Blow, Krugman: Roots of "A Mother's Grace and Grieving" In ALEC's "Lobbyists, Guns and Money"
Today’s New York Times’ op-ed page is headlined by columns from Charles Blow and Paul Krugman; but, their combined sentiments were originally captured quite presciently by Kossackjamess, five days ago, in: “'Stand Your Ground' Law has its roots with ALEC.”
First, here’s jamess, from last Wednesday…The shock and horror I've felt about the Trayvon Martin slaying is profound.
If you haven’t read jamess’ post, I strongly encourage you to do so.
This unjustified killing of an unarmed young man on the basis of skin color, illustrates so much of what is still wrong in America.
And stunningly, the Florida law that effectively grants this unwarranted "license to kill" has some very shady origins as well ... some xerox copy origins from the usual "Rollback America" suspects:
The American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC
ALEC Has Pushed The NRA's "Stand Your Ground" Law Across The Nation
by Matt Gertz, mediamatters.org -- March 21, 2012The legislation apparently preventing the successful prosecution of Trayvon Martin's killer was reportedly adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)as model legislation that the shadowy group has spent years promoting across the country with the help of their allies in the National Rifle Association.
Florida's statute on the use of force in self-defense is virtually identical to Section 1 ofCastle Doctrine Act model legislation as posted on the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). According to CMD, the model bill was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task in August 2005 -- just a few short months after it passed the Florida legislature -- and approved by its board of directors the following month.
[...]The language is identical to ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation [...]
3. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [other than their dwelling, residence, or vehicle] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
As he notes later on in it: “Hundreds more have died by the ‘Castle Doctrine’ that ALEC has brought the nation's neighborhoods.”
You might also want to checkout his post from early yesterday afternoon: “How the ALEC Agenda becomes the Law of the Land.”
Indeed, there are hundreds of mothers grieving due to corporate-sponsored “Stand Your Ground” laws that have been enacted in 21 states (and counting).
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Charles Blow gives us a firsthand account of Trayvon Martin’s mother’s grace and grief in today’s NYT…
A Mother’s Grace and GrievingBlow sat down with Ms. Fulton and her mother on Saturday, for an hour. (I strongly encourage you to read his column; if your anger doesn't overcome the tears, it will make you cry.)
New York Times
March 26, 2012
Miami Gardens, FL
“They called him Slimm.”
That is what Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, told me people called her son because he was so thin…
…To believe Zimmerman’s scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschooler, chose that night and that man to attack. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.Blow continues on to provide us with one of the most up-close pieces on Trayvon Martin and his loving family that’s been written to date.
This is possible, but hardly sounds plausible.
The key is to determine who was standing his ground and defending himself: the boy with the candy or the man with the gun…
He reminds us that: “…it is important to not let Trayvon the person be lost to Trayvon the symbol. He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him…”
But, as Kossack jamess reminds us above, there are now hundreds of other families--many that are, I’m sure, very much like Trayvon Martin’s family--mourning the deaths of hundreds of other real people with real families that loved them, as well.
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So, while the roots of Trayvon’s mother’s grace in her grieving may be found in the personal prejudices and twisted realities of one George Zimmerman, the reality is that ALEC pushed the blueprint that was Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” legislation to the point where it is now law in 20 more states.
Lobbyists, Guns and Money# # #
March 26, 2012
Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.
Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy…
…we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.
Now, ALEC isn’t single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what’s going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.
Meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera adds insult to injury (and the entire corporate-captured media circus that now surrounds Trayvon’s death, where their disgustingly feeble narrative attempts to lay the blame on his murder upon a piece of clothing), via so-called “commentary” that was so lame even his own son said he was ashamed of him, we await justice.
Also this weekend, the New York City police department did its “bit” to remind us of the status quo’s countless, unpunished transgressions against people of color in our supposedly “post-racial” society, when they apparently had an epiphany and – after six years -- finally dismissed Detective Gescard Isnora, the man who fired the first 11 of 50 bullets into Sean Bell’s car, we await justice.
We await justice.