Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Right to Bear Arms and Be Violent - Where is the Line Drawn?

Most know by now that George Zimmerman has been arrested and released, again, this time for suspicion of domestic violence involving his legally owned firearm in Seminole County, Florida.  This time the alleged victim was his live-in girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, whom Zimmerman is accused of choking and holding a rifle to her head.

According to an article linked by Jet Magazine from the Associated Press, "Zimmerman has been charged with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He also has been charged with battery and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. An arraignment was set for Jan. 7."  He has been released on $9000 bond, has a electronic bracelet on his ankle, and has been ordered to stay away from his girlfriend, any firearms and ammo, and not to leave the state of Florida.

After he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter for the fatal shooting of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman and his ex-wife, Shellie Zimmerman, also got into a skirmish that turned physical.  This incident resulted in a 911 call where the former Mrs. Zimmerman claimed her husband was violent and had a gun.  Later, she would recant stating that he was unarmed.

As always, I have questions.  Primarily, at what point does a person who legally owns a gun have those rights suspended and even revoked when they repeatedly commit acts of violence with that gun?  This question is not about George Zimmerman specifically, but since he is in the public eye, he gives us the greatest example of the continual negative effects of wielding a legal firearm with impunity, applause, and support from a vocal segment of gun rights advocates and the judicial system.

I have my own take on gun control which is informed by my understanding of the ever-growing societal fetish of power, violence, and institutional racism & sexism.  Having said that, I am a person who is interested in one day responsibly owning a firearm and who has experience with shooting a gun.  Misconceptions and assumptions blocked.  

Another question I have is why have usually vocal gun advocates, both individuals and organizations, continued to remain silent about the gun rights of power minorities?  Where is the public, moral, and financial support from these people and organizations for victims like Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell, and for those who have been viciously criminally prosecuted for defending themselves with their legal firearm like Michael Giles and Marissa Alexander?  

It seems Zimmerman is continuing to be bankrolled for his God-given American right to [trigger warning, pun intended] commit violent acts with his legal firearms via donations from people who champion either his cause or what he represents. 

But what is it that he represents?  The reinforcement of an image of white patriarchal gun rights?  The protection of an American Constitutional right that by law was denied to women, Blacks, Native Americans, and non-citizen laborers?  I am interested in continuing these discussions with friends who are gun rights advocates and with those to are in favor of more strict gun control.  It seems that all our lives depend on finding applicable answers to these questions.