Stand Your Ground = Kill at Will

“Stand Your Ground” is brilliantly framed. The NRA pushed this bill into politics, and surely their wordsmith/marketers tested this title plenty – what’s not to like? Creating a motto or meme is a very basic technique of framing. Many times the mantra is the only bit of verbatim on a topic that is memorable, that many people can recall and discuss/ refer to. Think about the frame, “Stand Your Ground” – what imagery does it conjure up? I think of a manly man defending his property and/or family. The guy that pops into my head is clenching a cigar in his teeth and his gun is either smokin’ or dead eye leveled at some threat. I think John Wayne and someone saying, “this here street ain’t big enough for the two of us…”, in wild west fashion.

Reminiscing about westerns is a little nostalgic, but then you remember that all the violence in those movies was fake with blanks. When you take real live sherriff wannabes, and insert them into the scene with real ammo – the scene looks more like a real life nightmare, for the victim’s family, for the shooter, for the shooter’s family.

The story of Trayvon Martin is heartbreaking on so many levels.  I wrote on that particular travesty of justice here and the culture of bullying that allows for these tragedies here.  That story continues to unfold and demonstrate to law makers and enforcers of how the “Stand Your Ground” law is problematic at the least, an excuse for cold blooded murder at the most. When cold blooded murder is allowed to stand, you can guarantee that retaliation is not far behind.

This from an ABC news article, ” “Stand Your Ground “really ties law enforcement’s hands,” says Florida law professor Elizabeth Megale, “because immunity is defined so broadly.” Immunity, she says, does not just mean you can’t be prosecuted. It means you can’t be detained. ”

I find this in striking contrast with how the U.S. has treated other humans who have been and are being detained for upwards of ten years without charge or even a clear picture of why they were detained.

Trayvon’s case has brought attention to the fact that nearly half of the states in this country have a similar “Stand Your Ground” law on the books like the one in Florida. The NRA put a lot of pressure and money behind getting these laws passed, they’ve all been passed in the last six years. iWatch News has a piece on the nation sweeping phenomenon here. This is an excerpt:

Opposition to the laws has gone beyond gun-control activists. Some of the staunchest critics the NRA has faced while promoting “stand your ground” laws have been state police chief’s and sheriffs’ associations and district attorneys’ groups.

In 2007, the Virginia-based National District Attorneys Association issued a report, “Expansions to the Castle Doctrine,” warning that the phenomenon “could have significant implications for public safety and the justice system’s ability to hold people accountable for violent acts.”

Scott Burns, the association’s executive director, said legislators’ decisions to buck law-enforcement officials on this issue can only be explained by “the volatile issue of guns rights and the 2nd Amendment.” He said many of these laws, in his opinion, have nothing to do with the true intent of the Castle Doctrine.

So the fear and fervor over the second amendment is the justification for this return to the wild west vigilanteism. Here is the Second Amendment:

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

That’s it. The NRA has taken a simple line “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”, and turned it into a doctrine for vigilantes. They pushed this law within the frame of being on the side of law abiding citizens, the effect is to be able to Kill at Will. When the law is on your side to Kill at Will, you are still law abiding when you indiscriminately kill people. Apparently anyone can shoot anyone else, anyplace they choose, they have to just #1 make sure there are no witnesses left alive and #2 invoke “Stand Your Ground” – say they felt threatened.  This is our culture of fear and bullying taken to a level that could quite possibly start our next domestic war – what is stopping it?

Kill at Will applies in these states, Propublica provide the list:

Alabama

Arizona

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Mississippi

Montana

Nevada

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Oregon

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Washington

West Virginia

Beware in these states! In the case of Trayvon’s shooter, the defense is saying that they will not use the “Stand your Ground” law – which is a bit of a relief in that this law may not be the magical “get out of jail free card” that has been assumed up to this point in the case. However, in reading about this case and the laws that apply, you do not have to dig very deep to find a slew of stories that seem just plain wrong. Justice did not prevail because only the shooter is left standing. The only person alive is the only person who has the opportunity to tell the truth. Oh, and the “Castle Doctrine”….ooooh! (It’s tough to stay civilized sometimes.) I have so much to say about the “Castle Doctrine that I have to save it for another post.

The international community is watching in disbelief. America the brave? Can we seriously try to claim that title? We are literally scared of our own shadows. Please, let someone know – someone who influences state law in your region – tell them that “Stand your Ground” is nothing but “Kill at Will” and you want it repealed or never to be activated. Elections are a tiny part of the big picture of democracy, we need to be aware and active, we need to take our country back for what is decent and right for all humankind.

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8 thoughts on “Stand Your Ground = Kill at Will

  1. lokywoky says:

    Hammerhead7 links to an article on Concealed Carry laws/permits and on responsibilities of persons who carry weapons. It has a lot of good advice.

    Except then the writer insists that the federal and state governments absolutely have no business mandating this kind of training for those people with CC permits.

    Sorry, but I think the lack of training and oversight is exactly what resulted in the shooting of Trayvon – as well as several other incidents in Sanford Florida that preceded it, and in other parts of Florida and in many of the other states that have this ridiculous “Stand Your Ground” law in place.

    Letting all these people with guns and zero training about how to handle them just shoot and kill people and claim self defense. You don’t let people drive cars without driver training and taking tests routinely. And if you kill someone while driving – there are penalties – no matter why you did it. A gun is just as much a lethal weapon as a car is if it is mis-used. And people should be trained in the use of guns and licensed and re-licensed and re-trained and re-tested just like they are for driving cars.

  2. Ray says:

    I really think you are using an isolated incident where we are only seeing one side of the story to push your own personal agenda about gun control. Using fear to promote gun control, the media is using partial truths to push an agenda of racism, they have even somehow pushed this to a white/black problem. There wasn’t a white person even involved. The bully here is the media, trying to keep there story in the spotlight. Just read an article that said a witness saw trayvon on top of zimmerman punching him in the face and smashing his head in the ground. Zimmerman was found bloodied in the face and the back of the head. It sucks when a young person is killed (any race). Where is that in the media, it was information from the police. We should allow zimmerman his due process and hope that justice will prevail. Not start a witch hunt based on knee jerk reactions. I would like to think that they will get this right and not be pressured into making a bad a decision.

    For someone who loves freedom you are quick to want more laws to limit that freedom. Governing away bad people isn’t realistic, unfortunately we are stuck with them, lots of them.
    For the record I am fairlly indifferent about concealed carry and gun laws, but I do think law abiding people who pass the background checks should have the right to do so. Good people should also have the right to defend themselves. I am in no way saying that zimmerman is innocent or defending this, I truly hope justice prevails.

    • Amy Meier says:

      Fear is being used to push gun laws that are only in the interest of a very few. Very few citizens – even members of the NRA – are clamoring for these laws but the NRA is. Every time responsible gun laws come into play, the NRA cues their mouthpieces (in the media) to start drumming up fear around “taking our guns away”. The NRA is protecting corporate interests in getting these laws passed and they wrote and rushed these laws through conservative leaning legislatures with their own scare tactics of withdrawing donations as well as turning “the base” against them..

      This piece isn’t specifically about the Roberts/Zimmerman case, for more on that check out my posts titled “Empathy for Racists?” and “American the Bully-ful”.

      Indeed it is sad when any young person is gunned down. Zimmerman should be arrested so that he CAN go through due process. What most Americans are upset about is that Trayvon will not get a similar opportunity. There is only freedom for one person from this particular altercation. The Stand your Ground Laws only allow freedom for the person that does not get shot or killed. The injuries sustained by Zimmerman could easily be a result of Trayvon “standing his ground”.

      No witch hunt needed, I think the authorities know exactly where the killer resides, he confessed and has secured representation, hopefully justice will prevail, whatever that may be.

      The media is not right or wrong, it just is. It cannot be a bully, only those using it can be. The media is like air or information – it just is. What we do with it determines whether we judge it “good” or “bad” for us.
      I do really appreciate your comments. This is what the site is ultimately about, establishing a place to talk about this stuff without digressing into insults. I like input from anyone that can abide by that. Check out my other posts, your arguments might fit better in those contexts.

    • lokywoky says:

      I never said anything about “gun control”. You are the one responding in a knee jerk fashion. What I did say is that people who apply for and receive Concealed Carry permits should have to have training and re-training in order to get these permits. A CC permit is (to me anyway) just like a drivers license, and I see nothing wrong with you having to have some TRAINING.

      You have to have training to drive a car (another lethal weapon in the hands of an untrained person).

      Again – I said nothing about laws to “take away your guns” or anything like that. I just said people who want to carry guns around should have to have training in how to use them. I just cannot get my head around all the “knee jerk” reactions to something as simple as that.

      This isn’t about Trayvon, or Mr. Zimmerman.

      It IS about all the gun-toting citizens of this country being trained in the safe use of those guns. After all – how many gun deaths and injuries are caused by all the guns that were “not loaded” or accidently discharged and shot someone, or were left lying around and the kids picked them up, or …..I could go on and on.

      Just some frickin’ training. That’s all I’m asking for. Is that so much??????

      • N8ter says:

        I think you should take a CHL class or CC class. It wouldn’t hurt to understand what is taught in the classes first hand, not just reading about it and assuming.

        I see the comparison between guns and cars. Although we let 16 year old idiots drive with bare minimum experience and training. Accidents happen all the time and lives are ruined everyday. Drunks drive and kill people. A gun in the hand of a criminal is like a drunk driving but that’s not what we are talking about.

        We’re talking about law abiding citizens that want to exercise their right to defend themselves from anyone that poses an immediate threat to their life. I’m NOT AT ALL talking about someone that makes a verbal threat to take a life. It’s VERY obvious that killing someone for making a verbal threat is murder.

        An unloaded gun is useless. There is no point in having a gun for protection and having a trigger lock on it and/or it unloaded. Think about it. Someone breaks into your house, is high on drugs, carrying a baseball bat. How long would it take them to crush your skull verses loading your gun? How long does it take for you to walk from your bedroom door to the side of your bed? It’s takes longer to put a loaded mag in a gun and pull the slide. But say you just woke up, it would take even longer to figure out what’s going on and take action.

        I’m not saying that we should just leave guns everywhere in our homes loaded and ready to go. One gun is enough, that’s why I have a safe and lock up what I don’t carry. I was raised knowing what guns can do. Kids picking up guns and wanting to “play” with them happens. It’s the parents responsibility to make sure their kids are educated in dealing with their guns. I take it a step further. I have a gun in my nightstand but I have it in a biometric gun safe.

        Every gun should be treated like its loaded. This doesn’t mean that all guns are loaded all the time but should be treated like their loaded until you have checked that it is unloaded by using the proper techniques and keeping it pointed in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the triger and out of the triger gaurd till your ready to shoot. Don’t point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. These are simple gun handling rules.

  3. lokywoky says:

    My last comment was for Ray. This reply system doesn’t really make that clear. Sorry.

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