O'CONNELL: Eric Holder uses Trayvon Martin to attack the 2nd Amendment

Attorney General Eric Holder uses the Trayvon Martin tragedy to reinvigorate the gun control debate.
Photo: AP Photo

LOS ANGELES, July 19, 2013 — Attorney General Eric Holder used his powers as attorney general to fan the flames of racial tension before and in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial. His purpose is twofold: to distract from his own scandalous Department of Justice, and to erode the Second Amendment. To Holder, “Justice for Trayvon” is simply a smokescreen to limit gun rights.

Holder showed his hand on Tuesday in a speech to the NAACP: “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 – if no safe retreat is available.”


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Stand Your Ground was no part of George Zimmerman’s trial defense. In April, Zimmerman’s attorneys waived a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing. Judge Debra Nelson instructed the jury to consider this law during their deliberations. Reintroducing it points to a naked grasping on the part of the Florida State prosecution, but we now know it was also part of the DOJ’s insidious agenda.

With the failure of the Manchin-Toomey bill in April, the Obama administration is still intent on limiting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans by any means necessary. So why not use a case that was essentially a local matter and with the help of a complicit news media, blow it out of proportion through alleged racial profiling and hyperbole?

With Zimmerman’s acquittal, pressure from so-called civil rights activists like Al Sharpton has placed Stand Your Ground under even greater scrutiny. Many on the left are touting this law as a “backward Southern” thing, but ProPublica.org lists 24 other states that have similar laws. Among them are Illinois, Oregon, Arizona, and New Hampshire; none of these right-leaning by a long shot. Just how is the Stand Your Ground law sowing “dangerous conflicts in our neighborhoods,” as Atty Gen. Holder surmises?

Take Chicago as an example. The conflicts “in our neighborhoods” are generally centered around black-on-black crime and gang violence with illegally-gotten guns. The city of Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet has seen over 400 homicides in 2012, and does not appear to be slowing down.


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Stand Your Ground laws are not the source of conflict in the inner cities of Chicago. Maybe if Chicagoans were legally armed, there would be half the gun violence that exists there today.

Travel due north to the now-bankrupt Detroit, and they are running neck-and-neck with Chicago in terms of gun deaths, also reporting more than 400 murders in 2012. It is the same scenario: inner-city drug and gang violence with blacks in the crossfire.  

These are every day occurrences in cities where liberal laws and policies rule the day, and where the strictest gun laws are supposedly enforced. Yet these same cities are the poster children for gun violence, with victims of this violence disproportionately black.

Instead of focusing attention on the flood of illegal guns and gang activity that are part-and-parcel of this violence and perhaps calling out the cultural and social issues that feed into this, the DOJ and Obama administration jump on one-off tragedies that they can exploit for their agenda: James Holmes shooting up a theater in Aurora, Colo., the Sandy Hook massacre, and now the tragic case of Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

We have seen with both Holder and the Obama administration that laws and the Constitution are useful only when they fit their viewpoint. When individual citizens actually exercise the laws in order to protect their civil liberties, then it’s a problem.

The scrutiny on the Stand Your Ground law has also resulted in the usual hue and cry against the NRA, which has championed such laws for years. The organization responded thusly, “The attorney general fails to understand that self-defense is not a concept, it’s a fundamental human right,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “To send a message that legitimate self-defense is to blame is unconscionable, and demonstrates once again that this administration will exploit tragedies to push their political agenda.”

Former presidential chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Attorney General Eric Holder will play this to the hilt. Meanwhile, Blacks will continue to kill each other at a higher rate than Aurora, Sandy Hook, or a hundred George Zimmermans.


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Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is the "In My Orbit" columnist for Washington Times Communities, writes on Los Angeles Faith and Community for Examiner.com, teaches Yoga, and coaches on careers and reinvention.

You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website: (http://asthegirlturns.com).

Contact Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

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