U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder is wise to deftly change the subject from the Trayvon Martin killing to another subject: "Stand Your Ground" laws, says columnist Charles Krauthammer.
The pressure on Holder from the NAACP and Democratic politicians to file federal hate crime or civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, is immense, Krauthammer said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Special Report." Though the conservative pundit said he rarely accuses Holder of deftness, he applauded Holder's speech earlier Tuesday to the NAACP.
"Stand Your Ground laws sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Holder said to the civil rights group, by "allowing – and perhaps encouraging – violent situations to escalate in public."
More than 30 states, including Florida, have "Stand Your Ground" laws that give citizens more ability to use deadly force against aggressors. Zimmerman's legal team initially considered using "Stand Your Ground" as a defense because they said Martin attacked him even though Zimmerman had initially been following Martin in his car because he found him suspicious.
Many who favored Zimmerman's conviction said he found Martin suspicious only because he was black.
Even though "Stand Your Ground" ended up having no part in Zimmerman's defense – he used simple "self-defense" instead – Krauthammer said there still is a plausible link for having a debate on "Stand Your Ground" laws.
"What (Holder) wants to do is have a debate on an irrelevance, although it is an interesting and important debate," Krauthammer said. "I think he's smart in defecting the issue over onto that and away from the continued persecution of George Zimmerman."
Holder knows trying to file federal charges against Zimmerman is "a losing proposition," Krauthammer said. "And surely if he tried he would lose, and probably would be humiliated."
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