NRA dreams come true

NRA dreams come true

by digby

So it turns out that Treyvan Martin was talking to a friend while being followed by the neighborhood watch guy:

The pair's phone logs, obtained by ABC News, show they spoke just five minutes before police responded to reports of a shooting at the gated community in Sanford, Fla.

Recounting her conversation with Martin, the teen girl said, "He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man."

"I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run," she said.

After a few minutes, the girl said, Martin thought he was safe. But eventually the man appeared again.

"Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for?'" the girl said. "And the man said, 'What are you doing here?' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the [phone’s\] headset just fell."

The line went dead, the girl said.

"I called him again and he didn't answer the phone," she said.

So it would seem that the teen-ager was the one who was afraid. And rightly so as it turns out.

He didn't run, and for good reason. If he had, he would have been considered a "fleeing suspect" and could have gotten shot. Of course, under Florida's lunatic gun laws, if he stood his ground, he could still get shot. Indeed, under these laws, the only person who has any rights is the one with the gun. And that person is evidently entitled to stalk, chase and shoot unarmed strangers and call it self defense.

I was talking about this this morning and someone said that "they" were going to have to change these laws. And I realized once again how sick our society has become --- those are NRA laws and thus inviolable. I honestly cannot picture how it's even possible for them to be changed short of a massive uprising by tens of millions of middle class working Americans. The NRA is holding the government hostage and its now completely ineffectual at dealing with gun violence.

Update: this timeline explainer from Mother Jones is indispensable if you want to understand the case and the context for these laws. This is one example of how the law works:

Many readers have asked whether, given the 911 recordings, a case against Zimmerman would be easier than most homicides in which "self-defense" is cited by a defendant. In Florida, the answer probably is no: The courts' interpretation of the stand-your-ground law has been extremely broad—so broad that, to win an acquittal, a defendant doesn't even have to prove self-defense, only argue for it, while to win a conviction the prosecution has to prove that self-defense was impossible.

Numerous cases have set the precedent in Florida, with the courts arguing that the law "does not require defendant to prove self-defense to any standard measuring assurance of truth, exigency, near certainty, or even mere probability; defendant's only burden is to offer facts from which his resort to force could have been reasonable." When a defendant claims self-defense, "the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense." In other words the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt never shifts from the prosecution, so it's surprisingly easy to evade prosecution by claiming self-defense.

This has led to some stunning verdicts in the state. In Tallahassee in 2008, two rival gangs engaged in a neighborhood shootout, and a 15-year-old African American male was killed in the crossfire. The three defendants all either were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, because the defense successfully argued they were defending themselves under the "stand your ground" law. The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, was beside himself. "Basically this law has put us in the posture that our citizens can go out into the streets and have a gun fight and the dead person is buried and the survivor of the gun fight is immune from prosecution," he said at the time.

According to the NRA the constitution only protects people who have guns, not those who don't. It's really that simple.