by Jeremy Leaming
As scrutiny of so-called “stand your ground” laws builds in the aftermath of the killing of Florida youngster Trayvon Martin, President Obama weighed in today calling Martin’s death a tragedy.
After his announcement of the nomination of Dr. Jim Kim to lead the World Bank, Obama was asked about the young African American’s death at the hands of a so-called neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla.
Obama said, “I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
The president added, “But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
Obama noted, that he could not elaborate at much greater length; the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into the matter earlier this week. Pressure has been building for the federal government to take action because Florida officials have not arrested the shooter, George Zimmerman, because of the state’s expansive law that provides greater protection to those who claim self-defense in using deadly force. The Florida Conference of NAACP Branches had urged the federal government to get involved, saying it had no confidence in Florida officials to handle the matter.