According to newsone.com, on Sunday Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the NAACP regarding the Department of Justice’s ongoing inquiry into filing federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the aftermath of his acquittal in the Trayvon Martin trial. Holder may not have been direct about the possibility of the DOJ bringing suit, but he was direct about his opinions on gun violence, inequality and the danger of “Stand Your Ground” Laws:
Today – starting here and now – it’s time to commit ourselves to a respectful, responsible dialogue about issues of justice and equality – so we can meet division and confusion with understanding, with compassion, and ultimately with truth. It’s time to strengthen our collective resolve to combat gun violence but also time to combat violence involving or directed toward our children – so we can prevent future tragedies. And we must confront the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs, and unfortunate stereotypes that serve too often as the basis for police action and private judgments.
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 – no safe retreat is available.
But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.
article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson