After 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead, in part, for apparently looking suspicious in a hooded sweatshirt, former Obama administration adviser Van Jones said he now feels like he has to dress his sons to the nines every day for their safety.
“I think I’m going to have to go broke dressing [my sons] in tuxedos every day so they can walk down the streets to buy a Snickers bar or Skittles,” Jones said today during the “This Week” roundtable discussion.
The story of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, hoodie-wearing black teenager who was shot dead in Florida by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, has erupted across the country, sparking protests, walkouts and calls for Zimmerman to be tried for murder.
Jones, a father of two boys, said the case makes him fear for the safety of his own family.
“As a black parent, I don’t know how to protect my sons,” the former White House environmental policy adviser said. “When you are a victim of a crime, if something happens to your child, the only upside is that the police are going to be on your side. If your child dies at the hands of somebody who’s armed — until now, here I am as a black parent … I don’t know if the cops are on my side.”
ABC’s George Will said the case had been blown way out of proportion because “The New York Times rather infamously now decided that Mr. [George] Zimmerman was a white Hispanic,” making the case about race.
“This episode has been forced into a particular narrative to make it a white-on-black,” Will said on “This Week.” “The root fact is, though, Mr. Jones, that about 150 black men are killed every week in this country and 94 percent of them by other black men.”
Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman was within his rights to use deadly force against Martin if he was acting in self defense.
ABC’s “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran, who has been following the case extensively said the Florida law “makes it very difficult to trust our system, trust the jury, let them find the facts and do justice.”
But conservative commentator Ann Coulter said the case has “nothing to do with the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.”
“That is completely wrong,” she said on “This Week,” arguing that there are two plausible stories, neither of which gave Zimmerman the option to retreat.
“It is only is relevant if someone had an opportunity to retreat,” Coulter argued. “In one case, you have Zimmerman, the white Hispanic, tracking down the suspicious looking kid, just because he’s black, blowing him away. The question is, did he have to retreat? No, he’s the one doing the stalking.”
In the second scenario, Zimmerman is “on the ground being beaten up by Trayvon Martin,” Coulter said. “There’s no possibility of retreating when you’re on the ground.”
“This is simple self defense on — at least George Zimmerman’s [part],” Coulter concluded.