It’s Time To Talk About Our Guns

On Feb 26,2012, in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old, 140-pound, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old, 250-pound George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has said that it was a case of self-defense. Despite the many facts that have come to light since the shooting, Zimmerman remains a free man, who hasn’t yet been arrested. The Sanford Police report also raises some questions on its own, such as why less than one minute elapsed from the time 9-1-1 was called until the time the police arrived to find Trayvon Martin face down and dead. If accurate, it would mean that George Zimmerman could not wait one single minute from the time he was told they did not need him to follow Trayvon until the time he killed him. [NOTE: Many people have brought up the racial aspects of this case, but since race has nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion I am having here, I have intentionally left those aspects out. I completely agree that had Zimmerman been black and his victim a 17-year-old white male, he would have been arrested immediately. But let’s save the racial aspects for another discussion.]

Although Zimmerman’s lawyer has said his client would not be invoking it, at the middle of this controversy is a law known colloquially as the “Stand Your Ground Law.” It says, in essence, that if you reasonably believe your life is in danger, you can use deadly force to defend yourself. The law was modeled on laws designed and written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group of legislators and corporations that propose bills to be passed by the states. Believe me when I say they are not acting in your best interests. They are dangerous, and the laws they’ve helped pass have put innocent people in danger. They must be exposed and dealt with, but for now we as a nation must once and for all settle this matter of what the true meaning and intent of the Second Amendment is, and what role guns should have in our Society.

For the record, and so that there is no misunderstanding about the topic Continue reading

Open Letter To David Gregory, NBC, and all American Journalists

Documents requested in the Mark Sanford debacle have revealed this correspondence between Meet the Press host David Gregory and Sanford’s staff:

Look, you guys have a lot of pitches.. I get it and I know this is a tough situation… Let me say just this is a place to have a wider conversation with some context about not just the personal but also the future for him and the party… This situation only exacerbates the issue of how the GOP recovers when another national leader suffers a setback like this. So coming on Meet the Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to… and then move on. You can see you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.

Is this what Mr. Gregory considers journalism?  The American people deserve an apology for this display of utter brown-nosing, pandering, and overt bias on Mr. Gregory’s part.  This is an insult to Tim Russert, and in the context of this weekend’s loss of the great Walter Cronkite, an insult to all those who once considered news to be about getting to the truth, not currying favor with the powerful.

NBC, Meet the Press, and David Gregory should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.  The American people deserve better.

Where is our apology, Mr. Gregory?

UPDATE: Mr. Gregory was kind enough to respond to my email, clarifying his remarks:

Thanks for the email. I wasn’t promising a friendly forum. I was offering a fair forum to discuss his problems. I meant my forum allows him to have the time to discuss the situation in a fullsome way, to say what he wants and move on. I appreciate your sensitivity on this. It’s a fair question to ask. I have never pulled punches in an interview.

Thanks.

David.
David Gregory
Moderator, Meet the Press
NBC News

So take from that what you will.