MSNBC, the Home of Ignorance

Today Martin Bashir jumped on the Trayvon Martin bandwagon with two left-wing guests, Democratic Party strategist and former House Judiciary counsel Julian Epstein and professor James Peterson. Their topic was “stand your ground” legislation. Bashir played video clips of Eric Holder and Democratic Congressman Luis Guiterrez, both talking about stand your ground laws, specifically in the context of the George Zimmerman case:

LUIS GUITERREZ: I get the point that if you one want to defend your home and you’re going to use a gun to defend your home, I get that. But when stand your ground means you don’t retreat, when stand your ground causes the death of a teenager, i think it’s time to examine just everything that happened that day in florida.

Next Bashir went to his guests:

MARTIN BASHIR: Julian, if we accept that the law is designed to curb and prevent violence, is it not the case that Stand Your Ground laws actually escalate violence since they encourage people to meet force with force, including deadly force?

JULIAN EPSTEIN: Yes, I think what the Trayvon Martin case teaches, amongst other things, is you can be the instigator of a scuffle and then in the course of that scuffle, use a firearm and if there are no other eyewitnesses, be able to get away with a claim of self-defense. I think it is not just the self-defense laws it is the combination of the most relaxed and I think had irresponsible gun laws in this country that create an unbelievably toxic mix.

There is zero evidence that George Zimmerman was the instigator of the scuffle with Trayvon Martin, so it is hard to understand how that can be “what the Trayvon Martin case teaches.”

JULIAN EPSTEIN: And then what you get with these Stand Your Ground laws is putting these unbelievable irresponsible gun laws on steroids with these Stand Your Ground laws that allow people to use them in very very irresponsible ways.

By this time, stand your ground laws had been mentioned a remarkable eight times in a few short moments. But now, apparently without experiencing any cognitive dissonance, Bashir suddenly acknowledged that stand your ground has nothing to do with the Zimmerman case:

MARTIN BASHIR: Okay, Professor Peterson, though the stand your ground law was not ultimately used in Zimmerman’s defense….

Nor could it have been. A guy who is lying on the ground getting pounded can’t retreat. But if stand your ground was irrelevant to the Zimmerman case, then why the constant linkage? Bashir and his guests confirmed what we have said repeatedly: the Left is whipping up hysteria over issues like gun control and, now, self-defense laws (which are a matter of state, not federal law) not because they seek any practical goal, but because they want to capitalize on emotion for political reasons:

MARTIN BASHIR: In the light of that, Julian, as far as Stand Your Ground, these are state laws as you know. We’ve already seen Florida’s governor dismiss any changes. What are the avenues for pursuing reform of these laws? After all, we’ve seen the intransigence of the gun lobby in terms of any generalized background checks. How on earth does anyone reverse the effect of these Stand Your Ground laws?

JULIAN EPSTEIN: That’s I think exactly the case. The question now is where do we go from here. There is a lot of anger, I think justifiable anger at the verdict. The question is what do we do? I don’t think there’s a great deal of likelihood the federal government will bring charges. I don’t think there is a lot of instances where you’ve seen the federal government bring a federal civil rights case after a self-defense acquittal in a state. I’m not sure that’s where I would be funneling all the political energy right now. Where I would be funneling the political energy is a mass movement of what is now the silent majority in this country to change the twin barrel effect that Dr. Peterson is talking about of the Stand Your Ground laws together with the gun laws we’ve spoken about many times on this show. The African-American community in particular has an enormous amount of political leverage in this country, and an enormous amount of political leverage with the Democratic Party and I think nationally, as well. I think if the African-American community together with the Hispanic community and then together with the silent majority in this country who wants common sense changes in these laws creates a political movement that will matter on Election Day. Remember the issue here is that people that care about these issues don’t vote on them on Election Day. If they create a genuine bona fide movement on both of these the twin problems, that’s when you begin to see meaningful change and that can be the ultimate good if any good could come out of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, that could be the ultimate good that would come out of it.

MARTIN BASHIR: Professor Peterson, please.

JAMES PETERSON: I would quickly add, that’s the reason why it’s great Sabrina Fulton lended her name to the broader sort of common sense movement for gun safety.

MARTIN BASHIR: The President referenced gun violence.

JAMES PETERSON: That’s important but actually we have to broaden this out, Martin, because how this is unfolding is, there are all these issues around State’s rights. There’s the war on women is being fought on those battlegrounds. The anti-Obama care is being fought on those grounds and we have to bring all these things together to attack them together in order to be successful here.

Sure–bring them all together in one malodorous stew of misinformation: gun control, the “war on women,” stand your ground, Obamacare, “states’ rights.” It’s all about politics, and it’s all about 2014.


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