The Missouri House sent to Governor Jay Nixon a “Stand Your Ground” law that would allow a “law-abiding” person to use deadly force in any public place (even in situations where they are not under immediate threat of danger). The provision states the following:  “a person does not have a duty to retreat from any place such person who is not engaged in unlawful activity has a right to be.”  The House vote of 114-36 was comfortably above the 109 votes needed to overturn a possible veto by Governor Nixon. In addition, the Senate’s 24-8 vote had two positive votes more than needed to override Governor Nixon.  This provision would be the first “Stand Your Ground” measure passed by any state since innocent and unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by human pond-scum George Zimmerman in 2012. Mr. Zimmerman cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in his successful defense.

My original composition “Stand Your Ground” pictures Florida as a hellscape of crazed vigilantes running around with guns empowered by this ill-advised provision.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2WP_xgXxWI

In these hot Florida streets
You never know what creeps you’ll meet
They don’t want you hanging round
So they’ll claim it’s “stand your ground”

If you’re young and you are black
They will needlessly attack
They will take your life away
With no consequence to pay

Murder in the first degree
Criminals with no penalty
Something’s very wrong you see
Something’s terribly wrong

Don’t shoot him! Don’t shoot him!
Crazy gun-wielding man
Don’t shoot him! Don’t shoot him!
Crazy gun-wielding man

There’s no innocence today
And they robbed their lives away
And there is no turning back
From a murderous attack

In horror I recoil
And my blood begins to boil
How can you kill an unarmed boy?
How can you kill an unarmed boy?

Murder in the first degree
Criminals with no penalty
Something’s very wrong you see
Something’s terribly wrong

Don’t shoot him! Don’t shoot him!
Crazy gun-wielding man
Don’t shoot him! Don’t shoot him!
Crazy gun-wielding man

“Stand Your Ground”: Lyrics and Music by James Rustad. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Missouri, where the infamous shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson occurred, has now opened it’s Gateway Arch to “Stand Your Ground” aka legal murder. This toxic Missouri bill also allows for constitutional carry, which allows gun owners to carry their firearms concealed, without a permit. My poem, Missouri! (inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”), reviews the state’s troubled history with regards to racial discrimination.

Missouri!

Missouri! St. Louis and the Gateway Arch!

Missouri! Cement, Aluminum, and Broken Windows!

Missouri! Ferguson and the loveless suburbs!

Missouri! Military police state and ritual sacrifice! 

Missouri whose love is Jim Crow and kill what you don’t know!

Missouri! Shoot first and ask questions later, wait for the facts denial!

Missouri! Redline segregation and American apartheid! Missouri! Profiling pedestrian checks!

Missouri! Writing traffic tickets and make them pay the fines! They’re a source of revenue between the color lines!

Missouri! Tear gas and tanks, helmets and guns! Missouri whose urban battlefield moves on!

Missouri! Law and order and militarized police!

Missouri! poem: written by James Rustad. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

My album Ferguson USA features a recording of “Stand Your Ground” along with other topical songs including a tribute “Song for Michael Brown.” The album artwork depicts the Gateway Arch of St. Louis, now open to “Stand Your Ground” aka legal murder:

ALBUMCOVER