I read the Declaration of Independence yesterday, just to refresh my memory, so tt seems fitting today to debut a new featured post called “Tweet of the Month“, which will present some of the most thought-provoking, engaging interactions from our twittersphere every month. Wishing wish you and yours a happy, safe, Fourth of July, also!
Since the death of Trayvon Martin, reports of individuals who shot and killed others in the street claiming self-defense have proliferated. But one of the most prominent of all goes to trial this week, in a case involving a then-45-year-old man who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis after complaining about his loud music.
Defendant Michael Dunn claims he felt threatened after he pulled up next to victim Jordan Davis and his friends at a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot. After Dunn asked Davis and his friends to turn the music down they were playing in their sport utility vehicle, a dispute emerged between them. One witness heard Dunn say, “You are not going to talk to me like that,” according to the police. Dunn then allegedly pulled his gun out of his glove compartment and fired several shots into the SUV where Davis was sitting with three friends. Several witnesses to the shooting say they saw no physical altercation. Dunn then fled the scene and was apprehended by police a day later. Davis died in the arms of his friend in the car, unarmed, according to his father. No guns were found inside the car.
It’s happening all across America. Whether by a gun, a knife, or other means, far too many people are killed every year by others who have the option to invoke “stand your ground” immunity to try and avoid prosecution.
These amended self-defense laws can allow someone to manipulate a scenario that allows them to cause great bodily harm or take another’s life.
The Movement to End Stand Your Ground is releasing a new 35-second video, “All Across America” today, with images of unarmed “stand your ground” victims, to help call attention to this. Check it out, then share it with everyone you know:
- Most Shocking Stand Your Ground Incidents Of 2013 (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)
- From Arizona To Florida, Stand Your Ground Ends In Manslaughter (endstandyourground.wordpress.com)
Would, that Henry Porter’s stance was anything more than tongue in cheek; but there has long been a paranoid strand in US politics, aligned very closely with the same forces which cling to the Second Amendment as to a newly discovered lost Gospel, which never tires of warning against UN armies intervening in the US. Implicit in each of these warnings is that all Americans would oppose such a fanciful event. Henry Porter’s piece raises the question whether that need necessarily be the case under every circumstance.
That 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US is a staggering fact, particularly when you place it in the context of the safety-conscious, “secondary smoke” obsessions that characterise so much of American life.
Everywhere you look in America, people are trying to make life safer. On roads, for example, there has been a huge effort in the past 50 years to enforce speed limits, crack down on drink/drug driving and build safety features into highways, as well as vehicles. The result is a steadily improving record; by 2015, forecasters predict that for first time road deaths will be fewer than those caused by firearms (32,036 to 32,929).
Plainly, there’s no equivalent effort in the area of privately owned firearms. Indeed, most politicians do everything they can to make the country less safe. Recently, a Democrat senator from Arkansas namedMark Pryor ran a TV ad against the gun-control campaign funded by NY mayor Michael Bloomberg – one of the few politicians to stand up to the NRA lobby – explaining why he was against enhanced background checks on gun owners yet was committed to “finding real solutions to violence”.
About their own safety, Americans often have an unusual ability to hold two utterly opposed ideas in their heads simultaneously. That can only explain the past decade in which the fear of terror has cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in wars, surveillance and intelligence programmes and homeland security. Ten years after 9/11, homeland security spending doubled to $69bn . The total bill since the attacks is more than $649bn.
One more figure. There have been fewer than 20 terror-related deaths on American soil since 9/11 and about 364,000 deaths caused by privately owned firearms. If any European nation had such a record and persisted in addressing only the first figure, while ignoring the second, you can bet your last pound that the State Department would be warning against travel to that country and no American would set foot in it without body armour.
But no nation sees itself as outsiders do. Half the country is sane and rational while the other half simply doesn’t grasp the inconsistencies and historic lunacy of its position, which springs from the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and is derived from English common law and our 1689 Bill of Rights. We dispensed with these rights long ago, but American gun owners cleave to them with the tenacity that previous generations fought to continue slavery. Astonishingly, when owning a gun is not about ludicrous macho fantasy, it is mostly seen as a matter of personal safety, like the airbag in the new Ford pick-up or avoiding secondary smoke, despite conclusive evidence that people become less safe as gun ownership rises.
A seven member panel of stand-your-ground opponents and proponents debated the law before an audience of 600 guests in Florida a few days ago, in a discussion hosted by the Forum Club of Palm Beach.
Top row (l-r): State Atty. Dave Aronberg; Judge Krista Marx; Palm Beach Urban League president Patrick Franklin; Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.
Bottom row (l-r): State Sen. David Simmons (R); State Sen.Chris Smith (D); State Representative David Kerner (D).
The panelists were
- Republican State Sen. David Simmons who, while in the House of Representatives, was one of the authors of the controversial law, and still supports it;
- Democratic State Sen.Chris Smith, the highest ranking black elected official in Florida, who has called for the law to be revisited or repealed
- Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Krista Marx who was on a special task force which reviewed the law and issued a report supporting the core…
View original post 221 more words
Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:
Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law has come under intense scrutiny since the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Early next year, it will likely receive more attention during the murder trial of Michael David Dunn who fired shots into another vehicle last year after a dispute over the playing of loud music at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station. One of the occupants, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was hit and killed.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, spoke out Sunday against the stop-and-frisk police practice in New York City on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” according to Black America Web. During her interview on the show, she said that neither police nor civilians have the right to deem someone as suspect because of their race. The story was reported by Black America Web on Aug 18, 2013.
“You can’t give people the authority, whether civilian or police officers the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin.”
On the heels of a judge telling New York City that its stop-and-frisk policy was racial discrimination, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly defended the use of stop and frisk and said violent crimes would increase if the practice is forced to shut down. Not surprisingly, the city plans to appeal the judge’s decision.
Commissioner Kelly, while speaking on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” said:
“The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities.”
What!? Apparently, even in the face of hard evidence that the practice has no basis in any real data, he insists that it is necessary for the well-being of minorities. Well, here’s some data for Commissioner Kelly to ruminate over:
“Over the past decade, New York police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.”
To watch the video of Sybrina Fulton’s interview, go to blackamericaweb.com.
Reblogged from The Secular Jurist.
Watch video of politically savvy actor Matt Damon express disappointment in Pres. Obama’s second term. He also criticizes the Stand Your Ground law in regards to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case.