hundreds of people who rallied in the Harvard Square pit tonight
weren't just there to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. Nor were
they merely there to call attention to the atrocity that was
unleashed on the state of Florida, where the unarmed 17-year-old
Martin was shot and killed last month by George Zimmerman, an overzealous neighborhood
watchdog who has yet to be arrested.
throng of activists and onlookers was also calling attention to an
alarming situation in the commonwealth – one that could soon lead
to any number of comparable incidents happening right here. It seems
there's a sticky piece of legislation floating in the Massachusetts
legislature – Senate Bill 661 – that would protect murderers like Zimmerman.
the proposed bill reads:
shall be an act of lawful defense if a person, who is an occupant of
a dwelling or in any place that they have a right to be, used deadly
force, or less than deadly force, if he or she acted in the
reasonable belief that an assailant was about to inflict great bodily
injury or death upon themselves or upon another person who also had a
right to be in the location. There shall be no duty on a person to
retreat from any place that they have a right to be. An act of lawful
defense as outlined in this section shall not be cause for arrest or
like the notorious “three-strikes” law – a proven
failure that even backwards southern states are ditching but that
Mass legislators are considering – this sort of so-called “stand
your ground” law, or “castle doctrine,” is proven to do the
opposite of its intended purpose, which is to protect people. In
Florida, for example, the number of “justified homicides” has
increased roughly three-fold since the Sunshine State passed its
redneck justice bill in 2005. Nevertheless, the NRA has been
furiously pushing for these laws across the country, and has so far
succeeded in getting at least 27 Bay State lawmakers on board.
Harvard Square today, there was a lot of frustration expressed, along
with some impassioned spoken word and loud group chants: “He's out
brother / He's our son / We are Trayvon / We are one.” But just
watch. A group of energetic college activists – loosely assembled
as the “Harvard College black community for peace” – is already
working with seasoned Boston activists to push the issue further.
Students Okie Nwakanma Mariam Braimah – both of Queens, New York –
announced that they'll be blasting out messages via their Twitter and
Facebook pages. Judging by what went down in Harvard Square, there's
sure to be a sequel in the Boston theater of this battle very soon.