I note with disgust that the Broward County Sheriff's Office has put out a televised appeal to the public to not riot over the forthcoming verdict in the Zimmerman trial, whatever that may be. It's fairly obvious - although they don't come right out and say so - that they're appealing to the black community, which has emotionally invested itself on behalf of Trayvon Martin and will regard an acquittal of his shooter as racially motivated and/or unfair.
I have no axe to grind in this matter. I'm content to let the law take its course. I have little doubt that if Zimmerman is found guilty, appeals will follow. I also expect Martin's family to pursue a civil lawsuit, irrespective of the verdict in the criminal trial. What concerns me is the inept spinelessness - let's be blunt and call it what I think it is: politically correct cowardice - of the Sheriff's Department. Why the hell are they begging people to remain within the law? Why not inform them of the consequences of failing to do so?
If I'd been in charge of preparing and issuing such a statement, it would have gone something like this:
"Fellow citizens, we expect shortly a verdict in the Zimmerman trial that may produce illegal and potentially threatening responses from a part of our society.
To those considering such responses, we remind them that the law is clear, and that actions in violation of the law will not be tolerated. They may expect a vigorous response from citizens and law enforcement services, including criminal charges where appropriate.
To law-abiding citizens concerned about such responses, we remind you of the provisions of Florida law concerning your right to self-defense and the protection of your family, loved ones and property. We encourage you to study those provisions in detail, so that you know what is lawful when responding to threats.
In the event that your safety is threatened, or that of your loved ones or property, we will do our best to respond as quickly as possible. However, it will undoubtedly take us at least several minutes to reach you, perhaps much longer if unrest is widespread. During that time, you're on your own. We therefore encourage you to equip and prepare yourself to survive any illegal, criminal threat until such time as we can arrive.
To further assist our law-abiding citizens, with immediate effect we're going to open our official shooting range(s) to you on a 24-hour basis, to enable you to practice marksmanship and weapon control. Qualified range officers and instructors will be on duty 24/7 to assist you, if required. In the light of current shortages, we appeal to all citizens with excess ammunition to assist those living near them who need some, but can't find it in stores."
Doesn't that sound like a more reasonable response?
I don't expect any local demonstrations or unrest over the Zimmerman verdict. However, if I should come across any, and if it/they threaten my safety or the safety of my loved ones, I'll know what to do - and I'll be fully prepared to act. I've had more than enough of racist emotional (and physical) blackmail. It's time it was stopped.
EDITED TO ADD: DiveMedic has put up a helpful overview of Florida laws relating to the use of force and defense of self, family and property. Recommended reading for those in the areas most at risk of this sort of nonsense.