Target: U.S. Senator John McCain
Goal: Praise senator for opposing “stand your ground” laws
During his appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator John McCain urged all 30 states that have “Stand your ground” laws on the books to review them. He supported President Obama after he delivered a surprise address on race and the law that seems to exacerbate problems between races. Thank Senator McCain for standing his moral ground on national television.
A chorus of political leaders, mostly Democrats, is calling on states to review the law that allows resolving conflicts with deadly force without retreating. George Zimmerman was acquitted based on jury instructions that reflected this law. Many Americans did not see the verdict as just and suspected racial motivation for the killing. Race also played a role in the court case against Zimmerman. There is further evidence that the law is not applied equally to everybody, which was apparent in the case where a black woman fired a weapon in the air to scare her abusive husband and then was sentenced to 20 years without parole for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. President Obama noted racial disparity in his speech: “And for those who resist the idea that we should think about something like these ‘Stand your ground’ laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And if the answer is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.”
John McCain is standing behind the president and many Americans who rallied against the Florida verdict. McCain chided Senator Ted Cruz, who accused Obama of attacking gun rights, and called on people to come together and discuss issues of race rather than condemning the President. Please sign below to thank Senator McCain for expressing his honest opinion and to urge him to continue the conversation on the Senate floor.
Dear Senator McCain,
Your remarks about harmful laws that threaten the safety of Americans came at a crucial time, when the country is trying to heal from a not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case. It is clear to people that race played a big role in both the altercation and court proceedings.
There is evidence to suggest that the “Stand your ground” law is not applied fairly in Florida. Marissa Alexander is serving a 20-year sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She fired a gun in the air to scare her abusive husband who was threatening to kill her, and nobody got hurt. One important detail about this case is that Marissa is an African-American woman. It took the jury only 12 minutes to convict her.
“Stand your ground” laws are in need of a scrupulous review. Thank you for calling on all 30 states where such laws are on the books to take a second look at them. Your leadership and courage of conviction can be powerful tools to help bring some sanity into our laws.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public Citizen via Flickr