Morning Security Brief: “Stand Your Ground” Laws Analyzed, Al Qaeda Official Killed, Cost of Sexual Assaults, and More
“Stand Your Ground” laws draw fire after the Zimmerman verdict, Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch announces that its second in command was killed by a U.S. drone strike, and a RAND report says that sexual assault in the military cost the United States billions last year.
► Attorney General Eric Holder criticized “Stand Your Ground” laws at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on Tuesday. The Washington Post reports that Holder told delegates that the laws were not only unnecessary but that they “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense.” And in a post for the Urban Institute, John Roman analyzed fatal shootings where the shooter claimed that the use of deadly force was justified. The results, according to Roman, are that “black Americans are far less likely to be adjudicated as justified in using deadly force in a firearm-related death.” In cases similar to the one in the Zimmerman case—where there is a homicide with one shooter and one victim who are strangers and neither is law enforcement—less than 3 percent of black-on-white homicides are ruled justified. When a white person kills a black person, more than 29 percent are ruled justified in states without “Stand Your Ground” laws. In states that have the laws, almost 36 percent are deemed justified.
► The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the number two official in Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch , Saeed al-Shihri was killed by a U.S. drone strike. The official was a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner. The announcement holds weight, says the AP, because al-Shihri has been reported dead twice before but Al Qaeda denied those previous reports. Al-Shihri reportedly died from injuries he sustained in the drone strike, which occurred last November.
► The Huffington Post reports on a RAND Corporation study that estimates the cost of sexual assaults in the military at $3.6 billion in 2012. The article notes that “the estimate is based on a calculation of the cost of medical and mental health services victims are likely to seek after an incident, as well as other ‘intangible costs.’” The report also calculates unpaid work days and missed earnings.
► Cuban officials have confirmed that a ship headed to North Korea was seized for carrying missiles , fighter jets, and other weapons. The Guardian reports that the items were concealed within a load of sugar. The ship owners claim that the smuggled cargo was “obsolete defensive weaponry” that was being taken away to be repaired.