Stepping back from the specifics/justice questions of the Zimmerman-Martin case for a minute can we take a look at the logical takeaways?
One consistent story of the last few years is the push by the NRA and allies to allow Open Carry everywhere. Whether that be bars, college campuses, National Forests, a D.C. that previously had banned almost all handgun possession the consistent position of Gun Rights advocates is that the 2nd Amendment is essentially absolute, that is not only is bearing arms a ‘could’ right almost everywhere but indeed in many places (like elementary schools) a ‘should’ right and responsibility and in at least one town in Georgia an attempted ‘must’ duty (every household with few exceptions required to have a gun). On an equal track with Open Carry is a drive to extend the right to Concealed Carry almost everywhere as well, for example the 2nd Amendment folk are this week cheering the fact that Illinois became the last State in the U.S. to allow it.
A second story, and one dramatically illustrated with the Zimmerman-Martin case, is the drive to extend the right of Self Defense quite beyond the long standing Castle Doctrine, the right to defend your home and family with deadly force against intruders, to a general Fear of Your Life Doctrine. Now almost any cop will tell you (and I have been in seminars where cops DID tell us) that in cases where the presumed victim of a crime exercises deadly force against the attacker that the 2nd best response to the arriving cops is “I was in fear for my life” (the 1st best response being of course “I want to talk to my attorney”). But it would appear that under at least Florida law the circumstances leading up to that ‘Fear’ moment hardly matter at all. Instead if for any reason you feel at legitimate fear for your life at THAT moment, no matter what events led up to it, you can defend yourself with deadly force.
Well okay, there is a logic to all that. Not one I share not least because it depends on an oft expressed but in the real world fallacy that “An armed society is a polite society”. Well no, a lot of people who carry guns not only have anger issues but are willing to take them out on just about anyone. But leaving that aside, lets just give the NRA those first arguments.
What then is the logic of supporting Stop and Frisk? I mean if you legitimately believe in striking down all laws against Open or Concealed Carry and are willing to use Congress and the Courts to enforce that on jurisdictions like DC that don’t agree, then surely you agree that New York’s Sullivan Act and all subsequent legislation controlling the possession and carrying of hand guns and presumedly other hand weapons are unconstitutional then you should be opposed to any public safety measure that involves random searches for those weapons. Which is the openly claimed justification for Stop and Frisk, nobody openly claims that the Cops have a right to search everyone’s pockets for a random doobie, even if they can arrest you if they find one during the Stop and Frisk, instead the clear justification is public safety and focuses clearly on concealed weapons. But if the NRA is up at arms about this it somehow got past me, somehow this crackdown on the Second Amendment in certain areas of NYC is not objectionable at all.
Which leads me to the New Black Panther Party. Some years back some chuckleheads decided to put on their NBPP black uniforms and station themselves outside a voting precinct in Philadelphia, one ‘armed’ with a night stick. Now despite the fact that this was a predominantly black precinct and nobody actually resident there seemed to pay it any mind, this was immediately picked up by Right leaning media as a clear attempt at nation wide voter intimidation aimed at White people and one that needed immediate investigation by the Justice Department. Against a guy carrying a stick and wearing a wannabee revolutionary uniform. Yet these same people nod approvingly when other people wearing even more military style uniforms (generally camo) insist on THEIR right to carry semi-automatic rifles openly everywhere they want without restriction.
Now there must be some logic underneath the belief that all laws against Open and Concealed Carry are prima facie likely Constitutional violations and the simultaneous belief that a guy with a stick in Philadelphia is an existential threat against American voting rights. I can’t quite grasp that logic myself but I am sure that to holders of its conclusion the rationale is as clear as black and white.
Any help here?