For the second time in less than a year, Emory & Henry College student Colin Christensen has appeared on national television to share his opinion on a national headline story.
Christensen appeared Tuesday on CNN as a panelist weighing in on the jury verdict of Michael Dunn, the Florida man accused of shooting an unarmed teenager to death during a dispute over loud music. Dunn was found guilty of four charges, but the jury was unable to reach a decision on the top count, first-degree murder.
As Christensen watched live coverage of the verdict on Feb. 15, he felt that many of the panelists were missing some important points.
“It was clear that the legal analysts were missing several key and controversial implications of the Florida Stand Your Ground law - namely, the ways in which it abrogates the doctrine of proportionality in acts of self-defense,” said Christensen.
Next thing he knew, Christensen found himself emailing the CNN producer with whom he worked during an appearance last year on the network. To illustrate his point Christensen shared his thoughts on the legal analysis of the issue and sent the producer a copy of his article on Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground issues, which were published in the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review.
“I thought that the issue was one that needed national attention, and perhaps more importantly, a young and informed perspective on the issue from members of my generation,” said Christensen.
Less than 24 hours later, he was sitting in front of a camera at the Washington D.C. bureau preparing for national television interview.
In his first television appearance last July, Christensen was one of three students nationally who discussed the Trayvon Martin case. Christensen feels that is vital to spotlight both the Martin and Davis cases to help ensure that some sense of good can come from their tragic and untimely deaths.
“We need leaders with the courage to stand up and fight for them so that in the future other mothers do not have to mourn the unjust killing of their sons and be left suspended in the legal paralysis of Stand Your Ground laws,” said Christensen. “It is my goal to be that champion and to hopefully lead the national discussion on repealing Stand Your Ground laws across the country.”