I wrote a blog post January of this year entitled "Normalizing firearams in public." If you recall, accompanying the "debate" over whether mass-killing-capable, semi-automatic military-style guns should be regulated more carefully by government in the wake of the Newtown slaughter (our elected officials said no, Americans said yes).....there were several reported cases across the country of male patriots carrying loaded AR-15, semi-automatic rifles in public....as some sort of public rebuttal to those calling for stricter controls on the selling and ownership of military-style killing machines.
One brilliant patriot in Riverdale, Utah thought it was an excellent idea to strap his AR-15 across his back, strap on a handgun for good measure, holster additional ammo clips.....and go do some shopping at Penny's. In Sellwood, Oregon, two 22 year old males casually strolled the town's sidewalks each carrying a semi-automatic Bushmaster explaining when asked that...."they were just trying to normalize the image of legally carrying weapons in public."
Of course, gun ownership is entirely legal in all 50 states, and will continue to be, Americans owning more guns than all countries citizens combined. Gun-proliferation supporters tell us that an armed society is a polite society. Maybe.
However, the "new normal" for a polite society includes the intimidation of non-gun-toters by open AR-15 "normalizers". And in case your average public is not quite polite enough around open-AR-15 carrying.....there's always the questionable doubt in today's "free" society whether or not the guy or gal standing next to you in the Wal-Mart has a loaded handgun a foot or two away from you in line.
Fear focuses the mind.....and, in my opinion, the intent of open and concealed carry laws is to scare or intimidate Americans into polite and passive behavior. Free speech? Sure, but with more and more concealed carry citizens out there, free speech in public carries with it the nagging fear that someone carrying in the public just may not appreciate the tone or implication of your free speech, or someone near you....and blammo.
This is where the George Zimmerman trial and verdict fit into today's post. With the normalization of open carry and concealed carry fully underway......and exponentially so since America elected it's first black president......the next step in, forgive me, "taking our country back"....is to normalize the profiling, stalking, confrontation of, and the shooting/killing, in self-defense of course, of unarmed "suspicious-looking"...."thugs".....even if they are minding their own business, doing nothing illegal.
Because the unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin did not respond passively to George Zimmerman's stalking of him that fateful night.....because he did not act submissively, politely and passively but instead challenged Zimmerman with "why are you following me?".....Martin is dead today. Self-defense, the excuse.
Even though "stand your ground" laws were not appealed to in the Zimmerman case, the convoluted twisting of "self-defense" justifications in the case acted as a surrogate for a "stand your ground" defense. The notion from the case being that if you are armed and trailing or stalking a "suspicious" person who challenges you for doing so.....no matter what transpires next....if the person you're trailing challenges you, and you eventually shoot and kill him.....it's "self-defense."
Yes, there is little doubt that the NRA, appendage of the gun industry, has pushed for "stand your ground" laws....which basically legalize murder in many, many cases....in order to inflate the profits of gun makers and sellers. However, the implication of the broadening of self-defense, stand-your-ground-type laws for actual gun owners has even more potential dangers. These laws, and these interpretations of "self-defense", are actually, I believe, meant to make citizens even more intimidated, and thus, more passive, fearful and submissive in public.
Citizens in public who aren't carrying, either openly or concealed, even though they are in the majority, must now think twice about every word, nuance or action while in the public lest someone "feel" threatened enough to take you, or someone else close to you, out in self defense. That is the opposite of a free society.
So, what kind of a society do Americans want to live in? One where the open carrying of loaded military-style, killing instruments has been fully normalized? One where self-defense laws and interpretations virtually coax concealed carry permit holders to shoot to kill if they, for whatever reason, "feel" or "believe" they must act lethally in defending themselves?
Finally, some comment-encouraging food for thought. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.
Some might take away from those numbers that the very purpose of Stand Your Ground "self-defense" style laws is for white Americans to have the legal ability to "self-defend" by killing black Americans with impunity. What are your thoughts on that.....and does the declaration "taking our country back" play any role here?
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