The way that the Stand Your Ground statute is used in jury instructions boils down to this: ALL THAT ANY NON-BLACK SHOOTER NEEDS TO DO IS TO SAY THAT THEY WERE AFRAID FOR THEIR LIFE…because scary Black person. It matters very little if the so-called “reasonable fear” existed in reality, or only in someone’s mind, or not at all

Newsflash: ANY given reason =/= “reasonable fear”

I’ve sat on a jury as a foreman before, and please believe me when I say…during deliberations in the jury room, “reasonable” can easily become, “well, he did give a reason for his fear“ if someone strong (or Black) isn’t there to immediately shoot that thought process down

Here is the complete text of the Florida #SYG statute (written by ALEC, btw) which ultimately finds it’s way into Florida’s self defense (aka #SYG) jury instructions

But here’s how the interpretation plays out:

Make no mistake: Dunn didn’t use the words ‘gangster’ and ‘thug’ in his testimony by mistake. You don’t have to look any further than the glaring difference between how Richard Sherman was derided and pilloried as a “thug” vs. when White people like Mayor Rob Ford and Michael Grimm (R-NY) aren’t even arrested after being caught on film using drugs or making credible death threats, let alone not called a thug. Those two words—thug and gangster—and many more have become heavily weaponized and racialized, and they are ‘polite’ stand ins for the n-word. And that coded language didn’t just happen all on it’s own

And let’s be real here, for far too many armed White people, unfamiliar Black bodies are plenty of reason to be fearful…all the way to the point of immediately applying lethal force (please see also: implicit shooter bias, Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, etcetc, etc, etc, etc)

This has to stop


“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world. As I said earlier, you can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it.”

Stevie Wonder (mapchart)

Are you a white gun owner? You’re more likely to be a racist than if you weren’t packing heat.

That’s what researchers found in a study published by the journal Plos One, which linked racial prejudice to firearm ownership in America.

A research team led by Dr. Kerry O’Brien, a professor of behavioral studies at Australia’s Monash University, examined attitudes about gun control and race using data from the American National Election Study, a survey conducted before and after presidential elections.

The researchers found that “for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home,” as well as “a 28% increase in support for permits to carry concealed handguns.”

To measure levels of prejudice, the team asked survey participants questions that measured both symbolic racism, defined as “a belief structure underpinned by both anti-black affect and traditional values,” and implicit racial attitudes, which are more subtle associations about people of different races. For example, in the symbolic racism section, participants were asked, ““How well does the word ‘violent’ describe most blacks?” on a scale of 1 to 5.

Participants were also shown statements from the Symbolic Racism Scale, such as "Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class,” and asked to what extent they agreed.

The study noted that whites are twice as likely to own guns as blacks, and oppose gun control to a far greater extent. Unsurprisingly, “stronger Republican identification, being from a southern state and anti-government sentiment were associated with opposition to gun-control policies,” though not with having a gun in the home.

H/T Pacific Standard.

In Her Own Words: Marissa Alexander Tells Her Story

Sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a single shot to scare off the husband she says abused her, Marissa Alexander is home and sharing the details of her harrowing ordeal in this ESSENCE exclusive.

I will always weep for Marissa Alexander. Her story will be in history books, textbooks used in law schools and criminal justice classes, and she will not be forgotten. Her life, and that of her children, have forever been altered and sacrificed by her lying husband and racist criminal justice system, and I will never forget it.

Think about it for a sec…about how the entire script ʇoƃ pǝddıןɟ in both the Zimmerman and Dunn trials, and how what passed for “reasonable fear” was, in fact, a racist, angry, *armed* and grown ass man, initiating a confrontation—with an *unarmed* minor—then escalating that confrontation, and then being murderously violent, and then after all of that, still saying with a straight face, “well, I thought they were about to become as violent as I already was. And they were Black. So I had to kill them”