I. Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws exist in some form in 25 states. (1) They are an extension of the Castle Doctrine, which gave protection for homeowners defending their homes against intruders. A person claiming self-defense is not required to retreat from a threat before opening fire; the burden is on prosecutors to prove that a claim of self-defense is not credible; and, finally, the shooter has immunity from civil suits relating to the use of deadly force.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which was put in the national spotlight by the gunshot death of Treyvan Martin, extended the Castle Doctrine to public spaces — parking lots, parks, and city streets. City and county governments are barred from banning guns in public buildings; businesses can’t forbid employees to keep guns in company parking lots; and doctors can’t warn patients about the hazards of gun ownership. (2)
Two years after the enactment of Stand Your Ground in Florida, the number of “justifiable homicides” by civilians more than doubled and nearly tripled by 2011. (3) FBI statistics show that justifiable homicides doubled in states with Florida-type laws and remained flat or fell in states that lacked them. (4)
II. Mitt Romney’s Military Additions and Military Civilian Employment
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney proposed to add $2 trillion to the Pentagon budget by commissioning six new ships each year for the Navy; adding even more F-35s to the 2,400 currently scheduled for future production; and increasing military troop strength by 100,000. Personnel costs are a major oomponent of Pentagon spending.
Not only does the United States account for over 40 percent of world military spending, but fully 64 percent of all 4.4 million employees on the federal payroll are already in the uniformed military, the Department of Defense, Veteran Affairs or the Department of Homeland Security. (5)
III. Big Donors Rule the Campaign Roost
Politico reported that 2,100 people had given a total of @200 million to the 2012 campaign by August 2012. This is $52 million more than the combined donations of the two and one-half million voters who had given $200 or less. By August, at least 33 American billionaires had each given $250,000 or more to groups whose aim was to defeat President Obama. (6)
(1) Mother Jones, July/August 2012.
(3) Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
(4) FBI graph – 2000-12.
(5) Eric Alterman, “President Romney?” The Nation, August 27-September 3, 2012.
(6) Jane Mayer, “Schmooze or Lose,” The New Yorker, August 27, 2012.