Visitor Warning (2005 - ongoing) is a billboard design created by Aaron Stienstra, a graphic designer at the Focal Point, an Oakland-based trial-consulting firm with a long history of gun control advocacy. This graphic was created pro-bono for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to alert Florida visitors about the “stand your ground law” enacted in 2005. This law allows residents to use guns or deadly-force to defend themselves in public spaces without first trying to escape. The billboard was censored by Clear Channel Communications and never realized, though the image was featured in the New York Times that year.
This law is at the center of the debate around the murder of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida last month by George Zimmerman, who remains free. For this collaboration with Invisible Venue, Stienstra's design for Visitor Warning has been re-introduced into the public sphere via Facebook to bypass the subjective approval of commercial media and to draw greater attention to the issues at stake.
>> View this project at www.facebook.com/endshootfirstlaws, along with additional information under "about," including news citations and links to various petitions online.
EVENT: Saturday, March 31, All day
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
Faculty or student at CIIS? Wear a hoodie to campus to demonstrate solidarity for non-violence--and to encourage dialogue around "stand your ground laws" and the murder of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida last month.
Not a fan of Facebook? Continue reading for direct links to petitions and more information online.
In 2005 the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence anticipated that “stand your ground” would lead to increased gun violence—today, homicides in Florida categorized as justifiable have nearly tripled since the law went into effect. Twenty-three states around the country have "stand your ground laws" in effect today, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.
Demand the prosecution of Trayvon Martin’s killer: www.change.org
Send a message to the Senate: End Shoot First Laws: https://secure2.convio.net/mmm/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=999
Goodnough, Abby. “Tourists to Florida Get a Warning as a Greeting.” The New York Times, October 4, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/04/national/nationalspecial/04shoot.html?scp=2&sq=%22stand+your+ground%22&st=nyt. Sourced March 24, 2012.
Timoney, John F. "Florida's Disastrous Self-Defense Law." The New York Times, March 23, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/opinion/floridas-disastrous-self-defense-law.html?_r=1&hp Sourced March 24, 2012.
Currier, Cora. “23 Other States Have ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Too.” ProPublica | The Atlantic Wire, March 22, 2012. <http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/03/23-other-states-have-stand-your-ground-laws-too/50226/ Sourced March 24, 2012.
Aaron Stienstra is design director at the Focal Point, an Oakland-based trial consulting firm. He has created graphics for numerous winning cases, including a civil suit against former Haitian warlord Emmanuel Constant among other socially-engaged projects. In a 2007 project with Invisible Venue, Stienstra created a guerilla billboard intervention sourced from censored media related to the Iraq war. View his portfolio at www.aaronstienstra.com