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Forum Post: Why ‘Stand Your Ground’ is really ‘Kill at Will’ from NRA & ALEC

Posted 1 year ago on May 13, 2012, 8:10 a.m. EST by ericweiss (575)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Why ‘Stand Your Ground’ is really ‘Kill at Will’

By Ladd Everitt

What do you call a law that allows a person to shoot and kill another human being when they could otherwise walk away safely?

I can only call it immoral.

With George Zimmerman soon headed to a pre-trial hearing to evaluate whether he will be protected by the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida, it is important to understand exactly how the law has made permissible the use of lethal force and legalized acts of murder that previously never would have been deemed “justifiable homicides.”

In the wake of Zimmerman’s slaying of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, I have frequently heard people claim, “The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law does not allow you follow someone!” Often, the people claiming this are the ones responsible for the law, like the bill’s sponsor, Florida House Representative Dennis Baxley and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who signed it into law.

But, of course, Zimmerman had been carrying a gun and following — some would say stalking — young black men in his community for months before he ever encountered Trayvon Martin. He even notified police when he did so. More important, however, is the fact that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law removes an individual’s duty to retreat from a conflict in public even when he can safely do so:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Prior to the enactment of these laws, Americans always had a right to “stand their ground” on their property and use lethal force against home invaders. Centuries of English and American common law have long recognized that there is no place to retreat to when cornered in one’s own “castle.”

The law did, however, require individuals to retreat from physical confrontations in public if they could safely do so. If you were cornered in an alley, pinned to the ground or otherwise out of options to retreat, you could defend yourself with lethal force. But if it’s possible to just turn around and walk away, go home and sleep it off, and avoid escalating the conflict, the law required you to do so.

That’s no longer the case in the 25 states that have enacted “Stand Your Ground” laws at the behest of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In those states, if you’ve had a terrible day, if you just don’t like the other guy very much or if you want to try out that new handgun you just bought, you can feel free to escalate the level of violence in a physical altercation by shooting him. Even if you kill him, the law has got your back. You’ll be immune not only from criminal prosecution, but also from any potential civil lawsuits.

Why is the NRA pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws? For the same reason it pushes a number of other laws meant to deregulate the purchase, possession and use of firearms — to sell more guns. Gun ownership has declined dramatically in the past 30 years, to the point that only one in five Americans now owns a firearm (and only one in 10 women). The gun industry’s challenge is to sell to men who already own multiple firearms. Industry marketing is focused on doing this by aggressively promoting military-style firearms (such as semiautomatic AR-15s and AK-47s) and “carry” guns (compact, semiautomatic handguns with “stopping power”).

By pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws, the NRA sends a clear message to the hotrods and wannabe vigilantes that’s it’s okay to buy yourself that new carry gun, bring it out into public and even use it without fear of legal repercussions. Then, when the rest of us realize that we are walking our streets surrounded by armed individuals with questionable backgrounds and terrible judgment (like Zimmerman), the NRA is hoping that we too will feel compelled to arm ourselves in public. It is a strategy that is both cunning and sick.

The NRA has shown us a roadmap to a society that relies solely on private violence — and the threat of private violence — to keep its citizens in line. Such a society absolves people of the responsibility to learn how to manage conflicts nonviolently, without escalating them. It’s not a society I want to see my daughters grow up in.

This morning, in anticipation of Mother’s Day, the Second Chance at Shoot First campaign has released a special video from Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. Second Chance at Shoot First is a national movement launched by Color of Change, the NAACP, the National Action Network, the Urban League and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In the video, Sybrina Fulton asks viewers to “spare other mothers the pain” she has experienced by “calling upon the governor of your state to reexamine … ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws … to keep our families safe.”

You can heed her call right now by signing and sharing the following online petition from Second Chance at Shoot First.

No one should ever be allowed to walk our streets with a hidden handgun and kill at will. If we don’t start standing up to the NRA and ALEC, however, Zimmerman will be far from the last gun-toting vigilante to spill innocent blood.

58 Comments

58 Comments


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[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

Florida’s how to commit legal murder manual:
1> Find you victim in public with no witnesses
2> Kill him
3> Say “I was afraid for my life”

From your friends at the NRA & ALEC
The Florida Stand Your Ground Law: 776.012
a person is justified in the use of deadly force and
does not have a duty to retreat if:
He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to
prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another
or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony
;…


Incident date: March 27, 2006
What happened: Michael D. Frazzini, 35, went to his mother's house to investigate claims that neighbors were harassing her, specifically 22-year-old Corey Rasmussen, who, she said, had taken her car keys. Frazzini, dressed in sweat clothes and a camouflage mask, hid in the back yard. When the Rasmussens spotted someone behind the house, Corey Rasmussen jumped the fence into a utility easement where they encountered Michael Frazzini carrying something in his hand. It was a small souvenir baseball bat. Corey could have left but did not leave. Corey's father, Todd, instructed his daughter to retrieve his .357 revolver. He saw his son and the masked man (Michael) facing off, claimed that he yelled a warning and then fired one shot into Frazzini's chest, killing him.
The outcome: Not charged – stand your ground.


Incident date: June 14, 2009
What happened: Oscar Delbono shot Shane Huse, 34, in the neck and shoulder after an argument between the neighbors, the result of a long-running dispute over Huse's two pit bull terriers. Huse's two children were in his truck nearby when Huse approached the shooter's yard. A witness to the shooting said Huse was turning to leave when he was shot and bullet entry wounds supported that account. Delbono said he thought Huse was "going for something. I feared for my life."
The outcome: No charges were filed. "It is a tragic, unfortunate set of circumstances that occurred, but given the state of the law – stand your ground - there's no criminal prosecution," wrote assistant state attorney Pete Magrino.


[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 1 year ago

Seems as if they're attempting to set the stage for us to kill each other, the same way they keep us divided with labels of D's & R's. It appears to be working.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

The larger the divide between ruling class and the peasants, i.e., income inequality, the more wiggle room the ruling class will write into circumstantial laws that defend the killing of peasants.

[-] 2 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 1 year ago

The phrase "United we stand - divided we fall" comes to mind here. Please remember that people that identify with BOTH SIDES, consist of the ruling class AND peasants. I would suggest that the peasants from BOTH SIDES, build bridges and unite, to gain strength over the ruling class. The ruling class uses the D&R label to keep us divided and weak. They like to make it appear that it's about the D's vs the R's; when it's about the ruling class vs the peasants.

Actually, I support a Direct Democracy where these labels don't exist. It's more about independent thinking instead of pack or heard thinking.

http://osixs.org/Rev2_menu_commonsense.aspx

Cheers

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

What do people think the phrase 99% vs. 1% means? Democrats vs Republicans. NO. It means just what you said, and you nailed it.

[-] 1 points by shooz (26725) 1 year ago

Even more immoral is getting 20 years for deliberately missing.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/justice/florida-stand-ground-sentencing/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Essentially, 20 years for putting a hole in the garage roof. What happened to the sentence fitting the crime?

[-] 3 points by shooz (26725) 1 year ago

When did that ever count in the deep south?

Gotta keep those profitized prisons full.

There's money to be made on the tax payer.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

I'm hoping Obama will fight for drug legalization next year
when he does - the prison companies will start a war against it

[-] 1 points by shooz (26725) 1 year ago

They have to maintain performance to their quota.

Profitized prisons is the WORST thing conse(R)vatives have ever done!

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

drug legalization may reduce the drug wars in Mexico

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

no- they will eliminate drug wars in Mexico. If California farmers can produce a drug for less than one-tenth of the price, the war will not be worth their efforts. It will also sever the pipe of money going to the Afgan poppy terrorist connections. The biggest oposition to legalizing will be the prison corps, the police [ who know how to attack the problem - but not solve it] , and the Mexican drug generals

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

people often make up excuses to keep working

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

they call themselves republican congressmen

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

We are in some deep shit.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

and where does the shit come from ?
shit comes from the Rs
....................................................................I dare you to say that out loud

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

What's the difference between D & R?....one amounts to deep shit and the other extremely deep shit. But either way, it's the same old shit.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

These four men REQUIRE that you vote for Obama

John Roberts +
Antonin Scalia +
Clarence Thomas +
Samuel Alito

If you don’t believe them,
…….ask Newt Gingrich or John McCain about Citizens United
OR
…….ask the family of any soldier killed in Iraq about bush v Gore

OR

Are you afraid to answer the questions -
……why do supreme court appointments make no difference ?
……why do ( roberts + alito ) = ( sotomayor + kagan ) ?
.……do you believe that President Gore would invade Iraq ?
…….do you believe that President Gore would NOT read his PDBs ?
And are you smart enough to answer these questions without changing the subject
to what you don’t like about Obama?


Just because Scalia and Thomas take koch brothers money –
you don’t have to


[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Don't spam me with your carefully prepared slogans. I am not your consumer whore to do with as you please.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

Ahhh- so you are afraid to answer the 4 simple questions.
You can't handle the truth
You sound like the child who says "I hate you and I will never eat again"
A very courageous, mature attitude if you are 7 years old.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

You equate my distate for being spammed to fear. Well, your not exactly making a case for your genius with that keen display of judgment. Now, do you have any valid points. Sure. Judges hold sway over laws that rule the land. Got it.

But talking points do not equal total truth. Truth requires deeper reflection and commitment to find. What will the future hold if I am not swayed by your argument? Will the fears you throw at me come to fruition? Why am I listening to someone who calls me a kid? You have a very strange way of trying to win your arguments. Is this the shame me into submission tactic really the best strategy you have for winning this argument. All you've done is lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. Good job.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

And the miracle of this is that Trayvon's mom
has done an anti-stand your ground TV spot -
for mother's day

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

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[-] 0 points by TheMisfit (48) 1 year ago

Ignorant article by a biased, uninformed blockhead = OWS favorite post. Pathetic.

[-] 0 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 1 year ago

yes people have the right to carry a gun and defend themselves. but who cares? its a good law.. should be federal law. at the moment.. what matters are JOBS, corruption,, the economy, dismantling the war machine. stop posting about distractions.

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Actually, I think most Americans view it as carry a concealed handgun so that you can defend yourself if attacked. That’s the crux of the stand-your-ground law. Why would you want to prevent people from defending themselves from injury of death?

We live in an increasingly dangerous society. Daily news of people be attacked on the streets with no other purpose other than to main and kill. Honest, law abiding people should have the right to defend themselves. Why is that so hard to understand?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

why should the handgun be concealed ?

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Conceal carry vs. open carry is an age old argument. The argument for concealed carry is that open carry seems to frighten some people. Also for the element of surprise is important. Think about it, if you open carry the bad guy sees a gun on your hip he’ll probably shoot you first rather than take any chances. Of course, the flip side of the argument is that the bad guy sees an open carry gun and leaves you alone. So, I guess you have to decide for yourself.

Personally, I think conceal carry is better. However, carrying a concealed weapon is a hassle. Normally just too uncomfortable to wear and often hard to conceal. An entire cottage industry has grown up around concealed carry. All kind of concealed holsters and specialty clothing. Small “pocket” 9MM and .380 guns that just fit in your pocket or purse are very popular.

Some States have both concealed and open carry. I wish they would all do that.

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Wow, do you really believe the cops are the bad guys? The cops are the good guys. Just because they try to control a street riot doesn’t make them bad. They are there to protect you and the rest of the public. You should be thankful.

I’m always suspicious of people who bad mouth the cops. Makes me think they got caught doing something and just want to complain about it.

However, I’m off topic of this thread. This thread is about “stand your ground”; which is a good thing. Probably saves hundreds of lives a year.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

I believe the people have the power to broadcast injustice

I further believe that most police carry cameras and should broadcast

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

I agree. People should be able to broadcast injustice. Whether is be police or OWS rioters. However to bait and selectively publish injustice by a specific group is wrong.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

one of the candidates on my primary ballet mentioned Al Cada by name

[-] -1 points by ItNeverBegan (1) 1 year ago

Yes, it's better to have obligatory victimhood laws. Sure, make people consent to being victims, they can always call the police later.

Just a little reality too... your chance of being killed by an assault rifle ranks somewhere below simply dying because you fell down.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

"your chance of being killed by an assault rifle ranks somewhere below simply dying because you fell down".

Tell that to the parents of the kids at Columbine. I don't think they care too much about the statistics.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

fanatics - especially religious fanatics & gun fanatics - can't handle the truth

[-] 0 points by ItNeverBegan (1) 1 year ago

It's just reason and math. Death by assault rifle is exceedingly rare.

This is exactly what a freedom sucking government does. When it can't win the argument based on reason and facts, it falls back to anecdotes and emotion.

Liberals want us all as state dependents. But helplessness shouldn't be obligatory. Self-defense is a natural impulse from a population that still can muster feelings like self-respect and self-reliance.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Human beings are not simple statistics. And you can't be enjoy freedom if you're dead.

I believe in your right to own SOME types of guns as long as they are regulated better than bicycles. But don't go spewing statistics as a justification. As "rare" as assaults on innocents may be, they are o less devastating when they happen. The rarity of the tragedies does not make those events less horrible, and the numbers don't justify your stance. If there are other rationales, so be it, but that's not one of them.

31,593 people died from gun violence and 66,769 people survived gun injuries last year alone. Now THERE'S a statistic for you. Perhaps if guns were a bit less prevalent, or just a bit harder to obtain, those numbers would come down.

These stand your ground laws have NOTHING, repeat NOTHING to do with self defense, or did you not either read or understand the OP?

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Depending on which numbers you believe, there are between 190 and 360 million privately owned guns in America today. Right this minute two major gun manufactures’ (Ruger and S&W) have a backlog of over a million guns each and suspended new orders. One of the top selling weapons right now is the AR-15 assault rifle. People are gearing up for something other than normal self defense. I think they see the writing on the wall that things are about to get worse, much worse.

Gun owners tend to be single issue voters and Republicans.. A lot of gun folks view the NRA as a bunch of wimps that are too forgiving on anti-gun legislation. But I digress.

The Trayvon case has brought the “stand-your-ground” laws under scrutiny by some Democratic politicians. The issue is largely divided along racial lines. Blacks want the laws re-written and Whites tend to think the laws are OK. Not trying to be racist, but it’s how the issue breaks down.

Time will tell, but I think the laws will not be changed. People still want to be able to protect themselves..

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

People have ALWAYS been able, by law, to protect themselves. Did you even bother to read to OP?

Self defense has always been enshrined in law. These new laws, however, go far beyond protecting one's self, one's family and one's home. "If it’s possible to just turn around and walk away, go home and sleep it off, and avoid escalating the conflict, the law required you to do so." These new laws eliminate this requirement. They eliminate any respect for human life.

And they do so for one reason: profit.

It is a disgrace, a stain on America.

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Just to be sure I didn’t miss anything I reread the OP post. I think I understand it. I think the OP intentionally demonizes people defending themselves. It’s not nearly as simple as the OP wants you to believe.

For instance, if someone pulls a gun, knife or club on me it’s a reasonable assumption that they intend to harm me, and therefore reasonable for me to protect myself any way I can, even shooting them if they persist in the threat. Trying to run away may or may not work. You could get shot in the back or caught and beat to a pulp. I should not be legally obligated to wait for them to shoot me first.

Even if the bad guy doesn’t display a weapon, but makes a verbal threat or threatening posturing means they intend to harm you. You should be able to protect yourself. An example, three bad guy surround you and talk or act like they intend to hurt you. Do you wait for them to actually do it? If you feel the threat is imminent you should be able to protect yourself.

If someone is attacking you with just fists you shouldn’t be legally obligated to allow it to happen without defending yourself any way you can. At that moment you don’t know if the bad guy is just roughing you up of going to beat you to death.

Bottom line is I don't want to have to wait until someone hurts me before I can legally defend myself. I think in terms of imminent threat. If it looks like someone is going to harm me I should be able prevent it any way I can.

The Trayvon case has been talked to death. At this point I’ll let the courts do their job. But the court decision won’t resolve the issue. It’s brought too many hot button issues to the surface.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Are you being deliberately obtuse?

If there is imminent threat and you cannot withdraw, you have every right to defend your self.

YOU AWLAYS DID!!!!!!!!!

These new laws add NOTHING to that, other than to remove the requirement to withdraw IF REASONABLY POSSIBLE. If withdrawal was not possible you have ALWAYS had the right to protect yourself, including with the use of deadly force.

Who the fuck ever said you had to subject yourself to being hurt before defending yourself. Imminent threat has ALWAYS been the criteria for self defense, NOT injury. If someone is trying to break into your house, you have ALWAYS had the right, BEFORE you get hurt, to shoot him dead.

These laws are NOT about self defense. They are about aggression alone. They are based on MANUFACTURED fear of scenarios that DON'T EXIST.

THis is not simply about Trayvon Martin and the stain of racism his tragic death points to. This is about ALEC and the NRA manipulating unfounded fears and spreading disinformation and demagoguery to write laws to increase SALES and PROFITS even if it means more people will be killed. It goes directly to the depths of corporate greed which values the bottom line above human life or decency. IN the years immediately following the passage of the Shoot First law in Florida, a state that had seen a steady DECLINE in violent crime for TWO DECADES, "justifiable" homicides TRIPLED. THAT'S what this is about.

[-] 0 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Obtuse? I don’t think I am. I’m just trying to say people in threatening situations have to make a split second decisions if the danger is real; and whether run or fight. Most of the time the adrenaline and fear take over and affect the decision. The decision on whether danger is imminent must be determined in seconds; and people will read the situation differently and react differently in the face of danger.

In most shooting incidents you must be able to convince the cops and DA you were in real and immediate danger and had no alternative but to defend yourself. That’s the way it is whether there is a stand-your-ground law in your state or not. Stand-your-ground just provides you some legal protection.

Gun owners and anti-gun folks are pretty entrenched in their beliefs. I doubt anyone on either side is going to change their mind.

I just googled how many private gun owners are in the US. The first number that popped up said there are an estimated 80 million gun owners with an estimated 258 million guns in the US. It seems to me people want to defend themselves against predators and criminals. Stand-your-ground just gives people a little more leeway to protect themselves without being called a criminal. It’s a good law and should not be removed or altered.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Shoot first laws have nothing to do with what you're talking about. Period.

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[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

first complains, "When it (freedom sucking government) can't win the argument based on reason and facts, it falls back to anecdotes and EMOTION."

next, "Self-defense is a natural impulse from a population that still can muster FEELINGS like self-respect and self-reliance."

ahem....cough....dude....that is falling back on emotion to make your argument.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Ahem....cough.....dude.... Shoot First laws are not, and have never been, necessary for self defense in this country. You ALWAYS had the right to defend yourself and your family, including with the use of deadly force.

Facts are important. Myths are bullshit. Dude.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Sorry, sir. Meant my sarcastic reply to be directed @ ItNeverBegan. I agree with everything you've said in response to inane comments like...death by assault rifle is exceedingly rare... give me a break...

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

In that case, my apologies to you, SIr, as well. :)

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

I really don't have the patience to try and argue reason with gun nuts. So my hat is off to you big time for making the effort to present a sane viewpoint to them.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

I don't actually expect to make a dent in their thinking, if that's what they do is called. They tend to be zealots, and no amount of reason, fact, or simple humanity dissuades them from their religious fervor.

But it's worth the effort (sometimes) to at least get some reason out there as a counterweight for other readers of the thread.

And I very much appreciate getting to see the top of your head (with your hat off and everything). Seriously, thanks.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Well, off the top of my head, I would say it only takes a little reason to counter a lot of crazy....so don't stay up to late picking off the gun nuts.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Sometimes it's fun, though. Like shootin' fish in a barrel, as they might say.

Anyway, it's nighty night for me. "See" you soon.

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[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

death by grenade ( in the lower 48 ) is exceedingly rare -
therefore.................
isn't logic fun ?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 1 year ago

Death by tank, mortar, stinger missile, Howitzers and nuclear bombs are rare, too. I always wonder what the Founders would say about the right to own and operate them. Nevertheless, I am a staunch supporter of Second amendment rights. I believe firmly that everyone should be allowed to own a musket, a blunderbus, and a sword.

Thanks for your putting the record straight, Bensdad.

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[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 1 year ago

Assault rifles, mostly the AR-15, is one of the best selling firearms sold today. These are essentially combat weapons. Personally, I think the primary reason people buy combat arms is they think the US economy and society is on the verge of collapse and they will need the weapons for protection from predators, looters and criminals.

I don’t agree it’ll get that bad, and don’t any combat guns. My pistols and hunting rifles should work OK if really needed. But a lot of people think I’m naive about it. I guess we’ll see.

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[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

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