According to Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, “conservative, right-wing policies” are to blame for the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin, not the Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer who admitted pulling the trigger.
“The same folks who want to kill workers’ rights in the work place are the same folks who want to kill voters’ votes … and now they are literally supporting legislation that is literally killing our children,” she told the Daily Caller.
The policy Baker refers to is Florida’s “stand your ground” law that gives individuals the right to defend themselves if they feel their life is in imminent danger.
“When you look at whose behind it, you find that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a very conservative think tank comprised of corporations and very conservative representatives at the state level are behind this,” Baker added.
But the Daily Caller found that the law was also supported by Democrats at the time it was passed:
Kaitlyn Buss, the Director of Communications at ALEC told theDC that “the Stand Your Ground legislation passed unanimously in the Florida senate in 2005, backed by all Democrats except one who abstained and was not the product of an overall Right-Wing agenda, as the AFL-CIO has claimed.”
“It is disturbing to watch some groups try to turn this tragedy into political gain for issues having nothing to do with Trayvon Martin or the truth. Blaming those who were not involved in this tragic event – or the laws that might apply to it – will not serve the cause of justice,” she said.
“This dishonest dialogue is political opportunism at its worst,” Buss added.
Since the shooting, the law has come under intense nationwide scrutiny. Martin’s parents were invited to speak to a Congressional panel consisting primarily of minority members of the House, Roll Call reported:
According to a report by the Huffington Post, the parents of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin will attend a special forum hosted by Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) on Tuesday. The forum, which will also include other members of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as other minority Members of Congress, will look into not only Martin’s death but also racial profiling and federal hate crime laws.
The forum will also discuss Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, a controversial measure that allows armed civilians to use deadly force when they feel they are in danger of imminent — but not necessarily lethal — harm, rather than attempting to flee.
But does the law allow someone to kill indiscriminately as Baker suggests?
Florida state Representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), a co-sponsor of the 2005 law, recently told NPR that nothing in the statute allows a person to pursue or confront other people.
“If anything,” he said, “this law would have protected the victim in this case; it could have.”
He also took issue issue with critics he said have not read the bill or the legislative analysis of it.
Neal Conan of NPR admitted that “we still don’t know exactly what happened when George Zimmerman shot and killed” Trayvon Martin. According to at least one eyewitness, Zimmerman was being beaten by Martin at the time of the shooting.
Baxley, who said he gets thanked almost “every week” for passing the law, explained that it applies “when an individual law-abiding citizen was the subject and the victim of a violent attack.”
Video of Baker’s comments can be seen at the Daily Caller.
More on the Trayvon Martin case at nextooze.com here.
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