Holder on Stand Your Ground laws

Attorney General Eric Holder addressed Stand Your Ground laws in his remarks to the NAACP convention.  Here is the core of his position:

Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if — and the “if” is important — no safe retreat is available.

But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.  By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.  The list of resulting tragedies is long and — unfortunately — has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation — we must stand our ground — to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.

We must also seek a dialogue on attitudes about violence and disparities that are too commonly swept under the rug — by honoring the finest traditions established by generations of NAACP leaders and other nonviolent advocates throughout history; and by paying tribute to the young man who lost his life here last year — and so many others whose futures have been cut short in other incidents of gun violence that pass, too often unnoticed, in our streets: by engaging with one another in a way that is at once peaceful, inclusive, respectful — and strong.

As we move forward together, I want to assure you that the Department will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law.  We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that — in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community — justice must be done.

2 thoughts on “Holder on Stand Your Ground laws

  1. Here are questions for those troubled by the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Were you equally troubled by the acquittal of O J Simpson in trial for murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, both white, against amazing evidence, a jury decision based on racial bias? Were you troubled by public displays of jubilation by black people in celebration of the acquittal as two children were left motherless and parents of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman were left with pain of loss? Are you troubled by murder of black youth in the thousands each year, nearly all of which are at the hands of other blacks, many of which of are not prosecuted because of claims of self defense? Where is the media in this? Where are the drama experts?

    It is a matter of sadness to observe that much of the drama resulting from the George Zimmerman trial was media driven and seized by those with an agenda who are using it as a tool.

    Many of our societal problems are traceable to social welfare programs initiated by Lyndon Johnson, which made it economically feasible for females to conceive and raise children without assistance of a committed father, conditions tragic for society. Government and other research show that about 70% of black babies and over 30% of white babies are born without the benefit of marriage and support and training by a father. Boys especially need guidance of a father to get through the difficult teenage years and become responsible, functional adults.

    Black Americans Bill Cosby, Walter Williams and others have lamented the deplorable condition of black education. With school drop out rate of 50%, even most who do graduate from high school can barely read and write and are poorly prepared to function and compete in society. Anyone interested in public school education should watch the documentary THE CARTEL, available from Netflix online or DVD and available from other sources.

    Those who push for more and more government welfare programs seem incapable of recognizing that programs that relieve people of personal responsibility have destructive consequences.

  2. Gene:
    I’m not sure what any of this has to do with stand your ground laws. Gun violence in poor Black neighborhoods is a vital concern to the Black community and there are entire websites devoted to the subject in cities like Chicago where the problem is especially severe. Obviously, the same yardstick needs to be applied in all communities, which is what Holder is saying. The best treatment of gun violence in poor neighborhoods I have come across is the work of David Kennedy. You can find my summary of his views here: https://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/david-kennedy-how-to-stop-the-killing/

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