I found this editorial by the managing editor of a Boston-area community newspaper which I thought deserved some wider attention. The headline says it all:
Let’s be clear: Florida isn’t safe for our families
I couldn’t agree with him more, in fact: this is a major reason why I haven’t visited Florida in years, despite the fact that it’s “where you go” if you live in Tennessee and want to hit the beach. I just refuse to put myself and my family at risk. I have for years. I just don’t feel safe in a place where anyone can shoot you for any reason they cook up later to avoid prosecution. The fact that “justified killings” have tripled since the “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” law was passed says it all. Plus, the law represents a completely immoral worldview. What constitutes “a threat”? Someone wants to steal your purse? Take the fucking purse. Purse-snatching isn’t a death penalty crime. Deadly force is never justified to protect property. Stand your ground to protect a flat-screen TV? What the hell for? Get some fucking insurance. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Anyway, it’s obvious that Florida law protects no one. So, I stay away.
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.
But it’s not just black children. It’s everyone. A gay couple kissing? “I FEEL THREATENED!” *BAM* Someone with a pro-choice bumper sticker on their car? “Baby killer!” *BAM* A Muslim woman wearing a hijab? “TERRORIST!”*BAM* No one is safe in Florida, or any of the states with these NRA-crafted “shoot first” laws.
Do yourselves and your loved ones a favor, stay away. I have. There are thousands of miles of coastline in the lower 48. It’s not like Florida is the only place with a beach.
Back when Arizona was targeting Hispanics with its “show your papers” law, a few artists boycotted the state. That didn’t last long, unfortunately (and predictably), so I wonder if a boycott of Florida will get any traction now. I suspect it will, because we’re dealing with an actual case of the law resulting in an innocent teenager’s death, and the killer is still walking around free — and armed. That’s a danger to everyone, because if a 17-year-old kid with Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea is a threat under the Florida law, then anyone can be a threat.
I’ve boycotted Florida for years for a lot of reasons, my personal safety being a big one. Maybe it’s time everyone else joined me.