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Unarmed And Dangerous?

In 2005, when Florida was considering its insane stand-your-ground-or-perhaps-chase-down-an-innocent-black-teenager-and-shoot-him law, state senator Dan Gelber was a voice of reason. Gelber, when asked what he thought of legislation that would transmogrify many a heat-packing Floridian into a juiced-up Judge Dredd, posed some questions of his own.

When you think someone "looks at your wife" the wrong way or "spills coffee on you," should the message be "to walk away or do we tell them that you're supposed to stand your ground and fight to the death?" According to NRA troll/super-lobbyist Marion Hammer, the supposedly smart Bush who was governor at the time (Jeb) and state senator Dennis Baxley—a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who likes racial slurs in state songs and wants to remember The great Lost Cause on license plates—the answer was of course, shoot. To kill.

But the bigger story here is the alliance of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC—-a secretive, corporate-sponsored clearing house for ideas that are dopey enough to be purchased by the pound—and the arms-dealer front group known as the National Rifle Association (NRA). A marriage made in Hades to pass legislation that seemingly anyone with any background in law enforcement or understanding of this nation's history knew would lead to a predictable outcome: "racially motivated killings."

Because, you see, this is not a bug, but a feature. Both ALEC and the NRA exist to support the whims and wants of privileged and largely white members of society, while disenfranchising, impoverishing and even allowing the Trayvon Martins of our society to be gunned down in cold blood. Racism is at their very core.

ALEC is behind a nationwide push to take voting rights away from African Americans and any other group that doesn't largely vote for creepily religious, corporate Republicans advocating wish-list items such as a Creationist, Haliburton-constructed lunar colony or the deregulation of melamine and morphine-based infant formula.

As writer Ari Berman pointed out in a piece called "The GOP's War On Voting," there's been "a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states...this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process." Who are we talking about here? "Millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly," according to Berman, or people you might hesitate to call the "Santorum demographic."

These very same ALECites have been (coincidentally, or course), pushing for tort reform bills in states throughout the country, which have been proven again and again to disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities while protecting corporate bottom lines. Meanwhile, "racial issues" and stereotyping have been used by ALEC to push for tort reform, the very same play on white fear that is the literal pitch of the NRA to convince anyone, no matter how unstable or criminally-inclined, to buy more guns.

Part of this pitch has used the first black President ("Communist trained!") to inform their most ardent and paranoid members of secret plots ("massive Obama conspiracy!") to take away their guns (the ones they can now take into National Parks and in luggage on Amtrak because of bills President Obama signed into law) Their day-to-day coded language about protecting "your way of life" or property from invading hordes has obvious connotations to anyone with a few neurons still firing.

NRA Board meetings, meanwhile, could potentially double as klaverns. There's intellectual retch Ted Nugent who has problems with the "Dark Continent" of Africa because no country there "truly respects freedom or the rule of law."

Then there's board member Wayne Anthony Ross, who awarded an art student an “'A' for courage” for a project that included “a hooded and robed stick figure of a KKK member, bearing a cross in one hand and a flag in the other.” Perhaps most impressive, is John Sigler, who accused President Obama's mother of traveling the world "to meet up with 'savages' and civilizing them in the sack! Her efforts even created a President of the United States.” These are not the exception, as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has made abundantly clear on their "Who Is The NRA Leadership" site.

Trayvon Martin is not the exception. He is the rule. The collateral damage of a quite open and obvious agenda for anyone willing to take a look.

Follow me on Twitter @cliffschecter

This piece was first published at Al Jazeera English

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Are they not threatening the very fabric of our civilized society?

BTW, I posted this first last week and now in fairness I need to post the follow up:

Rape charges dropped againstTea Party leader in San Diego. The accuser recanted her story:


"Someday somebody related to some of these sufferers, these victims, these collaterally damaged souls, may try to kill you. And I have to tell you, I think you’ll have it coming." - Christopher Cooper

Ape-Man's picture

Good of you to post the follow up. Tea baggers or the republican crime family would not be so considerate or honest. Take note thugs.

"Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob"
-= Franklin Delano Roosevelt =-

fastfeat's picture

Never like to hear about sexual assaults, but bogus claims can be devastating for those falsely accused.

"Parachutes are allowed in checked or carry-on baggage, but may not be worn in flight."

---Southwest Airlines

Ape-Man's picture

This is another clear sign that there is a growing 'American Taliban' presence amongst us. The republicans are delighted to exploit them, even as they utterly destroy American society in doing so.

"Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob"
-= Franklin Delano Roosevelt =-

ron's picture

that some of you aren't too gullible. Yes they do get the people to recant their story for a price.

Ape-Man's picture

The NRA is nobody - it is a phantom, a corporate construct, a tool of the gun industry - and yet we let them run our lives... and often ruin our lives.

"Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob"
-= Franklin Delano Roosevelt =-

old_55's picture

He's my alternate-universe Obama's press secretary.

Midtown Maniac's picture

This afternoon at the Y, a black man watching a newscast on this said that everyone is missing the point which is that everyone should be armed, especially young black men. I disagreed and we talked. This man's dad had given him a gun at the age of 16 so that he could protect himself. I've heard more and more people talk like this. They have some practical points. I had some sympathy for the arguments and in the context of this video I have even more. I still don't own a gun and probably won't though in many ways carrying a gun is a logical response to the points the video makes.

charms55's picture

I remember all the people packing at Presidential venue around the time that the Tea Party was gathering stream. Previous to this President, this would never have been allowed. This slippery slope is not going to end with the Florida killing. There will be something else and we are a long ways from the tipping point that may shake us back into reason. We have not seen the hatred, vitriol, etc, particularly aimed at the Commander in Chief since the assassination of Kennedy. Frightening.

Kreskin's picture

Huh ? I lost you on that one , but as for the slippery slope , you got that right , is going to get to the point that we are going to have to arm ourselves to protect ourselves from these crazy Reich wingers . I've never owned a gun , have never needed one and don't like the F'n things , but these lunatics are making me nervous . As for the neoconservative Republicons , truly , I think they are out to totally destroy this country ... and they are succeeding . It is frightening . Evil at work . Unbelievable .

ron's picture
Wolfsinger's picture

in the face of "Stand Your Ground" laws, what do we need police for anymore?

I mean, aren't they just acting Coroners now? Arriving on scene solely to pronounce death and ask the simple question...

"Sir/Madam? Why did you shoot dead this person or persons lying here in pools of their own blood with not so much as a hair out of place on yourself?

Ah. You felt threatened? Of course. Very well. Sorry to inconvenience you. Just doing our job. Say, before you return to your life, could you tell us what time it was when you shot them dead? 10:30? Fine. Fine. Thank you for your cooperation and have a good day."

I have second question? What are the gun-crazy red-neck GOP bastards going to say or do when it is THEIR son or daughter who is in the wrong place at the wrong time wearing a hoodie being a kid who gets shot to death by someone who thinks and acts like their parents?

Third question? Why do these gun-crazy red-neck GOP bastards think their bat-crap crazy will never happen to THEM?? That it will never effect them????