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Friday, February 22, 2013

Griper Blade: America's Current Mass-Murder Prevention Method -- Luck

As so often happens with mass killings in America, time moves on and a horrible crime is forgotten. Maybe it's that there are just so many that it's impossible to keep track of them all, maybe we mentally block it out to keep ourselves from realizing the entire country's a war zone, or maybe we're just so damned tired of it all that we just want to stop thinking about. For whatever reason, a racist 2012 shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma that left three black men dead and two wounded doesn't come up when we talk about mass killings in America. And that's a pity -- not only because the victims deserve to be remembered, but because the case is just so damned instructive. Especially when we look at what set off the gunmen -- Jake England and Alvin Watts -- on their rampage.
The Tulsa shooting spree took place around the second anniversary of England's father's shooting death. The man who shot his father is Pernell Demond Jefferson, who is black. England and Watts are described by authorities as white. England has Cherokee ancestry. Jefferson is expected to stand trial for charges of attempted first-degree burglary and illegal possession of a firearm in connection with the incident. But he will not face murder charges because England's death was ruled a justifiable homicide by prosecutors under Oklahoma's "stand your ground" law.
So the "shoot first" legalized murder law is what started this whole thing. A "tough on crime" measure that -- like most "tough on crime" measures -- is simpleminded and poorly thought out and designed only to bring votes to fearmongers and demagogues, while selling guns for the special interests they represent. No one should be able to deliberately shoot and kill someone else, only to avoid trial in that killing. That's not how the justice system works. Self-defense is a legitimate and legal reason to commit homicide. If you killed someone because you had to, that should stand up in court. Instead, Oklahoma -- like too many states -- has this idiotic law that allows killers to just walk away, never resolving the issue or airing out the evidence. It just allows grudges to fester, fueled by the complete ignorance that comes from being denied a public hearing of the facts. I'm not excusing England or Watts, I'm just pointing out that Oklahoma's idiotic "stand your ground" law is more likely to make sick jerks like them even sicker. And it obviously made the community of Tulsa more dangerous, not safer. But if "stand your ground" laws make people less safe, then a more recent case in Michigan proves that universal background checks increase public safety...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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