As her belly grows more swollen by the day, Siwatu-Salama Ra frets about where she'll be when her water breaks. She's seven months pregnant. And, at 26, she's serving a two-year prison sentence for felonious assault and felony firearm convictions at Huron Valley Correctional Facility, the only correctional facility in Michigan that houses women, full of structural problems and overcrowding.
Of course, the courts have largely ignored the time-sensitive gravity of Ra's situation. A judge has already denied a request to postpone Ra's sentence until she gives birth. Ra's lawyers contend that she's faced mistreatment. During doctor's visits, guards shackle Ra to the bedposts, a practice that's illegal in Michigan.
But the case itself is so full of blind spots and complexities that it's difficult to tell who's who. The specifics remain hazy. The facts are spare: Ra brandished a gun at a neighbor whom she'd had an ongoing feud with, but she has a concealed handgun carry license, and the gun was not loaded, and it was legally purchased.
Michigan is a 'stand your ground' state, and Ra had, technically, been within her rights as a citizen on her own property defending herself.
Michigan is a “stand your ground" state, and Ra had, technically, been within her rights as a citizen on her own property defending herself. The problem is, her neighbor filed her report first. And in Detroit, the first person to file a report gets to become the “victim" in a legal dispute.
Much of the MSM has attacked "mainstream pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association," for being, in their words, "dispiritingly quiet about the incident — through the 'stand your ground' law in place in Michigan, passed in 2006, was made possible by a group working in close contact with the NRA." Which is like blaming the fire department for putting out a fire.
Part of what's made the case so difficult to dissect is that Ra herself by no means fits no hard-and-fast category: She's black, she's Muslim, she's an environmental activist. A mother, a gun-owner, although the gun wasn't even loaded.