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New Happenings in the Zimmerman Case

Extrano’s Alley takes a look at the new facts that have emerged, and Joe Huffman has just one question about the case. I think at this point we’re running out of new facts and revelations.  Thanks to overreach on the part of insurrectionist militias and celebrity assholes, I think this case is jumping the shark. I think a lot of gun people, who were initially quite hostile toward Zimmerman, and feeling a bit sheepish as the facts are coming out. I wouldn’t feel too bad, personally, because that initial reaction occurred because he broke one of the cardinal rules of lawful concealed carry, which is to practice avoidance and not to go looking for trouble. I think when mistakes like that are made out of the gate, that leads to a shooting, that shooting is naturally going to garner less sympathy from our community, and we’re less willing to give someone the benefit of doubt on other facts. If anything, this shows the importance of engaging in good practices while carrying.

I carry a gun to protect me and those I love. I don’t carry a gun to protect you, my neighborhood, or society as a whole. I realize this makes me a poor sheepdog, and I don’t care. I don’t get paid to be a sheepdog, and for better or worse society looks down on people being sheepdogs who don’t get paid for the duty. I’m willing to be a good witness, I’m willing to call police, and hell, in a rare, outstandingly clear circumstance, I might decide to intervene directly.

As much as I wish we lived in a society where looking out for each other in that manner was socially acceptable, the fact of the matter is that it often isn’t, and I’m not rolling those dice for you. If I end up using deadly force to save someone from an attacker, the potential six figure trial is on me. Not the state, and not the person saved. Hell, how do I know the person I’m saving isn’t one of these self-loathing types that’d rather be a victim than have to live with being connected to a justifiable homicide. You know, someone who can assuage that guilt by blaming the person who killed to save them. If you don’t think those types exist, you’ll believe it when they’re testifying for the prosecution at your trial.

George Zimmerman’s concern for his neighborhood was commendable, but he doesn’t owe anyone what he’s going through now. Ultimately his neighbors didn’t care enough to get involved, and some of them are active in the movement to lynch him before he’s even had a fair trial. Unfortunately, in a society where no one is responsible for themselves, their actions, or really anything, this is what we reap. We don’t live in a society where civic responsibility is commended, nor do we live in a society where the civilly responsible are given the benefit of doubt.

I am not a fan of utter passivity, like the kind that happened when Zimmerman was screaming for help. The fact that no one responded, save one person who called the police immediately and took a look to be a witness, is lamentable. But no one owes their neighbors what Zimmerman is going though. And for what? To rid the neighborhood of suspicious looking people? I’m definitely not saying I’d never intervene to save a neighbor, but I am definitely saying if you’re going to do that, you better make sure the crime matches the stakes, otherwise, I’m not looking to be anyone’s sheepdog save me and mine.

UPDATE: Today’s update from Extrano’s Alley.

36 Responses to “New Happenings in the Zimmerman Case”

  1. Jake says:

    I can’t +1 this post enough..Well said.

  2. Fred says:

    Absolutely.

    1) I do not carry a gun to protect you. I carry it to protect me and mine. I don’t know you, who or what you are, so you’re on your own. Get your own gun, get your own training, get your own CWP. Sorry if you don’t like that, but welcome to Planet Earth. When you start paying for a $25 million liability policy for me and unlimited attorney’s fees, we can talk. Until then, re-read #1.

    2) I teach my students the same thing, plus they are not security guards for the convenience store, gas station or grocery store. If something goes down, imitate the wallpaper, prepare to Immediately Evacuate By The Shortest Route If Necessary, be a good witness if possible.

    3) I carry a cell phone to call 911 or other Agency Of Mutual Assistance. I can do that from a reasonable distance that allows me to see what’s going on but not Get Involved. See: Good Witness, above.

    4) If you have a problem with me not Getting Involved, see #1. I’m not here to solve your problems. That includes my participation in Neighborhood Watch. I have motion sensing lights, trimmed shrubbery, an alarm system, and a gun to protect me and mine if those don’t work. That you don’t have these, or only some of them, is not my problem. Welcome to Life on Planet Earth.

    5) I protect my family, my property, my interests and my life. If you did the same we wouldn’t need a Neighborhood Watch. Or Democrats.

  3. EBL says:

    No good turn goes unpunished.

    Very good post.

  4. Unfortunately, this whole disaster is a reminder that race will ALWAYS dominate this society. If this had been two white guys, it would have been a minor news story. If this had been two black guys, or two Hispanics, no one would have ever heard of it, because black on black murder and brown on brown murder is not news to the left–it’s just an embarrassing reminder that things are different in different parts of our culture.

    It is so unfortunate that at the same time that whites have largely moved past the racism of the past, race hustlers like Al Sharpton (“Rev. Bacon” if you read Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities) have made racism among blacks a dominant cultural force.

  5. Alpheus says:

    Sebastian, I don’t see why you would consider yourself a “poor sheepdog”, just because you choose to do the prudent thing, and watch over yourself and your own. The very fact that you have made that choice, and seek out the best ways to pursue your responsibilities, are what make you an excellent sheepdog.

    Anything else is above and beyond the call of duty, even if it may be necessary in a given neighborhood. And if participating in a Neighborhood Watch really is a duty–and I would propose it is–it’s probably an Unorganized Militia/General “Every Citizen is a Policeman” duty. To the extent that getting involved is a duty, though, it’s also a duty that you know exactly what’s happening before you get involved, or otherwise do your best to be a good witness.

  6. Diane says:

    If you missed this interview with Joe Oliver yesterday, it’s totally “must see TV.” http://www.mediaite.com/tv/lawrence-odonnell-and-charles-blow-give-george-zimmerman-pal-joe-oliver-epic-grilling/

    The video is linked on the bottom of the article.

  7. Interesting, one of the links raised some questions as to Trayvon Martin having conflicts with a rival hispanic gang.

    If such is true and documentable, than I think that might be the fact that sets Zimmerman free.

    The big gap for me in Zimmerman’s story was “Where is the motive?” Why would Martin simply come out swinging and attack Zimmerman. Did Zimmerman instigate? say a racial slur? what? (in which case I’d say Zimmerman would bear a large part of the guilt).

    The only words we see confirmed (by both parties) seem innoculous:

    Trayvon: “What are you following me for?”
    Zimmereman: “What are you doing around here?”

    UNLESS….Trayvon did in fact have a rivalry with a rival hispanic gang. And interpreted Zimmerman’s comment as a challenge from one of his hispanic rivals. ‘What are you doing around here [on our turf]?’

    If true, that would provide a motive for why Martin would have attacked a retreating and non-aggressive Zimmerman. In fact, it would mean that Zimmerman wasn’t the racist, rather Martin was….

    ***

    I still feel there are so many questions that this particular case needed to go before a judicial review. I just hope Zimmerman gets a fair trial.

    But if the above is born true, Zimmerman’s self-defense claim may in fact stand.

    • Harold says:

      As a matter of Florida law, as I understand it a prosecutor would have to establish that Zimmerman didn’t act in legal self-defense. Even if the latter was in an anti-self-defense locality like Ohio, I would think he’d only have to make the case that Martin illegitimately attacked him with enough force to warrant response with lethal force.

      Outside of the fantasies like Rashomon establishing the motives of a dead man is not terribly practical and I sure hope there’s no US law or case law that requires it.

  8. Gulermo says:

    “I carry a gun to protect me and those I love. I don’t carry a gun to protect you, my neighborhood, or society as a whole.” Don’t whinge when others follow your lead. As a point of interest; most situations such as this, that “good witness” part will also get your ass shot. Been there, done that.

  9. Andy B. says:

    The “facts” in this case appear to be very fluid things.

    To me an “Aha!” moment came when I learned that Zimmerman’s father was a retired Superior Court Judge and his mother works in the court system; followed by, that Zimmerman’s prior charges had all been suppressed, one of them (resisting a police officer with violence)quite mysteriously; and that the initial investigator (Serino) made sure he went on record as having recommended a manslaughter charge, after being overridden by the State Attorney (Wolfinger).

    My point in calling these things out is this: The “Stand Your Ground” law is being blamed for encouraging Zimmerman to shoot more readily than he had to. If he should subsequently be found at primary fault in this incident, I think it will be more because he knew a fix was going to be in, before he ever holstered his gun that day.

  10. Gulermo says:

    “My point in calling these things out is this: The “Stand Your Ground” law is being blamed for encouraging Zimmerman to shoot more readily than he had to.” Just how many times does M get to thump Z’s punkin’ before he can shoot back? 1,2,4? What?

    • Sid says:

      Exactly. If Trayvon’s body shows no injury other than the fatal gunshot, he was the only one committing assault. At what point does the Fla legal system acknowledge a person’s right to self defense? If his head is being bounced off the curb, does he have to wait until he has a concussion?

      • kfg says:

        “If Trayvon’s body shows no injury other than the fatal gunshot, he was the only one committing assault.”

        To believe that is to entirely disregard the function “gun,” which is a peculiar thing to do ’round these parts. It is also to have never punched a hard object like a head.

        “At what point does the Fla legal system acknowledge a person’s right to self defense?”

        At the point of imminent danger to life and limb. See above.

        “If his head is being bounced off the curb, does he have to wait until he has a concussion?”

        Absolutely not. The point of defense is to prevent injury. Like, ya know, being shot. Do you consider being followed by a stranger a threat? I have been, I did. I was right. If the person following you, knowing what it means, flipped his cover garment, would you consider that an imminent threat of violence, i.e. an assault accompli? I would. So would the police and the courts.

        I am not pointing these things out to accuse Zimmerman or defend Martin. I am pointing them out to defend you.

        These are things you ought to be thinking about very hard if you’re going to carry as a sheepdog. What if the wolf you’re tailing turns out to be another sheepdog who, because of your sheepdog behavior, is under the impression that you’re a wolf?

  11. Gulermo says:

    Lest I forget; “The “facts” in this case appear to be very fluid things.” the “facts” don’t seem to be “fluid” at all. A third-party witness substantiated Z’s version. How is that “fluid”?

  12. Great Wall of Texas says:

    It’s all very simple really, if I’m not willing to die for you then I’m not willing to kill for you.

  13. Andy B. says:

    “Just how many times does M get to thump Z’s punkin’ before he can shoot back?”

    As we keep reminding each other, the thing that needs to be determined is who first got physical in the incident. The legal fact (I’m told) is that if Z laid a hand (literally) on M first, or even confronted him in such a way as to cause him (M) to reasonably fear for his life, then M could thump Z’s punkin as much as he liked, and Z would have no appeal to self defense. Z would be construed only as having escalated his initial attack as much as it took to win.

    “A third-party witness substantiated Z’s version.”

    And as of last night that witness’s testimony was being called to question, for reasonable cause. (And it it not yet “testimony,” strictly speaking.) That is what I mean about facts being fluid. Accepting as settled the version that suits the outcome we seek, when differing stories are still in play, does not make it true. And while we’re doing that, we’re not preparing for the worst case scenario if what become the settled facts do not support our initial arguments for our position.

    I’ll readily admit to my own biases: I don’t trust cop wannabes, and I smell a rat when kids of well-connected politicos walk out of several scrapes in a row totally unscathed. I want for the sake of our position to believe that Z was the victim in this, but my instincts tell me to be prepared to be disappointed in that.

    • Harold says:

      I have to wonder, though. If we assume Zimmerman was honest and related the account we’ve heard the outline of consistently when interrogated by the police (and here I’m talking about the critical “missing minute” in which physical force was initiated), wouldn’t an honest prosecution of him be very hard? Did his connections just ensure he wouldn’t enjoy the prosecutorial malice and misconduct we’ve heard too many horror stories of?

      Now those are some big assumptions and we also have the report that an investigator on the night of the shooting wasn’t convinced. But doubts, even strong ones, don’t necessarily translate into a winnable case. Especially since the denouncement made Martin look very bad, especially if the forensics confirm there was struggle for the gun when it was fired.

    • Alpheus says:

      Even in a case of clear self-defense, M doesn’t get to thump Z’s pumpkin as much as he likes. He only gets to thump Z’s pumpkin as much as it takes to neutralize the threat. At that point, he needs to get away and call 911.

  14. Andy B. says:

    . . .the “facts” don’t seem to be “fluid” at all.

    Here’s some fluid for you: I’ve just been watching newly released ABC News video, of security camera video from the police station when Z was taken in. Z appears to have a bandaid on his nose, but is otherwise uninjured. There appear to be no visible wounds or bruises on the back of his head (his hair is extremely short). There is no apparent blood on his face or shirt from a serious nosebleed. He gets out of the car with his hands cuffed behind his back, without aid, and is very steady on his feet.

    The undertaker who took M’s body is saying he saw no evidence of bruised or broken knuckles consistent with M having been engaged in a fist fight.

    Merging this with any apparently settled facts is going to be difficult.

  15. Robert says:

    “1) I do not carry a gun to protect you. I carry it to protect me and mine. I don’t know you, who or what you are, so you’re on your own. Get your own gun, get your own training, get your own CWP. Sorry if you don’t like that, but welcome to Planet Earth.”

    Sorry that your girlfriend set you up on a bogus DV charge and you can’t own a firearm, or you’re just in town visiting from out of state and can’t get a LTC where you live cause they don’t issue them, or you just walked out of that restaurant / bank / courthouse / movie theater and you don’t have your handgun on you cause it’s in the car, or you’re only 17 yrs old working at your family quickie mart and you can’t carry a gun, or you’re homeless and can’t even afford a gun much less carry one legally, or…

    You get the point.

  16. Patrick H says:

    I totally get this idea, but its not me. I carry to defend myself and others. And that includes strangers. If I see a women getting stabbed- I wouldn’t NOT be able to act. I couldn’t live with myself. I don’t care about the post stuff- money, hate, loss of job and friends. As long as I know that I did the right thing- damn the consequences.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think if you directly witness a felonious assault like that, that’s a very different thing that acting on suspicion, or getting involved in something where life isn’t really at stake. I don’t know if I could just stand there either if someone were actively being viscously attacked. I think that’s a call everyone has to make for themselves, but I honestly wouldn’t look down on someone who just called the police and hoped for the best.

      It also, I think, depends on where you are. If you live in Philadelphia, the justice system there is considerably less tolerant of self-defense. Much different situation than if you live in, say, San Antonio or Tucson.

  17. kfg says:

    Some people are dogs. On the other hand some people are cats. I understand that the dogs don’t care for the cats overmuch, but I’ve never noticed that growling at them has ever managed to turn a cat into a dog.

  18. Ayuh says:

    I don’t carry a gun to protect you, my neighborhood, or society as a whole.

    That makes you a poor citizen. I’m pretty sure you aren’t a sheepdog.

    If you saw someone being murdered, raped, or kidnapped – would you intervene or call the cops?

  19. Windy Wilson says:

    In addition to the fluidity of the facts, I notice that virtually without exception everyone who claims to be trying to ensure that Zimmerman does not get a pass for going all “Emmett Till” on Martin seems to be encouraging others to find Zimmerman and go “Emmett Till” on him. And this includes the Congresswoman who spoke of how “black boys experience all the people leaving the elevator when they get on”, among other insults, and (reportedly) Spike Lee retweeting a wrong address for Zimmerman, causing an elderly couple to live in fear, and the New Black Panthers to announce a bounty for the safe capture of Zimmerman (reportedly also). In addition, of all the facts and factoids sprayed about like mercaptan, no one has claimed Zimmerman is trying to escape the jurisdiction of the court. Without that, the NBP offer of a bounty is duplicious and calculated to precipitate a lynching.
    But as was said above, the facts as they appear in the media are fluid and many people are intentionally incendiary, as if they want to balance ancient evils with a death of one not responsible for those ancient evils.

  20. TCK says:

    Well to be fair, as a member of an official (set up by the HOA and everything) Neighborhood Watch, it was his *job* (well volunteer, but you get the point) to drive around looking for suspicious people, and the unedited 911 call shows that Zimmerman immediately stopped trying to follow Martin after the operator told him it was unnecessary. I’m finding it hard to understand how it’s Zimmerman’s fault that Martin came *back* after running off and decided to start beating on him.

    Given what we now know of Martin (drug suspension from school, suspicion of theft, and social media activities self-identifying with the ‘thug’ lifestyle) it’s seeming increasingly likely that he decided to put the beatdown on Zimmerman for the terrible offense of dissing him.

    • kfg says:

      “I’m finding it hard to understand . . .”

      As would I. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to demonstrate that is what happened.

      You see? It’s exactly the same principle that forbids Zimmerman’s arrest. Choosing which party you favor and then filling in the blanks with hearsay and speculation is not allowed by the rules. For Zimmerman to walk it is not necessary to show that he acted in self defense, it is necessary to show that he didn’t.

      Zimmerman walking does not, in and of itself, in any way implicate Martin.

      “Given what we now know of Martin . . .”

      Congratulations, you’ve just excused the shooting of most of the world’s population using the same “logical” process used by the anti gun crowd against our rights to keep and bear arms while justifying their arguments at the same time. To win, be better than that.

  21. Lillian215 says:

    Why did you write in your article that Zimmerman cried for help. That’s the reason for the marches now. Everyone believes Zimmerman despite the lies he himself as told.

    • Harold says:

      I didn’t write it, but I would imagine he did so because that’s what the eyewitnesses reported. There’s also one or more 911 calls, and if those are handed to a trustworthy organization like BBN (the FBI’s crime lab is notoriously bad) then we’d likely get it confirmed or denied.

      It hardly matters with to my knowledge all the eyewitnesses saying Martin was on top of Zimmerman, which was easy to determine because of the red color of his outer clothing.

  22. Alice says:

    Zimmerman is racial “B” he called Martin a F coon….
    If he is FOUND NOT “G” – Looks M – can pay ZIMMERMAN $40,000 (HOW TO KILLED A COON) – LIKED THEY PAID EMMETT TILL KILLER IN 1953 $4000 FOR THEIR STORIES….

    • Patrick H says:

      There is much debate on what exactly he said. Most likely he said F’ing PUNKS. But there is much doubt that we can ever figure out what he said.

      And I guess hispanics who are racists like Zimmerman never go out of their way to protest the beating of a black homeless man by a white cop… oh wait Zimmer DID do that.

      • Harold says:

        Actually the son of a white cop.

        And two of the cops he called out by name for sanctions responded to the incident, including the one who personally handled him and wrote those bits in the report about Zimmerman’s injuries and his back showing evidence of his being on the ground.

        As I’ve noted in another posting’s comments, I wonder if some of the police department’s actions and inactions stem from this.

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