Flowers blasted the proposed law for increasing the likelihood of violence against black Arkansans. In Arkansas, current law authorizes lethal force only if a person is “unable to retreat with complete safety.”
Flowers brought the house down:
“I’ll be as quick as I can, as quick as it takes to kill somebody I guess. You want me to be that quick. … 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 that these people raise, and they get off. So I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color here. I am a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’all’s. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.”
Gun violence is a routine reality for Flowers and her community.
“I’m in Pine Bluff. We have killings regularly down there. … I don’t know where Mr. Ballinger is from. But I can tell you for a long time since I’ve been back here in Arkansas, I have feared for my son’s life. Now he’s 27 and he’s out of Arkansas, and I thank God he is when you’re bringing up crap like this. It offends me.”
States with open-carry and stand your ground laws often have higher rates of gun violence than states without such legislation. In Florida, for example, gun violence has reached a two-decade peak since the state implemented a stand your ground law.
Flowers said she feels threatened for herself and her constituents when she sees guns being toted by her fellow lawmakers in the state capitol.
“I worry about my son. And I worry about other little black boys and girls and people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they got open carry rights, walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse! That’s a bully!”
And when the Republican committee chair tried to shut Flowers up, her response was perfect.
“Senator, you need to stop,” Senator Alan Clark.
“No the hell I don’t,” Flowers fired back. “What the hell you going to do, shoot me? Senator sh*t, go to Hell.”
— Ryan Knight 🇺🇸 (@ProudResister) March 8, 2019
Flowers – leaving no stone unturned – is being lauded as a hero.
I’ve watched this thirty times and I’m still not done. pic.twitter.com/PHmEuf2lMJ
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) March 8, 2019
I love this women and she is a National hero
— david veda (@VedaDaveveda) March 8, 2019
In 3:45 State Senator Flowers raised most major gun laws issues;including stand your ground law, open carry, white on black crime, NRA, plus unfair criminal charges in white on black shootings. We need more of her passion, fact based arguments and pure moxie fighting this issue.
— Deb WhitePigeonBloom (@indianwthfether) March 8, 2019
It makes me feel better when there are people like her around not willing to stay complacent in a system that actively silences and executes us because of a deep-seated hatred and fear of our people.
— Floatinglonewanderer (@Floatinglonewa1) March 8, 2019
BEST LINE: "No I don't! What the HELL are you gonna do, shoot me?"
Stephanie Flowers is my spirit human right now.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) March 8, 2019
State Senator Stephanie Flowers is spectacular! Don't know this woman, but sure do like her. #NationalHero
— Coupon Savings (@CouponSavingsCA) March 8, 2019
Flowers’ powerful words struck a chord in many.