What does Walmart have to do with Trayvon Martin?

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Demonstrators pray during the Million Hoodie March in Union Square Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Demonstrators pray during the Million Hoodie March in Union Square Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

What does Walmart have to do with the tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin? The answer starts with Florida’s 2005 Stand Your Ground law, promoted across the country as “model legislation” by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC — “a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence,” as Paul Krugman of The New York Times explains:

Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators.

The citizen’s advocacy group Common Cause has an explanation as to why it believes ALEC, which mostly promotes corporate interests, has campaigned for Stand Your Ground laws nationwide. The National Rifle Association is a longtime funder of ALEC. The NRA pushed for the Florida bill’s passage and one of its lobbyists then asked a closed-door meeting of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force to use the law as a template for other state legislatures. At the time, that task force was co-chaired by Walmart, America’s largest seller of guns and ammunition. In September 2005, the bill was adopted by ALEC’s board of directors.

Since then, more than two dozen states have passed laws based on Stand Your Ground (also known as the Castle Doctrine). In Wisconsin, The Nation reports, an unarmed 20 year old named Bo Morrison was shot and killed while hiding on a neighbor’s porch after fleeing an underage drinking party broken up by the police. Last week, the district attorney announced that the shooter was protected from prosecution by the state’s new Castle Doctrine law.

Bo Morrison and Trayvon Martin aren’t the only victims — according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the number of “justifiable homicides” has nearly tripled since the Stand Your Ground law went into effect.

An online petition posted by Martin’s parents demanding further investigation and prosecution of his murder has gathered more than 2 million signatures. Color of Change, a group working to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans, has a related petition protesting another ALEC campaign, this one for what critics say are discriminatory voter ID laws.

Krugman writes, “If there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.”

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  • Joseph Lindsley

    When there are attacks on Democracy, it is fairly sure to have an industrial connection one way or another; they function happily in a fascist set up which they create with the excess money that comes from such commerce.

    When there is one specific politial party asssisting them, it’s a pushover situation.

    Such are the perils we live with each day.

    Standing guard is the defenseive action of the aware.

  • Alison S

    I have long boycotted Walmart due to their appalling business practices.  Here is yet another reason to continue to do so.   It would be helpful to have a full list of the members and funders of ALEC so those of us concerned about individual rights and democracy can choose to boycott those businesses involved.

  • http://twitter.com/RR_Anderson RR Anderson

    Walmart is attempting to build a super center in my neighborhood (central tacoma)  I was so upset  I drew this cartoon http://comics.feedtacoma.com/tacomic/tacomic-tacoma-elks-lodge-174-walmart-sellout/

  • Carl Nevels

    CAN I GET A WITNESS HERE?My case for: The Grand Conspiracy Connecting the Dots
    Coon. . . Goon. . . what does it mean regarding the Trayvon Martin case? Did Trayvon Martin have the right to defend himself from a 250 pound man who was following him? We should understand by now that Zimmerman is part of a mafia-like, protected “made-man” group which used to be called gangs, and to lose him by having him face the consequences of his arrogant, foolish actions would be to lose the power of fear which sustains the corruption in that city; that can’t be allowed to happen at this time. If Zimmerman is arrested and has to appear in court, Zimmerman and his “bosses” will likely disappear. That won’t be a problem for the “organization” really because the disappearances will simply add fuel to the fire, creating more chaos and will destroy any means of detecting what is really going on — a takeover of a city government and establishment of the power of a corrupt cartel. This is a new cartel business model and Sanford is one of the experimental subsidiary headquarters. Makes it less likely to be under scrutiny when the entire upper level of the government is involved. They weren’t expecting this reaction to the Martin murder — they were caught off guard. This is, of course, what Michigan and Wisconsin are in the process of doing, and the GOP is only the front for the political action being taken by these vast, moneyed empires — the Koch Brothers and the others of their ilk from Vegas, made legal by our Supreme Court — drug and urban slavery empires developed, just “because they can.” This string of events goes back to the Supreme Court intervening into the Bush/Gore presidential election results. The best thing about this kind of set-up is that there is no need to launder money, hide from the police, of fight politicians because the organization includes all these, to do what is necessary for the organizations to thrive and for the “slaves” to continue working to enhance the coffers of the empires. The media — except for Fox in this case, they’re a real messy group of simpering money whores — is sitting around scratching their heads trying to figure out logically why the GOP would seemingly cut it’s own throat with these new laws surrounding “war on women,” placement of “stand-your-ground,” laws in numerous states, to assist racial conflicts. Supreme Court activists arrogantly enhanced the coffers of the GOP to eliminate any chance of fair elections, targeted redistricting, all of which, of course enhances minority conflicts and creates even more chaos. The goal is to own a country.Best of all “emergency executive” action to take over the entire city and state governments by appointment of a Governor, paid to lead and legislate as directed does not require the voice of the people because the people are summarily silenced and told that their vote is abolished by order of the State. Unfortunately relatively honest politicians who finally begin to figure out what is happening will decide not to run — to disappear like the characters in Atlas Shrugged because they don’t see any way of making the country aware of what is happening. There have been too many years of raping the minds of our children by inadequate education, so the ability for critical thinking is shrinking steadily. Arrogant, leaders in the government revel in the knowledge and expectation that they’ll have some major role in the “New World Order.” Well, Michigan is only the first obvious major step; it has begun the process with an old law updated, which allows the “emergency appointees” to take over the city of Benton Harbor and the Governor is now in the process of doing the same with Detroit. This is the test to determine how quickly and easily the other cities and states will fall into compliance. Conspiracy theory? Nothing else makes sense. We’re not supposed to be able to connect the dots. And, really, we haven’t because we still refuse to believe it. That is why the conspiracies will likely be successful. No one will want to believe this kind of evil, and the creep of the evil may overtake us before we wake.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goon
    goonwww.urbandictionary.comA ridiclulous irritating and mind numbingly annoying person, who embarks on acts of sheer stupidity

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1443852898 Charles William Artis

    If the other 48,000 people who like Bill Moyers on Facebook. Showed him some love and signed petitions, wrote e-mails, prayed, organized did anything and everything they could,
    maybe just maybe, there won’t so many guns and bullets sold.

  • Deborah M. Budd

    When for-profit organizations are behind our law-making and politicians, greed will guide decisions.  This is why the nation is in such a mess.  I’m still angry about the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Hoping someone will bring a strong challenge that will overturn that decision quickly.

  • Unsanitorial

    The best tactical response to bullying gun carriers is a coterie of camera cellphones aimed anywhere and everywhere. Of course, the National Security State may dictate where your cellphone camera can point, and your every step may be tracked, especially if you’ve demonstrated the deviant tendency of being a caring and involved individual. Why, if we can’t ban handguns, are they not embedded with a tracking device we can detect with an APP? WalMart should love this because they sell more cheap plastic gadgets made by slave labor than guns and ammo.

    ALEC is a mercenary organization it seems, specializing in forcing certain products on the public, kind of a militant merchandiser of cruelties the Oligarchy needs to sell. The inverted fascism of the modern corporate state is Orwellian in its need to control the public down to regulating reproduction and other bodily functions for marketing  advantage. Here comes Easter: Lord Koch mandates we each purchase two boards and three nails. Maybe the Supreme-Extreme Court should look into that. For an excellent Good Friday execute a frightened teenager on your front porch. Your Congressman will thank you; your clergyman will thank you; and WalMart will send a coupon for more ammo to your cellphone. Don’t forget to snap the carnage and share on Facebook.

  • Unsanitorial

    Yep, an negation of public spaces by corporate goons. They change the rules at night to legalize domestic colonialism. And elections where only corporate votes count. That’s about where we are today.

    They wind up their zombies and give them pistols. I’d like to see a rash of “let ’em dies” in the emergency room from waistband accidents after squeezing their hairtrigger automatics. Talk about premature climaxes.

    I hear WalMart is running a special on brown shirts.

  • Unsanitorial

    What…. are you against job creation?!

  • Unsanitorial

    Joseph Lindsley: You seem ready to read “Democracy Incorporated” by Sheldon S. Wolin.

  • Unsanitorial

    I liked your cartoon despite the inherent age discrimination, RR. 
    The elderly can be made obnoxious by fascists if it suits their needs.

  • Billwilson1804

    As Chief Justice Bryers has pointed out our founding fathers saw guns as necessary for killing food and family protection where no police force existed.  Now we are living much closer, no longer need so many guns for food killing, and we have a police force.  The stand your ground extension makes us all more insecure and should be reversed imo.

  • David F., N.A.

    ” Just days after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, the
    NRA was working on Capitol Hill to nationalize Florida’s vigilante
    mentality. The gun lobby has gotten U.S. senators to introduce a bill
    that will force states like New York with strong gun laws to follow
    Florida’s model of arming criminals and killers. Led by Sen. Mark Begich
    (D-Alaska), they call S.B. 2188 the National Reciprocity Act.” http://blog.bradycampaign.org/?p=3621&s=1Thank goodness the Democrats are looking out for us.  Or is it the Republicans.  I keep getting these parties mixed up so I”ll have to get back to you.

  • David F., N.A.

    Man, this editor is a real pain.

    “Just days after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, the NRA was working on Capitol Hill to nationalize Florida’s vigilante mentality. The gun lobby has gotten U.S. senators to introduce a bill that will force states like New York with strong gun laws to follow Florida’s model of arming criminals and killers. Led by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), they call S.B. 2188 the National Reciprocity Act.”
    Thank goodness the Democrats are looking out for us.  Or is it the
    Republicans.  I keep getting these parties mixed up so I”ll have to get
    back to you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1115616149 Tom Byg

    Corporate shenanigans such as this make me livid…but the fact remains that these companies are owned by people like you and me, cashing their dividend checks and going about their business.  These Corporation’s stockholders are fellow travelers with companies and their lobbyists. It always boils down to money…the money we give them by being customers. 

  • Jason

    “justifiable homicides” has nearly tripled since the Stand Your Ground law went into effect.”
    Where are the stats on the murder rate since the law passed? How many good people are alive today because they had the ability to protect their lives without the worry of “if I save myself ill be in jail ” weighing on them. Now those who break the law have to think twice before attacking someone, because they might have a firearm and will protect their lives!!   This law while not perfect is a step in the right direction. No one but Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman know what happened that night. The police will do their investigation because that’s what they do….show up after the crime and clean up. If Mr. Zimmerman is found to have broken the law then he will be charged, if not than thank God he had the means to protect himself from an attack. It’s that simple, but the liberal media showing a mug shot of Zimmerman and a 5th grade picture of Mr. Martin  only shows the liberal medias true agenda and strengthens the rights view. All the protesting in the world will not bring that man back to this world. Trust in your government to do their jobs or change the government! Don’t be spoon fed by The Media, Jackson, Sharpton, etc…  PLEASE think for yourself!

    On a side note maybe this author should write an article about the “New Black Panther Party” and how they are sanctioning kidnapping and murder of a innocent man and calling it justice!! 

  • S. P. Y.

    If the citisens of the wach-dog commitee could be understanably justified in the future, then the Florida state legislature should pass a provission to have it’s members fully clothed and identifable to the average person. This would inclued a uniform and a badge with a photo I. D. … Otherwise, it becomes an involuntary contract opened to anyone for the taking! There should be more of an educational baced code for people that become involved with the policing of a given township!!!!!

  • Njb15113

    So, we,the,people’s, local government is corrupted by national organizations, with international interests. I’m shocked shocked. Now, what are we, the people, going to do about it? Register to vote and vote in every election before its too late. DEM2012

  • Rdatesman

    I wholeheartedly agree with your opening statements. However, the latter part is  hyperbole that many on the right will view as acquiesence to the insane Stand Your Ground platform being forced down our collective throats.

  • RogerD

    You can always tell when racism is in effect, by reversing the situation.
    Lets imagine a black man was the neighborhood watch person,
    and he shot an unarmed white child wearing a hoodie. 
    We would not be talking “Stand you ground”.
    We would be trying to prevent a lynching.
    Even if the situation was different and the white child was threatening the black man and the black man feared for his life, he would not get a pass if he shot that child.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerri-Michalska/844222163 Gerri Michalska

    I am really surprised that Bill and company are so sloppy and in error here to print this
    Lauren Feeney piece associating Walmart to Trayvon.  Actually, it is Ms. Feeney who makes the leap from Walmart to Trayvon without connecting the two intermediate steps:
    ALEC and Stand Your Ground laws.

    To cut to the chase here, what transpired between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin has nothing to do with the Stand Your Ground Law.  Nothing.  So, therefore, nothing to do with ALEC or Walmart.  Come on, guys, take Logic 101 or risked being categorized as lightweight knee jerks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerri-Michalska/844222163 Gerri Michalska

    Lauren Feeney and anyone who mentions Stand Your Ground law are erroneous and do not know what they are talking about or what the law is about.  This is getting to be a meeting ground for uninformed people which I never thought would happen with Bill Moyers.  Please everyone before you let your knee jerk read up on the Stand Your Ground law.

  • John A. Broussard

    Isn’t the Stand Your Ground law essentially the same as decriminalizing dueling?  If I argue with my neighbor and we both storm out of our houses to threaten each other–armed–wouldn’t any resulting homicide simply be written off as “standing one’s ground?”  Wasn’t that essentially the view back in the days when dueling was legal?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerri-Michalska/844222163 Gerri Michalska

    Check it out, Lauren Feeney, before you write erroneous articles on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

  • John A. Broussard

    Bryer was wrong!  Guns were considered necessary back then in order to kill “…the merciless Indian savages”, i.e., Native Americans who took umbrage at encroachment on the land they relied upon for survival

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerri-Michalska/844222163 Gerri Michalska

    “justifiable homicides”??  How is Trayvon linked to Bo in Wisconsin?  They have nothing in common.  Again Ms. Feeney doesn’t make the case.  Who is saying that Trayvon’s death/murder? was justifiable?  I haven’t heard anyone say that??

  • http://twitter.com/mom2rose mom2rose

    Kp up your great work!  Vote 4 project that brings social justice 2 Walmart
    Pls re-post

  • http://twitter.com/mom2rose mom2rose

    Kp up your great work!  Vote 4 project that brings social justice 2 Walmart
    Pls re-post

  • http://twitter.com/mom2rose mom2rose

    Kp up your great work!  Vote 4 project that brings social justice 2 Walmart
    Pls re-post

  • http://twitter.com/mom2rose mom2rose

    Kp up your great work!  Vote 4 project that brings social justice 2 Walmart
    Pls re-post

  • http://twitter.com/mom2rose mom2rose

    Kp up your great work!  Vote 4 project that brings social justice 2 Walmart
    Pls re-post

  • John deCoville

    Telling by the strident rhetoric on our airwaves, the Trayvon Martin affair is becoming  lot like France’s Dreyfus Affair of 1890’s – to early 1900’s.  France has for many years of the Republics been a polarized unstable place.  We are tragically becoming deadlocked.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I’ve done no harm because “honest debate” (according to fascist reasoning) requires no consistency, just volume and repetition. The philosopher is as disadvantaged against robo-callers as John Henry versus the steam drill. You are astute Rdatesman, but too loyal to the DNC.
    Under Single Payer there would be no mandate to purchase coverage.
    It would be there for everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/OleHippieChick PB Wolf

    SYG law is purposefully written to sow confusion. Why does ALEC and the NRA want us all armed to the teeth and at each others’ throats?

  • Anonymous

    Answer “Nothing” how f ignorant of PBS

  • http://PaulAndrewAnderson.webs.com/ PaulAndrewAnderson

    Our social roles do not determine our character; our character determines our social roles! Humans seek opportunities to do what they want to do; period! Those who are murderous, but have not already murdered because they fear the consequences -prison- will seek another outlet for this hidden internal rage: They will find social outlets. A person who trains with a firearm by firing at a human-shaped target, are learning to kill humans efficiently; it is the art of death and weapon ownership is the vehicle. By masking it in a socially acceptable (legal) role, the act of killing another human is as a time-bomb that will detonate. This does not mean that all gun-packing professionals are murderous; it does however, imply that some are; and will; and do! As a crime of opportunity, they need for it to look like they were doing their duty; otherwise, even military or police professionals go to prison if it’s proven they murdered. Giving anyone an opening to kill, guarantees that they will, and they too, will justify it as self-protection. Paranoia is primal; it is the end-result of faithlessness! Nonetheless; no one openly confesses they are murderous. I doubt is this is about melanin-count; it is about anger, vengeance and retribution: It is about murder-lust and the hate-conquered: The video games are just not enough anymore! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Polsky/688801664 Larry Polsky

    I’d like to see this story get more exposure if our Corporate Controlled Media would permit..

  • Lauriharrisblackmon

    First of all, we know that any corporation standing with ALEC is all about the bottom line. We as people need to start holding these companies accountable for their actions. If we do not stand for what is right in God we will fall for anything. In my opinion if we are not our brother’s keeper than what is the point of our lives; we need to start acting like we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  If you hate someone for color, creed or race than you hate God because he is the Creator of all men. Jesus said forgive them they know not what they do wrong, I say they are well aware of what they are doing and we need to pray for them. ALEC change your ways and ask the Lord to forgive you. Try being a follower and an example of a leader in Jesus Christ. I promise you will love him. Absent from the body, you are present with God…Trayvon Martin is with God. There is no justice like God’s justice!! 

  • karen kelly

    I’ve never heard of ALEC before this. This is awful.  We Dems,or liberals must get off our collective butts and get in gear to change, or should I say stop the Conservative Right and take our country back!!! We must get organized like they are. We are going to continue to lose these  little heard of laws.  Come on Dems, let’s go!!!

  • Jnsglbrt

     I stopped contributing to NAACP when I found out Walmart was their biggest contributor !  Several weeks ago I was contacted by them and informed that they never turn down money from  anybody.  Do they not connect the dots?   Are some of their behaviors part of the problem>

  • Kellysangels5

    Zimmerman is not white he is Hispanic talk about getting your facts right. I believe that in this country you are innocent until proven guilty so for the one’s that are calling Zimmerman a murder he is not until one of three thing happen: 1 He pleads guilty 2: he has a bench trail an it is proven to the Judge 3: If he proven guilty by a jury of his peers. Please remember that there is always two side to anything and sometimes more than the two side

  • Surfbum

    The way the youth of today are being raised is all the more reason for STAND YOUR GROUND. Paddling in schools or at home is considered child abuse come on REALLY.
    Anyone in the 40 year old and up certainly remembers paddling in school and home. The government provides to many avenues to groups to scream FOUL. Leave the law the way it is and spend more time and money on EDUCATION. Or move to a state that does not have SYG


  • Sheila Short-Ritter

    Democrats are just as bad. Sorry to say. What we need is a party who isn’t afraid of being “politically incorrect” and stand up for the rights of the people, like out fore fathers did. Bring back corporal punishment, the death penalty and stop screwing with the rights of parents to discipline their own children.

  • Sheila Short-Ritter

    put it out on Facebook the CCM won’t cover anything that might piss off their sponsors.