search
top

Grand Jury to Be Convened in Zimmerman Case

I figured it would go at least this far. Even if the evidence they thought they have is scant, the political firestorm surrounding this case almost guaranteed that it would go to a grand jury. I should note that were I in either side’s shoes, I’d want this outcome. For Martin, it’s a chance to have the evidence publicly aired. For Zimmerman, if he really is an innocent man as he says, here’s his chance to be exonerated by an impartial jury. This is an interesting detail we haven’t seen previously:

Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.

If that statement is true, then Martin is the aggressor and Zimmerman would be legally faultless, which we discussed in the previous post. The question would then be whether he reasonably believed he was in fear of great bodily injury or death, justifying his use of deadly force in self-defense. If he was indeed walking back to his truck, he was already retreating, and a duty to do so would not have factored into this case, unless he was close enough to his truck to make an escape in complete safety (a difficult standard).

Another common mistake people are making in this case is believing that the attacker has to be armed to be able to use deadly force. This is not the case. The law allows for deadly force to be used on an unarmed attacker in some circumstances. That one party is armed and the other not doesn’t really matter. Only the circumstances under which deadly force were used matters.

H/T to Miguel, who has more.

102 Responses to “Grand Jury to Be Convened in Zimmerman Case”

  1. terraformer says:

    If that bit about the street name is true, yes but I am not buying that given the statements by the GF who says Martin was trying to get away from Zimmerman. If you were about to attack someone, would you stay on the phone or tell someone you would call them back to get both hands free?

  2. DevsAdvocate says:

    Seriously, where is the autopsy in all this? You’d think they can tell how many shots were fired, where Martin was hit, and if there were any scratches/bruises on either of them. If that’s the case, then Zimmerman’s story is stronger.

  3. Phssthpok says:

    GPS co-ordinates 28.47.33 , 81.19.49 in Google Earth; That’s the neighborhood…

    Zimmerman has been reported as making some 46 (or more depending on your source) calls to police while patrolling this gated community in the past year alone, and he needs to get out of the car to read a road sign to know where he’s at?

    I delivered pizza for a living in my younger years. After about six months I knew EXACTLY where I was at all times, and that was in a quasi-rural town with lots of surprise dead ends and convoluted back roads, not just a small 4-street loop neighborhood.

    I’m not passing judgement, but I smell the smelly smell of something that smells smelly…..

    • I agree it smells bad, but I lived for five years in a Boise subdivision that I had driven and walked repeatedly. I could not tell you at the time the name of any street other than the one on which my house was, because it was on official documents. Those other streets? Never had a reason to know their name.

      Pizza delivery is another matter. My son can tell you where all sorts of streets are in Boise because of his time delivering pizzas there.

      • Phssthpok says:

        I myself am HORRIBLE with street names…I’m a landmark navigator. My last home I lived in over ten years and even up to the last I needed to really stop and think just to remember the cross street to my loop-neighborhood’s entrance. There was a reason to learn the streets in the delivery job, as I worked the phones and ovens too (it was a very small delivery only operation), so I needed to have an idea where a customer was by street name in order to give proper delivery estimates.

        The point I was trying to make is that he had been patrolling that FOUR STREET neighborhood for at LEAST a year, making almost a call a week to the cops to report things…there is no logical reason why all those street names wouldn’t have been ingrained through sheer repetition by now, whether he wanted them to be or not.

    • Agreed, it smells like sardines on a pizza…fishy.

      Zimmerman could win the award of WORST EVER blockwatch person if he doesn’t even know the streets he is patrolling.

      Now he has given what I on a jury would presume was false testimony. That puts all his sworn statements into question.

  4. Jason says:

    Listen to the 911 call. Zimmerman states where he is multiple times, then gets out of the car. The police ask if he is following the suspect, and he says yes. I believe zimmerman is on foot at this point, because the wind noise noticeably picked up. At this point the police tell zimmerman not to follow the suspect. He also repeats on the call multiple times that the suspect is running away now.

    I am a staunch defender of gun rights, including castle laws. But we should be vigilant about condemning those who abuse those laws and privileges, they give all of us a bad name, and provide ammo for those that would take away our rights. Those on our side who blindly defend bad gun uses also provide that ammo.

    • Sebastian says:

      But we should be vigilant about condemning those who abuse those laws and privileges, they give all of us a bad name, and provide ammo for those that would take away our rights. Those on our side who blindly defend bad gun uses also provide that ammo.

      I agree, but I think that condemnation has to be based on facts. I’ve hardly been kind to Zimmerman given what we already know.

      • Miguel says:

        New “witnesses” are appearing. Now a girlfriend shows to tell she was on the phone with Treyvon while all happened almost a month after the shooting. If call was made should be easy to prove. Although HuffPo is saying that the call was captured, I can’t seem to find anywhere that there is a recording of such call.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/trayvon-martin-final-moments_n_1366697.html

        • Sebastian says:

          There’s a chance these witnesses have already talked to police, and it’s just the family lawyers are bringing them forward in an attempt to continue their PR campaign in regards to the case.

          I’d note in this case, if the witness hasn’t talked to police, that should cast doubt on any testimony she gives in court. The first thing a defense lawyer is going to ask is why the witness didn’t come forward to give this account to police.

        • Oliver Perry says:

          I think what they are saying is that there a records indicating a call was made, not a recording of the call.

    • Diane says:

      The FBI has the ability to do audio forensics that go far beyond what a local/state police department can do. If they get the chance to analyze that one 911 call, they’ll be able to figure out who (and what) was being yelled in the background.

  5. jharp says:

    “Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.”

    Mr. Zimmerman is fucked. His bullshit does not add up to what the young lady who was on the phone with Trayvon told police.

    • Robb Allen says:

      See? This is what I’m talking about. His bullshit? You have PROOF POSITIVE his statements are false? Because if so, boy oh boy you should call the police because they’d like to have you drop by for a statement.

      Does the limited information we have on Zimmerman point to someone who might be a little ‘wannabe cop’? Sure. Is that all the information we need to condemn the man?

      • jharp says:

        “See? This is what I’m talking about. His bullshit? You have PROOF POSITIVE his statements are false?”

        Let’s see here.

        Neighborhood watch captain claims he has to check a sign in his own fucking neighborhood? And was attacked by a 17 year old armed with skittles and an iced tea who he outweighed by 100 lbs?

        God you people are stupid.

        • SPQR says:

          No, Robb is not stupid. But you are offensively so. The point is that we are getting very inflammatory reporting of things. The supposed call with the girlfriend does cast doubt on Zimmerman’s story but her story is not automatically credible. The question of whether or not she’d provided it to police before or not is on point.

          • jharp says:

            “The point is that we are getting very inflammatory reporting of things.”

            Then why don’t you just say so instead of all the bullshit?

            Everyone agrees that Mr. Zimmerman deserves the full force of the United States Constitution and the rights it guarantees.

            • Robb Allen says:

              Not everyone. Many people, yourself included, appear to have already cast judgement on the man.

              I’m neither claiming innocence or guilt. I think, with the limited information that is available to me that Zimmerman whiffs of Mall Ninja-ness. Again, with very little information to go on, it appears that Zimmerman may have caused the situation by trailing Treyvon. Being a d*ck and trailing someone because he’s black is… well, being a d*ck, but it’s not reason to attack someone.

              This isn’t a great situation. Someone had a lethal lapse in judgement, either Zimmerman being too aggressive in his pursuit or Tayvon thinking he was going to beat up the guy for being creepy. Neither option is good for anyone, and it sadly ended in someone’s death.

              But I, being so stupid and ignorant, seem to be caught on this niggling ‘fact’ thing and am SO DUMB that I can’t make a decision based on a few, wildly speculative news reports. I mean, we heard there were many shots, then it turned to two, then just one shot but a full mag.

              Even with the ever changing story from the media (who keeps reporting Zimmerman as white) I guess I’m just not smart enough to convict the guy.

              • Harold says:

                Someone had a lethal lapse in judgement, either Zimmerman being too aggressive in his pursuit…

                Well, that seems to be indisputable, in that Martin would probably* be alive today if Zimmerman hadn’t stepped out of his vehicle that night.

                On the other hand, we don’t know how justified his “aggressive” paroling of his community was (scare quotes because for many if not most of those whining he wouldn’t have been justified in doing anything other than calling the police after looking outside his house’s window and seeing a felony in progress). There are after all plenty of places in this country that could use serious civilian patrolling to limit crime (I lived in a few of them in my dozen years in Massachusetts; heck, in one of the better places (Davis Sq. Somerville) a convenience store was robbed without my noticing when I was in the back, plus I’m quite sure I avoids a few muggings by my posture and situational awareness while walking in Cambridge).

                * “Probably” if you accept the implicit choir boy portrayal of Martin, which is very much open to question; e.g. his partisans to my knowledge have brought forward no evidence for this besides a couple of things he was carrying that night, plus an ambiguous report of a cell phone conversation (i.e. according to that recent report we can probably pinpoint when things started to get violent but we don’t know who initiated it).

                Less so if we assume the police, who after all probably have some knowledge of Zimmerman, made a defensible call in not recommending prosecution after they interviewed him. Given that it’s the worst case self-defense claim, armed against unarmed, I’m assuming Zimmerman’s account had credibility.

                If the reports of his injuries, let along that he was on the ground getting beaten up, have been accurate, then we’re probably left with the question of who initiated the physical violence. And here I’m again assuming Zimmerman’s account was credible to the police.

                • Actually, even if Martin was a gang-banger thug. I don’t think Zimmerman’s actions were necessarily justifiable. I can’t simply pursue and confront without cause based on race and clothing, and then shoot the guy.

                  One question we have,is if a strange man is following and chasing you. Do you have the right to defend yourself from them, even physically?

                  I’d wager had Martin decided to call 9-1-1 instead of his g/f, Zimmerman would be a pretty dry case.

                  • jharp says:

                    “One question we have,is if a strange man is following and chasing you. Do you have the right to defend yourself from them, even physically?”

                    In practice, if you are white and the man following you is black you have the right to kill him.

                    However if you are black and being followed by a white man you must submit or the white man can kill you.

                • Harold says:

                  (We’ve found the maximum level of indentation this installation of WordPress supports….)

                  I can’t simply pursue and confront without cause based on race and clothing, and then shoot the guy.

                  Indeed, and we of course don’t (officially) allow the police to do this either.

                  But what we don’t know (for a rather weak level of “know”) is what happened just before the section I italicized above. We’ve heard, don’t know if at more than rumor level, that the “I” in your above example (Zimmerman) was physically injured, was even witnessed(?) on the ground being beaten up by Martin.

                  I am assuming, based on the (lack of) reaction from the police that the Zimmerman indeed presented signs of physical violence and Martin didn’t at the hand to hand level.

                  Even then, it’s no good if Zimmerman initiated the physical violence. Which brings us to your question:

                  One question we have, is if a strange man is following and chasing you. Do you have the right to defend yourself from them, even physically?

                  Which leads to the answer of “it depends”. Did the chaser physically attack you? Display a gun or worse (which in this context would be a crime of violence)? Or even physically threaten you (again a crime)?

                  If not, what do you have to defend yourself against? His disrespect of you? Not physically if he hasn’t done none of the above.

                  If Martin had called 911, yeah, we can be pretty sure things would be different, because that’s a signal that he’s not likely to initiate physical violence and that he felt threatened enough to bring the police into the situation (remember the “Don’t ever talk to the police” advice).

                  By the same token, Zimmerman calling 911 indicates at least the former. After all, people are making a big deal about him calling the police roughly 100 times over a period of a few years about this sort of thing. Yet he’s never hurt someone, at least to the level they or the police would press charges, let alone shot anyone. Nor has his actions risen to a level the police found necessary to charge him of something … even of Disorderly Conduct, which would seem to be tailor made for Zimmerman if his actions were viewed by them as dangerously excessive.

                  Hmmmm, by the same token, does anyone want to guess how many time 911 told him not to confront a suspect? Thinking about it, there’s a lot of discoverable history here….

                • Sebastian says:

                  That’s a settable parameter by me. I’ve set it to what it is because I hate having to read threads that are only an inch wide :)

                • Harold says:

                  Indeed, I have the same, well, hate isn’t too strong a word since I simply don’t read them if they get that narrow (if they were important enough I’d cut and paste into EMACS, but they’ve not been up to now). I was more remarking on how deep you’d set it (7 I now count) since I’d been wondering and because some previous discussions had gotten deeper than any other limited discussion system I’d seen.

                  And those I had found to be … limiting ^_^. 7 as it displays on my WXUGA monitor running Chromium or Firefox is just fine.

      • Nope, but I do have a reasonable doubt that they are bullshit.

        LOL

  6. Robb Allen says:

    So glad to know we no longer need a court system. Through the power of the Internet, we can read all the news accounts from the media outlets (the same media that often report on someone having a fully automatic, 38mm, Glock Revolver!), treat the info as infallible, then declare Zimmerman guilty.

    Meanwhile, the Police departments involved have questioned witnesses, examined the scene, looked closely at evidence you and I have only seen digitized and regurgitated through blogs, and because they’ve not already thrown this guy in jail and welded the doors shut, it’s obvious to a bunch of people at home behind their computers that the cops have no clue what they’re doing and are wrong.

    Now, us gunnies tend to be the first to ostracize those who act stupid because we understand that bad PR is bad PR. I get that. But this automatic “HANG HIM THEN BURN THE CORPSE!” attitude is tiring and unhelpful.

    I’ve already seen in on my fellow Floridian message boards – This spells the end of Stand Your Ground. Oh Whoa is Us. Bullshit. If you’re truly worried about politicians using this event to pass restrictive laws, then damn it, STOP WHINING ON THE INTERNET AND CALL YOUR REPS. Let them know that you will not stand for them to use a ONE TIME tragedy to violate rights. Put 1/10th of the effort into calling and writing them that you do bitching on message boards and blogs, and they’ll get the message.

    • jharp says:

      Robb Allen you are a real dumbass.

      Not only has Mr. Zimmerman not been convicted he has not even been charged.

      And I will call my reps. It is preposterous for you stupid rednecks to be able to shoot people black people because they scare you.

      You sir. Are a coward.

      • Sebastian says:

        Please don’t make personal attacks. That’s one reason that will cause me to moderate comments. I’m quite willing to tolerate a diversity of viewpoints, but not personal attacks.

        • jharp says:

          “Please don’t make personal attacks.”

          OK.

          Robb Allen, your post is really stupid.

          Not only has Mr. Zimmerman not been convicted but he has not even been charged.

          And moderate if you wish. I could not care less. It is your blog.

      • Robb Allen says:

        Says jharp. My name is Robb Allen. I blog under my name. I am a board member for Florida Carry. I have been on TV several times defending my position. I am such a coward that I am willing to discuss things under my actual name, on TV, and on my blog (which it totally searchable by any potential employer).

        Yup. That’s me. The Über Coward.

        As for “stupid rednecks to be able to shoot people black people” I assure you, I do not have white skin. But watching your arguments so far, I’m not sure that fact matters.

        • jharp says:

          “I am a board member for Florida Carry.”

          I do not know what that means but if you are behind enacting Florida’s current law then you have blood on your hands.

          It is a terrible law and exactly what the liberals claimed would happen has happened. You right wingers were wrong again.

          Mr. Zimmerman gad no business carrying a gun. And he had no business following Trayvon. And rah rah types like you encourage fools like Zimmerman and now a teenager is dead.

          Good work.

          • Robb Allen says:

            Yup. We’ve had this one the books since 2005 and the death toll has been so catastrophic that we’re looking at Mass Human Extinction on the beaches and surrounding areas! The streets have been so full of blood we’ve had to call in the Army Corps of Engineers to assist with the overflow. Blood on my hands? Brother, I’m barely able to keep my head above the surface there’s so many stories like this.

            Oh, well… actually… it hasn’t been a problem now that I think about it. We were told it would be, that we’d turn into the wild, wild west when in reality, Stand Your Ground didn’t do anything but ensure that the government had to prove guilt versus you having to prove your innocence, but I see that notion is fungible from many on the left and right when it doesn’t suit their purposes.

            Granted, this is all urination in a strong breeze – you have your blinders on and cannot see past your prejudices and thus must make up things like calling me a right winger (hint – There ain’t no R, D, or L on my voter registration card)and hyperbole about blood on my hands over a *single* instance of something that doesn’t even fit into SYG.

            Enjoy your 2 minutes hate. I hear if you stay around to the end of the video, the image of Goldstein turns into a sheep.

            • jharp says:

              Yep. As long as it wasn’t your child senselessly killed why should you care?

              The government has always had to prove your guilt. And they still do. Stand your ground did not change that.

              • Just curious JHarp, are you this vocal and do you post with such regularity on the sites of law enforcement when they barge into the wrong house and shoot and kill people?

                Do you advocate that all of our police should be disarmed as well?

                Cause frankly, it happens far more often than the legal law abiding citizen wrongly shooting does.

                Just curious…

                • jharp says:

                  No and no.

                  Thanks for asking. And I believe in lots of police. Lots of them. It is safer for police and safer for us. And if they must raise my taxes to pay for the number of police that it takes to keep my neighborhood safe so be it.

                  I do not want untrained hot headed bozos like Mr Zimmerman being my neighborhood police. It is a job for professionals.

          • SPQR says:

            Your claim that Robb has “blood on your hands” is simply another of your brazen falsehoods. The current law in Florida does not allow Zimmerman to commit any act legally that was a crime before the law. Your rhetoric is intentionally misrepresenting the reality.

  7. Harold says:

    For Martin, [a grand jury is] a chance to have the evidence publicly aired.

    This must be some new definition of the word public I wasn’t previously acquainted with.

    Or, last time I checked, grand just proceedings are secret (at least while they’re going on). Only someone testifying before one can publicly say what he claims to have said to the jury.

    And I’m not a high level criminal defense lawyer; at this point, with the lynch mob gathered and growing, with this becoming a cause célèbre (Free Mumia, Jail Zimmerman!), I wonder what, if anything, Zimmerman should now say to anyone other than his lawyer.

  8. TCK says:

    “It is preposterous for you stupid rednecks to be able to shoot people black people because they scare you.”

    Race baiting much?

    PS Zimmerman is Hispanic (because we all know race is the most important issue, not all this “evidence” crap people have been talking about lately).

  9. Steven says:

    Why was George Zimmerman bleeding from the nose and back of the head? Was he having an allergic reaction to poor, innocent Trayvon Martin’s Skittles?

  10. Weer'd Beard says:

    I’m also interested in the autopsy results on Martin. First I suspect the news has been using much younger photos of a Prepubescent Martin, rather than any current images.

    Also I’m curious if there were any positive toxicology results. Pure speculation, but how many of us go out after dark, in the rain to buy skittles and iced tea?

    I’m very interested to finally have all the facts of the case publicly aired rather than biased and unverifiable anecdotes being presented by both sides.

    • jharp says:

      What is wrong with you people?

      Just look at yourself and your utterly ridiculous post.

      God help us.

      • Sebastian says:

        They are looking for facts. It’s gruesome, for sure, but the police, state prosecutor, and DOJ will also be interested in those facts too. It takes evidence to lock someone away.

        • Jack says:

          It’s intresting to see someone openly recoiling at the idea of looking up factual information before making a decision.

          Rare does the mask fall that far down.

    • RWC says:

      “First I suspect the news has been using much younger photos of a Prepubescent Martin, rather than any current images.”

      Correct. The photo that is making the rounds is when he was eleven years old.

      • Tpa Gunslinger says:

        I have to wonder if we used a younger picture to keep the public from seeing any tatoos.

    • Why wasn’t the teen driving daddy’s car? I have let my grandson take our car when the weather was bad. Would any of us let our children walk to the store in the rain?

      • Sebastian says:

        Could have started raining after he was walking. If you don’t like the weather in Florida, just wait a few minutes. If I had to guess, the kid walked to talk to his girlfriend away from the ‘rents.

  11. qwerty says:

    @Jharp:

    I do not fear “black” people. I fear the behavior of urban thug types – and with very good reason – they are the ones who cause almost all threats to my personal safety thus far in my life experience.

    And I have managed to avoid them at all costs, rather than chase them down and shoot them. But they are the reason I carry a firearm. Not all of us are salivating at the chance to shoot black people. And not all black people are ‘ghetto’ either… in fact, some ‘urban thugs’ are white.

    • jharp says:

      It is your right to carry. I don’t think it should be but whatever.

      I have owned, do own, and have handled guns for 40 years.

      And I think folks like you make yourself less safe by carrying a gun, and your family even far less safe.

      Be careful. And God forbid you should have to shoot someone you have my sympathy.

      It is no picnic. Seasoned law enforcement offices who kill people who are trying to kill them are traumatized by it.

      Ain’t my cup of tea. I will never shoot anyone over property. Ever. They can have it. I don’t give a fuck.

      • Sebastian says:

        I think you’ll find most people, including myself, are unwilling to kill over property. In every state I can think of other than Texas, killing someone to defend property is murder. And in Texas, only in very limited circumstances can you use deadly force to defend property.

        • jharp says:

          “I think you’ll find most people, including myself, are unwilling to kill over property. In every state I can think of other than Texas, killing someone to defend property is murder. And in Texas, only in very limited circumstances can you use deadly force to defend property.”

          And I think you are wrong.

          And shouldn’t we all know what the truth is?

          I live in Indiana. And it is my understanding that I can shoot to kill someone fleeing my property in the commission of a felony.

          Thanks in advance for any help. And thanks to Robb Allen should he decide to opine.

          And again, I do not carry a gun, never will carry a gun, and never will shoot anyone. It just ain’t my gig. They can have my shit. For free. All of it. I don’t care. It is why I buy insurance.

          • Sebastian says:

            I’m not that familiar with Indiana law, but for most states that allow deadly force to stop the commission of a felony, it requires that the force be necessary and reasonable, or requires that deadly force being the only means that would stop it. It’s usually qualified.

            • jharp says:

              “I’m not that familiar with Indiana law, but for most states that allow deadly force to stop the commission of a felony, it requires that the force be necessary and reasonable, or requires that deadly force being the only means that would stop it. It’s usually qualified.”

              I would think that since you guys are the ones so interested in killing people that the burden of knowing when you can kill is on you.

              But I am just a pacifist lefty loser who would never carry a gun.

              Maybe wait a little and ask Mr. Zimmerman. I think he’s about to find out.

              And it’s only a matter of time till some stupid redneck shoots an innocent here in Indiana. For the same reason as Mr. Zimmerman did.

              So sad.

              • Sebastian says:

                It is on us. You don’t get off charges because you didn’t know the law.

                • jharp says:

                  Sebastian and SPQR,

                  I misspoke and chose the wrong words.

                  You guys are the ones who want to pack heat in case someone scary scares you.

                  I think you should all be aware of when you can shoot to kill or not.

                  • Alpheus says:

                    Since it is my hope that even you, jharp, will fight tooth and nail against someone who is attempting to kill you or some other innocent–and that you would resort to any deadly weapon to defend yourself, to achieve these ends, I will provide a very brief lesson to you in self defense.

                    This is very important for everyone to know, because if you don’t know the law, and are facing someone who is scary, you can either maim or kill someone, and find yourself in very hot legal water (and have a guilty conscience for the rest of your life), or you can freeze, and hesitate, when seconds count, and you or someone you love may very well be maimed for life, or even killed.

                    First, know that guns aren’t the only lethal weapons available to you. Knives, bats, even fists and feet are lethal weapens. Thus, you shouldn’t dismiss someone as a non-threat because he didn’t have a weapon, or he “only” had a knife. Similarly, you shouldn’t choose a knife over a gun because a knife is “less” lethal (it isn’t), and you shouldn’t just go up and start beating on someone–because fists and feet are also lethal. Indeed, many people have died from knives and beatings.

                    Second, be aware of your surroundings, and learn to recognize the signs of people getting ready to “pounce” in a violent act–and then avoid them, report them to someone if you can. And learn to de-escalate arguments, because fighting isn’t self-defense, and de-escalation can save a life, whether yours or the one you might end up punching in the head.

                    Third, understand that there may come a time where you will have to take a life. There are three conditions that need to be met for this to be true, and if these three conditions are there, you are on solid legal ground: actuall danger (jeopardy), ability to harm, and opportunity to cause harm.

                    This is only a little chunk of the tip of the ice burg. For more information, I refer you to the following websites:

                    No Nonsense Self-Defense. (Be aware that this website, as fascinating as it is, is also a “rabbit hole” that can consume a lot of your time.)

                    The Cornered Cat, on Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy (I’d recommend the entire Cornered Cat website–it’s also interesting!)

                    Use of Force. (A brief introduction to the use of force.)

                    Finally, the reason why so many gun people are interested in the Zimmerman case, is because we want to do what is right, when faced with a similar situation. It’s important to understand when something is legitimate self defense, and when we can walk away, even if we can claim self-defense.

                    Most gun owners are intensely curious about this subject–and those that aren’t, ignore the subject at their peril. I would add that, even if you choose not to carry a gun, and choose to ignore this, you also do so at your peril.

                  • politicsbyothermeans@yahoo.com says:

                    “You guys are the ones who want to pack heat in case someone scary scares you.”

                    Logical fallacies: investigate them.

                    You do, otherwise, have a point: it is just stuff. I don’t care if someone takes all of my crap, that’s not a reason to kill someone. On the other hand, I have an inalienable right to my life and anyone that decides that my life is theirs to take has forfeit their own, in my (and the law’s, incidentally) opinion.

                    By the way, your language demonstrates your ignorance on this subject. We don’t “shoot to kill”. We shoot to stop the threat. If you understood anything about small arms, bullets and the mechanisms of trauma, you would know that it’s highly unlikely that one will die of a gunshot. So, shooting to kill is a fool’s errand.

                    Now, go light a candle.

              • SPQR says:

                “I would think that since you guys are the ones so interested in killing people that the burden of knowing when you can kill is on you.

                Yet another false statement by you. No one here is “interested” in killing people. What is it about your whacky opinions that require you to make up stuff?

              • S Lee says:

                > But I am just a pacifist lefty loser who would never carry a gun.

                However, you have no qualms about authorizing another entity (the local Police) to use deadly force on your behalf.

                Hypocrite.

            • Jack says:

              Sebastian, as another Indiana resident jharp is wrong.

              Here’s the relevant state laws
              http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title35/ar41/ch3.html

              Also hilarious that jharp rags on Sebastian for not knowing Indiana state law. Now if you didn’t know Pennsylvanian law…

              As for giving up your property to placate a voilent robber. That could work, but that entails putting turst in a person who has to threatened your life in order to exrort your property.

              Not exactly the most fertile ground to establish a social compact.

              And that only counts if the agressor wants your stuff and not say your life or your body or your children.

              • Sebastian says:

                Not to mention there are a set of practices that will keep you out of trouble in just about any state. Generally speaking, if you practice avoidance, don’t go looking for trouble, and if you only go to the gun as a last resort, you’ll be OK in any state.

                • terraformer says:

                  This isn’t true. This is what is driving me nuts about how the morons in the FL justice system are treating this issue as a political football. In MA clear and unequivocal self-defense situations are prosecuted because they can be.

                  One example http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=anthony+mckay+swampscott&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

                  • Harold says:

                    The courts and the executive in Massachusetts have tried as hard as they can to nullify the right to self-defense. While I was living there, I was told the Middlesex County (current population 1.5 million) prosecutor had a firm policy of charging anyone who killed in self-defense with first degree murder, saying the jury could decide.

                    The legislature and the courts went back and forth a number of times on duty to retreat from your residence, with the state supreme court always nullifying or narrowing it as much as they could. I “watched” in The Boston Globe as a homeowner was convicted because he shot and killed (with a .22LR rifle) a home invader rather than leaving his sleeping daughter to the criminal’s tender mercies. I also heard about a case of a woman who are convicted because she didn’t take the option of trying to escape through high basement apartment windows, although I don’t know if that case was valid self-defense (can’t even remember where I heard about it; Bitter might know if it’s legit).

                    Last time I checked, the courts had narrowed stand your ground in your residence for apartments to those whose names were on the lease (which generally aren’t all or most the residents; normal model there is one responsible person or couple leases and the sublets rooms to others). That was in the ’80s.

                    I must say, it wasn’t exactly the end of the world when Route 128 died a hard death and I was forced to move elsewhere.

              • jharp says:

                Jack,

                I am not a lawyer but from your link I see this.

                Indiana Code 35-41-3-2

                “With respect to property other than a dwelling, curtilage, or an occupied motor vehicle, a person is justified in using reasonable force against another person if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to immediately prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person’s immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect.”

                To me that means ignorant redneck is free to kill a person fleeing with someone elses property.

                Am I wrong.? And thanks for the link.

                • Sebastian says:

                  The law makes a distinction between force and deadly force. This passage says “reasonable force.” When the law means deadly force, it says so.

                  What this means is that I can wrestle and object you stole away from you. I can grab you and forcibly drag you from my property. I can probably pepper spray you in order to get you to drop something. I could chase after you to forcibly recover property.

                  But this does not allow for deadly force to be used for that.

        • Tpa Gunslinger says:

          Correct.

      • SPQR says:

        “Seasoned law enforcement offices who kill people who are trying to kill them are traumatized by it.

        And many are not.

        • Alpheus says:

          Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know whether or not you will be traumatized by killing someone, until you have done it–and this can happen, even if you have done everything in your power to prevent the killing.

          Heck, I would expect that having your life threatened would likely be traumatising, even if killing the person threatening you is not! Especially if the person attempting to kill you successfully injured you.

          Having said that, it is my understanding that those people who have thought about this, dreamed about it, and played out numerous scenarios in their head, are less likely to be traumatized when they have to kill someone, than someone who picks up a gun because it’s a right, or even a duty, and then has to do it, without having given it much prior thought.

          • If I have the choice between being traumatized by killing someone and being traumatized by being killed, I’m taking my chances with PTSD.

            • Alpheus says:

              I completely agree. It’s just impossible to know if it will happen to you–and it’s even possible to have PTSD if you do nothing (or can do nothing) to defend your life, and live to tell about it.

              There’s no two ways about it: being threatened with bodily harm is not pretty.

      • qwerty says:

        And I would never shoot anybody over property, either. But my experience has been that simply handing over your wallet in a robbery situation doesn’t help. (I have a good bit of experience with getting robbed and beaten by urban thugs) Street thugs will usually stomp your face into the ground or shoot you anyway. So you wouldn’t be shooting them over property in a situation like that, because they are alread pose an imminent threat to life and limb the moment they decide to accost you.

        Now if I see one of them breaking into a house or whatever, I would just get as far away as I can and call the cops, period. In that case, it IS about property, and that’s what insurance is for.

        • S Lee says:

          I agree with you. It is a novel idea that one can hope/expect mercy from a violent criminal that has already broken social contracts by threatening your life in exchange for money or property.

      • The first one is the worst. After that…..

  12. Bram says:

    I’ve heard some of the 911 tapes and they do NOT point to a clean self-defense shooting. I’ll wait to hear what the courts have to say when all the evidence is examined.

    The gun community should not blindly support this guy – at the minimum, he broke lots of self-defense rules and possibly laws prior to the shooting.

    This one hits close to home as I have teenagers. A neighborhood busy-body who takes it upon himself to chase them down for no particular reason and shoot one of them has very little time left on this earth.

    • jetfxr69 says:

      ^^ This.

    • Robb Allen says:

      The gun community should not blindly support this guy – at the minimum, he broke lots of self-defense rules and possibly laws prior to the shooting.

      Nor should we blindly convict him of murder. It’s not Zimmerman I’m defending when I say we need to have all the evidence before we pass judgement, it’s you and me I’m defending should we ever be in the unfortunate situation where we must defend our lives.

      If you throw someone under the bus for expediency and ‘protecting the gun community at large’, you’re more than likely going to do damage to the long term. This is what I’m trying to get into people’s heads as they jump to the assumption that Zimmerman is guilty as hell / innocent as a baby.

      • Bram says:

        I agree. But Zimmerman at best is going to come off as a giant asshole even if the Grand Jury doesn’t indict.

      • Agreed, but I believe the best way to do that is to call a spade a spade when it’s a spade and a heart a heart when it is a heart.

        Zimmerman is guilty of acting rashly and with poor judgment. There is NO QUESTION of that in my book.

        Is he guilty of murder, there is a question of that. And I believe there is significant cause to necessitate an investigation and trial on the matter.

        I also feel that Zimmerman is likely guilty of manslaughter. But that is based on my limited knowledge of the facts. And why this needs to go to trial.

        • Robb Allen says:

          That he committed manslaughter is not in question.

          • jharp says:

            Huh?

            He has not even been charged more or less convicted.

            Weren’t you the one who claimed we were jumping to conclusions without hearing all of the evidence?

            You are a strange dude.

            • Robb Allen says:

              I realize consistency might be difficult for you to follow, and logic doesn’t appear to be your strong suit, so I’ll type slowly for you.

              Homicide is one person killing another. There is no question Zimmerman killed Treyvon.

              I’m saying I cannot convict him of murder nor can I absolve him and declare it justified.

              • Harold says:

                But that’s not what you said:

                That he committed manslaughter is not in question.

                No one is claiming that he didn’t kill Martin, which is indeed homicide. What’s being discussed is whether it might have been justified or was it a crime, in which case manslaughter is one of the possibilities … which you at least have already convicted him of in your mind.

                • Robb Allen says:

                  Ah, you are correct, I typed the wrong word.

                  I admit error and rescind my previous comment. My brain was thinking ‘homicide’. (For posterity, I meant homicide, not manslaughter)

                  Guess I am dumb!

            • S Lee says:

              Ok, lol’d on this one.

              To the guys who are taking time to explain it even more clearly, my hat is off to you.

              Wow.

          • Then he should be charged with manslaughter. Which is different than justifiable homicide.

            And the real question as I see it. Did Zimmerman commit a negligent or unjustified manslaughter.

            That is for the courts to decide. This case NEEDS to go to court.

            • Tpa Gunslinger says:

              It would not surprise me if we find that tatooed Trevon was on Mr.Zimmerman when he was shot. AND, That Trevon was shot in the chest and not the back. Why else would there be no initial charges? Although, I believe there is some law that prohibits someone with a weapon from “following” another person. I am not sure of the exact wording.

    • SPQR says:

      I have not seen anyone in “the gun community” endorse his actions and certainly I do not. His conduct is a classic example of what not to do at a minimum. There is a step or two between he acted inappropriately and his conduct was criminal manslaughter / murder beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not sure where my own opinion will end up between those two yet. (Despite having Coastse at the Atlantic lie about me ). However, if the evidence is presented in a fair trial and a reasonable jury convicts, I’m not going to be upset in the least. He’s not my poster child.

  13. TS says:

    I know less about this case than it seems anyone else posting about it. From what I’ve read and heard about it Zimmerman was initially cleared in the shooting until race became a factor, then the DOJ stepped in and it was reopened as a Federal Civil Rights case.

    I personally think the shooting is questionable but all the facts need to come out, both inculpatory and exculpatory to Zimmerman. I do not want a bad apple in the gun community, an innocent man to have died, an innocent man to go to jail or a guilty man to go free.

    jharp,

    You may think you want lots and lots of police and civilians to be unarmed but the truth is most “gunnies” who are into the Second Amendment and personal defense for any length of time at all are just as capable with their weapons, many much more so. Most people with a carry permit know more about gun law than the average policeman.

    Also, police officers are also covered by sovereign immunity unless negligence is truly epic and a judicial body decides to revoke it for a/that particular case.

    TS

  14. I’m a gun owner but……

  15. Sebastian says:

    I should note that I will tolerate impassioned debate. I will even tolerate some degree of insulting comments, provided they are general, and not directed at commenters here. For instance, on Jharp’s latest posts, which I deleted:

    “Now we actually have a poster believing ignorant rednecks packing heat know more and are better qualified than police.”

    I will accept that. You’re not calling the poster an ignorant redneck, you’re speaking of ignorant rednecks in general. I may not approve of the bigotry, but I’ll tolerate it.

    “An unbelievably stupid post even for here.

    First part is OK, last part is not. You can say people’s ideas are stupid… I don’t mind that. Bluntness is OK. Just don’t call them stupid.

    “Maybe we ought to just get rid of the police and the training and arm more of you dumbasses.

    Could be taken to be directed at people here.

    “You people are sad. And you must have a very small dick.

    First part I’d be OK with, because that’s an opinion, not an insult. Last part is just an insult.

    Hopefully this will provide guidelines for further debate. Unlike our opponents, especially our favorite Brady Board member, I am happy to outline what I find acceptable and don’t. I’m willing to tolerate quite a lot, but I won’t tolerate people directly insulting my guests, on either side.

    • Alpheus says:

      Since I suspect that jharp was responding to my post, I feel the obligation to respond to one part–incidentally, the first argument–because I think the rest could probably be safely ignored. And that is:

      Now we actually have a poster believing ignorant rednecks packing heat know more and are better qualified than police.

      I do not know more than the police, or lawyers, for that matter, about self defense. I am largely self-taught, and the links I provided in that post are a major source of what I have learned. I am re-reading one of those links even right now, because it’s good to review what is, and isn’t, lawful self defense.

      This notion that only the police can understand self defense is a little absurd. What is it about police that make them “magically” smarter than us? (Besides the fact that many police officers recommend us, as law-abiding individuals, to obtain arms, and to get training in the use of those arms.) And what are we to do, when seconds count, but the police are minutes away?

      Every person has a right to self defense. Even jharp. It is only reasonable, then, that you understand wat self defense is, and what it isn’t, so that you can know when it is appropriate and even necessary to defend a life, and know what you can or cannot do. Otherwise, you could go to prison for murder, or, equally as bad, you or someone you love can die at the hands of someone you could have legally stopped–but were afraid to, because you didn’t understand self defense law.

      • jharp says:

        “This notion that only the police can understand self defense is a little absurd.”

        No one made any such claim. So yeah it is absurd. Absurd that you made such a claim.

        Second casualty of the “Stand Your Ground Law” today. Sanford police chief has “temporarily” stepped down from his job.

        Now I wonder why he would feel compelled to do that?

        So it looks like to date 3 families have been adversely affected by your law to protect vigilantes. 2 of which were destroyed. Really nice work Florida legislators.

        • Alpheus says:

          “Now we actually have a poster believing ignorant rednecks packing heat know more and are better qualified than police.”

          If that doesn’t say that only the police can understand self-defense, then I don’t know what it says–if, as I’m assuming, this comment was a response to the post I made, that attempted to briefly outline the basics of self-defense. If it were a comment to a different post, then I’d have to know what the context was, to know whether or not my response was absurd.

          “So it looks like to date 3 families have been adversely affected by your law to protect vigilantes.”

          When you can explain how “Stand Your Ground” caused this to happen, or will allow a mall ninja to get away with murder, then I’d be more inclined to agree with you. The fact remains, however, that “Stand Your Ground” is not applicable here, because the self-defense claim rests on whether or not Zimmerman was an agressor. When he shot Martin, he was on the ground, and Martin was on top of him. Under such conditions, if self defense is a justified claim, then Stand Your Ground does nothing, because there’s no duty to retreat when retreat is impossible.

          Come to think about it: this alone may exonerate Zimmerman. I don’t know if you looked at the links I provided earlier, but yesterday I reread the material at the “Use of Force” link. One thing that stuck in my mind this time around is that, if two people engage in a fight, and one pulls away, but the other continues the fight, the second person is guilty of assault, because the first person withdrew his consent to fight.

          If Martin knocked Zimmerman to the ground, and ran, it would be one thing, but he stayed and attacked Zimmerman, if the accounts are accurate (and I’m not sure they are). It’s quite possible that, if Martin hadn’t been shot, that he’d have been arrested on assault charges.

          The only two things that I can think of, that would justify Martin’s actions, would be that he still had a reasonable fear of Zimmerman, and thus needed to attack further, or, ironically enough, that he was in a public place, and had the right to Stand His Ground.

          That’s one of the big things that makes this situation so ambiguous…between the fact that it’s difficult to believe the information provided on either side, and how easy it is to imagine either side as an aggressor, or either side as a defender…and to imagine them both, easily, at the same time, aggressing or defending….

          I sure as heck am glad that I’m not going to be on any jury looking on that case! And my sympathy goes to everyone involved.

          • Robb Allen says:

            Without Stand Your Ground, Martin would have been guilty for not running away.

            Chew on that one for a while.

            (This is an extremely simplified comment, by the way)

  16. Hello there, just changed into aware of your weblog via Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you happen to continue this in future. Many other people will likely be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sharp as a Marble - Stand your ground - [...] Gun Myths , Views I’ve avoided commenting on the Zimmerman fiasco here because plenty of…
  2. Around The Blogs | In Jennifer's Head - [...] on the Zimmerman case from Sebastian and Miguel. The media (antis, duh) have been all over this one.  Good…
  3. The whole Zimmerman/Martin Kerfluffle | Ordnancecorner’s Weblog - [...] case has already been covered by a lot of people (there’s 6 links there, read them all) elsewhere so…
  4. Fresh News About Florida | Shall Not Be Questioned - [...] I want to echo something Robb mentioned in the comments: I’ve already seen in on my fellow Floridian message…
  5. Sharp as a Marble - Please, try on my shoes first. Notice how they don’t exactly fit? - [...] Go here and read the comments from jharp, especially those directed at me. [...]
top