By Paul Gorski
United Automobile Workers (UAW) President Bob King released this statement July 19 (http://www.uaw.org/articles/uaw-statement-trayvon-martin-tragedy) regarding the Trayvon Martin tragedy:
“The UAW is deeply saddened by the Trayvon Martin case and the tragic death of a vibrant young man. The Florida Stand Your Ground law is an inhumane piece of legislation that is leading to horrifying consequences, not just this case, but many others.
“The UAW has a long history of fighting for fairness and equality for everyone in society and will be a strong voice for bringing justice in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. We are committed to work together with our allies in fighting for justice, beginning with the Aug. 24 March on Washington. We encourage all UAW members and citizens of conscience to join us in Washington, D.C., to demand enactment of a new Voting Rights Act and justice in the Trayvon Martin tragedy.”
I know some readers of this paper don’t have kind things to say about unions, but in this case, I think the UAW is taking the right stand.
Although the Stand Your Ground (SYG) law was not necessarily the primary defense used in this case, some jurors said it influenced them.
I understand what Florida lawmakers had in mind when they passed the SYG law, don’t make criminals out of people who are simply defending themselves. But in this case, the accused George Zimmerman had time to place a call to 911 and then pursue Trayvon Martin before the shooting occurred. The imminent threat of danger had passed, and police were on their way.
Zimmerman claims after the shooting he did not “pursue” Martin, but he admitted to following Martin during his 911 phone call. Typically, you may defend yourself, but not pursue after the imminent threat of danger has passed.
It is not my intention to re-litigate this case, simply point out what appears to be a glaring flaw in the interpretation of the SYG law: does the SYG law give you the right to follow, pursue, and/or otherwise willingly put yourself in danger, then protect yourself with deadly force against that danger you volunteered to confront? I don’t think so.
I thank the UAW and its call for justice in the Trayvon Martin case and its call for fairness and equality for all.
Paul Gorski (http://www.paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.
From the July 24-30, 2013, issue