Unjust Laws in an Unjust System

When I heard about George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict in Florida, one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was: Well, they probably got it right. Under bad laws in unjust systems, a bad verdict become the right verdict.

I don’t know what happened on that night last April, but I know that the police instructed George Zimmerman not to pursue Trayvon Martin. Had he listened, Martin would have went home, ate his Skittles, and the world wouldn’t know either of these names. As it happened, George Zimmerman pursued Trayvon Martin in the night, and as a result Travyon Martin is dead.

It is a tragedy is that Trayvon Martin is dead and that his killer was found not-guilty. It is also a tragedy that unjust laws like Stand Your Ground, operating in an unjust system like the Florida justice system will continue to ruin lives. One need not look hard to see these injustices play out.

While George Zimmerman was being found not-guilty for the murder of Trayvon Martin, last year  Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, FL. was denied the protection of Stand Your Ground in court.

Marissa Alexander fired warning shots at her husband “to escape a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.”

Under Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Alexander, guilty of attempted murder, is sentenced to 20-years in prison.

When you combine bad laws, like Stand Your Ground, and mandatory minimum sentences, with a system that is embraces human prejudice and error, we don’t end up with justice. We need to reconsider what we mean by justice before we bring the house down on our heads.

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