Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thom Hartmann: What are the Rules of Engagement on the streets of America?

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Had George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on a battlefield in Iraq - he would have been punished. But on the streets of Florida - Zimmerman walks free. The organization VoteVets.org points out today that Florida's Stand Your Ground law gives more leeway to shooters on the streets of America than our armed forces have to deal with hostile insurgents in Iraq.
According to the Rules of Engagement - which all our soldiers must follow - when confronted with a threat - the soldier is required to shout a verbal warning first, then show their weapon, then try to physically restrain the threat, then fire a warning shot, and then - if nothing else works - they are allowed to shoot to kill. But according to Florida's Shoot First law - which was written by Wal Mart and the NRA with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council - a person only needs to feel threatened and then they can jump right to shooting people.
More than 20 states have passed similar ALEC-written shoot first laws since 2005 - leading to a 25% increase in justifiable homicides across the nation. When on the rules of engagement on the streets of America are more lenient than on the streets of Baghdad - then something is rotten in America.
(What do you think the Rules of Engagement should be? Tell us here.)

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