Waterloo Legislator Ras Smith Demonstrates Danger Of Stand Your Ground

The Iowa House passed the Republican omnibus gun bill yesterday, but not before many Democratic legislators made impassioned pleas to vote it down. The most striking moment came when first-term Representative Ras Smith showed his colleagues how he could easily be seen as a “threat” under the new law, donning a grey hoodie and headphones. The 29-year-old Smith hails from Waterloo, where racial tensions continue to be a problem.

“While I agree that we are created equal, I do not agree that all Iowans are treated equal, or protected equally,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon. “While as a young man playing football in Representative Fisher’s district, and Representative Salmon, with your sons, in that football field in Garwin, Iowa, I didn’t feel like I was treated equally. I was called racial slurs more than ten times, spit in my face and told, ‘If I could kill you and get away with it, I’d do that.’”

The gun bill sponsored by Republican Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley will allow Iowans wide latitude in the use of deadly force. People will be able to exercise deadly force so long as they have a “reasonable belief” that such force is necessary, even if they are incorrect.

“The idea that you can be wrong in your estimation of a threat, but as long you have good reason, is terrifying for some of us,” Smith said. “The impact of this legislation on people who look like me, but may not dress like I do when I’m here Monday through Thursday, will be an increased risk to being kill. As recent as April 2016, there were cross burnings in Dubuque. I wonder if those who set that cross ablaze will see Stand Your Ground as a get-out-of-jail-free card based on their ‘reason.’”

Watch Smith’s full remarks here:

Representative Ras Smith HF517 Remarks

Yesterday, the Iowa House debated HF 517. With its inclusion of "Stand Your Ground" language, this bill has the potential to dangerously affect minority communities.

Posted by Iowa State Representative Ras Smith on Wednesday, March 8, 2017


by Pat Rynard
Posted 3/8/17

7 Comments on "Waterloo Legislator Ras Smith Demonstrates Danger Of Stand Your Ground"

  • This is a very bad law, that is going to put citizens at risk that there is no need for. Also creates problems for our law inforcement officers. My question is why was it considered a good bill and who wanted it.

    • Basically, KKK types wanted it so that they can shoot innocent people. It’s not a coincidence that these “stand your ground” laws were introduced in the Jim Crow south.

      (We already had the “your home is your castle” doctrine, which is good enough for any sensible person — but the very same Jim Crow south eroded that, so that white cops could bust into black people’s homes.)

  • If this is such a good Bill, I ask those supporters of the Bill if they will feel safer when it passes. Will they put away their bigoted view of people of color? Will they stop the fear mongering, now that they have a remedy and excuse for their paranoia?

  • I am a mature Black man born in and residing in America. While a student in grade school I read about the torture of a young man named Emmit Till. This young man was tortured, shot, choked and dumped into a river in Mississippi for ‘whistling at a white woman.’ Was her life threatened by a ‘wolf whistle’ worthy of torture? Recently the same woman said that she lied and “that” cost a young man his life. That was in 1955 and the same racially motivated murders are occurring in 2017. If this is a Democracy where citizens are so insecure and so psychotically “mentally maimed” then the cliche
    “only the strong survive” is just another hypocritical lie. When a Black man, woman or child is accosted by a white bigot carrying a gun and the bigot is losing in a confrontation and as a result get a good ass whooping in a fist fight and he uses a gun as an equalizer, then that makes him a “trouble maker” and a spineless coward and he gets protected by the law then another injustice has occurred. Reverse the preceding, a Black man loosing in a confrontation, pulls a gun, then he goes to prison. It happened to a fried of mine who is a Vietnam veteran, a retied fire fighter and after being knocked unconscious, his assailant returned to do more harm, but the victim had a gun available and killed his assailant and was still imprisoned for defending himself from a drunk and drugged assailant hell bent on doing harm to another human being due to being drunk and crazed. My friend is still in jail and charged with murder for defending himself. There is a place and a time to use a gun to protect your home and family at home but the “CC” law coupled with “I felt threatened for my life” defense is a receipt for a epidemic of murder. We don’t need that now, or in the future. Stop the violence, GOP and American Rifle Association. PEACE!

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