stand your ground

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And Now for Some Mostly Good News (1/29/15): Marissa Alexander, the mother who “stood her ground” against her abusive ex-husband and got 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot, has finally been released from prison. She will remain on house arrest for the next two years. Justice has still not been served, but Marissa is now home with her family. The struggle continues. #staywoke #farfromver

Michael Giles has recently become another victim of Florida’s racist and sexist Stand Your Ground law. According to his mother:

Michael’s attacker admitted he was angry that someone had interrupted his dance, and wanted to hurt the next person he saw. That next person standing to the side, not partaking in the violence, was Michael.

His attacker was not fighting alone, state witnesses testified that there were between 30-40 people involved in the brawl. The state’s own witnesses also testified that the aggressor instigated several other fights that night, and was acting erratically and violently…state witnesses testified that Michael, was calmly standing to the side, and did nothing to provoke the attack.

obviously, this is a pattern of racism (proof 1; proof 2)

SIGN THIS PETITION to FREE Michael Giles

SIGN THIS PETITION and stay up to date here on organizing info. to FREE Marissa Alexander

Pa’ Lante!

This is Michael Dunn, presumably confused as to how he just got away with murder.  

Dunn, who repeatedly fired his gun at a vehicle in which 17-year-old Jordan Davis was killed, claimed to have been threatened with a shotgun.  Police never found a shotgun; no witnesses reported seeing one.  Though one thing is clear: Dunn told the kids to stop playing their “thug music” loudly, and later decided the best way to end the resulting dispute was by firing a gun at Davis’s car ten times – even as it pulled away.

Dunn invoked Florida’s well-used-by-threatened-people-who-aren’t-black “Stand Your Ground” defense.  While the jury was deadlocked on the murder charge – for Davis’s killing – they found him guilty in the attempted murder of the three other teens in the car and he now faces up to 60 years in prison.

But still, bottom line is a white man got away with killing a black teen in Florida.  And shit isn’t ever going to change in the Sunshine State.

(Pool photo: Bob Mack via the New York Times)

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17 #DangerousBlackKids you need to be very afraid of

The message was simple: These are just children, feared not for what they’ve done, but for what people are afraid they might do.

As a reminder of the potential within all young people, and of what they can accomplish when simply allowed to flourish, we’ve collected a sampling of black youth from around the globe who are making the world a better and brighter place. Most of these are drawn from The Root’s “Young Futurists 2014” and Forbes’ “30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa 2014.” May they serve not to divide youth into “good” and “bad” categories, but to celebrate what’s possible when they are merely allowed to live.

See the full listFollow policymic

anonymous asked:

I love the way you used statistics and not just spewing vague terms to prove your point about Stand Your Ground laws, but with no disrespect, I as an American citizen feel safe knowing if an intruder were to enter my home I am justified to use force, possibly deadly, to protect my family. I am in no way justifying attacking unarmed people because they look threatening, I am instead justifying my right to protect myself from people explicitly threatening me safety in my home.

I understand your feeling, and the feeling is real and important, but our gut feelings are often incorrect.

Like, to give you an analogous example: I feel like I am going to die every time I get onto an airplane, but this gut feeling I have is wrong. Maybe I will someday die on an airplane, but if I need to go to Los Angeles for some reason, I am statistically far safer flying than I would be driving, so if one of my big goals is not wanting to die (and it is!) then I should fly, even though I feel less safe than I would if I were driving.

Similarly, you are much more likely to be murdered if you have a gun in your home than if you don’t have a gun in your home. So you may feel more safe, but statistically you are much less safe.

More importantly: Due to Stand Your Ground laws, more people are dying than would otherwise die. We know this with almost total certainty. So even if the Stand Your Ground law were providing your family some protection from a hypothetical home intrusion, I fail to see how this would justify the deaths of hundreds of non-hypothetical human beings. 

And most importantly: The laws we are discussing do not involve the so-called “castle doctrine.” In almost every state in the U.S., it’s legal to shoot someone who has broken into your home. (This may be a bad idea when it comes to minimizing your chance of dying, but it’s not a crime.) The Stand Your Ground laws being publicly debated in the U.S. right now apply to locations outside your home.

Another Man In Florida ‘Stood His Ground’, Chasing and Killing Youth In Hoodie | Political Blind Spo

Another potential “Stand Your Ground” shooting recently occurred in Florida. An Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was allegedly running through (or from, depending on who you ask), his yard. But the young man had not stolen anything, nor broken in to anyone’s home. He was literally just running. He had not threatening anyone, but Claudius Smith nevertheless said that he was afraid that this running youth was a burglar.

That’s when he decided to stalk him, and shoot him. Is this starting to sound familiar?

Smith followed the young man over a fence into a neighboring apartment complex. When police arrived, they found 21-year-old Ricardo Sanes dead in the grass, surrounded by six .45-caliber shell casings.

In a confession documented in the Orlando Police Department report Smith said that he was afraid of his victim “because his pants were falling down”. This, Smith explained, must have meant that the “fleeing” young man was “armed.” The irony that Smith himself was armed, was apparently lost on the shooter.

As well, Smith explained that Sanes “had his hands in the pocket” of his hooded sweatshirt, another piece of attire that Smith said indicated the young man was up to no good.

While the similarities with the killing Trayvon Martin are obvious to most, where this case differs is that Smith has already been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Nevertheless, thisis Florida, and a judge may still grant him “Stand Your Ground” immunity from prosecution. It’s happened before, and you had better believe it can happen again.

(Article by M.B. David; Shante Wooten; and Eli Khalil; image by PBSpot)

Michael Dunn found guilty of first-degree murder in death of unarmed teen Jordan Davis
October 1, 2014

Michael Dunn, the man who shot and killed African-American teen Jordan Davis, was found guilty of first-degree murder in a retrial on Wednesday.

Dunn made national headlines in November 2012 after he approached a vehicle at a Jacksonville gas station that was playing loud rap music. Words were exchanged between Dunn and the teens inside and at some point the 47-year-old pulled out a gun and fired ten shots into the car, mortally wounding Davis, who was unarmed. The gunfire missed the other teens, who were also unarmed.

Dunn claimed he saw someone aim a gun from one of the car’s windows. Police found no weapon at the scene.

Following the shooting, Dunn and his girlfriend drove back to their nearby hotel and ordered pizza. The next day the couple drove 175 miles south of Jacksonville to Dunn’s home where he was later arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.

Dunn also reportedly described the teens he fired on as “thugs” and “gangsters” in his initial conversations with authorities about the incident. 

The case also took on added significance since it came just months after former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Both cases struck racial cords and spurred national protests and added to a string of killings of unarmed black men that prompted dialogue about the often deadly interactions between armed whites and unarmed black men especially.

Last summer Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges related to Martin’s death.

In February of this year, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. However, the judge declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder, which results in a retrial this month. The ruling angered many who saw the case as a slam-dunk, while discouraging others still in shock over the Zimmerman acquittal.

Dunn testified in his own defense, claiming that he feared for his life when he shot at Davis and his fellow passengers.

“He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis,” prosecutor Erin Wolfson told jurors.

During court proceedings this week, Dunn told jurors reiterated what he’d said to law enforcement shortly after the shooting, that he saw a “very angry-looking young man” in the back seat, referring to Davis, who he said then raised a barrel of a gun to the window and threatened to kill him.

“I saw the barrel of a gun. I’m petrified. I’m in fear for my life. This guy just threatened to kill me — and he showed me a gun,” Dunn testified on the witness stand during his retrial, according to reports.

The jury on Wednesday deliberated for less than five hours on Wednesday, a stark contrast from the 30 hours the jury in Dunn’s original trial took to return its decision.

Dunn, 47, already faces at least 60 years in prison for his earlier convictions.

Following the hearing Davis’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucy McBath told reporters that the verdict was not just their family’s victory alone.

“We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon and justice all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice,” Lucy McBath, Jordan’s mother said after the verdict. “And Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan’s justice and Jordan’s legacy.”

“We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others,” McBath said.

Ron Davis said he found solace and reassurance in the verdict.

“I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men and to be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices, stop discriminating, stop looking where we have to look at juries and say what the makeup of juries are,” he said.

The names of both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have been intoned in recent weeks as unrest continues in Ferguson, MO over the cop-killing of black teen Michael Brown.  Like Martin and Davis before him, Brown was unarmed at the time of his killing.

The list of cases involving unarmed young black men killed by white men or law enforcement continues to grow, as do the protests demanding justice in their name.

“All across this nation, every time there is a trial between a victim that is black and someone that shot him that is white, we look at what is the make-up of the jury. Is the black victim going to be represented? Hopefully this is a start where we don’t have to look at the makeup of the jury anymore,” Ron Davis said. “All we can do is look at the case, look at the minds and the souls and the hearts of people, of human beings, not of skin color, but of human beings.” 

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“Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. 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.”

— Is There Racial Bias in “Stand Your Ground” Laws? | Frontline (Photo Credit: the Other 98%)

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.

[video]

Dear White Christians of Florida:

Far be it that I, a white clergyman who is not a lawyer, instruct you as to the illogical nature of your “stand your ground” license to kill but let us note something that is apparent now after two cases where your predominantly white juries could not agree to convict a man who admitted he killed an unarmed teen-ager: if you convict a person for attempting to murder ten teens but fail to convict the killer for actually killing a teen, then you have incentivized killing since, not only on the face of it but in actuality, you have told the person we will not convict you for killing a black, unarmed teen-ager but we will imprison you for attempting it.

The stench from your houses of worship is wafting its way across this country, polluting citizenship, demoralizing parents and families, mocking accountability and blaspheming the Holy God whom you say you love and worship. If that offends you, try reading Amos.

Here is my premise and I dare you to prove me wrong: if white Christians in Florida stood up and cried out for justice, demanding an end to the license-to-kill-stand-your-ground law, it would be rescinded immediately. Where is your conscience? Where is the little light you promised to shine for Christ? You have put it beneath a bushel and suffocated it. You know as well as anyone that teen-agers should not be killed for playing loud music. But then, we all know don’t we, that Jordan Davis was not killed for playing loud music. He was killed for being an uppity black kid who dared to smart off to a drunken white man with a concealed weapon’s permit.

Speak up, for Christ’s sake, for the sake of your conscience and because you know in your heart of hearts that had a black man killed your white son playing music in a car with friends, you probably would not have to be demanding he be tried because a mob of white folks would have administered mob justice. Shame. Shame. Shame!

White Christians of Florida, speak up for justice. Stand up and demand that this license for murder be removed from your books, from your lives. Stop defending it. It is but a few steps removed from lynching. And you recall, do you not, that the center of the Gospels is the story of the passion of our Lord who was lynched by Romans who perceived him as a threat? […]

Speak up for justice. Rescind Stand Your Ground for the blasphemous sham it is. Do it because were the roles reversed, you would want someone to cry out for your murdered child.

In the Name of the Murdered and Risen Christ,

Dr. Michael Bledsoe

— 

Pastor Michael Bledsoe of Riverside Baptist Church, Washington D.C., “Dear White Christians of Florida: An Open Letter

[emphasis added mine]

At least some white people get it.

Repeal Stand Your Ground laws and help bring an end to the brutal, perpetually open season on black children in this country.

Justice for Jordan Davis: Another white killer using ‘Stand Your Ground’ to defend shooting a black teenage boy
October 6, 2013

Florida has another chance to deliver justice to the parents of a slain black boy. The state that faced calls for boycott over the acquittal of George Zimmerman is currently holding pretrial hearings in a similar case.

Nearly a year ago in Jacksonville, Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old white gun collector and software engineer, fired at least eight shots into a carful of teenagers after admonishing them about the volume of their music. Two of those shots hit and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis, an African-American boy.

Dunn, who has two more pretrial hearings next month, is using the Stand Your Ground law in his defense; it’s the same one that Zimmerman, who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin, initially invoked before his trial and subsequent acquittal.

The law was originally crafted by the National Rifle Association and introduced to the  American Legislative Exchange Council, which pushed it as a “model bill” in states around the country. The Florida version of the law passed in 2005. Although the measure allows people to use deadly force if they feel threatened regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene, it provides no clear definition of what constitutes a threat.

What that essentially means is free rein for gun owners to carry their weapons into any situation, shoot and later claim to have felt threatened even in the case of killing someone. This Wild West mentality has proven advantageous for older white gun users like Dunn, who have a greater chance than others of proving homicide justifiable according to studies like  this one.

Dunn said he felt threatened when one of the car’s occupants brandished a shotgun. He fired shots from his 9 mm and then fled the scene. But police found no weapons in Davis’ car or in the surrounding area. Davis’ father, Ron, lamented, “They were just kids. … They have never been in trouble. The kids had no weapon; they had no drugs in the car.”

With killings like those of Martin and Davis causing public uproar, Congress has been compelled to look into Stand Your Ground laws. In fact, a Senate hearing on the laws would have taken place last week but was postponed due to the Washington Navy Yard shooting. The hearing had been slated to feature testimony from Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Davis’ mother Lucia McBath.

In lieu of the Senate hearing, McBath agreed to appear on “Uprising” for an interview. As a mother of two boys myself, I asked McBath to tell me about the child she had lost.

“Jordan was the life of the party,” she began. “He had lots and lots of friends. People seemed to gravitate toward him. He used to bring everybody together. I figured that when he became a man he would become a social organizer or activist or an attorney or would live out his life doing something bringing people together.”

There are differences between the shootings of Martin and Davis. In Davis’ case, there were plenty of witnesses to the shooting, and there was no physical contact between the shooter and the victim. However, as McBath points out, both involved “black young males, unarmed, being shot down.”

McBath believes the Stand Your Ground laws need to be closely examined. “You don’t have to prove you were threatened,” she noted. “The ludicrous thing about these laws is that you only have to prove that you believed you were being threatened.”

The combination of Stand Your Ground laws and pervasive societal stereotypes of black men seems to have extended the impunity previously reserved for cops, to would-be cops and vigilantes. Nation magazine journalist Mychal Denzel Smith, who has been covering the Davis case, told me just weeks after the killing last year, “I can’t imagine any scenario where Michael Dunn would have felt justified in using such deadly force against a group of white teenagers in the same situation. I just can’t fathom that.” He added that the Stand Your Ground laws are easy to invoke in a society where “the image that we have of black manhood and black teens is as ‘naturally violent.’ ”

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