Travyvon Martin, Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law, and Gun Laws

Mike Riggs notes below that the Department of Justice is investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old kid, in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Martin was shot by neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman, who was known for calling the cops frequently.

From USA Today:

George Zimmerman, 28, claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community. Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic and not racist.

Zimmerman spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood last month and called the police emergency dispatcher to report a suspicious person. Against the advice of the dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store with a bag of candy in his pocket....

Authorities may be limited by a state law that allows people to defend themselves with deadly force.

Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger. Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened....

Prosecutors can have a hard time making a case if there is no one else around to contradict a person who claims self-defense, said David Hill, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando. So far, Sanford police have said there is no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claims.

More here.

The death has sparked calls for Zimmerman's arrest and both the racial dimension and attitudes toward gun laws have intensified reactions and calls for action.

Some things to think about as investigations by the state and the press get underway:

1. Gun murders are down despite a general relaxing of gun ownership laws over the past couple of decades.

Compared to the 1970s, violent crime of all sorts is down.

2. When Florida in particular relaxed its gun laws, it was widely feared that it would become "the Gunshine State" and would be plagued by gun-related deaths. That hasn't happened, and Florida's gun-death rate is average for American states.

In fact, increases in gun ownership correspond with reductions in crime rates, something that the "more guns, less crime" crowd will say is in fact more than just correlation.

3. Without further information, it remains to be seen what particular role race may have played in the confrontation that led to Martin's death; complicating things is Zimmerman's own ethnicity, which has been reported both as white and Hispanic (according to official government categories, a Hispanic can be white or black). What's not in question is that race will be one of the major frames through which the event is rightly discussed. That's what happens in a country with a legacy of institutionalized racism and persistent problems related to unequal treatment under the law.

We'll talk more about this as more information becomes available.

Reason on police brutality.

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  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    That's what happens in a country with a legacy of institutionalized racism and persistent problems related to unequal treatment under the law.

    Nicely phrased. Appeals to both advocates and critics of Affirmative Action and the Justice Department under Holder.

  • ||

    So, an unarmed kid is shot in front of his home and a jurry does not determine if this is self defense or murder. All the murderer has to do is chant: "the law is on my side". This is one more example of why there is no hope for the U.S.A.

  • Jake||

    It hasn't gotten that far yet. The process in FL is the same as everywhere else in the US. The police investigate and present their findings to the prosecutor. The prosecutor looks at the evidence and decides a) to file charges directly, b) to present the case to the grand jury, who decides whether there is sufficient evidence to believe that a crime occurred and that the person charged may be the perpetrator, or c) that there is not enough evidence to go to trial. This particular case is going to a grand jury.

    Remember, in America, the system is designed to protect the innocent from wrongful prosecution. That means a high standard of evidence and the presumption that a person is innocent until it is proven that they are guilty. Unfortunately, as a consequence of protecting the innocent, sometimes the guilty will go free.

  • kk||

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  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Im sorry to bother u all

    You know, bi-kk-bot, I don't think you are sorry at all.

  • sarcasmic||

    Florida's gun-death rate is average for American states

    So there number of guns dying in Florida is average when compared to other states?

    How are these guns dying?

    Rust? Old age? Neglect?

  • sarcasmic||

    there the

  • Tim||

    Actually wondering if the homicide rate is down, is the attempted homicide rate also down?
    I mean the homicide rate could be going down because medical trauma care is getting better at saving people who would have died just a few years ago.

  • The Derider||

    "Reason on police brutality"

    Nice try you fucking hacks. This is exactly what you can expect in the ABSENCE of police, when vigilante justice is the only type that's free.

  • The Derprider||

    Reason does not advocate anarchy.

  • sarcasmic||

    But it makes such an effective straw man argument to equate libertarianism with anarchy!

    Reductio ad Somalium!

  • The Derider||

    They're the ones that equated this with "Police brutality", not me.

    Is this guy a policeman? He has no state authority or power whatsoever.

  • sarcasmic||

    They're the ones that equated this with "Police brutality", not me.

    Really? That doesn't say More on police brutality. Seems to be related, not equated.

  • A Public Service Message||

    Don't just think about yourself, think about all the other people you are hurting when you feed the trolls. There are externalities to the act that reach far beyond just this thread.

    Responding to Trolls: Don't do it. Not even once.

    Message paid for by the Hit and Run Defense League and viewers like you.

  • The Derider||

    Holy shit, externalities?

    Don't post that shit in a global warming thread, the Randroids will pounce!

  • The Derprider||

    Holy shit, externalities?

    Don't post that shit in a global warming thread, the Randroids will pounce!

    No, there is no reason to change the words. They're stupid enough.

  • Restoras||

    Troll-feeding is like scratching your anus and then sniffing your finger. You know you shouldn't do it, you'll regret if you do, but sometimes you can't help yourself.

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you saying that self defense is vigilante justice?

  • The Derider||

    I'm saying a volunteer neighborhood watchman shooting a teenager as he begs for his life is vigilante justice.

  • Realist||

    "...shooting a teenager as he begs for his life is vigilante justice."
    Nice touch....CITE!

  • The Derider||

  • sarcasmic||

    I already heard that, and found that I couldn't tell who was who.

    I could guess, but my guess means shit. Just like yours.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    I already heard that, and found that I couldn't tell who was who.

    Let's see: man with gun begging for life from teenager armed with bag of candy, or other way around?

  • Joe M||

    So you're suggesting the guy with the gun was begging the guy without the gun?

  • Realist||

    Let's wait until it is sorted out. I am not taking sides...like you.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Oh please, we all know that if the situation were reversed, people like you and Slappy! would already be howling for a lynching without worrying about niceties such as 'due process'

  • sarcasmic||

    You were a witness?

    You need to get on down there and tell the prosecution!

    Clear the matter up!

  • T||

    Possibly, but as that's not what happened here, how is it relevant?

  • Fluffy||

    The family claims that on the 911 tapes they can hear Martin pleading in the background.

    It's obviously a claim being made by an interested source, but the Derider's not just making it up on the fly here and now.

  • The Derider||

    It's pretty hilarious that Reason commenters assume the worst about any police-related shooting, but when a vigilante shoots a kid in cold blood, you guys are all about the burden of evidence and innocent until proven guilty.

    I think it's because you hate police and like guns.

  • Ice Nine||

    Well, yeah but we also hate kids, especially if they're Black.

  • A Public Service Message||

    Don't just think about yourself, think about all the other people you are hurting when you feed the trolls. There are externalities to the act that reach far beyond just this thread.

    Responding to Trolls: Don't do it. Not even once.

    Message paid for by the Hit and Run Defense League and viewers like you.

  • Ice Nine||

    He's a troll because he holds a different viewpoint on this than others here?

  • A Public Service Message||

    It is a troll because it has trolled this board dozens of times before. If it wants to pick out a new name and try again, let it. But posting snide bullshit under a well-worn trolling handle is trolling.

  • Ice Nine||

    Well, OK, if you say so. I've been reading here for about a year and this is the first time I've seen Derider. Is there a statute of limitations on this?

  • Fluffy||

    I think it's because some people here think it's reasonable for you to appoint yourself master of deciding who gets to walk the streets and who doesn't, and if you start a confrontation with a "suspicious character" and they end up dead, it's all good and not your responsibility at all.

  • T||

    That's a drink, isn't it?

  • Mensan||

    "... as he begs for his life ..."

    FWIW, most of the reports I've seen say it was Zimmerman who was screaming for help as the teenager was kicking his ass.

  • Zeb||

    Examples?

  • Tacos mmm...||

    FWIW, most of the reports I've seen say it was Zimmerman who was screaming for help as the teenager was kicking his ass.

    I dont' know where you read most of those reports. Martin weighed 140 lbs. Zimmerman weighs 250 lbs.

  • ||

    How did Bernhard Goetz stack up against his victims?

    Size difference isn't always relevant.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Hmm ... 28 yr. old, 250 lb. Hispanic man chases and catches 17 yr. old, 140 lb black football player ... hmm.

  • ||

    Hmm ... 28 yr. old, 250 lb. Hispanic man chases and catches 17 yr. old, 140 lb black football player ... hmm.

    What would their races have to do with their speed? Sorry, but this statement is idiotic.

  • Olympic Sprinters||

    yeah, I mean the white guys win just as often as...uh, wait...

  • NFL Wide Receivers||

    Yeah, we aren't mostly one race either, oh, wait...

  • ||

    So you're going to rate the overall physical abilities of entire races based on the abilities of the most exceptionally gifted athletes of each race?

    That's the most idiotic thing I've ever seen, seeing as neither of these individuals looks remotely close to what would be the physical pinnacle of their respective race.

    Racist. Fucking. Failure. Of. An. Argument.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. It's the central fucking fallacy of racism and people still think they are clever for bringing it up. "White people and black people are different on average, so my idiotic racism is justified".

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    sloopyinca,

    you are obviously not an athlete and never have been at any level. Any one who ever spent any time playing pickup hoops or played in a district level HS football game knows that the stereotype about blacks being good runners and jumpers is solidly based in reality.

  • The Derider||

    250 pound man stalks and accosts 140 pound teenager. It wasn't the 100 meter dash.

  • Mensan||

    The same place that I read that when witnesses and police arrived Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head.

  • ||

    Actually, one witness who said she heard the screams says she told police that it was Martin screaming, and that the police tried to correct her, telling HER (the witness) that it was Zimmmerman.

  • ||

    Are you saying that self defense is vigilante justice?

    To some, any shooting not committed by someone in a state-issued costume is vigilante justice, even if it's to defend against someone who's just kicked in your front door.

  • Little Red Riding Hood||

    What if you are attacked by a wolf? Are you allowed to defend yourself while you are being eaten?

  • Randy||

    As long as the animal devouring you is not on the Endangered Species list, you can defend yourself. If the attacking animal is on the list, you have no choice but to let the animal devour you.

  • ||

    PWND

  • ||

    It had to be said.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    Thank you. I was hoping for this. Oddly, my day seems a little brighter now, which is no mean feat considering I'm in Seattle.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic

    IIRC, back in the 90s there were media reports that the FBI categorized Hispanic murders of blacks as white on black crime and black murders of Hispanics as black on Hispanic. The accusation was made that this was done in order to reduce the disparity between black on white and white on black murder rates.

    The overwhelming majority of black on Hispanic and Hispanic on black crime was gang related.

  • Liberals||

    Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic

    We are so pissed that he isn't White!

  • Karburetor Kristen||

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if we were to learn, somewhere down the road, that Zimmerman had applied to be either a cop or a soldier. Something about him screams police academy/boot camp reject. So now he's playing out his superhero crimefighter fantasies on his own, under the guise of "neighborhood watch".

  • ||

    According to a NYT article today he is "studying criminal justice" ... his homework must be a fun read.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Something about him screams police academy/boot camp reject.Your biases, perhaps?

  • Karburetor Kristen||

    Absolutely....and? Who doesn't have biases?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yes, everyone has them...and? Not everyone jumps from their biases to a guess that the guy is out playing Batman.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    From the reports on Zimmerman's history, it's not much of a stretch to conclude that he's a cop wannabe. And something of an officious prick too.

    Not to say his claims of self-defense are invalid.

    I think the AM links spot referring to it as a murder was a little over the top. Let's see how the investigation pans out.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    From the reports on Zimmerman's history, it's not much of a stretch to conclude that he's a cop wannabe.

    He was studying criminal justice. Of course he had ambitions of becoming a cop. Is wanting to be a cop considered a crime now? That would be weird.

    And something of an officious prick too.

    Miami Herold 3-17-12

    Interviews with neighbors reveal a pleasant young man passionate about neighborhood security

    Officious prick or simply passionate? Depends on one's perspective, I suppose, but I bet most of the residents of his community appreciated Zimmerman's efforts.

    I think the AM links spot referring to it as a murder was a little over the top.

    Well, it was Riggs.

  • Zeb||

    "Is wanting to be a cop considered a crime now?"

    By whom? I'm sure it is by some.

    "Officious prick or simply passionate?"

    Why not both? It seems pretty likely that a person who is passionate about neighborhood watch patrols will also be an officious prick.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Why not both?

    As a friend of mine from Maine used to say, "good pernt."

  • Tim||

    This guy was looking for trouble, no doubt.

  • ||

    So now he's playing out his superhero crimefighter fantasies on his own, under the guise of "neighborhood watch".

    He does have this creepy Seth Rogen/Observe & Report look to him, doesn't he?

  • ||

    I'm rather dubious about claims that a stand-your-ground law gives you cover to murder someone. Intent still matters, and the case doesn't end when a defendant says, "I was in fear for my life!"

  • T||

    In the absence of witnesses, Zimmerman can be questioned, but if he's got half a brain, it's damn hard to disprove.

  • ||

    There could be physical evidence that can be used to impeach his testimony if he just makes stuff up.

    That problem exists without the law, too. You can always claim self-defense when there's no one to contradict your testimony.

  • ||

    Especially when you've personally made sure that there's no one to contradict your testimony.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Derider was a witness. Read his above post. Apparently he hasn't come forward though. I wonder why.

  • Fluffy||

    What we all should do is go to your town, run up to you on the street and tell you that we're holding you and you aren't allowed to leave. If you shove us or anything, we then get to shoot you dead.

    Sounds fair, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Two witnesses!

    Why aren't you down there talking to the prosecutor?

    It's because the kid is black, right?

    You racist fucks.

  • Fluffy||

    No, dumbass.

    It's because the 911 tapes clearly show that Zimmerman was angry that "these guys always get away".

    That is more than enough to allow me, or a jury, to infer that Zimmerman left the phone to commit False Imprisonment, a felony.

    The Florida False Imprisonment statute includes not just restraint by force, but by threat. So it's entirely reasonable to conclude that an armed man who admits that he was following someone on a street at night, and from whose statements we can infer an intent to "not let the guy get away", committed False Imprisonment just by talking to Martin.

    The Sanford police pretty obviously either didn't consider this lesser charge (which should destroy the guy's self-defense claim, too) or chose not to pursue it because Zimmerman was known to them and they decided to take his side.

  • sarcasmic||

    How do you know he tried to restrain the kid?

    Maybe the kid saw that he was being followed, and turned around to confront the wannabe mall cop.
    Wannabe is carrying a gun because he's not a fighter, but the kid is.
    Next thing he knows, Wannabe is getting his ass beat by the kid, so in a panic he whips out his pistol and shoots him.

    Equally plausible.

    Not that it makes it right, but without any eyewitnesses either one of us can pull a story out of our ass.

  • Fluffy||

    I think the 911 tapes make it a question for the jury.

    The tapes provide enough evidence for a prosecutor to indict for False Imprisonment.

    If Zimmerman chooses to take the stand to attempt to rebut the prosecution's case, he should certainly be allowed to. And the jury can decide if they believe him.

    What I found outrageous in this case was that the Sanford PD chose to short-circuit that process and allow Zimmerman to assert self-defense without having to get in front of a jury.

  • Mo||

    Considering there wasn't any physical evidence of a beatdown, Zimmerman didn't claim it and he said to the 911 operator that he was pursing the guy after they told him not to, it's highly unlikely.

  • ||

    I'm with Fluffy. There's more than enough to take to a grand jury.

    And, I would be shocked if they treated the shooting of a white kid this way. Sorry, but race is a factor.

  • An unnamed source||

    Zimmerman told investigators that Martin was the aggressor and that he was taking such a beating - and that no one responded to his calls for help - that he was forced to fire. "He had injuries consistent with his story," Lee said.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012.....rylink=cpy

  • Michael||

    Give me a minute or two without any eyewitnesses and before police arrive on the scene and I'll whip up some injuries consistent with my story as well.

  • ||

    Zimmerman was told to stay in his car by 911. He decided to confront the kid. Zimmerman may have shot in self-defense, I don't know. But Zimmerman did cause the situation by confronting the kid instead of waiting for back-up or an officer of the law.

    If FL law allows no retreat, how would this have played out if the kid shot Zimmerman because he felt threatened?

    Seem like a lot of BS just because Zimmerman thought the kid was up to no good.

  • sarcasmic||

    Considering there wasn't any physical evidence of a beatdown

    Actually, there was.

  • ||

    It's interesting to hear about Zimmerman's right to self-defense in shooting, but then not hear about Martin's in what witnesses described as "wrestling."

    If Zimmerman accosted Martin, and tried to keep him from escaping, Martin had a right to defend himself or do what he needed to get away. THAT is self-defense.

    Zimmerman had no legal authority whatsoever to detain or restrain or push or anything else.

    If someone corners you in an alley and demands you answer questions before they'll let you leave, what are your rights? Do you have to submit to them? Can you be arrested for shoving or punching them in the course of trying to get away?

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Wannabe is carrying a gun because he's not a fighter, but the kid is.
    Next thing he knows, Wannabe is getting his ass beat by the kid, so in a panic he whips out his pistol and shoots him.

    Travyvon Martin weighed 140 pounds to Zimmerman's 250. Just take a look at the picture at the top of the page; the kid looks like he's 17 going on 12. He'd have to have been raised in a Shaolin temple to have a chance with an older man almost twice his size in a fight.

  • sarcasmic||

    He'd have to have been raised in a Shaolin temple to have a chance with an older man almost twice his size in a fight.

    I've seen in happen.

  • Michael||

    Travyvon Martin weighed 140 pounds to Zimmerman's 250.

    Ignoring the obvious difference in physical stature between Martin and Zimmerman, is it too much of a stretch to assume that simply training a firearm on the alleged assailant (or just issuing a warning about it) without actually opening fire would have likely sufficed in containing the situation?

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Just take a look at the picture at the top of the page; the kid looks like he's 17 going on 12

    Maybe that is a picture taken when Martin was 12 or 14. I haven't seen a picture of Martin wearing his hoodie. The media is running with the story that Martin is a victim. Publishing only pictures of a young, innocent looking Martin would fit the narrative.

  • ||

    ...that picture was taken 4 years ago.

    That being said, Zimmerman should be prosecuted. He went after the kid AFTER he was told not to. He instigated the entire confrontation, and had he waited, he would have seen this young man go into a home in the neighborhood and realize that he was incorrect in his assumption.

  • ||

    Zimmerman 911 Transcript

    Zimmerman: Okay. These assholes they always get away. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.

    Dispatcher: So it's on the lefthand side from the clubhouse?

    Zimmerman: No you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left...uh you go straight in, don't turn, and make a left. Shit he's running.

    Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running? Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.

    Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

    Zimmerman: The back entrance...fucking [unintelligible]

    Dispatcher: Are you following him?

    Zimmerman: Yeah

    Dispatcher: Ok, we don't need you to do that.
  • ||

    Zimmerman: The back entrance...fucking [unintelligible]

    Wonder what the "unintelligible" was . . .

  • Velcro||

    shoelace!

  • ||

    shoelace!

    Yep, that's what I was thinking too.

  • ||

    From listening to it, I'm not sure we can know. Some people say it sounds like "coons," which would be explosive. But it could just as easily be "cops," based on him being annoyed that they needed so many directions.

  • The Derprider||

    I'm a rebel!

  • ||

    In many states, self-defense is an affirmative defense, ie you have to prove that you were acting in self-defense to get out of murder charges. While this sucks if you have to kill in self-defense when there is no one around and no physical evidence of an attack by the "victim", this case illustrates why that's a better arrangement than forcing the prosecution to prove he wasn't acting in self-defense.

  • Spartacus||

    There was a case of applying the stand your ground law down here in Naples not too long ago. IIRC, the defense has to plead that the statute is applicable in a case, and then there is a hearing before a judge. The judge decides if it is a stand your ground case or not. If granted, the person goes free. If not, then they proceed to trial (where I believe self-defense can still be argued).

  • Apogee||

    Sounds to me (IANAL) that the admission that Martin was running would dispel the idea of standing ground. Running implies running away.

  • Mo||

    Until this hit the national media, it there wasn't going to be any further investigation as to whether or not this was a murder. So it's not that ridiculous.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It was being covered heavily locally. That might have been enough to pressure the investigation.

  • An unnamed source||

    Unless the shooter has a piece of government issued costume jewelry. Then he gets a paid vacation, a promotion and a medal.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It does when the defendant has a badge.

  • ||

    I think the cops are in a bad spot the way the law is written. The police and prosecutors are required by statute to accept any claim of a person being in fear of his life as factual until contradictory evidence arises. What this case will hinge on is whether or not a person who willingly puts himself into a confrontation can claim the legal protection of "being in fear for his life or safety" if the confrontation turns physical. I vote nay, but the law as written may prevent his prosecution. In which case I predict the press conference announcing that fact will end with the governor calling an immediate special session of the legislature.

  • Karburetor Kristen||

    It's pretty clear form the 911 tapes that Zimmerman chose to pursue Martin. The operator told him to stand down. I ain't no lawyer, and I certainly ain't no cop, but chasing someone does not seem to fall into the self-defense category. Hell, Martin was the one being chased - he would have been the one to have a legit claim to self-defense, not Zimmerman.

  • ||

    If that's the case, the law isn't going to protect him.

  • kinnath||

    Some legal-beagle on a different site said that 911 "requested" that Zimmerman not pursue the suspect because they can't legally order Zimmerman not to follow the suspect. So that request does not rule out the stand-your-ground defense.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    If you're chasing someone, you're not standing your ground. Seems pretty simple to me.

  • ||

    I meant that it's proof that he didn't avoid the confrontation. Though I will say it's not incontrovertible proof. After all, chasing him down isn't the problem, and it didn't have to inevitably lead to a shooting.

  • ||

    Yeh. Its an interesting statutory question at what point police and prosecutors have a duty to cease pursuing it as a crime and accept his statement. I imagine they'll find against Zimmerman in the end, but its in the gray area of a newish statute.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I don't think there's any way to know at this point, or maybe ever.

    The kid could have felt threatened, responded reasonably, with Zimmerman illegitimately escalating the situation.

    The kid could have responded to Zimmerman by attacking him and Zimmerman's response could have been reasonable.

    Or something else.

    I suspect that Zimmerman's going to get nailed on something.

  • johnl||

    If someone 110 lbs bigger than you is chasing you, then beating him up is self defense. Even if the boy did beat Zimmerman, that doesn't get around the fact that the situation started and ended with Zimmerman attacking the boy.

  • Realist||

    "Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger. Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened...."
    If there are no witnesses the result is the same...it's the word of the shooter.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    from the USA Today blog

    "He would circle the block and circle it; it was weird," Teontae Amie, 17, told the Herald.

    A guy in the neighborhood watch circling the block repeatedly? How weird is that? So many geniuses reside in Florida.

  • ||

    Neighborhood watch != security patrol.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    ^This^

    Neighborhood watch means, 'if you're out mowing the lawn and you see something strange across the street at your neighbor's house, you call the police.' It doesn't mean you're Deputy Dawg.

  • T||

    As near as I can tell, Neighborhood Watch means we paid for some signs.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Neighborhood watch means, 'if you're out mowing the lawn and you see something strange across the street at your neighbor's house, you call the police.'

    No. Neighborhood watches do patrol. They are only supposed to observe, not intervene, but they do patrol, sometimes in cars, sometimes on foot.

    Or maybe my 74 yr. old father is just lying to me about what he does when he is on neighborhood watch.

  • T||

    Or maybe my 74 yr. old father is just lying to me about what he does when he is on neighborhood watch.

    He's avoiding your mom down at the titty bar. He's 'watching' the 'neighbors'.

  • Zeb||

    Or maybe your dad just likes to walk/drive around and see what's going on.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Nah, my father is part of a formal NW. He and another member of the NW drive around together. The watch has a shift schedule for its members.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Neighborhood watches do patrol. They are only supposed to observe, not intervene, but they do patrol, sometimes in cars, sometimes on foot.

    I dunno. Our NW doesn't patrol; perhaps it works differently in other places. Nevertheless, you're correct in that they're supposed to just observe...not intervene.

    Or maybe my 74 yr. old father is just lying to me about what he does when he is on neighborhood watch.

    Does he come back from 'patrol' with lipstick on his collar and a smile on his face? :)

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    I'm sure there are different NW arrangements in different areas.

    Does he come back from 'patrol' with lipstick on his collar and a smile on his face?

    Lipstick, yes, but not on his collar.

  • HeroicMulatto||

  • ||

    Sounds like that evil totalitarian "If you see something, say something" stuff.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Neighborhood watch != security patrol.

    Maybe not where you live, but it is around here.

  • Jennifer||

    I thought neighborhood watches were supposed to protect teenagers who live in the neighborhood, not shoot them dead?

  • ||

    I do not think 'stand your ground ' applies here.The shooter call 911 and was told to stay in his car.He ignored that advice and confronted the young man with a gun,why,because he looked 'suspicious'.He seems to be a wanna be cop.The young man was the one standing his ground

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's odd to see someone here touting the authority of the police.

  • ||

    Standing your ground != chasing someone.

    The Stand Your Ground law is intended to prevent yobs from taking over street corners and disappearing when the cops show up, not to allow people to play cop.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Standing your ground != chasing someone.

    Where did I say it was?

    If Zimmerman followed the kid, it doesn't give the kid carte blanche to attack him. And if the kid starts illegitimately kicking the crap out of him, the stand-your-ground bit could come in to play.

  • ||

    But that's not how it's supposed to work. You can't claim to be "standing your ground" when you entered the ground in question specifically to start a confrontation.

    Stand your ground is for situations when you're minding your own business and someone approaches and attacks you.

  • ||

    ""You can't claim to be "standing your ground" when you entered the ground in question specifically to start a confrontation.""

    I agree. It may be such that the kid was shot while he was standing his ground.

  • ||

    Exactly. Martin has a better claim to this law than Zimmerman. A person trying to chase you down and who demands that you stick around to answer their questions, especially if they use physical force to restrain you, is someone you have cause to defend yourself against.

  • Butts Wagner||

    He is a wannabe cop. He applied with the Sheriff's office a few years ago and included a glowing letter he wrote about how amazing cops are.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    I guess he should have included a letter about how worthless he thought cops were while applying for a job in the Sheriff's office. That's the type of thing most successful job applicants do.

  • Fluffy||

    My question is whether the "stand your ground" defense even applies if you were engaged in committing a crime.

    A criminal obviously cannot assert a "stand your ground" prerogative if their victim fights back against them.

    Florida law can't possibly hold that if I punch a mugger, the mugger can shoot me and claim self-defense.

    The 911 tape supplies probable cause to hold that Zimmerman was engaged in False Imprisonment (that's what Florida statutes call unlawful restraint), a felony. That would make his self-defense claim moot, right?

  • The Derprider||

    Libertarians are so dumb

    I'm a rebel!

  • RBS||

    In SC you don't get to claim self defense when the victim tries to defend himself and you kill him. I'd imagine is pretty much the same in FL.

  • Joe M||

    Reason on police brutality.

    What does that have to do with this? I know we're all used to hating on cops killing innocents, but it doesn't apply at all in this case.

  • ||

    The guy sounds like a wannabe-pig

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    You mean because he is working toward a degree in criminal justice? I have to admit that does sound suspiciously like he wants to be a cop.

    I'm sure that being part of a NW wouldn't have hurt him when he applied to the police academy.

  • ||

    Prosecutors can have a hard time making a case if there is no one else around to contradict

    Worth remembering.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Derider and Fluffy have stated that they saw what happened. They've told us down to the detail.

    Yet they have not gone to the prosecutor.

    I'm thinking it's because they're racist. It's the only possible explanation.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't need anything more than what's on the 911 tapes, douche.

  • sarcasmic||

    There are many possible interpretations of the tape, you racist fuck.

  • ||

    There are many possible interpretations of the tape

    And yet you're so sure of yours that you act like a cunt.

    Stick to posting fabricated stories of cops whispering sweet nothings on your ear.

  • ||

    Be aware that this is an obvious spoof of Episiarch here.

  • Fluffy||

    It's impossible to not interpret the tapes to mean that:

    1. Zimmerman was angry that Martin might "get away".

    2. Zimmerman was following Martin.

    3. Zimmerman wanted Martin to remain in the area, one way or another, until police arrived.

    That's the substance of Zimmerman's communication with the dispatcher.

    If someone says on tape that they're getting off the phone because, say, they're pissed off that their wife might leave their apartment, and when the police get to the apartment the wife is dead, a jury can infer that the husband killed the wife to restrain her from leaving. Even if there are no eyewitnesses. The husband can take the stand and say, "I just wanted to talk, but she attacked me so I defended myself!" if he wants - and the jury can choose not to believe him.

    I wouldn't believe Zimmerman.

  • ||

    I don't think that would quench reasonable doubt though, without other evidence.

  • State Attorney||

    "Why didn't you stay in the car?"

    Reasonable doubt squelched.

  • ||

    I was referring to the wifeicide.

  • State Attorney||

    And I was referring to the case, because that's why we were talking about the "wifeicide" (sic).

    Now I see why everyone hates you so much.

  • Zeb||

    "There are many possible interpretations of the tape"

    Yeah, that's why you let a jury decide. One possible and reasonable interpretation is that the guy was following him and trying to detain him illegally and against the advice of the police and therefore has no self defense defense.

  • ||

    I'm thinking it's because they're racist. It's the only possible explanation.

    Having read what they wrote, I have another explanation.

    You're intentionally misstating what they are arguing because you're trying to be an asshole.

    It's the only possible explanation.

  • ||

    Again, a confirmed spoof of Episiarch. I asked him.

  • Zeb||

    How do I know you're the real Warty?

  • ||

    You can always ask.

  • ||

    Reductio ad Somalium!

    Nice.

  • ||

    A criminal obviously cannot assert a "stand your ground" prerogative if their victim fights back against them.

    Are you sure ? From the Orlando Sentinal :


    In 2008, a 15-year-old boy was killed during a shootout between two gangs in Tallahassee. Nobody was held accountable for the crime because a judge, citing the law, dismissed the charges.

    Granted that isnt exactly the same as the victim fighting back, but you have to gang members shooting at each other and killing a 3rd party getting off because of "Stand your ground" -- implying that even illegal acts can be mitigated by the law.

  • ||

    But all he had to do was claim that the other guy started shooting first. It's his word against no one.

    This case is similar, but it's going to be harder to convince the court that a kid armed with a bag of candy who ran away from you posed a threat to you.

  • T||

    You make the assumption, unsupported by your source, that the 15 year old was a third party. If, instead, he was one of the gang members, then it seems the law may have been correctly applied.

  • Fluffy||

    If that's the case, then WOW.

    I guess in Florida muggers are now entitled to kill their victims if those victims resist.

    Good job, Florida.

  • ||

    Not so simple. What if the gang member wasn't committing a crime? He could have just been sitting on his porch minding his own business when someone else started shooting at him. In that case, he did and should have the right to shoot back.

  • Fluffy||

    Yeah, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I saw "gang member" and assumed a crime was underway - but you're right, a "gang member" can stand on his front lawn and be a crime victim just like anyone else.

  • Mo||

    This happens more often than you think. My friends on med school residencies say that the vast majority of gunshot victims were just walking around, minding their own business right before they got shot.

  • T||

    Hence the acronym SOCMOB.

    Standing On Corner, Minding Own Business.

    Then, out of nowhere, Sumdood shows up and starts blasting.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    A lot of them are on their way home from church.

  • What else would one say?||

    How many actually say they were in the process of robbing someone. Not saying that none of them are innocent bystanders, but both honest people and liars say that they are telling the truth.

  • Mo||

    That's my point. I didn't think I needed to put a sarcasm tag on it. John seems to think people walk around minding their own business and then get caught trading shots in a firefight.

  • ||

    What if the gang member wasn't committing a crime? He could have just been sitting on his porch minding his own business when someone else started shooting at him. In that case, he did and should have the right to shoot back.

    But then the guy who opened fire should be held liable for any collateral damage/third party injury, even if it's the gun of the guy who was fired upon that killed a third party, right?

    What if two gang bangers happen upon each other walking down the street. Both assume the other is packing heat, and they both reach for their weapon. Can they both claim self defense fearing that the other was reaching for a gun?

    Does that absolve them of any collateral damage done in the name of self defense / stand your ground??

  • ||

    Good point about felony murder. If I show up and start shooting at you and you fire back and kill a bystander, I am guilty of felony murder.

    It makes no sense that someone wasn't prosecuted in this case. Someone was the aggressor and thus couldn't take advantage of the stand your ground law.

    I really think that the DA's are letting cases go to try and discredit the law.

  • Mo||

    It was the judge that made a ruling in the case, not a DA. Sounds like the laws was poorly written and thought out rather than some sort of grand DA conspiracy to let murderous gang members walk the streets to prove a point.

  • Mensan||

    I find it amusing that many of the blogs stating that this could not possibly have been self defense site the fact that Zimmerman outweighed Martin by over 100 lbs. Apparently, obesity is an advantage in a physical altercation. Who knew?

  • sarcasmic||

    I remember one night this burly construction dude showed up at a beer party looking for a fight.

    Some skinny teenager obliged, and beat the living shit out of the guy.

    Size is no indication of skill.

  • ||

    True dat. Based on my (very limited, second-hand, I swear) experience with brawling, there is no substitute for being a mean, vicious, crazy fuck. Not size. Not even training.

  • T||

    Crazy and the willingness to accept pain trumps a lot from what I've seen over the years.

  • toddb||

    ^^this
    I've got a friend, short pudgy guy with a foul temper...reminds me of Monty Python's Black Knight. You could literally cut off all his limbs and he'd still be trying to win. Never seen him lose a fight.

  • Neu Mejican||

    You know Harlan Ellison?

  • ||

    If you've never been shot by a porker, you have no idea how fleet-footed they can be.

  • ||

    I see what you did there.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Apparently, obesity is an advantage in a physical altercation. Who knew?

    Where did you get that he was obese?

  • Mensan||

    Educated guess. After years of measuring body fat percentage I can usually estimate within ± 2 percentage points. Based on his picture, the reported weight of 250 lbs, and a guess about his height based on the average height of a hispanic male (5'7") and a white male (5'10") in the U.S., I estimate his body fat percentage at about 30%.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    What's not in question is that race will be one of the major frames through which the event is rightly discussed. That's what happens in a country with a legacy of institutionalized racism and persistent problems related to unequal treatment under the law.

    The conversation is already bringing out the best in everyone.

  • Tim||

    The conversation is already bringing out the best in everyone.

    Agreed, your overreaction and subsequent tantrum is not your finest hour.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Ah! So, the coward shows his face! Nice to see you've grown some balls.

    Anyway, if you think that the major thing to take away from this case is "media bias against White gun owners," then I must wonder what alternate reality you come from and what Superman's origin story is there.

  • Tim||

    "Ah! So, the coward shows his face!"

    Way to prove you aren't overreacting and having a tantrum.

  • Wow, halfsies is UPSET!||

    I love that you're crying about that.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    You: I can anonymously call someone a "nigger" on the Internet. Tee-Hee!

    You're pathetic. This is the last feeding you'll get, troll.

  • Halfsies!||

    Cry more about being wrong and made fun of for it halfsies!

    YOU SO MAD!

  • ||

    I do it, so other people can sleep well at night, meanwhile, I'm up all night fighting demons, just screaming bloody murder, waking up with nosebleeds, night terrors, finding myself a mile from home with bloody feet and a gun in my hand I have no idea how I got there, but pound for pound, I'd say there's not one human being in this mall that deserves this coffee as much as myself.

  • ||

    It appears to me the worst case scenario here is trespassing; I find it extremely difficult to believe Zimmerman was even remotely justified in doing anything except licking the window of his car.

  • ||

    But Brooks. Why do that when we can both let him go proving the world is racist and use it as an excuse to repeal the law and make sure other people can't defend themselves. It is double bonus baby.

  • sarcasmic||

    Exactly.

  • ||

    This whole thing is idiotic. Stand your ground only applies when are lawfully there and the other person has to initiate the conversation.

    This guy was told to stay in the car. So it is not clear that he had a lawful right to be there. And he initiated the confrontation. The media is totally misapplying the doctrine here. And so is the DA I think in hopes of falsely discrediting the law.

  • ||

    And so is the DA I think in hopes of falsely discrediting the law.

    I knew I wasn't being cynical enough. Thanks, John. I think you're onto something.

  • Tim||

    The flip side of this debacle is the homeowner who shoots a burglar and gets charged with murder.

  • Zeb||

    A homeowner in his home has a much clearer right to use force. As it should be.

    I'm all for castle doctrine. If someone busts into your house, you get to shoot them, period. But I'm not so sure about "stand your ground" laws. I think that the duty to retreat in public makes sense both because of the potential for collateral damage and because in situations like this (assuming a most charitable interpretation of events), misunderstandings can quickly escalate to horrible events.

  • ||

    Regardless of a legal duty to retreat, retreat in the face of violence is far and away more sensible as a strategy than getting into a shootout. You never know if a person has accomplices, your gun will jam, they'll be able to disarm you, etc. When violence erupts, your gun is your way of making sure no one can stop you from getting away, but getting away asap should be priority number 1, 2, and 3. Every second you stick around, whether to mete out justice or make threats or try to reason, is a second you're increasing your risk of bodily harm or legal culpability.

  • Mo||

    The media is totally misapplying the doctrine here. And so is the DA I think in hopes of falsely discrediting the law.

    Except this would have never happened had the Sanford PD done their jobs. They saw a dead kid and a guy with a shaky story, took it at face value and closed the case. Had the parents of the kid not raised a stink about their son being dead and the national media picked it up, the status quo would have remained.

  • ||

    that isnt exactly the same as the victim fighting back

    No kidding.

  • A Floridian||

    I was prosecuted for a case that occurred less than a week before this law passed ( I was acquitted, by the way, because the idiot I mangled kept coming at me after I repeatedly told him I was going to mangle him, so FUCK YOU STATE OF FLORIDA! But I digress).

    He will have a very hard time claiming self defense successfully here, as the option to remain in his car/leave the area was available to him, and he chose to engage.

    He will have to justify the idea that he was so afraid he got out and confronted the kid.

  • ||

    This sounds like a pretty good story. Care to share?

  • A Floridian||

    Love to.

    I was in a bar with some friends (I had ordered a beer, but hadn't had any yet) when a friend of theirs shows up that I have a history with. I decide to leave, and on the way out, he says something to the effect of "aren't you even gonna shake my hand", to which I reply "nope" and make my way out.

    I get out the door and make my way to my car, when I catch a reflection off the door of the bar as it opens, and through sheer dumb luck, look back to see the guy and his buddy making their way toward me.

    I'm half way across the parking lot, so my very quick assessment makes the bat in my car my best option.

  • A Floridian||

    So I make it to my car, but I can't get it open before the first guy gets to me. As he grabs me, I take his right eye out with my thumb. Rights as he starts screaming like a guy who has lost an eye, I get the bat and warn his buddy off.

    But he kept coming. He lunges, and misses, and gets his head caved in. And then I gave him two more in the ribs to keep him down.

  • A Floridian||

    At this point the bar is emptying to see me batting this guy over the head.

    Cops show up, statements are taken, and I go to jail on 3 counts of Agg. Batt. with Great Bodily Harm.

    At trial, the idiot who got batted was asked "why did you keep coming?". That, and the security tapes of me hauling ass across the parking lot made my case for me.

    Total Acquittal and once again, FUCK YOU STATE OF FLORIDA.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  • ||

    Excellent story. Have you encountered him again? Because it would be fun to stare him down after all that, I think.

  • A Floridian||

    Yes. I encountered him at a gas station after the acquittal.

    He wouldn't even look at me and waited until I left to go inside.

  • A Floridian||

    The State Attorney, when asked, said she prosecuted because I hit him after he was down.

    Etiquette aside, fuck that. You try to jump a guy, you get what you get.

  • A Floridian||

    SHe also said if it were a week later, I could have killed him.

    One week could have been the difference between 40 years and no charges.

    One week.

    And I went to trial, too, they tried to make me plead it down to a single felony and 3 years probation.

    But I knew I was right. I was honestly as scared as I have ever been in my life waiting for that verdict, but I was right.

  • ||

    You should have sent her an invoice for your legal bills. Actually, you still should. It should be good for laffs.

  • ||

    The State Attorney, when asked, said she prosecuted because I hit him after he was down.

    She has unrealistic ideas about what happens when two guys try to jump another guy. Its not like the three of you hold a committee meeting after every blow to determine what a reasonable man in that situation would do next.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    This is fucking awesome!

  • Tim||

    The arguing here convinces me that a jury can parse this case and decide if all the elements add up to justifiable homicide.

  • ||

    Here's a question (or two):

    Is there any physical evidence of injury to Zimmerman?
    Was he taken to the hospital and examined?

  • kinnath||

    I've read somewhere that Zimmerman suffered injuries. But I have not read how badly he was injured in the altercation.

  • An unnamed source||

    Zimmerman told investigators that Martin was the aggressor and that he was taking such a beating - and that no one responded to his calls for help - that he was forced to fire. "He had injuries consistent with his story," Lee said.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012.....rylink=cpy

  • ||

    The person coming after you is the aggressor in a confrontation. Absent any aggression by the runner which started the chase.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Naturally, the media meme is going to be 'vigilante white/Hispanic man shoots and kills innocent unarmed black child going to buy skittles', but it might be wise to consider a few details from the early media reports, details which aren't being included in most accounts. I'm not saying that Zimmerman isn't a criminal, but one should avoid being caught up in the inevitable race-hustling, blacks are being victimized again, rush to judgement.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Miami Hearld 3-15-12:

    Police Chief Bill Lee said in an interview. “... All the physical evidence and testimony we have independent of what Mr. Zimmerman provides corroborates this claim to self-defense.”

    “Zimmerman had injuries consistent with his story,” Lee said.

    Zimmerman had a damp shirt, grass stains, a bloody nose and was bleeding from a wound in back of his head, according to police reports.

    ...
    Lee released a statement Thursday disputing Cutcher’s account, saying it differed from what she originally told police, which she angrily denies.

    Cutcher originally gave police a statement that matched Zimmerman’s account, said police spokesman Sgt. David Morgenstern.
  • Fluffy||

    I don't dispute for a second that Martin punched Zimmerman.

    Hell, maybe he knocked him down and was kicking the crap out of him and Zimmerman REALLY WAS in "fear of his life".

    I just think that when you're attempting to unlawfully restrain a kid who has the legal right to be where he is, the kid IS ENTITLED to resist you with force, and you don't get to claim self-defense, no matter who was winning the fight and no matter how sincere your fear was.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    when you're attempting to unlawfully restrain a kid

    That, of course, is an assumption. An alternate scenario is that Martin started running, either because he was innocent and afraid or because he was up to no good, Zimmerman chased him, Martin ambushed him, whacking over the head and knocking him to the ground and Zimmerman responded by shooting Martin. If that was what happened, than Martin is at fault. Chasing a person is not a crime.

    I don't think any one except Zimmerman will ever really know for sure what happened. I don't envy Zimmerman though. No matter what he is going to go through hell, whether he is innocent or not, and may never be able to pursue a career in law enforcement.

  • Tim||

    "That, of course, is an assumption."

    NO it isn't. Zimmerman had no legal right to restrain this kid, with few exceptions, none of which are in play here.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    The assumption was that Zimmerman tried to restrain the 17 yr. old. Please pardon my sloppiness.

  • ||

    I think that if he doesn't pursue a career in law enforcement, that will be the only good thing to come of this godawful shitty mess.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    That depends on what really happened. Zimmerman could be a power-hungry monster looking for a license to commit heinous acts or he could an upstanding guy who sincerely wants to improve conditions in his community. The cop-hate is always strong on H&R, but, when push-comes-to-shove, even here most people agree that cops are necessary.

    It would be a tragedy if a good future cop gets his life ruined and his dreams destroyed by a racialist railroading.

  • ||

    The cop-hate is always strong on H&R, but, when push-comes-to-shove, even here most people agree that cops are necessary.

    Instapoll! Who here agrees that cops are necessary?

  • Zeb||

    Depends on what you mean by necessary, I suppose (and what you mean by "cops" too). Does inevitable count?

  • ||

    They have been less than useless as far as I can see in my life

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    They have been less than useless as far as I can see in my life

    If you would quite sneaking into hospital intensive care units and fornicating with other people's comatose grandmothers, then the cops would probably stop hassling you.

  • ||

    Damn Big Brother! Foiled again. Where you been spending your nights Dead Hole?

  • ||

    ""It would be a tragedy if a good future cop gets his life ruined and his dreams destroyed by a racialist railroading.""

    Well, if so it would be by Zimmerman's bad judgment of getting out of the car instead of waiting for professionals.

    As A Marine doing security, the first rule was call for backup. If there was immediate harm to another person, you might have to act first, then communicate. I see absolutely ZERO reasons for Zimmerman to get out of the car to confront the kid.

  • Zeb||

    And there was also zero reason for the kid to assume that Zimmerman had anything but ill intentions toward him. It's bad enough that people are expected to stop for police the second they yell "police".

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    I see absolutely ZERO reasons for Zimmerman to get out of the car to confront the kid.

    There's no evidence that Zimmerman intended to confront Martin. Zimmerman got out of his car and followed him. He could have just been tracking him in order to keep an eye on him and his whereabouts until the police showed up.

    There are an awful lot of assumptions being made about this case.

  • ||

    "" He could have just been tracking him in order to keep an eye on him and his whereabouts until the police showed up.""

    That's a big assumption, and many of them would be required for that to be true. It would also assume that he lost track of the kid, and the kid was willing to ambush him instead of getting home safely.

    You can't complain about assumptions being made while making them yourself.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Presumption of innocence, TrickyVic. I was merely suggesting alternative explanations to the narrative that Zimmerman was hunting black kids or that he exercised horrible judgement.

  • ||

    ...Martin is at fault. Chasing a person is not a crime.

    It could be perceived as stalking, assault or attempted kidnapping by Martin and would justify self defense. In your scenario, an innocent kid is suddenly chased by an unknown man with a gun, and he defends himself by whacking the man over the head. How is the kid guilty?

  • ||

    It could be perceived as stalking, assault or attempted kidnapping by Martin and would justify self defense

    Not to mention that it's a minor he is chasing and stalking. That opens up a lot more scrutiny in my book. There's things you just can't do with minors. Just ask that guy in Chicago who lost his kid because he offered a couple of teenage girls a ride home in a snowstorm.

  • Jerry Sandusky||

    There's things you just can't do with minors.

    You would be surprised ...

  • GW||

    No, because IMO, MARTIN is acting in self defense in that scenario. If I'm being chased, it seems to me that I'M about to be the victim of a crime, and I have the right to defend myself.

    That said, I'm not sure how a 250 lb tub of lard ever had a chance of catching up to a 140 lb, 17 year old football player so that any physical altercation could have taken place.

    One thing is for sure: with race involved, you'll NEVER get all of the details from the media.

  • Zeb||

    "Chasing a person is not a crime."

    It isn't? What do you suppose woudl happen if you started chasing people who you saw walking on the street at night? You don't think you'd get arrested and charged with something?

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    I hope not.

  • ||

    There was no ambush. Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend, telling her that he was freaked out and being chased by someone. She reported that she heard their initial exchange, where Martin asked why Zimmerman was chasing him, and Zimmerman demanded to know what he was doing in the neighborhood.

    She says that it then sounded like someone got pushed, and the phone was dropped. Her theory is that this proves Zimmerman pushed, but that doesn't follow, imho.

    But it's certainly possible that Martin tried to push Zimmerman out of his way, and then Zimmerman grappled with the kid, which led to what other witnesses says was "wrestling" between the two.

  • Dan||

    It is hard to tell what is going on here... I really don't think "stand your ground" applies at all. I'm not sure what this Zimmerman guy thought he was up to or what he was trying to accomplish. You'd think that just harassing the kid until he ran away would be enough to keep his neighborhood safe in his mind.

    It just seems like there is more to this story than is presented here.

  • Joe M||

    Everyone needs to listen to the 911 tapes before spouting off. They're pretty disturbing.

  • ||

    Despite opinions to the contrary,
    the one fact I've yet to see refuted is:
    If Zimmerman stays in his car as instructed, does Travyvon Martin get shot by Zimmerman? If you answer anything but no you are doing some serious logic gymnastics.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    If Zimmerman stays in his car as instructed, does Travyvon Martin get shot by Zimmerman?

    If America doesn't get involved in WWI, do any American soldiers get shot by Germans?

    What's your point? That if people just passively go through life, never taking action, that they will remain blameless for taking actions. If so, you won't find many people disagreeing with you.

  • ||

    If a strawman is constructed and burned, is it as if a strawman never existed?

  • T||

    If a strawman falls in the forest...

  • Joe M||

    There's plenty enough evidence to file charges, based on the fact that Zimmerman didn't follow instructions to stop following Martin and initiated the confrontation. I don't see how it can at all be self defense if you chase someone down and shoot them. But if there is reasonable doubt, that's something that should be determined in court.

  • sarcasmic||

    http://www.kansascity.com/2012.....rylink=cpy

    "That's another question we get quite often: 'He was told not to follow him."' [police chief] Lee said in an interview last week. "Well that's a recommendation or a suggestion. It's not a lawful order."
  • Joe M||

    Zimmerman still initiated the confrontation, lawful order or no.

    I've looked through the original news reports, and they all say he was taken into custody. They say absolutely nothing about being treated for injuries.

  • sarcasmic||

    According to the police chief he had injuries consistent with his story. If you don't believe me, rtfa.

    not being treated for injures != not having injuries

  • Joe M||

    According to the police chief, who wasn't there, in an interview conducted three weeks after the incident. Why are you so hung up on not letting the guy even face a proper investigation?

  • He's a troll||

    And someone called him a douche for acting douchey, so we have to pay the price and watch him throw a tantrum

  • sarcasmic||

    Why are you so hung up on not letting the guy even face a proper investigation?

    I'm not. I'm hung up on everyone jumping to conclusions that the only possible story is that dude tried to imprison the kid and then shot him.

  • Joe M||

    We know Zimmerman pursued him when he shouldn't have. We know Zimmerman shot him.

    There's not a whole ton of space between those statements for a conclusion other than Zimmerman bears at least the majority of the blame.

  • Lies, Damn Lies, and ...||

    I think that graph would be more plausible if you ran the trend line back to 1066.

  • sarcasmic||

    http://www.kansascity.com/2012.....rylink=cpy

    Zimmerman told investigators that Martin was the aggressor and that he was taking such a beating - and that no one responded to his calls for help - that he was forced to fire. "He had injuries consistent with his story," [police chief] Lee said.

    All you who said there was absolutely no indication that the kid was the aggressor...

    I pronounce you liars.

  • Fluffy||

    Against that we have the 911 tapes, which show that Zimmerman's intent when he left the car was to prevent Martin from leaving before police arrived.

    If Zimmerman even just spoke to Martin and communicated to him that he wanted Martin to stay where he was until the police got there, Zimmerman committed False Imprisonment.

    To believe that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, we'd have to believe that Martin saw Zimmerman and just decided to fight him, before Zimmerman even said a word. And hey, Zimmerman can claim that if he wants to. But we're free not to believe him.

  • sarcasmic||

    But you don't know, and neither do I.

    To proclaim that yours is the only possible explanation, and shower derogatory accusations on those who do not agree (mine to you were in response you you calling me a "douche") makes you, well, a douche.

  • Tim||

    "But you don't know"

    And yet you're making claims and calling people liars based on statements you misread or misunderstand.

    Fuck you.

  • Fluffy||

    No, douche.

    You said that the only possible reason for me not to believe Zimmerman was because I was a racist fuck.

    That means I get to call you a douche for the rest of the thread.

    Maybe next thread we'll agree, and I'll call John a douche instead.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    If Zimmerman even just spoke to Martin and communicated to him that he wanted Martin to stay where he was until the police got there, Zimmerman committed False Imprisonment.

    Does telling someone to stay put constitute False Imprisonment in Florida?

  • Tim||

    It does if you point a gun at them while do it.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Any evidence that that happened? No one knows what happened.

  • Fluffy||

    Zimmerman may sincerely believe that Martin was the aggressor.

    I don't think it matters.

    Mr. X is an armed man, running down the street at night, telling Mr. Y to stop, that he's not allowed to leave.

    Mr. X may not realize it, but he's a criminal in that situation, and Mr. Y is allowed to use force to escape him.

    Mr. X may sincerely feel that Mr. Y is the aggressor, but it doesn't matter.

    If you're going to chase people down on the street at night because you think they're criminals, you damn well better be right. Because if you're wrong, you're the criminal.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Mr. X is an armed man, running down the street at night, telling Mr. Y to stop, that he's not allowed to leave."

    Pure speculation. Didn't bother to read the rest.

  • Fluffy||

    It's not pure speculation, because of the 911 tapes.

    It's really not reasonable to believe that Zimmerman would leave the car with the intent to get Martin to stop, and that Zimmerman and Martin would end up in a fight, without Zimmerman actually telling Martin to stop.

    As I said above, if a husband tells the 911 operator he's not going to let his wife leave the apartment, and the wife ends up dead, it's reasonable to conclude the husband killed the wife to stop her from leaving. It's definitely not "pure speculation".

    Frankly, Zimmerman would be much better off testifying that he told Martin to stop, and Martin got mad and punched him. Then at least I'd think Zimmerman's testimony was truthful. If he took the stand and said he never spoke to Martin AT ALL and Martin just jumped him and started whaling away, that would be so implausible that I'd have to disbelieve him entirely.

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't know what happened when Zimmer caught up to Martin anymore than I do.

    You can guess that he shouted at the kid and tried to detain him, I can guess that the kid saw he was being followed and turned around with the intention of kicking some ass.

    Frankly, Zimmerman would be much better off testifying that he told Martin to stop, and Martin got mad and punched him.

    Maybe that's not what happened. Ever think of that?

  • Fluffy||

    Sure, I'm thinking of it now.

    I just don't think it's reasonable.

    If you take the stand in court and testify that aliens beamed in and killed your wife, then stuck the bloody knife in your hand and beamed back out, you know what? Maybe that happened. But I won't believe your testimony.

    You'd be the unluckiest guy in the world, because you'd be telling the truth about those damn aliens and I wouldn't believe you, and I'd vote to convict.

    Zimmerman might testify that Martin jumped him before he ever even spoke. If that's true, it would be Zimmerman's unlucky day, because there's no way I'd believe him.

  • sarcasmic||

    Zimmerman might testify that Martin jumped him before he ever even spoke. If that's true, it would be Zimmerman's unlucky day, because there's no way I'd believe him.

    So your mind is made up, knowing that you don't know what happened.

    That's all I wanted you to say.

  • Fluffy||

    Dude, the Strange Days technology doesn't exist yet.

    When serving as the finder of fact in a criminal case, you're always going to have partial information.

    If a defendant is going to offer a narrative of events, it's a bad day for them if their narrative is implausible.

    This is true in every case and for every circumstance.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've seen what looked like a high school runt take down a burly construction worker and effortlessly beat the shit out of him.
    I would want to hear some of the kid's peers speak to his fighting ability before dismissing any doubt that Mr Neighborhood Watch bit off more than he could chew.
    That's not to say that what he did was right or justified.
    Just that your assumptions could be dead wrong.

  • ||

    We do know a bit: Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend, telling her that he was freaked out by a man that was following him, and then chasing him. She heard the initial exchange between the two of them, which was Martin asking why Zimmerman was chasing him, and Zimmerman demanding to know why he was there. Then she says she heard a struggle begin (she claims it must of been Martin getting pushed, but she can't possibly know that), and the phone get dropped.

    It's worth noting that the police don't appear to have tried to use this phone to find out who Martin was, at least at first, and he was tagged as a John Doe at the morgue. They also didn't test Zimmerman for intoxication: a sign that they were not following procedure.

  • T||

    I think the difference here is if Mr. Y knows (or reasonably believes) Mr. X to be armed, because you have no threat otherwise.

    If I'm just some guy with a concealed handgun, and I yell at you to stop, am I threatening you? Don't I have to be a little more overt first? Like "Stop or I'll shoot" is pretty obvious and if I have a gun in my hand, I think the threat is implied. But mere posession of a weapon on the part of Mr. X does not raise the interaction to the level of a threat, IMHO.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm not sure it matters.

    If a restaurant hostess says, "Stay here for a few minutes, please," she's not threatening you.

    If a stranger is chasing you on the street at night and shouting for you to stop, there's really no way he can include enough "please" and "thank you" to make it not a threat.

  • sarcasmic||

    How do you know Zimmer was shouting at the guy?

    You can speculate, but that's it.

    You don't know.

  • ||

  • Tim||

    "All you who said there was absolutely no indication that the kid was the aggressor...

    I pronounce you liars"

    NOTHING you posted demonstrates the "kid was the aggressor". Zimmerman could have initiated the conflict and STILL received the exact same injuries.

    I pronounce you stupid.

  • sarcasmic||

    You folks said that Zimmer had no injuries, which is a lie.

  • Make up your fucking mind||

    "You folks said that Zimmer had no injuries"
    ""All you who said there was absolutely no indication that the kid was the aggressor.."

    Which one are you claiming I said before we continue, since they're not the same?

    You were wrong asshole, I was right, and your stupid pathetic trolling response is to change your fucking claim.

    sarcasmic = rather

  • Citation||

    "You folks said that Zimmer had no injuries"

    Link?

  • sarcasmic||

    I ain't scrolling up there.
    First they (Fluffy anyway, maybe more) said Zimmer had no injuries. Then they backtracked and said he was not taken to the hospital. Then backtracked further and said he wasn't treated. And when I pointed out that no treatment does not equal no injuries, they dropped the subject.

  • He's a troll||

    "I ain't scrolling up there."

    So you don't have one.

    Fuck off troll.

  • sarcasmic's a troll||

    "First they (Fluffy anyway, maybe more"

    Maybe, I doubt it, but either way not ME.

    When YOU say "you folks" to ME, you need to find a fucking link to ME.

    In the interest of fair discourse, which you have ignored with your stupid "racist & liars" crap, I'll own up to anything if it really is me.

    You won't find anything troll, because I never said it.

    Fuck off now troll.

  • Fluffy||

    I said no such thing.

    If you were going to refuse to scroll up, you should have not tried to name names.

  • sarcasmic||

    I got you to admit that you know you don't know what happened. My job is done.
    Have a nice day!

  • sarcasmic's a troll||

    "I got you to admit that you know you don't know what happened"

    Not me you didn't.

    But I got you to admit you were lying about the "no injuries" claims"

  • ||

    "You folks said that Zimmer had no injuries"

    Well, maybe you're too lazy to scroll up there, but I did, by doing Ctrl-F searches for "injur." I found 20 matches.

    Nobody made the claim that Zimmerman had no injuries, much less "folks" (plural).

    The closest was Michael, who said that it's possible injuries could be "whipped up."

    Joe M stated that the news reports don't say anything about him being *treated* for injuries. This doesn't mean that he was uninjured, just that the injuries were not serious enough to require treatment.

    P. Brooks asked if there was any evidence of injuries. That is, he asked a question. He received several replies, all affirmative.

    Tim pointed out that the injuries could be consistent with either Martin or Zimmerman as the aggressor.

    There were several instances quoting the police chief about Zimmerman's injuries.

    So your comment is a lie.

  • ||

    Why do you keep referring to him as "Zimmer?"

    His name is Zimmerman. You've made this same error numerous times, despite his correctly-spelled name appearing in almost every post in the thread.

    Apparently you don't pay much attention to detail.

  • ||

    OT, but if you're a cop in Atlanta, you can pay restitution for beating the fuck out of somebody and have the charges dropped, even if the victim disagrees. Cop says his victim yelled racial epithets at him, which is why he assaulted and tried to run over him

    Bonus quote from the cop's attorney: “You don’t call a person the n-word, you don’t shoot a bird. Otherwise you are entitled to a justified beatdown,” said Jackie Patterson, Lucas’ attorney.

    Yeah, I don't think it works that way.

  • Tyler||

    "Compared to the 1970s, violent crime of all sorts is down."

    You might want to take a closer look at that silly graph you posted, bro.

  • Lies, Damn Lies, and ...||

    Well, it does say "estimated." That's sort of like marking something "draft" isn't it?

  • ||

    What I found outrageous in this case was that the Sanford PD chose to short-circuit that process and allow Zimmerman to assert self-defense without having to get in front of a jury. (-Fluffy)

    Exactly. I wonder how long we will have to wait for the Florida state investigators to announce that the Sanford PD irretrievably fucked up the investigation of the crime scene.

  • sarcasmic||

    See my above 12:15 post.

  • He's a troll||

    Don't bother, he's trolling there too.

  • ||

    no indication that the kid was the aggressor...

    I pronounce you liars.

    Wait, what?

    Does the 911 tape contain evidence that the kid dragged Zimmerman out of his car and kicked the shit out of him?

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Does the tape contain evidence that Zimmerman touched Martin first? Still to be determined.

  • Fluffy||

    That shouldn't matter.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    It could be very relevant.

  • Fluffy||

    You can break the Florida False Imprisonment statute without touching someone.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Nevertheless, it could be very relevant.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nobody knows the full story.
    You and I can only speculate.

    I was speculating in Zimmer's defense only to be a devil's advocate and show that whatever I pull out of my ass is shit, just like whatever Fluffy or anyone else pulls out of their ass.

  • Lurker||

    "I was speculating in Zimmer's defense only to be a devil's advocate and show that whatever I pull out of my ass is shit, just like whatever Fluffy or anyone else pulls out of their ass."

    And you failed to demonstrate that.

    Stop trying.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fuck off.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wasn't talking to you. When I want you're opinion, I'll ask.

  • A Foridian||

    "I called people racist only after they called me a "douche","

    So you did it because they hurt your feelings, that's so much better you sad fucking troll.

  • Lurker||

    "I wasn't talking to you. "

    Then send him an email and get the fuck off the public board.

  • Spoonman.||

    "No Duty to Retreat" doesn't mean "picking a fight is cool".

    Even if the kid was beating the crap out of Vigilante Man I don't see how this is a justified shooting.

  • Joe M||

    Especially listen to the 911 tape of the woman crying who says repeatedly she heard the boy crying for help after he was shot.

    No one mentions anything about anyone crying for help before the shot was fired.

  • ||

    This story is interesting. However, the first sentence out of CNN's mouth last night concluded with "Zimmerman, who is half-Hispanic".

    FFS, does every news story that deals with non-white individuals have to inject racism?

    At that point, I simply turned off the TV.

  • ||

    Dear Sarcasmic-

    For the life of me, I cannot even tell where you are coming from on this.

  • sarcasmic||

    My assumptions are as good as those of anyone else.

    IOW they're worthless.

  • Lurker||

    You're calling people racists and liars guy.

    I don't really care what your point is, you're a fucking troll.

  • sarcasmic||

    I called people racist only after they called me a "douche", and I called people liars because they were being liars when they said Zimmer didn't have a mark on him.

    So fuck off.

  • Lurker||

    "I called people racist only after they called me a "douche","

    So you did it because they hurt your feelings, that's so much better you sad fucking troll.

  • sarcasmic||

    As I said, when I want your opinion, I'll ask.

    Now please hold your breath and wait for me to ask, k?

  • Lurker||

    You're under the mistaken impression that I give a shit about what you want troll.

    Don't be such a baby, you got your feelings hurt, get over it.

  • ||

    I hate to do this sarc, but that's not what happened (unless someone called you a douche first in another thread):

    sarcasmic|3.20.12 @ 11:40AM|#

    Two witnesses!

    Why aren't you down there talking to the prosecutor?

    It's because the kid is black, right?

    You racist fucks.

  • The Man||

    § 776.012. Use of force in defense of person

    A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

  • The Man||

    § 776.013. Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm
    ...
    (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

  • Fluffy||

    Then he can't claim a safe harbor under 776.013 if he was engaged in an unlawful activity.

    BUT 776.012 is interesting. It almost seems to say that you can use non-deadly force to defend yourself only if the other person's use of force is unlawful - but it doesn't place that requirement on uses of deadly force. It doesn't address the question or lawful or unlawful force at all.

    That would seem to imply that you can kill a police officer if you think he's about to kill you, and claim self-defense.

    There's some really poor grammar here.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    If Martin used deadly force against Zimmerman before Martin had a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to protect himself from death or GBH, the Zimmerman would appear to be justified in retaliating with deadly force, even if Zimmerman wrongfully initiated the contact.

    OTOH, if (as it appears) Zimmerman was looking to start trouble, then I won't feel too sorry for him if the jury puts him away for manslaughter.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    if (as it appears) Zimmerman was looking to start trouble

    It appears that Zimmerman wanted the police to apprehend and question Martin about what he was up to, not necessarily 'looking to start trouble'.

  • Fluffy||

    That's starting trouble, dude.

  • ||

    "Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger. Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened...."

    Does chasing someone = standing one's ground? I don't think a Grand Jury will think it does. This needs to be settled in court. And with GPS locators in phones, the cops will be able to tell whether this Zimmerman guy was pursuing and provoking or was defending himself from an attack.

  • A Foridian||

    "Does chasing someone = standing one's ground? "

    No, it does not.

  • ||

    Is phone tracking that good? Can it show real time movements in feet over seconds? I would love to see info about this.

  • ||

    IIRC, it was used as evidence in the Casey Anthony trial to determine where she was when certain calls were made. And the potential range the calls were coming from were triangulated down to a few yards (or meters for idiots on the metric system). So yes, it should be applicable here since it's the same state.

  • ||

    This could prove very interesting as it looks like Martin was on his phone as well.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/nat.....ng/254776/

  • The Man||

    § 776.032. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force

    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties ....

  • Fluffy||

    Oh, OK. They addressed the problem I thought I saw in .012 with .032.

  • ||

    Here's another question which probably will never be answered:

    At what point did Zimmerman produce/brandish the pistol? Was it already in his hand when he exited the car?

  • ||

    Doesn't seem likely, as Martin didn't mention it on his cell call. If Zimmerman had, that in itself would have been a crime, so Zimmerman wasn't likely to have said that's what he did.

  • Bernhard Goetz||

    Hey, everybody, remember me?

    I'm available for TV and print interviews. Just contact my agent.

  • Jesus Chung||

    according to official government categories, a Hispanic can be white or black

    But not Asian? RACIST!

  • Jesus Bald-Eagle||

    And what about us? RACIST!

  • Jesus "Albino" Washington||

    And what about us? We're white AND black!

  • ||

    If you initiate the confrontation, I don't think you get to claim self-defense no matter how bad your ass is getting kicked. I certainly don't think you get to escalate to gunfire.

    "Stand your ground" doesn't mean "start a fight."

    A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked

    Note how initiating a confrontation fails on two counts.

  • Fluffy||

    Right, but the grammar is all fucked up. That's the rule under (3) but is it the rule under (1)?

    And (1) ends with or.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    But what if you initiate a confrontation but don't use deadly force or give the other guy a reasonable belief that he needs to use deadly force, and then the other guy responds with his own deadly force?

  • sarcasmic||

    tfb, shouldn't have brought fists to a gunfight.

  • ||

    You've got something that a jury should sort out, at a minimum.

    And I agree; this statute is so shoddily drafted that .012(1) reads as if it is perfectly legal to use deadly force even if you started the fight, or even in the commission of a crime. If a burglar is interrupted by a homeowner with a gun, .012(1), read literally, says the burglar is justified in shooting the homeowner because the burglar "reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another".

  • kinnath||

    That's what happens when you let lawyers run the world ;-)

  • kinnath||

    The stand-your-ground concept should be defense at trial, not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

  • ||

    It's nice to see the law exempts cops. We wouldn't want anybody to be able to claim self-defense when the SWATters kick down his front door in the middle of the night.

    Of course, there's always plenty of time to stop for chitchat and exchange of business cards.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's nice to see the law exempts cops.

    Most do.

  • Fluffy||

    Zimmerman could be a power-hungry monster looking for a license to commit heinous acts or he could an upstanding guy who sincerely wants to improve conditions in his community.

    I think that this is a good summary of why people at H&R are on such opposite sides of this issue.

    To me, if you take it upon yourself to harass people in the street that you find "suspicious", that arrogant presumption makes it obvious that you are a dangerous asshole.

    That makes it impossible for you to be an upstanding guy who wants to improve conditions in his community.

    I don't identify with Zimmerman even a little. I identify with Martin. Some asshole with no more claim to the police power than me thinks he can tell me to freeze? Fuck you, scumbag. If I feel threatened or if you actually touch me, I get to beat you to a pulp. I'm the one using self-defense, not you.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Eloquently said, Fluffy.

  • kinnath||

    Gated community == privte property.

    The nightwatch had justification to chase down a stranger and ask about his business.

  • ||

    ... which begs the question - Did Zimmerman properly identify himself? Or did he just start chasing after some guy on the street?

    A question, it seems, that should be investigated.

    (Ancillary question: Since anyone can claim to be an employee of whatever, and anyone can claim to have authority, as it's only a crime to impersonate law enforcement officers, just saying you're an employee of ______ isn't enough since a person shouldn't be expected to psychically know what this person's authority is. Is the area clearly posted as private property, patrolled by agents of __________ agency, in order to validate the claim of some random guy saying he's from _______ agency and has the authority to tell you to leave?)

  • kinnath||

    ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Crump about the last moments of the teenager's life. Martin had been talking to his girlfriend all the way to the store where he bought Skittles and a tea. The phone was in his pocket and the earphone in his ear, Crump said.

    He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run."

    . . .

    "Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn't answer the phone."

    Fuck-ups all the way around.

  • ||

    Ruh roh. A witness.

    Bet the junior swattie who greased the kid wasn't counting on that.

  • ||

    There wasn't any legitimate proper identification he could have made. He had no legal authority to accost anybody. He wasn't an officer, he wasn't even registered or deputized as official neighborhood watch: he had just volunteered to do it.

  • Joe||

    One of the things I don't like about cops is that so many of them rush to use coercion, and that applies to non-LEO's as well. People use a "lawbreaker's" violation of a law as an excuse to throw away any tolerance on their part. If the neighbors are noisy at 3 in the morning, you don't call the cops; you either close your window or go downstairs to ask them to keep quiet. That's what bothers me most about this story; if the 911 tapes are correct, and I have no reason to believe they aren't, it sounds like this guy carried an "enough is enough" attitude.

    There will be a threshold, but it's best to put it high. Giving others the benefit of a doubt may encourage some troublemakers, but I think in the long run it avoids more conflict than it creates.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    If I feel threatened or if you actually touch me, I get to beat you to a pulp. I'm the one using self-defense, not you.

    I wouldn't do that if I were you. Merely feeling threatened or being touched does not justify beating someone to a pulp.

  • A Serious Man||

    If anything this exposes a double standard with law enforcement: if Zimmerman had had a shiny badge this would likely be buried with only people like Balko doing any actual investigative jorunalism into it.

  • toddb||

    It seems to me that Zimmerman took actions that escalated a non-violent situation into a violent and fatal conclusion. He needs to justify that before a jury.

    If we want to protect and expand our rights to keep and bear arms, we have to be willing to insist on responsibility for choices made with the use of those arms.

    A dumbass with a gun is a dangerous thing. If we want to protect our 2nd amendment rights, we have to be willing to be held accountable for dumbassery.

  • ||

    Well said.

  • ||

    Hear, hear.

    That's part of the reason I think there is no question this should be pursued as a crime. Let a grand jury hear from witnesses and a prosecutor, and make their decision about whether he should be charged.

  • ||

    It has been ruled that you do not have a right to defend yourself from the unlawful actions of a police officer. To extend this to neighborhood watch would be beyond ridiculous.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    You have a right to defend yourself from the unlawful actions of some neighborhood-watch dude, but do you have the right to use deadly force to defend yourself is the dude isn't using deadly force?

    If Zimmerman grabs Martin's arm and says, "Hey, punk, where'd you get those Skittles? Stay here until the cops arrive, or I'll shoot," is Martin entitled to beat the shit out of Zimmerman?

  • ||

    If Zimmerman grabs Martin's arm and says, "Hey, punk, where'd you get those Skittles? Stay here until the cops arrive, or I'll shoot," is Martin entitled to beat the shit out of Zimmerman?

    By grabbing his arm, Zimmerman would have committed assault (and probably a few other crimes). Trayvon is allowed to defend himself against assault. If that requires beating the shit out of his attacker, so be it.

  • ||

    ""If Zimmerman grabs Martin's arm and says, "Hey, punk, where'd you get those Skittles? Stay here until the cops arrive, or I'll shoot," is Martin entitled to beat the shit out of Zimmerman?""

    RC has covered the assault part and the law does not require Martin to retreat.
    ""§ 776.012. Use of force in defense of person

    A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force.""

    Martin would be entitled to beat the shit out of Zimmerman if he "reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself". That's pretty subjective.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Well that's the question, isn't it? How much force are you entitled to use? The "he started it" viewpoint doesn't answer those questions. If Martin punches Zimmerman once in the face, and Zimmerman desists, does Martin have justification for continued punching?

    Just saying it's possible for Zimmerman to be both (1) a racist dirtbag who assaulted Martin, and (2) justified in shooting Martin.

  • ||

    Ta-Nehisi Coates has been blogging about this since March 13. Much of what he talks about tracks with the comments above. He also links to other witness accounts that I didn't see linked to above. Worth checking out for more perspective/information. Here is his first

    http://www.theatlantic.com/nat.....in/254396/

  • sarcasmic||

    Thinking about it, it could have been a deal where the police chief says to Mr Wannabe Cop "Thank you for doing your best to patrol the neighborhood, since we can't be everywhere at once. That said, you fucked up. Big time. But I'm going to give you a break and let you off with self defense. Hell, if you were one of my guys you'd be up for a medal, but you're not. Be careful out there!"

  • ||

    Taxi Driver was such a sweet movie.

  • Repairman Jack||

    I think it's mostly a matter of the cops and everyone who came out of their houses had never seen the kid before. All they had to go on was Zimmerman's account of the kid looking suspicious and the apparent fact that he was wounded by a kid that no one had seen before wandering around in a gated community while it was raining. Also, he was black. They just decided to believe Zimmerman and once they found out that the kid had every right to be there, they were too scared/stupid/evil to reassess the situation and charge the guy.

  • ||

  • sarcasmic||

    I take back whatever I said about the kid.

    Fluffy is still a douche, though.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    All we know is that the call was made. As to what Martin said, we only have the girlfriend's recollection.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    Martin's gf is a completely disinterested party.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    And we know this how?

  • ||

    Another issue for the jury. We don't have any witnesses contradicting what she says, do we?

    We can confirm some of her story (that he just bought Skittles and tea), etc.

    Her story is going to be very hard to discredit, is my first reaction.

  • ||

    pretty sure the conversation was really about how he just stole some skittles and iced tea out of one of the houses, Or more likely how he broke into one house for the skittles and yet another house for the tea

  • JM||

    I think I recall reading someplace that the guy wasn't really part of an official NW, just his version thereof. Therefore, he was technically a wannabe-wannabe cop. Not really important unless addressing the "private property gated community" comment, but thought I'd throw it in there.

  • Napkin Head Dead Hole||

    As bad as this case is, imagine what would happen if somebody takes Najee Muhammad of the New Black Liberation Militia's words (2:04 in the video) to heart, things get out of hand and some blacks decide a little vigilante payback is in order.

  • Justice Thomas||

    Online petitions screaming for prosecution. Hi Tech Lynching or not?

  • sarc bumsitch||

    Ummmmm.........where is WI with the "are we free to gambol??" meme?
    Seems to me the youngster had "gamboled' thru the wrong 'hood, and was shot by a wanna be agent of the city-state........

  • ||

    The question you guys should be asking is if a guy sees You walking down the street and jumps out of his car with a gun yelling at you should you 1 do what he says or 2 shoot his ass dead 3 run away and risk him chasing you down and shooting you?? Keep in mind you are NOT breaking the law when he started this...

  • ||

    I'm a liberal Democrat, and let me tell you what's going to happen re: gun control. You'll notice we were going to let it go since around 2000. Sure Blue States have to put up with the gun running from Red states, but its just a nuisance. Sure assault weapons can now hit the streets, but people are too poor/lazy to get one.

    But now, with Stand Your Ground, we finally have something to bite into. Look up Brandon Baker. Pair this with Trayvon Martin. Guns + Free license to use them = senseless deaths.

    To Rep Baxley who in Fla. who passed this law: the anti-gun lobby THANKS YOU.

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