Tag Archives: Stand Your Ground law

It’s Un-American to Bring a Gun to a Fistfight

The title should be something fundamental; understood, appreciated and upheld by everyone.  That’s because the statement stems from America’s much-touted, storied past, when the written rule of law was practically non-existent, yet there nevertheless was a tangible, un-written code of conduct that those rugged early citizens attempted to live by.

Arizona State Senate candidate Bobby Wilson shot and killed his mother in 1963

This code came about not through happenstance but rather because of the nature of the human condition, man versus man.  It was his earliest attempts to control his baser instincts, drives and natures that surely would’ve rode us to extinction by now, had it not been for the code.  Today, it’s heralded mostly in pulp fiction and lore but truly, it still exists, or should exist, in the psyche of modern-day man.  I’m talking about the code of the west. Continue reading

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Filed under Opinion, Politics and Government, Race

What’s the plan?

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

 Aldous Huxley

I had talked myself into thinking that writing this was unnecessary and that Trump just might be mellowing and trying to put together some sort of cohesive campaign here during these last few months; still crazy but quieter and less volatile.  I prayed that his devotees would mellow also.  Then, I read about two Muslims shot in the head after Saturday prayer and I realize that my initial thought is still the same; as much as Trump is a problem, he’s not the biggest problem.  That distinction falls on his followers.  So now I’m right back where the bleep I started, wanting to ask Republicans a simple question.  What’s the plan?  Continue reading

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Filed under Commentary, Politics and Government

Lack of Info Re Other SYG Incidents Puzzling

You figure they’re probably happening elsewhere in places other than Florida and across more than one pair of demographics yet when all is said and done, it seems that the only ones we hear about are the incidents that happen between blacks and whites.  Maybe it’s not true but it sure feels like it.

I say this because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of media coverage of other SYG shootings.  And there have been others, least of which is the shooting of Chad Oulson in a Florida movie theater earlier this year.

71 year-old retired police captain, Curtis Reeves, Jr. shot Oulson after the two got into an argument during a matinee showing of the film, Lone Survivor, when Oulson began texting his daughter.

Both Reeves and Oulson are white.

On February 7th, a judge ruled that Reeves will remain in jail until his trial and that second-degree murder charges were appropriately filed.  There will be another pretrial hearing sometime this month.

I didn’t hear anything about this, did you?  I could have missed it, truth be told.

It’s a shame though because it’s important that the public receives as much information as it can about this dangerous law in order to make a reasonable judgment concerning it.  It’s especially imperative that the African American community see and hear of these other SYG shootings, especially when they cross different racial lines, in order to get a better idea of the scope of the statute’s effect on all people.

The media’s reluctance, so far, to vet the Reeves/Oulson second-degree murder trial, or any of the others, makes it’s somewhat easy to feed into the belief that there’s a SYG conspiracy in the works that targets young black males.  It’s easy because the only incidents we hear or read about are the ones that leave a young black man dead at the hands of an older white man.

I ask myself, couldn’t the coverage of the Michael Dunn/Jordan Davis murder trial happen alongside coverage of the pretrial motions for Curtis Reeves?  Had that been so, it could’ve been a teaching moment for the masses; one that showed the hazardous ambiguity of the law and how it effects everyone and not just African Americans.

On the other hand, if the media covers the Reeves/Oulson murder trial and Curtis Reeves is found guilty, cries will go up in protest shouting racism.  People will question whether or not justice recognizes equally the worth of a young black man and the value of a young white man. Such a happening could be the knob that turns public opinion, demanding a change to the statute.

Equally so, if Curtis Reeves is found innocent, such an unlawful slaughter of a suburban family man could as well be a turning point that bulwarks opponent’s attempts to amend or shoot down entirely Florida’s stand your ground law.  Maybe it’s me but I get the impression that those are two outcomes that some don’t want.

A Few Other SYG Shootings

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/bail-hearing-resumes-this-morning-in-movie-theater-shooting/2164575

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/autopsy-report-indicates-movie-theater-shooting-victim-raised-his-hand/2165334

http://www.guns.com/2014/03/10/judge-rules-fl-mans-use-stand-ground-defense-deputys-shooting/

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-03-03/news/os-bar-fight-shooting-stand-your-ground-20140303_1_ground-hearing-ground-immunity-bar-fight

http://www.weartv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/monclair-shooting-uses-stand-your-ground-defense-41929.shtml

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Filed under Justice, Life and Society

There’s No White Boogeyman but Evil Does Exist

Today I read two articles concerning the Jordan Davis murder trial, SYG and self-defense laws.  I’ve included the links below.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/20/opinion/young-white-dunn-boogeyman/

There is no white boogeyman – Yolanda Young

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/19/opinion/omara-stand-your-ground-and-race/

It’s not about ‘stand your ground’, it’s about race – Mark O’Mara

I see a lot of what Mark O’Mara is saying, particularly his assumption that the whole problem with the self-defense laws is the ‘no duty to retreat” clause as well as the definition of “reasonable fear”.  But there’s more.

“The underlying concern with the statute is that those who are aware of it may be emboldened by its protection and place themselves in, or remain in, a circumstance that increases the likelihood of using force.”  – Mark O’Mara 

Mr. O’Mara’s correct that reasonable fear can become entirely unreasonable when the fear is stemming from a confrontation with a black male.  And if his quote above doesn’t, in fact, describe what possibly was going through Zimmerman’s mind that evening last year-that self-defense or SYG laws gave him the right to confront the unarmed teen, consequences be damned-then I don’t know what does.  I only wonder where all of these good, objective thoughts were during the Zimmerman trial.  You have to love defense attorneys and their after-the-fact observations.

On the other hand, I’m not that inclined to agree with the article by Yolanda Young.  Her idea, that the African American community is slowly becoming paranoid of white men and their intentions for our children, is far-fetched in my opinion.  The black community has never been paranoid per se, only cognizant of the possible dangers that exist when confrontations between the races occur.  My parents taught me and I, in turn, taught my children.  We would be fool-hardy not to do so as it’s not paranoia, it’s survival, plain and simple.

Ms. Young likens the warnings we give to our offspring today as the same warnings given to blacks at the height of Jim Crow, when African Americans were being lynched almost on a daily basis and had to have a playbook on how to navigate in the white world.  However, she characterizes today’s cautions to our children as hyperbole and calls them unnecessary.   I beg to differ.

When I think of evil, I’m of the mind of Justice Scalia in his statement about pornography in that, “I know it when I see it”.   I feel this way because truthfully, evil does exist and I have seen it.  Whether it’s the smug, assured and confident evil depicted by the Michael Dunn’s of the world, individuals who do their dirt willingly and readily, under the assumption that every man will appreciate their “right” to do so or whether it’s the tentative, fearful evil shown by the George Zimmerman’s who, having done their dastardly deeds, are now fearful that they may have bitten off more than they can chew yet still throw their selves on the mercy of hopeful, public sentiment.

Both are equally despicable and both would be equally guilty in a court of law, in my mind. We as a country have to be prepared for the individuals that Mr. O’Mara warns us about; those who are looking for a reason to pull a gun on a lone, unarmed black man.  Furthermore, as long as the courts are reluctant to go the extra mile with their jurisprudence to ensure that all facets of the defendants’ actions, as well as his or her state of mind, are vetted, then it’s only prudent that black parents continue to instruct their children into the dangers that could befall them.

When all is said and done and if given the opportunity, I would ask Ms. Young two questions.  First, do you have any children?  And if she answered in the affirmative, I’d then ask her, “What do you tell them?

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The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Thug

African-American males are part of an equation and they don’t even know it.

I call it the self-fulfilling prophecy of thug. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, especially in light of the Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin murder trials but also because of the Marcus Smart incident. What happened with Marcus Smart sheds some light on how it all begins.

Rap music is thug music; all black men like rap music; therefore, all black men are thugs.

It starts with a preconception, a presumption.  And what follows are the contrived opinions and judgments that are based solely on those preconceived notions.  There is no objective, empirical or scientific knowledge gathered, no studies to base those assumptions on but rather just the simple prejudices of a feeble mind are the sole driving force behind the actions of such people.  And there’s always a catalyst in the situation; a person or persons fueling events like some sort of chemical reagent working to produce a sought after reaction.

Trayvon Martin had George Zimmerman stoking the pot that led to his death and Jordan Davis had Michael Dunn.  Marcus Smart had Jeff Orr as his catalyst and was lucky enough to live through his altercation but that’s only because he had a stadium full of witnesses on hand.  Had he encountered Orr on an empty street, it might have been a different story.

The problem is that there’s little training that can prepare you for the individual, that one person who’ll say, or do, just enough to push you over the edge. You see, just as much as you’ve been practicing the discipline of maintaining your cool and being courteous or professional in all things, they’ve, on the other hand, been studying on the many ways to make you lose it.  It’s a vicious circle that exists primarily for African American males both young and old but it’s also a playbook that can be opened and used at any time and anywhere against just about anyone for that matter.

A sad but true statement: some folks are automatically “concerned” when they interact with black males; their thinking being that we’re just waiting for an excuse to hurt someone because, obviously (they can see I’m a black man), we can’t control our emotions.  They routinely mistake passion (white) for aggression (black) and economy in speech and actions (white) for either unfriendliness or lack of professionalism (black).

It’s time to flip the script, so to speak.  And it’s a lesson that I hope young African-American males learn.  Don’t beat them up but beat them at their own game.  Kill those who would do you harm with kindness and smother them with competence.  And in the end when all is said and done and they’re looking at you all googly-eyed and sputtering not knowing what to say or do because you’ve given them nothing to dog you with, take them out with a better than average vocabulary, good common sense and a decent education.

It’s not hard to create our own playbook and in lieu of such recent happenings, it’s not only good common sense to do so but also a matter of survival.

 

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