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African American Community Don’t Get Bamboozle and Hoodwinked: Ohio Senate Debates Use of ‘Deadly Force’

By Anthony Bouyer, PhD
Guest Column

Republican law makers are intent on passing Senate Bill 237,  which states that someone who threatens to use or uses a gun or other deadly weapon does not have a duty to retreat if he is in any location where the person is legally permitted to be and is not the one provoking or escalating the confrontation. On its face this seems to be a reasonable bill for law-abiding citizens.

Even as lawmakers debate whether it amounts to a “stand your ground” gun law, the Ohio Senate on Wednesday began hearings on a bill to expand where someone may legally use deadly force without first trying to remove himself or herself from the situation. (Toledo Blade, 2019)

Anthony Bouyer, PhD

In such a case, the shooters would have to “reasonably believe” that they or someone else is in imminent danger, even if in hindsight that belief turns out to be wrong. Deadly force could also be deployed to prevent commission of a forcible felony such as a kidnapping or assault. Many would agree with the bill, if this is how the bill would actually serve its purpose.

However, please reread the language in the bill. It is troubling particularly where it states “the shooters would have to ‘reasonably believe’ that they or someone else is in imminent danger, even if in hindsight that belief turns out to be wrong.” This is where the African American community must not be “bamboozle and hoodwinked.”

The eternal words of Malcolm X regarding political maneuvering and how those maneuvering hurt  the African-American community during his times relate strongly to the current political climate ultimate forms of trickery, misperception and "deceit"  is being perpetrated upon the African American community today.

The bill expands on Ohio’s existing Castle Doctrine law, which generally allows such force when confronted inside someone’s own residence or vehicle by someone else not legally permitted to be there.

“The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Terry Johnson (R., McDermott), told the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. “A majority of states have adopted similar legislation, including all of Ohio’s neighboring states.” He insisted his bill is not “stand your ground,” although sponsors of a variation on the theme recently introduced in the House, Reps. Candice Keller (R., Middletown) and Ron Hood (R., Ashville), readily refer to their bill that way. (Toledo Blade, 2019)

Sen Johnson’s bill would be dubbed the “Ohio Duty to Retreat Act,” although it would chip away at situations under current law in which a person must try to walk away before using force. (Toledo Blade, 2019) Changing the name does not change the bill original purpose. The stand your ground bill was defeated and now the bill sponsors are trying  too hoodwink the public into believing that it is not a stand your ground bill.

What are the dangers to the African-American community if Senate Bill 237 is passed? We have witnessed since many states that have passed such a law, where African Americans have been targeted by these laws. There are several high profile cases and many other cases that have not been highly profiled where African Americans have been shot.

Remember the language in the bill. In such a case, the shooters would have to reasonably believe that they were in danger, even if in hindsight that belief turns out to be wrong.”

Cecil Thomas, a former Cincinnati police officer, painted the picture of a white woman aggressively approached in the street by a black man asking for money. Democrats on the committee worried aloud that such a law might lead to an increase in interracial shootings. (The Blade, 2019)

So understanding Malcom X, if this bill passes you've been bamboozled! Hoodwinked! Don't let yourself be hoodwinked into believing this is a harmless law. Many of us only vote for the big elections, in order for us to stop the hoodwinking, we must vote in all elections. It’s the local, county and statewide elections that impact communities of colors the most.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/29/19 09:35:55 -0500.

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