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I'm not exactly sure what to think of this PSA from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence... (Trigger Warning for those who may have personally experienced Gun Violence)

A web video released this week by a group opposed to "stand your ground" laws includes a dramatic re-enactment of the Trayvon Martin killing.

The video, which was released Monday by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, includes real recordings of 911 calls made by the man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, as well as a neighbor on the night of the killing.

As the calls play, actors portraying Zimmerman and Martin are shown on the screen. The ad, which was entitled "Stand Up To Stand Your Ground," ends with Martin shown laying on the ground in his famous hoodie as the camera pans up to reveal other young men in hoodies labeled with the names of states that have so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws.

"Our laws should protect victims. Not create more," says text that flashes across the screen at the end of the ad.

The Coaliation has, naturally, created a website with a Petition that links the creation of Stand Your Ground Laws to the NRA and ALEC.

With “Stand  Your Ground” (aka “Shoot First”) laws, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its partners in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have turned 3,000 years of jurisprudence on its head. Now you can provoke a fight, and if losing that fight, kill the person you attacked.

The NRA’s laws represent a dangerous and unprecedented escalation in the use of force in the public space, allowing individuals to kill when they merely fear “great bodily harm” (i.e., a fistfight, shoving match, etc.). The concept of responding with proportional force has been obliterated. Additionally, “Stand Your Ground” laws remove the duty to retreat from a conflict in public, allowing individuals to shoot and kill even when they could otherwise walk away safely from an altercation.

Emphasis theirs.

I'm not sure whether the ad or the site successfully makes the point, but I think the point should be made that increasing numbers of unarmed persons are losing their lives due to "Stand Your Ground".

There's the case of Jordan Davis:

Davis was shot to death in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 23 after Michael Dunn, 45, said he felt threatened by the two black teenagers and one young black man sitting with Davis in an SUV. Dunn told police he argued with the group over the volume of their music, saw a shotgun emerge from one of the SUV’s windows then, fired his handgun eight or nine times before fleeing. Three of Dunn’s bullets struck and killed Davis, a lawyer for the boy’s family said Tuesday. Police said those in the SUV were unarmed.
And Demetrius Thompson.
Demetrius ("DT") Antuan Thompson, 21, was near the house of a woman who was reportedly his step-father's ex-girlfriend in Jefferson County, Alabama one morning in May 2013. The woman, whose name was not released, was walking her dog and saw someone run by her home -- it may or may not have been Thompson -- and went inside to get a gun. She told police later that she was concerned because her boyfriend had been robbed recently. She walked back outside, and saw a man walk towards her that she says she did not recognize. She told police that she told him to stop, and that she was armed, but he continued to approach. She fired, and Thompson died at the end of her driveway.
And Daniel Adkins Jr.
Daniel Adkins, Jr., 29, was the only son of Daniel and Antonia Adkins of Phoenix. He was mentally disabled and lived with his parents. One night in April 2012, on his usual evening walk with the family dog, he stepped in front of a car in a Taco Bell drive-thru.

The driver, Cordell Jude, 22, claims he mistook the bright green dog leash in Adkins' upraised hand for a bat or a pipe, according to the police report. Jude, who carried a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun at his hip, shot him once in the torso and killed him. He stayed at the scene afterwards because Adkins' dog was still attached by the leash, and was apparently in the way of the car. But police did not arrest Jude.

And Brandon Zeth
Brandon Zeth was 24 years old, a mechanic and outdoorsman in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In early 2012, he was inebriated and tried to return to his girlfriend's house late at night, but accidentally ended up on the back porch of the nearly identical house next door, pounding on the window of a stranger rather than his girlfriend, according to WTAJ News.

The homeowner Timothy Lepore, who is in his early sixties, reportedly shot him five times, twice in the arms and three times in the chest, with a 22 caliber gun. Police report there is no evidence that Zeth tried to break in to the house.

And Christopher Cote.
hristopher Cote was 19 years old in 2006 when his family moved to a neighborhood in West Palm Beach, Florida. In the early hours of September 17, 2006, according to the Florida Sun Sentinel, Cote confronted his neighbor, Jose Tapanes, over whether or not Cote was walking his dog on Tapanes' property.

The two had apparently argued earlier in the day, and according to the Palm Beach Post, Cote had thrown a beer bottle at Tapanes that night.

Tapanes shot Cote with his shotgun. According to Assistant State Attorney Andrew Slater, the first bullet grazed Cote's abdomen, and he was incapacitated, but Tapanes still shot a second time. "Cote is stumbling. He is no longer a danger, and the defendant can see what is going on," Slater said. "Why fire a second time?"

Cote died in his mother's arms. Due to a mistrial, Tapanes was tried twice for first degree murder. He was convicted of manslaughter the first time, and faced 15 years in prison. At the second trial, however, he was acquitted under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

The Tampa Bay Times is maintaining a searchable, Sortable Database of Florida Stand Your Ground Cases and even a cursory examination shows - as of today's data - that a far higher percentage of "Justified" shootings of Black Victims (27 Justified, 9 Convicted, 7 Pending) than White (41 Justified, 33 Convicted, 7 Pending).

When the Accused and Victims are both White: 34 Justified, 26 Convicted, 4 Pending.

When the Accused and Victims are both Black: 18 Justified, 8 Convicted, 3 Pending.

When the Accused is Black and Victim White :4 Justified, 3 Convicted, 3 Pending.

When the Accused is White and the Victim Black: 6 Justified, 1 Convicted, 4 Pending

White the Accused is Hispanic and Victim Black (which includes Zimmeran/Martin): 3 Justified, 0 Convicted, 0 Pending

White the Accused is Black and the Victim Hispanic: 1 Justified, 0 Convicted, 0 Pending

I'm not about to do all the math here, but just from a quick look the odds of a Florida Killing being considered "Justified" rise from about 5:4 to about 3 or 4 to 1 if the victim is Black.

This seems to be consistent with the findings of researchers looking at thousands of cases across the U.S. both in Stand Your Ground States and others.

Using this analysis, Roman found that a greater number of homicides were found justified in Stand Your Ground states in all racial combinations, a result he believes is because those states yielded more killings overall.

Roman also found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.

This is not just about the one Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman Case, it never was only about that.


Originally posted to Vyan on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Support the Dream Defenders, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Shut Down the NRA.

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