MARCH 24, 2012 2:20PM

FL’s 'MAKE MY DAY' Law: Crony-Enabling of Racist Criminality

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Linn Washington, Jr. writes:

The mass disenfranchisement of thousands of blacks by Florida election officials during the 2000 presidential election allegedly won but actually stolen by George W. Bush remains a stinging point among blacks.

Florida’s then Governor Jeb Bush, George’s brother, later acknowledged his role in the voter suppression that handed the White House to his brother. Jeb Bush enthusiastically backed passage of the “Stand Your Ground “ law, calling it a “good, common-sense anti-crime measure.”

Any wonder racists have been and are trying to get away with murder in Florida? Any wonder official, institutional cronyism messaged from the top office of Florida state government has resulted in blatant indifference to white on black criminality? Incremental genocide one might contend.

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley on TV the other night referred to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” citizen authorization of 2005 as the “MAKE MY DAY” law. One more manifestation of macho, post-morality America! A not so covert “shoot first, ask questions later” permission to protect racist cronies BY police racist cronies SET IN PLACE by political racist top cronies. It removes the duty of a citizen to retreat before using deadly force against an “alleged” attacker. It also allows the use of deadly force against an unarmed person.

By the way, surprise, surpise, the law was backed by the NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. More gun purchases of course for white racist, paranoid, and trigger-happy citizens! Profits over people once again. Corporate needs vs. humanity one more time. Who cares the consequences of the proliferation of vigilante gun ownership?

Linn Washington relates that since the approval of this law according to media reports there have been 400 justified kills using it in Florida. He adds that almost two dozen other states have embraced similar laws.

Mr. Washington cites a May 2010 incident in which a man, having fought with another man, shot him in the back of the head while the other man was coming out of the water at a beach. That shooting was declared justified.

Apparently this loose, vigilante scenario has been operating shamefully under the national radar until this recent tragedy of Trayvon Martin.

On February 26th in Sanford, Florida, outside of Orlando, George Zimmerman, 28 year-old town watch operative, with a 9mm pistol, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old high schooler. Why? Seemingly for being black and exhibiting the effrontery of walking back to a relative’s home in an integrated neighborhood after having visited a convenience store. Besides being 11 years older, Zimmerman was 3 inches taller than Trayvon and almost 100 pounds heavier. The 911 tape reveals a police contact told Zimmerman just previous to the shooting NOT to confront Martin. Zimmerman defied the order and went after the boy.

Zimmerman’s neighbors regard him as aggressive. In the past year he had called the police 46 times in his “town watch” role. In 2005 he had been charged with assaulting a police officer. The charge was dropped.

After the deadly encounter, police conducted a test on the body of Trayvon Martin to see if he had been “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol. He had not been. The police DID NOT test the killer of Trayvon, George Zimmerman, though some people maintain his voice on the 911 tape sounds as he if he could have been “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol.

This is about cronyism of the local police with white crime-fighting zealots of the community. A beyond disgusting double-standard. Zimmerman was a wannabe cop in a racism-condoning, authoritarian climate. Refer to Jeb Bush's downward messaging of exploitation of blacks and support of vigilantism above.

The police quickly and easily accepted Zimmerman’s flimsy claim of “self defense,” that Martin was beating him badly and Zimmerman was getting no back-up help (actually, the "he hit me BACK" faux-self-defense). Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee concurred instead of exploring such a blatantly suspicious story.

Washington asks that if the situation had been reversed, that if a black Zimmerman had contended a white Martin had provoked him enough to kill him, it would be an entirely different story! Of course.

Accountability and justice in America? Too often not if you are black.

One more example of despicable political and authoritarian cronyism upending justice in America.

[cross-posted on correntewire and sacramento for democracy] 

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Yet when people of other countries learn of this sort of thing - along with MANY others - and speak of it, they are denounced for "Amerika bashing." Perhaps a whole lot more such "bashing" might save the life of another Trayvon Martin.

Is this the best that we can do?
Corrosive cronyism is at the root of so much injustice. Did you know that George Zimmerman's father was a judge and his mother a court clerk? I've seen corruption by cronyism up close and it's a nightmare. In my case , a hot shot celebrity law firm called Lavely and Singer owns judge, prosecutors, and cops in L.A . Once they were against me no law was to be followed and no law is being followed as I pursue my civil rights case in these same courts. Rage on, Libby. Though this appears a racially motivated murder, cronyism affects all of us.
A little known legal reciprocity: Back in the heyday of the ERA, the Texas Legislature dedicated an entire session to amending state laws to bring women into equal legal standing with men. One of the laws they amended was "the inflagrante delicato" justifiable homicide law that protected any man who found his wife in bed with another man. Under that law the cuckolded husband could murder both the adulterous interloper as well as his wayward wife in the bedroom and claim a defense of justifiable homicide as a crime of passion.

Rather than repeal the law, the legislature passed a correlative law that made it legal for a woman to reciprocate with the murders of her husband and any woman she caught in the act. I don't believe the language of the law addressed adulterous homosexual acts, but that may have been covered under other Texas law as crimes against nature.
This illustrates the twisted logic of the "open carry, permitted concealed weapons, stand your ground" NRA Nation.
What has not been noted is that the major growing industry in the USA of privatizing prisons greatly profits by incarcerating mostly black people for minor or unproven crimes. The legal apparatus cooperates in this exercise of free enterprise by doing their best to supply a continuous stream of profitable (mostly black) prisoners. If this business of killing off these assumed criminals becomes popular, it will stifle this wonderful new industry in a nation where jobs are scarce. In the name of profits and free enterprise this unwarranted killing must stop.
Libby, this case has also reminded me of Halloween Trick or Treaters and other innocents being shot dead in recent years, and not just in FL:

"The “Castle Doctrine” allows homeowners to shoot to kill anyone who ends up on their property, with no questions asked.

This has led to cases of firefighters, EMTs, and any others who end up on private property being shot and killed, or wounded if lucky.

A case in Wisconsin is that of Bo Morrison, a young man who hid from the police raiding an underage party, ending up in the covered porch of a homeowner, and being shot and killed without any questions or words exchanged, and the homeowner gets away with it, as no prosecution is possible.

There have been cases of Halloween Trick or Treaters being killed in Texas, and many other cases where gun owners have been licensed to kill without accountability."
sky, I agree. there are so many "just wrong" things going on, so many fresh and not so fresh hells, and when they finally break into a media that tries to bury reality rather than educate us with it, the problems are already so out of control like the Sorcerer's Apprentice with things totally amok. This incident is deplorable and at the same time the tip of the iceberg of profound systemic corruption!!!

fernsy, I am still learning more and more of the details of this tragedy. It does not surprise me that Zimmerman's daddy was a judge and that promoted his lethal folly. Kind of like baby George Bush who felt he had divine right status of privileged children in the courtroom world. Unfettered narcissism and willfulness it sounds like.

Fernsy, your story sounds so challenging. How horrible for you and your family. You really seem to have gotten close up to the heart of darkness of the system most of us pretend is inviolate especially when we may need it.

As I long-windedly wrote in a comment to you, we need laws to discourage the hidden psychopaths that walk among us who are discouraged from obscene amorality only because of the threat of punishment, and when cronyism removes those boundaries the citizenry is in serious trouble. Look at what the greed pscyhos have done thanks to deregulation. Little military accountability, too, and to beef up the army they are allowing questionable recruits to join up, sociopathic criminals willing to act out on fellow troops or vulnerable foreign citizens. thanks for comment! libby
jmac, that is incredible, that Texas law, enabling men to kill wives and their lovers caught in the act. and then making it reciprocal FOR BALANCE???? rather than correcting a blank check for two homicides. Dear God!!!

NRA Nation!!! That is for sure. Thanks for that expression. I will be borrowing it! I heard a wonderful author, Mary something (I am blanking on her last name grrrr) who was interviewed a long while ago on tv say soberly that America was entering a spiritual dark age. At that moment I thought she was being hyperbolic. She was not. She saw. The Bush years were so harsh but we lived under the illusion that once he was out of office right would prevail. It has not and that was a cruel additional trauma for us all. thanks for the comment, my friend. best, libby
It isn't these people who make themselves into psychopaths. Yeah, I know, we act as though they do. We hold them individually responsible for their actions.

Yet it takes a whole society to make so many of its members into nut cases; just as it takes a whole society to make its members into decent folks. We are happy to take credit for the way that so many people in our society turn out to be good people, it's time we accepted responsibility for the way our society turns out bad ones too.

More than two centuries of dealing with the problem people as though our society has nothing to do with them or their problems has gotten us an extraordinary number of psychotics walking the streets, an incredible number of decent folks seeing therapists, the highest per capita number of people incarcerated for the longest sentences of any civilized nation on earth.

Gee, do ya think we're doing it wrong?

Is this the best that we can do?
Listening to progressive radio, I heard a commercial-free florida station announcer mention the fact that the gun-lobby welcomes even this kind of news, as it always causes a spike in gun sales.

jan, the privatization of the prison system for profit should not be overlooked. remember the story of how those poor kids accused of delinquency was it in PA were being sent to imprisonment for profit by a rabid rat bastard judge or two. You can't make up such scum sucking bottom feeders. in our prison system so many young particularly black people guilty of non-violent crimes. so much over-control and over-monitoring and lack of justice and empathy for the poor, the blacks, the young while the white collar uber criminals, the vastly white patriarchy of avaricious sociopaths enjoy their jets and their billions and their private islands, etc. Mafia rules! the inside political mafia orbit and the external one, no doubt working closely at this point. thanks for your always insightful comment. best, libby
I loved you comment, Libby. Not long winded at all. Very true too about the prison industrial complex. Jan Sand knows of what he speaks. I did get close to that heart of darkness and became a raging radical . I was an idiotic moderate before that. The story of my recent radicalization might make an interesting post someday soon.
thanks designanator, though your Halloween scenarios fill me with HORROR. A human life is sacrificed through stupidity and knee-jerk xenophobic malice and over-self-protection and no accountability and effort on the part of the guardians of civil safety to do something to adjust a toxic system and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The whole issue of guns being accessible to those not trustworthy to even secure them without kids getting a hold of them and horrifying accidents happening. Without they themselves in inebriated or emotionally irrational states using them readily with tragic results.

Gun sales in the US for profit, and weapons sales across the globe for money and to promote violence and thus destabilization of nations for imperialism is EVIL EVIL EVIL. The governance of corporations, the corporation as a person it has been established has the personality profile of a pscyhopath! Now the collective personalities of all of our three branches of governance seem to have developed the same collective personality disorder!

thanks for commenting my friend! best, libby
sky, a good question and there is a collective embrace of amorality. The 1% and their collective frightening addictive disorder for profit for any sacrifice of fellow humanity, cronyism seems to have made them all the more enmeshed in collective evil and nation(s)-destruction. Then there is the rest of the 99%, some waking up. But most of it still with a chilling heart of darkness or hollowness. Our collective being enthralled by a media dismantling our capacity to exercise collective conscience, training us in having shallow plastic consumer identities not moral and proactive citizen ones. best, libby
toritto, thanks for coming by. Dear God, the GOP convention will be in Florida in August? I can only imagine what they will do to those willful protesters if they are gunning down innocent teens who venture out to a convenience store for snacks!!! I remember how horribly Bloomberg handled GOP convention protesters. The city is still settling claims for illegal arrests. Bloomberg didn't care about the price tag, apparently, impression management was all, like in your awesome poem you posted!!! best, libby
Mark, wow. I can believe it. A spike in gun sales. Of course. emotionalism and defensiveness and go out and buy more guns!!! Cronyism of spirit and action among the xenophobes!!!! thanks for stopping by, my friend! libby
fernsy, I am very interested to hear more of your distressing and what sounds like sustained challenge with the legal system. They say God never gives us more than we can handle, but brings us to the very brink of it at times! I was just sharing that we enjoy the illusions -- the serious assumptions -- about our supposed civil and social guardians and then when we need them most and have an opportunity to test the reality -- it can be stunningly and cruelly surreal and crazymaking!! an upside down, alice in wonderland world of good being treated as evil, evil as good. to be continued! :) best, libby
Florida, Florida, Florida...the state that gave us Dubya and now the state which continues that inglorious tradition with ongoing racial hostilities. Will there ever be a light at the end of this tunnel?
As someone else pointed out, when an unarmed person is slain, the NRA always loudly asserts that the vicitm should'be been armed, then he could have defended himself and wouldn't be dead. They have remained oddly & uncharacteristcally silent this time, obviously because the victim is a young black man. Ironically, Martin may well have been exercising his own rights under Florida law: he was under no legal obligation to flee, to retreat, or to submit to interrogation from a self-appointed vigilante, or otherwise subordinate himself. Florida officials, too, are strangely silent about mentioning these facts under their own laws. By the way, Emily Bazelon on Slate had a article yesterday about the reasons already evdient to doubt Zimmerman's story. [r]
I know the US can add states, like Alaska and Hawaii and possibly Puerto Rico. I wonder if it can also expel them. Florida would be my first candidate.
Not to worry Libby. Much good will come of this heartbreaking story. MARK MY WORDS!
Everyone should rest assured that Zimmerman will be prosecuted. The admitted facts (in his own words) and the plain language of the statute assure he is toast.

 Thank you for this perspective.

 This might also interest you. See Trayvon Martin: Defense a Pig-Sty Beneath a Racist Facade?

This is one of those issues that you and I must have a discussion about one day- Some things I would point out for discussion are that: Zimmerman is a "law Crony", and would have had his gun anyway. 2: People who are given a "macho" feeling by carrying and owning guns shouldn't have access to them. 3: People who get a macho feeling from having access to powerful cars shouldn't have access 4: People who get a macho feeling from being able to "Arrest Violators"( and violate arrestees) shouldn't be in a position where they believe they are authorized to. 5: I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who observed that all boys. on reaching the age of 14, should be put in a barrel and fed through the bung. If, at the age of 21, they have not properly matured, the bung should be driven in. Unfortunately, most of our "Guardian" Law Enforcement Professionals (LEPers) fit all these observations-- the bung on most of them should have been driven in, but instead, they are in positions of authority.

I can ( and have) made functional pistols and rifles from plumbing parts. Anyone who is above a certain level of "cunning" will have a gun ( when was the last time anyone had any trouble scoring drugs- talk to the same guy- he knows a guy) In the end, A well trained and responsible adult with a gun is his own, and our last line of defense against both types of vermin in the game of Rat Hockey
Herr Rudolphus, above, has it pretty well right, I think.

It is most unfortunate that so many "progressives" have adopted the stance that wants to keep personal weapons out of the hands of the public. That would be the same as banning spray paints because a few graffiti "artists" mess up private and public buildings with it. Or banning fast food because it causes many health problems (fast food probably kills more people in North America every year than guns do).

Yet all three are only harmful when used improperly. And those who expect a revolution to be necessary in order to toss out the "elite" who've grabbed control of the wealth and power of the nation, had better not forget that they will be needing weapons to do so. You can't meet the force of police weapons with cute slogans forever.

I strongly suspect that the "powers-that-be" and the elite are behind the attempts to ban personal weapons - they have the most to lose if the people are able to arm themselves. They make every instance of misuse of a personal weapon into a mountain of propaganda against gun ownership. Yet millions of private citizens own guns without going on some kind of mad killing spree, ever.

Let us not allow ourselves to be panicked into taking foolish steps to ban personal weapons when we'd be much better off to insist that those applying to own them undergo psychological testing and strict training in the use of them - better training than the cops get, in fact.

In case you're interested; No, I do not own a gun and; No again, I'm not a member of the NRA or any such organization. But I damned well want the right to own one if I should deem it necessary to defend my family, myself, and my neighbours from thugs in uniform who so willingly do the bidding of their political and financial masters.

Those who want guns banned should be very careful what they wish for - they just might get it.......
Sheila, thanks. I got confused for a sec, since the Bushes were from Maine then Texas (that accent and Tex persona came in handy for baby Bush), but there is Jeb of FL, you are right, and it was the state that brought us Bush in 2000 illegitimately! How shamelessly that was done. Ohio was the "play with the voting machines" state in 2004. Light at end of the tunnel? It seems people keep rolling with ongoing horrors instead of stopping to deal with them. We all seem locked in chronic girded defensive mode, paralyzed there. We gotta start making ourselves move more and more and get used to it again, like that rusted Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz! best, libby
Thanks Donegal! The statistics of gun deaths and automatic weaponry used in our and other societies grows insaner. Look at Mexico. 50,000 deaths in 5 years. That is about the war on drugs and the proliferation of guns. Sometimes we need to really look at what is happening, THE FULL FOREST. The NRA ferociously using its lobbying power to seduce people into being all or nothing about guns. So AK47s and now worse get in the hands of gangs and and drug cartels and vigilantes, etc. As well as whatever rebel contingent nurtured by our CIA or black ops that we want to use to overthrow another sovereign country. Will check out Emily Bazelon on Slate. Thanks for tip! best, libby
Hey Stuart! I hear you. I was sure Jeb was lusting to be the GOP's white knight for Prez next election. Red state cronyism has certainly jumped the shark. It is good for them to see such strong national reaction as pushback if they are capable of connecting real dots any more. The Rovian playbook for dismantling democracy has been in operation for a serious time now. Stoking the fire of racism and xenophobia, empowering those to organize and inflict their toxic cronyism by getting corrupt people in and trying to alter democratic policy for the benefit of the 1% with those rampant racist ultra-righties convinced that will bring JUST them trickle down benefits. Hah! Ignorance proliferates! best, libby
Sky, I can't ignore gun statistics. I don't have any handy for the US at the moment, but 50,000 drug-related deaths in Mexico in 5 years. so many innocent, innocent victims in there. 10,000 a year? Your few "graffiti" artists analogy doesn't translate for me to gun kills. I think the powers that be WANT people to be armed like they want people in other countries to be armed so they can kill off each other off as much as possible, make people swallow any kind of organized oppressive government state for protection just to stay alive (fascism recipe) and the big boys and gals can waltz in and collect the spoils uber alles. Life has gotten so cheap!!! So little respect for the sanctity of human lives.

Anyway, I gotta go but will give your perspective more thought. As I said above, I am on the side of Gandhi re guns. I want a paradigm shift to humanism and disarmament from nuclear on down. Ends don't justify means!!! best, libby
Francoise, again, I appreciated your blog's breakdown of the shooting so much! thanks again! libby
I had to repeat this comment and delete the other since I had left text from Rudy's original comment at end of mine and it looked confusing.

Rudy, appreciate your breakdown on Zimmerman and the gun stuff. I am on the side of Gandhi I am assuming re guns. I think if the liberals and progressives start embracing the "our own militia must be armed" group-think we are sunk! I live in the City, not in the country, so the hunting argument I understand for guns but I read the statistics of gun deaths, deaths by high-powered guns, in the cities. The private protection need for guns scares me, though, though I see this country and the uneven protection of the citizenry becoming scarier and scarier. I grew up around alcoholism and I see how a deadly weapon is a serious danger from someone deranged on alcohol and irrationally enraged. Look at alcoholism statistics in high stress occupations, as well.

Anyway, I want a safe gun-free environment whereby the citizens don't have to bear arms because their own government is the threat to them as well as the criminal element. It is a dimension of the criminal element. I think my next blog may be on what Honduras has turned into after the Lanny Davis (friend of Hillary's) folks dumped Zelaya in his PJs on the airport tarmac in Costa Rica was it and our friendly government now there SCREWING the citizenry for "their own good". When the government and the bad guy mafia discover that they are operating under the same sociopathic M.O. and work together nearly out in the open, obviously together even if the lying media pretends it is not so, since who is also running the media except the bottom feeding scum suckers as well. More on rat hockey to come I assume! :) best, libby
I am more than willing to discuss this question with you PROVIDED you stick to refuting - if you can - what I have said and ONLY what I have said. I have no intention of responding to what the NRA, or any other such organization, or some politrickian with an IQ that matches his shoe size, has said. They said it, let them answer for it. I also won't get into a silly battle of statistics that uses the stats improperly to attempt to prove a point.

One example of such is the stats for Mexico. Can you not see that it is the drug problem that is the cause of all those death? Guns have little to do with it except that they are the weapon of choice by both them "bad guys" and so called "law enforcement." If there were no guns in either hands they'd just find some other way to kill. People have had no problem doing so since long, long before there were any such things as guns in the world.

You, above many others, ought to know that it is the social circumstances in which people live that drives the behaviour of the citizens. Not the availability of certain types of weapons. Humans are very dangerous animals. When seeking survival or gain they will kill. What they use to kill with is irrelevant.

There is a higher "kill rate" in the US than there is in Canada simply because we Canucks have a smaller percentage of our population unable to survive at a human and humane level than the US does. Not because we have stricter gun laws for our citizens.

The criminals who want weapons get them. Period. They always have and they always will. Citizen possession of guns has absolutely no bearing on that fact.
Banning guns for citizens is like banning headlights on cars because most auto accidents that involve death occur at night and without headlights people will be (in theory) less likely to drive at night.

Again I point out the one statistic gun haters never want to discuss; out of the millions of people who have legal guns very, very few commit crimes with them or are criminally careless with them. Your detailing of anecdotes of individual occurrences is improper in a debate, and you are smart enough, and experienced enough, to know it. We could sit here swapping anecdotes back and forth for the next hundred years and get nowhere with this.

The argument (likely not yours originally), that the elite want us to have guns so that we will kill each other off, is just plain stupid. Millions of citizen HAVE guns. They ARE NOT running around killing each other off. End of that argument.

The elite know full well that the fighting that is sure to come will involve their well armed minions against the people. If "the people" aren't armed when that time comes, they'll get their asses kicked. A result much desired by the elite. If you were one of the elite would you not prefer to have those you have exploited be unarmed? Use your head my dear friend. The ONLY group that benefits from having an unarmed population is that group which is afraid of their used and abused slaves rebelling - the elite.