The push for an economic boycott of Florida has ratcheted up in recent days, with some members of the Congressional Black Caucus now publicly supporting the idea of such an action. The underlying target of their ire? Stand Your Ground laws, of course.
From The Hill:
A number of House Democrats are lining up behind the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s threat for an economic boycott of Florida following the not-guilty verdict in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The lawmakers, all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are fierce critics of the process that led to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the fatal shooting last year of the Florida teenager. Exerting pressure on Florida’s economy as Jackson is suggesting, they said, could help overturn the state’s controversial stand-your-ground laws that many contend contributed to the tragedy.
These community organizers and lawmakers who support the notion of a boycott want you to ignore that Stand Your Ground was not applicable in Zimmerman’s specific situation.
Sure, The Hill goes on to point out that it wasn’t, but reluctantly so. And with a “but…”
In their defense arguments, Zimmerman’s attorneys did not explicitly invoke Florida’s stand your ground law, which allows gun owners to use deadly force in certain cases when they feel threatened, even when there’s an opportunity to flee the confrontation. But the statute did play a significant role in the case. Zimmerman was not initially charged with a crime, for instance, because the local police believed he had acted legally in self-defense.
OK fine, let’s accept that last premise for argument’s sake. But let’s also consider the facts about how the investigation into whether or not Zimmerman would be charged in the first place actually played out.
An investigation was initiated beginning the night of the shooting, February 26th, 2012 and authorities handed the case over to state prosecutors on March 14th to determine whether or not Zimmerman should be charged (timeline here). On March 20th, state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced that the case would go before a grand jury on April 10th.
That’s 23 days from the date of the incident to the announcement that a grand jury would be called to session. The justice system’s process was in motion.
Instead, that process was intercepted, and the case handed over to a special prosecutor before the normal process could ever even proceed its course.
To propose an economic boycott of Florida because of Stand Your Ground or the Zimmerman case seems terribly misguided, at best. For any number of reasons. And for members of Congress to support the idea is further politicizing an already politicized issue that should not have been so in the first place. Despite all attempts aimed at it to disrupt its normal process, the justice system ultimately did its job.
(I can’t help but point out as an aside that there’s actually been more to this that began even before the Zimmerman case, in the left’s war on ALEC and the NRA. But that’s for another post, given the announcement that the Senate will now hold hearings on ALEC, the NRA, and “Stand Your Ground”. It’s no wonder so many have so little faith in Congress).
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