Critics of the state’s “stand your ground” law and Saturday’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin hope to make Florida pay.
Their message as they implore state lawmakers to change the law: Don’t travel to Florida, and don’t buy Florida oranges and other Sunshine State products.
The drumbeat of opposition has quickly grown on social media, while a group camps outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office in the Capitol demanding action against the law that remains strongly supported by Florida’s Republican leaders.
Meanwhile, negative perceptions of the state have been fostered on venues such as the faux news program, “The Daily Show,” which has labeled Florida “the worst state.” (See the video below.) A sister program, “The Colbert Report,” added that Florida “apparently no longer has rules or laws.”
Scott, while traveling to cable media outlets in the New York area Tuesday, expressed “hope” that boycotts don’t work.
Business groups preferred to quietly wait to see how the public perception plays out rather than stoking the issue by commenting.
An Orlando area hospitality expert said Wednesday that in looking at similarly proposed boycotts, such as the reaction in Arizona to its stringent 2010 immigration law, there may be little economic dent unless groups start to cancel long-planned conferences.
“Within the next couple of weeks, if any major conferences are canceled, then you start to worry,” said Abraham Pizam, dean of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
In Arizona, opponents of the immigration law hoped their boycott would result in empty convention centers and sports venues. While a few musicians and business groups stayed out of the state, the Associated Press estimated that by the end of 2010 the state had taken a $145 million hit.
The Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based liberal policy group, projected that Arizona’s convention business was down $45 million in the first four months after the law was enacted.
“If you have a beef with the ‘stand your ground’ law, there are 19 other states that have the law as well,” Pizam said.
But in the court of public opinion, the beef right now is with Florida.
Music legend Stevie Wonder says he will boycott Florida until the state abolishes the controversial law that allows a person to use force, “including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.” Wonder has also called for fans to support his boycott.
During an NAACP convention in Orlando on Wednesday, Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., proposed a boycott of Florida orange juice.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was not immediately available for comment Wednesday, according to his spokeswoman.
Zimmerman was found not guilty Saturday by a six woman jury that deliberated more than 15 hours over two days in the racially charged case. Zimmerman, 29, claimed self-defense in the February 2012 death of Martin, 17. Prosecutors contended that Zimmerman profiled and followed Martin.
While Zimmerman’s attorney didn’t raise the stand-your-ground law as a defense, the jury instructions advised that Zimmerman could be acquitted if they deemed he wasn’t engaged in an unlawful activity as “he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force.”
The reaction to the case has reached the Facebook page for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism arm. Under photos promoting the state’s sunny vistas, people are posting messages such as, “I will make an effort to boycott all Florida products and to spread the word until this situation is fixed.” Meanwhile, other comments are critical of protesters, with one saying, “to all African-Americans boycotting Florida … Please don’t stop! It’s is much more pleasant here without you.”
Meanwhile, Moveon, a liberal public policy advocacy group, has started a petition drive calling for a boycott of tourism to Florida until the law is overturned.
“If the murder of Trayvon Martin isn’t enough to get lawmakers’ attention, maybe a loss in revenue to the state would be,” Moveon said in an email seeking signatures.
Asked about a boycott having an impact on the state’s important hospitality sector, Scott said during an appearance Tuesday on CNBC’s “Mad Money that he hopes not.
Scott, whose office deferred comment to his statements during the CNBC interview, pointed to the state’s reduced crime rate as evidence of efforts to keep Florida safe.
“We are having record tourism, 91 million tourists last year, two record years in a row, we’re on track, up about 4 percent last year, so we’re heading in the right direction,” Scott said.
Officials from Visit Florida did not return requests for comment Wednesday.
Scott’s beliefs hadn’t stopped more than 8,800 people from signing the Moveon petition by Wednesday afternoon.
“If my sons are not safe in Florida against gun-toting vigilantes, then neither is my money,” wrote Kimberly Melancon of Atlanta on the petition.
“How about boycotting their produce as well?” added petition signer Judith Cahill of El Prado, N.M.
On Twitter and Facebook a number of hashtags — #BoycottFlorida, #BoycottFloridaTourism and #NotFlorida — have been created in support of boycotting Florida over the Zimmerman ruling.
Julius Denson, a Moveon member from Temple Terrace, promoted another petition that simply seeks to amend the law so an individual would be prevented from “pursuing another person and being able to claim self-defense.”
“It is completely irresponsible and dangerous to have such an ambiguous law in place that doesn’t consider the full circumstance of a given situation,” Denson stated in a release.
A task force created by Scott last year to review the state’s 2005 “stand your ground” law recommended that the law not be overturned and suggested only a few minor tweaks.
Pizam said most boycotts in reaction to court rulings or new state laws in the past haven’t had a significant impact.
“For one, you might see those on the other side show their support for Florida, which could help balance things,” Pizam said. “And even those who think about boycotting realize sooner or later that this is collective punishment and collective punishment hits innocent bystanders.”
Pizam noted that Florida’s tourism industry did suffer about an 8 percent drop in visitors after nine tourists were killed in 1993, but the impact didn’t last long, even with the worldwide attention heightened by screaming British tabloid headlines and the Philadelphia Daily News declaring “The Sunshine State becomes a State of Terror.”
“That was a significant crime against tourists, violent crimes, but in time people forgot it,” Pizam.
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Daily Show on Facebook
The Truth says
John Oliver: I could not have said it better myself. The “stand your ground” law as currently written is an absolute shame and a joke.
The Stand Your Ground Law is a license to kill young men of color.
I’m not surprised progressive people from other states don’t want to visit Florida. The “Sunshine State” is full of bigots, racists and rednecks who think this is 1813 instead of 2013. Did you catch Anderson Cooper interview with one of the jurors? She’s a good example of the “best” Florida’s got. Shameful! An adult murderer gets away with killing an innocent teen, and the average Floridian thinks it was perfectly justified. The Huffington Post summarized it very well:
The Huffington Post and Fox News both exist to anger readers.
Huff-Po aims for progressive liberals (and Justin Bieber fans), while Fox targets the conservative righties
(especially old white men).
Don’t waste your time reading either.
Seminole Pride says
Clearly the juror was picked because she was unbiased, and was approved by both the Prosecuting and Defense. As a native Floridian, your people comment is very resentful to me. All places have bad people. But 99 % of us Floridians, are the most kind, loving, laid back God faring folks you will ever meet.
Kip Durocher says
“The “Sunshine State” is full of bigots, racists and rednecks…”
I remember a lesser amount of the type of people you mention
populating Florida decades ago. The massive influx of the last thirty
years has brought millions of northerners to Florida. Zimmerman was
born in Manassas, Virginia, which is basically a suburb of Washington, DC.
Issues regarding school bussing and school integration set northern cities rioting
decades after Florida schools were integrated in the late 60s. Some of the
most uncivilized, poorly educated, bigoted people I have ever met have
come from the large northern cities. This law is poorly thought out and
was written not by Florida or any of the other state legislators but written
mostly for gun manufactures by a group most Americans have
never heard of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Although many professional politicians are members of ALEC the
organization has a large staff that write the legislation for professional
politicians. The finger prints of ALEC show up on much local, state and
federal legislation that is proposed for passage into law.
Robert Lewis says
So people who probably wouldnt have come here to spend money are boycotting Florida? Is this a reality that will impact Florida or just a media hype?
Jennifer Lopez says
How about we boycott the city or state that gun was made George Zimmerman used during this incident? That might be New York or China or even Mexico.
Stupid is what stupid says.
That’s all hog wash… If the media did not make this thing racial there would be no issues.. MANY other states have the same laws… And the Zimmerman / Martin case was not a racial case. It was a political case from the beginning to get tougher gun control laws…
What about all the shooting and killings we hear about everyday in the “hood” Why are the not in the news like this.. Chicago with the toughest gun controls in the country has the highest gun deaths in the States. Interesting isn’t that…
Also if you go to the World Health site you can find statistics that show Countries with Gun control laws have higher gun violence than those with no Gun control… I believe it is Denmark where the require ever citizen to own a gun and be fully trained with it.. They have the lowest gun violence deaths in the world.
The Zimmerman trial is over. The State did not have a case and it came out in the trial.. It is time to move on and not keep the fires lit.. The media is keeping the fires stoked and eventually there will be more deaths because of it.
But I do have one question for you Trayvon fans.. Why did it take him 30 minutes to get within a few houses if his fathers on a 10 minute walk? Why was he walking in the yards between homes? And if someone was following you, and you were that close to home .. Wouldn’t you get home as soon as possible?
The Truth says
Is Trayvon under a time limit to get home? Does he not have a right to walk around his OWN neighborhood however he pleases? He was talking on the phone. I walk around talking on my phone all the time. He has every right to do that. He was not doing anything wrong, nothing against the law. Your buddy Zimmerman decided upon himself that he was going to be the “neighborhood hero” by wrongfully accusing him of something.
You are clearly missing the point here. Trayvon Martin had just as much of a right to walk around as George Zimmerman did. The difference is – Trayvon Martin was doing nothing wrong. George Zimmerman was pursuing someone he thought was up to no good, even after the dispatcher told him to stop. At one point in the 911 audio tape, Zimmerman even said “he’s running” yet he still continued to pursue him. Apparently, actions like this are okay in your world. It’s a sad world we live in where people like you automatically assume Trayvon Martin was in the wrong because he was walking around HIS OWN GATED COMMUNITY THAT HE HAD EVERY RIGHT TO BE.
Are you saying that a Black teenager should have a time limit to get home? Would you be saying these same inane justifications for his death if Trayvon happened to be white or, God forbid, if it was YOUR child who got shot by a wannabe cop-on-patrol? Teenagers have been known to dawdle and get distracted. When he realized he was being followed, Trayvon DID call someone. Unfortunately, the person he called was a peer (as teenagers as wont to do) and I do wish he HAD called the police on GZ but he didn’t. Perhaps he was not quite as paranoid as GZ (although he might have been scared or worried, he probably did not think that someone would actually shoot him when he was doing nothing illegal.)
Flagler Citizen says
And, are people not going to bring their children to Florida on vacation because of the Casey Anthony decision? I must have missed all of the same people demonstrating after the OJ case was decided!
Boycott away! If you will not honor our laws, we don’t want you!
I’m doing a little boycotting of my own…now boycotting stupid entertainers who have no idea what the truth is, especially in the Trayvon Martin case.
Rich entertainers who spend millions on their own families security have no right to make comments about laws allowing me to protect my family.
TaTa, Stevie Wonder and anybody else who chooses to jump on this bandwagon.
Go ahead and boycott Florida. It’s too crowded here as it stands.
Seminole Pride says
The majority of those who want to boycott, are not the ones who would come to Florida anyway. The poor blacks.
Awesome! Shorter lines at Disney and Seaworld and less crowded beaches. What’s not to like about that? And if more criminals who fear Florida and our gun totting residents don’t come then maybe we’ll have more room in jails and prisons or at least less taxes. The best message I’ve heard is: Be very careful who you pick a fight with. An armed society is a polite society!
Well said, huh? Seeing how our economy here in Florida is based off of tourism, there is a lot not to like about all of this.
Let’s take a look at this whole situation with out race as a factor. Whether he profiled Trayvon Martin because he was black or not is something we will never truly have an answer to, but it doesn’t matter! What does matter is that George Zimmerman went above and beyond his duties as a neighborhood watchman. He pursued someone (while carrying a loaded gun), therefore he initiated the entire event. Zimmerman was a wannabe cop and wanted to catch the neighborhood burglar to impress the police and hopefully obtain a job as a police officer. But he wasn’t a police officer, he had no right to follow that boy while armed. It is a gun owners responsibilty to avoid confrontations while carrying, George jumped into this head first, as an empowered vigilanty and what we are left with is a dead teenager who was doing absolutely nothing wrong.
The individual who was defending himself was Trayvon Martin. Put yourself in Trayvon’s shoes, wouldn’t you, as a just turned 17 year old, be scarred of someone following you in the dark? Why didn’t Trayvon have the right to defend himself?
George Zimmerman is a grown ass man, over 200 lbs and he somehow got his ass kicked by a skinny teenager? This is hard for me to believe but many on here are taking George Zimmerman’s words as fact, that is a mistake. The fact is, George Zimmerman started this incident and should have been found guilty of manslaughter.
O.M.G, I don’t know specifically what you’re implying, but I chance that you’re concerned that maybe Martin was doing a drug deal or was casing houses or something. We know that it was raining off an on that day. We also know that Rachel described Martin as having waited by the mailboxes under the rain. It’s possible he didn’t describe every action he made, but it seems highly likely that Martin went back outside and waited under the awning of the store for a couple of minutes before going back.
We know TM was into weed and may have found a connection in Sanford based on his text messages; however, he wasn’t found with any drugs on him, and his toxicology reported only trace amounts of THC. If Trayvon was a regular user, that means he hadn’t used for up to a week or more. If not, he may have used a little earlier or a day before. We also know that he was found with $40 and change in his pocket. We also know his mom or someone sent him off with $50. So it seems unlikely that Martin was engaging in a deal or something at that time.
As far as the potential for casing houses, I find that an unlikely scenario as well, because he did go to 7-11. Is that a possible alibi? He was talking to a friend on the phone while walking, bought junk food from the 7-11, and actually made it to very near his residence. We don’t know specifically “how” near he made it, because it will depend on whose account you consider credible and how you interpret those accounts. Either way, the top of the T of the dogwalk is still relatively “close” to Martin’s residence when one considers the fact that 7-11 is one mile from his home, and the top of the T is a 45 second walk to his back door.
We don’t know the actual time or place that GZ originally saw TM either. GZ changed the original location that he spotted TM twice. Rachel Jenteal’s phone reconnected with Trayvon Martin at 6:54, showing it took about 30 minutes to get from 7-11 to the mailbox area. GZ says he say Trayvon walking from the cut-through to the clubhouse area before he called at 7:09; however, something’s off about that. I submit it’s possible GZ saw Trayvon earlier than that, and was watching, because the surveillance of the clubhouse shows it’s possible George was not parked there at the times he says he was parked there, at least if he had his lights on at night.
I live in Daytona North now, and I lived here when I was a teen. As a teen, I would walk up to the Citgo station commonly referred to as “The Country Store.” The Country Store was EXACTLY one mile from the road I lived on, because the road was paved exactly one mile to the road where I lived. I wasn’t tall, nor was I really athletic, but I remember running the mile in about 7 minutes. My house was not far off the road, so it’s about a mile. I can tell you that my walks sometimes took me a half hour, especially if I saw someone I knew and we’d walk together talking. I also walked that mile getting off the after-school bus to go home, and on days I was in hurry to get home, it seemed I’d get home in 15 minutes, but on days (even rainy days) I just didn’t feel like getting home right away, it would take much longer.
Nothing that Trayvon did in the video seems suspicious. George’s dispatch call of Trayvon shows a kid who was “walking” and then “looking at houses,” not “Into windows,” and not making a deal or something on a corner with other people. We don’t know why it took so long to get home, but nothing about that time frame seems alarming. Is there a possibility Trayvon could have made some detour? Sure. I guess we can’t discount that, but Zimmerman makes no mention of seeing anything in that realm, so I don’t know how relevant it is, but I’d say it’s not too far off to consider that Martin lingered in front of the store or loitered a little on his walk.
Stand your ground was never an issue in the trial.. People like Jackson and Sharpen speak as if they were there during the self defense of a person being assaulted.. These two guys should be arrested and jailed for inciting a riot. California, New York and the rest of thocse rioters are raccist and don’t have a clue what happened.. It’s the same old crap of protesting just to have something to do.. How about gettig a JOB and get off the streets..
1) What riots? People peacefully marching is hardly a riot; it’s Freedom of speech.
2) “… had the right to assert a defense under section 776.013(3),” the opinion read, citing Florida law’s stand your ground provision. “He was not engaged in an unlawful activity, and he had the right to be on the bus going home from school. He had no duty to retreat and, despite the trial court’s misgivings, had the right to ‘meet force with force’ if he reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself.”
According to the law as presented above, Trayvon Martin had every right to defend himself against the implied threat of an armed George Zimmerman and Zimmerman should be rotting in jail tonight. Shame on the prosecution for dropping the ball.
Rocky Mac says
I want to start a group that will BOYCOTT all of the following states: California, New York, Chicago and the city of Washington D.C. Never go there, NEVER spend any money in those places. They are EVIL. VILE, CRIMINAL CESSPOOLS. Go their and you will be MURDERED by gang thugs or other organized criminal groups…..We can call it ” Boycott Criminal States” movement.
…as opposed to Florida which is so peaceful? How many of the most terrible stories of crime, domestic violence and child abuse have we been hearing about that originate from (you guessed it) FLORI-DUH? Florida is getting quite the reputation for stupidity, bigotry and general backwards-thinking. Comments like some of the ones I”ve been reading here seem to suggest that reputation is well-deserved…and many of the commentors on this forum appear to be rather proud of it!
They’ll miss you.
Based on gun deaths per 100,000 people New Orleans has the highest rate by far. Miami also has more than Chicago per 100,000.
Don’t come to Florida, the state is already getting too crowded and ruining the natural beautiful environment.. Stay in the Northern states where you can enjoy snows in the Winter.
Forest G says
A boycott push will not hurt us anymore than we are hurting already. And if it does it will affect the middle class and low income folks trying to survive. Those that work at service jobs.Restaurants, stores, disney,etc.
If we could only have movements like this to protest lack of educational opportunities, taxes that go other nations and health care issues that will put this nation on the bottom of the worlds list for care and affordability. Then i would be out thier marching. This country is the laughing stock of the world because uninformed and or uneducated people think they can bully the Gov of florida to change a common sense law.
Want to change the law go through the law changing process. Their is no overnight marching rioting way to get change. Dont set a bad example to the youth of this nation by screaming injustice when justice was done.
Our youth is already confused enough as it is. You want to help the Black youth of this country then mentor them educate them and teach them how to behave in a civilized world. No free handouts, work and educate or more youths will end up behaving in a negative way in a civilized world dead or in jail.
hahahaha “GROWS”, ? Bull crap…it isn’t growing, there are more people supporting Zimmerman and the state of FL, then against and who cares about an old washed up singer that can’t sing anymore anyway…he wasn’t that great to start with… give me a break…!! The man was innocent, the verdict stands!!
The Truth says
Of course people in Florida support Zimmerman – our state is filled with gun nuts who would support anyone who carries a gun, regardless of what innocent life they take.
Sherry Epley says
I am amazed and disappointed that some of our local citizens don’t get it that they are out of step with most of the United States and most of the civilized, modern world in general.
Before you start saying that I should hit the highway. . . I was born and raised here, as were my parents and grand parents, and my ancestors came to this part of the USA from England in the 1600s. I dare say that is not the case with many of those who comment on this site.
Where is the religious community who should be actually living their spiritual teachings of caring for all human beings as family. . . regardless of backgrounds or race, or financial status. . . regardless of gender or education? Laws that have been enacted to promote violence against other human beings are outrageous and should be struck down!
Rick Scott and his cronies need to be thrown out of office. . . pure and simple!
I guess that I’ll have to listen to my Stevie Wonder LP’s in lieu of a concert.
Time to dust off “Innervisions” and “Talking Book.” (My favorites)
I’m not mad at you, Stevie.
Check out a bit of “Living for the City,” sounds like life in Palm Coast.
by Stevie Wonder of course…..
“His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floor for many
And you’d best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city…yeah
His sister’s black but she is sho ’nuff pretty
Her skirt is short but Lord her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she’s got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the city…um hum
Her brother’s smart he’s got more sense than many
His patience’s long but soon he won’t have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
Cause where he lives they don’t use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city…
Living just enough…
For the city…ooh,ooh “
Here is an interesting watch. Many good points and some not real sure about …
Liana G says
Meanwhile, the president and prominent democrats are beating down the doors of NYPD’s Ray Kelly to be the new head honcho of Homeland Security. You know, THE Ray Kelly that spied on every single Muslim American and implemented the ‘stop and frisk’ policy that targets minorities in NYC (I actually witnessed one the other day when I was out and about with my daughter. It was a group of non white young men who were randomly singled out and got a frisk down).
But President Obama and other prominent democrats are all doe eyed over this guy. They sure do love the policies he implemented, so everything is a-okay. Now watch every Ray Kelly type try to out do themselves implementing similar policies in the hopes of landing such a important job in the near future.
Folks, just a friendly reminder: anyone who writes a comment suggesting or intimating that anyone else should either leave the state or not come here “if they don’t like it” will not have that comment posted. As far as this site is concerned, your right to this state is no more and no less than anyone else’s, and nativist reactions, which have nothing to distinguish them from bigoted ones, will not be tolerated.
Boycott Florida? The NAACP JUST had a major meeting right in Orlando. So I guess that tells you how well the boycotting of Florida thing will go over.
This isn’t a race issue as much as people would like it to be. You can’t expect people to not be suspicious of others today. Look at everything that goes on around us everyday. The violence continues to grow, and people’s trust gets less and less. Would you like to write a law that tells people how they are to perceive others?
It’s a tragic situation that is unfortunate. Both played a role in the tragic outcome, but people are not addressing the real problem. That problem is the growing violence in this country.
Sherry Epley says
Just to inject a different perspective into this conversation. I just had an email from a wonderful, peace loving Irish couple who are staying in our home in Flagler Beach, while we are in theirs here in beautiful Ireland. They are very concerned about the protests and the confederate flags they have seen flying. . . much less our “armed to the teeth” culture.
While I have done my best to assure them that they can relax and enjoy their holiday in safety, do you really think they will continue to recommend Florida as the BEST vacation spots to their friends? Florida is a completely TOURIST based economy, in a very competitive industry. There are many more peaceful tropical, fun places to enjoy on this planet. Those who are close minded and unaccepting of anyone the least bit “different” are, by definition, unwelcoming to the visitors who are the very life blood of Florida.
The “short sighted” hostile attitude of wishing tourists to stay away threatens the very foundation of our economy, threatens jobs, keeps our state from growing, decreases the tax base. . . in other words kills our state from the inside.
While our politicans, and some in our community, remain in the segregated 40s and 50s, maybe even secretly wishing for “The South to Rise Again”, the silent majority needs to step up with open minds and hearts. Let’s remember the “Southern Hospitality” for which Florida has also been famous. Let us be positively accepting, instead of rejecting, hostile and negative. For the sake of all who deeply love our state, and want to live here in prosperity, peace and happiness, let us pull out the WELCOME MAT and embrace, even celebrate, the best of human nature.
Sherry, do you and I live in the same town? You keep talking about hostile attitudes, bigotry, people wishing for “The South to Rise Again”. I’m just not seeing it.
Seriously, where is this going on because I’d like to know so that i can avoid going there. Other than high crime, I am just not seeing what you describe in this county.
We’ve had foreign visitors and they love Flagler County.
As for Sanford, I was passing through there and stopped one morning for breakfast at a local restaurant. They were absolutely mortified by the negative attention the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were busy garnering while they were trying to drum up demonstrations and riots. It was killing their business and scaring all their residents.
Respect, tolerance, peace and love works both ways.
Oh yea…Like the IRA is such a “peaceful” group of lads !!!!
Here is the solution I am going to tell every black male and female 18 and over to get a gun! Go get your concealed weapons permit. I’ve already seen number of my friends say its time to level the playing field. So now I would say this if you think you are going to chase me down because you think I don’t belong bring it.
If there is a mass influx of blacks and minorities getting armed watch how fast the gun laws change. Whenever the playing field is leveled the old white conservative will try to shut it down. Much like they are trying to do with voter registration laws and rezoning voting districts.