Following the Fox News story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, the comments section of Fox News exploded with racist and violent comments. Such as:
TreyvonshootingFoxNewsComments03192012

[...]Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

How long will it take to get all of those little blk curly nappys out of the White House bedding so that the next POTUS can sleep without that Creepy Crawly feeling .

[...]

They should have a hunting season in Florida for these drug crazed gang members.

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs collected a bunch of them and notes the number of “likes” the comments get and says, “The right wing base is sick to its core.”

In Presidential politics it pays to court violent racists, they vote. But since I’m interested in the intersection of politics, business, technology and speech I wondered who else courts these people and why:

“Are violent racists good customers? Are they good for business? Which businesses? What do they buy?”

I don’t know the exact answers to all these questions, but I know a few.

Q: Are violent racists good customers?

A: Yes! I wonder what percentage of the people buying guns because of a 2008 rumor that President Obama was going to take them were also the same violent racists posting on Fox?

Q: Are they good for business?

A: Yes! Especially if you are in the weapons and ancillary businesses. Sales of guns spiked when Obama was elected, and are spiking on the fear of his re-election.

Q: Which businesses?

A: “Security” industries. If you are in the business of selling guns, your response to any shooting is — buy more guns! So instead of taking a tragedy like Trayvon Martin being shot by George Williams as an opportunity to suggest that the wording for ALEC Castle Doctrine Act model legislation law needs to be re-evaluated, you keep pushing the same “stand your ground” laws for years.

Q: What do they buy?

A: Guns, alarms and beyond. The defensive security industries also benefit from cranking up the fear. A report of a home invasion? Dispatch the alarm salesmen! But “passive” and defensive products are positioned by the gun lobby as for wimps. They suggest anything less than the ability to take immediate control of the situation is going to “let your family down.”

Having a great security system and a guard dog might be a better “castle” solution but is positioned as “good for wimps and women.”. (Hmmm, is the guard dog industry on top of this?) This “don’t be a wimp” idea is embedded into the way the law was written. The gun lobby plays on the ego of the male that goes beyond defense into offense.

To sell more guns, the gun lobby needs to expand the defiance and fear bubble outside the home. They engage the protect and defend mode.

“Nobody is going to tell ME what I can do to protect my home! In my community! In my city! In my state! In my country! I won’t retreat from danger! You mess with the bull you get the horns!” – Some Shouting Guy

BTW, how is that Florida law worded?

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. – Florida Statutes – Chapter 776 Read the entire law here
Emphasis mine. Note the use of “has no duty” and “has the right”.

The NRA funds ALEC and its legislation writing to make more money for gun manufacturers. They will play on people’s fear on a small scale just like Cheney/Bush did nationally. Look at the Cheney/Bush doctrine.

Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage.

If there is only a 1% chance of terrorism we must act, and act preemptively.

That translates locally to, “If he looks suspicious and dangerous to me I should anticipate his action. It is my duty to protect my family. It’s better to be prepared and act first than to be unprepared and retreat, because, ‘When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.’”

Now let’s look at how our fear was translated to a specific threat nationally.

“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” – Condoleezza Rice

How would this work out locally in the head of person using the NRA/ALEC written Castle doctrine?

“You never know if the bad guy has a gun. It’s too late if that “pack of Skittles” in the waistband turns out to be a smoking gun.”

As a gun seller and manufacturer you will want to help pass laws that make it easier for people to use your product. First it’s conceal carry. Next a “you don’t have to go to jail” law, so you can sell more guns! Of course you don’t call it consequence-free murder, that’s just bad marketing. It’s all about “protecting your family” and defending your property.

We all know that “sex sells” but so does fear. And fearful men (and women) are a great target market. You can sell them a war, a gun or a dog.

This shooting should be an opportunity to look at and change laws that overreach. But the people who benefit financially from it will suggest that their solution — which also happens to make them more money– is the only sensible solution. They will wrap their solution around words like “duty” and “rights” because that sells more product. If they also happen to take advantage of racists with violent tenancies, oh well, it’s just business. It’s not illegal to have violent racists for customers, they’ll buy anything.

What I do wonder is just how willing organizations like ALEC are to embrace the violent racists who use the laws they create? I wonder if they will read the Fox News comments and recognize their target audience? Will George Zimmerman be a keynote speaker at the North Carolina meeting? “How I Got Away with Murder, Thanks To ALEC.”

I’ll bet a session with that title would be packed. The next ALEC event is May 11th, 2012 where they talk about how to bring these murder immunity laws to more states. Of course it will be held in a hotel that doesn’t allow you to bring your concealed weapon into their banquet room, so ALEC/NRA’s work isn’t done. Yet.


UPDATED 3/22/2012 to fix links and Q&A and clarify sentences in links upon ironymeter’s suggestion.

UPDATED II 3/22/2012  Here is a list of states that have Florida like “Shoot First” laws from the Legal Community Against Violence

Other States Are Considering “Stand Your Ground” Legislation

In 2012, legislation is or was pending in six states (Alaska, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York) that would eliminate the duty to retreat outside of the home. The Iowa bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives; the Minnesota bill was vetoed.

Three additional states (Indiana, New Jersey, and Oklahoma) considered related legislation this year. The Indiana legislation, which has been signed into law, allows the use of force to resist law enforcement’s entry into one’s home.

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