Thursday, April 5, 2012

Regarding Sanford

When I posted "My take on Sanford" last month, I spoke too soon. In fact, my speculation about what transpired on the night of February 26th may well have been dead wrong.

I should've known better.

New information about the incident comes to light every day -- some of it's factual, some of it's legal posturing and some of it's reflexive rhetoric from the usual suspects.

The matter is in the hands of investigators. Soon it'll be presented to a grand jury and, potentially, to a trial jury. That's where it will be (and should be) decided.

I did get one thing right -- I don't believe I've ever seen such an intense siege on our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and on our human right to self-defense. Coverage of the shooting has given little time or credence to that side of the story.

All-star status (and not in a good way) goes to CNN's Piers Morgan. Not only has he followed the easy recipe, he's repeatedly spiked the punch with his British slant:
"My view from the start has been, it seems incomprehensible to me under any form of stand-your-ground law -- or any absurd law as I view it -- that somebody could shoot somebody who turned out to be unarmed and not even being arrested on the night. In Britain where I come from, that would cause a sensation the likes of which our justice system has never seen before."

"As far as British law is concerned, if this had happened in Britain, there would be no stand-your-ground defense and he would have been arrested. I'm more comfortable with the way we do things."
Last night, at least, he solicited the perspective of one Ted Nugent. Here's the complete transcript of their exchange:
MORGAN: The rally to bring justice to Trayvon Martin. The tragedy brings out a lot of emotions and everyone has an opinion on the shooting, including my next guest, Ted Nugent. Everyone knows he never holds back. And I thank him for joining me tonight. Ted, welcome back.

Last time, we were having a fairly jocular debate about all this. But this is a bit too serious for that. You've heard the attorneys on both sides there. What do you make of this case in its entirety?

NUGENT: Well, first of all, thanks for going after this very tragic situation, Piers. And thank you for having me on. But let me clarify one thing, very, very important, that you alluded to earlier in your program, that you believe that the vast majority of Americans want Zimmerman arrested.

Let me tell you what the vast majority of Americans want. We're saying prayers for the Martin family and all those other black youths that are slaughtered every week. Those are the people that we constantly cry out for.

So be very careful what you assume. Those of us that love life and respect life, we don't see any color. But we wonder where the outcry is when every week these youths are slaughtered across the streets of America. So that's the most important statement I want to make right here.

MORGAN: But, I mean, look, there are always, with all these cases, innumerable other cases that can be thrown in as why don't you care as much about that? The reality of this case is that, I believe, it's popped in America as a big cause because of the precise nature of what happened after Trayvon Martin was killed.

That is this particularly extreme version of stand-your-ground. You have to use that phrase, because it is in Florida. It's particularly wide-ranging. And it has allowed a situation where somebody can shoot an unarmed teenager and actually be allowed to go home that night without even being arrested.

That's why I understand people feeling exercised about why he wasn't arrested on the night. Shouldn't he have been? Even for someone like you, that believes in right to bear arms and guns and everything else, shouldn't he have been arrested?

NUGENT: You saw the tape. I saw the tape where he was handcuffed, Piers. That's arrested. He was arrested. He was questioned. The stand-your-ground law does have specific ramifications.

But I also want to clarify something else, that really you should be ashamed of, that you said earlier. You don't believe that a person should be able to stand your ground. And you referenced your homelands of England, where if someone invades your home, an English homeowner, by law, has to retreat.

Piers, I offer to you that that's anti-human, that that disrespects the gift of life, and it actually encourages recidivist criminal behavior by sending out a message that we're not going to stand our ground; we're going to retreat.

Piers, you're in America now. And in America, we have a Second Amendment right. And we value life more than sheep do. And we don't back down. So the stand-your-ground law is common sense. It's logical. And it's the right thing to do.

MORGAN: Right. I mean, American has 270 million guns, by common estimation. Britain, I think, has about two million.

NUGENT: I think more than that.

MORGAN: Well, maybe more than that. OK. The last record said 9,484 homicides involving guns in the last year that was recorded. Britain had 68. I suppose my point is this, is that I don't defend all the laws in Britain. Many of them are ridiculous. I don't defend all the laws in America or attack all the laws. Some, to me, seem ridiculous. Others seem perfectly fair and balanced.

It's a great country with a great legal system in many ways. I don't denigrate America with this. But on the stand-your-ground law, in particular, it seems to me unbelievable that a young, unarmed teenager in America today can actually be shot dead for possession of a bag of Skittles, on his way home to his father's girlfriend's house.

My point was, when they were mocking British law, by the way -- they started this. I said back in Britain, that wouldn't have happened. You couldn't do that without being arrested and almost certainly charged. Now I think many Americans -- let's not say the majority. I don't know the statistics. But many Americans feel uncomfortable that this could happen in modern America and that George Zimmerman would simply be allowed to go home that night when Trayvon Martin goes to a coffin.

NUGENT: Piers, you have expressed that you don't want to try this on television. I also do not want to try this on television. I think we both agree that there's a tragedy that it is being tried and that Zimmerman has been convicted across the media in many instances.

So let's not do that here. So let me propose to you a scenario that I think you can grasp and support. You must be aware, and if not I'll inform you now, how many professional law enforcement heroes are killed every year with their own weapon. I'm not juxtaposing this with the Trayvon and the Zimmerman situation.

But it does happen, where an assailant will start beating a person so badly that those of us that are armed, we have a responsibility to keep that new assault from taking our weapon, because if the assault escalates to that degree -- certainly the fist can go into a deadly situation if they get a hold of the gun bearer's gun.

So we have to be cognizant of that. If it wasn't for backup guns in law enforcement and in civilians hands, oftentimes, that the perpetrator and the person getting beat up is killed with his own gun. So let's not dismiss that reality that is documented over and over again across this country.

MORGAN: But do you believe that a neighborhood watch official acting in that capacity should be armed and using that firearm?


MORGAN: OK. Well, Ted, we'll agree to disagree over that. I hope we can do that again in an extended way soon, because your opinions are always very interesting to hear. Thank you for joining me.

NUGENT: Thank you, Piers. My family sends their best and our prayers are with the Martin family.
There's some great stuff in there -- thanks, Ted.

About Morgan's final question -- judging by the pause that followed Nugent's unequivocal answer (plus the look on Morgan's face), it was clear that the host wasn't quite prepared for such an affirmation of Liberty. Go figure, eh?

Welcome to America.