Really? Trayvon Martin Shooting Range Targets?

For some bizarre reasons, someone thought this would be a good business idea:

An unidentified entrepreneur admits he is trying to profit off Trayvon Martin’s death by selling gun range targets featuring the teen who’s death has sparked a nationwide controversy.

Although Martin’s face does not appear on the paper targets, they feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest.  A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea.

Martin purchased both items minutes before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February, according to police.

Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges, originally told investigators he shot Martin in self-defense.

According to an advertisement for the targets that had been posted on a popular firearms auction website, the sellers stated they “support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”

That online ad has since been removed.

“This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility,” said Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara.

O’Mara said he is worried about how Martin’s parents will react to the image of their son on a target intended to be used for shooting practice.

The attorney is also concerned the targets will further inflame the community.

“It’s this type of hatred — that’s what this is, it’s hate-mongering — that’s going to make it more difficult to try this case,” said O’Mara.

(…)

In an email exchange with reporter Mike DeForest, the seller wrote, “My main motivation was to make money off the controversy.”

The seller would not disclose how many paper targets had been made, but said in an email, “The response is overwhelming.  I sold out in 2 days.”

This is a truly sick world we live in.

H/T: Balloon Juice

FILED UNDER: Crime, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    I agree with your assessment. Regardless of the details and blame, it was a death for no good reason. Anybody who bought this item should be deeply ashamed.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    This says it all:

    In an email exchange with reporter Mike DeForest, the seller wrote, “My main motivation was to make money off the controversy.”

    The seller would not disclose how many paper targets had been made, but said in an email, “The response is overwhelming. I sold out in 2 days.”

  3. legion says:

    In the words of Professor Farnsworth, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

  4. Murray says:

    Disgusting.

  5. JKB says:

    Way to catch up. The gun rights bloggers condemned this a couple weeks ago. As soon as it came out.

    May be just someone trying for a buck. May be a false flag operation. But it is one person people should choose not to trade with.

  6. mantis says:

    A bunch of commenters got on my case, including a front pager, for suggesting that some people thought Martin deserved to die.

    I would ask those folks, who else would buy such a target? Care to rethink your objection to my comment?

  7. swbarnes2 says:

    Does Doug ever use the word “bizarre”, except as a substitute for “baldly racist/sexist/homophobic”?

    To call this stuff “bizarre” is to attempt to make it sound as such incidents are as isolated as they are incomprehensible. None of that is true, and intelligent people who write frequently about politics know that perfectly well.

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Unfortunately there’s no cure for the terminally tactless and the terminally stupid.

  9. Ben Wolf says:

    Barbarians.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    Let me ask this question once again: for those who believe handguns and stand-your-ground laws make us safer, do you agree with the following: Martin should have been armed. When he saw a strange man following him he should have turned around and killed him.

  11. anjin-san says:

    The gun rights bloggers condemned this a couple weeks ago.

    That’s nice. Did they condemn the shooting of Treyvon Martin?

  12. An Interested Party says:

    May be a false flag operation.

    Oh my, such intrigue…because certainly no one who thought Zimmerman was innocent in his actions would ever produce filth like this…

  13. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: To be true to the scenario… After Trayvon was assaulted/confronted by the person following him, and was having his head bashed against the ground, in fear for his life, should he have pulled out his ‘hypothetical’ gun and shot his assailant? Yes. …and he shouldn’t be facing any more scrutiny or impugning on his integrity than the minor amount that Zimmerman has faced.

    I’ve never seen anyone purport that just having a strange man follow you was a justifiable reason to shoot them. I don’t doubt that such people exist, but I haven’t seen such claims. Not here at OTB anyway.

    I also think that the biggest part of the case against Zimmerman is that, acting as a vigilante, he didn’t have to approach Martin to begin with.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill:

    To be true to the scenario… After Trayvon was assaulted/confronted by the person following him, and was having his head bashed against the ground, in fear for his life

    No offense, but that’s old thinking. It’s always been true that if you are being assaulted you can defend yourself. The whole point of the stand-your-ground laws that the NRA gun lobby is pushing is that you don’t have to wait to be assaulted. As soon as you feel your are in danger you can start up with guns blazing. Shoot early and often. In fact, that’s Zimmerman’s whole defense.

  15. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan:

    In fact, that’s Zimmerman’s whole defense.

    No, at least part of Zimmerman’s defense is that he was indeed being assaulted, not just that he felt he might be assaulted.

  16. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: Further Stand-your-ground laws don’t automatically allow deadly force in just any situation. Below is an interpretation of the Kansas version of the law. I’m still looking for a comparable Florida interpretation. I agree with stand your ground in principle, but how badly the Florida law may be written will come out in the Zimmerman case. I think Zimmerman is likely guilty of man-slaughter as he didn’t have to place himself in that situation.

    (excerpt from linked article, my emphasis.)

    Some attorneys suggest that too much is being made of the Stand Your Ground law in the Zimmerman case. “The way ours has been interpreted is, what’s reasonable?,” says Charles O’Hara, a criminal defense attorney in Kansas, which implemented its Stand Your Ground law in 2006. “If someone does force to you, you can respond with reasonable force. The only thing it’s changed is duty to retreat. Now you don’t have to retreat. You can stand your ground. That doesn’t mean if someone punches you, you can shoot them in the head.”In Kansas, O’Hara says, the law would only come into effect when a person is acting in self-defense, so the key to situations similar to the Trayvon Martin killing is whether the gunman can reasonably show he or she is responding to an attack or immediate threat. “You have to be in a situation where you use self-defense for all this to happen,” O’Hara says. “The Stand Your Ground law really is not the issue. It seems like there’s an emphasis on that rather than self-defense, which is what really controls.””Every case is different,” says the attorney. “Did the gentleman respond with reasonable force under the circumstances?”

  17. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: …and here’s the Florida Statute and some interpretation..

    Fla. Stat. § 776.012. Use of force in defense of person

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

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

    …again with my emphasis. I believe the ‘reasonably believes’ part would prevent anyone from being in the right to just shoot someone that is following them.

    Did you do any investigation all before just making shit up in your comments?

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill: Funny, I read the same law and see a gaping hole in it. The justification is that the killer reasonably believes that such force is necessary. So which interpretation holds? Yours or mine? Well, in fact, we know how this has been applied in Florida. And bottom line, at least in cases were the dead man was black, the judicial system let them off. No assault.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Precisely. That’s what the sad, sick aspect of this is: that in a wide variety of cases it is “reasonable” to believe that someone, by simply being black, was going to attack them.

    The only time I have ever been attacked in my life was by a white guy babbling about my being a whore for having bought make-up at a drug store. Religious fanatic, obviously. He attacked me right in front of the campus police station, so we’re not talking about a high level of intelligence here.

    Based on my experience, I guess it would be considered “reasonable” for me to get a gun and shoot every white Jesus-freak who approaches me.

  20. mattb says:

    @anjin-san:

    Did [gun blogs] condemn the shooting of Treyvon Martin?

    The ones I check, like “Say Uncle” did. They also questioned why Zimmerman had a gun that night.

    The thing about responsible gun owners is that they’re typically more likely to favor people taking gun safety and self-defense courses. They realize that incident like this typically set back gun rights.

  21. mattb says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The justification is that the killer reasonably believes that such force is necessary. So which interpretation holds? Yours or mine?

    Ultimately it’s either the Jury or the Judge depending on what trial type is opted for.

    But the “reasonably believes” is a very slippery slope. And typically will be backed by circumstantial evidence.

    Generally, given that there is no duty to retreat in Florida, and that Zimmerman was armed, and given past SYG decisions in the state, chances are that Martin would have been successfully protected by the law.

  22. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Well, in fact, we know how this has been applied in Florida.

    No, we don’t. Not until the trial is complete and the jury reaches its verdict. In the end they will decide the reasonableness of the threat against Zimmerman before he shot Trayvon. I weighed in that I think Zimmerman should be found guilty (manslaughter, rather then 2nd degree murder)

    The justification is that the killer reasonably believes that such force is necessary.

    I believe the legal system has some guidelines as to what constitutes reasonable belief of being threatened as opposed to just ‘feeling’ threatened. Perhaps Doug, or another lawyer, could weigh in on that account

    And bottom line, at least in cases were the dead man was black, the judicial system let them off. No assault.

    How is this the bottom line, show me your sources instead of just using PIDOOMA. This just smells of stuff made up again. I found and posted in previous discussions at OTB links to articles that in nearly all Florida cases where a death was involved (with no other witnesses), where one party was armed and the other wasn’t that no charges were made. I did not find any statistics involving the race of either party. You may be right, I’m just asking you to prove it. Show me the metrics. …and if you want look up any specifics on these ‘other cases’, I’d be perfectly happy to give you my opinion on them, but I’m not going to respond to a vague references to other cases. Zimmerman/Martin will (at least should) be resolved on its own merits applied to the law, not on what happened in other cases.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: False flag operation? Please. Is there anyone who was actually surprised by this story?

  24. rodney dill says:

    @mantis: Heh, Your unsubstantianted rant was far more than just suggesting that some thought Trayvon deserved to die, and was much more in line with the tripe that Treacher was dishing out. Some posters were calling for Treacher to be ignored or banned, and I merely pointed out that the same logic could be used for your rant. People can read it for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

    Thanks for the chuckle.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    If only Trayvon Martin had been carrying a gun along with his bag of Skittles and can of iced tea, he might very well be alive today…what a sad moral for this story…

  26. matt says:

    @An Interested Party: If he had surely the boy would of been in prison by now..

  27. rodney dill says:

    @matt: and likely for a reason other than what you’re probably angling at. As a minor he wouldn’t have had a permit for a handgun.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill: But surely that is just a technicality? After all, the whole weight of the gun rights movement for the past twenty years has been to get more guns into the hands of more people in more places under more circumstances so that when they have a justifiable fear for their life they can defend themselves with deadly force. Are you really saying that others should have had that right, but Martin shouldn’t simply because he is only 17 years old? If people like Zimmerman are stalking Martin, shouldn’t Martin have the right to kill him?

  29. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: Martin would not have had the right to kill Zimmerman, for Zimmerman to be merely stalking him. If Zimmerman attacked Martin with force, Martin had every right to respond in kind, including deadly force. I’m not sure how the Florida law would treat it if he responded with an illegal handgun. I would hope he would only run afoul of the handgun aspect, and not Stand Your Ground.

    Likewise if Zimmerman’s gun was not registered or not legally carried, he could have been arrested for having an illegal handgun. I’m not sure what impact this would have on stand your ground, but it would make Zimmerman’s defense even weaker.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill: Rodney Dill, if what you say was true, there would be no need for Stand-your-ground laws. For time immemorial, a citizen has had the right to meet an actual attack with deadly force. Stand-Your-Ground changes that. You don’t need to be attacked. You just need a reasonable belief that your life is threatened. Then you can kill the person you feel threatened by. The gun rights advocates pushing the law contend that this makes everyone safer. And certainly if Martin had a gun and killed Zimmerman when he was following him in his car and then got out to pursue him, Martin would be alive.

  31. Jack says:

    @MarkedMan: MarkedMan: To answer your question in a word No. Martin was too young to own a gun much less carry a gun in Florida. Zimmerman committed no crime by “following” Martin. Finally, turning and shooting Zimmerman is not “Stand your Ground:” as Zimmerman was not commiting voilence against Martin by following him.

  32. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: You just don’t want to comprehend anything related to Stand-Your-Ground vs. other self-defense do you? I’m not a lawyer, but I think the scenario below is more or less correct.

    if you’re standing in front of your house, or a friends, for example. And someone approaches with a raised baseball bat and says, “I gonna take your head off”, and If you have time to retreat to safety, but don’t, you can’t legally shoot the attacker, in a state without a stand-your-ground law.

    In a stand-your-ground state you don’t have to try to retreat, if he continues to approach closely and threaten you significant harm, or swings the bat at your head, you possibly have the right to shoot him, even fatally.

    If he stands 50 feet away on the sidewalk, and says, ‘you come over here and I’ll take your head off with this bat,’ Stand-Your-ground would probably be no protection to you as a shooter.

    I understand why a lot of people don’t like stand-your-ground, but you’re the only one I’ve come across that seems to be unable to comprehend what it entails. I found a number of links that have covered the specific statute in Florida and what is covers and doesn’t cover. Just because you don’t like it, don’t pretend it’s something it isn’t.

  33. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: Here is the best interpretation of what the law achieves that I’ve seen.

    The law seeks to assure that police and prosecutors don’t file murder charges no matter how strong the self-defense evidence may appear, and so force the survivors of frightening criminal attacks to go through another disturbing ordeal.

    And, as the name implies, the law did away with the odd idea that a good guy can usually escape a murderous attack by backing or running away and so was required to try that first, even if meant letting the attacker or house breaker get off a shot or a knife slash or two.

    It protects the one being attacked from being automatically falsely charged.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Jack: Granted that Martin was too young to carry a gun. Let’s set that aside for the moment. Your second part, that Zimmerman was not committing violence against Martin, only applies in the old laws. You have always been allowed to respond with violence if you are physically assaulted. The Florida Stand-Your-Ground law specifically states that you don’t have to wait for violence, that you only need to have a reasonable fear for your life. As the facts prove, any fear that Martin had of his life was eminently reasonable as he was in fact gunned down. So if the law was correctly applied, he would have been within his rights to kill Zimmerman when he saw him get out of his truck and come after him. He would now be alive, and no charges should have been bought against him. That is the outcome the gun rights lobby envisioned when they wrote the law, isn’t it?

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill: Rodney, if I am mistaken, I am happy to admit it. But it seems to me that what you are saying about a well written Stand-Your-Ground law does not apply here. The Florida law only states that you have to have a reasonable fear for your life. It does not say anything about the other person threatening or brandishing a weapon. Imagine – you are a young kid walking home from the store alone. A strange man in a truck starts pacing you, giving you hostile looks and talking animatedly on a phone. He gets out of his truck and starts following you into the dark. You realize he is twice your size and he is coming at you in what you perceive (by then) is a menacing manner. Isn’t it reasonable to fear for your life?

  36. Jack says:

    @MarkedMan: “need to have a reasonable fear for your life”. How is it reasonable just because Zimmerman followed him? The courts have stated “The reasonable person is a standard that holds: each person owes a duty to behave as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances”. If someone following you was all that was needed for someone to shoot someone else, malls would be a bloodbath. Also, Martin wasn’t “gunned down”, according to the reports I’ve read, Martin was shot by Zimmerman while Zimmermans head was being bashed against cement by Martin.

  37. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan:

    only states that you have to have a reasonable fear for your life

    This I covered earlier in the comments above, This is not just an ‘only’ insignificant part of the law, to establish reasonable belief(or fear). Jack just did another fairly good reiteration of explaining it.

    Isn’t it reasonable to fear for your life?

    Yes, it could be. In Martin/Zimmerman where there are phone records that Zimmerman intended to follow/confront Martin it would probably support Martin’s potential claim of self-defense.

    Hypotheticially, If Martin, after shooting Zimmerman, just told police he saw someone walking in his direction and shot him, without sufficiently supporting why he felt in fear of his life, (of course this is easier to do without witnesses) he might still be charged.

    In the real situation it was established the Zimmerman and Martin were in a physical altercation (regardless of who started it) making it easier for Zimmerman to claim that he was in fear for his life.

    Stand-your-ground can definitely lead to some difficult legal situations when only two are involved, and only one survives as a witness.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill: Okay, I get your point and I don’t think we are going to change each others minds. Maybe the difference is that i see myself in Martin’s shoes more easily than Zimmerman’s. If Zimmerman had behaved to me the way he did with Martin, trailing along slowly beside me, getting out and following me, and I’m a scrawny 17 year old like Martin, then yes I would have feared for my life. Alternatively, If I was a member of a grand jury and presented that testimony I would have to concede it was a reasonable fear. If that isn’t a case where stand your ground applies then, yes i am misreading the law. But I still don’t see how.

  39. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: fair enough.

  40. matt says:

    @rodney dill: That was actually my point….

  41. jacques says:

    @Franklin:
    c’mon, where’s you’re since of humor? should they look like Obama pro gay marriage onesie hoodies instead?

  42. jacques says:

    @legion:
    Please leave immediately then