An Arkansas judiciary committee met this week to debate a proposed amendment to the state’s self defense laws, which would have eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat in favor of so-called “stand your ground laws.” These laws allow for a person to act with lethal force against threats or perceived threats, such as the defense in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen who was killed in Florida in 2012.
State Senator Stephanie Flowers, who represents Pine Bluff in the 25th district of Arkansas, was not entertaining any argument for stand-your-ground laws however, as seen in the above footage from the contentious meeting that apparently stretched hours into Wednesday evening.
“I’ll be as quick as I can, as quick as it takes to kill somebody,” Flowers began, addressing the eight-member committee. “It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many Black kids, Black boys, Black men, are being killed with these stand-your-ground defenses.”
She then pointed out as the only person of color on the committee, she is also a mother and fears for the well being of her son:
“I care for my son as much as y’alls care for y’alls. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time. Now I’m in Pine Bluff. We have killings regularly down there … I can tell you, for a long time since I’ve been back in Arkansas, I have feared for my son’s life! Now he’s 27, he’s out of Arkansas, and I thank god he is when you’re bringing up crap like this up — it offends me.”
As Flowers continued, Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) attempted to interject, telling her, “Senator, you need to stop.” “No the hell I don’t,” she fired back. “What are you going to do, shoot me?”
According to Arkansas Online, Flowers later walked out of the meeting to smoke a cigarette with her colleague. The bill was eventually voted down 4-3 by the three Democrats and one Republican on the committee. Eventually Flowers’ emotionally charged testimony made its way to NowThis News, which tweeted out the clip on Friday morning, where it quickly went viral.
It seems fitting for the clip to go viral on International Women’s Day, of all days, as others voiced support and admiration for Flowers not backing down to those attempting to silence her.
NowThis also points out how states that have stand-your-ground laws have more gun deaths, and that white people who kill Black people in those states are 250 percent more likely to go free.