(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) As desperately trailing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams scrambles for a winning message to avoid yet another defeat at the hands of Gov. Brian Kemp, activists are using a road-rage killing as a rallying cry to attack the state’s self-defense laws.
On Aug. 31, William “Marc” Wilson, a 21-year-old biracial black man, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson.
Wilson claimed that a pickup truck full of of white teens yelled racial slurs and tried to run him off the road as he drove with his white girlfriend on a road near Statesboro, Ga.
He then fired his legal handgun at the truck, stricking Hutcheson, who was in the back seat.
Wilson’s legal team attempted to defend him using the “Stand Your Ground” rule. But according to state code, the relevant law is only narrowly applied to circumstances in which the target/victim was herself in the process of committing a serious crime.
“The use of force … is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony,” the code states.
Online legal resources point to other provisions, such as the fact that the person using deadly force may not have provoked the attackers and may not have engaged in “combat by agreement.”
The laws pertaining to self defense are distinguished from the state’s “Castle Doctrine,” which permits the use of deadly force under a much broader array of circumstances in defense of one’s own home.
“We believe that this verdict is a verdict that speaks the truth,” Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Daphne Totten said following the manslaughter verdict against Wilson, who was acquitted of other charges including murder.
“We ask juries every day to return verdicts that speak the truth, and the truth in this case is that what Marc Wilson did that night on the bypass was a crime,” Totten said.
After failing in his defense effort, however, Wilson and his supporters promptly decried a racist double-standard against him.
“If you put me in Marc’s shoes, there’s no way that I would’ve been prosecuted,” Wilson’s white cousin, Chance Pridgen, told Yahoo News.
“Odds are I would’ve been given a medal—probably gotten a parade in my name,” Pridgen claimed. “It’s unreal how he was treated just because he’s a little bit more tan than I am.”
Anti-gun activists have long sought to ascribe a racial element to such laws, ever since black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in 2012 during a physical altercation with George Zimmerman, a mixed-race Latino of Afro–Peruvian descent.
Zimmermann, who had confronted Martin for allegedly trespassing in a middle-class suburban neighborhood in Florida, was acquitted after demonstrating in court that he had a credible fear for his life.
Then-President Barack Obama attempted to put his thumb on the scales of justice by declaring prior to Zimmerman’s arrest, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
With the Biden administration’s woke Justice Department already pushing a bogus narrative of white supremacy being the prime motivator for domestic violence, the Wilson case is likely to check all the right political boxes in the leadup to November’s midterm election, where Democrats have struggled to find a salient message that will motivate their traditional voting blocs.
In that regard, it echoes similar election-year racial unrest stemming from the Trayvon Martin case in 2012, the Michael Brown case in 2014, the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile cases in 2016, and the George Floyd riots of 2020.
In Chatham County, Georgia—not far from Statesboro—black criminal-justice activists were vindicated somewhat by the November 2021 murder convictions of three white men in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, which happened a few months before Floyd’s May 2020 death.
The assailants, like Wilson, attempted in vain to claim self-defense after having given chase to Arbery, whom they accused of having trespassed and stolen from a construction site in their neighborhood.
Despite having well outraised Kemp in dark-money donations as he faced a bruising intra-party primary, Abrams has consistently lagged behind the Republican incumbent in the general-election polls, with a RealClearPolitics average margin of 6.6 percentage points separating them.
Earlier this year, Kemp signed into law a new constitutional carry ordinance that allows legal gun owners to have their firearms on them in public under most circumstances.
Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at truthsocial.com/@bensellers.