Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Why Florida’s Atrocious Stand-Your-Ground Law Had Little to do With the Murder of Trayvon Martin


Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law is a legal abomination and needs to be chucked.

However, Florida’s ridiculous invitation to murder, aka the “Stand your ground” law, had very little to do with the blatant injustice surrounding the execution style murder of teenager Trayvon Martin by a “Neighborhood Watch” thug named George Zimmerman.

To paraphrase 60s black revolutionary H.Rap Brown, the shooting of unarmed blacks guilty of nothing but being black is “as American as apple pie.”

Despite the existence of that heinous law, Sanford Florida police chief Bill Lee’s  lame excuse that “stand your ground” forbade him from detaining, much less arresting the pathetic wretch of a vigilante George Zimmerman who defied Sanford dispatchers orders to stay in his car, is pure blarney.

There’s nothing in the law that prevented Lee from doing just that.

Just as there was nothing to prevent him from sending a homicide detective instead of a narcotics detective to the scene in the aftermath.  Or for that matter to prevent him from conducting an alcohol or drug test on Zimmerman whose prior arrest photo make him appear drunk and stoned as opposed to the photos of young, healthy  Martin in his high school football uniform.

Martin had a squeaky clean record.

Zimmerman? Not so much.

In 2005 he was  arrested for battery on a cop.

Unlike his cold blooded execution of Martin as he begged for his lifej, Zimmerman was shown compassion and put into a diversionary program and charges were dropped.

In 2007 an injunction was issued as a result of a domestic battery complaint by his then girlfriend.

Citizens of Sanford, meet your protector George Zimmerman.

Most likely Police Chief Lee was unprepared for the storm hitting him now. Sanford and Seminole county’s long history of racism no doubt left  him feeling that impunity was still in effect.

In the 19th century the black communities of Goldsboro, Georgetown and Midway were somewhat of an oasis for the descendants of slaves. Indeed, the black township of Goldsboro was the second Florida town incorporated by blacks.

But the days of relative freedom ended in 1911 when the white establishment in  Sanford stripped Goldsoboro’s charter.

In no small thanks to “social media”  the days of impunity in Sanford may well be over.

On Thursday last thousands of protestors converged on Sanford demanding the arrest of Zimmerman whose whereabouts are the best kept secret this side of Casey Anthony.

In response Chief Lee has “temporarily” stepped aside and Governor Rick Scott has sent in the FDLE and named a special prosecutor.

But nothing short of the sacking of Lee and the arrest of Zimmerman is likely to appease the mass movement demanding justice for Martin.

Yes, the “stand your ground” law needs to be thrown into the dustbin of history.  But with or without that law, Zimmerman  was a man on a murderous mission.

Odds are neither the “stand your ground law” or Zimmerman’s protector Chief Bill Lee will be able to thwart the momentum toward justice for Trayvon Martin.

In short the days of impunity in Sanford/Seminole county are numbered.

JACK MCCARTHY is former managing editor of the Florida Flameau, contributing Florida editor to and contributor to CounterPunch.

Jack McCarthy is a writer in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future