In his unfortunate remarks about the Zimmerman verdict Friday, Obama said something about “stand your ground” laws that reflects popular misconceptions seen on social media–hardly befitting a law “professor”:
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?
The answer is no. No one may use lethal force, either under “Stand Your Ground” laws or classic self-defense doctrine, without a reasonable fear of “death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” Merely feeling “threatened” is not enough. Martin’s fear, based on the evidence, would have been unreasonable.
Obama should know better. And he probably does. The only purpose for distorting the law here is to make a racial argument–namely, that “if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different,” as Obama said. To his discredit.