The Rant 

You have to hand it to Florida, because those people down there really take the heat off of other states getting a bad rap. Personally, I don't think I'll ever step foot there again.

This latest mess with George Zimmerman killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and not being arrested because of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, coming right on the heels of the Casey Anthony case, and the case of Florida polo tycoon John Goodman being found guilty of DUI manslaughter but not before legally adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his fortune, makes me wonder what is going on down there. I just wish they had enacted the Stand Your Ground law years ago, so Lobster Boy's wife could have shot him in self-defense when he used to get drunk and ram her in the stomach with his wheelchair.

The Stand Your Ground law seems very odd to me, much like the Tennessee law that makes it okay to take loaded guns into bars full of drunk people. I don't have the time to research all of the history of the Florida law, but apparently, if you feel like someone might hurt you, it's fine to pull out a gun and kill him or her — even if there are no witnesses and the person you're afraid of is unarmed. So what's to stop you, if you are walking down the street and feel like shooting someone and no one else is around, from just shooting someone? You just tell the police it was in self-defense and go home that same night, right? Maybe I'm just slow (well, I know I am), but that just doesn't seem very sensible to me.

The case of Trayvon Martin is sad. It's always sad when a teenager, or anyone else for that matter, is shot and killed. It's also sad because, on the surface, it appears that his "suspicious behavior" was being a young black male walking down the street at night wearing a hoodie and eating a box of Skittles. And yes, there could be more to it than that. He may have jumped Zimmerman, once Zimmerman started following him. But I can't see how that justifies killing the young man.

What's also sad about this case are the reader comments online in response to all of the news stories about it. So many of the people who start off their comments complaining about it being made into a racial issue almost immediately start writing racist remarks. I saw where one guy broke down Hispanics into white Hispanics, black Hispanics, half-Hispanics, and, believe it or not, "celebrity Hispanics." I guess that was all about Zimmerman being of Peruvian descent. And I love the comments about how the media should stay out of this. These commenters are responding to the very media they're complaining about and becoming a part of it.

Here is one of my favorites, in response to former President Bill Clinton saying that it might be a good time to reappraise the Stand Your Ground law: "It is truly sad that this clown is completely incapable of speaking about a tragedy without the false hyperbole and specious ties at best. Guess what billy (sic) you fat lying pig — 'conceal carry' is nothing new, in fact it was a response to the unprecedented assault on legal gun ownership by deceitful cowards like you."

Yes, blame it on Bill Clinton! There are others who blamed it on Democrats and the lack of jobs and big government and so on and so on. Then there are those who were on the fence about this until they saw photos of Martin with tattoos, and that made them immediately side with Zimmerman because that made Martin a "thug." One of my other favorites was in response to Otis Sanford's column in The Commercial Appeal, in which he wrote: "If I read where one more conservative pundit is asking where is the outrage over young black men killing other young black men, I think I will scream." One poster commented, "Where is the outrage over young black men killing each other?" At least that person had something of a sense of humor or just didn't know any better.

The whole reader comment thing is preposterous. It's like some of kind of lonely-hearts club of people who know each other only online. Before they rush into their daily postings, they all say "good morning" to each other. I picture them sitting around in their camouflage boxer shorts drinking coffee next to a rack of guns, trying to one-up each other in tough talk, even though they're afraid to use their own names. If anyone would like to respond to this on the Memphis Flyer's website, I hope they at least have the courage also to post a photo of their trailer.

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