It has been a month since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was followed and shot to death in Sanford, Fla., by a "neighborhood watch" patroller who thought he looked suspicious. The outrage over the shooting, and the failure to arrest or charge the shooter, George Zimmerman, continues to grow.
Zimmerman claimed he was only defending himself after being confronted and attacked by Martin, who was armed only with a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Under Florida's "stand your ground" law, people have the right to use deadly force to defend themselves wherever they may be, without having to take reasonable measures to retreat, under certain circumstances if they feel threatened.
We're not sure if the law was intended to protect vigilantes, but we're sure the Florida legislature will revisit that issue.
This case has meaning outside of Florida, since 13 states have similar laws permitting the use of deadly violence. Minnesota's Legislature passed such a bill this session, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
With Sanford police unwilling to arrest or charge Zimmerman, federal agencies are looking into look into the case. We think they should. It may be the only way for those demanding justice for Martin to be satisfied.