I had a rant building in me once I heard the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. And it grew stronger when I learned that the evidence in the case was being released and that George Zimmerman would get back his gun murder weapon. And it reached a boiling point when Robert Zimmerman, George’s brother who wants to coattail on the case for his fifteen minutes of fame, suggested to CNN that he was sorry that Trayvon Martin had ‘lost’ his life; I wanted to reach into my TV, grab Robert Zimmerman by the throat and remind him that Trayvon didn’t lose his life, his life was TAKEN by George Zimmerman. His life was taken from him.
I had a rant. I had rage. And then I heard this:
Also down in Florida, Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, was trying to defend herself from an abusive husband and grabbed a gun and fired warning shots inside her home to scare him away.
She was tried and, on May 19th of this year, was sentenced to twenty years in prison for doing so.
She killed no one. She was in her home. She was trying to get her abusive husband to leave by firing the gun, not at him, but near him. And she’s going to jail.
Oh yeah, Marissa Alexander is a black woman.
Alexander had hoped Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law--which states that the victim of a crime does not have to attempt to run for safety and can immediately retaliate in self-defense--would apply to her because she was defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband when she fired warning shots inside her home in August 2010. She told police it was to escape a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.
Alexander was convicted of attempted murder after she rejected a plea deal for a three-year prison sentence. She said she did not believe she did anything wrong. Under Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing requirements Alexander could have received a lesser sentence, even though she has never been in trouble with the law before, but Judge Daniel said the law did not allow for extenuating or mitigating circumstances to reduce the sentence below the 20-year minimum.
Alexander was denied a new trial after appealing to the judge to reconsider her case based on Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law; her attorney argued that she was clearly defending herself and should not have to spend the next two decades behind bars.
But she's going to jail.
Marissa Alexander was in her own home, trying to protect herself from a man she’d said had beaten her before, from a man whom she had a protective order against, and she fired her gun to scare him away.
And she gets twenty years.
George Zimmerman was outside his home, and saw a young black man walking down the street that he didn’t think should have been in his neighborhood. Against the advice of police—whom Zimmerman called—he followed Trayvon Martin. A scuffle ensued and George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin through the heart.
And he gets off.