednesday July 17, 2013 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. A sit-in at Scott's office, organized by Dream Defenders in response to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. [AP Photo/Phil Sears.]

Protesters from Miami’s PowerUCenter chant outside Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office after it is closed for the evening July 17 at the Capitol in Tallahassee. [AP Photo/Phil Sears.]

Thanks to Jerry Large [“Florida verdict a ‘wake-up call,’” NW Thursday, July 18] and also Leonard Pitts [“Column: In wake of Zimmerman verdict: Stop reacting and start pro-acting,” Opinion, July 18] for sounding the alarm.

The backlash against civil rights hit a new low with the decision to acquit George Zimmerman of any wrongdoing in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Finally, the spotlight has exposed the American Legislative Exchange Council, which represents gun manufacturers and their lapdogs, the National Rifle Association and right-wing extremists. They are behind these stand-your-ground laws that have swept through more than 22 state legislatures.

We have now witnessed the tragic result of these fear-based laws. There are legitimate sources of fear in the world; we don’t need to manufacture more. Too many young black men are bearing the brunt of our collective guilt.

As Pitts said: Wake up! Join the NAACP. Protest peacefully. Write to your Congress member. Then do something to personally start healing our national wounds over race. It’s going to take everyone doing the right thing.

Jessica Lisovsky, Vashon Island

Stand Your Ground was a part of the trial

Monique Messer holds her sign, which she says sums up her feelings about Florida "Stand Your Ground" laws, during a "Justice for Trayvon" rally in Miami, Florida on Saturday. [Shadi Bushra/Miami Herald]

Monique Messer holds her sign, which she says sums up her feelings about Florida “Stand Your Ground” laws, during a “Justice for Trayvon” rally in Miami, Florida on Saturday. [Shadi Bushra/Miami Herald]

To those who state that Florida’s stand-your-ground law was not a part of George Zimmerman’s defense, you would be right. [“Northwest Voices: The Zimmerman verdict,” Opinion, July 21.]

However, the judge included a provision about stand-your-ground laws in her instructions to the jury, allowing them to consider it as a legitimate defense. The juror interviewed on CNN stated that the stand-your-ground law was considered in their review of the case. Further, she said that they mostly looked at the few minutes of the actual physical altercation, rather than what led up to it.

She said that they determined that Zimmerman had a right to defend himself. Was this decided because they agreed that it was truly self-defense, or did the stand-your-ground law play a major part in their decision to acquit? I know what I think.

Stand-your-ground is a dangerous law, and should not be allowed anywhere in this country.

Kathy Harris, Seattle

Comments | Topics: acquit, civil rights, defend

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