President Obama will surely take away your guns and your rights! Such nonsense should not be believed or accepted in our common discourse. And the NRA has been involved in ridiculous attacks against any reasonable attempt to shore up our loose gun laws by saying they will lead to the "slippery slope" of eroding gun rights. All of this while cynically participating in their very own slippery slope of getting more laws passed in more states to allow more people who shouldn't have guns to carry them in more places."There’s a reason: Because they’re selling. They aren’t just sitting on the shelf if they’re being manufactured," Colbrun said.Relaxed gun laws are likely a factor behind the boom in sales, although not the only reason and perhaps not the primary one, industry experts say.Many point to fears stoked by gun-rights advocates that President Barack Obama, if elected to a second term, will push legislation to rein in gun ownership.Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the powerful National Rifle Association, told a meeting of conservatives last month that the president’s gun strategy is “crystal clear,” saying that Obama wants to “get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms’ freedom, erase the Second Amendment.”Jim Barrett, an analyst at CL King & Associates, an independent investment research firm who tracks the gun industry, said both the Obama factor and gun laws are at play.“You have conceal-carry laws being enacted by more and more states. That tends to spark an immediate jump in gun ownership in those states,” he said.“And the fact that Obama may get re-elected makes gun owners nervous,” Barrett added.
What are the people who push these laws actually afraid of? I like the way this Washington Post piece by Alexandra Petri puts those fears into words.
Petri goes on:Fortunately for the fearful, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has their interests at heart. To get away with murder, you need not prove that anyone intended you harm before you shot him. All you need prove is that you were very, very afraid. You need a real and reasonable fear that your life is in danger.But so few fears are. We’re more frightened of public speaking than drowning, of spiders than driving. What the law says is that force is justified if someone “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” In a word — fear. If my fear is big enough, it can outweigh your life.This law terrifies me. I don’t suppose I can shoot it?To Zimmerman, the figure in the hoodie was a nameless, faceless menace. But he wasn’t. His name was Trayvon Martin, “Slimm” or “Tray” to his friends.
We live in a terrified age. You can’t ride a bicycle without a helmet. You can’t knock on your neighbor’s door. You can’t go on the Internet and talk to strangers because the People You Don’t Know are Bad and Dangerous.
Not as dangerous as you are. You stab and stab at the shadowy Beast and discover it is nothing but a scared boy running along the beach.
Nice people don’t have racism, these days. What they have is something else. Localized fear. Fear of the life outside the gates. You go here. We’ll go here. This is your street. This is my street. This is my school. This is your school. Stay where you don’t look Out Of Place to George Zimmerman, and you’ll be safe.
Maybe the world is worse than it used to be. Certainly the nameless, faceless menace of the Rapist, the Home Invader, the Terrorist, the Child Molester is more terrible and present than it ever was. But even in the first of these categories, the statistics belie the image. Most people know their attackers. But the Faceless Menace is easier to fear. The Unknown is so much more frightening.
“I was afraid of him,” you say. “I was entitled to shoot. You never know what might have happened if I hadn’t.”
If George Zimmerman hadn’t, there would be one more face in the hallways at Dr. Michael Krop High School. And after that, who knows.What are your fears? Do you need a gun to protect yourself from those fears? Will a gun make you more or less fearful? That is an important question and has been brought to light by the Trayvon Martin shooting. That light is now being shed by the media and the public who are finally paying attention. Now the media has begun to look at the laws, passed now in 24 states that are similar or even the same as the Florida Stand Your Ground law that led to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Now finally the media is looking at who has pushed the laws and who has supported them and signed them into law. The connections are being made to the NRA and to ALEC sponsored legislation that pushes laws with wording almost exact to that of the Florida law.
As Mother Jones has reported before, the American Legislative Exchange Council often writes conservative legislation that finds its way onto the lawbooks—it's shaped energy laws, as well as labor fights in Wisconsin and Michigan. (It's also recently been caught red-handed passing its legislation onto lawmakers in Florida.) But Media Matters says ALEC has also teamed up with the National Rifle Association to pass "stand your ground" legislation to protect shooters:
Florida's statute on the use of force in self-defense is virtually identical to Section 1 of ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation as posted on the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). According to CMD, the model bill was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task in August 2005—just a few short months after it passed the Florida legislature—and approved by its board of directors the following month.
Since the 2005 passage of Florida's law, similar statutes have been passed in 16 other states. This was no accident. In a 2008 interview with NRA News, ALEC resident fellow Michael Hough explained how his organization works with the NRA to push similar legislation through its network of conservative state legislators:
HOUGH: We are a very pro-Second Amendment organization. In fact, last session, I'll get off-topic here real quick, but some of the things that we were pushing in states was the Castle Doctrine. We worked with the NRA on that, that's one of our model bills that we have states introduce.
Media Matters notes that the NRA, along with the Koch Brothers, has been a primary funder of ALEC, adding, "NRA got what it paid for."This article from Media Matters displays for all to see, how the wording coming from ALEC is almost identical to the wording of the Florida law.
I have written about the connection to ALEC before. Corporate America in the name of WalMart, Koch Brothers and others seem to want to shape American law and American culture to their own advantage. What is their agenda anyway? I don't know but as more people take a look at their agenda more questions are being asked. Is this about wanting to control and disenfranchise people who are not like them? Do they want to weaken minorities, gays and lesbians, people in poverty, even the middle class? Do they want to interfere with voter's rights to keep certain people from voting who might not vote in their own interests? I'm just asking and I don't think the answers will be to the liking of the American public at large.The language in Florida law which may protect Martin's killer from prosecution states:(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.The language is identical to ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation, which they have been working hand in hand with the NRA to pass across the country:3. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [other than their dwelling, residence, or vehicle] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
President Obama has finally weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case expressing the sentiments of most of the American public and parents all over the country. He said it well in his statement today. From this article:
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said from the Rose Garden, referring to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch guard last month. “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.”
(...) Obama spoke directly to the parents of the teenager, who was walking back from a convenience store carrying candy and a soft drink when he was killed. The parents, Obama said, “are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to treat this with the seriousness it deserves."Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, also said it well in his blog yesterday, titled "Meet George Zimmerman: He is the NRA":
For the NRA and its' minions though, they can't seem to resist saying stupid and incendiary things about this incident. I reference a comment made on Fox News by Geraldo Rivera just a while ago blaming the 'hoodie" that Trayvon Martin was wearing. This amazing statement came from a national television pundit:The gun lobby has made it clear that they consider Florida one of their great success stories since the introduction of that campaign -- the realization of their vision of just about anyone being able to get a gun and carry it just about anywhere, emboldened by a "shoot first, ask questions later mentality."The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is a heartbreaking tragedy. But make no mistake, it is not a surprise that it happened in Florida, the NRA's closest thing to an armed utopia. In fact, much more so than any of the shills they had promoting their agenda in their big budget propaganda campaign, George Zimmerman is the embodiment of the gun lobby and its vision for America.George Zimmerman is the NRA.
"RIVERA: It's those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it's a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you're gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That's what happens. It is an instant reflexive action. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him? That's an automatic reflex. Juan wasn't defending it. He was explaining that that's what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place.
When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin's you know, god bless him, he's an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn't deserve to die. But I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that -- that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way."Really? I can hardly read this statement. It is so provocative it takes one's breath away. What was Rivera thinking? Can you just say anything? And then he goes on, digging in deeper and deeper to a point of almost no return:
RIVERA: Stop wearing it! Don't let your kid -- you know the old Johnny Cash song, don't take your gun to town, son. Leave your gun at home. There is some things that are almost inevitable. I'm not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it's raining out, or you're at a track meet, leave the hoodie home. Don't let your children go out there.If Zimmerman had not taken his own gun to town, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Who told George Zimmerman not to take his gun to town? Oh, er, that's right- he's not a black teen-ager. It's O.K. for him to take his gun to town. He's a man of mixed race who has permit to carry and a bad and dangerous Stand Your Ground law that he has now used as his claim to "self defense". I guess there's a difference between a boy who wears a hoodie walking black in a place where he had a right to be and a man with a bent for vigilantism and a loaded gun in a place where he should have retreated and not reacted boldly when confronted by a black teen-ager wearing a hoodie. Would a teen-aged boy walking white and wearing a hoodie in the same place just have walked right on by George Zimmerman without attracting his attention? Where is common sense?
Who knows what will set someone with a gun permit off and end with a claim of self defense? One Florida "self defense" case left a man with gunshot injuries and a life of memories of being shot by a former law enforcement officer. In this article, he tells his story:
All over some garbage bags. All over skittles and a hoodie. It's one man's word against another. From Rosenbloom:On June 5, 2006, not long after Florida enacted the first "Stand Your Ground" law in the United States, unarmed Jason Rosenbloom was shot in the stomach and chest by his next-door neighbor after a shouting match over trash.Exactly what happened that day in Clearwater, Florida, is still open to dispute. Kenneth Allen, a retired police officer, said he shot Rosenbloom because he was trying to storm into his house.Rosenbloom told Reuters in a telephone interview this week he never tried to enter the house and was in Allen's yard, about 10 feet from his front door, when he was shot moments after he put his hands up.(...) Allen was not arrested in the shooting of Rosenbloom. Sergeant Tom Nestor of the Pinella's County Sheriff's Office said Allen was found to have acted in self-defense when he pumped two rounds into Rosenbloom with his 9mm semi-automatic pistol."He meant for me to be dead and he never called 911," said Rosenbloom, 36, adding that Allen, now 65, bent over him and using an expletive, warned him not to tangle "with an ex-cop" as he lay bleeding on the ground."The police closed it on his words alone," said Rosenbloom, explaining how the case that began with a complaint about him leaving eight trash bags on the curb instead of the regulation six, was closed after what he described as only a summary investigation."They made me the bad guy," he added.'Little punk'Allen, contacted by phone in rural Georgia, said on Thursday he had "no regrets" about shooting Rosenbloom, describing him as a "little punk" who was "lucky to be alive."He denied using profanity after shooting his neighbor, who he claimed had forced his way into the house and threatened to "beat my ass."
Too many questions. The wording is vague. What is a forcible felony? Can a shooter decide that before he/she decides to pull the trigger? Was Trayvon Martin committing a forcible felony? Was Rosenbloom? How would we know if there is not an arrest and an investigation or a trial? We should be asking, as does this open letter from another blogger over at Penigma for repeal of the NRA sponsored Stand Your Ground laws:"A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity ... has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony," the law says."I think it's a very foolish law meant to turn a blind eye," Rosenbloom said, referring to how Stand Your Ground has been criticized in the past for protecting people who might formerly have been prosecuted for assault or murder.
Man up, admit the failure, and fix the mistake; get rid of your Stand Your Ground Shoot First Make My Day law. Your gun nuts aren't as safe as they told you they were going to be. While you're revisiting the Shoot First debacle, your gun carry permit laws could use some work as well. If you're not sure, take a look at the number of people who get shot in your state. If you don't look, I can promise you people will be pointing it out to you for the foreseeable future and beyond.It's finally time- it's well past time-to hold our elected leaders accountable for what they have done and said and also what they have not done or said. 79 members of the Minnesota House of Representaives voted in favor of the Minnesota Shoot First bill in 2011 with a few changes moving to the yes column in the re-vote in 2012. 40 members of the Minnesota Senate voted in favor of the Minnesota Shoot First bill. Who are they? It's time to call out our leaders when they do something that just doesn't pass the smell test. For example, why did Presidential candidate Rick Santorum choose to speak and actually shoot a gun off at a shooting range for a campaign event today in the midst of the uproar over the Martin shooting?
It prompted a woman in the crowd to yell out that he should pretend the target is President Obama. Was she serious? What is going on? This is what I'm talking about. This is inexcusable. The idea that President Obama deserves to be shot because he is the "other" or is the "enemy" is reprehensible and should be called out as such. It is not funny but people laughed. This is coming directly from the gun rights extremisits who think anything goes. The focus should be and will be on them. The focus should be and will be on our elected leaders. The onus is on them to do the right thing. The onus is on them to stop pandering to the extremism of the NRA and ALEC. Their integrity is at stake. Lives are at stake.