Tag Archive: Gun Control


imageNRA General Counsel Bob Dowlut has been a key architect of the gun lobby’s campaign to basically get as many guns into the hands of ‘Good Guys’ as possible. He helped oversee the NRA’s effort to strike down Chicago’s handgun ban, is the longtime secretary of the organization’s Civil Rights Defense Fund which spends millions assisting gun owners in court. His journal articles have been cited by federal judges and are quoted by pro-gun activists.

So what’s the problem? Well, Dowlut himself killed a woman with a firearm.

As Mother Jones reporter Dave Gilson wrote:

“Two days prior to Dowlut’s confession, Anna Marie Yocum was murdered. She was shot three times, once through the chest and twice in the back, likely at close range as she’d either fled or fallen down the stairs. Two .45-caliber bullets pierced her heart. And after several days of interrogation, Dowlut confessed, led police to the weapon, recovered the weapon and matched the bullets from the victim.”

Prosecutors tried and convicted Dowlut. After serving serving six years of a life sentence, Indiana Supreme Court found police overzealously violated Dowlut’s constitutional rights during the confession. Hence, police denied Dowlut a lawyer despite multiple requests.

Dowlut moves forward in his life, receiving a law degree and becoming the NRA’s General Counsel.

I find it strange how the NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre actually has the gaul to say “put more guns in the hands of good guys,” when Dowlut in fact appears to be one of them ‘bad guys.

Life is stranger than fiction.

As Mr. Gilson’s so eloquently poses: “Was Dowlut railroaded or is he a ‘Bad guy with a gun?” Some will claim Dowlut turned his life around, became a model citizen and advocate. And all that may be true. But what of the question I ask, “How about Anna Marie Yocum? How would she feel?” Oh yeah, she’s dead.

Martin Luther King noted:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”

imagesI spent the last several days debating whether to weigh in on the Trayvon Martin case and prosecution of George Zimmerman. Obviously, there has been tremendous thought, commentary and diarrhea of the mouth.

From a commentary perspective, it’s clearly apparent the prosecution failed to prove their case.  In fact, prosecution witnesses actually assisted the defense and the defense did not have to have George Zimmerman testify. Witnesses were extremely pathetic by comparison; seemed ill prepared, performed badly and allowed the victim to become the aggressor.

While I cannot fathom shooting Trayvon Martin, I’m totally dumb founded by the race allegations against George Zimmerman. True Trayvon Martin was killed after an altercation initiated by an armed man who stereotyped. As if it made a difference, after Mr. Martin’s death, many either tried to portray Zimmerman as Hispanic, White or White-Hispanic. Unfortunately, the FBI has been unable to confirm any accounts that Zimmerman exhibited racial bias. In fact, Sanford Police Detectives told FBI agents that there had been several burglaries in the area and that gang members in the community “typically dressed in black and wore hoodies.”

People incorrectly compared Trayvon Martin to Rodney King. But there’s several major differences. First, the Rodney King beating was videotaped. There is no such video in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin assault and murder.  Secondly, Rodney King’s arresting officers were charged with using or permitting unreasonable force under “color of law,” which applies only to law enforcement.

On the emotional side, the Martin family attorney said the slain teenager would be remembered alongside civil rights figures Medgar Evers and Emmett Till. While I abhor Trayvon Martin’s death, Mr. Martin was no Medgar Evers. Evers was a NAACP civil rights activist assassinated in 1963 and Till was a 14-year-old black boy brutally murdered after supposedly flirting with a white woman. While all tragic deaths, I’ve seen nothing indicating Martin matched either. But Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die either.

This leaves the protest, with a few even burning the U.S. flag. MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry nearly broke down in tears describing her reaction to the Zimmerman verdict. Al Sharpton became both activist and anchor by claiming there were grounds for civil rights charges. NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock tweeted “Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family.” Several hundred gathered in downtown Seattle to rally, holding signs, with some chanting, “We are all Trayvon.”

In truth, the sign should have read, “We are all Trayvon and we are all Zimmerman. If you want to hold someone accountable for Mr. Martin’s death, then look in the mirror. We may not have pulled the trigger that killed Martin, but each and every one of us contributed significantly. How so?

First, the “Stand Your Ground” law that initially kept Zimmerman from being arrested is still the subject of much controversy. Florida’s law became the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “model bill” that has been introduced in dozens of other states. As the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has reported, the bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the measure, while law enforcement opposed it. Defenders cited the 2004 case of James Workman, who shot an intruder and had to wait months before prosecutors decided his case self-defense. Opponents worried the law would encourage the use of deadly force. With the help of a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), more than 30 states have passed some version of the stand your ground law. All of us allowed our legislatures pass these laws.

Secondly, more than 100,000 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, accidents, or by police intervention each year. Roughly 18,185 people have died from gun violence since the Newtown shootings. Every day, 50 children and teens are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, accidents, and police intervention.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen any nationwide protests for any of those 18,250 or so children.

Lastly, Joe Nocera’s column on the Weekend Gun Report summarizes it all. Here’s a sample:

  • A 10-year-old boy was among those injured in a shooting at a Long Beach, Calif., gas station Saturday evening. Surveillance footage showed four men running through a gas station around 8 p.m. when shots struck the 10-year-old boy sitting in his parent’s SUV. Another bystander was hit by the crossfire; his injuries were non-life threatening.
  • A man and a 17-year-old girl were hospitalized after being wounded in a suspected drive-by shooting on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois.
  • At least four people were shot – 1 fatally, 3 critically – outside a home in the Kelvyn Park neighborhood of Chicago.
  • A 15-year-old boy was shot in the West Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
  • A 24-year-old man with gang affiliations is in critical condition after a shooting in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago early Friday.
  • A man was shot several times and found lying in the road in a mobile home park on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio.
  • D’Maris Glover, 15, who was shot near the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio and died of his injuries.
  • A 7-year-old was shot and wounded in Santa Ana, Calif., late Saturday after his father’s car was targeted by a gunman.

Yes, racism exists. Racism is ugly, mean and repugnant. But George Zimmerman had a gun and the state of Florida allowed him to carry. Citizens of the State of Florida allowed these laws to move forward. And contrary to all other opinion, we, as a society are responsible for not properly regulating who can carry and operate these weapons. Yes, George Zimmerman pulled the trigger that killed Trayvon Martin. But we as a society gave Mr. Zimmerman the tools that lead to this unnecessary and needless death.  Without the weapon, without the “Stand Your Ground Law,” the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman altercation would have remained an ugly fight.

It’s our job to protect the Trayvon Martin’s of the world. In the end, my inaction assisted in killing Trayvon Martin. And so did yours. We need to protest against ourselves.

%d bloggers like this: