If there’s one thing that became clear during a debate about a controversial “stand your ground law” in Arkansas, it’s that Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D) doesn’t take any guff from her fellow legislators.
Members of the State Judiciary Committee were debating Senate Bill 484, which seeks to eliminate the “duty to retreat” phraseology from the bill, The Hill reports. Currently, Arkansas is one of three states in the South that requires a person to retreat before using deadly force. Maryland and Virginia also require this.
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Critics of “stand your ground laws” have long noted that some see this legislation as a right to kill and people of color have been victimized by these laws, The Grio reports. Some committee members were trying to limit the debate on the measure, and Flowers, the committee’s sole African-American legislator, raised her voice as she pleaded against their efforts.
She noted that her son and all other Black Americans face a very different reality than that of white people.
“My son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time,” Flowers told her colleagues. “When you bring crap like this up, it offends me.”
And who can blame her?
State lawmakers have apparently been trying to pass similar “stand your ground” measures under both Democrat-led and Republican-led legislatures for the better part of a decade, but fortunately, all have failed, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
Her voice rose as she told committee members why more discussion is needed, and at that point, Sen. Alan Clark, the committee chairman tried to shut her down.
“Senator, you need to stop,” he said at one point.
“No, I don’t,” she responded.
“Yes you do,” Clark said.
“No the hell I don’t. What are you going to do, shoot me?” Flowers responded.
Flowers took a brief cigarette break and when she returned, Clark told her no action would be taken against her. Fortunately, the measure failed again as the Republican-led committee voted against it 4-3.
Videos of the heated exchange, which took place Wednesday, are quickly going viral. One version, released by NowThis on Twitter, has racked up more than 874,000 views.
State Sen. Stephanie Flowers had a powerful and emotional response to a white lawmaker trying to silence her in a debate on Arkansas' ‘stand your ground’ gun laws pic.twitter.com/aZ1OQg2mOs
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 8, 2019
Meanwhile, the YouTube video below, by arkansasonline has racked up nearly 38,000 views since it was posted Wednesday. Kudos to Sen. Flowers for speaking truth to power.
Featured image by arkansasonline via YouTube video