The Sanford Police maintain that George Zimmerman’s lethal shooting of Trayvon Martin was legally justified under Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" legislation. The law eliminates the duty to avoid a confrontation and authorizes the use of deadly force upon a "reasonable belief" that it’s necessary to "prevent death or great bodily harm."
As The Nation editorialized this week, the Sunshine State’s "Stand Your Ground" law may be the first and most famous of its kind, but similar measures exist in more than twenty other states. Lurking behind this wave is the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, better-known as ALEC, which has peddled the bills for years at the behest of one of its largest funders, the NRA. Florida’s law was sponsored by Republican legislators who were ALEC members. They dismissed repeated warnings that the measure would encourage needless shootings, as did Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who signed the bill and declared it a “common sense” reform. While the ink was still drying on the Florida law, ALEC moved to take it nationwide.
The Center for Media and Democracy has worked to expose ALEC and is now focusing on its funders, not just the NRA, but a range of prominent household names like Kraft, Wal-Mart, UPS, Bayer, State Farm and AT&T who all help fund ALEC’s work, sit on its board, vote on its task forces, and access lawmakers through its networking. The CMD is calling on the corporate leadership of ALEC to withdraw its funding from the group.
The Nation is asking readers to join the CMD’s call and implore one of the ALEC corporations with which many Nation readers may do business, AT&T, to refrain from giving the organization any more money. Email senior executives in charge of "Corporate Citizenship" Channing Barringer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mark Siegel (email@example.com) and call the executive charged with legislative and regulatory issues Walt Sharp (210-821-4105) and politely tell them that it’s not helpful to their business to fund a group that has worked to suppress voter turnout, privatize public schools, Medicare and Social Security, hand out tax breaks for new tobacco products, promote concealed gun laws, harass immigrants and gut minimum wage laws. After making your voice heard, share this info with friends, family, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
Paul Krugman recently highlighted CMD’s work exposing ALEC and explained the corrupt practice of how “model” bills like "Stand Your Ground" get approved in closed-door meetings of corporations and politicians and then rolled out coast to coast.
In this segment of The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur offers a history of "Stand Your Ground" and details ALEC’s critical behind-the-scenes role in passing the controversial legislation in twenty-one states.
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