Hard cases make bad law and even worse fodder for the chattering classes. Most of the so-called lessons of George Zimmerman’s acquittal on charges of murdering Trayvon Martin amount to educational malpractice.
• There is no war on black men, at least not by white men. Last year, the Scripps-Howard News Service studied half a million homicide reports and found that killings of black victims by white attackers have actually dropped over the past 30 years, from 4,745 during the 1980s to 4,380 during the first decade of the 2000s. There were nearly twice as many white victims killed by black assailants: 8,503 in the 1980s, and 8,530 in the 2000s.
• Why isn’t Stevie Wonder boycotting California? Wonder says he won’t play in Florida until it “abolishes” its stand-your-ground law. But California, the state where he lives, also allows a stand-your-ground defense in murder trials.
When defendants claim to have killed someone in self-defense, California juries are instructed that “a defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of [death or serious injury] has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.”