What are the Rules of Engagement on the streets of America?

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.


Karl Smiley's picture
Karl Smiley 12 years 10 weeks ago

The shoot first laws need to be changed, but what is more important is how all the laws are enforced. ie. The Rules of Engagement are routinely not followed and rarely enforced. Laws don't mean much when they are ignored by those with the power.

renegrippo's picture
renegrippo 12 years 10 weeks ago

Isn't this the same logic that created the Iraq war? The preventitive war concept where you merely need to feel threatened and you can invade a sovereign nation.

Someone needs to start listing all of the public policies that have been driven and implemented by the conservative movement in this country over the last 30 years and the negative consequences that have resulted. It's one thing to push back on them at the time explaining what can be expected, but now there is plenty of proof in the pudding. Virtually all of the current federal deficit, for example, can be traced back to policies implemented by conservatives.

This one is one of worst as it is resulting in perfectly innocent people being killed. Can't top the Iraq war, though, since we all know that 90% of the people that get killed in war are innocent civilians.

Obviously it would be easier to list conservative policies that have actually resulted in positive consequences. Can't think of a single one myself.

LCMAS's picture
LCMAS 12 years 10 weeks ago

What worries me is that so many legislators thought that these laws were a good idea. They have spent so much time making Americans afraid of each other that they now seem to believe their own propaganda.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 12 years 10 weeks ago

Rules!?!? No matter what...Zimmerman put himself in a situation that resulted in a dead, unarmed 17 year old kid. The rules of a "neighborhood watchman" is to OBSERVE & REPORT...NOT PERSUE & ENGAGE. Even if Zimmerman wittnessed suspicious behaviour - and it's sad he considers a person in a hoodie walking in the rain as "suspect" - he is NOT a licensed security guard or a properly trained Police Officer. Once Zimmerman was told a patrolman was disbatched, Zimmermans job was finished. Had Zimmerman not acted beyond his "do gooder" "civilian" duties...Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

Ron, Sarasota, Florida

intok's picture
intok 12 years 10 weeks ago

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USGS finds earthquakes linked to Fracking http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/04/07/0314214/usgs-suggests-connec...

The NSA's new $2 billion domestic surveillance datacenter http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

Medicaid Hacked http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/04/08/2353208/medicaid-hacked-over-181...

Update to Medicaid hack http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/04/10/138243/medicaid-hack-update-50000...

The "Big Brother" chip, designed for "ubiquitous navigation" http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/40075/?p1=A1

Educational textbook companies gang up on startup making cheap textbooks using Creative Commons and Public Domain licensed content http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/3-major-publishers-sue-open-educa...

Common brain tumors linked to dental X-rays http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/326037/20120410/meningioma-dental-x-rays...

Meet CISPA, the return of SOPA/PIPA http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/04/07/1928220/new-cispa-cybersecurity-b...

Iran to disconnect from the world wide internet http://search.slashdot.org/story/12/04/10/1541208/iran-plans-to-unplug-t...

Netflix starts FlixPAC SuperPAC to support SOPA like legislation http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/09/sopa-supporters-await-cash-infusio...

Possession of "hacking tools" to be a criminal offense in the EU, the description being so broad as to include tools like Ping,

Whois, Traceroute etc. that come included in Windows Mac OS and Linux http://www.osnews.com/story/25762/Possession_of_hacking_tools_to_become_...

Is your new TV watching you? Samsung's web enabled LCD HDTV with a built in camera and microphone http://www.osnews.com/story/25760/Is_your_new_HDTV_watching_you

TarryFaster 12 years 10 weeks ago

There have been five different American presidents who were Unitarians: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and William Howard Taft.

duncan988's picture
duncan988 12 years 10 weeks ago

I do not agree with the law as written. It leaves too much room for interpretation and obviously results in people getting killed.Anyone can see that the law is a direct result of the "right to bear arms" controversy pushed by the NRA and conservative right.

But let's make sure we examen the law and not get it mixed up with the shooting in Florida. The law is certainly a factor but the evidence is still being examined in that case.

migrjo's picture
migrjo 12 years 10 weeks ago

My God! I'm a middle-aged, gay, african-american. I feel threatened all the time!

Should I buy a gun?

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 10 weeks ago

I strongly feel like rolling back states rights. This idea sure will make southerners upset, but I think it's high time. America is getting more and more divided and the federal authority has to prevent that. So we need a dominating progressive majority in Congress, to force states like Florida and Arizona back to civilized lawfulness.

tomcalwriter1's picture
tomcalwriter1 12 years 10 weeks ago

I agree that Zimmerman should be tried for manslaughter, not murder. But let's get real, Thom, you know yourself our troops are not following the rules over there. You must've talked to soldiers who've driven convoys and been ordered not to stop for anything, including women and children who stand in the roadway. I've heard testimonies on camera of soldiers say they ran over and killed old ladies who got in the way.

TruthAddict's picture
TruthAddict 12 years 10 weeks ago

Yes, laws are routinely ignored by those in power or are only enforced against those they want to discriminate. Yes it is unconstitutional to assassinate Americans yet Obama does it anyways. But laws are important. Why else would they create the Patriot Act if they can just spy on us anyways? They pass these laws for the illusion that we have a Constitutional Republic. We need sensible laws and they should be uniformly enforced, period. We the people are sovereign under our constitution and we need to act like we are! Occupy the legislature!

PLSzymeczek's picture
PLSzymeczek 12 years 10 weeks ago

That community had no official Neighborhood Watch. Therefore, George Zimmerman is a self-appointed cop wannabe with an "I kill, therefore I am" mentality.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 12 years 10 weeks ago

I couldn't agree more! Simmilar is drawing line, after line in the sand; eventually you have to enforce that line otherwise the law is moot.

As well many laws are written waaaay to broadly which leads to loop holes & abusive interpertation and enforcement...or lack there of.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 12 years 10 weeks ago

Apparently Zimmerman has gone AWOL...His defence team has walked away. Zimmerman knows his days are numbered.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 10 weeks ago

Sadly, those people who vote for GOP are "we the people" as well. We shouldn't forget that.

My hope for November 2012 is, that the Republicans make themselves so much ridiculous, that they will loose lots of votes. If Romney should really be nominated (you can never be sure before July/August), the fact that he's very unpopular within the Republican Party might make right-wingers stay at home.

On the whole I see the chance to really get a progressive dominated Congress this time -- where Republicans and blue-dogs together can't disturb the change. Remember, we had issues with blue-dogs already in 2009, who objected the Affordable Healthcare Bills as well as the Republicans. And all that right-wing opposition was a result of the votes of "we the people". We liberals should be honest : many Americans are pretty conservative.

We can occupy legislature by voting accordingly. But we can't start a revolution if this shouldn't work out. The millions of right-wingers would respond to that violence by violence. And you know they tend to be well armed. America is divided and we can't afford risking another civil war, which would totally destroy the country.

After all our options are trying to convince our fellow Americans and then voting progressive.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 10 weeks ago

I believe that there are more liberals/progressives that are not without a gun or two and it certainly wouldn't be hard to get them anyway. What it comes down to is will and resolve. Are we going to continue to believe that some armored knight will ride in and save the day from a bunch of crazies? Or are we going to have the guts to actually defend ourselves? While it would be crazy for any one individual to act alone, because he/she would just be labeled as a lone nut and rejected by those who he felt he/she was fighting for, a growing organized resistance would be necessary.

But if the "Brown Shirts" start bashing in doors in our communities...you'd better either be prepared to throw yourself at their mercy or use whatever defense you have against them. And throwing oneself at the mercy of hateful bully boys never worked out very well in the past...did it?

Since we cannot really rely on the police to protect us (in fact, they are sometimes even the bully boys we loath), and are expected to just fill out an on-line report because, they claim, they don't have enough man power to respond, we may be risking our lives by hoping the police respond in time.

And since we have seen just how "well" the Democrats have "protected" us from capitalist predators, I don't have much hope that even if 100% of Congress and the President were Democrats that things would be much different.

What politicians say when campaigning for election, or re-election, cannot be believed. What really reigns supreme is money...those who have it will continue to control us....and keep us ever hopeful by skillful applications of lies. Those who continue to be wooed by those lies will fall into the "hope" trap which will keep them complacent and compliant for a little while longer.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 10 weeks ago

Occupiers tend to fade out great contingents of the 99%. Part of the 99% are also those teapartiers who brag "we have the guns". Part of the 99% also are the very uncritical and gullible masses, who feel like following the news from Hollywood and top-40s would be 'politics' enough. These people can't tell a political character, so you can easily sell them blue-dogs as progressives. The problem are those masses of political mupets, and this is why things go wrong in several counties. What do low approval rates of Congress tell us? Congress is the American parliament (of course it is, there's no American exceptionalism even in that!), this is the actual heart of our democracy. Democracy is not just voting for or against president Obama, it is above all happening in Congress. And progressives should know, if they send us blue-dogs there, because they're to uninformed to tell a liberal from a blue-dog, there won't be any progressive change possible. I hope this will work out better for coming November -- at least accidentally this time....

I'm not a pacifist, but don't see a civil war would be the solution. It would destroy America and finally there wouldn't be any winner..... but those who sell guns and ammunition. Civil wars are extremely profitable, and once they've started, the gun industry has always been highly interested to keep them going.

Those who talk about "revolution" have the imagination of children. The 99% are not united. In a divided country like the United States revolution without civil war is impossible. It would be Iraq at home.

The Real World's picture
The Real World 12 years 10 weeks ago

Yes you should. And take a good firearms class, get a concealed carry license and carry your gun daily. Help make the world a safer place. I would love to see guns in the hands of all law abiding citizens.

The Real World's picture
The Real World 12 years 10 weeks ago

Roll back states rights? Really. Have you ever heard of the Constitution? Clarissa, your in the wrong country. Canada maybe? maybe not socialist enough, try Venezuela. That would probably be a good fit for you.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 10 weeks ago

You Republicans are actually trying to change the Constitution by overdoing those dozens of Amendment bills.

The Constitution doesn't say states have no limits and the federation has no options. And we have.... We're going to drive out corporate greed, if we get a decent progressive majority in Congress.

Americans should actually learn it now : we're screwed since Bush -- you guys are acting like a bunch of lunatics. Mitt Romney is a goop who even straps his dog on top of his car.

Who is supposed to take you guys seriously anymore? Those who do, need their heads examined.

The Real World's picture
The Real World 12 years 10 weeks ago

#1, you're not going to get a progressive majority because we conservatives outnumber you 2 to 1. And for the record, Mitt is not a conservative in my view but my motto this year is anyone but Obama. We'll work on finally getting a conservative candidate next time. And we take you very seriously. What you and your ilk are trying to do to this country is appalling and you need to be stopped. And don't blame Bush. He didn't help because he wasn't a true conservative either. But, this problem has been going on in the federal government since the turn of the last century. They have been slowly consolidating their power against the people. Sadly it's probably too late to save this country, or any country in europe. All brought to humanity through progressive ideology.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 10 weeks ago

You're crazy! Germany is doing fairly well. Your political mind is so horribly messed up -- you don't get a thing.

I give you a well-intented tip: Kick out the crazies and let the GOP come back to senses. I have a sense for tradition too and don't care to see the Gallant Old Party go under forever. This is possibly going to happen: Palace coup within the GOP. Go back to the progressive roots. You would be surprised to meet all the irritated Eisenhower Republicans I met, who say they're going to vote for president Obama in November.....

Send those anarchistic libertarians and teabag-lunatics to the nuthouse, where they belong!

Thanks for taking me seriously. :o)

The Real World's picture
The Real World 12 years 9 weeks ago

Yeah we should just let the raping, street corner defecating, dirty, vandalizing, tent living, drug using, entitlement mentality, occupy wall street scum, who left piles of garbage in the streets run this country. That's much better than letting those middle aged hard working business people, tea-baggers, (who by the way pay for everything in this country, you probably didn't know that), who left every rally they had cleaner than when they got there, who just want to get back to the document that made this the greatest country in the world, run things. By the way when Europe goes down, Germany will follow. And I take all people with your dangerous mindset seriously.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 9 weeks ago

I know Central Europe too well. They won't accept the consequences of southern austerity. The Germans are much too smart to go under with Greece and Spain -- they won't stand for that and if necessary cut them off. As they weren't ready to follow us to Iraq, and they were darn right!

Haha, funny, the backward insanity is always to find in the south -- in Europe, as in the U.S. ..... Don't pay their bills -- just cut'em off!

The Occupiers are to praise for caring for homeless people. They have quite some homeless people and some of them have drug issues indeed. And I very much appreciate the occupiers to have so much patience. This is what is needed in our society! You're just an asocial sociopath and don't get it.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 9 weeks ago

I mean, if it doesn't get better here, I'm even for MORE state rights -- Dutch treat. Why should we always pay for those behind southern states? Let them drastically find out their ideas don't pay off, this will convince them it's better to be Keynesian and liberal.

The Real World's picture
The Real World 12 years 9 weeks ago

Keynesian? You still don't get it. Again, in the real world, The government doesn't produce anything and they can't pay for anything. Those darn "tea baggers" are the source of wealth and heavy taxation is just theft plain and simple. When you discourage the wealth producers they either move to another more business friendly country or stop producing. Then who pays for all your social programs? In your "real world" what you end up with is the few elites at the top and everyone else at the bottom. Wake up.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 9 weeks ago

If you 2012 GOP lunatics feel like even Bush wasn't a true conservative, you guys must really be a pest in a menace. I have no clue whether your kinda radical ideas have ever been tried out somewhere. You would finally strangle everything. Since Bush we're half-dead, you guys would make everything dead like dodo.

I've seen Merkel's Christian-conservative kind of Keynsianism and this absolutely convinced me. You're wasting your time -- actually helping me to improve my argumentation.....

Well, I'm a Merkel fan -- not a Marx fan!

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