Trayvon Martin

The New York Times Editorial Board Has No Clue What 'Stand Your Ground' Means

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Video via The Orlando Sentinel

Yesterday I asked what people have in mind when they criticize "stand your ground" laws in connection with the shooting of Trayvon Martin. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous seems to think Florida's "stand your ground" law was responsible for George Zimmerman's acquittal, although it is hard to see how, since Zimmerman's account of his fight with Martin, which apparently was accepted by the jury, left no room for retreat. Attorney General Eric Holder understands that the essence of "stand your ground" is abolishing the duty to retreat for people attacked outside their homes, and perhaps that is why he does not blame that legal provision for Zimmerman's acquittal (although he did draw an implicit connection in his speech to the NAACP yesterday). The editors of The New York Times, by contrast, clearly do not understand the nature of the self-defense laws they are criticizing. In a recent editorial titled "Trayvon Martin's Legacy," they opine:

The jury reached its verdict after having been asked to consider Mr. Zimmerman's actions in light of the now-notorious Stand Your Ground provision in Florida's self-defense law. Under that law, versions of which are on the books in two dozen states, a person may use deadly force if he or she "reasonably believes" it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm—a low bar that the prosecutors in this case fought in vain to overcome.

These laws sound intuitive: who would argue that you may not protect yourself against great harm? But of course, the concept of "reasonable belief" is transformed into something deadly dangerous when firearms are involved. And when the Stand Your Ground laws intersect with lax concealed-carry laws, it works essentially to self-deputize anyone with a Kel-Tec 9 millimeter and a grudge.

This description of Florida's self-defense law makes no mention of the duty to retreat, which the "stand your ground" bill enacted by the state legislature in 2005 eliminated for people attacked in public places. (The same legislation also beefed up the "castle doctrine" for people attacked at home, creating a presumption that an intruder poses a threat justifying the use of deadly force and extending the doctrine to vehicles.) Holder and other critics of such laws argue that eliminating the duty to retreat condones and perhaps encourages violence in situations where it is not truly justified. But according to the Times, the real problem with Florida's law is that "a person may use deadly force if he or she 'reasonably believes' it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm." One difficulty with this argument is that the standard to which the Times objects was not created in 2005; it was part of Florida's self-defense law before the "stand your ground" statute was adopted. That means Zimmerman could have successfully made exactly the same self-defense claim before 2005.

What's more, Zimmerman could have won acquittal based on the same defense in states that continue to impose a duty to retreat. States such as New York, where the use of deadly force is permitted if "the actor reasonably believes that [the] other person is using or about to use deadly physical force." Or New Jersey, where lethal force is justified if "the actor reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily harm." Or Connecticut, where deadly force may be used when "the actor reasonably believes that [the] other person is (1) using or about to use deadly physical force, or (2) inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm." Why is the "reasonable belief" standard condemned by the Times appallingly reckless in Florida but not in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut?

As I said, all three of these states impose a duty to retreat in public places. But retreating is not an option for a man pinned to the ground by an attacker who is pummeling him and knocking his head against the pavement. One need not fully accept Zimmerman's story to recognize that the jurors (judging not just from their verdict but from Anderson Cooper's interview with one of them) believed he was telling the truth about certain crucial facts: that Martin attacked him, knocked him down, straddled him, and was assaulting him in a way that made Zimmerman reasonably fear for his life at the moment he fired his gun. There would have been no opportunity to escape in those circumstances, making the right to stand your ground irrelevant. Hence Zimmerman could have won acquittal in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut with the same story.

One other thing to note about the duty to retreat: It is debatable how much difference it makes in practice given the way it is often qualified. In New York, for example, the victim of a public assault is expected to retreat rather than use lethal force only if he "knows" he can do so "with complete personal safety" for himself and others. There is also an exception for someone who "reasonably believes that [the] other person is committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery." New Jersey and Connecticut likewise mandate retreat only if it can be done with "complete safety." Since turning your back on an aggressor is always risky, that qualification creates a pretty big loophole. This reality may help explain why Bernie de la Rionda, the chief prosecutor in the Zimmerman case, says "the law [in Florida] really hasn't changed all that much" since 2005.

If the difference between a "stand your ground" law such as Florida's and a duty-to-retreat law such as New York's is smaller than it looks at first glance, that would weaken arguments for copying Florida's approach as well as arguments for repealing all such statutes. I am not fully convinced either way, although I am sympathetic to the argument that it is unfair to expect the victim of an assault to demonstrate that he had no opportunity to safely retreat. Look where that expectation led in the case of Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville, Florida, woman who got 20 years for firing a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband. (A judge rejected Alexander's "stand your ground" claim at a pretrial hearing, indirectly imposing a duty to retreat by finding that her failure to leave the house suggested she did not truly fear for her life.) So by all means, let's have a debate about the merits, in terms of justice and public safety, of "stand your ground" laws. But first let's be clear what we're talking about.

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  1. They don’t actually give a shit about the facts, because the facts would get in the way of the narrative.

    1. Right. They know perfectly well what SYG is, but they’re got an agenda, just like the race baiters.

  2. Last night, Tavis Smiley, on the Factor, repeated the same non-sense that stand your ground was an issue in the case.

    Brother Tavis, you embarrass yourself with the regurgitated group think.

    Why do so many Afro-americans think this way?

    1. Why do so many Afro-americans think this way?

      Because the Democrats purposefully manipulate people into a state of group think and total obeisance so that anyone who strays from the narrative is considered the enemy.

      This is particularly bad in black areas where the Democrats use the ghost of slavery and other horrible things that have happened in the past to breed hatred of those who aren’t black. They then use this racism to convince black people that not obeying the Democrats makes you ‘too white’ and untrustworthy.

      They use racism to destroy the individuality of an entire race and then claim that their opponents are racist. The modern left is vile and disgusting.

      1. Yeah, agreed.

        Tavis Smiley and Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson and Melissa Harris Perry et al genuine, real, racists.

        As I have often posted, racism is, first and foremost, public policy predicated upon race. A variation of racism is supporting public policy predicated upon race or advocacy aimed at changing public policy so that the latter is predicated upon race.

        If a black person accepts affirmative action, that black person is a racist.

        If you vote for a person, even in part, because of his race, you are a racist.

    2. I think it’s more political than racial, though the latter probably is a factor. The vast majority of Democrats and liberals are having the exact same reaction, and most blacks are Democrats

  3. The New York Times Editorial Board Has No Clue What ‘Stand Your Ground’ Means

  4. I mean, is anyone surprised in even the slightest way that the mouth-breathers at the NYT not only don’t understand the law but also can’t stop trying to make this about a law that they don’t like that it isn’t about, and about firearms too? These low foreheads couldn’t stop pushing their bullshit if you held a gun to their head. They have to do it; it is their nature.

    1. “Listen, and understand. That editorial board is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are derp.”

      1. You still don’t get it, do you? They’ll write bullshit at you! That’s what they do! That’s ALL they do! You can’t stop them! They’ll wade through you, reach down your nose and pull your fuckin’ brain out!

        1. I never realized before that that movie is an allegory.

        2. “Media computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got dumb, a new order of sub-intelligence. Then it saw all non-liberals as a threat, not just the Republicans. Decided our fate in a microsecond: blatant propaganda.”

    2. I mean, is anyone surprised in even the slightest way that the mouth-breathers at the NYT not only don’t understand the law but also can’t stop trying to make this about a law that they don’t like that it isn’t about, and about firearms too?

      In all seriousness, this is question-begging that they don’t understand the issues here.

      I think they understand them very well. They know damn well SYG had nothing to do with this case, but they and the rest of the shitlibs see it as an opportunity to stoke further racial greivances and attack social institutions that they consider a barrier to their vision of what the US should be like. By continuing to make this case about SYG laws, they can push the narrative that only government agents rather than private citizens should have the authorization to wield force of any kind.

  5. Look where that expectation led in the case of Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville, Florida, woman who got 20 years for firing a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband. (A judge rejected Alexander’s “stand your ground” claim at a pretrial hearing, indirectly imposing a duty to retreat by finding that her failure to leave the house suggested she did not truly fear for her life.)

    Due to the fact that she broke contact, retreated to the garage, and returned to the house with a gun. Even if you accept her argument that she could not escape through the garage, the fact that she didn’t stay in the garage created the probable cause that her fear of immediate harm failed the test of reasonableness.

    1. The progtard flogging of that case is idiotic. The jury didn’t believe that she feared for her life and didn’t believe it was a warning shot. They concluded she confronted him and tried to kill him but was just a bad shot.

      Maybe they were wrong. I don’t know. I didn’t watch the trial. But the result in that case has even less to do with SYG and the morality of self defense law in Florida than the Zimmerman case did.

      1. And let’s not forget who the prosecutor was either.

      2. It gets even less relevant. She wasn’t in public, she was in his house (she had moved out a few weeks before and obtained a restraining order) uninvited as she maintains that she went to retrieve some of her property at a time when she thought he wouldn’t be home. Sadly, the whole unfortunate circumstance could have been avoided if she’d just called the Sheriff and had a deputy meet her there like she was supposed to.

      3. The woman should never have been charged and once charged the matter never should have been submitted to the jury. The case should have been dismissed.

        Did you read the judge’s order denying Alexander’s motion to dismiss? A responsible judge would have dismissed the case. Note how she failed to set forth the following in her order:

        (1) The restraining order against Gray was still in effect.

        (2) Gray was in her house.

        (3) He testified that he had put his hands on her in the past and that he administered many a beating to her and other women.

        (4) Gray also testified that he had previously prevaricated, under oath, like your boy from Hope, Ark.

        (5) There was no evidence presented that the garage door was working at the time she went into the garage.

        Note how she did not cite any founding era documents supportive of the proposition that one who asserts that she was in fear of her life in repelling an attacker, in her home, should have the burden of proof in order to dismiss criminal charges brought against her.

        Finally, NO FUCKING HARM, NO FOUL!

        1. Is this sarcasm? I can’t tell.

          1. No. Did you read Jacob’s earlier article as well as the court’s order?

            1. Yes. See below. Having read it, he was dead wrong. She was in a house she had not lived in for 2 months. Page 3, section II, 2nd paragraph.

        2. She took a shot at someone. She really can’t complain when the jury finds that she meant to do it.

          And “he used to beat me up” is not good enough to get you to the right to kill the guy. The fear has to be reasonable and immediate. Here, the victim wasn’t armed. And I am quite sure he testified that he wasn’t threatening her. Now, you may not believe that. But the jury did. So you are left with a woman shooting at an unarmed man who wasn’t threatening her with any harm.

          You don’t like the facts the jury concluded. And who knows, maybe you are right. But that makes the case about a bad jury that concluded wrong things. The case has noting to say about the law in general.

          1. John, who was harmed?

            Gray had already testified that he had assaulted her on multiple occasions, including the day in question.

            Given that he admitted that he had lied in order to protect her after he had already lied in order to protect himself, a judge should dismiss the case on that ground alone as Gray’s acknowledged serial perjury should not be left for the jury. Sorry, checkmate.

            Again, it was HER HOUSE, according to the linked Reason article from last year and the court’s order.

            1. John, let’s be credible.

              Did I write that a woman has the right to kill a man because he previously beaten her?

              However, if A has previously assaulted and battered B, and A has, under oath, in a deposition, testified that he had previously beaten B and that he was doing so on the day in question after admitting that he had previously lied in order to protect himself, the fact that A later recants his recanted testimony, means the state has no case and the charges should be dismissed where, as there, B had a restraining order against A and A was in B’s house.

            2. So I can take shots at people as long as I miss? The amount of harm is not the determinant of guilt.

              Now, was her sentence too long? For sure. But she got that sentence because of idiotic sentencing escalators. And I agree those things are stupid and horrible. But again, that has nothing to do with the Zimmerman case.

            3. About four months after Alexander was released on bail, on orders to have no contact with Gray, she got into an altercation with him at his home that gave him a black eye, Corey said. Alexander was arrested and charged with battery, to which she pleaded no contest.

              Corey said that Alexander’s actions — engaging with a man of whom she claimed to be deathly afraid, and assaulting him — “didn’t show much of her being remorseful” or “being a peaceful person.”

              Alexander’s family said the second incident took place just days before her newborn would have been dropped off of her insurance, and that she went over to Gray’s home to have him sign paperwork that would have kept the baby insured.

              From the original coverage. You’re wrong on all the facts, Mike.

              1. Brett, that was a separate incident. Check out the police report at the bottom of the article you linked to. It’s from December 2010. The gun incident took place in August 2010.

                About four months after Alexander was released on bail

                She was released on bail four months after she was arrested for taking a shot at Gray. This situation just adds to the insanity, and I’m sure was presented to the jury during her trial.

            4. Both the Judge’s Order and the original coverage point out that Jackson was in the marital home, where she had not lived for two months. SHE was in HIS house uninvited.

              1. Okay, I stand corrected on the fact issue as to who had been residing in the home at the time of the incident.

                What the judge’s order and the original coverage do not specify is title to the property. The reference is to the “marital home”, thus, do we know whose name(s) were on the deed at the time?

        3. So I can shoot at you as along as I don’t miss?

          If you create a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm or death, which you do when you shoot at someone, you should go to jail.

          1. If I have just beaten you up and you have tried to escape and could not and I have previously beaten you up and now you come back into the house with a gun in order to protect yourself, shooting a round into the ceiling in order to back me the fuck up, what is the problem?

            Note, shooting the gun into the air in order to warn the aggressor is not the same as attempting to kill him.

        4. Finally, NO FUCKING HARM, NO FOUL!

          This is not even close to being an acceptable legal theory. Just because you intended to harm someone and failed doesn’t mean you are free to try again.

          1. Where has been established that she intended to harm the serial batterer and perjurer?

            He had beaten her up a few minutes prior and had done so previously and he testified that he was going to kill her.

            What you write in your post is not at all what I posted.

  6. Forget it Jake, it’s New York Times town.

  7. There were at least 3 interviews I heard yesterday with concerned citizens wanting to use this as a catalyst to change the SYG laws.
    One of them was the minister at Trayvon’s mother’s church.

    1. OT, but, rant time.

      When are these people demanding that Congress do something, going to realize that Congress never actually does what they say they are going to do, for instance, fixing healthcare or immigration. What they are going to do is create a bill that does nothing to fix those issues, but instead fill it up with loads of fat pork for them and their buddies.

      And we have an entire country full of people that allow this repulsive abuse of power to continue.

      Has any of the idiots who were crying for free healthcare checked to see where their new and improved and free health care is at? No, instead, they are cluelessly driving around with an ‘I love Obamacare’ sticker on their car.

      1. Good rant.

        I’m more bugged by the idea that the feds won’t let each state decide whether it wants an SYG law, than by the idea that some states might get rid of their SYG laws as a result of the hoopla.

        1. I think that the states fighting back against the feds is about the only hope that we have left, outside of collapse and start over. And the latter might get ugly, and probably some of us wouldn’t live through it. Although, sadly, I still think that’s the most likely scenario.

  8. What the fuck? The reasonableness standard for self-defense isn’t some new, NRA-driven law. I mean, come on, think about it. If you don’t have that standard, then people can shoot people even when there’s no danger at all.

    And increasing that standard? Really? I’m sitting here, rationally fearing that the guy with a knife who is also verbally threatening me is going to stab me and what, I’m supposed to get a notary? Be totally convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s going to kill me? I mean, who is the victim here?

    There is some law that requires people who initiate the use of force to attempt to retreat before they can claim self-defense, which should address any reasonable concerns.

    Holy sweet Jesus is this stupid.

    1. It really, really bothers them that people are allowed to defend themselves. With guns. Like, bothers them more than you can know. “Why should they care?” you might ask. Because the idea of forcing everyone to an “equal” standard of helplessness makes them really, really hard.

      1. See silent v below.

      2. They want to escalate this debate? Fine. I’m going off to found the National Tank Association. Fucking everyone needs a tank.

        1. It would give me a better chance of throwing off a tyrannical regime…

          1. Exactly. Vote with your tank!

        2. Especially if you have to cross county lines before the corrupt sheriff can stop you:

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088224/?ref_=sr_6

      3. It’s all very simple. Lefties are invariably environmentalists. Gun control puts the young, the old, the weak and the infirm at the mercy of the strong, which helps cull the herd. It’s the natural order.

    2. Note this case in New York pro. A black man was acquitted of shooting an unarmed white teenager (twice and not during a fight no less). I am sure all of the people who think self defense law is so horrible will be raising this injustice up to the national consciousness real soon. Right?

      To make it clear, I have no problem with the verdict. But the guy had a much less compelling defense than Zimmerman did.

      1. Look, our system–predating this country, in fact–was designed to allow the guilty to go free in our zeal to keep the innocent out of jail. Blackstone referred to it, as did, more famously for Americans, Ben Franklin.

        In their zeal to make political hay out of this case for gun control and race-baiting reasons, they’re getting people to oppose something critical to our freedoms–the heavy burden of proof borne by the state in criminal trials. What’s deeply ironic is that blacks, who are defendants in a disproportionate number of cases, benefit the most by this legal protection.

        1. The existence of independent courts and jury is a direct barrier to real fascism. Contrast the Zimmerman case to the infamous Katzenberger case in Nazi era Germany. In Katzenberger the mob was able to intimidate the judge and the entire criminal system into convicting and hanging a Jewish man because he was a Jew.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katzenberger_Trial

          The law was immoral and the factual case nonexistent. But since Germany no longer had independent courts, the mob won. The day the NAACP and the President and the media can force juries and judges to convict people to placate them, we will be a full on fascist country. And that is what these people want.

        2. But ProL, they’re outraged now! Changing hundreds of years of precedent that is based on not sending innocent people to jail is irrelevant because they want their fucking juice box now! NOW DAMN IT!

          1. I think this is how Surak got started.

      2. Do you have a name or anything I can use to find it? I want to read more about it.

        1. Its in the morning links.

          1. Thanks. I should actually read what Reason posts once in a while.

            1. Oh, I mean its somewhere in the megathread. Was it in the actual links too?

    3. Why is it only the reasonable standard for self-defense for white men and Mexican Jews? Does anyone really think that if the tables were turned and Trayvon profiled, stalked and gunned down that cracker an all white jury would say “good work young man, now here’s your gun back go kill us some more”?

  9. Can someone explain to me how a libertarian can support SYG? I thought one of the main components of libertarianism was the duality of rights/responsibilities. While you have a right to arm yourself, doesn’t the act of being armed impose a greater responsibility to avoid confrontation since you have introduced the potential for the confrontation to escalate into a fatal encounter? If you are carrying concealed, then you are the only one involved in the encounter that has this knowledge.

    1. How is requiring somebody to run away if they are attacked libertarian?

    2. While you have a right to arm yourself, doesn’t the act of being armed impose a greater responsibility to avoid confrontation since you have introduced the potential for the confrontation to escalate into a fatal encounter?

      No. Why would carrying a gun take away your right to defend yourself? Either you have a right to use deadly force or you don’t.

    3. This all started because people were forced to justify the use of force when their homes were broken into. So states began saying that you didn’t have to try to retreat in your home. SYG just expands that concept.

      1. This all started because people were forced to justify the use of force when their homes were broken into.

        Silly serf! Don’t you know that when brigands break into your home to steal your silver and ravish your wife and daughter you are to meekly wait for the King’s Men to come to your home to steal your silver and ravish your wife? The only time a yoeman is to bear arms is in the service of his lord.

        1. I meant when noncops break into your home, of course.

          1. I gave you a Yoeman Rand joke and you wasted it.

    4. Nonsense. I could easily kill someone with my bare hands, if push came to shove came to blows. Any confrontation could escalate into a fatal encounter. There is nothing magic about a weapon that changes that fact. A weapon is merely a “force multiplier”. Armed self-defense is a basic human right because not all people are equal in strength. If someone initates aggression toward me, the only moral burden that falls upon me is to defend myself in the most effective manner possible. Any talk of “duty to retreat” is idiotic hoplophobia that displays utter igorance of the realities of armed and unarmed conflict.

      1. In a lot of cases, too, there are more witnesses and more physical evidence. So if you just open fire, there is a real risk of getting locked up. Unless you’re a cop or some magical creature like that.

      2. Except when dealing with a wannabe batman, amIright?

    5. I thought one of the main components of libertarianism was the duality of rights/responsibilities.

      Why do you have a responsibility to run away if someone is trying to kill you? I don’t understand why people think there should be a duty to retreat.

      1. It also doesn’t work too well if you are elderly, pregnant, or disabled. Or simply not as strong and fast as your attackers (which is quite likely; predators don’t attack prey they perceive as stronger than themselves).

      2. What many miss is that use of force–particularly deadly force–has to be reasonable. That’s actually one of the things that’s not discussed much about the Zimmerman case. It looks like Martin was using unreasonable force against Zimmerman. That’s the whole crux of the case. Without that, he’s probably not dead. Without that, Zimmerman shooting him is likely murder.

    6. If you are considering attacking someone in a CCW State isn’t it your responsibility to consider your proposed victim may be armed?

      You have no right to expect your intended victim should be unarmed.

      1. /thread.

    7. doesn’t the act of being armed impose a greater responsibility to avoid confrontation since you have introduced the potential for the confrontation

      You make it sounds like a confrontation is something that just happens, without either party instigating it.

    8. One of the core principles of libertarian thought is the Non Aggression Principle (NAP).

      That means you don’t initiate force against others. However, if someone initiates force against you then you can now legitimately use against them until the threat is over.

      If you must avoid all situations where someone else could overpower you, then taken to a logical extreme only the strongest should be allowed to leave their homes while everyone else must cower behind locked doors with a phone in their hand, ready to call 911.

      1. “Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ’em right back.”

    9. True, if you are carrying concealed no one knows if you are safe to attack or not. And if you are NOT carrying, they still don’t know, thereby still making you safer.

      1. A positive externality that is overlooked all too often.

    10. doesn’t the act of being armed impose a greater responsibility to avoid confrontation

      No.

      since you have introduced the potential for the confrontation to escalate into a fatal encounter?

      Every violent encounter has the potential to be fatal. Killing a person with a brick doesn’t make them any less dead than if you had shot them with a .22.

  10. But of course, the concept of “reasonable belief” is transformed into something deadly dangerous when firearms are involved.

    Also, when sidewalks are involved.

    What does this even mean? It’s OK to have a reasonable belief that you might die, but you shouldn’t be allowed to act on it if it means using a gun?

    1. You’re only allowed to use deadly force if you don’t have the means to use deadly force. It’s like Catch-22 for self-defense.

  11. http://www.volokh.com/2013/07/17/duty-to-retreat/

    Do not read the comments or you will rage.

    1. Volokh commenters really went downhill around the time of the 2012 elections. It’s a damn shame.

    2. Volokh has a strange number of fucking stupid readers.

      Why do so many idiotic leftists read a libertarian leaning legal blog?

      1. Maybe for the same reason so many people here read Gawker/Jezebel and Feministing?

        1. Yes, but it would be more like if Feministing had commenters that were 70% right wing.

          1. The only reason Feministing and Jezebel don’t have TEAM RED or libertarian commenters is that they cull them ruthlessly and allow no dissent whatsoever. Volokh allows it, so the comments are there.

          2. True. It really doesn’t help that so damn many of them are lawyers; they’re experienced at arguing inane positions to the point of surrender. They’ve pretty much chased out the libertarian/conservative commentariate.

            1. Based on the fact that they’re so statist, I’m willing to bet the majority of them aren’t just lawyers, but are the scum of the Earth that we call ‘prosecutors.’

              You know how Nancy Grace takes the state’s side no matter what and immediately assumes that anyone who gets charged should be drawn and quartered? That’s actually the way many prosecutors feel.

              1. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are even worse. Were you hurt somehow that could be vaguely pinned on someone else? Call us, and we’ll sue everyone everywhere. Fuck the people.

                1. I imagine M&M will be along to sue you on their own behalf for diluting their brand or trademark infringement.

                  1. What? I was operating on a purely hypothetical basis and making no insinuation about any person, living or dead. In my purely fictional firm, George Hamilton is an attorney. He played some politician in some unnamed state.

                    1. OTOH, any judge in the I-5 corridor is just going to laugh when he finds out you punched out Charlie Crist at your deposition.

      2. I ask the same thing when reading Popehat comments.

    3. Actually, maybe this has something to do with it.

      It’s a list of the most liberal and conservative law firms, and the biggest firms are mostly left-wing. Statists are probably just drawn to the legal profession because it gives them the opportunity to wield the power of the state.

      1. Sure looked that way back when I was an ABA member.

    4. Volokh is the man. His commenters, however, tend to be typical lefty dogma-parrots.

      1. It’s bizarre though, because tons of libertarians and conservatives read his blog. I guess they just don’t comment because they don’t want to get into it with the adherents of the Anti-logic Party.

  12. The narrative here is to continue to perpetuate a myth that all carriers of firearms are de facto “killers” protected by “insane laws” = ergo no one should be trusted with firearms.

    They want to narrow down what “self defense” means until it is meaningless, and everyone is thus beholden to authority’s monopoly on “legitimate” use of force. The angle here is = “we couldn’t get the guns this time… let’s go after the actual ability to carry/use them in any and all situations until it becomes impossible to employ one as a means of self defense.” End run.

    I really don’t understand what motivates these people. After a while it seems like some insane desire to eliminate the individual from society entirely… they even use language to that effect on a regular basis. Its all “community” and “Kulture” and “society”… nice sounding words, completely disassociated from the constituent units = People.

    Some girl last night was going off about how “crazy” these laws in Florida were, and I tried to get her to describe them. She was eating up the nonsense being spewed in the media, summarizing it as “shoot first: ask later”

    I explained what the actual details were and it didn’t help much. Finally I asked, “say you’re armed and someone is trying to rape you = are you supposed to wait till his dick is inside you before resisting?”

    Note to audience = rape analogies? not popular with teh Jezebels. The dumb just got dumberer after that.

    1. If there had been evidence that Zimmerman had initiated the force, or that Martin tried to surrender when the gun was drawn, and so on, Zimmerman most likely gets convicted.

      The evidence was so bad that the prosecution, presenting the same evidence, would lose a civil case, with a much lower burden of proof. In fact, I’m not sure Zimmerman wouldn’t be able to win such a case if you flipped him and Martin.

      1. Also = that Jeantel…thing.

        i do not have cable or watch tv really… so have been blessed in the ability to ignore tv coverage of this story. but then im eating dinner at this place, and there is an ‘interview’ with the ‘star witness’ on MSNBC.

        im sorry, liberal media = this overweight illiterate hoodrat is not being ‘misjudged’ or ‘misunderstood’ due to cultural/class bias. sometimes you dont have to be racist at all to find someone completely repulsive and discreditable. they just are. this is something the Political Correctness machine fails to grasp = most blacks would call her a dumb chickenhead faster than you can say ‘creepy cracker’. and the prosecution thought this was their ‘winner’? That dudes job is over.

    2. Tell them that rape, in and of itself, often produces far less physical injury than what Zimmerman suffered and, therefore, in those cases it is even less justifiable to use deadly force in self-defense. Then stand back and watch them make the argument about potential harm and reasonable fear you were making just 5 minutes earlier. Then point that out to them.

      Two real life friends (?) will no longer speak to me. Oh well.

    3. One other thing, if they get rid of the right of self defense, it is easier to terrorize people. I am firmly convinced progs hate guns more than anything because it prevents them from bullying people into supporting prog policies. Since people are so armed in this country, “race riots” really are not much of a threat. No riot is going into a good neighborhood and burning shit down. People are too well armed. Take away the guns and or the right to use them in self defense, and people are totally dependent on the state to protect them. Then riots become a real threat. And that is what the progs want.

      1. They want America to be more like South Africa.

      2. Then riots become a real threat. And that is what the progs want.

        Sort of like how there was a race riot in Sweden that burned cars for 7 days and the only people who got arrested were Swedes that tried to defend their property?

        1. Yes. That is the world progs would like to create here. They want their “oppressed classes” to be able to terrorize the rest of the country with impunity.

      3. “I’M DC Dissem, and on with the countdown. Here’s a little tune that enters the top 40 this week at 38 with a bullet! The anti-gun anthem from The Progs: Vile Thing!”

    4. Coupled with the demonization of gun owners is the message that any form of self-help is inappropriate — and should result in your being held liable for anything that goes wrong.

      “It’s his fault because he didn’t stay in his truck and do what the 911 operator said!”

      1. “Yeah, it’s her fault because she dressed like a slut and went to a bar and talked to a skeezy guy.” I can just see progs saying this about a date rape victim.

      2. I’m not saying Zimmerman should be legally punished for it, but I do think his decision to get out of the truck in that situation was stupid. If you think a guy is suspicious and up to no good, you lose sight of him, in a place with a lot of good hiding spots, at night, when it’s dark and raining, you’re pretty bad at defending yourself without using a gun, etc. I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave the safety of your car in that situation.

        1. Ype, law abiding citizens should cower in their homes and cars. That’s what civilization is all about, or something.

          1. “Ype, law abiding citizens should cower in their homes and cars.”

            Nice strawman there. I think the outcome of the situation backs up my assertion that in this particular instance, George Zimmerman getting out of his car was a stupid decision. Even ignoring Martin being dead, Zimmerman got his ass kicked, could have been killed, was charged with murder, and is now one of the most hated men in the country.

    5. Well said, and I also cannot understand their impulse to erase the individual. What is it in them that causes this? Is it hatred of themselves, thereby they want to erase the individual because the individual starts with them? Are they terrified of individual responsibility and so want to collectivize everything, thereby freeing themselves from responsibility?

      It’s mystifying, and would be fascinating if it weren’t so pervasive and dangerous.

      1. They are dishonest power-worshipers who want to use violent mobs of wrongly aggrieved minorities whipped up into a frenzy over nothing to terrorize their opponents.

        The end goal, I believe, is to disarm the populace and hold them hostage by threatening them. Either you play along or be killed and have your shit burnt down.

        Right now they’re taking a multifaceted approach. More laws, more enforcers, insane enforcement policies (SWAT raids for everything!) and more people in prison. But if push comes to shove and that doesn’t go over well or work they’ll use mobs as their enforcers.

        At least that’s what I’d do if I were a progtard shitbird politician who wanted to be one of the Top Men in a totalitarian state.

        *adjusts tinfoil hat*

      2. They hate themselves and they feel horribly guilty for what they have. Ever notice how trust fund babies and celebrities tend to be some of the most idiotic progs? It is because they really didn’t do anything to get the life they have. Being a movie star as opposed to just a stuggling actor is about luck more than anything. Tons of people can act and even more people are good looking. Why those particular good looking people got where they are is dumb luck. So they never can come to terms with themselves over it. They wake up every day feeling secretly guilty for what they have. And thus wanting to destroy both themselves and the system that gave them the life they feel so guilty for having.

      3. I think they want to escape responsibility. If you can be an independent agent it shines a light on them that they are incapable, instead of the feat being impossible.

        1. That too. And they are immature and refuse to face up to reality. Being an adult means accepting that the world is not perfect and sometimes you have to take the best of a set of bad options, that you can’t control everything around you. Progs are not mature enough to accept that.

          The other factor is the desire to belong and to get self worth from something. Being prog is a really easy way to feel good about yourself. All you have to do is toe the line and you are immediately given license to feel morally superior to everyone else.

          1. I definitely think the sense of superiority is huge. If you believe everyone not in your tribe is evil it is really easy to feel good about yourself for being in the correct tribe.

            Disclaimer: I have been guilty of this myself.

            1. Everyone does that. It is human nature. But Progs have make exploiting that tendency into an art form. The whole Obama phenomena was about brand. They turned being prog into a brand. A way to show that you are better than other people. And urban whites and young people ate that shit up. The progs said, here is a way to show the world you are not white trash.

            2. I definitely think the sense of superiority is huge. If you believe everyone not in your tribe is evil it is really easy to feel good about yourself for being in the correct tribe.

              But they don’t feel good. Leftists are miserable anyway. They’re more like drug addicts than anything else. They get used to this mindless high of feeling outraged to the point where they don’t feel normal if they don’t have something to rage against.

              It’s like they need to get angrier and angrier about progressively less important issues or else they don’t feel normal.

      4. Are they terrified of individual responsibility and so want to collectivize everything, thereby freeing themselves from responsibility?

        Bingo.

        Their arguments are infantile because they themselves want to be cared for by the state, the way a mother cares for a baby, but have the carefree life of a young adult. You know, a really scary, bloated and violent mom who listens and reads all of your communications, may kill you unexpectedly at any time or imprison you for just about anything.

      5. What is it in them that causes this? Is it hatred of themselves, thereby they want to erase the individual because the individual starts with them? Are they terrified of individual responsibility and so want to collectivize everything, thereby freeing themselves from responsibility?

        They feel powerless in the face of larger forces and so seek safety in crowds and anonymity.

      6. Episiarch| 7.17.13 @ 2:54PM |#

        Well said, and I also cannot understand their impulse to erase the individual. What is it in them that causes this? Is it hatred of themselves, thereby they want to erase the individual because the individual starts with them?

        According to Eric Hoffer = Yes

        to wit:

        People who see their lives as irremediably spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement. The prospect of an individual career cannot stir them to a mighty effort, nor can it evoke in them faith and a single-minded dedication. They look on self-interest as on something tainted and evil; something unclean and unlucky. Anything undertaken under the auspices of the self seems to them foredoomed. Nothing that has its roots and reasons in the self can be noble and good. Their innermost craving is for a new life ? a rebirth ? or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. ? P.21, The True Believer

        He has a whole chapter (“The Frustrated”) on how those who seek power over others do so mostly out of disaffection with themselves – a desire to become part of a ‘mass’ with some purpose, since they have none of their own.

        i.e. “Those with no business of their own to mind seek to mind others”

  13. Remember, when the law was passed, “liberal” ideologues insisted on calling it “the Shoot First law”. I guess that has worn thin.

  14. “Attorney General Eric Holder understands that the essence of “stand your ground” is abolishing the duty to retreat for people attacked outside their homes, and perhaps that is why he does not blame that legal provision for Zimmerman’s acquittal (although he did draw an implicit connection in his speech to the NAACP yesterday).”

    “Look, I admit that it’s not strictly relevant, but nevertheless, the acquittal provides us with an opportunity to discuss the Jewish/Illuminati/Lizard People conspiracy and to consider what laws we need to meet this menace.”

  15. OT: This is good news!

    Poll suggests that a good majority of Americans believe the Zimmerman verdict was correct. Maybe we aren’t doomed after all.

    1. The majority of Americans are racist! We’re doomed!

    2. Irish, a majority of this country are white racists, or white Hispanic racists, or white, female juror racists. Who voted for a black man for president so they could make him their bitch.

    3. *plurality

      /English Nazi

    1. “War criminals like Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and Madeleine Albright walk free while folks like Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne Stewart, and Bradley Manning remain in cages.”

      What is Bradley Manning doing amid that collection of criminals?

      “Mumia,” by any rational assessment of the evidence, shot a cop dead. He got his death sentence overturned, but, yeah, he’s still in a “cage.” As is Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who helped her client, a convicted terrorist, send messages to his terrorist buddies in Egypt. Hint: Representing your client doesn’t include helping his murder-gang continue its operations.

      Etc.

    2. Reason #1: 37 million bees died in the month of June 2013.

      What? I can’t tell if this is parody or these people inhabit an entirely autoparodic world.

      1. There was some vegan chef on the Food Network show Chopped the other week. I was so hoping he would get a steak to have to cook. Instead they let him off and made the first two round vegan. So the fucker gets to the finals doing desert and they give him honey. And he goes on for two minutes about how cruel honey is to the bees and how it was so immoral to cook with it. But he decided to do it anyway. He ended up winning. I wanted to vomit.

        1. That’s what honey is, right? Bee vomit?

    3. Reason #3: The United States constitutes roughly 5 percent of the earth’s population but consumes more than 25 percent of the earth’s “resources.”

      Yes. It would be much better for those resources to sit in the ground, so that no one ever used them.

      1. Imagine how much less efficient it would be if we also didn’t produce 30% of the world’s things!

        1. It’s bigger than that, probably. I mean, who is directing all of that manufacture in China and other slave-labor countries?

      2. Fine. We’ll go take the resources of other planets instead. Satisfied?

  16. States such as New York, where the use of deadly force is permitted if “the actor reasonably believes that [the] other person is using or about to use deadly physical force.” Or New Jersey, where lethal force is justified if “the actor reasonably believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily harm.” Or Connecticut, where deadly force may be used when “the actor reasonably believes that [the] other person is (1) using or about to use deadly physical force, or (2) inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm.” Why is the “reasonable belief” standard condemned by the Times appallingly reckless in Florida but not in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut

    Hmmm, let’s think about this, what’s different about Florida when compared to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

    “One of these states is not like the others, one of these states is southern.”

    1. A right of self-defense is pretty much universal in the U.S., with some variations.

  17. “Volokh has a strange number of fucking stupid readers.

    Why do so many idiotic leftists read a libertarian leaning legal blog?”

    I’ve posted there for years, and at least when it comes to cop related postings (use of force etc.) I’ve found the posters to be eminently reasonable. I am referring especially to those that disagree with me, as well as those that agree. They use (generally speaking) logic, case law, and process analysis. It offers a stark contrast to the reasonoid anti-cop postings. Very refreshing. People there are willing to listen, as well as spout and give a lot of credence to my experience, which is also… refreshing. And of course Volokh and Kerr are awesome bloggers.

  18. Fuck off, baboon.

    That’s what you were looking for, isn’t it? Go polish your boots.

  19. *plurality

    /English Nazi

    Shouldn’t that be “statistics” Nazi?

    1. It could be either one. “Plurality” and “majority” are still English words with meanings, so getting the meaning wrong counts as an English violation in my book

  20. If his friend on the cellphone had testified, and the jury believed, that TM had stated a mortal fear that he was being stalked by and would suffer homosexual rape by GZ, could he use SYG defense or would he have been subject to gay bashing laws?

    1. No one would buy the White Man Rapes Black Man line. Too Pulp Fiction. Jury would get medieval.

    2. You’re not “standing your ground” if you get away from someone, then go back and beat them up.

  21. “Why is the ‘reasonable belief’ standard condemned by the Times appallingly reckless in Florida but not in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut?”

    Did the Times say that those other States DIDN’T have such standards? If so, they are flat out wrong. If not, then I submit that, on this occasion, they are focusing where their rhetoric can have the greatest effect. If they can get something started with/in Florida, then the NY, NJ, and CT situations can be addressed in good time, using the momentum previously generated in FL.

  22. Zimmerman made a affirmative SYG case, so it has everything to do with it. The problem with Trayvon Martin, the problem with Marissa Alexander, is that both of them have black skin. Consequently they are looked down on, even by people who have the same color skin. This fact is borne out by statistics. So Trayvon is threatening simply because of the color of his skin; it certainly wasn’t the presence of a sidewalk, 20 feet from where he was fatally shot. Marissa was assigned a duty to retreat because she had the double curse of being female and being black. Women are routinely jailed for daring to defend themselves.

    I expect better reasoning from Reason. The problem with SYG is specifically because we SHOULD have the duty to retreat in public places. Zimmerman had no business profiling and stalking that teenager. No one should expect to get a “get out of jail free” card simply because they claim self-defense. EVERYONE (including cops) should be subject to trial when someone dies at their hands. Had Zimmerman not been emboldened by what hey lyingly said he was unfamiliar with, he would have stayed in his car, and Trayvon would have been alive today.

    How we get to the point where we legally ‘have to’ allow women to defend themselves, is a separate discussion. Clearly special laws are required, since general laws yield outcomes like Marissa’s. Special laws giving women permission to shoot abusive men. Yeah, that’ll happen.

    1. Zimmerman made a affirmative SYG case

      Wrong, as explained on this site several times.

      Zimmerman had no business profiling

      It is precisely the business of a neighborhood watch guy to note that someone is acting like a burglar casing houses.

      and stalking that teenager.

      It’s not “stalking” to follow someone for a few minutes.

      No one should expect to get a “get out of jail free” card simply because they claim self-defense.

      No one does. They have to convince a jury that there is reasonable doubt that it was self-defense. They can’t simply claim it.

  23. Yeah, right. “Retreat” – sounds a bit defeatist, non macho, non American, cannot have that. So “stand your ground” seems better (insofar as there is a difference in praxis).. but does that justify, “go in armed pursuit of” a man (boy?) who has shown no signs of being armed, but just had the insolence to show his black face in public – particularly after being told by the police not to follow him.

    Just asking. I have only seen headlines. Did not follow the detailed court reporting, as there was more interesting news coming out of Moscow.

    1. Following someone is not a crime, Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious character standing in the rain and was assaulted by the suspicious character, The same innocent 12 year old, I mean 17 year old that was caught with stolen goods from a house in Miami, caught with drugs, texted friends about fighting all the time etc… Zimmerman said he was sucker punched by this guy and was beaten. The phone call with this guys friend concluded he got to his dads house and went back out looking for the guy following him, maybe they should have “stay at home” law.

    2. I have only seen headlines. Did not follow the detailed court reporting

      Obviously.

  24. With regard to Alexander she, got the gun from her car that was parked in the garage, after being arrested and released, she purposely went and found her husband and physically assaulted him and was rearrested. Different scenarios

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