President Obama broke his silence on the Trayvon Martin shooting this morning, and as of this afternoon, all of the major Republican candidates have taken turns weighing in. Romney echoes Obama’s words, calling Trayvon’s death a “tragedy.” Santorum says Trayvon’s murder is “horrible” and is – shocker! – critical of Zimmerman using the Stand Your Ground law as a defense. But – not surprisingly at all in any way – Mr. Newt “Get a Job You Lazy Black Kids” Gingrich appeared on Piers Morgan last night defending the legislation that allows citizens to shoot others when they feel threatened. Take a look:
Gingrich continued, “The young man apparently was not following the person who’s being investigated,” he said. “Apparently, the shooter was following the young man. That’s not a stand your own ground, that’s a chase the other person into their ground. And I think you’re going to find the law, as interpreted normally, doesn’t apply to this case.”
That’s all well and good, and I believe very strongly that thanks to the public’s outrage, George Zimmerman will be arrested for and convicted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. But, as Daniel Gross of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence notes, “The gun lobby has made it clear that they consider Florida one of their great success stories since the introduction of that campaign — the realization of their vision of just about anyone being able to get a gun and carry it just about anywhere, emboldened by a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality.”
It doesn’t surprise me that Gingrich is for Stand Your Ground, but it’s clear that defending this law will only result in more deaths of innocent people. Santorum was actually critical of the law, which is impressive, but says he does not believe the Justice Department should investigate Trayvon’s death. He believes the investigation should be left to local authorities, which, given the fact that Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. stepped down yesterday amid criticism, doesn’t seem like the best idea.