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Obama asks 'soul searching' after Martin shooting

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published July 19, 2013 at 12:52 p.m. Updated July 19, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Looking for positive lessons to draw from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, President Barack Obama said Friday that the nation needs to do some "soul-searching," look for ways to bolster black boys and examine state and local laws to see whether they encourage confrontations like the one in Florida.

"Where do we take this?" Obama wondered aloud in an impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room. "How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?"

The president said it's time "for all of us to some soul searching," but he also said it's generally not productive when politicians try to orchestrate a conversation.

On the positive side, he said, race relations in the United States actually are getting better Looking at his own daughters and their interactions with friends, the president said, "They're better than we are. They're better than we were."

The president declined to wade into the detail of legal questions about the Florida case, saying, "Once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works."

But, he said, state and local laws, such as Florida's "stand your ground" statute, need a close look.

Obama said it would be useful "to examine some state and local laws to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of confrontation" that led to Martin's death. He questioned whether a law that sends the message that someone who is armed "has the right to use those firearms even if there is a way for them to exit from a situation" really promotes the peace and security that people want.

And he raised the question of whether Martin himself, if he had been armed, "could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk" and shot neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman if he felt threatened when being followed.

Obama's appearance marked his first extended comments on the Martin case since Zimmerman was acquitted last weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin's death last year. Jurors found that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot the unarmed black teenager. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department has an open investigation into the case. The department is looking into whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights.

Obama, who early on had said that if he had a son, the boy would have looked like Martin, on Friday drew an even more personal connection, saying that "Trayvon Martin could've been me 35 years ago."


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drs01 says... July 19, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.

Gee...this certainly will help extinguish the fires of racism.

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RaylanGivens says... July 19, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.

Well at least he doesn't hide from his racism; I wonder if he smoked dope and got drunk after OJ was found innocent?

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LR1955 says... July 19, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

I wonder if Obama had his pants half down before he became President ?

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lazybar says... July 19, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.

what a joke this dude is.just more smoke and mirrors for the koolaid crowd.

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Populist says... July 19, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.

Unfortunately, those who need to do the most soul searching about their attitudes about race have no intention of doing so and regularly post on this thread. Fortunately, things are much better in most parts of the country.

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RonalFos says... July 19, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.

Some people on here don't seem to have a soul to search. The stupid Stand Your Ground laws will turn the US back to the days of the wild west. I read yesterday about an argument at a ball game that ended in a man being killed with a gun and the shooter claiming Stand Your Ground. Without that law and the gun, there would probably have been at most a couple of black eyes or bloody noses. Now there is a man dead!

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lazybar says... July 19, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

pop,obozo is a race baiter much like jesse jackson.
rf,if we are going backwards explain why we still have our heads above water while places like the motor city are sinking?
its hot out today you two better set back and have another glass of koolaid so you can forget about our economy,bengazi,gitmo,more rounds of golf than tiger woods in the past five years,three times the military deaths in five years than bush`s eight,irs,and the nsa while the rest of us in the real world wait to see what this dude pulls out of his hat next.just more smoke and mirrors.....

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... July 19, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.

Obama is so full of (**) it.

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Populist says... July 19, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.


The economy is much better. Also, we are on target to start cutting into the deficit as we have increased revenues and decreased spending. You are the one drinking the Koolaid.

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NoUserName says... July 19, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.

I've read more than one news story about a single punch killing a man. Zimmerman stated he was returning to his car and was accosted by Martin. REGARDLESS of whether you believe GZ's story or not, in that scenario, he ABSOLUTELY has the right to protect himself up to and INCLUDING deadly force. So the idea that this case highlights flaws in SYG is silly. One good head to concrete smack could have been all it took for GZ to lose HIS life.
And the only reason this case is racial at all is because a certain subset of people (talking to you, Al and Jesse) pissed and moaned and our government catered to that voice. There is ZERO reason this should have gone to trial. The evidence simply wasn't there (no, it really wasn't - get over it) to disprove GZ's account. And quite frankly, THAT is the travesty in this case.

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