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A Key Lesson from the Zimmerman Case

Writing at Forbes online, Paul Hsieh distills the main component of what I was trying to get at the other day when points out the following:

the most important lesson I’ve learned from the George Zimmerman case is, “Don’t go looking for trouble.”

[...]

My instructors also emphasized that armed civilians should not attempt to function as the police. Our firearms are meant to protect us against imminent threat to life and limb. If we’re not in immediate peril, we shouldn’t pursue real (or potential) criminals.

He goes on to note:

My concern is separate from the legal issue of “stand your ground” vs. “duty to retreat” in self-defense situations. Instead, my concern is over how Zimmerman ended up in a situation where he had to use his weapon in self-defense, and what other gun owners should learn from that.

No one besides George Zimmerman knows exactly what happened the evening he shot Trayvon Martin. I’m not claiming that Zimmerman was “asking for it,” nor am I condoning Martin’s physical attack on Zimmerman. But as a matter of general prudence, armed civilians should avoid unnecessary confrontations with others.

Indeed (and emphasis mine).

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Agreed………………..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Eric Florack says:

    duty to retreat?
    No such animal.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 27

  3. Eric Florack says:

    Oh, and should we mention, it was Obama himself that co-sponsored ‘stand your ground legislation in the senate?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 26

  4. Gavrilo says:

    Yes. As we all know, armed civilians who go out “looking for trouble” usually call the police, give their name and location, request an officer be sent to meet them, and give a physical description of the person whom they are about to instigate a violent confrontation with. Then, after instigating the violent confrontation, they shoot the other individual. But, they do it in such a way that the physical evidence and witness testimony points to self-defense.

    Happens all the time.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 20

  5. @Gavrilo: There is nothing mutually exclusive between giving said information to the police and looking for trouble.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  6. al-Ameda says:

    The lesson I’ve learned from this is: If you’re Black and being followed (for no other reason than that you’re Black) by a White person carrying a gun, there are no self-defense laws that apply, you just have to hope that the situation works out for the best (such as, that White person gets struck by lightening or gets a call from his parole officer.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

  7. gVOR08 says:

    My problem with concealed carry laws is that the people I know who most want to carry weapons are the people I least trust to have around me with weapons.

    @Eric Florack: No, we shouldn’t mention that Obama cosponsored “stand your ground” legislation. Because he didn’t.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  8. Gustopher says:

    I’ve learned that if someone is following me, and there are no people around
    who might come to my aid or be witnesses, shoot first.

    And, don’t just wound, kill. “Why did I shoot him 5 times? Because I was scared.” — the admission of fear will help my self-defense story.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  9. dmhlt says:
  10. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yes, it is. Calling the police, giving your name and location, requesting an officer, and giving a physical description of someone you think is suspicious is the opposite of “looking for trouble.” What George Zimmerman did that night was “report someone suspicious in my crime-ridden neighborhood.” Criminals don’t call the police right before they commit crimes!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 21

  11. rudderpedals says:

    My takeaway from this is the foolishness of concealed carry in a stand-your-ground regime. What’s the point of concealment? It’s not deterring anyone when no one knows about it. It’s a scene out of Dr. Strangelove. There’s no public need to ensure each budding vigilante his “Make my day” moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  12. @Gavrilo: I never said he was planning on committing a crime. He did insert himself into a situation that clearly ended in trouble. He consciously put himself in that situation. He was almost certainly empowered to do so because he was armed.

    He did not just call. He got out of his vehicle. He was, at least at one point, following Martin on foot (by his own words we know this to be true). Following someone you think is a criminal is putting oneself in the middle of potential trouble. Again: the outcome proves the premise.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  13. JKB says:

    @gVOR08: the people I know who most want to carry weapons are the people I least trust to have around me with weapons.

    You should get to know better people.

    Might I suggest attending some shooting competitions and such to find such people.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 16

  14. JKB says:

    “Don’t go looking for trouble.”

    But he didn’t go looking for trouble.

    If we are to find the moment where it all went wrong then it was the moment that George Zimmerman failed to mind his own business and keep driving.

    The key lesson is “If you see something, don’t say anything, don’t do anything”. If the person is not a threat to you and yours, don’t worry, your neighbors have insurance.

    If he hadn’t involved himself in the wider interests of his community, he wouldn’t have noticed the suspicious person or called police. If he hadn’t called the police, he wouldn’t have made the ill-fated choice to get out of the truck. If he hadn’t gotten out of the truck, he wouldn’t have been an easy target for Martin to attack….

    It’s the law of the Old West, and the ghetto, Mind your own business.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 20

  15. I agree with what James is getting at, which is pretty much what I posted a few months ago in, “Why I Am An Armed Pastor.”

    I carry a pistol to defend myself and my loved ones, not to defend you. A carry permit does not make me the Fist of Justice. It does not give me police powers. If I face criminal danger in public, my number one choice will be to flee, not fight. Having no other choice, I will draw or use my pistol to save my children, my wife, myself. Not you. (Relevant: See my posts on why permit holders could not have saved the day in the movie theater murders in Aurora, Colo., last summer.)

    I will not put my life at risk to protect property. Nothing I own is worth risking death for. Nor is it worth killing for. So I will not shoot someone just to protect property.

    That being said, as law Prof. William Jacobson posted not long ago, when the police dispatcher told Zimmerman, “We don’t need you” to follow Martin, Zimmerman did in fact stop following him and said as much to the dispatcher.

    What Zimmerman failed to think about (as Slate’s William Saletan cogently observed) is that he himself might be seen as a suspicious character by Martin or anyone else happening to observe him. That doesn’t excuse Martin’s assault in Zimmerman, but it does help explain how Zimmernan found himself in such trouble when, as the police records show, he had stopped pursuing Martin to await the police (who arrived only one minute after the shooting).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  16. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    No. What this proves is you, and your comrades on the left, are so invested in your narrative that you will twist logic into knots in order to assign culpability to Zimmerman where none exists. So what if Zimmerman got out of his truck? So what if he followed Martin? The only reason that those decisions are viewed as bad in hindsight is because Martin, after reaching the back yard of his house, doubled back and punched Zimmerman in the face. And, he did it because Rachel Jeantel convinced him that Zimmerman was a gay rapist. She has at least as much moral culpability for this tragedy as Zimmerman does.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17

  17. @JKB: If you are going to pursue someone you think might be a criminal you are, by definition, looking for trouble whether you think you are or not.

    And you have to separate calling the police and his other actions.

    I am not saying he should have minded his own business. I am saying he should have not gotten out of the truck and walked around in the situation in question. You can call the police after seeing a suspicious person without then going on patrol. It really isn’t that hard to see that fact and to conflate the two actions is simple an error in argumentation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  18. @Gavrilo:

    So what if he followed Martin?

    To which I will quote Donald Sensing from above:

    What Zimmerman failed to think about (as Slate’s William Saletan cogently observed) is that he himself might be seen as a suspicious character by Martin or anyone else happening to observe him. That doesn’t excuse Martin’s assault in Zimmerman, but it does help explain how Zimmernan found himself in such trouble when, as the police records show, he had stopped pursuing Martin to await the police (who arrived only one minute after the shooting).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  19. Matt Bernius says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    What Zimmerman failed to think about (as Slate’s William Saletan cogently observed) is that he himself might be seen as a suspicious character by Martin or anyone else happening to observe him.

    This.

    As many people have recently pointed out, part of the reason why Zimmerman was concerned about Martin was that people were concerned about crime in the neighborhood. If we accept that this was a widespread belief, then it speaks to why Martin might have, himself, become concerned when someone started to purposely follow him on foot.

    The nature of what occurred only left us with one person’s account of the story (and the encounter). While the context doesn’t necessarily change what occurred, it offers us a bit more understanding of why it *may* have occurred.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  20. C. Clavin says:

    “…You should get to know better people. Might I suggest attending some shooting competitions and such to find such people…”

    The shooting range is such a small sub-set of the gun cult that it hardly bears mentioning. Want to see the typical gun-owner? Go to Cabela’s on any weekend. It’ll scare the bejesus out of you…and make you a supporter of background checks.

    “…If we are to find the moment where it all went wrong then it was the moment that George Zimmerman failed to mind his own business and keep driving. The key lesson is “If you see something, don’t say anything, don’t do anything”…”

    There is a lot of area between these extremes. Seeing something and saying something doesn’t require getting out of your car strapped. Even Neighborhood Watch procedures say that’s wrong.
    What JKB is saying is if you can’t do something stupid you shouldn’t do anything at all.
    What a maroon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  21. Anonne says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    The nature of what occurred only left us with one person’s account of the story (and the encounter)

    …which we are not obligated to believe. And I don’t believe it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  22. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Keep grasping, the straws you seek are out there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  23. Caj says:

    Don’t go looking for trouble! George Zimmerman was looking for trouble. The wanna-be cop was determined to take matters into his own hands. Here was his big chance to get that gun out and shoot someone just like the cop he always wanted to be! The jurors and some of the public have totally disregarded the fact that Zimmerman was the one who initiated the whole affair! They prefer to put the blame of a young man who had every right himself to defend himself against this guy following him and carrying a gun unbeknownst to Trayvon at the time! The verdict was a disgrace and shows how absolutely ridiculous Florida and other SYG states are for giving people a license to kill at will and use SYG as a defense. It disgusts me!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  24. Mike says:

    The key lesson should also be, don’t prosecute a case without evidence and file charges based on the evidence not the politics – oh and race baiting is not evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  25. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mike:

    The key lesson should also be, don’t prosecute a case without evidence and file charges based on the evidence not the politics

    While I think there is a strong argument that murder 2 was an overreach (something that I agree with), I humbly suggest that the facts of the trial don’t support the “no evidence” meme.

    If there was no evidence, why did it take six people approximately eighteen hours to reach a verdict? Again, smaller jury than in many states, and it still took nearly two full days of deliberation.

    If there was “no evidence” shouldn’t the jury have come back immediately?

    Further, its important to note that in 2011, Florida had a 59% conviction rate — meaning that the (sunshine) state loses lots of trials. (statistics via – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conviction_rate)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Caj:

    I don’t think so. If he was looking to shoot someone he’d of had it out and ready. There would have been no fight that lasted over a minute.

    After reviewing the tapes of his interviews with the police, I’m strongly of the opinion he is just very dim -witted (I’m talking Forest Gump level here), but a “give the shirt off his back” kind of guy. Look at the attempt to hide the cash and stash a passport in a safety deposit box. Allowing himself to be interviewed without an attorney after it was known Martin was one of the complex’s guests.

    Personal WAG: The Adderall may have played a key role. He lost a very large amount of weight in a short time previous to the incident, and gained it right back after, despite having nothing to do but work out. They give that pseudo-meth to kids these days….and some of them start tweeking the dose. Don’t get me started…..as they say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius: Was there some evidence yes. Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt – no. The DA didn’t think so and didn’t file charges – it took a “special prosecutor” – we have no idea what happened in that jury room. Measuring time that the jury is out does not correlate to much in my experience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  28. Anderson says:

    nor am I condoning Martin’s alleged physical attack on Zimmerman

    FIFY. The only testimony that Martin initiated the attack is Zimmerman’s testimony, which the jury could have disbelieved even while finding that their disbelief did not rise beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Which is kind of where I am with Z’s story: highly implausible, but I can’t say it didn’t happen that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  29. @Mike:

    Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt – no

    I have seen similar claims and I find them odd for the simple reason that it is not the job of the police nor of the DA to determine if there is evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”–that’s what juries are for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  30. anjin-san says:

    nor am I condoning Martin’s alleged physical attack on Zimmerman

    Exactly – we keep hearing about the alleged attack as an established fact, which it is not. All we know for sure is that there was a confrontation, and it got physical. Zimmermann might have grabbed Martin and tried to restrain him (“they always get away!). He might have swung at Martin and missed, or struck a glancing blow. He might have shoved him. He might have brandished his gun. We will never know for sure who got physical first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  31. Mike says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: No but it is up to the DAs to decide to prosecute best on the best judgment, experience, etc… which is why they don’t typically take cases they don’t stand a chance of winning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  32. anjin-san says:

    @ Mike

    Measuring time that the jury is out does not correlate to much in my experience

    Considering how quickly you had to walk back your bogus claim that the case was prosecuted “without evidence” I am thinking no one is very impressed with your “experience”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  33. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mike:

    No but it is up to the DAs to decide to prosecute best on the best judgment, experience, etc… which is why they don’t typically take cases they don’t stand a chance of winning.

    First, overcharging in order to force to a plea has – sadly – become a standard tactic by DA’s. So why should we assume that wasn’t a potential strategy being used here?

    Beyond that, it seems to me that you continue to dance around the real issues here — you keep trying to pass off your own belief (ie there wasn’t evidence) for fact. And you are not offering us any reason to believe that your belief is particularly grounded in anything.

    The best you can do is point to the acquittal. But, given that as I mentioned, Flordia’s conviction rate in the past has hovered in the area of 59%, the fact that Zimmerman was acquitted really isn’t particularly surprising. If those standards are anything suggestion, Florida DA’s lose approximately 1/3rd of all cases.

    BTW, does the fact that Casey Anthony was found not-guilty on all the murder and manslaughter related counts mean there was “no evidence” to bring those charges?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  34. @Mike:

    No but it is up to the DAs to decide to prosecute best on the best judgment, experience, etc… which is why they don’t typically take cases they don’t stand a chance of winning.

    Yes, but that is not what you said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. legion says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Criminals don’t call the police right before they commit crimes!

    But over-aggressive redneck cop-wannabees do – and then they ignore the 911 dispatcher who told them to stay back & let the cops handle the situation. And then someone winds up dead. Even in the most charitable of all possible interpretations, Zimmerman’s decision to confront Martin led to Martin’s death. Period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  36. pylon says:

    @Anderson: More that that – Zimmerman didn’t testify. His defence was based on previous unsworn statements to the police

    In a lot of places that’s not even evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. legion says:

    @JKB:

    The key lesson is “If you see something, don’t say anything, don’t do anything”. If the person is not a threat to you and yours, don’t worry, your neighbors have insurance.

    You are not simply mistaken – you are flatly lying about the situation. Zimmerman didn’t see _anything_. Not a mugging. Not a shoplifting. Not even a jaywalking. He saw a kid he didn’t recognize, wearing a hoodie. A kid he took it on his own damn self to declare didn’t “belong” on that street & in that neighborhood. And that kid wound up dead. He wasn’t brave – he was a frightened little man with a gun.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  38. Mike says:

    @anjin-san: you got me – i should have said the evidence sufficient to obtain a conviction. You can’t tell me for a second that those prosecutors walked into that courtroom on day one, knowing what their witnesses would say after weeks and months of interview after interview, and thought “yep we have a shot at proof beyond a reasonable doubt – we got this guy on murder” If it isn’t there then why are you prosecuting and spending taxpayer funds? I guess you could make the argument that some cases just need to be prosecuted no matter what the chances are of conviction and maybe this is the one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  39. Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius: Casey Anthony was a sad case. How she lives with herself I will never understand but I guess it is takes such an individual to do what she did in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel bad for Zimmerman for even a second. His actions lead to the situation but that doesn’t equal murder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  40. anjin-san says:

    The key lesson is “If you see something, don’t say anything, don’t do anything”.

    Why do Zimmemann’s fanboys keep pushing this nonsense? All Zimmermann had to do was follow Neighborhood Watch’s simple rules – observe and report. Period. No weapons, no following people.

    Instead, he played by his own rules. He armed himself, profiled, and pursued. The decision to do so led directly to Martin’s death.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  41. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mike:
    You dodged my question. Did you think there was enough evidence to bring Casey Anthony to trial for murder? Or was that another case of Florida prosecutors bringing someone to trial without enough evidence for a conviction?

    My point is that much of this is Monday morning quarterbacking on both sides.

    If this happened in NY, there would be no way for Murder 2 charges to be brought based on the existing laws and precedent. But looking at the laws and practices in Florida, it appears that the prosecution was operating within it’s rights and following already established precedent (if only to attempt to force a plea deal). Claiming that there was “no evidence” says a lot more about your personal beliefs than the particular facts of the case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  42. Megan McArdle says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There’s a reason we have grand juries; prosecutors aren’t supposed to file weak cases, because the mere act of trying someone is itself incredibly punishing. I think there’s also something in the canon of ethics regarding this, but at any rate, the rule is not “try them all and let the grand jury sort it out”; the legal system only wants to try cases that have a strong chance of winning. The prosecutor is not supposed to determine “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but they are supposed to determine whether there’s a reasonable chance that the case will end in a conviction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  43. @Megan McArdle: I don’t disagree and, indeed, didn’t say otherwise. However, the question of reasonable doubt itself is not for the police, or even the DA, to determine. I would note that I came no where near saying “try them all and let the grand jury sort it out.”

    My point above was that sufficient evidence to try is not the same thing as sufficient evidence to convict, necessarily (or else all arrests would end in convictions).

    Personally, I never thought there was sufficient evidence for murder two. I think there was, however, enough evidence to try him for manslaughter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  44. Matt Bernius says:

    @Megan McArdle, @Steven L. Taylor, @Mike:

    Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, Megan provides the best evidence to the charge that there was “insufficient evidence” — namely the decision to bypass a Grand Jury. We’ll never know what the results of that would have been (though it’s worth noting that a Grand Jury does not view evidence in the same way as a trial jury does).

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My point above was that sufficient evidence to try is not the same thing as sufficient evidence to convict, necessarily (or else all arrests would end in convictions).

    Exactly. This is how a grand jury operates versus a trial jury.
    However, it’s also worth nothing that to some degree the failure for the state to pursue the Grand Jury route is, in many ways, similar to the fact that Zimmerman’s defense opted against a SYG hearing/decision. By that I mean that the actors involved opted to pursue certain options and not take the typical paths available.

    I tend to agree that the decision to go with the special prosecutor route was in part political. But I doubt (again looking at the Casey Anthony case and others) that if the State had opted for a grand jury, things would have turned out differently.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Personally, I never thought there was sufficient evidence for murder two. I think there was, however, enough evidence to try him for manslaughter.

    Agreed. But this gets to Flordia Law. My wife (who is both much smarter than me and an attorney) has said that in NY state, there’s no way they could have gone after Zimmerman on anything above Manslaughter. However, these type of laws vary from State to State. And to some degree I have to wonder how much of this is based on Florida’s penal codes (in the study I’ve been referencing, for example, Florida’s 59% conviction rate is far below the national average. See http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/reports/asr2011/11statrpt.pdf)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Andre Kenji says:

    .@Matt Bernius:

    If we accept that this was a widespread belief, then it speaks to why Martin might have, himself, become concerned when someone started to purposely follow him on foot

    By my experience, no one is comfortable with people making ANY contact with you in the middle of the night.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  46. MM2 says:

    @Andre Kenji: Yes, there is definitely a lot of after the fact reasoning going on here. “Of course George Zimmerman was in the right, he was on the neighborhood watch. Of course Martin was up to no good, after all he had a physical fight with a member of the neighborhood watch.”

    When in real-time it was one guy following another guy around a complex in the dark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. M R says:

    I love how literally no one responded to the one commenter above who pointed out what Rachel Jeantel, the last person who spoke to Trayvon Martin, told Piers Morgan on CNN.

    Rachel told Piers she had strongly suggested to Trayvon (which may have prompted his attack of Zimmerman) that the ‘creepy-ass cracka’ following him was probably gay and a child rapist to boot.

    But I guess this doesn’t comport with the narrative. Can’t have minorities (literally) bashing homosexuals. Both are necessary for the advancement of the Left’s agendas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  48. anjin-san says:

    In bithead’s world, Obama is the godfather of stand your ground.

    Of course in bithead’s world, Martin did not look like Martin, a skinny kid wearing very ordinary street clothes, but more like The Rock pretending to be a gang banger…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  49. Eric Florack says:
  50. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would note that I came no where near saying “try them all and let the grand jury sort it out.”

    McArdle primarily argues with men of straw. It’s easier that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  51. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    Sorry Charlie, already debunked.

    Wecome to hope and change :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    Yeah, don’t go looking for trouble.

    If someone’s following you and you lose them, don’t go back and get in their face. Just go home (or wherever you’re staying) and avoid a confrontation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Zimmermann – Adult (supposed)
    Martin – Kid

    Who do we expect to exercise good judgement? There is a reason “minor” and “adult” are viewed differently by the law.

    Seriously dude, what’s the deal with you and Zimmermann? The only thing left for you is ordering a GZ blow up doll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  54. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: um, he was hispanic….they’re “different” aren’t they?
    speaking of which; the roderick scott/ chris cervini case is linked below

    don’t recall how many nationwide protests there were or what obama had to say about it…….actually i never heard of it until someone sent me the link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  55. bill says:

    @anjin-san:
    dotting i’s and crossing t’s? looks pretty much like what he said. kinda vague on deadly force though. anyhow, it is what it is. and look who was the guv then, a jailbird now!

    The Obama-sponsored bill (SB 2386) enlarged the state’s 1961 law by shielding the person who was attacked from being sued in civil court by perpetrators or their estates when a “stand your ground” defense is used in protecting his or her person, dwelling or other property.

    The bill unanimously passed the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate on March 25, 2004 with only one comment, and passed the Democrat-controlled Illinois House in May 2004 with only two votes in opposition. Then-Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) signed it into law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  56. bill says:

    i’ll throw this log on the fire, while it’s still smoldering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  57. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Zimmermann – Adult (supposed)
    Martin – Kid

    Who do we expect to exercise good judgement? There is a reason “minor” and “adult” are viewed differently by the law.

    Martin was 17. That’s old enough to drive, to get an abortion without parental consent (kind of moot in Martin’s case, but still), and many 17-year-olds are charged as adults for crimes.

    Martin was old enough to not only physically challenge Zimmerman, but — based on the medical evidence — was winning the fight hands down. Martin was also taller and fitter than Zimmerman.

    So, is your argument that 17-year-old black men (or, if you prefer, “kids”) are legally entitled to attack and beat down people who they think are following them, or that they can’t be expected to not react violently to such provocation?

    The prosecution’s own case was based on the argument that Martin lost Zimmerman, made it home safely, and then chose to return and confront Zimmerman. The medical evidence shows that Zimmerman caused absolutely no injury to Martin apart from a single gunshot wound, while testimony and medical evidence show that Martin was beating the hell out of ZImmerman.

    But that doesn’t matter to you, does it? Martin didn’t just shut up and mind his own business, and the instant he made the poor choice (in retrospect) to get out of his truck, he deserved to get his white Hispanic creepy cracker ass beat down for the offense of noticing that Trayvon Martin matched — in age, build, race, conduct, and style of clothing — of the people who had pulled a home invasion on one of his neighbors recently. The very second he thought that Martin just might be up to no good and might be worth a little attention, he forfeited any rights he had to keep his nose unflattened and his brains off the curb.

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  58. aFloridian says:

    I don’t understand why some people here are objecting so strongly to the article above, when the post is quite right.

    I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, CCW laws, and I’m also a fan of Stand Your Ground. I have always thought the common law duty to retreat ties one’s hands in self-defense situations when one potentially has to make split-second decisions about how to respond to a violent attack.

    I also believe that the jury reached the correct verdict based on the evidence as I understand it. There was simply no way to satisfy the burden of proof, based on that evidence, to sustain a second-degree murder charge.

    That being said, Zimmerman was an IDIOT. His supporters, the really devoted ones, like we see on OTB, have to be responding, at least partially, based on their own racial fears and bitterness towards black youth. As a CCW holder, I would never dream of pursuing someone or looking for trouble, and that IS what Zimmerman did. He may have been well-meaning in the interest of protecting what he was doing, but what he ended up doing was making too many assumptions (black kid, hoodie, front yards, nighttime, suspicious, follow) and it resulted in the death of an underage person. I do object to those who are referring to Martin as a “child” when he was 17. He may not have reached the age of majority, but calling him a child seems to be trying to suggest that he has the responsibilities and self-awareness of an 8 year old, and I just don’t buy that.

    Zimmerman’s stupidity and borderline vigilantism, with the existing evidence, may not be able to sustain the criminal charges leveled at him, but that doesn’t mean we should make excuses for him or paint him as some paragon of manly virtue. He was a tough guy with a gun, which can be very dangerous, as we see here. Unlike the anti-gun crowd here, I don’t think most CCW holders are like that, and I believe the stats reflect this, but when a punk like Zimmerman does decide to become Wyatt Earp it’s going to have some serious consequences, as it did here.

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  59. Eric Florack says:

    if it werent for misinformation, anjin would have nothing.
    anjin, perhaps youd like to read the bill itself?
    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=2386&GAID=3&GA=93&DocTypeID=SB&LegID=8536&SessionID=3&SpecSess=

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  60. bill says:

    @Jenos Idanian: when i was a 15 yr old “kid” i slugged a cop, split his face open and all. when the judge looked at me and said “you’ll go to jail for this when your 16″ i realized i wasn’t a “kid” anymore. and i never spent a night in jail. my parents were very resilient.

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  61. bill says:

    this is a good read, it’s very telling of how the msm uses blacks for their ratings. it’s long and such but deal with it.

    In December 1984, Bernie Goetz shot four black men who were trying to mug him on the New York City subway. (About a year later, one youth admitted that, yes, in fact, they “were goin’ to rob him.” They thought he looked like “easy bait.”)

    A few days after the shooting, The New York Times got the racism ball rolling with its “beneath the surface” reporting technique: “Just beneath the surface of last week’s debate was the question of whether the shooting may have been racially motivated.”

    Hoping for support for its below-the-surface thesis, the Times visited the mother of Darrell Cabey, the young man paralyzed from the shooting. As the Times summarized the feeling at the Claremont housing project where Cabey lived, “many people said the four teen-agers were troublemakers and probably got what they deserved.”

    Cabey’s mother had received one letter that said: “[Y]ou get no sympathy from us peace-loving, law-abiding blacks. We will even contribute to support the guy who taught you a lesson, every way we can … P.S. I hope your wheelchair has a flat tire.”

    The Washington Post also interviewed Cabey’s neighbors. Eighteen-year-old Yvette Green said: “If I’d had a gun, I would have shot him.” Darryl Singleton, 24 years old, called Cabey, “a sweet person,” but added, “if I had a gun, I would have shot the guy.”

    As white liberals (and Al Sharpton) screamed “racism!” how’d you like to be the black woman called by the defense at Goetz’s trial? Andrea Reid, who was on the subway car during the shooting, testified: Those “punks were bothering the white man … those punks got what they deserved.”

    Reid had met the mother and brother of one of Goetz’s muggers at a party. But she took the stand and told the truth.

    Juror Robert Leach, a black bus driver from Harlem, was one of Goetz’s most vehement defenders in the jury room, even persuading the others not to convict Goetz for unlawful possession of any guns, other than the one he used in the shooting. In the end, three blacks and one Hispanic on the jury voted to acquit Goetz of all 13 charges except for the minor one of carrying an illegal firearm.

    More brave blacks stepped forward in the Edmund Perry case a year later.

    Perry, a black teenager from Phillips Exeter Academy, along with his brother, mugged a cop and ended up getting himself killed. When Perry’s brother Jonah was prosecuted for the mugging, two of the witnesses against Jonah were his black neighbors.

    One neighbor testified that Jonah told him the night of the incident that his brother was shot when they were mugging someone. Another neighbor said Jonah told her that night that he tried to beat up a guy who turned out to be a cop. This was in a courtroom full of rabble-rousers, amen-ing everything defense lawyer Alton Maddox said.

    They told the truth knowing they’d have to go back to the neighborhood. Whatever happened to them? Why aren’t they the heroes? Where’s their Hollywood movie? There was a movie about the Perry case. It was titled: “Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story.” (The grand jury had no difficulty finding the motive: The cop was being mugged.)

    In the middle of one of these racial passion plays, it takes enormous courage for a black person to step forward and say, “Yeah, I heard him say he mugged the cop,” “If I had been Bernie Goetz, I would have shot them, too,” or “I know George, he’s my friend.”

    That last one was Elouise Dilligard, George Zimmerman’s final defense witness. Clear as a bell, this black woman spoke warmly about “my neighbor George” and went on to describe his nose being disfigured and bloody right after the shooting.

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  62. Eric Florack says:

    @bill:
    good job, Bill, ya beat me to it.
    But i think youll get no reaction at all from anjin on the point. he, being our resident Sandra Fluke, can be depended on for two things.. to argue for the leftist, and to outright ignore facts that dont suit him, and/or when he gets caught spouting about things he knows nothing about, as in this case.

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