It's turns out that Republican Florida state Rep. Dennis Baxley is far more odious than we realized when, last December, we described him as, among other things, "reprehensible", "anti-American" and "democracy-hating".
It appears we were way too kind.
Baxley, it seems, was the chief, NRA-funded sponsor behind Florida's 2005 "Stand Your Ground" law --- better described as a "Right to Kill" law --- the first of many similar ALEC-templated bills to be passed by Republicans in states across the country, allowing for what opponents had warned at the time, would result in "racially motivated killings."
It was just such a racially motivated killing that appears to have resulted in the shooting death of unarmed 17-year old African-American Trayvon Martin, by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, FL late last month. Zimmerman, who has admitted to shooting Martin --- just minutes after he is heard on a 911 call whispering "fucking coons" and being told by the dispatcher to not follow Martin --- is still a free man today, and still in possession of his
gun and [see CORRECTION note below] concealed weapon permit, thanks in no small part to Baxley's law.
What follows is brief coverage of Baxley from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night, including clips of his advocacy for the bill back in 2005, when he argued that "this is gonna be a safer state" and "this bill will stop crime in its tracks". Then, after that, we'll remind you why, and what, we had written about this despicable creep last December...
In addition to being the chief sponsor of the "Stand Your Ground" law, according to Think Progress "Baxley is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and has advocated for the production of a Florida license plate honoring 'Confederate Heritage.' He also argued against removing a racial slur from the Florida state song."
When arguing against doing away with Florida's state song about a slave pining for the good old days on "de old plantation" with the "darkeys," Baxley argued: "I don't pretend that the past was all beautiful and wonderful. I'm sure it was painful for some people, but we're in a multicultural area and everyone's culture is celebrated but mine."
Yes, that's what he actually said.
With such a history of respect and caring for his fellow Americans, especially the white ones, it comes as little wonder that Baxley was making the media rounds last year [see below] conceding, when pushed, that though his state had no "voter fraud" problem, it was, nonetheless, important to shorten early voting periods and level serious criminal fines against folks who dared to register voters to exercise their franchise --- such as the Florida high school teachers who were arrested and charged for registering their students to vote in violation of Baxley's new anti-voting law last year.
Oh, yes, and the non-partisan Florida League of Women Voters --- who have been legally registering voters in the Sunshine State for the past 72 years, until Baxley's voter suppression law forced them, for the first time in their history, to call off their program for fear of putting their registration workers at risk of criminal felonies, fines, and prison time --- is actually a partisan Democratic organization, according to this insidious putz.
Thankfully, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced earlier this month that they are now challenging the new statutes that Baxley fought so hard for, after finding that the state of Florida failed to meet it's Voting Rights Act obligation of demonstrating that the new laws are not racially discriminatory.
As we noted last December, when first seeing Baxley at work, in what turns out to be have been a far too generous moment of restraint...
Fortunately, most readers of The BRAD BLOG will be able to smell the bullshit of the smirking, democracy-hating Baxley a mile away even without my point-by-point rebuttal. So I'll just run the video here for now without much comment, as it needs to be seen to be believed.
Near the front of the interview, Baxley admits that there's been no voter fraud problem in FL, and by the end he's charging (without a stitch of evidence, naturally) that the non-partisan League of Women Voters, who have been registering voters in the Sunshine State for some 72 years --- but who have now canceled their registration program for 2012 thanks to the onerous new GOP restrictions and fines on registration workers --- is actually a partisan Democratic organization! Who knew?
My loathing towards those who knowingly undermine American democracy is difficult to contain. So consider my restraint today an undeserved favor to you this afternoon, Mr. Baxley.
Our apologies to readers of The BRAD BLOG for that unwarranted restraint last December. We deeply regret the error.
CORRECTION 3/27/12: I had originally reported that Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, was "still in possession of his gun and concealed weapon permit." However, according to the initial police report from Sandford, FL's Officer Timothy Smith [PDF], upon arriving at the scene, he "removed a black Kel Tek 9mm PF9 semi auto handgun and holster" from Zimmerman. That handgun, the report says, "was placed in to evidence." Though many media outlets have similarly misreported that Zimmerman was allowed to keep his gun after the killing, the Orlando Sentinel describes the point as "misinformation", and says "The gun is now in the possession of authorities, officially part of the evidence in the case." The paper goes on to note: "Zimmerman, though, still has a valid concealed-weapons permit." The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, in issuing a similar correction themselves, notes that, in addition to Zimmerman still retaining his concealed carry license, "he still has the ability to buy a gun and carry it into public spaces." The article above has been corrected to reflect that information. Thanks to BRAD BLOG commenter Pokey Anderson for pointing out my error.