‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Leads To Shooting Rampage In Oklahoma

Two Tulsa, Oklahoma men, Jacob England, 19 and Alvin Watts, 32, have been charged with multiple counts of murder, attempted murder and illegal weapons possession following an apparently racially motivated shooting rampage Friday night inside an African American community. Three people are dead and two are injured.

From Raw Story:

It’s not yet clear what their motive was for the rampage, but England’s father was shot and killed by a black man in 2010. Just one day before the shootings, and on the second anniversary of his father’s death, England published a racially fueled screed online admitting, “it’s hard not to go off.”

The man who shot England’s father was ultimately not charged with the shooting under a “Stand Your Ground” law which permits lethal force in cases of self defense. He did however face several other charges and was sentenced to six years in prison.

The defense that is being used by George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin is also the “Stand Your Ground” law, but Zimmerman, unlike the man who shot England’s father, has not been arrested.

It’s becoming increasingly more obvious that we do not live in a post-racial society. For many of us who grew up in the post-civil rights era, the recent attempt at mainstreaming racism is both shocking and frankly, frightening.

Leaders on the right do what leaders on the right have done for centuries, they encourage racism. As long as we, as a populous, are divided into arbitrary groups pitted against each other, they can distract us from the fact that they, the people in charge, are stealing our livelihoods. As a political tactic, divide and conquer is as old as the Bible. Unfortunately, it still works.

There are those who believe that pressing “one” for English has more impact on their lives than the fact that our jobs are being outsourced to Southeast Asia. There are those who believe that the fact that a poor person has a flat screen TV or a refrigerator is more sinister than the fact that their company’s CEO is hoarding all the employees’ raises. There are those who believe that the poor having healthcare will inconvenience them more than their own insurance company denying them coverage for legitimate illnesses. There are those who believe that because their bike was stolen, it’s okay to hate everyone who shares a certain skin tone. There are those who believe that because someone was killed by a person who happened to be African-American, all African-Americans should pay.

The right-wing spin has already begun on the Oklahoma shooters. It can’t be racially motivated, they say, because England is Cherokee Indian. They ignore the fact that Watts, the elder of the two, is by all accounts, Caucasian. Ironically, this blog seems to be complaining that police could racially profile white people, based on that shooting which racially profiled black people.

Perhaps we are all missing the bigger picture. While there is absolutely zero doubt that racism is a serious problem in this country, one that can’t be ignored, perhaps we should focus on the tangible, the gun laws that allow people to kill anyone who simply seems scary.

As long as there are laws in place that allow those that are fearful of their fellow human beings to be armed and shoot without question, there will be needless murders of fellow human beings. It’s really that simple.

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