Bill Maher argued that the Trayvon Martin shooting is cautionary tale for Democrats about the consequences of lying down and giving the right whatever they want.
Here is the video:
Now we can go on and on about hoodies and the neighborhood watch guy who looks like Chaz Bono, but it’s not really a discussion until you save some blame for the liberal politicians who unconditionally surrendered in the fight for sensible gun laws. When are they going to stand their ground?
This is a cautionary tale about what happens when the Democrats lay down on an issue and let the right get whatever they want. You get insanity. Arming panicky untrained vigilantes like George Zimmerman and telling them that it’s okay to shoot whenever they’re afraid is like dumping all the Milk Bones on the floor and telling your dog, just eat when you’re hungry. Stand your ground, guns in bars, guns in church, guns in the classroom, where does it end? Why not guns in the delivery room? What if my fetus is armed and comes out firing? Also, I think we should have a use or lose it law. Where at least once every six months you have to shoot someone. After all, isn’t that want gun nuts really want, to shoot someone? Otherwise, what’s the point of collecting something that just sits on the shelf? I mean I collect rare Ming Dynasty opium pipes, but I use them
Maher’s usage of the Trayvon Martin shooting as a cautionary tale dredged up an old canard that some progressives like to use to attack their own party. A minority loves to suggest that Democrats are weaklings who roll over and give the Republicans whatever they want. It makes those who engage in the behavior feel tough and like they are taking a stand. The problem is that in this case it is wrong.
The reason why Stand Your Ground passed in 2005 was that Republicans controlled both the legislature and the governor. Democrats couldn’t stop the bill in 2005. They tried, but they didn’t have the votes. The only person who the power to stop the bill after the Republican dominated legislature passed it was Jeb Bush, and he chose not to. (If any one person deserves blame for the passage of Stand Your Ground in Florida, it’s former Gov. Jeb Bush).
It wasn’t a matter of Democrats being weak, as much as it was voters giving the Republican Party virtually unlimited power to do what they wanted. It is not as if Democrats stood around with their hands in their pockets. They warned about the dangerous consequences of this legislation, but they were voted down and ignored.
It is also a faulty argument to blame the legislation more than the man. Stand Your Ground is the reason why George Zimmerman has not been arrested, but the law did not enable the commission of a crime. Zimmerman could have been armed with a knife or a bat. It would not have mattered what kind of weapon he had as long as his intent was the same.
Maher’s premise that Stand Your Ground laws create an environment where people like George Zimmerman feel like they have the right to kill is a sound one. One of the consequences of these types of laws is that they essentially give people the green light to shoot first, but where Maher has chosen to place his blame is a bit misguided.
Stand Your Ground laws might not only give some people the perception that they have a right to kill, but more importantly for the Trayvon Martin case, these laws can be easily misapplied in order to deny justice. Debating whether or not Stand Your Ground armed George Zimmerman is a distraction.
What Stand Your Ground has done is deny justice to a seventeen year old victim. The real cautionary tale here is that vaguely written laws designed to appease special interest groups do have life and death consequences. When poorly written laws are misapplied for the sake of cover, they not only deny justice, but they also allow a killer to walk free.
What happened to Trayvon Martin is a cautionary tale for all Americans about race, justice, political special interests, and the unintended consequences of uninformed voting.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association