It is puzzling. Republican and former presidential opponent John McCain publicly pledged his support for President Obama’s questioning of the suddenly controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws across many states in America. Of course, this all stems from the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman incident last year, and the hotly contested trial that in no way, shape, or form had anything at all to do with the “Stand Your Ground” law. But it’s close, and that’s all our “two-party” system needs to start pushing its agenda hard.
It’s ironic, or at least it would be if it weren’t completely predictable. Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything. They can’t work together to do anything about debt ceilings, the national deficit, the healthcare plans, Social Security, or the student loan crisis. Deadlocked! Out of luck. Try again next time. But by God, they do agree on some things. What are they? Well, here lately, they agree that Edward Snowden, the now infamous “enemy combatant” that revealed that the United States government is totally spying on everyone whether its legal or not (and not just in America) is a traitor of the highest order. They also agree on a new one: that “Stand Your Ground” should be changed to “Run Like a b**tch.”
Sure, you can see the parallels here. It works two ways. One, could Zimmerman have escaped his situation without killing Trayvon Martin? Probably. Although if he was being pummeled into the concrete sidewalk as the story goes, it might be questionable. In any case, turn it the other way. Could Trayvon Martin have shot Zimmerman just because he felt threatened (as President Obama pointed out)? Would we be okay with that result?
Common sense intervenes here. That scenario is simple. If Martin had a gun and shot Zimmerman just because he was following him, that would be a clear case of second-degree murder. Why is it different? Well, it all boils down to physical assault. If Zimmerman attempted to lay hands on Trayvon, then it’s open season. Up until then, it’s murder. That is what allowed Zimmerman to walk. So, it boils down to self-defense. Nothing about standing your ground. But for their own petty reasons, the government (and by that, we mean both Republicans and Democrats) is jumping all over these laws knowing that the African American community is mad enough about the whole situation to support a change, and the white (Caucasian) community is not sure what to do so they’ll probably just go with it. Checkmate.
But why? Why now? Why does it matter? That’s an easy one. What is the “Stand Your Ground” law? Simple. It means that if you are in a position where you are defending yourself from an aggressor, you can use reasonable force to do so with no legal expectation that you run or retreat in any way, shape, or form. The most famous application of the law is the concept of being able to basically shoot first and ask questions later if someone breaks into your home. However, Zimmerman’s fiasco took it to the streets, and even though he did not claim this as a defense in his trial, it’s coming up nonetheless because the big bad government wants to see those laws take a hike.
That’s an easy one.
Think about when martial law was declared in Boston in the aftermath of the marathon bombings. The military was parading around the streets as the manhunt was on. What if they bust into your home, weapons out? “Stand Your Ground” says you can shoot them right then and there. A big problem for those that wish to make that kind of behavior commonplace.
Make no mistake. Our politicians can put aside their petty differences when the real agenda comes into focus. McCain is playing the game. Barack Obama is playing the game. This is what they’ve been waiting for, and they are not about to let the opportunity pass them by.
Stand your ground leaves too many opportunities for ordinary citizens to defend themselves and not be locked up as a result of it. And it has absolutely nothing to do with Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, or John McCain. It has to do with the future of the United States of America and they are closer to achieving their vision than you might think.