Within the Bible, particularly the E book of Leviticus within the Outdated Testomony, a passage reads: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
This phrasing has been reused all through the centuries as a part of the inspiration for what we perceive as “civil society.”
Civil society is meant to comprise a group of residents linked by frequent pursuits and collective exercise. There was a time when neighbors regarded out for each other—whether or not it was to keep watch over a toddler, ship a bundle, share a pleasant greeting, or are inclined to their group collectively. In some pockets of the nation that actuality nonetheless exists. However there was a concerted effort over the course of many years to show neighbor in opposition to neighbor, one piece of hateful and harmful laws at a time.
In 2005, Florida turned the primary state within the nation to enact a “stand your floor” regulation. The regulation states that an individual has the precise to satisfy drive with drive in the event that they imagine their life is in danger. The “I feared for my life” mantra would turn into the constant chorus.
However what occurs although when the act of self-protection is just a veil for racism and hatred? What occurs when simply the looks of Black or Brown pores and skin is seen as a risk? This is similar regulation that helped George Zimmerman stroll free after killing teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012. Martin’s homicide and Zimmerman’s acquittal sparked the Black Lives Matter motion. It additionally contributed to the unfold of “stand your floor” legal guidelines throughout the nation.
Within the “stand your floor” period you’ll be able to’t make errors on this Wild Wild West of America, the place a U-turn right into a driveway can result in dying, a easy request for quiet can result in mass homicide, and, only recently, wanting to speak together with your neighbor and purpose with an grownup who has been harassing and bodily assaulting your younger Black youngsters results in cold-blooded homicide on their doorstep.
KILLING A MOTHER OF FOUR
The tragedy of Ajike “AJ” Owens is the most recent in a string of shootings predicated on racism and veiled by “stand your floor.”
Owens, a Black mom of 4, went to confront her white neighbor, Susan Louise Lorincz, who was allegedly harassing her youngsters with racist slurs for enjoying in a discipline by her home. Police say Lorincz threw a curler skate at Owens’ 10-year-old son, and menaced him with a swinging umbrella.
Owens did what any dad or mum would—she went over to speak to her neighbor. However as a substitute of dialog she was met with a bullet that took her life.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned, “Detectives had been capable of set up that Lorincz’s actions weren’t justifiable beneath Florida regulation”—that means even the cops think about this homicide and never self-defense protected by “stand your floor.”
However ought to we actually be shocked that this type of atrocity occurred in Florida?
What do you anticipate from a state that handed laws to protect the consolation of its white residents on the expense of everybody else? This can be a state the place weapons are all over the place, gun legal guidelines are persistently rolled again, and anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion legal guidelines have turned neighbors into vigilantes and make boogeymen out of folks that aren’t white, cis, straight, citizen, or Christian. What did we predict the outcomes can be?
For much too lengthy the media has failed to attach the dots between the rise in fascist legal guidelines and gun violence. For the reason that enactment of a collection of anti-drag legal guidelines, threats of violence in opposition to drag performers has risen dramatically. Equally, because the killing of George Floyd three years in the past, acts of violence in opposition to the Black group by police and vigilante teams have risen as effectively.
All of that is occurring as we gear up for the 2024 presidential elections the place the whole Republican discipline is dominated by Trump, a person that instructed police to tough up suspects slightly, and exclaimed that he might kill somebody and his ballot quantity would rise.
To not be outdone, Gov. DeSantis—who has turned the state of Florida right into a hate state and hellscape for trans People and BIPOC People alike—would now just like the authority to mannequin the nation after his state.
Think about a whole nation beneath “stand your floor”—a spot the place, like Florida, it isn’t secure to go anyplace as a result of hid weapons are the norm and anti-Black sentiments are cheered.
Suppose that is hyperbolic? Ron DeSantis used his platform to boost thousands and thousands for Daniel Penny, the ex-Marine that choked a Black man to dying on the New York Metropolis subway.
It can’t be careworn sufficient that it isn’t drag queens, trans youngsters, or Black of us undermining civility in our nation–it’s the Republican Get together and right-wing media. For these fake Christians that selectively use Bible verses to justify their cruelty, it isn’t “love thy neighbor”—it’s shoot them first and ask questions later.
The query for 2024 is, is that this the America we would like?