(Huffington Post) -- Some laws are grey, but this one seems to be increasingly black and white. The Stand Your Ground law in Florida -- and now 24 other states, including many in the South -- was a major factor in jury deliberations for both the Trayvon Martin killing and now, the case of Michael Dunn, who killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting an unarmed African-American teenager. The jury in the Dunn case failed to reach a consensus on the murder charge and the judge ruled a mistrial.
Both the Dunn and Zimmerman trials have highlighted a major theological problem with Stand Your Ground laws. In Romans 13, the apostle Paul describes the role of government as a positive one -- meant to protect the poor and to promote the common good. The Stand Your Ground laws are based on fear -- fear that is often rooted in racism. Rather than promoting a vision of the common good and what our life together should look like, it justifies taking life and codifies fear.
When Dunn pulled into a gas station convenience store next to a car with three black teenagers, the dispute was about "loud music." Later statements from Dunn describe "thug music" and call the teenagers "gangsters" who seemed "menacing." Dunn resented being called a "cracker" when he argued with them. The prosecution said Dunn shot Davis because he got angry when the teenagers wouldn't turn down their music when he asked them to and then "mouthed off" to him. Dunn also claimed that Davis raised a shotgun, but no witnesses saw a gun and none were found.
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