Photo from the January 14 cover of Jet Magazine
Words of Jordan’s Mother, Ms. Lucia McBath, at a hearing before the United States Senate on “stand your ground” laws:
Some will tell you that the argument was about music, but I believe that it was about the availability of guns and the eagerness to hate. People like Mr. Dunn feel empowered to use their gun instead of their voice to reason with others. Now I face the very real possibility that my son’s killer will walk free, hiding behind a statute that lets people claim a threat where there was none.
This law declares open season on anyone that we don’t trust for reasons that don’t even have to be true. In essence, it allows any armed citizen to “self-deputize” themselves and establish their own definition of law and order. It lets one and all define their own criteria for right and wrong and how justice will be carried out.
Even the Wild West had more stringent laws governing the taking of life than we have now. “Stand Your Ground” defies all reason. It goes against the sound system of justice established long ago on this very Hill.
Jordan was named for a change in the tide, a decision to try harder and do better. He was my only child. He was raised with love and learning and a clear understanding of right and wrong. I have been without Jordan now since Thanksgiving weekend 2012, without him last Christmas and on his birthday in February.
I never got to take his prom picture or see him graduate from high school. I can tell you all about him-about his easy smile, his first girlfriend, and his plans to join the Marines. I can tell you how he loved his dad’s gumbo. And, how they both rooted for the NY Giants. But you can never really know my boy.
Because an angry man owned a gun, kept it close at hand, and chose to demonstrate unbridled hatred one balmy evening for reasons I will never understand. These laws empowered his prejudiced beliefs and subsequent rage over my son’s own life, his liberty and pursuit of happiness. There will be no sense made of any of it, unless I and the families of other victims speak out to assure this kind of predatory violence ends.
It was fifty years ago that my father shook hands with Eleanor Roosevelt. She assured him of the validity of his struggle and the promise of better times. She, as he did, believed that this nation was righteous to the core. That we as a country would never stop striving to do better. And that was what made us better.
Honorable men and women of the Senate, you can prove them right today. With your help and willingness to bring our laws back toward the true tenets of justice, you can lift this nation from its internal battle in which guns rule over right. You have the power to restore hope to a nation crying out for justice.