Florida’s beaches and theme parks make it the top tourist destination in the United States. But based on certain recent events, it’s time for those of us making travel plans for the next couple of years to stop and re-think everything.
One thing is clear so far from the outrageous murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Florida: Our black children and teens are not safe when walking the streets in the so-called Sunshine State.
Reasonable Americans from the rest of the country need to send a message to our countrymen in Florida: Until you undo the ridiculous law that gave an armed predator a virtual license to blow away an unarmed minor on a public sidewalk – and then allowed him to walk away from the scene free from arrest – we will find another place to vacation and do business.
Legal experts say that George Zimmerman, the gunman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, likely has a reasonable chance of beating any criminal charge lodged against him. That’s because current Florida law permits its citizenry to be armed and use lethal force to counter a perceived physical threat from another person in a public setting.
So, despite the fact that the unarmed teenager was the one who was stalked and accosted by a gun-packing vigilante, there’s a good chance that his murderer will be acquitted on the basis of current state law, in part because Trayvon Martin is dead and buried and can’t give his side of the story.
The public outcry from across the country over the failure of local authorities to arrest and prosecute Zimmerman for killing an innocent child is heartening. But it doesn’t go far enough.
Americans of all backgrounds – particularly black Americans – must mount a campaign to make Florida an outcast state based on the dangers inherent there to black children and teens that have been laid bare by this case. Until the state legislature and the governor repeal the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law, there should be a national boycott on tourist travel to Florida by popular entertainers, cruise lines, convention planners, and all others who have come to see that state as a premier destination for fun and relaxation under the sun.
Florida has declared open season on black children. It’s time for the rest of us to reciprocate by sending a message with our feet and our wallets.
Trayvon Martin, a kid with no criminal record whatsoever, is dead because a crazed “neighborhood watchman” found him “suspicious.” But until it gets its house in order, Florida is the real suspect in this case.