There's something wrong in a society where a psychopath can sit in a courtroom, obviously lie through his teeth about murdering an unarmed teenager and still have a good shot at getting away with murder due to a horrendous law dreamed up to play off of white fear and racial resentment.
No, I'm not talking about George Zimmerman. This time, the shooter's name is Michael Dunn. But yes, I'm talking about Florida's insane "Stand Your Ground Law," which has been exploited nationally, but has its origins in...of course, my adopted state of Florida.
Here's an excerpt from an article by John Nichols published March 21, 2012 in The Nation titled, How ALEC Took Florida's 'License to Kill' Law National (http://www.thenation.com/...):
The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted in 2005 with bipartisan support by Republican-controlled houses of the legislature. The National Rifle Association led the advocacy on behalf of the proposal, arguing that it was needed to provide immunity to gunmen who might use deadly force against unarmed individuals who they imagine to be threatening.Translation: If you think a young black or brown male looks suspicious or might attack you, shoot first and ask questions later. And if you kill or injure him, all you have to do is claim you felt your life was threatened...and you'll probably get off scot-free.
More from Nichols' article:
The “Stand Your Ground” legislation was sponsored by Florida state Representative Dennis Baxley and state Senator Durell Peadon, both Republican allies of Jeb Bush. The governor quickly signed the measure into law--despite explicit and repeated warnings that this law would encourage shootings of innocents like Trayvon Martin. And despite explicit and repeated warnings that people of color and young people would be unreasonably and disproportionately harmed by the law.Model legislation?! Yep, that's exactly what "Stand Your Ground" is to wingnuts. ALEC and the NRA have spread that poison to almost two dozen states. In a nutshell, these idiots ushered in a law that creates racist killing fields all across America.
Baxley and Peadon worked closely with NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer to pass the Florida law, and Hammer appeared with Bush at the signing ceremony.
But the process did not stop on Tallahassee, where the vote was taken.
Baxley and Peadon served in the Florida House and Senate as active members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy Koch brothers–funded network that brings together right-wing legislators with corporate interests and pressure groups to craft so-called “model legislation.”
And yes, race plays a big role in these cases. A Tampa Bay Times analysis of nearly 200 cases--published in June 2012--found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time (http://www.tampabay.com/...).
According to an article published Feb. 5, 2014 by Nicole Flatow on Think Progress.Com, the "Stand Your Ground" defense has been evoked in the untimely deaths of more than two dozen youngsters:
Martin and Davis are two of at least 26 children and teens who have died in Florida Stand Your Ground cases. Stand Your Ground laws that have proliferated in at least 20 states are associated with vigilantism, authorizing violence by individuals who perceive a “reasonable” imminent threat to their life, without any duty to attempt retreat. But they have also taken the lives of a dramatic number of young victims. Out of 134 fatal Florida cases analyzed by the Tampa Bay Times in which the Stand Your Ground defense was raised or played a role, 19 percent saw the deaths of children or teens. Another 14 involved victims were 20 or 21.The carnage continues and the blood is on the hands of puppet-like state legislators and their puppet masters at ALEC and the NRA. But as long as its the blood of young black and brown males, the shooters are seen as "good guys with guns." And as if to rub it in the faces of the families of those lost, that sickening phrase that was used in both the Zimmerman and Dunn trials.
In my view, the "good guys" in these cases are the ones who didn't have guns, but were wearing hoodies, eating Skittles, drinking tea or playing their music loudly. The thugs were the angry, blood-thirsty racists armed with semi-automatic weapons, looking for excuses to use them on those who they'd prejudged as criminals.
Thanks to the NRA, ALEC and the legislators who do their bidding, dozens of young black and brown males are in their graves, while their killers are free to seek celebrity boxing matches, eat pizza and become folk heroes via FOX News. I only pray the jury in the jury in the Dunn Trial gets it right, but I fear Dunn will be declared not guilty due to the Stand Your Ground Law...and yet another murderous thug will be on the street, while yet another young black boy lies in an early grave.