The Daily Caller's Michelle Fields caught up with AFL-CIO executive vice president Arlene Holt Baker and asked "to get your thoughts on the tragic incident with Trayvon Martin in Florida."
Holt Baker started talking about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which stands widely accused of writing Florida's Stand Your Ground law. ALEC, says Holt Baker, are
"…the same folks who want to kill workers' rights in the workplace are the same folks who want to kill voters' votes - a targeted group of voters - in the voting booth. They want to kill the dreams of immigrants. Now they are literally supporting legislation that is literally killing our children."
Interestingly, ALEC actually says that Florida's law provided the basis for model legislation that the group circulated to lawmakers and policy people in other states:
Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law was the basis for the American Legislative Exchange Council's model legislation, not the other way around. Moreover, it is unclear whether that law could apply to this case at all. 'Stand Your Ground' or the 'Castle Doctrine' is designed to protect people who defend themselves from imminent death and great bodily harm. It does not allow you to pursue another person. It does not allow you to seek confrontation. It does not allow you to attack someone who does not pose an imminent threat. What it does is allow you to defend yourself and your family from immediate and real danger.
As noted at Hit & Run on March 20, whatever else you can say about Florida gun laws, any changes in them have not led to an increase in the number of homicides in the Sunshine State.
Based on what I've read of the case, it seems to me that because George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin even after a 911 dispatcher told him not to, he will have a tough time pushing a Stand Your Ground defense. And that's even if it turns out his version of events - in which Martin had pinned him down and punched him repeatedly - is borne out.
However things get sorted out legally, what happened in Sanford is a bad deal all around, and precisely the sort of highly charged situation in which lots of people say really stupid things. But how you get from the Martin shooting to an accusation against ALEC in this case (or the Koch Brothers of all people, whom an MSNBC anchor called the "the Typhoid Mary for this horrible outbreak"!) is beyond me.
Here is a terrifying thought for liberals and conservatives alike who are desperate to use the Martin shooting as some sort of commentary on just how apocalyptically awful race relations, welfarism, gun rights, gun control, hooded sweatshirts, or whatever is in these United States: Perhaps this case is not particularly representative of larger trends in contemporary America. This doesn't mean it isn't a horrible tragedy that has probably already shattered the lives of all the people involved, and it doesn't mean that justice can't or won't be served. But the incident may not really shed any light on larger social issues or trends. And attempts by either the right or the left, or unions or the NRA, or whomever to straitjacket the event to fit a pre-existing agenda don't reflect well on combatants.
Click on image above to watch vid.