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Stand Your Ground Was ALEC’s Vision, Not the Founding Fathers

It is not unusual for a nation to venerate its founders and strive to emulate the ideologies they set forth, and in principle, it is not always a detriment to society. Republicans, incited by corporate leaders, have expressed a desire to return to the Founding Fathers’ day when wealthy business leaders provoked ordinary citizens to take up arms against the government to resolve a dispute over taxation and although it is the 21st century, the Republicans are repeating the sequence of events that led to the Revolutionary War. The furor surrounding the cold-blooded murder of Trayvon Martin has exposed a stratagem by corporate leaders to inflame a segment of the population to protect themselves from the legally elected government of the Unites States of America.

The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law that will allow Trayvon Martin’s murderer to remain free is the product of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and has quietly spread to 23 states under the guise of protecting citizens’ right to defend themselves and their right to bear arms under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment. The NRA’s intent to promote gun rights was joined by conservative legislators known as ALEC that is sponsored by the biggest corporations in America and they issued a, nearly word for word, doctrine modeled on the Florida law. The question arises;  why would a corporate front group whose impetus appears to be passing laws favorable to corporations encourage state lawmakers to enact gun laws allowing  citizens to shoot anyone they feel represents a threat to their safety?

In its mission statement, ALEC’s real intent with their “Castle Doctrine Act” begins to make sense for conglomerate of the nation’s leading corporations, and may explain why business leaders promote armed confrontation anyplace a citizen has a legal right to be. The first item of ALEC’s mission statement says they exist “to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.”  It is one matter to protect individual liberty in the comfort of one’s home, but the law being promoted by ALEC and the NRA coincides with the anti-government patriot movement that that has expanded by 755% since Barack Obama was elected President. The explosion of patriot hate-groups are decidedly anti-government and ALEC’s sponsors like the Koch brothers have relentlessly assailed the President as robbing Americans of their liberty and is responsible for restricting free enterprise with dangerous government overreach and unfair taxation.

It is not to say that ALEC and its corporate sponsors are provoking a revolution, because they have been careful to avoid using language that may be misconstrued as inciting insurrection against the government. However, the coded messages that “we have to preserve the America of our Founding Fathers” and “get rid of the dangerous Obama” are not lost on racists and malcontents who hold the “Jeffersonian principles” that African Americans, women, and the poor are inferior and not worthy of having a voice in government. Indeed, ALEC is behind the pernicious Voter ID laws meant to deny people of color, the poor, and educated elitists (college students) the right to vote that is not far removed from the Founding Fathers beliefs that only wealthy landowners deserved the right to control the government.

There is no reasonable explanation for ALEC promoting laws expanding a person’s right to use deadly force in self-defense when they are “any place they have the legal right to be.” George Zimmerman left his home, stalked Trayvon Martin, and chased him down before confronting and killing him in place Zimmerman had a legal right to be. What that means is that a citizen taking a tour of the Capital can confront security guards and use deadly force if they feel threatened and plead self-defense. The Florida Stand Your Ground law puts the burden of proof on a prosecutor to disprove a claim of self-defense and now there are 23 states with Stand Your Ground gun laws thanks to ALEC. It is important to note, that the Castle Doctrine Act promoted by ALEC specifies that deadly force is justified if the shooter thinks they are “preventing an unlawful act,” and the persistent claim by conservative think-tanks is that nearly every piece of legislation passed by Democrats during President Obama’s first term were “unlawful” and “un-American.”

It is not a stretch to imagine ALEC and its corporate sponsors have deliberately sought to arm as many disgruntled Americans as possible and given them legal cover to “defend their liberty” from the overreaching government. The relentless campaign to impugn the President as a tyrant was promoted heavily by the Koch brothers’ tea party movement and it is no coincidence that they showed up armed at rallies or carried signs saying “we came unarmed this time.” The notion of armed insurrection was not an issue during George W. Bush’s presidency and teabagger Republicans like Bachmann and Sharon Angle have suggested that gun remedies may be called for to preserve the Founding Fathers’ America. There have always been miscreants who promote “wild west” 2nd amendment sensibilities to settle disputes, but it is a new phenomenon that business leaders and corporate giants are pushing state and federal legislators to pass gun laws allowing any person to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

ALEC does not have a legitimate reason for promoting gun laws and giving legal cover for any person to use deadly force if they feel threatened or think they are preventing an illegal act. With the proliferation of guns and patriot hate-groups, it is just a matter of time before some “real American” decides to arm themselves, leave their home, and track down an African American who they think is, or might be, committing an illegal act. At the rate giant corporations, conservative think-tanks, and right-wing pundits are going, the Secret Service better be extra vigilant because according to Stand Your Ground laws in 23 states, any person has the legal right to shoot at the President to prevent him from, according Mitt (ALEC) Romney, block economic and religious freedom, expand an overreaching government, and rob Americans of their individual liberty.

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