My advice to young Black men: “If you live in one of the twenty-six “Stand Your Ground” states you should legally buy a gun. White people will confront you and kill you if you don’t shoot them first. If you fear bodily harm (they don’t even need to lay a finger on you), shoot first and ask questions later. It is reasonable to believe your life is in danger. Shooting first might be the only reasonable course of action in a state bought and paid for by conservative ideologues and the gun manufacturers.
But can you please do us a favor? Shoot your White suspects in the arms and legs first. Please treat us better than we might treat you.”
Upon hearing the news of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of the seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin, White conservative pendant and lawyer Ann Coulter tweeted, “Hallelujah!” Coulter, like other conservatives, is now celebrating Zimmerman, their model gun owner, confronting and killing of a young Black boy and walking free. All thanks to the Conservative push for their radical “Stand Your Ground” laws.
During the trial, Coulter pointed out, “It’s as if they think what has to be shown in this trial is George Zimmerman has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not engage in racial profiling… It’s not illegal for a private citizen to racially profile. It’s not illegal to follow someone. It’s certainly is not illegal when you have a concealed carry permit in Florida to have a gun on you. And by the way the burden of proof is 100 percent on the prosecution. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the self-defense claim was not legitimate. You do not need to have a scratch on you to fear death or imminent harm…If he was in fear of … bodily harm, Trayvon doesn’t have had to have laid a finger on him.”
Ted Nugent, Board Member of the NRA, confessed pedophile, and spokesperson for all things crazy spewed out by the rightwing, also made the case for Zimmerman’s acquittal celebration, “Smart and honest America rejoices that the jury got it right…This was the purest case of self-defense you could have ever asked for.”
In other words, Coulter, Nugent, and a host others on the right are saying that it is okay to celebrate the Zimmerman verdict because even though Zimmerman racially profiled the boy, stalked him, confronted him with a weapon, and then killed the poor child, simply because Zimmerman believed he was in imminent harm he had a right to self-defense. Even if Zimmerman could have walked away, Zimmerman also had a right to stand his ground and kill the guy he just stalked and confronted. Coulter, Nugent, and their ilk find this behavior perfectly reasonable and thus good reason to rejoice over what they believe was the justified killing of yet another unarmed Black child.
Coulter, Nugent and their ilk have the law on their side. Next to fourteen year old girls, Nugent’s favorite love child (the NRA) has been directly responsible for pushing these horrific “Stand Your Ground” laws (also known as “Shoot First”, “Open Season”, or the “Castle Doctrine Act”).
Along with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a rightwing organization that brings together corporations and legislators to form “model legislation” behind closed doors and without the input of the public, the NRA has contributed millions of dollars to push “Stand Your Ground” laws in now twenty-six states. Florida was the first state to pass this NRA created travesty. In addition, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, one corporation stands out on the forefront of NRA’s/ALEC’s open season gun laws. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest seller of riffles, chaired ALEC’s task force that helped spread these misguided laws across half our nation.
Crony capitalism created groups like the NRA and ALEC. Crony capitalism is at epidemic levels in the U.S. Simply stated, crony capitalism is poisoning our Democracy. While both the Republicans and Democrats are beholden to their corporate masters, in the case of promoting the “Stand Your Ground” laws, which encourage people to “Shoot First” in the name of self-defense, rightwing corruption has run rampant.
Here is how it works, the enormous resources harnessed by the weapons manufacturing industry is funneled into gun lobbying groups like the NRA and secret legislative committees like ALEC. They in turn fund legislators election campaigns and wine and dine them in fancy locations for these private little meet and greet with corporation elites.
Coincidentally, the good ol’folks at Wal-Mart and the NRA just so happen to have all kinds of bills (both legislative and greenbacks) ready to hand-over to their friends. Aside from presenting the bill, the legislator doesn’t have to do anything else except vote for the “model legislation” when it comes up. Nice work if you can get it. Republican legislators have been getting a lot of ALEC’s “model legislation” passed. That is how we ended-up with the “Stand Your Ground” laws the let Trayvon Martin’s killer walk free.
From Wal-Mart’s perspective, having millions of young White and Black man running to their stores to buy guns is great for their business. If a bunch of Black folks start arming themselves with guns then of course a bunch of White folks will feel less safe and want to buy more guns as well. This is all great news for the gun manufacturers that donate to the NRA and in turn ALEC.
With the “Stand Your Ground” laws, the jury in the Zimmerman case had no other choice but to acquit. Here are the instructions they were given, “If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Many conservatives have bought into so much hype about Black people being dangerous that they “reasonably believe” Blacks are endangering society. All one needs to do is spend some time on some of the racist’s rightwing websites and the racist fear mongering becomes apparent. Last year, (I kid you not) I was invited to spend an entire hour debating with a popular rightwing blog radio personality whether Black “flash mobs” and other like events indicated a real threat to White people. This gentleman (and he is a true gentleman) truly believes Whites are under threat by Blacks in America.
It doesn’t take a genius see some folks will take misguided rhetoric by my radio personality friend, Nugent, and Coulter and come to the conclusion that killing Blacks is nothing more than an act of “self-defense” under the current “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Last week, in a Washington Post interview, Nugent jokingly compared shooting hogs in Texas to shooting Black folks in “South Central” California. “Lots of places have a hog problem,” Nugent said. “In Texas, the hogs have a Ted problem.” He described the giddy joy of shooting from the open copter with an M4 machine gun. “And four hours later I had 450 dead hogs,” he said to loud applause. Then he added an afterthought that produced ample laughs: “And now if they would just take me to South Central. … Okay! I kid.”
So, my advice to Black men in conservative states with “Stand Your Ground” laws is to not trust strange White people. If you live in a “Stand Your Ground” state, any strange person can come up to you, pick a fight, and kill you. Heck, as Ann Coulter pointed out, they don’t even have to wait till it comes to blows before they can shoot you dead. All they need to do is claim that they feared for their life and they will go free. That’s the law, according to the NRA/ALEC written “model legislation” on the books red state. Don’t let that happen to you. Arm yourselves. And remember, it’s better to shoot first and ask questions later. You may end up in jail, but at least you won’t end up like Trayvon Martin.
Okay! I kid. Perhaps Black men shouldn’t legally arm themselves out of a real fear of White strangers? Perhaps it would be better to organize, write letters, and protest yet another Black boy killed? Perhaps it would be better to put pressure their legislators to pass grass-roots “model legislation” that repeals the insane “Stand Your Ground” laws?