Trayvon Martin: the “Hypothetical” who shouldn’t have become real

NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer on the concerns raised about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law, 5/12/2005: We saw a parade of hypotheticals by those who opposed this… What’s important is the message it sends, and that’s, ‘don’t attack me.’

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One of the things I remember vividly about the advent of the Reagan era, was the extent to which liberals and other nay-sayers predicted the consequences of massive cuts to the social safety net. We were, of course, dismissed by Reagan followers as a bunch of wacky hysterics. Why, we were told, once the poor realized the government wasn’t going to step in and help, they’d all pull up their socks and get jobs and start supporting themselves! Just wait and see!

In fact, what happened was that the poverty became worse and much more visible, homelessness endemic.

Not, of course, that that mattered to the Reagan fans – or at least, those Reagan fans who didn’t end up living on the streets.

And now we have the demonstration of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” gun law, in which an unarmed teenager walking home from the store was hunted down and shot to death by a Charles Bronson wannabe. Media Matters has done a fine job of collecting quotes from prosecutors that show how horribly predictable this was. The most telling is from just a month ago by former Florida prosecutor David Frankel, who said:

It is an abomination… The ultimate intent might be good, but in practice, people take the opportunity to shoot first and say later they had a justification. It almost gives them a free pass to shoot.

This right wing habit of dismissing “hypotheticals” in the context of a policy discussion is mystifying. Surely the possible – the “hypothetical” consequences of a law are worth discussing?

Hey, Marion Hammer, message received.

Hope you like it.

1 comment

  1. Pamela says:

    Voice of a Southern Legacy — comment sent to me via email:

    I am a heavy Southern legacy, yes and maybe this prompts me to give voice
    sharply (and vent) to the recent killing (murder) of Trayvon Martin.

    Two decades ago I shared with a friend the weight I carried in Southern
    legacy. My friend was an intelligent and much respected black matriarch in North
    Carolina. She grew up in Meridien, Mississippi and until she ran away from the
    abuses of the segregated South, she suffered inhumane treatment. I listened to
    her stories and I grieved. The wrongs of my ancesotrs is an inherited guilt
    for me to carry all of my life. For all of my life I must live w/the racism
    that found a familiar home in the veins of my family. I can’t correct the sins
    of my fathers but every day I can step forward in support of all minorities
    that continue in our time to be abused and mistreated.

    This most recent killing of a black young man grieves me deeply. I am in
    the last decades of my life and there continues still the stupidity and hatred
    of racism as well as (appallingly) the complacency of socity and our law
    enforcement and to look the other way. Women, blacks, immigrants, those without
    power or fortune are disregarded and/or abused and arelabeled
    silently second-rate citizens.

    It would be a stretch to suggest that this young man challenged an adult
    with a gun, regardless of circumstances or verbal exchange. Stupidity and
    racism killed the youth and while investigations are assured the public (and the
    boy’s family), there remains in reality no justice as long as racism thrives as
    it does in this nation.