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BTR News – Debate over a “stand your ground bill” got heated when the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee tried to shut down debate and silence the only “black woman” on the panel. Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, raised her voice in a plea against a successful attempt by other members of the Judiciary Committee to limit debate but not before she spoke her mind about the seriousness of trying to remove a legal duty to retreat from current stand your ground law.
While the panel voted to limit debate, Rep. Flowers was not done speaking and used her time to vocalize opposition to removing the legal “duty to retreat” from the standing Arkansas version of “stand your ground” law. Rep. Flowers expressed fear that removal of the “duty to retreat” before using deadly force would lead to more Black boys and girls being murdered and people getting away with it under “stand your ground legal defenses”.
Rep. Flowers seemed to channel the spirit of Mabel Williams, a former NAACP chapter president in Monroe, NC who was married to Robert F. Williams also a former NAACP chapter president, who both believed in, promoted and practiced armed self defense against the racial terrorism of the klan in North Carolina.
Rep. Flowers recounted the times that she fears for her life going to her office and in front of the court house, armed white men “bullying” people with their guns with their intentions unknown.
She asked would she be justified to pull out her gun under “stand your ground” without a duty to retreat before using deadly force to eliminate threats posed white men with guns recalling how Trayvon Martin had been killed in his father’s community by George Zimmerman.
Rep. Roberts said that if it must, the Black residents of the county she represents are prepared to stand their ground in defense of the lives of Black boys and girls. That if the “duty to retreat” clause is removed, then those threatened by white men with guns in their communities will invoke that very defense if need be. The measure to amend the Arkansas “stand your ground” statute failed.