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Robert S. Becker
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 4 April 2012
“The Bush Doctrine distilled into unilateral pre-emptive perfidy, executed by Rumsfeld's dire “shock and awe,” then justified by Cheney’s One Per Cent Doctrine, was domesticated by this in-your-face mandate from a presumptive national leader”

Domesticating Vigilantism: Upshots of “Don’t Retreat, Reload”

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Is there a more incendiary, compact, unapologetic cover for domestic vigilantes than "Don't Retreat, Reload"?  Though domestic terrorism occurred before and after Palin's pandering war cry, her loaded gun imagery decoying as political rhetoric, gave itchy-fingered zealots free passes when "feeling endangered." Overall, what the Bush Doctrine distilled into unilateral pre-emptive perfidy, executed by Rumsfeld's dire "shock and awe," then justified by Cheney's One Per Cent Doctrine, was domesticated by this in-your-face mandate from a presumptive national leader.  

With the Christian right playing the chorus, what our rogue government sustained endlessly "over there" has come home to roost, with literal vengeance, a slaughter of innocents. For if this "exceptional" nation has God's consent to smote foreigners any time because a few belligerents "feel endangered," even by fabricated enemies, why can't a Florida punk delude himself that one hooded black boy presents a mortal threat? What shouldn't our no retreat foreign policy inhabit, with poisonous payoffs, all sorts of abuse against the "other," whether minorities, immigrants, or a top dog with Kenyan anti-colonial biases?      

Forgive my focus on the Wasilla Witch, but few others, as ardently pro-life, so glorify hunting, guns, and domestic vigilantism, far more a threat to our streets than teens armed with snacks.  What we initiated far away now invades backyard Neighborhood Watchers. Scope aside, can we distinguish irate stalking, warned off by police, from hate crimes and/or domestic terrorism? Indeed, despite our 9/11 victimization by rogue fanatics, 26 state laws now legalize rogue retribution, unconscious or not, in the name of self-defense. That informs avoidable tragedies like the fleeing Trayvon Martin, plus blowing up tyrannical government buildings or shooting down Congresswoman Giffords or abortion doctors attending church.  Violence works for too many.

Dead Victims Don't Talk

Promoted by misreading sacred texts, the mania of "don't tread on me" emerges as a national call to anything goes for the aggrieved. Thus, a take-no-prisoners mindset voiced by abortion fanatics, Tea Partiers, gun extremists, anti-Obama scapegoaters – alongside shrill GOP primary campaigners (intact and fallen) and House militants eager to punish the youngest, the poor, the sick, the indigent old, the homeless and the jobless.  

Whether called "hold your ground" or "no retreat" free passes, an obsessed predator shoots first, fabricates defenses, and escapes accountability. What humane public order survives unstable people imagining lethal threats in a void? That way lies madness, if not vengeance and retribution. Captured by Palin's gun sights on her "enemy maps," domestic, pre-emptive barrages erupt, incited by crude conspiracy theories and guilt by association, few of which bear scrutiny. Just like Saddam = 9/11, Taliban = al Qaeda, Iraq=mushroom clouds, today's "Reload, Don't Retreat" killers tragically equate skin color, time of night, and hoods with lethal menace, threatening civilization itself.  

If you dismiss utterly real-world evidence for the big issues, like terrorism, climate change, or evolution, why demand actual behavior to justify violent urges and reactions?  Facile surfaces rule all, and what white child, even hooded, would have incited "fears that one's life was in danger," the threshold by which goons defy police, decimate children, and leave no one to tell his tale?  

Emotional Imperialism

Sounds much like invasive American imperialism coming home to roost.  When national core assumptions are flaunted, the flimsiest of justifications propel invasions against those not readying to attack, let alone firing away at our borders. What goes around comes around . . . and the heart of Palin's Domestic Violence Doctrine still goes virtually unchallenged in the public square, not overtly by a halfway-to-peace president. 

Instead, our war-making machine continues its own retribution, as unmanned drones execute civilians – across generations. Brace for our rampaging soldier to defend murderous outrages because they’re exhausted or too much war made them fear inscrutable enemies. If amassed, subjective dread alone justifies our ten-year Asian onslaughts, no surprise when equivalent demons migrate home and strike darkened walkways.

Blind self-righteousness likewise foments the violent rhetoric from House extremists, sneering about debt ceilings, brooking no budget compromises and taking no prisoners when slashing programs that keep millions out of poverty, hospitals, and police cars. Does not emotional insolence, fueled by ignorance and envy, explains the contempt for science and "elitist" expertise that makes America a technological wonder? It ain't reason but fear and rage, the blind conviction sanctified "gut feelings" (like W.'s), answerable to extra-judicial, invisible realms. Likewise, if your gut stamps Obama as foreign agent shoving treasonous socialism down our freedom-loving throats, what other choice for "true Americans" but insurgency and defiance?    

Mowing Down Our Own

It's good we are confronting revelations the NRA and A.L.E.C. took the lowest ground when funding legal horrors of self-defense. Sure, some may back off the worst excesses, but note the stagnant hush, even post-Gabbie Giffords, against buying, let alone carrying loaded hand guns. Where are minimal demands for mandatory training of amateurs peopling Neighborhood Watches? The reason Palin and her ilk endanger public safety (aside from egregious TV rants, including NBC!) is that one third of this nation supports bad laws, dreads minorities, and identifies with the night hunting of perceived evil-doers.  

The ugly American is now the bullying, belligerent predator, here and abroad – and notable by a total absence is any national crusade against violence, especially from big (Christian) pulpits. The "Christian" right’s contradictions shine forth: anoint all newborns but push capital punishment when they grow up dark-skinned. And still on the horizon are looming uprisings from the record gun sales since Obama's inauguration, held by shadowy militants.

Of course, Palin does not deserve all the blame, whatever her total incapacity to understand or apologize for spurring on our violence-prone culture. As Rep. Giffords warned before being shot, yet after Palin gun-sighted her district, words and intentions matter. Palin stands out for cheering on domestic extensions of the pre-emptive militarism that shames us abroad. Now, we have 26 states that defend, even excuse, predatory street violence, as if what "works" in fantasy games or action movies doesn't shake public safety.

We are fascinated with the "wild west" because of its famed, if lawless vigilante "justice" against bad guys. But that mythology depended on disruptive crimes which the community observed and verified, whatever its harsh penalties.  And here we are again: civilization besieged by legalized vigilantism -- when putting up a hood in the rain ends the life of a child. Sadly, what rained down on Trayvon Martin no cotton hood could impede. Anyone taking bets on whether the shooter gets jail time? Not me. 



For years, decades and more,

For years, decades and more, criminals have gotten their hands on weapons despite laws specifically denying them the right to possess them. It's self-evident - criminals ignore the law. No one can honestly deny this. After decades of law-abiding citizens being robbed, raped, killed by criminals, more and more of us have gotten the idea that if the criminals are armed, their potential victims should be to. From all the evidence, the shooting of Trayvon Martin was wrong. What frustrates so many of us is that a criminal shooting a non-carrying citizen - especially (let's be honest here) if the criminal is black and the victim is not) rates a half-paragraph in the police blotter, plus a piece about getting a lawyer for the criminal.
Mr. Beck has not done his research on crime rates. He does the same thing he is accusing the "Stand our ground" people of doing - he's agitating, and using highly inflammatory rhetoric, taking one situation and claiming it as an universal. Mr. Beck, you are wrong. The Trayvon Martin case does not apply to any other case. Each situation is unique. In the days since the Martin case became public, have you counted the number of cases in which a black person killed a white, asian or native American person? Have you questioned whether there are cases in which someone armed save a life? Or prevented his or her own robbery, rape or murder?
Are you aware that areas in which there are high numbers of law-abiding gun-owners, that crime rates go down? They really do, you know! Criminals don't like the idea that their victims might decide they don't want to be victimized. It scares them to know people can shoot back. And all your ranting and raving about Sarah Palin is totally irrelevant to the issue you initially started with. If I were grading your essay for staying on topic, and for rationality, you'd get a D at best. And an F for research.

Fact is that every nation

Fact is that every nation that has taken guns from its citizens has had an increase in crime. Sorry to say but true because consequences for the offenders have been minimized to the point that they do not feel threatened and in fact feel enabled.

The Total BS of 'It's not your Fault', because you are disadvantaged, or a minority, has given a license to steal and kill. The Progressives did this to us; they have destroyed our culture of ‘well behaved citizens’.

Total BS. Double straw men

Total BS. Double straw men arguments. No one here proposed taking guns away, except from predators who shoot unarmed children. No one brought up "not your fault." Troll warning against a miscreant who doesn't even show he read the essay he comments on. Go away, troll.

Apparently Mr. Zimmerman took

Apparently Mr. Zimmerman took the notion of 'Stand Your Ground' to mean you can radically shift the ground your standing on? He noticed a hooded young black man walking in his neighborhood at night, called 911, was strictly told not to follow, immediately grabbed his loaded handgun and jumped in his SUV, cut around the corner (note the 'ground' shifting) in pursuit of a suspicious person, 'suspicious' of course because they were black and hooded. Put in primal terms, Mr. Zimmerman acted as predator, no different from a lion stalking a gazelle in the savannah. Pursuing your victim two blocks, confronting and killing them in 'self-defense'? Laughable if it weren't so tragic. Mr. Zimmerman took extremist measures and consciously chose to execute lethal violence when all he had to do let the police handle the 'intruder.' They are far better trained, which is why historically they were the only ones with the weapons. And no, I'm not an advocate of the recent activist interpretation of the Second Amendment by our conservative Extreme Court, nor the vigilantist, feral Florida 'Stand Your Ground' law, as they have allowed for devastating consequences.

don't think there will a

don't think there will a recall or repeal of "stand your ground" law, at least in fla. the law has been popular with almost a million concealed carry liscenses applied and given out. the crime rate dropped precipitiously since 2005. It is a bill that has full support of both parties in florida. It also states that the defence must be in proportion to the attack. the florida "castle law" website mentions one act where two men got into an arguement in there backyard and one man attacks the other with a garden hose. the other shoots him dead. he is convicted for manslaughter as the defense was not in proportion to the attack.

this law mostly irks people who are anti-gun or control freaks who don't believe second amendments rights.

It is simply time that the

It is simply time that the good people start standing their ground. Our lives are in mortal danger. Since reasoned pleading will not turn the tide, maybe emphatic, courageous and honorable self-defense will.

The biggest danger is that of

The biggest danger is that of being shot and killed for no reason by the police. How do we defend ourselves from that?

I feel threatened by the Koch

I feel threatened by the Koch Brothers. Will this ALEC law protect me from their assault on my freedom?

but do we have to enact it

but do we have to enact it EVERYWHERE??? Hoping this at least slows down the Wild West advocates here in Iowa. At 62, I don't think I'd like packing a gun to walk to the grocery store.

"I don't think I'd like

"I don't think I'd like packing a gun to walk to the grocery store." Unfortunately, if you're an african-american, you might have to. Welcome to the GOP's America, where you can't abort a fetus even if you were raped, but it's OK to shoot anyone whom you feel threatened by, even if you have to chase them down to do it.

We already had this, in the

We already had this, in the form of police violence. The police, even in the "civilized" North, even in New York City, murder and rape people, especially people of color, without punishment. Extending this practice to a few gun-totin' lunatics is hardly noticeable. Note that the outrage about Sanford is not just that the Neighborhood Watch idiot killed someone unarmed but that the police did not even bother to hold the idiot for questioning. They took him in to see if he was hurt! Then they let him go.

And the Supreme Court, 5 to 4, allowed strip searching of people who have not been convicted of anything. The case was brought by an African-American who was carrying around a document that exonerated him from the bench warrant under which he was arrested; they kept him in jail for a couple of weeks while generally acting like petty tyrants. I hope he gets the right lawyer and sues for wrongful arrest.

The pretext was that police have the right to protect themselves and keep good order in prisons. Hah! Most of the contraband is brought in by personnel including police and guards. Strip-search them, buddy!

What a country! I shouldn't say that. Every tyrant has lots of help from mini-tyrants who are all too willing to take their bite. Vigilantism is just bullying with a license to kill.

Well, not to disagree with

Well, not to disagree with your findings but if we cannot distinguish police violence from the vigilantism of untrained, unmonitored predators stalking the streets, then we are in big, big trouble. "Hardly noticeable" is disproved by the national outrage over Trayvon's needless killing. Agree what the police didn't do made a bad situation even worse. Thanks for the cmment.

Stand your ground was never

Stand your ground was never meant to protect vigilantees from chasing down unarmed people. It was meant to protect people like Travyan if he had been packing some heat things may have turned out differently.

So, Martin would have

So, Martin would have received a pat on the back and sent on his way if he'd had a gun and shot Zimmerman for following him? I don't think so... A black youth in even a mixed community is already viewed with suspicion - if he's carrying a gun (and wearing a hoody!) then he had to be up to no good... And if he shoots the local (self-appointed) Neighborhood Watch "captain", it looks even worse for him. He'd join the other 400 people on Florida's Death Row before the body hit the ground.

What about the Iranian woman in California who was beaten to death because she wore a hijab? If she had shot and killed her attackers (let's assume 3 or 4 dead bodies on the ground around her), would she have gone free? What if they had just confronted her and told her to go back to Iran? Would she be justified in shooting them? We see what the eventual outcome was, but how would she know where to draw the line? What about the next Middle Eastern woman who's menaced by a crowd?

For that matter, there are always bullies around... Is someone justified in shooting a bully who blocks the sidewalk? Is death the appropriate punishment for every bully? Is the bully justified in shooting me if his vicitim pushes him out of the way?

Right, that'a a great notion

Right, that'a a great notion -- a shootout in the dark between a hooded dark-skinned teen and a sort of white vigilante with gun experience-- that would have made news. Then both would be dead, most likely. I agree the laws had different intentions but we live in an age of unintended, ever reversed intentions, as with anti-terrorism billions which don't make us feel safer. The "crime" here after the murder is one of police and legal negligence, which let this guy walk without even a hearing to establish what may have happened.

say what you will, stand your

say what you will, stand your ground will not be repealed.

It is just another nail in

It is just another nail in the coffin that the Conservatives, Republicans, Tea-Party members and some Blue Dog Democrats are building to put all of us 99% in so that the 1.0 % can use us for Target Practise. All of those individuals holding elected office who have sponsored and voted for these laws should be recalled from Elected Office. If it is to late now, then make sure they do not get Re-elected.

I assume that you have heard thaat the Republicans are trying to get it approved for the people attending the 2012 Republican Convention to carry their Handguns or carry their Long Guns. Wonder how many will die as a result of that6 action???

Rublicans aren't trying, its

Rublicans aren't trying, its already done. the only place you won't be able to carry a concealed weapon is in the auditorium itself. the legislation passed and removed hangun bans after that florida statute 790.33 prohibits cities, counties and other local governments from enacting any laws that address the sale, carry, ownership, transport or storage of handguns. For example, it had been illegal to carry a handgun in a park. that ordinance was revoked to allow for permitted concealed weapons.

It should be a very polite crowd and convention. LOL..

I SAY THAT THERE IS ONE THING

I SAY THAT THERE IS ONE THING THAT WILL EVENTUALLY FORCE THE POLITICIANS TO REPEAL ALL OF THE "STAND YOUR GROUND" LAWS in all of the states. Simply put if We the People united and demand that they be repealled it will happen. Please sign Petitions, write letters to your United States of America Representatives and Senators, also to your State Representatives if you have this law, to demand that they repeal the laws or you will not vote for them or support them in anyway. That in fact you will work to ensure that they are not re-elected.

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