On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the delegates at the annual NAACP convention to criticize what is known as the Stand Your Ground laws that are in effect in about half of the states in the US. A.G. Holder is not the first one who has attacked this law, nor will he be the last. This controversial law has been drawn out and well scrutinized since the first utterance of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Never mind the fact that Stand Your Ground was never used as a defense and that Mr. Zimmerman waived his right to a hearing to determine if Stand Your Ground was a defense; this trial has continued to be cited as an example of how dangerous this law has been to our communities.
Color of Change, the black activist group co-founded by the former Green Job Czar Van Jones; has launched a petition to end Stand Your Ground laws. Stevie Wonder has vowed to boycott any state that has a Stand Your Ground law because of the verdict. Even Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to fight the existence of Stand Your Ground laws; or as he prefers to call them, “Shoot First Laws” while citing the case. Those are just a few examples of how this administration’s pawns du jour are being used to demonize a sound law and strip many of us of our right of self-defense.
One of the ways these groups are trying to demonize Stand Your Ground is by claiming that the states that have passed this law or similar forms of Stand Your Ground has seen an increase in justifiable homicide since the law was enacted. The studies on whether Stand Your Ground equates to an increase in homicides is mixed. There are many variables to take into consideration such as what the states vs. what the FBI defines as justifiable homicide, the strength of the state’s gun laws, or whether murders and non-justifiable homicides have decreased in the states where these laws are enacted.
Another argument that is posed is the Stand Your Ground laws are racist laws that benefits white over black defendants. Two examples Katie Halpern of Salon.com used are the cases of Ralph Wald; who is white, and the separate case of Marissa Alexander, who is black. The problem with Ms. Halpern’s assessment is the only connection these two cases have is both defendants used the Stand Your Ground defense.
Mr. Wald claimed he was saving his wife from her alleged lover that he mistook as a rapist. Mr. Wald’s wife testified that she was blacked-out drunk that night and had no recollection of what was happening at the time of the shooting. With regards to Ms. Alexander’s case Florida prosecutor Angela Corey gave an exclusive interview to Grio.com defending the state’s handling of Ms. Alexander’s case. According to Angela Corey, Ms. Alexander, who violated a restraining order, got into an argument with her estranged husband, went out to the garage to retrieve her gun, went back into the house and fired at her estranged husband and his sons as they were leaving the home.
Those who see this law as biased against blacks didn’t dispute the findings from Patrick Howley of The Daily Caller who argued that blacks benefit from Stand Your Ground at a disproportionate rate to whites. Philip Bump of the Atlantic Wire attempts to dispute Mr. Howley’s findings by explaining the reason blacks benefit is because their victims are also black. It’s amazing that now, all of a sudden, black on black shootings matter when they largely go unaddressed in the inner cities. Mr. Bump only succeeds in proving Mr. Howley’s point by showing that killings of whites by blacks were more likely to be found justified than killings of whites by whites.
Stand Your Ground is not a new concept even though the mainstream media and activist groups like to pretend it is. Stand Your Ground has been upheld by the US Supreme court in the case of Brown v. United States in 1921. In other words, the right to defend oneself without the obligation to flee from the aggressor has been a long-standing and valid defense in our nation.
So, why is it such an issue now? It is because this many activists, with the help of the Obama administration, will stop at nothing to make the United State a gun-free nation. They know they can’t just outright disarm us, as the last attempt at an assault weapons ban has proven. These groups will stop at nothing to stir up division, fear, and controversy in order to slowly erode the Second Amendment and our natural right to self-defense. If racial tensions are stirred up in the process, then it’s all the better; so long as it gets them closer to their goal of disarming citizens.
Some feel that this administration continues to bring up the Zimmerman case and condemn Stand Your Ground as a form of distraction from all the other scandals surrounding this president. Some have also speculated that President Obama wishes to keep the tension and unrest out in front by once again commenting on the case six days after the verdict in order to reopen closing wounds. Just like Attorney General Holder, President Obama points to racial profiling experiences they once experienced themselves. Of course, neither of the experiences Eric Holder or Barack Obama shared has nothing to do with the Stand Your Ground laws whatsoever. But that doesn’t matter. As long as emotions are kept enflamed, the distractions will be successful. Unfortunately this is a distraction that we can’t afford to ignore. If we disregard what this administration and the anti-gun rights activist are trying to do, we will find that our right of self-defense will soon disappear.