ALEC’s Stand Your Ground Gives Racists Everywhere The Right To Kill

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

13 Replies to “ALEC’s Stand Your Ground Gives Racists Everywhere The Right To Kill”

  1. Alec and the NRA, contributing to the decay that they desire so strongly

    Little does the NRA understand that eventually to protect the corporations from the gun play they now support, guns will have to be taken away from citizens. this law is open to allow people to commit murder if they think corporate heads are committing crimes. Congressmen caught cheating in office or committing adultery wil be open to attack.Some people don’t think ahead when they do these things

  2. As originally passed in October of 2005, Florida’s law applied to people on their own premises (home, business, farm, or vehicle), and it made sense, because, despite having become so populous, the state still has large expanses of land where you can’t expect the police to arrive in time to help you. I was pretty dubious when the law was extended to any public right- of- way. As currently written, it still does not include the provision you cited from the ALEC legislation, and it did not give George Zimmerman the right to pursue, especially when told by the police dispatcher to desist. However, because it gave the Sanford authorities the excuse not to detain him or seize evidence, I don’t doubt he’ll get away with it. The ALEC language you cited can never be allowed to pass, and if it does, it must be challenged, because it allows any armed citizen to carry out an extrajudicial execution.

  3. In fact, these laws make the shooter the judge and jury, targeting people for the way they look, even for the most innocent of victims. And it could have a chilling effect on free speech, as well, an argument that gets heated, for instance, even if there is little threat of violence. We’ve already seen an example of that where 2 guys were taking photos in front of a Walmart and a security guard acted hostilely toward them, threatening them with jail. If George Zimmerman is not prosecuted, as RMuse seems to think, this frees the gun toters to kill at will, and ensures there will be such a division in this country as we have not seen since slavery. Also, what’s to stop people, for instance, from placing themselves among unarmed protesters and egging on disputes, resulting in death? Pick your own scenario where this license to kill could be applied. These laws must be struck down.

  4. Yes, I’m back and I see people are still calling for the disarming (and subsequent eventual subjugation) of citizens (the real outcome of gun control). To those who think that disarming people is the cure-all for violence: do you realize just how much you scare me and people like myself (who face the real world every day)? We’re law-abiding folks who don’t seek trouble, but we would be punished for our abiding by the laws.

    ———-

    (Sigh)… anyway, long distances is one good example, and another is instances where the pigs are so racist and corrupt that they’re more likely to shoot the person calling for help then they will the perpetrator, if that person happens to be a “good ole white boy”.

    The law, as written to protect you when you’re in your home, your car, your business, or someplace where you not only have a right to be, but where it would be unreasonable for someone to ask you to NOT be there (without good cause) protects people. Anything beyond keeping the pigs from punishing people for using lethal force for defending themselves, their family (or others), or their property isn’t what I’m talking about and isn’t acceptable. People have the right to defend themselves using whatever means necessary, but they don’t have the right to commit murder. (They need the tools to do so and it would be wrong to make those tools unattainable).

    So far, everything I’ve heard about the law is common-sense. It doesn’t give Zimmerman the right to follow people he suspects (which from all accounts is anyone not relatively well off and white). It doesn’t give him the right to harass anyone. As I understand the situation (and if I’m wrong, please let me know), Zimmerman got out of his car and then shot Trayvon. He didn’t have that right. If Trayvon had been trying to get into Zimmerman’s car or carjack it, yes. If Trayvon was attacking someone and wouldn’t stop, maybe. If Trayvon had trespassed on Zimmerman’s property, and was a threat to Zimmerman, any part of his family, or his property… yes (again with reason… you can’t just shoot someone on your property but there has to be some sort of threat to person, family or people, or property).

    Shiva, you also bring another good argument against gun control… when the corporations or government is so corrupt that people MUST defend themselves against it (which I suspect the corporations are close to that limit but the government, thanks to the election of President Obama, has drifted away). I would remind everyone that part (most) of what we’re fighting are dominionists – who want to micromanage every aspect of your life and who are willing to use force and violence to do so. Without SOME means of self-defense (and forget the pigs, they’ll work for the dominionists), you will be helpless. As the dominionists have been shown to be cowards time and time again, even the ability to defend yourself will tend to keep them at bay.

  5. My question is…what if Trayvon had popped a cap into Zimmerman first? He was afterall stalking him with intent to kill? Would the “Stand your ground” law have prevailed?
    I doubt it.
    I’m sure he would be in Jail with a lynch mob outside the window!

  6. I have had my own problems with Keystone Cops, and understand your argument. But the scope of the law must not be expanded to civilians following “suspicious” (read minority or poor) people with arms on the ground that they might have, or might be about to, commit some unspecified crime. In fact, civilians should not be allowed to go in armed hot pursuit of anyone who isn’t carrying a kidnap victim, or at least their favorite horse. The way the quoted ALEC language parses, people would be immune for doing exactly that.

  7. ALEC will do whatever it takes to keep conservatives in their pockets. In this case, supporting murder eventually supports profits. That’s the pitiful reality of the country we live in.

  8. “People are still calling for the disarming (and subsequent eventual subjugation) of citizens (the real outcome of gun control)” is not mentioned, eluded to, or supported in this commentary.

  9. That is absolutely true. One thing that idea (and it IS over the top) has wrong is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and first impressions are often quite wrong. The crook often is clean-cut and “decent” looking, while a college professor or professional might be in their “scruffies” and look like a street person.

    It’s easy to get the wrong impression.

    Many years ago, I used to ride a motorcycle as primary transportation (still miss it), and started rooming with a person I knew who also rode a bike on a regular basis. Right after that, we decided to share his bike (Honda Goldwing) and do some grocery shopping. Well, we didn’t leave the helmets on the bike – we wore them into the store (neither of us ever left our helmets with our bike). The manager and employees were sure they were going to be robbed – until we took our helmets off and asked them if we could leave them at the front counter.

    We got to be on a first-name basis with the managers and employees, and were regular (and happily greeted) customers after that. They knew our habit of leaving our helmets on until we were in the store and would hold them at the manager’s desk for us.

    “Stand your ground” is one thing… that ALEC law… not smart.

  10. //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.//

    Well, Mr. Rmuse you are a shameless liar. Here is the transcript of what Zimmerman said:

    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

    Funny, it appears as if you spliced together two completely disparate pieces of the conversation to make Zimmerman look like a racist. You also failed to mention that the “He’s a black male” comment was in response to the 911 dispatcher specifically asking the race of the individual Zimmerman was reporting.

    Seriously, how dare you.

    I look forward to you posting a correction and an apology. Also, if I were Zimmerman, I would sue you for defamation. Maybe he will.

  11. This is ludicrous.
    “There is no reason for ALEC to promote the Castle Doctrine in 24 states except to allow racists to kill people of color.”

    And then,

    “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.”

    Are you kidding? This is the sort of scared, reactionary responses that are normally attributed to Republicans. Like the NRA or not, they’re not racist by any means. I actually visited the NRA headquarters last year out of curiosity, and noticed that there were quite a few African-American persons working there. In touring the building and speaking to the employees, I heard nor saw ONE iota of racism, nor did I see any evidence of “ARM YOURSELVES AND SHOOT YERSELF A CRIMINAL!”. While those kinds of people do sometimes flock under the NRA’s banner, that is not what they stand for.

    It is disheartening that racist elements have used the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground Law as a cover for murderous activities, but these were never the intent of these laws. They were formed with the purpose of protecting citizens from undue legal blacklash for protecting their property with force. Now, I agree, the wording of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida is a little off, but to attack all of the Castle Doctrine-esque laws is asinine. What George Zimmerman did doesn’t even fall under the protection of the Stand Your Ground law, and I will be very upset if he uses it to skate, because the police TOLD him not to confront Treyvon. The law states that you can use deadly force if you are placed into a situation where escape would put you in more danger than if you were to immediately defend yourself. George Zimmerman, sitting in his car, calling the police, was NOT in that sort of situation. Now, if he is allowed in court to use this as a valid defense, then yes, I will have a serious problem, and something needs to be done. But as of yet, until this case hits the courts, he has not been “protected” by the Stand Your Ground law, he’s just trying to cling to it to save himself. When a barnacle attaches itself to a ship, it’s hardly the ship’s fault. It’s up to us to examine the laws, and keep idiots like this from using legitimate laws as defenses for insane actions. But in this case, blaming the law for Treyvon’s death is just as wrong as blaming the gun that was used to shoot him. A good law and a gun share the same unfortunate attributes: They can both be misused by sick individuals, and they both take most of the blame.

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