“Shoot first, questions later” law claims first WI victim

A diverse crowd gathered Tuesday March 27 on the UW campus for a Speak Out designed to highlight the recent deaths of two young unarmed African-American men, both shot dead by individuals who claimed they acted in self defense. Bo Morrison, 20, of West Bend, WI was shot while hiding on a back porch of a house and Trayvon Martin,17, of Sanford, Florida was shot on the street of a gated community as he returned home from the store. The two deaths are tied to similar legislation that allows citizens to defend themselves, Wisconsin’s “Castle Doctrine” law  and  Florida’s “Stand your ground” law.

Justice for Bo Morrison and Trayvon Martin Photo: Leslie Amsterdam

Trayvon Martin was killed the night of February 26, 2012, by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, who has stated that he killed Martin after a brief scuffle on the street. Martin was returning from a convenience store to his father’s home and talking on the phone to his girlfriend at the time of the incident. Zimmerman was taken into custody that night and released several hours later, claiming he shot Martin in self defense. To date, he has not been charged.

Bo Morrison was shot and killed in the early morning hours of March 3, 2012, as he attempted to hide from police investigating a noise complaint about a loud party in the neighborhood. He sought refuge on the darkened back porch of a neighboring house, which happened to be the house of the man who called for police. Morrison is thought to be the first person killed under Wisconsin’s “Castle Doctrine” law, which allows for deadly force to be used if a person has entered a home without permission and the homeowner feels that force is necessary to prevent imminent danger of death or bodily injury. The Washington County District Attorney has declined to press charges against the homeowner responsible for the shooting, after compiling a detailed 28 page report on the incident. DA Mark Bensen stated,  “After careful review of the evidence in this case,… the Washington County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the homeowner who shot Mr. Morrison on March 3, 20l2, when Mr. Morrison was inside the homeowner’s residence, acted lawfully in self defense.’

Dan Suarez of ISO-Madison addresses the crowd. Photo: Leslie Amsterdam

“UW Speak-Out for Trayvon Martin & Bo Morrison” was organized by International Socialist Organization-Madison, calling for the repeal of the WI “Castle Doctrine” law and other “Stand your ground’ legislation suggesting that these “shoot first” laws allow ordinary citizens to defend themselves first and ask questions later, a likely recipe for disaster. Dan Suarez, event organizer from ISO-Madison, opened the event with remarks about the two killings, “They were murdered because of the color of their skin. We have been taught in the United States to be afraid of young black men.”

An invitation for all to speak from the stage resulted in more than 2 dozen voices sharing their stories about Bo Morrison, the similarities with the Trayvon Martin killing and the problematic statutes, now law in 25 states and developed from ALEC model legislation backed by the NRA. Friends of Bo Morrison delivered emotional statements.

Christine Bohn talks about Bo Morrison and the Castle Doctrine. Photo: Leslie Amsterdam

Christine Bohn, Morrison’s friend who was with him on the night that he was shot, described how they were at a party in a friend’s garage, after having attended the funeral of another friend that day. The parent of the property where the party was held told the kids to leave, after realizing that the police had been notified about possible underage drinking. Bohn explained, “We were a group of kids who were forced to run to avoid underage drinking tickets.”

She continued with her appeal about the legitimacy of the “Castle Doctrine“ law, “….unfortunately the law protected the wrong person that night. It didn’t protect Bo, but instead, the Castle Doctrine made the killing lawful, it protected the man who shot and killed Bo with one gunshot to the chest. Now any law that makes this ok is not ok with me. Even if the man was acting in self defense, he should not be taught by his own state’s law that it is ok for him to kill as a first reaction.”





Watch Christine Bohn’s speech here:


Make your feelings known about ALEC inspired gun doctrine here.


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13 Comments on ““Shoot first, questions later” law claims first WI victim”

  1. Elizabeth March 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Thanks very much for this report. The speak-out was incredibly moving and I was proud to be there. I’m grateful to all who spoke.

  2. Betsy44 March 30, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    We basically are a state of vigilantes, what did we all expect when this law was passed? It is a shoot first, ask questions later. Both of these deaths could have been avoided. But now shooters have a law to hide behind and it ties the hands of prosecutors. This homeowner could have held the young man there, until police arrived, but instead he shot. This is just idiotic, but then a human life is not worth much nowadays. Thanks to our Governor and all who voted for this bill and the NRA.

    • Kevin April 12, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Bo Morrison’s death certainly could have been avoided. Had he not chosen to invade another man’s home; he probably would not have died that way.

    • Chuck April 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

      Tray should not have been beating someone to death and Bo should not have broken into someone’s house. As a thinking person, I would expect to be shot while beating someone’s head into the pavement or breaking into their home. As a father I would expect the right to protect my family against intruders. When I’m protecting my young daughter it doesn’t matter who is in my darkened house- Black, white, purple, the pope, doesn’t matter. My daughter’s safety is worth more than theirs. If you don’t want to die, don’t put yourself into that kind of situation.

  3. Kevin April 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Wait.. so this man was in another persons house; unknown and uninvited… walking toward the homeowner and you want the homeowner prosecuted? wow.

  4. concerned citizen April 11, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Wow forced to run. No one is forced to run to avoid an underage drinking charge. This is becoming a big cluster f..k I suppose after drinking you are forced to drive also. And I guess it’s o.k. to unlawfully enter someone’s home to hide from police. Yes it is tragic that Bo Morrison lost his life in someone’s home at 2 A.M. in a dark room . But how in f..k is this even remotely related to the Trayvon Martin incident??? I know one thing for sure if someone enters my home in the middle of the night I would certainly be defending myself and family also.

  5. Kevin April 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Actually; it would not have mattered if the castle doctrine was law or not; the homeowner would be still be vindicated for self defense.

  6. Tissue Culture April 27, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Hello there, I discovered your website by the use of Google even as looking for a comparable subject, your website got here up, it appears good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  7. InFL_onelove April 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm #


    To all who take the time to read my comment thank you. To everyone ready to use the self defense act when you shoot an unarmed individual know one thing that you make the difference between life and death.

  8. Linda April 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    All man, my heart goes out to Bo’s family and Adam Kind. First thing, Bo you were so handsome RIP, God is with you. To Adam Kind family, I understand that you were trying to protect your family…..We all suffer in the end.

  9. Lyndonica April 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Dam ppl…. take a moment to empathize. He could of been your son, brother, cousin, or friend. Could you imagine if a tragic incident like this happened to someone in your family? Your in control when you have the gun, shoot him/her in the leg or foot when you shoot them in the chest or head theres no coming back!

  10. home decor May 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    I’ve recently started a website, the information you offer on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky” by Solomon Short.

  11. http://tinyurl.com/prubclark23703 January 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    How did u acquire the points to publish ““Shoot
    first, questions later law claims first WI victim | Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative”?
    Thanks for the post -Alejandrina

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