Ia "Trayvon's Law" Headed Our Way?

During a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rally in Washington D.C., Ben Jealous, head of the NAACP, announced to a crowd that there may be new legislation headed our way via President Obama. This new law, dubbed "Trayvon's Law" contains principles mandated by the NAACP.

>Here are the principles of "Trayvon's Law," as recorded on the NAACP website.

  • Ending racial profiling;
  • Repealing stand your ground type laws;
  • Creating law enforcement accountability through effective police oversight;
  • Improving training and best practices for community watch groups; and
  • Mandating law enforcement data collection on homicide cases involving people of color.

Oddly enough, not a single one of these tenets would have prevented the Trayvon Martin shooting from taking place had they of been in place prior to the shooting. Let's take a closer look at each of these items.

Ending Racial Profiling

There's a lot of debate as to whether it was racial profiling or simply suspicious behavior that led George Zimmerman to follow Trayvon Martin. The mainstream media would have you believe Trayvon was an innocent child on his way home from the store targeted by a man who saw him, saw he was black and profiled him immediately. Tapes off the 911 call were edited and Zimmerman is suing NBC because they make him appear racist.

People are angry because they've been led to believe this is a case about race, when the facts point to Zimmerman being anything but racist. When a homeless black man in his community was beaten by a white police officer's son, Zimmerman publicly accused the police of covering it. He also reportedly voted for Barrack Obama and helped tutor African American kids. These don't appear to be the behavior of a racist frothing at the mouth at the opportunity to kill a black kid.

The only person who truly knows whether he racially profiled Martin is Zimmerman. What Zimmerman says happened is he saw Martin in a hoodie acting suspiciously. Zimmerman was active in his neighborhood watch program, so he called the police and followed Martin. Considering the fact that there had been a recent wave of robberies allegedly committed by black teenagers in the neighborhood, was Zimmerman racially profiling or was he doing his job as a member of the community and neighborhood watch?

Repealing Stand Your Ground Type Laws

This one is completely irrelevant to the Trayvon Martin case. Stand Your Ground laws are self-defense laws that allow individuals to stand their ground when threatened. Instead of having to attempt to defuse a potentially violent situation, people living in Stand Your Ground jurisdictions can stand their ground and react with violent force. While these laws may be arcane, they aren't relevant to the Martin case because Stand Your Ground wasn't evoked as a defense in the trial

Based on the evidence, Zimmerman was beneath Martin and couldn't have attempted to get away. The Zimmerman defense argued self-defense as the reason ZImmerman shot Trayvon, not Stand Your Ground.

Police and Neighborhood Watch

Creating law enforcement accountability and mandating data collection on homicides involving people of color are both good things, but they are largely irrelevant to the Trayvon Martin case. There is nothing indicating the police were negligent in their actions or their collection of data in this case. It appears standard operating procedures were followed. They originally declined to file charges against Zimmerman, which is supported by the not guilty verdict handed down by the jury. The media largely tried to create a case where there was none.

As far as improved training for neighborhood watch goes, this is the sole item on the list that could possibly have saved Trayvon. Had Zimmerman been trained that under no circumstances is he to follow a potential suspect, he may not have followed Trayvon and ended up shooting him.

What this all amounts to are a bunch of new policies being pushed that largely won't prevent another tragedy from taking place. Why is is that every time there's a tragic killing that touches the heart of America, it becomes the catalyst for taking away more rights?