Commentary: Trayvon, Justice and a Group Named ALEC

Why justice for Trayvon Martin must include countering ALEC’s efforts to undermine our democracy.

(Photo: Julie Fletcher / AP)

God forbid, but if George Zimmerman ever goes to trial and gets acquitted of the vicious slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by using Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" law as the basis of his defense, you can partially blame this moral travesty of justice on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

You see, over the past 30 years ALEC has been responsible for influencing some of the more conservative legislation throughout the country. Made up of national and state legislators and funded by the Koch Brothers and the National Rifle Association among others, ALEC creates model legislation for their members to push.

ALEC, along with some input from their staunch supporters the NRA, wrote the Castle Doctrine Act, which was the template for the so called Castle laws that have been implemented in several states, including Texas, Georgia and Mississippi. The Castle Doctrine Act is also the basis for Florida’s hotly contested "Stand Your Ground" law. Thanks to Castle laws, Texas and Georgia have seen a 50% increase in justifiable homicides. Florida has seen the number of justifiable homicides increase by more than 50%.

Sadly, the tragic and senseless killing of Trayvon Martin is just another in a long line of justifiable homicides in the land that some Florida natives have called “Gunshine State.” If we are to see true justice for the many Trayvons, we must not only fight to insure that the George Zimmermans of this country get arrested and tried by a jury of his peers, but we must also fight to counter the harmful legislative efforts of organizations like ALEC.

 The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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