A License To Kill
Central PA Hoodie March--March 30, 2012Click thumbnail to view full-size
No Backing Down
Around the end of March, the world was made aware of the case of Trayvon Martin, a young African-American man who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida.
As information came out about the circumstances of the incident, the captain seemed more and more like a vigilante, who had issues with African-Americans. Questions remain over who the aggressor was, and when this case does go to trial, that detail will be brought.
Convicting Martin's accused killer will be easier said than done. Florida, like many states, has a variation on the "Stand Your Ground" or "Castle Doctrine" law. These laws are the product of an alliance between that National Rifle Association and a once-shadowy pro-business group; the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, as they are now know, draft model legislation such as the "Castle Doctrine" and the "Voter ID" laws, and find sympathetic, usually GOP-dominated, state legislatures. After several large companies, perhaps thanks to pressure from Color of Change left the group, ALEC decided to disband that section.
But the damage may already be done. A Trayvon Martin situation could easily happen in my home state of Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, the GOP-controlled legislature passed and my state's Republican Governor signed a "Castle Doctrine" law into effect.
Much like the Florida law, the law gives a citizen the right to use deadly force as soon as person enters their residence, including porches, etc or vehicle. This is a far cry from the continuum of force that a police office uses. My hometown's regional police force's manual on force instructs officers to; use only the amount of force reasonably necessary, and to not use excessive force, to employ force in direct relationship to the resistance, and to apply force in a progressive matter.
It seems to me, and perhaps other, that the NRA and ALEC have given citizens a license to kill. In Pennsylvania, a case like Trayvon Martin may be only a matter of time, and the way the state responds will say a lot about it.
Who's Writing The Laws?
- ALEC Exposed - Alec Exposed
The Center for Media and Democracy has EXPOSED over 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
- ALEC Ratified the NRA-Conceived Law That May Protect Trayvon Martin's Killer | Center for M
"A Florida law that may protect the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "model bill" that has been pushed in other states. . ."
Voices Of Sanity?
CeaseFirePA is a network of communities, survivors, and citizens who are dedicated to taking a stand against gun violence.
- Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.
- VPC - The Violence Policy Center
"Each year, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings as a result of the ready availability, and accessibility, of specific classes of firearms. . . ."