Intent is a clearly formulated or planned objective that denotes purpose, but does not predict whether or not an objective reaches fruition. The ongoing furor over the killing of Trayvon Martin has engendered outrage from liberals who are certain that George Zimmerman was racially motivated to stalk and kill the teen because of his race, and that Florida’s stand your ground laws gave legality to Zimmerman’s actions. Zimmerman’s family and conservative supporters have shamelessly sought to portray Martin as a thug with a criminal history in hopes of depicting Zimmerman as a hero who was in a life-and-death struggle and used deadly force to stand his ground and protect his own life, and many have made pathetic accusations that President Obama is using the killing as a racially divisive issue. Without unbiased eyewitnesses and a thorough investigation into the event, there is no way to know for certain exactly what transpired, but based on the stand your ground law, Zimmerman will most likely never face prosecution.
It is easy to assign blame to a gun-toting Zimmerman for stalking Trayvon and killing him, and make no mistake; he did stalk the teenager like an animal and he did kill him. What is unclear though, is whether or not Zimmerman’s remarks to the 911 police dispatcher were premeditated to give himself the legal defense to kill Trayvon under the Castle Doctrine Act supported by the NRA and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). What is clear, though, is that the NRA and ALEC’s intent with the Castle Doctrine is to arm vigilantes and give them the legal right to kill people, and based on ALEC’s assault on people of color’s voting rights, their intent is to legalize racial killing.
There are no means available to know if when Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher that “there’s been some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy…he looks like he’s up to no good and he’s on drugs or something,” if he was setting the scene to claim an unlawful act was about to be committed, but it gives him all the legal cover he needs under the Castle Doctrine to use deadly force. There is also a racial element to Zimmerman’s intent in the 911 call because he says, “he’s a black male…Something’s wrong with him…These assholes, they always get away.”
In subsection b of section 1 of the ALEC version of Florida’s stand your ground law, it plainly states; “The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful act was occurring or had occurred, they are immune from prosecution or civil action from acting in defense of the themselves and others.” According to the 911 call, Zimmerman provided his own defense because in his mind, he had reason to believe there was some unlawful act about to occur and it is recorded for his defense team’s use if he is ever brought to trial. Chances are he will not because of the stand your ground law.
There is no reason for ALEC to promote the Castle Doctrine in 24 states except to allow racists to kill people of color. In fact, former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey said “The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is a license to kill” and since 2005 when the law was passed in Florida, the number of justifiable homicides has tripled. On March 3 of this year in Wisconsin, a homeowner shot and killed a 20-year-old college student who was hiding from police who raided an underage drinking party. The Wisconsin Castle Doctrine law was signed by an ALEC alum, Governor Scott Walker, and no charges will be filed because like the Martin killing, the college student was African American and a police report says the homeowner “acted reasonably in his use of force,” and that the “recently passed Castle Doctrine requirements were met.”
The second amendment states, as ratified by the States, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” but it does not give legal cover for stalking and murdering an unarmed teenager. However, ALEC and the NRA believe putting firearms into the hands of ordinary citizens and telling them they have legality to use deadly force against anyone they have “reason to believe” is going to commit an unlawful act is indistinguishable from the right to keep and bear arms. It is reprehensible that in nearly half the states any person can be shot dead because some cowboy with a six-shooter, or a 9mm handgun, thinks there is an unlawful act going to occur and it is taking America from the 21st century back to the Wild West.
The intent of the NRA and ALEC in pushing the Castle Doctrine is not about defending a home, but about putting guns on the streets and bodies in the morgue. As America becomes more homogenized and people of color make up the majority of the population by 2020, there is a palpable fear among many white people that they are losing their grip on the country. The rise of hate groups since President Obama was elected has been stunning, and the blatant racism in the Republican presidential hopefuls does not bode well for this country’s racial minorities.
Whether or not George Zimmerman is a racist is barely arguable, but the ease at which he portrayed Trayvon Martin as “suspicious” because he was walking around does hint that Zimmerman was racially profiling the teen as he stalked and eventually murdered him. Zimmerman may never face a state criminal trial because he acted within the purview of Florida’s stand your ground law, and one wonders how many other African Americans are killed in similar circumstances. Based on the number of states ALEC promoted the Castle Doctrine Act, it is reasonable to assume that like Florida, justifiable homicides will triple and it is more likely than not that the victims will be African Americans. Regardless of the NRA claims that they are protecting Americans’ second amendment rights, or ALEC’s assertion they are giving homeowners the right to protect their castles, their real intent is clearly to allow any American to kill with impunity and it is proof that when Republicans say they want to take the country back, they mean to the Wild West where lawlessness and cold-blooded murder were the order of the day.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.