Alderman Patrick Arnold’s mayoral campaign announced this week endorsements from the Manchester Education Association (MEA) and the National Education Association – New Hampshire (NEA-NH), which collectively represent 16,000 educational professionals and support personnel throughout New Hampshire. The MEA voted to endorse Arnold’s mayoral campaign after meeting with both incumbent Mayor … Continue reading
HB 135 which proposes the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law will soon be coming to a vote before the full State Senate. This bill previously passed the State House, and if also approved by the State Senate, will be signed into law by Democratic governor Maggie Hassan.
The Case for Repeal of the Stand Your Ground law
For 34 years prior to the adoption of Stand Your Ground in 2011, New Hampshire operated without problems under the Castle Doctrine. The Castle Doctrine allowed homeowners to defend their homes and property with deadly force. Outside the home, citizens were allowed to use deadly force if they had used every reasonable means to avoid a perilous situation and had shot only as a last resort.
The Stand Your Ground law was introduced to solve a problem that did not exist. The Castle Doctrine was functioning in a perfectly satisfactory manner. Stand Your Ground does not improve public safety, it actually makes life more dangerous. As we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, this law virtually legalizes murder. Suppose two people argue, and one shoots and kills the other. If there are no witnesses, the shooter can be acquitted simply by claiming that he felt threatened. The dead man is in no position to contradict that claim. In addition, according to the Stand Your Ground law, if the gunman accidentally shoots a bystander, the victim cannot sue the shooter if he survives. If the victim doesn’t survive, the remaining family members cannot sue either.
Mark Hoekstra, an economist with Texas A&M University, studied the effect of Stand Your Ground laws in the various states. According to NPR (1/2/13), Hoekstra said, “Our study finds that homicides go up by 7 to 9 percent in states that pass the laws, relative to states that didn’t pass the laws over the same time period . . .We find that there are 500 to 700 more homicides per year across the 23 states as a result of the laws.”
As to whether Stand Your Ground laws reduce crime by creating a deterrent for criminals, Hoekstra says, “we find no evidence of any deterrent effect over the same time period.”
NPR adds, “In a separate analysis of death certificates before and after stand your ground laws were passed in different states, economists at Georgia State University also found that states that passed the laws ended up with a higher homicide rate.”
The Prospects for Repeal (HB 135) of the Stand Your Ground law.
Despite the weight of logic and evidence supporting HB 135, the prospects for repealing Stand Your Ground are dim. Why is that? Anywhere from 11 to all 13 of the Republican state senators will vote against repeal of Stand Your Ground. In addition, several Democratic state senators, Bette Lasky, Andrew Hosmer, and Jeff Woodburn, have indicated that they will defect from the Democratic stand for repeal of Stand Your Ground. Lasky voted against repeal when the bill came to the Judiciary Committee for a vote. Hosmer and Woodburn have made public statements that they will not vote to repeal Stand Your Ground.
As a result the numbers are not there to repeal (HB 135) Stand Your Ground. So why should any Democratic senator vote to repeal a bill that seems destined for defeat? Because a vote against repeal not only defeats HB 135, it is a public declaration that this senator agrees with the premises underlying the Stand Your Ground law. That person adds his or her voice to a chorus which is moving us toward a more violent America.
The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Remind Lawmakers that Public Safety Should Not be a Gamble: Support the Passage of Senate Bill 152 CONCORD– Today, members of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) held a press conference to state the many benefits of passing Senate Bill 152, … Continue reading →
With the help of State Senator and former professional magician Jeb Bradley, Sen. Kelly Ayotte has been trying to make the problems created by her vote against background checks magically disappear.
That will be quite a trick. Surveys by UNH and New England College, respectively, showed that 94 percent and 88 percent of New Hampshire residents favor background checks. Yet, Ayotte voted against them. As a result, her approval ratings dropped 15 points in a Public Policy Poll, in the process going “upside down” with only 44 percent approving of her job performance and 46 percent disapproving.
Shazam! Ayotte subsequently conducted a full-blown smoke and mirrors campaign to undo the damaging effect of her vote. She was scheduled to conduct three town hall meetings. However, knowing the current cranky mood of the voters, Ayotte wasn’t exactly encouraging a large turnout. According to the New York Times (4/30/13), “Though her office organized a series of town meetings across the state this week, it barely publicized them. On the way out of the meeting here (Warren, NH), she ignored reporters’ questions.”
The Times’ continues, “It was 45 minutes into Senator Kelly Ayotte’s town hall-style meeting here on Tuesday and the local Republican official screening question topics had allowed just one query on gun control. A few in the crowd of about 150 started to get agitated. . . In an effort to settle the room down, Ms. Ayotte turned to Erica Lafferty, whose mother was one of the 27 people who were killed in the shootings in Newtown, Conn.”
“Ms. Lafferty, 27, asked the senator about (her) previous remark that background checks could burden gun stores. ‘I’m just wondering,’ she said, her back stiffening, ‘why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn’t as important?’”
Things didn’t get any better for Ayotte later that day at a Town meeting in Tilton, NH. The moderator shouted “Let the Senator finish please,” as gun safety advocates shouted from the crowd and waved signs that read “demand an end to gun violence.” It was here that former magician and current State Sen. Bradley allowed only one question on background checks and publicly admitted that he purposely screened out the rest. (Abracadabra, embarrassing questions go away!)
Bradley later said, “There were many, many questions on guns supporting her position, and there were some against . . .”
Now, that’s really interesting. The forms completed by those at the meeting who wanted to ask a question requested only their names and the topics of the issues for which they wanted answers. Nothing else. Yet, Bradley somehow knew much more than just the topic of the question. He knew, for example, how many questions supported background checks and how many were against it. Being a magician, I guess Bradley must have psychic powers. Or he didn’t tell the truth.
The third town meeting was held in Fitzwilliam, NH. Gilles Rousseau, the father of Lauren Rousseau who died of multiple gunshot wounds protecting children at Sandy Hook Elementary School attended. Rousseau carried a teddy bear, a picture of his daughter, and her death certificate. He attempted to ask a question about background checks, but was ignored.
It was at the Fitzwilliam meeting that Ayotte attempted yet another way to explain away her vote against background checks. She said that she voted against background checks because she feared they would create a national gun registry. Either Ayotte isn’t very well informed or she was playing fast and loose with the truth. The Manchin-Toomey bill in three different places explicitly bans the federal government from creating a gun registry and considers any attempt to do so a felony crime punishable by 15 years in prison.
Having fared poorly at making her unpopular background check vote disappear (expecto patronum!) at town hall meetings, Ayotte attempted to do so by waving a magic wand in newspaper editorials. In an editorial appearing in both the Concord Monitor (5/6/2013) and the Portsmouth Herald (5/5/2013), Ayotte wrote, “Despite what the false attack ads say, I helped introduce and voted for the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which improves the existing background check system . . .”
The Monitor(5/12/2013) would have none of that. ”The attempted misdirection continued with Ayotte’s attempt to explain her vote and rebut her critics in a column that appeared in the Monitor and elsewhere Tuesday. In it Ayotte explains that she voted for improved background checks before voting against them. But the Republican-backed bill Ayotte did support would do nothing to expand background checks at gun shows and it would have weakened gun laws as much as strengthened them. That’s why it had the backing of the National Rifle Association.”
So Ayotte has been reduced to one last hope to escape her infamous background check vote. If she sprinkles fairy dust on the public, people may grow sleepy and over time forget her vote. Actually, the noise created by the sound of guns killing 30,000 Americans annually is likely to keep us awake and focused.
The combined Finance and Ways and Means Committee vote was 23 to ITL, 22 to reject the motion.
Among Democrats, the vote was 12 for ITL; 13 against ITL
|Way & Means||Abrami||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Almy||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ames||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Azarian||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Butynski||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Cooney||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Davis||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Griffin||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Hess||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Karrick||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Kelley||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Lovejoy||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Major||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ober, Russ||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Sanborn||(r)||yes|
|Way & Means||Sapareto||(r)||no|
|Way & Means||Schamberg||(d)||no|
|Way & Means||Shattuck||(d)||yes|
|Way & Means||Ulery||(r)||no|
|Finance||Weyler||(r)||absent||(Priestly appointed to his seat, voting no)|
|Way & Means||Young||(d)||no|
It has been posited that the esoteric (my term) economy has been hijacked by terrorists. I think that’s probably a stretch. What we have in the U.S. is a coterie of petty potentates aiming to hold on to what little power they have by inflicting damage as they run. Terrorists aim to get power; our petty potentates are barely holding on.
That’s the conclusion of what follows.