[N.B.: the following was composed on the day after WHN was acquitted, well before the President’s comments on Friday. I’m glad to see him and a number of other opinion leaders beginning to come out against the Stand Your Ground mania. I kind of hope to see my posts, which are scheduled in advance by usually as much as a week, preempted by support through endorsement of the ideas before they are even seen in print.]
Stand Your Ground
What’s his name (WHN) has been acquitted of murder and manslaughter. I was neither there nor at the trial, but I doubt that, in this case, a whites only jury could be considered fair to the issues being considered, but am aware that, so far as fairness to the defendant, the racial content of the jury is not in question and there is no constitutional question related to it that could be raised.
In other words, I think this (the Trayvon Martin) case is over, whether justice was served or not. There might be a case to be made for the Feds to say something is wrong, but I doubt they’ll get involved. WHN is probably not really that much to blame in any case, for the law set everyone involved up for disaster-everyone except the ones who make money off guns in America. I refer, of course, to “stand your ground” laws.
I am sure, however, that the even bigger issues raised here aren’t finished. Racism is clearly on the rebound.
I am also fearful that the issues will resolve themselves poorly. I’ve repeated mentioned that, to me, the critical question has always been about the “stand your ground” laws.
Sponsored and defended by the NRA, these laws are transparently about getting more guns more prominently displayed in the American culture. But the Trayvon case points out another aspect of these laws: they promote violence.
To see this, imagine walking along late at night, say while wearing a hoody, when you suddenly notice you are being followed by someone in civilian clothes of a different race. If you are the least bit paranoid, you probably anticipate he might be armed and up to no good.
What you do next may well depend upon whether you, yourself are armed. That and how brave and/or self assured you are.
If you are armed you may be emboldened to confront the follower with gun drawn (or knife or baseball bat (foolish you)), and demand why you are being followed, at which point “stand your ground” would justify the follower, now confronting an armed assailant, in killing you in the quickest, most efficient way he could-if he can. Of course, if he tries it, you would be justified in doing the same to him. (This is an NRA dream!)
But if you are truly frightened, or insecure in your ability to come out of any confrontation unscathed, you might just shoot the S.O.B. My personal rule of thumb is to never show a gun unless in the process of using it. There’s no sense whatever in telegraphing a deadly threat to someone who might not take kindly to having his life threatened-it only gives them a chance to cause more trouble.
If you are unarmed, you will probably first try to lose the guy and then, once you are sure you are being followed and that it isn’t going to be easy to lose him, jump him at the best opportunity. By “stand your ground” you would be justified killing him, if only you could prove he were following you (like perhaps via a 911 recording saying he was doing exactly that).
He, of course, having just been jumped, would be justified in killing you, quite possibly whether he were up to no good or not.
Of course, only the survivor will be involved in the process of deciding guilt and motivation, so it behooves either party to make sure the other does not walk away from the confrontation, or, even more to the point, leaves it alive.
“Stand your ground” justifies either of the parties in this situation, no matter which instigates the actual confrontation, so my advice is to always carry a gun-a big gun-with lots of firepower-because the testimony is most easily influenced by the winner.
Oh, and by the way, it’ll go better at any unfortunate trial to follow to be white and preferably from an upper class, as your suspicions will very likely be more sympathetically heard by the jury. As to the act of “pursuing,” just be sure the other guy is suspicious enough-like maybe black and wearing a hoody.
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