Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Florida's Stand Your Ground law, is it a good idea, or an invitation to legalized murder?

Asked by ETpro (34425points) March 21st, 2012

Under Jeb Bush and intense pressure from NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, Florida GOPers passed the ill-conceived Stand Your Ground law. It’s not just Florida where this is the law. The GOP has rammed this legislation through in 21 states to date. It’s like a return to Tombstone Arizona circa 1881 and the gunfight at the OK Coral. The Stand Your Ground law allowed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, a serial 911 caller, to gun down an unarmed 17 year old boy, Trayvon Martin. Martin was acting in a highly threatening manner, armed as he was with a pack of Skittles and some iced tea. Not only that, he was black in a predominantly white neighborhood. Reason enough to kill him first and ask questions later, right?

What are the Stand Your Ground rules? Is it OK to shoot anybody you don’t like, so long as you say after they are dead and unable to tell their side of the story that you felt threatened by them? Or do they have to be black in a predominantly white neighborhood? Does their armament have to be Skittles, or will any candy do? Please educate me, because it strikes me that if you can shoot people of any race, the Stand Your Ground laws could be a great tool for electioneering. The first political party to heavily arm themselves and murder all their opposition will win the next election. Great idea, right?

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300 Answers

tedd's avatar

The stand your ground law is being mis-identified as the problem.

Zimmerman pursued the victim, at great length, with intent to confront. That’s not standing your ground, that’s chasing. The self-defense motion will not protect him on that. Where he got off on it in this case according to the Sanford police is that the two clearly broke into a fight, and in the course of that fight Zimmerman pulled his gun and killed the victim.

As it stands with that evidence and no witnesses to corroborate or dispute Zimmerman’s account, they don’t really have anything they can do. He claims self defense, just as he could even in a state without the “Stand-your-ground” clause, and they can’t say otherwise yet.

That said, I feel the federal review is going to prove that Zimmerman himself started the confrontation, and hence was not acting in self defense whatsoever.

I am a Democrat, a liberal, and strongly in favor of stand your ground laws.

marinelife's avatar

It is a horrible idea. The carrying of hand guns by private citizens with no training is a horrible idea.

The man in Sanford’s paranoia and xenophobia were a terrible combination with a gun.

tedd's avatar

This is gonna be the first post in a while where I think I will disagree with a majority of fluther :) lol.

missingbite's avatar

For most people “stand your ground” is a great idea. Just like considering your car an extension of your home is a great idea. And it works. Car jacking is down 93% in my state because a driver can shoot to kill if they are threatened.

tedd's avatar

@ETpro Just like we often tell jaxk about listening to Fox “News” propaganda… I think you may wanna let up off the intake of “news” you’re hearing about stand-your-ground laws.

jca's avatar

I gave this a GQ as I was going to ask this same question today!

TexasDude's avatar

It is a good law. The Zimmerman case is a tragic example of the law mis-applied, which does not invalidate the value of the law itself.

wundayatta's avatar

Why is it a good law? Why should someone not have to back off in order to see if that would defuse a potentially dangerous confrontation? The idea, philosophically, of standing your ground, seems pretty much like a stupid tactic, since backing off is much more likely to lead to a cooling off than “standing your ground.” What’s more important here? Life? Or property?

Oh. Wait. I forget where I am. In America property trumps life. Of course. Macho nonsense!

TexasDude's avatar

@wundayatta will you please cool it with the rhetoric and hyperbole for a second? This isn’t about being “macho” or whatever or being obsessed with property. Read this article. I agree with the sentiments of the guy who wrote the law as quoted within. The stand your ground law is about not being punished for defending yourself on your own property, not chasing an innocent person down and murdering them like in the Zimmerman case. If someone comes into my home or vehicle with the intent to harm me or my family, then I should be able to fight back without being prosecuted. Sometimes you can’t just run away for any number of reasons and using force is the only option. That’s why I hold that the law is good, but this Zimmerman issue is a gross misapplication of it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

My only surprise is that it has taken this long to have a senseless murder take place on the basis of that law.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I’m with you. It’s a good law. It’s just being grossly misapplied here with this case.

nikipedia's avatar

I agree the law is being misapplied; I also think it’s a terrible law and this outcome is hardly a surprise to anyone.

tranquilsea's avatar

Elucidate me please? How was the self defence provision not enough?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Stand your ground can also mean you are not obligated to prove you had no other way out.
For example, without SYG, if someone kicks in your front door while you are at home, in some states you are obliged to look for a means of escape before fighting back. You may only fight back if you can prove you had no means of escape. That is ridiculous.
With SYG you have the right to respond before being cornered.

jca's avatar

Today on the radio, they played one of the 911 calls that had Trayvon Martin in the background, screaming for his life, “HELP! HELP!” while the caller explained to the 911 operator what was happening. She said she did not know what was going on, she did not want to go out there, but someone is outside screaming for help. That does not sound like something where the shooter could say he was involved in a confrontation where he was being threatened. Even if he was threatened at one point (doubtful, but let’s just say even if he was), there comes a point where the shooter pulls out the gun and the boy is begging for his life. Therefore, at that moment, shooter was not threatened, he was shooting for the sake of shooting. They said on the radio that even if the shooter cannot be prosecuted under Florida law, it may go to the Federal level. I hope so. I hope the shooter does not get away with murder.

Blackberry's avatar

I agree and disagree, so I’m indifferent.

Maybe Florida, of all states, shouldn’t have this law. They’ve proven themselves to not handle many things well it seems, lol.

6rant6's avatar

@Blackberry I dunno. The more Floridians that carry guns, the fewer Floridians there will be for the rest of us to deal with.

6rant6's avatar

My take on this stuff is that this law encourages a few people to create situations where they can behave violently. Basically, I am concerned about people who would want to own guns. Think of the most hot-headed, macho, self-important asshole you know (a gun collector obviously) and now decide whether you want him to be able to shoot your kid because this numnum orchestrates a situation where he feels threatened.

I don’t.

zensky's avatar

Show me a law that hasn’t ever been misused? This makes it bad?

GladysMensch's avatar

This is not, or should not be a “stand your ground” issue. I think a jury is going to have a hard time believing that Zimmerman was forced shoot Martin out of fear. Especially since Zimmerman outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds.

wundayatta's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Go ahead and dismiss what I have to say as rhetoric if you have no substantive way of arguing against my points. I read your article and nothing there seems to make a difference. I read what others have said about “stand your ground” and I think you are all wrong.

Human beings are more important than property. Someone coming into your house uninvited could well be an intruder going after your jewelry or something, but he or she might also be mentally ill or mistaken or drunken or who knows what.

I won’t apologize for placing people first. You can protect your family without shooting the intruder. It is worth waiting until you have no other other choice before you start shooting. Death should not be the consequence of accidentally entering the wrong house, much less walking down the streets of the wrong neighborhood while inhabiting a body with the wrong color skin.

The idea of “stand your ground” is macho nonsense. It is not clear thinking. It understands nothing about problem solving and dispute resolution. It is ignorant and is not based on the large knowledge base we have about how to resolve disputes without hurting people. It is, I believe, based on the myth of the wild west and the roots of the American culture. But most of all, it is wrong.

Ron_C's avatar

The shooter did more than stand his ground, he chased the kid down. At this point, it didn’t matter if the kid was armed or not. The shooter was the aggressor. In fact, if the kid had a gun and shot his pursuer, he would have had a justified shot.

The asshole on the “neighborhood watch” has probably been living in fear most of his life. especially, if he listens to Republican rhetoric, and was just waiting to shoot someone especially anyone that is non-white.

TexasDude's avatar

@wundayatta, the law isn’t a license to wantonly murder anyone who stumbles into your house. You are misunderstanding the intent. It simply protects you from prosecution if you are forced to legitimately defend yourself. Someone shooting a harmless mentally ill person who wandered into their home because they were confused would not be excused under this law. You keep focusing on property being more important than life. This law protects people who are forced to defend themselves from bodily harm. Have you read the text of the law itself? Not everything is an evil conservative conspiracy to murder people.

tedd's avatar

@wundayatta The law would protect you even if you used non-lethal forms of self-defense. Under typical self-defense laws you could be prosecuted for using a tazer on a home invader who is threatening your family—assuming they could prove you had reasonable means of escaping without harming the intruder. It is a great law, because how often do you hear about some criminal suing someone because he got a broken nose when the guy knocked him to the ground to defend himself, or something of that like?

I don’t know why the law was brought up in the first place… under even the basic self-defense laws, Zimmerman would still be un-arrested, and Martin would still be dead. Both the SYG and regular self-defense rules would cover him here due to the lack of evidence.

Judi's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard , in this case, it appears to be protecting someone who wilfully pursued someone he thought might be doing something suspicious, confronted an unarmed kid and shot him. At least that’s what the police who refuse to arrest him say.

wundayatta's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard But that’s just it. How do you know the mentally ill person is harmless? They might be spouting off nonsense and talking belligerantly and acting as if this is their house. They might start walking around the house, breaking things. Even throwing things at the homeowner.

You could legitimately shoot the person, because you might legitimately feel threatened and under the law, you would be fine. I think that people should retreat first. Get out of the house. Let the cops take over. I don’t want to see people killing others, because they believe they are defending themselves if they could have gotten out of the situation some other way.

Think of it this way: what would they do if they didn’t have a gun? Could they protect the people without a gun?

tedd's avatar

@Judi Incorrect. Where Zimmerman is probably going to end up getting pinched in trial, is that the SYG law would not (as in most definitely not) cover him chasing the kid down in public. What it does cover (and again, BASIC self defense laws cover this too), is that the two very obviously became engaged in a hand to hand fight. Witnesses got spotty images (sadly no one got the actual gunshot), but the two were fighting (Martin winning from the sounds of it)... and Zimmerman decided to pull a gun and shoot Martin. Since the police have no witnesses to say otherwise, the only evidence they have is Zimmerman saying he felt for his life, and responded in self defense. In fact, I dunno how SYG got brought up, it doesn’t even apply here.

At the end of the day, Zimmerman is a scumbag, and he’s probably going to go to jail for a litany of reasons. But the SYG self defense laws do not apply to this case… they’ve merely been pulled out by left-wing pundits looking to stir up political controversy…. Seriously guys, we yell at the likes of jaxk all the time on here for taking Fox “News” at it’s word and not realizing they’re feeding him a line of BS….. Let’s not eat a line of it ourselves.

Judi's avatar

@tedd , I admit, I never read any police statements saying that the SYG law was the reason they didn’t arrest him. Have the police made a satement as to why he wasn’t arrested?
I know that my hubby has taken a lot of fire arms training and rule number one (well maybe not one, two or three) is always, don’t go after the bad guy, let him come to you. Chasing someone down that you “think” is a threat, then confronting him with a gun should be illegal unless you’re law enforcement.

wundayatta's avatar

@tedd What are you talking about? This is not about left wing journalists. The police in the town seemed to be suggesting SYG made it not worth arresting the guy. In what other way could they not have arrested him?

Personally, I don’t think the local cops wanted to take it on. They were hoping some prosecutor with deeper pockets would deal with it.

6rant6's avatar

Real Evidence: Deaths Nearly Triple Since ‘Stand Your Ground’ Enacted

So, still, as long as it’s in Florida…

Ron_C's avatar

@Judi “Chasing someone down that you “think” is a threat, then confronting him with a gun should be illegal unless you’re law enforcement.” I am pretty sure that it is and like someone else said, “Zimmerman is a scumbag” and will probably spend a great deal of time in jail. Additionally, I think the police department is guilty of dereliction of duty and heads should roll from there also.

tedd's avatar

@wundayatta @Judi The police never said anything about SYG. They said “self defense” ... as in the same law that all 50 states have. In fact if you search the Police Chiefs statement, I don’t think the word “stand” is even in it.

As I said in my little rant… what Zimmerman did would be protected under basic self defense laws in all 50 states. There are no witnesses there to say that he had other options available to him. All the police have is his word that he feared for his life, and it was his life or Martin’s.. and hence he pulled the gun and used it.

Stand-your-ground would not apply to Zimmerman chasing down Martin, as Martin had committed no crime, and was on public property. Simply being “suspicious” is not enough.

Where self-defense comes into play is once the fist fight had begun between the two. Zimmerman can claim that Martin started the fight, and in the course of it Zimmerman came to think his life was in danger, and he used his gun to defend himself. Again that would be legal in all 50 states, SYG does not apply whatsoever. Sadly there none of the witnesses were good enough (ie saw the fight start/end/etc, they all saw bits and pieces and no one saw the start or end) to contradict what Zimmerman said… and hence that’s all the police had to go off of.

But the case against Zimmerman will come together in my opinion. The forensic evidence is going to prove who started the fight, and what the situation was when Zimmerman produced his gun. There will also be a huge problem with the whole chasing the kid down thing, even despite police (dispatcher) orders.

@wundayatta I hadn’t heard thing one about stand your ground self defense until I turned on MSNBC last night.

6rant6's avatar

If the black kid had pulled the gun and said the white guy was chasing him, does anyone think the police would have been so credulous?

Judi's avatar

@tedd, I think that self defense is an affirmative defense in most places, which means (but I’m not a lawyer) that he has a duty to PROVE it was self defense, the police don’t have to prove that it wasn’t.

jca's avatar

If I didn’t have something to do tonight, it would have been great to be down the city at the Million Hoodie March.

ETpro's avatar

@tedd I agree with the right to use deadly force when necessary to defend yourself against severe aggression. My concern with this law has nothing to do with liberal media coverage. I posted this question strictly based on what I have heard on the main stream media’s coverage. I was appalled that the police did not even seem interested in investigating the shooter. He has a history of placing paranoid calls to 911. The 911 operator told him not to follow the kid, that they would handle it. He followed him anyway. In the tapes of 911 calls that homeowners made, you can hear Trayvon yelling for help. One woman came out of her house and witnessed Zimmerman sitting on the boy’s back, holding him face down in the dirt before shooting him. In Zimmerman’s 911 call, he is heard making a racially charged statement. If none of that is enough to even investigate whether he used excessive force, then Florida is treating this law as open season on anyone you don’t like—or perhaps it only works when it’s someone who is black in a predominantly white neighborhood.

@marinelife That’s certainly how this incident seems to me.

@missingbite My concern is not with the law, but with the fact that the Sanford police seem to be shirking their duty to investigate the self defense claim.

@jca Sorry. Wasn’t trying to upstage you. :-)

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I don’t know how this law is written. Generally, if you use deadly force you have to prove it was in self defense. If this law is actually written so that it is the other way around, and the dead man has to prove it wasn’t self defense, then it is most definitely not a good law.

Here are the 911 calls and this and here’s Zimmerman’s call. You decide whether there is probable cause for an arrest or a grand jury action.

@wundayatta Has a point. The pro-lifers today seem to only care about protecting life till someopne is born. After that, death by execution, shooting or just lack of access to health care is fine.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Thanks for posting that link. It would seem from that that the problem is with the Sanford police chief and not the law.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I am in full agreement with @tedd on this one.

Hoplophobia is simply ridiculous.

tedd's avatar

@ETpro Totally in agreement, the PD there completely screwed up the investigation. But I don’t think the SYG self defense law has anything really to do with that. Even if it had been the standard self defense law it seems to me it would’ve played out exactly the same.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

A few years ago I took a job that involved carrying large amounts of cash late at night. After a colleague was shot and robbed, I decided to take a class, get a concealed weapons permit, and buy a stainless steel S&W .357 hamerless snub-nosed revolver. I put a lot of thought into this. I chose a quality revolver because they work every time and can stand abuse, unlike semi-autos and all their moving parts. I chose a snub nose because the incident would probably happen in my car necessitating close gunplay. I chose a hamerless because, if the perp tried to get the gun, they wouldn’t take my thumb with it. I chose hollow points (which are legal in Florida) because I wanted the round to stop inside my target and not kill some old lady behind him.

The class I joined involved a few hours on the pistol range, a few hours on the care and maintenance of the weapon, and a few on gun safety and gun law. Our instructors were ex-cops. We were issued a book on Florida’s gun law, with a chapter dedicated to the new (at the time) “Florida Stand Your Ground Law.” My understanding of the SYG Law is a distillation of that chapter and advice from the instructors. I am not a lawyer, but this is the criteria under the SYG Law in which you can justifiably use deadly force, from what I’ve been able to ascertain:

According to the book, “Florida’s Gun Law,”
1. You must be in a situation where you are certain that you are at risk of bodily harm by another person.

2. You must be in a situation where you are unable to flee the scene.

3. A Concealed weapons carrying permit will help you when you appear at the hearing where you will have to prove the two items listed above.

According to my ex-cop instructors,
1. Never draw your weapon unless you intend to shoot and never shoot unless you intend to kill.

2. When the cops show up, never use the word “kill” in the report. Always use the word “stop,” as in “I was just trying to stop the guy,” or “I stopped him by shooting him in the face.” (Four people are alive today to change their lives because I didn’t follow this advice.)

4. You may not be arrested on the spot, and if the State Atty finds that the police report doesn’t satisfy the criteria for SYG, there will probaly be a hearing—especially if someone was killed. If you are unable to prove SYG criteria to the judge at the hearing, there will be an expensive trial.

When they first passed this law, I was certain that there would be an immediate rash of incidents where people would be shooting their long-time bullies, spouses, etc., and innocent bystanders would be killed by unskilled shooters, but that didn’t happen. There was a situation where a repo man shot a debtor after the debtor allegedly tried to run the repo man over with a car late at night outside a Tampa strip club, but that hasn’t come to trial yet. The repo man is charged with murder. Another where a guy defended himself with a shotgun against what he thought was a home invasion, but was really a late-night surprise visit from a SWAT team. The homeowner is charged with attempted murder of a LEO. Overall, the carnage I expected didn’t happen.

From what I’ve read so far, Mr. Zimmerman didn’t meet the criteria of the SYG law and he is in a lot of trouble. Should he have been arrested on the spot? I probably would have been. My guess is that, being a Neighborhood Watch captain in a small town like Sanford, he probably knows the cops that showed up and they used their discretion. Is the Chief too slow to react? I think so. But all I know is what the media has told us. From what the media has told us, Mr. Z. sounds like a hothead looking for an excuse to off a [black man]. The cops sound incompetent. The police chief more so. The city commission is portrayed as being victimized by their city manager’s poor choice in a chief who was a replacement for the previous chief who was involved in another racial scandal. But who knows? When you have a news media that values scandal, circulation and ratings over fact and truth, how can you take anything they print seriously?

I blame the NRA and similar lobyists for the dangerous environment that many of us find ourselves in while just trying to make a living. I’m not talking about insured workers who have a financial cushion and work in safe offices, I’m talking about uninsured convenience store clerks and taxi drivers that will become homeless due to loss of income if they survive a gunshot wound or a beating. I blame the NRA and their ilk for the environment that gives sick people like Mr. Z. the paranoid confidence to kill a kid carrying a bag of candy because his hoodie and low pants looked just like the ones worn by the black gangsters he sees on his TV. This corrupt system of legalized bribery has flooded our streets with handguns and made them easily available to anyone with the dollars to get one, both legally and illegally—equally available to the sane, the insane, the felonious, and the unpredictable substance abuser. It is just another instance, one of many, where mendacious greed and a sick political system has eaten away at our quality of life.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Actually, if the kid had been legally armed and had shot Mr. Z. dead after being stalked and threatened by him, the kid would have had a much tighter SYG case than Z in the state of Florida. Because of the stalking, and the fact that the kid was running away from Z. and not toward him, Z. not only has no SYG case, he has no self defense case at all in any of the fifty states. If we are to believe the media, Z. stalked and murdered a juvenile simply because the kid was on Neighborhood Captain Zimmerman’s turf while being black and dressed in such a way that threatend Z. personally.

jca's avatar

I think Z did stalk and murder a juvenile because of his dress and skin color. Honestly, the more I see crap like this, the clearer things are.

SavoirFaire's avatar

It seems to me that the law is redundant. It is already legal in all 50 states to defend yourself, even to the point of using lethal force under sufficiently threatening circumstances. What, beyond this, do these Stand Your Ground laws permit that we would be irrational to disallow?

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Looking at the results in Florida, deaths from justifiable homicide tripled after passage of the SYG law, but the violent crime rate went down. I reckon that says that, for the most part, it’s working.

@CaptainHarley & @Espiritus_Corvus I think the problem here was mainly with a small-town police force and chief who either didn’t even know what their job was, or couldn’t be bothered to do it. Race may well have played a role in what they saw as being their job. They didn’t even bother to question the shooter. They took no statement from the victim’s girl friend, whom he called on his cell phone while trying to get away from Zimmerman. They really conducted no investigation of any kind, and that’s unconscionable when someone has been shot to death.

@jca It certainly seems so as more facts emerge.

@SavoirFaire Not necessarily. What constitutes legitimate self defense differs depending on where you are. What seems to have inspired the Florida law and others like it is that, in many jurisdictions, you are required to run away if at all possible. Even in a home invasion, you may be expected to abandon your home if possible and let the criminal have their way. You can call 911, but there have been too many cases where it took 30 minutes or even a hour or more for the police to actually show up even when shots were heard during the 911 call.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m pretty sure under Florida’s SYG law, if you have a way to leave the scene safely and instead choose to confront the attacker, you are going to have trouble proving justifiable homicide in court. I don’t have the text with me, but as I remember it, it isn’t as wild west as the name implies.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus If that applies to a confrontation in public, I would support that. In my opinion, you should have the right to use deadly force to protect your home from a home invasion, or your car from a carjacker.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Right. I believe that’s the deal. There was a case where a guy was filling his car in the early morning hours using a debit card at a closed gas station and another guy came up demanding money. Rather than run to safety, he shot the agressor. The shooter will be going to trial to prove the shooting was justifiable as there was an open sex shop/massage parlor nearby lit up like an airport. If you are confronted in your home, business or car, the requirement to flee is not applicable. You can shoot the tresspasser if he is confronting you. But if he is in the process of running from you, you will have problems proving justifiable homicide. Another case, similar to the Sanford case, is where a guy in Tampa was standing on his lawn yelling at a young skateboarder across the street at a community basketball court. The guy insisted that what the kid was doing, skating on the bball court, was illegal and when the kid ignored him, the guy came charging across the street with a gun in his hand evidently to enforce the law. A man teaching his daughter how to shoot hoops attempted to intervene on behalf of the skateboarder and after a short yelling match was shot in the chest for his efforts and died at the scene in front of his horrified daughter and the bewildered skateboarder. The shooter got ten years after failing to prove SYG.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro There are laws to that effect, but they are invalid. Two US Supreme Court rulings hold sway on these issues. Beard v. United States (1895) held that there can be no duty to retreat from one’s home, and Brown v. United States (1921) held that there can be no duty to retreat in the face of imminent threat.

vitro's avatar

That blog you linked to wrote some pretty stupid stuff, and a lot of your statements are biased.

“Hammer pushed a bill that allowed citizens to take guns into the state capital. In an environment where Gabrielle Giffords is shot by an enraged citizen how is this a good idea?”

If everyone were allowed to carry guns, there would only be one or no causalities/deaths at all in the Arizona shooting. Same goes for all the school shootings. Instead of hiding behind a desk, the people would be able to gun down the gunmen.

Disarming citizens only punishes the citizens because criminals will always get a hold of a gun, so you’re only empowering the criminals while making the innocent vulnerable. It also leaves you vulnerable if the police or military gets corrupted and abuses you at will.

Take Vermont, the state that has no gun laws at all, and has the lowest crime rate in the country. Why? Because criminals know that everyone is armed.

Florida Gun Laws

“Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are

Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm
Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.”

First of all, Zimmerman is Hispanic, not white. Secondly, there were 6 witness’s with conflicting stories. For example, “a witness to the physical altercation just prior to the shooting stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating him up, while the older man yelled for help” source Thirdly, the police chief said that the suggestion to not follow Martin was not a lawful order that Zimmerman had to abide by.

Zimmerman had a bloody nose and a wound on the back of his head when police arrived. It doesn’t turn into a more serious bodily harm when you get attacked in the back of the head which means according to the law above, his self-defense was justified. Question is if Zimmerman provoked it, but you have to prove that before charging him.

One is innocent in this country until proven guilty, so unless the accuser can prove it wasn’t self-defense, one shouldn’t be allowed to charge the defender with anything. Hence the stand-your-ground-law is great. It’s also great because you shouldn’t have to retreat from a place that you have every right to be on. You should be able to defend yourself anywhere.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Your source is Fox News quoting an unnamed source. Say no more. I’d be just as likely to believe something published by Pravda back in its day.

I do agree on one point, though. Let’s wait for the prosecuting attorney appointed by the Florida Governor to gather all the evidence and sort the shooting out before any rush to judgement.

vitro's avatar

No more biased then you’re, and fox news got this information from the authorities who received the phone call from the witness. There are a lot of precautionary reasons why one doesn’t leave their real name when reporting an incident in a 911 call.

vitro's avatar

Look at Detroit. They don’t have no stand-your-ground law, yet.. Self Defense Killings in Detroit Spike to 2200% Above National Average; Justifiable Homicide up 79%

79% Justified…

And then there was this recent 8 year study released on gun self-defense incidents. Link to study

The study was conducted on 5000 gun self defense incidents over eight years. Some points:

1. Out of 5000 self-defense incidents a grand total of only 11 armed citizens were disarmed by the criminal.

2. A total of 1,227 intruders fled when confronted by an armed homeowner.

3. 210 bad guys shot dead v.s 36 armed citizens shot dead.

4. The claim that gun ownership will lead to incidences of gun road rage and other irresponsible gun behavior was also disproved by the study.

gorillapaws's avatar

@vitro “If everyone were allowed to carry guns, there would only be one or no causalities/deaths at all in the Arizona shooting. Same goes for all the school shootings. Instead of hiding behind a desk, the people would be able to gun down the gunmen.”

This 20/20 special If I only had a gun has a lot of evidence that directly contradicts this point. I would feel a hell of a lot safer being a bystander during a convenience store robbery knowing that everyone else in the store was unarmed and that no one was going to try to be a hero. Being armed tends to alter your thinking from what’s the safest way to get the fuck out of here, to let’s fight back (ignoring all of the others that may get hurt in the process), it creates tunnel thinking.

vitro's avatar

Too many problems with that video and your argument.

1. You’re basically arguing that students should crawl up into ball and hide under their desk rather then have the opportunity to at least try to defend themselves. Statistically speaking alone, if more students were armed then not, someone would hit the target, even if 30, 50, 100 of them were all amateur shooters.

2. This video is complete tripe. The first few seconds of this video alone are proof of the failure of this experiment. They admitted to giving weapons to people who have no training, and the “armed intruder” was told by the producers that the student had a concealed weapon. The biased folks admitted to hand selecting the subjects.

3. Even those in the video are hypocritical. It shows individuals in a staged situation where anticipation itself prevented adrenaline and instinctive nature to take over.

4. The sample size and number of trials creates a huge gap for error.

5. That girl who shot the guy in the leg hit the the femoral artery which means the guy is pretty much dead. Femoral artery is a few of the largest arteries in the body.

6. There is nothing in their experiment that demonstrated that the person’s carrying had a negative impact. It was neutral, however, as said before, 1 out of 3 resulted in a fatal wound that would have stopped our would be attacker from moving to the next room and killing even more people.

7. The video is trying to show that gun permit owners don’t save lives, yet neither of these students had permits.

8. The video takes an extremely rare example of a cop shooting his foot accidentally, so we should probably disarm all the cops too?

9. Concealed carry is slower then open carry, and another problem with the newbie students is that they were never taught basic things like you take cover first behind something to stop the bullet, or attempt to conceal yourself behind something that blocks view. Then you can pull out the weapon which they, of course, have never tried until now. The only one who knew this was the “experienced guy”.

10. Whatever concealed carry problems occurred is due to first time experience and most importantly, if you still claim concealed carry is a problem, then open carry would stop all the problems that you get with concealed carry.

11. Police do not train that much. They see less then 15 hours of range training a year. By converse, leagues, such as the IDPA, would give the average competitor 15 hours in just a year’s season, nevermind the practice, and in a far more realistic scenarios (since scenarios are usually based on either training concepts or actual events). Furthermore, instead of the usual 2x a year, such range time would be spread out evenly over months. Again, nevermind the practice time.

12. Most who carry in waistband actually wear a normal shirt, not stretch-o-matic white under-Ts, like the first kid wore. Second, the quite basic concept of pulling the T-shirt up before drawing seems to have been missed. It prints like all get out and he had barely a few hours to become used to the feel before being thrown in a fight. Third, the holster was shity and position poorly. The huge ski gloves are ridiculous and the holster/weapon setup isn’t fitted for a glove wearing individual. He’s probably not even used to wearing gloves, much less manipulating a firearm he met a few hours ago.

13. They also picked the place, front center. Instead of continuing to shoot randomly into the crowd (like all the other such shooters), he hunts for the guy reaching and shoots him. I’d gladly stand up and let them run another scenario, rigged as it is, and let them see what an actual by-choice concealed carry individual does with their own gear. Also, they had glow guns which stand out like night lights.

I can keep going on forever with the problems and biases of this video, sigh. The actual yearly statistics conducted by various organizations alone show that gun permits save lives and lowers crime rates. I just gave you a huge one above… 210 bad guys shot dead v.s 36 armed citizens shot dead.

Here is another fairly recent one from the FBI. “Despite increases in gun sales, gun crimes continued to decrease in the United States for the fourth straight year in 2010, according to the FBI.

The FBI recently released its Crime in The United States statistics for 2010. Overall, murders in the U.S. have decreased steadily since 2006, dropping from 15,087 to 12,996. Firearms murders which made up 67 percent of all murders in the U.S. in 2010 have followed this trend, decreasing by 14 percent.

At the same time that firearms murders were dropping, gun sales were surging. In 2009, FBI background checks for guns increased by 30 percent over the previous year, while firearms sales in large retail outlets increased by almost 40 percent. The number of applications for concealed carry permits jumped across the country as well.”

California which has one of strickest gun laws in the Country. “According to FBI data, California had the most gun murders last year —- 1,257, which is 69 percent of all murders in 2010.”

“Broken down by firearms murder rate per 100,000 people, the District of Columbia is number one, with 16 firearms murders per 100,000 people in the District.

D.C. also topped the list of firearm robberies per 100,000 people with 255.98.

Yet D.C. arguably has the tightest gun laws in the country. Although an outright ban on handguns was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2008, legislators ensured the new regulations for obtaining a registered handgun would be anything but easy.”

vitro's avatar

Here is an actual real life experiment for you. In 1995, the United Kingdom banned hand gun ownership by private citizens while in America 21 states passed concealed hand gun laws. From 1995–2006 America’s population rose by 21 million and hand gun ownership rose by 50 million, In the United Kingdom, homicide rose by 36%, robbery rose by 38%, assault rose by 83%, sexual assault rose by 77%, while in America, homicide went down 31%, robbery went down 32%, assault went down 31%, sexual assault went down 17%.

In America, there are thousands of rapes and robberies each year on campuses that don’t allow guns, yet on campuses that allowed conceal carry for years, there were very little crimes. Utah Campuses, for example, have allowed concealed carry for years and all of Utah’s campuses have one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

And as I mentioned with Vermont, the state that has no gun laws (were you may carry open or concealed guns without permits) has the lowest crime rate in the country.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@gorillapaws I watched that video and found it ridiculous. The exercise was flawed. The shooter walked directly into the room knowing exactly which kid had the gun and just popped him. No wonder the kid was hit. But, had another student a few seats to the left or right been armed, the shooter would have been hit before he had the chance to fire off a second round. Also the other “students” were there intentionally to be a distraction for the test subject student – not the shooter. In real life cases where the shooter was suddenly in the room the student witnesses said they hid under their desks or on the floor and stayed quiet, trying not to draw attention to themselves. They were defenseless sheep. Some prayed right until they were killed.
In this fake example the ‘armed’ student was targeted. The only way he/she could have survived was if he had the gun drawn and was already aiming at the door when the “shooter” walked in. I wonder how the test exercise would have gone if the shooter walked into the room not knowing who and how many were carrying.

By the way, what was the kid supposed to answer when the female (police pretending to be a student) to his left asked “Are you carrying a gun?” Was he supposed to lie and answer “No”?

jca's avatar

@vitro: In your example # 1 above, if the students were all allowed to carry handguns, and there was a shooter, instead of hiding under their desks, you stated that “someone would hit the target, even if 30, 50, 100 of them were amateur shooters.” Yes, someone probably would hit the target with 30–100 amateur shooters, but with 30 -100 bullets flying around, a lot more than just the target would likely be hit, too.

vitro's avatar

Actually, if you look at one of my other points, the silly video doesn’t even show what it was set out to do. The amateur students who had no experience, and no permits, did absolutely no harm to any innocent civilian. They either failed to draw their weapon, or in case of the girl, it was a direct hit.

Also, look at the classrooms. They’re setup so there is no way for students to get int a crossfire.The students are all facing one direction, then you have a huge space in front of them, and the killer is facing the opposite. So this would be another reason why there would be no innocent casualties.

Thirdly, I gave you an example of Utah campuses. A lot of the students carry guns there, yet they maintain the lowest crime rates on all their campuses then any other state. Criminals prey on the defenseless, not those who can possibly kill them.

I was just playing into this silly hypothetical. In reality, this would never happen since no gun owner is that inexperienced, or dresses like that, haha, They practice and learn the basics like everyone else. It’s not rocket science. There is just too much historic and modern evidence out there that proves guns save lives and lower crime rates. This is typical propaganda.

vitro's avatar

Looking at the classroom again, and this is like that for all college classrooms, the students are sitting in a circle to semicircle position and each set of rows that go back are higher then the next. That too would prevent crossfire.

Response moderated
LuckyGuy's avatar

@vitro I was thinking the same thing. What gun owner carries like that? They set this kid up to fail. It doesn’t say much for the “firearms instructor”. I also laughed at the long fake fingernails on the women. Were they intentionally selected to make it difficult to find the trigger or rack the slide?
At least she got off a shot that would keep the shooter in the room until the police arrive – in 20–30 minutes.

vitro's avatar

Haha, everything was intentional here. They admitted it themselves. The huge gloves was the best. The sad part is if no one critiques this enough, they all buy into this tripe.

If that cop shot himself in the foot, then why should cops be the only one’s to protect us?
If concealed carry is such a problem, then why don’t you allow open carry to avoid it?

I’ll be sure to blow my rape whistle next time I run into some gun violence.

Disarming responsible people only puts a higher ratio of guns in the hands of criminals, which then leads to martial law!!!

Ron_C's avatar

I am rather ambivalent about the Stand Your Ground laws. I understand that there has been a three-fold increase in justifiable homicide in the states where these laws have been enacted but consider the fact that home invasions are also on the rise. Personally, I reserve the right for me to shoot anyone that comes into my house and threatens me or my family. However if I pull a gun and the guy runs away, I do not have the right to pursue and shoot him. I would follow and try to get more information like a better description and license number but there is no justification for shooting a person in the back.

Zimmerman chased the kid, probably fought with him and shot him because he was losing the fight. That is at least 2nd degree murder. In fact an argument could be made that he planned to shoot the kid thus making it a first degree murder.

I never really shot anyone, even in Vietnam I shot to make them go away rather than kill. I can’t imagine anyone that trigger happy and murderous. I know that if I actually killed someone, even if justifies, I would have trouble living with that fact.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro I’m in the same camp with @Ron_C. The Supreme Court has already set the precedent that we all have the right to use deadly force when necessary do protect our own lives, or those of our family or friends. I’m not entirely sure what Stand-your-ground laws add to that. Seems more political Kabuki theater than solid policy to me.

We just has an armed robbery of a bank here in Saugus, MA this evening. The robbers hijacked a car and fled. Police cornered them not far away and there was a shootout with 40 rounds exchanged and I suspect hit and killed. The other two robbers are now in custody. But 40 rounds and 1 hit the target. That doesn’t give me great confidence that if a whole class gull of excitable students were to draw weapons and open fire, the only casualty would be the bad guy.

I get the argument that gun laws only ensure that criminals alone will be armed. That’s a very compelling argument to me. But I think that a class in gun safety, maintenance and legal rules of engagement; plus some quality time on the range learning to actually hit the target should be a requirement for a concealed carry permit. I don’t want to be in more danger from well intentioned idiots than from the real bad guys.

vitro's avatar

Stand-your-ground law simply means when you claim self-defense, you’re not allowed to be arrested unless they have evidence that proves it wasn’t self-defense. It basically protects the defender from going through the whole process of sitting in jail and going through courts until they figure it out. Everything works the way it always did, through evidence. Witness’s, forensic, investigations, etc..But they have to prove it first before arresting. Also in regards to the law, you can defend yourself at the spot you’re being attacked at rather then requiring you to flee and wait till it’s a last resort. This applies anywhere. These two points makes it a great law.

The propaganda machine doesn’t report everything, that’s the problem. 99% of the media is reporting from one side (the grieving family) without giving both sides. They don’t mention the 50 suspicious person reports that were called in to police in the past year prior to Martin’s death. Nor does it mention the 8 burglaries, 9 thefts and one other shooting. Police were called to 260 locations 402 times for that year alone. They don’t mention that Zimmerman helped solve a lot of crimes prior to this incident. They also don’t show recent pictures of Martin, who was a 6’2 football player. Instead they show pictures of him as a child. Or how about for how many days they reported that Zimmerman was white, so that they can pin him for hate crime. Bringing up skin color, typical. Must really piss them off that he turned out to be Hispanic. Just look at his damn face. Ah, yes, most importantly, they don’t mention the 2 eye witnesses that the police spoke to who said Zimmerman was the one on the ground and Martin on top of him, and Zimmerman was the one yelling for help, not Martin.

I read this recently, the cops actually talked this over with the prosecutors that told them to let Zimmerman go because there wasn’t any evidence. The police also played over the voice to Martin’s father, and it wasn’t Martin yelling for help. This was a new report. It’s all flowing in slowly, stay tuned. Truth will come out.

I gave you like 5 different studies. There just isn’t any evidence out there that shows guys with gun permits are killing innocent civilians v.s the amount of justifiable defenses and the decline in crime.

vitro's avatar

Also, to this comment “whole class gull of excitable students were to draw weapons and open fire, the only casualty would be the bad guy.”

Two problems here. You assume that the students with guns are inexperienced like the silly video from 20/20, which is inaccurate since all gun owners practice aiming, and learn the basics of how to draw(pull) a gun, how to maneuver, and how to take cover, etc…

The second problem in your argument is that whether they’re experienced or not, you seem to be suggesting that rather then give students the opportunity to at least try to take down their attacker, they should rather be stripped of their guns because they might cause an innocent causality? If no student would have a gun to defend themselves, then they’re all dead, and after that class is dead, the killer will go to the next class. The logical choice is to rather have the 30 experienced(real practical answer) or “amateur students” try to take down their killer, instead of curling up into a ball to die.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro First, all arrests in the US require probable cause regardless of Stand Your Ground laws thanks to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, and we already have no duty to retreat thanks to the US Supreme Court (see my previous posts). As such, these laws seem redundant (or at least, the good parts of them seem redundant).

Second, we all know that crime exists. But the fact that previous crimes have occurred doesn’t make Trayvon Martin any more or less guilty. Nor does any good that George Zimmerman has done in the past change the fact that he followed stalked someone against police advice (thus undermining his Stand Your Ground case, since looking for trouble is not the same as standing your ground).

Third, I didn’t see any articles calling Zimmerman white. I saw articles calling him Hispanic, and some noting that he has a white mother and a Hispanic father. The news I read seemed careful to point out that this was not some clear cut case of racism. Perhaps you need to look into some better news sources.

Fourth, Martin had every right to defend himself after being stalked by Zimmerman. If there was a fight, it was still instigated by Zimmerman since there was no good reason to chase after Martin in the first place. Saying that the shooting is justified because Martin defended himself is like saying it’s okay to for a rapist to kill his victim because they fought back.

Fifth, I own many weapons. I know a lot of people who own weapons. They don’t all know how to use them, even if they should. As such, it is far too sweeping a generalization for you to say that “all gun owners practice aiming.” It would be nice if that were true, but it isn’t. That’s not a reason to limit gun ownership. I think we can agree on that. But we shouldn’t defend gun rights with falsehoods when there are better arguments available.

vitro's avatar

From an associated press article, “Florida, unlike most other states, grants immunity from prosecution or arrest to suspects who successfully invoke the “stand your ground” claim. And if a suspect is arrested and charged, a judge can throw out the case well before trial based on a self-defense claim. That happened Wednesday in an unrelated case. A Miami judge dismissed a second-degree murder case, citing the Stand Your Ground law and ruling that 25-year-old Greyston Garcia’s testimony about self-defense was credible.”

It looks like they can arrest him based on probable cause, but if he claims self-defense, then the judge can throw out the case before trial. So this wouldn’t be a redundant law.

Secondly, police advice is not a command Zimmerman had to abide by. Furthermore, Zimmerman is a neighborhood watch guy, so following Martin to see if he was up to no good is what a neighborhood watch job entails…so of course he is looking out for trouble…

“Martin had every right to defend himself after being stalked by Zimmerman.”

Uh, defending himself by attacking someone who’s duty as neighborhood watchman is to investigate if suspicious strangers are up to no good? No, that isn’t instigation nor is that a valid reason for martin’s “defense” by attacking Zimmerman first, in the back of the head of all places.

Thirdly, if your friends don’t know how to use weapons, what argument are you trying to make, that next time someone tries to harm them, they shouldn’t use their weapon to defend themselves?

vitro's avatar

I never was making the claim that media reporting tips the scale of guilt on those involved in the incident, but selective and deceptive reporting does tip the perspectives of the viewers towards the case. Just like that silly gun video.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro I only said that the parts being touted so far on the thread are redundant, not that every part of the law is redundant. I also said that only the good parts are redundant. I don’t like the idea of a judge getting to throw out a case just because someone says it was self-defense. In my opinion, that should be a matter for a jury to decide. Otherwise, you get activist judges deciding who is trustworthy and who is not.

As for police advice, I’m not saying that Zimmerman had a duty to follow it. But by going against it, he did give up his Stand Your Ground claim. It’s not standing your ground if you have to chase your supposed assailant. I’m familiar with neighborhood watch. My family started the neighborhood watch movements in my hometown. We were coached by the local police. Following is not part of it. That’s why it’s neighborhood watch. You are supposed to watch and inform. Everything else Zimmerman did was outside of his role as a neighborhood watchman.

And that’s why I say Martin had a right to defend himself. Consider his perspective (which we know from messages he sent friends). He was being followed by someone he considered to be suspicious. This person tried confronting him when he was doing nothing wrong. If someone starts stalking me at night, I’m going to be prepared to defend myself—and I have every right to do so.

Finally, the point about weapons was extremely simple. You said “all gun owners practice aiming.” But not all gun owners practice aiming. Therefore, what you said was false. That’s all I was saying: you said something false. Since there are true things that can be said to make the same point, I suggest not saying the false ones.

vitro's avatar

lol, what makes a judge throwing out a case based on the evidence presented any less legitimate then probable cause? And you’re not comfortable with this idea, yet you’re comfortable with a bunch of average simpletons (the jury) judging someone’s life? Just get some legitimate evidence first, then burden the self-defender with the system, otherwise leave him alone.

Standing your ground law applies to someone who is being attacked. Zimmerman was attacked, stood his ground, and shot his attacker. If Zimmerman provoked Martin, he would of been arrested by now. It’s against the law. You think just because someone is following you, you have a right to kick his ass first? Just in case? A precaution? Yeh right, i’m sure that’s going to hold up.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro We definitely need to let the investigation run its course. But from what we know so far, Zimmerman has a long history of calling 911 when a black person walks through his neighborhood. In the 911 call he is heard muttering “These assholes always get away with it—fu**ing ni&&er.” He then pursues Martin, who has committed the high crime of wearing a hoodie in the rain. A fight breaks out, and apparently, even though Zimmerman outweighs the kid by 100 pounds, he’s getting his ass kicked. The kid is a 67 2” athlete and probably much faster than Zimmerman. That appears to be when Mr. Zimmerman decided to pull his pistol and end the fight that he started. If that turns out to be how it played out, then Zimmerman has no protection under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Talk about unbiased coverage, how about Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera saying that the hoodie is more to blame for Martin’s death than the shooter. Too bad nobody took out Rivera and O’Reilley for wearing hoodies. Clearly, there were terrible threats worthy of being shot, dressed as they were.

vitro's avatar

Actually, the fact that Zimmerman is not arrested already puts him in the right and the media in the wrong. Remember, innocent until proven guilty. Too much people forget that about this country.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro What nonsense. Are all criminals who aren’t arrested immediately Innocent by right of not being arrested? By that logic, Hitler’s SS did nothing wrong, because they were not immediately arrested for their crimes against humanity.

vitro's avatar

He’s not a criminal if he did nothing wrong. The evidence was already examined and the decision was made. They took him off the hook. That right there blows holes in your irrelevant Nazi argument.

So right now they’re reinvestingating an innocent man, not a potential criminal.Big difference.

Look at how everyone was jumping to conclusions on Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson. Look how that turned out, yet everyone still continued denying the result of the trial.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro Maybe you want judges making all the decisions. I don’t. Regardless, this is a place where the law is again redundant or too permissive. Judges can already toss out cases where there is nowhere near enough evidence to go to trial. So this law either does nothing new, or it gives judges new powers to toss out cases where there is enough evidence to go to trial. We agree completely about getting evidence first, but we seem to disagree over whether the system should be allowed to do its job.

As for the court of public opinion, it is not bound by the laws of the criminal courts. People are not innocent until proven guilty in the court of public opinion, nor are they guilty until proven innocent. Perhaps you don’t like people having the right to free speech, or perhaps you just don’t like what some people do with it, but that is neither here nor there. So the media is not “wrong” for having an opinion about Zimmerman. They have a right to their opinion (though we need to remember that opinion shows aren’t news).

Finally, I’ll remind you that all I said was that I have a right to be prepared to defend myself if someone is stalking me. I said nothing to the effect that I have a right to just turn around and beat someone for following me. If someone started harassing me and initiated physical contact, however, I would have the right to end it. And the fact that I had defended myself would not give the person harassing me a Stand Your Ground defense. At present, the evidence is that Zimmerman accosted Martin first. The situation deserves to be investigated, not tossed aside because Zimmerman promises he is innocent.

vitro's avatar

Where in the recordings did you hear Zimmerman “accosting” Martin?

vitro's avatar

Hmm, why aren’t the black panthers arrested for threatening Zimmerman’s life and putting up wanted signs – dead or alive? Or this live threat to Zimmerman Or this contract hit/kidnapping

Or how about Spike Lee Re-twittering Zimmerman’s address which followed up with other parroting the same address and violent death threats. Just an example of the juicy comments, “Ima get a group of niggas to KILL George Zimmerman ( the fat ass racist ass white man who killed Trayvon Martin ) ! He deserves to DIE !!!!— Couldnt Care Less (@Simply_Reiona) March 24, 2012”

The president said he is in solidarity with these protesters, haha. Good to know. No media denouncing, no one in an uproar, no arrests, how come? When will the L.A Riots reenactment begin?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro If you read carefully, you’ll note that I never said the accosting is in the recordings. The recordings are not everything. I suspect we should look at the whole of the evidence, rather than just bits of it in isolation. As for what other people may or may not be doing in protest, those are separate matters. If they are breaking the law, they should be dealt with accordingly. But again, what other people do in no way changes the matters up for discussion here.

As for Obama, I would note that his solidarity was with the parents, students, and children participating in the Million Hoodie March, not with the Spike Lee or the Black Panthers. Perhaps he will directly address these latter incidents, perhaps he will not. I suspect not, of course, as he has nothing to gain by doing so. Regardless, it is bad form to pretend his statements about one group apply to all groups.

Finally, just as this case is not a matter of black versus white (or Hispanic, or anything else), it is not a matter of Democrats versus Republicans. Though they have had to play the political game since Obama made his own statements, let us not forget what the Republican candidates for president have said about the matter:

“Stand your ground is not doing what this man did.”
—Rick Santorum (source)

“It’s horrible case. I mean it’s chilling to hear what happened. And of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of horrible decisions made in this process.”
—Rick Santorum (source)

“There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.”
—Mitt Romney (source)

“Unnecessary. Uncalled for. And inexplicable at this point. We hope that justice is done in this case, as in all cases. But very, very tragic. And our hearts go out to his family, his loved ones, his friends. This shouldn’t have happened.”
—Mitt Romney (source)

”[Zimmerman] was clearly overreaching.”
—Newt Gingrich (source)

“There’s a point in there where there ought to be some kind of signal that’s pretty clear that this is a guy who’d found a hobby that’s very dangerous.”
—Newt Gingrich (source)

And just for good measure:

“There is nothing in the Castle Doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.”
—Dennis Baxley, Florida State Representative and sponsor of Florida’s Stand Your Ground legislation (source)

“This law does not apply to this particular circumstance [...] Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”
—Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida who signed Florida’s Stand Your Ground legislation into law (source)

vitro's avatar

As far as I know, the alternative evidence is witnesses but there were many and they have conflicting reports. You wrote, “At present, the evidence is that Zimmerman accosted Martin first.” I understood this statement as you have seen some concrete evidence. Is there some evidence other then witnesses? If so, what?

The quotes on stand-your-ground law are silly. There is nothing illegal about following a person, especially if there is no harassment or initiating physical contact. Therefore, if someone followed you in this manner, you would have no legitimate reason to attack in self-defense. Now, if you do end up attacking, the person will stand his ground and defend myself. This would legit since the person did not do anything illegal and you have no legitimate reason for attacking in self-defense.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Let’s face the known facts. Neither you nor I know who struck the first blow. Let’s wait for the investigation to be completed. I am just as disgusted with the New Black Panthers and left wingfers rushing to judgement as I am with the likes of you.

jca's avatar

Didn’t the police on the 911 call tell Zimmerman not to follow Martin, and to wait for the cops to come? If Martin was walking through the neighborhood, minding his own business, Zimmerman obviously was looking for some kind of confrontation, even if just to find out what Martin was doing there (with his dangerous hoodie and his weapon of choice, Skittles and a drink).

vitro's avatar

Yes, they told him it isn’t necessary for Zimmerman to pursuit Martin. However, that was only a suggestion, not a lawful command he had to abide by.

Let say it might have happened the way you claim it did. You have the following questions…

Was it illegal for Zimmerman to follow Martin?
Was it illegal for Zimmerman to ask were Martin is going?
Was it a justifiable self-defense attack by Martin in response to Zimmerman’s question?

jca's avatar

Definitely not illegal for Zimmerman to follow Martin. Definitely not illegal for Zimmerman to ask Martin where he was going. However, it was unnecessary for Zimmerman to ask him where he was going, as it is above and beyond the role of the neighborhood watch. If Zimmerman merely watched Martin, and alerted the police to any problems, as IS the role of the neighborhood watch, the outcome would likely be different.

vitro's avatar

True, the incident might have never occurred, but it doesn’t negative Zimmerman’s self-defense. That’s the point. As you said, it’s not illegal to follow, and it’s not justifiable to attack someone for asking him a question.

jca's avatar

Zimmerman was looking for trouble and he found it. Now, he’s doomed if he goes to jail because he’ll likely be killed there, and he’s doomed if he doesn’t go to jail because he’ll likely get his ass kicked or killed. So his vigilanteism and enthusiasm for law enforcement makes everyone lose.

vitro's avatar

He wasn’t looking for trouble. He was looking to prevent trouble, like he did successfully in the past for this neighborhood. Big difference. With the 50 suspicious calls, 8 burglaries, and 9 thefts or the 260 locations that police came to 402 times, is reason enough for Zimmerman to play close attention to Martin.

Now you’re bringing up a different issue entirely. If’s and buts. He’s not going to jail because there was no and will not be any legitimate evidence (in my opinion) and the likelihood of him being killed in jail is slim since the majority of the people in prison are Hispanic and black. His brothers there would protect him.

If Zimmerman ends up getting his ass kicked or killed as an innocent man now, then I wouldn’t be surprised if a race war breaks out between the Blacks and Hispanics (publicly or privately). It also wouldn’t surprise me if blacks start rioting if they end up finding no additional evidence in the case. See L.A riots. See Detroit Riots.

jca's avatar

You think because he’s half Hispanic, they’ll protect him in jail? Doubtful. Out of jail, he better go to Idaho and live off the grid.

He was looking for trouble. The cop told him not to follow Martin, he chose to follow him and obviously there arose a confrontation out of that. Was it necessary to follow Martin? No, since the cops were called and were on the way. That’s why everyone is so upset. This was all unnecessary. Is it a free country? Can I go out and follow my neighbors if I chose to do so? Yes but I can rest assured there would be trouble if I tried it.

vitro's avatar

Alright, we’ll see.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro The quotes were only provided so that we don’t pretend this is a matter of Democrats versus Republicans. It doesn’t matter what we think of the quotes, the point was just that this is not a partisan thing. As for evidence that Zimmerman struck first, see this article. I’m not pretending to have all the information. I want to see what a complete investigation yields. Still, it does not seem at all obvious to me that Zimmerman was innocent in this whole affair.

vitro's avatar

lol, abcnews again? Their gun video tripe which I critiqued wasn’t enough exposure to their biased and deceptive reporting?

But anyway, look at what the girl says in the video “then somebody pushed Trayvon because his headset just fell”

Just because the headset fell doesn’t mean someone pushed Martin. In fact, Orlando Sentinel reported (quoting police) Zimmerman told police that Trayvon Martin knocked him down with a single punch and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times before the shooting. Then further in the report it says witnesses confirmed Zimmerman’s story to the police.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro This case is going to get very complex. The FLoridfa Law is trash. It’s poorly written. If I start a fight with you, but then you get the better of me and I have reason to fear you will do me serious bodily harm of kill me, is it OK to turn the tables and shoot you—or does my having started it preclude delf defense in any case? Florida’s law doesn’t answer that.

If I chase after you and overtake you and beligerently ask you what you are doing in my neighborhood, and you can clearly see I am carrying a pistol on a belt holster, do you have reasonable concern that I might be about the threaten your life? That is the actual scenario here, as far as we currently know. Trayvon Martin, in that case, may have had the Stand Your Ground law on his side, not the other way around.

The right-wing has gone into high gear cranking out lies now to obfuscate this. THe left is not to be outdone. I heard a supposed friend of Zimmerman’s today doing the new show tour. He explained away the muttered “goddamn coon, they always get away” that Zimmerman was heard to mutter in his phone call to 911. He claimed it wasn’t coon but goon, and that calling somebody a god-damned goon” is a term of endearment. Here’s the debunk of that Big Lie.

You feast on stuff from Faux Noise and the rest of the right wing media and have the nerve to call ABC biased? ABC isn’t anywhere near perfect. But they print or issue on-air retractions when they learn they got something wrong. Fox goes on for weeks, months and even years repeating lies that have been thoroughly proven to be lies. They do not care about truth at all. They are just as much a propaganda operation as the North Korean state News or Castro’s news agency. I can prove it if you would like.

vitro's avatar

I don’t remember where I read it, but provoking the incident invalidates any claim of self-defense. So if Zimmerman provoked the fight, but got his ass kicked by Martin, and then pulled his gun out because he thought Martin might seriously hurt or kill him, then he wouldn’t be able to claim self-defense. He would have been arrested. But there isn’t any evidence that Zimmerman provoked the fight. Zimmerman only asked “what are you doing around here?”

Here, from abcnews, “In addition, an eyewitness, 13-year-old Austin Brown, told police he saw a man fitting Zimmerman’s description lying on the grass moaning and crying for help just seconds before he heard the gunshot that killed Martin.”

“Family spokesperson Ryan Julison confirmed to ABC News that Martin was suspended for an “empty baggy that had contained pot.”

Your description of the scenario is false too. It was night and raining. Zimmerman was wearing a red sweater/jacket and his gun was concealed. There wouldn’t be a clear sight of the weapon. What about undercover cops? They approach you in the same fashion.

There were many different interpretations of that blurry comment. The left is trying real hard to make this a hate crime, but as I stated before, there were 50 suspicious people reports prior, 8 burglaries, and 9 thefts, so it makes more sense that Zimmerman was motivated based on this history of crime rather then racial motivations.

Yeh, I don’t see abcnews retraction on that gun video tripe they made. so excuse me if I can no longer tolerate them as a source. For the sake of squashing the feud though, you have your sources for news and I have mine. I bring the information here that wasn’t mentioned by others. Let’s leave it at that.

vitro's avatar

Also, here is what Zimmerman’s gun looks like. Kel Tec 9mm PF9

Another Pic

As you can see, this gun wouldn’t be visible when it’s concealed, especially behind a sweater/jacket in a rainy night. It’s a small gun.

You also said chasing, and chasing implies running, but what evidence is there that he was running?

vitro's avatar

Something else that is interesting. discovered a tweet that Martin’s brother sent to Martin on feb 21. “yu ain’t tell me yu swung on a bus driver.” The website provides a screen shot here. screen shot

Well if he can swing his fist on the bus driver, then he would have no problem doing it to a complete stranger.

Site also shows new pictures him where he looks a lot older with large tattoos and grills on his teeth coupled and other pics of friends with gang sings and images of gang culture.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Not that we can litigate this here to any good effect, but Mr. Zimmerman said his weapon was visible. “Zimmerman himself admits driving his car up to Martin and jumping out of the car with his gun fully visible.”

All the other who-struck-John about a baggie that once held weed and a separate confrontation with a bus driver has NOTHING to do with this case. It’s no more damning—probably less so, than the history of violence in Mr. Zimmerman’s past.

Once more I say, we don’t know the full facts. You will NEVER know the full facts if you rely on right-wing sources and cherry-picked things that fit your preferred conclusion. Let the prosecuting attorney collect ALL the facts of the case and let it go to trial. My guess is Zimmerman will walk free because there’s enough confusion and conflicting witness accounts that it’s going to be tough for a jury to decide beyond any reasonable doubt that he initiated the conflict and had no right to use deadly force to defend himself.

jca's avatar

And let it be a lesson to all the Neighborhood Watch people: Call the cops and let them do the job they’re trained to do. Watch, don’t follow, chase and confront.

vitro's avatar

Every single news source (right or left wing) says Zimmerman’s gun only became a little visible during the fight, so where is the blogger you linked me to getting his information from? Do you have a link to a news source that actually quotes Zimmerman or the cops that Zimmerman’s gun was visible before he approached?

Let me get this straight, if you have a history of stealing, and you’re now involved in another incident of stealing, you’re saying your history of stealing would be irrelevant to the current case? lol. Also, if you look at his previous facebook comments, he wasn’t just holding weed, he was selling it. He was suspended 3 times. Once for the marijuana, Once for spray painting WTF on school property, and once for swinging at the bus driver. Why do you think they mentioned Zimmerman’s previous police record? Because it does make a difference to the case.

“You will NEVER know the full facts if you rely on right-wing sources”

Yeh, I know, I should rely on left-wing sources to know all the facts, hah.

You wrote “left the prosecuting attorney collect”

This is exactly what I was trying to tell @SavoirFaire, regarding the stand-your-ground law. It’s not redundant. Normally Zimmerman would have to stand trial and defend his self-defense, and the jury will decide if he is innocent or not. But with the stand-your-ground law, the burden is on the state to have enough evidence to prove it wasn’t self-defense. If they have enough evidence, only then can they make him go through the system.

Florida Law…...

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

”(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.”

”(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.”

”(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).”

vitro's avatar

In honor of Martin Trayvon, protesters in North Miami decided to loot a local Walgreens. Surveillance footage shows 80–100 students destroying property and shoplifting. Source and video


ETpro's avatar

@vitro I have heard on a TV news report that Zimmerman’s gun was openly visible in a belt holster. I searched and found that reference to it being so. The blogger didn’t cite shis source, so I left a comment asking for the source. I’ll let you know if I get anything definitive.

As toi guilt by prior actions, the scales aren’t that great for Zimmerman either. Zimmerman was arrested in Orange County in 2005 for resisting arrest. using violence, and battery on a law enforcement officer.

He also had a violent confrontation with an ex-fiancee which resulted in her filing a court petition for a restraining order against him. The petition detailed several instances of domestic violence between 2002 and 2005. Zimmerman filed a counter complaint claiming his girl friend was the violent one. Injunctions were issued to both parties.

Then there is this breaking news. A prosecutor did review the facts the night of the shooting. He recommended to Sanford Police that they charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, a recommendation which they chose to ignore.

vitro's avatar

Exactly, so you see my point. Historic behavior of a person is important to a case. All trials use historic events as evidence against X.

Read on in your link. “But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.”

As the law states, the burden is on the state, and if they don’t have the evidence, they cannot put him through the system.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro Debunking a story—if that’s really what you did; I won’t say because I neither watched the video nor read your response—doesn’t prove that an entire source is biased. And if anyone is likely to give a biased report of what happened, it’s Zimmerman. So quoting him doesn’t help. The witnesses whose reports I’ve read don’t claim to have seen the entire encounter, so that doesn’t help unless you’ve got something new. Even on Zimmerman’s own account of what happened, though, he still seems to have been the aggressor in my view.

Regardless, talking about Zimmerman and Martin directly does not actually get to the topic of this question, which is the Stand Your Ground law. In a recent post you have again misrepresented my position. I do not think that the Stand Your Ground laws are redundant. I think the good parts of them are redundant. A judge can already dismiss a case if there is not sufficient evidence to go to trial. That’s good. But self-defense is an affirmative defense. It should not be up to a judge at a preliminary hearing to decide whether or not the burden for an affirmative defense is met. That’s contrary to the whole point of something being an affirmative defense.

vitro's avatar

It wasn’t a story. It was a gun experiment. If you really want to discuss this then watch the video and read my critique.

Zimmerman isn’t the person to quote, it’s the witnesses that confirm his story. There was a witness that saw the whole thing go down, accept when the shot went off (he was going upstairs at the time). The witness was yelling at Martin, telling him to stop. This is the witness who didn’t want to disclose his name.

Then you have this 13 year old boy who didn’t see the start of it, but saw the rest. “In addition, an eyewitness, 13-year-old Austin Brown, told police he saw a man fitting Zimmerman’s description lying on the grass moaning and crying for help just seconds before he heard the gunshot that killed Martin.”

It was the police and state attorney’s office that judged the affirmative defense, not the judge.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro I’m not really interested in the gun video. As I noted above, whatever problems it may or may not have are irrelevant to anything I’ve said. As for the witnesses, I already noted that the one’s with whom I am familiar with don’t claim to have seen the beginning of the confrontation and requested that you provide a source if you have something new. Finally, an affirmative defense is supposed to be evaluated in the end by a jury. That’s my point.

vitro's avatar

You said debunking a story doesn’t prove that an entire source is biased. Explain yourself, then.

Woops, looks like the anonymous witness only saw Martin beating up Zimmerman, not the events prior. You’re right, looks like the witnesses only saw Martin beating up Zimmerman, and not what happened before.

Ah, so your problem with the stand-your-ground law is that it allows the state attorney and police to decide rather then letting the jury decide.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Now that this has gotten politicized, there are what appear to be paid “witnesses” coming out of the woodwork. The state attorney who ruled not to arrest Zimmerman was a political hack appointed by Republican Governor Rick Scott. He was removed from the case by Scott because of the appearance of bias, which is of course what Scott appointed him to exercise, but not to get caught exercising.

What do you think would have happened in Sanford if the tables had been turned. Imagine a black resident was on neighborhood watch and spotted a white or Hispanic kid whom he was convinced was suspicious due to wearing a hoodie in the rain, and carrying a dangerous weapon like a pack of Skittles. Would the black man have been released without charges? Statistics from Florida and from around the South say NO! And that’s why this has become such a racially charged case.

If the facts turn out to be that Zimmerman pursued and stalked Martin, and at some point came at him in a belligerent manner with a firearm openly displayed, then Trayvon Martin probably has the Stand Your Ground law on his side. It’s entirely possible that is what happened. One known fact is that Zimmerman had a long history of calling 911 when he sighted someone black in the neighborhood. Nothing illegal in that, but it leaves a rational person to wonder if this guy was a racist.

All I have been saying all along is we don’t yet have enough concrete facts to make an honest, unbiased judgement. It’s too bad the original police investigator’s recommendation was shot down, because vital evidence was never obtained thanks to political appointees deciding to do what’s politically expedient rather than what’s legally right.

vitro's avatar

Paid witnesses? Link to news source of that information?

How is public opinion on a hypothetical scenario, evidence to racism in this case?

Well if you want to reach that far. Current crime statistics from various organizations such as the FBI, BJS, Pew show that 70% of the nations crimes are caused by Blacks and Hispanics who only make up 30% of the nations population.

In prison, Blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2009 and Hispanics were 20.6%.

In gangs, from 2005–2008, black gang members in larger cities were 35.6%, in suburban counties 32.3%, in smaller cities 29.6%, and in Rural Counties 41.3%.

Hispanic gang members in larger cities were 48.1%, in suburban counties 43.8%, in smaller cities 49.7%, and in rural counties 30.2%.

So statistically speaking, the likelihood of a white person committing a crime is slim when compared to a black or Hispanic person. Perhaps Zimmerman was aware of this from the historic criminal activity of the neighborhood and personal experience. Perhaps all those recent burglaries, thefts, and suspicious people reports could have been caused by black criminals which increased a statistically probability for him to be more suspicious of blacks.

6rant6's avatar

@vitro So Zimmerman being Hispanic and all… if you’d have been on watch in his neighborhood, you’d have shot __him__?

Racist crap and infantile use of statistics.

vitro's avatar

Stating the facts isn’t racist. It’s just a truth people choose to ignore because it makes them uncomfortable.

If he had attacked me and I felt my life was in immediate danger, yes. If I was watchman, and the previous crimes in my neighborhood were caused by blacks or Hispanics, I would certainly pay closer attention to those groups and report them to the police sooner then whites.

What do you think probable cause is? It’s a statistical probability, and those stats pretty much sum up the statistical probability for the nation and the gated community.

6rant6's avatar

@vitro The main point is, he didn’t “pay closer attention.” He shot the kid.

And I very much doubt you can understand this, even in a situation where it is a certainty that any given crime was committed by a black teenager, there is a miniscule chance that any given individual of any color is the culprit.

Maybe you can understand this: most violent crimes are committed by men. If there are violent crimes in your neighborhood, should that be seen as probably cause for any woman in your neighborhood to track you with a gun and shoot you? Of course not! Neither gender nor race commits crime. Before you chase someone with a gun, you ought to have something more than, “I thought he looked suspicious because he was black/male/hooded.”

vitro's avatar

My response was to Etpro’s link on the amount of 911 calls Zimmerman made on blacks. In this case, he did the same thing. He reported a black person in a hood that looked like he was on drugs, wondering around, on a rainy night, in a predominantly white gated community with a history of crimes, accept this time, according to his story, the black person struck him first from behind, pounding him into the ground, so he had no choice but to kill him in self-defense.

The girlfriend says differently, but they won’t release the phone conversation to back it up, so that right there can be already seen as she’s lying to defend her boyfriend. Either way, it’s her word against Zimmerman’s.

If it’s a situation where it’s a certainty that a black teenager committed the crime, then what does this have to do with any other individual?

It’s all circumstantial. In a gated community dominated by whites with a history of violence by possibly non-whites, you bet your ass you’re going to report blacks or Hispanics more often. 602 incidents occurred there in 1 year…

6rant6's avatar

Reporting one thing
Hunting down with a gun, another thing.

vitro's avatar

Well when you can prove that, you’ll get the justice you’re looking for.

jca's avatar

@vitro: If Martin came out of the blue and attacked Zimmerman from behind, pounding him into the ground, so strong and wiry beating on that chubby Zimmerman, do you really think Zimmerman would have been able to reach for his gun, aim it and shoot it at Martin?

vitro's avatar

If you’re being choked to death, you can’t use your arms to reach out for a near by rock, or a sharp object to stab your attacker with? Of course you could. Same thing here. In other words, you can multitask while getting your ass kicked.

tranquilsea's avatar

Defending yourself should be proportionate to the violence being done to you. If someone came up to me and punched me and I fell down it would be disproportionate for me to reach for my gun and shoot them.

Just imagine being a teenager and having an adult follow you around. That would have sent my creepy metre through the roof. If that kid did punch him then that guy sort of deserved it because he was being slightly predatory. Zimmerman was the adult in the situation and he should have left any confrontation to the police like he was told to by dispatch.

fey's avatar

What happens if you can’t defend yourself with your hands because the person is a lot stronger the you? Tough luck?

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Your story is coming apart at the seams. I did find this, indicating that Zimmerman was wearing a belt holster.

Finally, there a video out today of Zimmerman as he arrives at police headquarters. If you hover over the video at the bottom, there is a control in the lower right that you can click to view the video full screen.

He does not have a broken nose. There is no blood on him. He has no wound on the back of his head, or blood on his clothing. His back is not wet and grass covered. The entire police report sounds like pure fiction in light of the actual video footage.

The “character witness” I mentioned, Joe Oliver was asked specifically if he was independently wealthy. He said he was not. Yet for some reason he quit his job and has booked flights all around the country to appear on news talk shows declaring that he “knows” Zimmerman is innocent. Yet when pressed for details on how he knows this, all he can offer is he knows it in his gut. Just like you and so many of your Con-man friends know in your gut that Trayvon Martin caused the whole thing and deserved what he got. That doesn’t prove that someone is putting up substantial money to cover Joe Oliver’s expenses and loss of income, but it certainly raises the question.

I also find it odd that new witnesses are coming forward a month after the event to only now claim they witnessed what happened. Odd they would sit on such valuable testimony so long.

vitro's avatar

Exactly. Every rape victim would have to fight off their rapist with their bare hands because the rape victim only used his hands to overpower the victim.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro I don’t know who that response is directed toward, but I certainly said no such thing. Threat of rape constitutes a legal claim to self defense and should also allow use of deadly force under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.

vitro's avatar


It doesn’t say anywhere in your link that the gun was visible before the fight broke out…There are no witnesses that saw the beginning of the incident. Your link simply states that he used a holster, which all concealed carry gun owners do, and hide it under an article of clothing. In Zimmerman’s case, it was his sweater/jacket

As for the video, according to officer Timothy Smith, “Zimmerman was placed in the rear of my police vehicle and was given first aid by the SFD. While the SFD was attending to Zimmerman, I over heard him state “I was yelling for someone to help me but no one would help me.” At no point did I question Zimmerman about the incident that had taken place. Once Zimmerman was cleared by the SFD, he was transported to the Sanford Police Department. Zimmerman was placed in an interview room as SPD, where he was interviewed by Investigator D Singleton. Zimmerman was turned over to investigators and this was the extent of my involvement in this case. The Kel Tek handgun that I collected from Zimmerman was placed into evidence under TS-1.”

The rape comment was for tranquilsea, not you.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro It says a belt holster, which is consistent with the previous TV report and with the blog post I previously sent you. With the open jacket Zimmerman was wearing, a weapon in a belt holster would be visible.

First aid included instantly healing open wounds, cleaning all the blood, grass and water stains off his clothing, drying the cleaned clothing and instantaneously healing a broken nose. If the SFD are that good at “first aide” they should be in a Level 1 trauma center and some more cloddish types could manage their rather mundane jobs. How credulous are you, anyway? How far does wanting to believe go when faced with incontrovertible evidence that what the police said was a lie?

Anyway I am glad we agree that none of us really knows how the confrontation started. It’s too bad the Sanford Police were not more dedicated to collecting forensic evidence at the scene. It rather appears their entire objective was to cover tracks instead of document them. Why else the lies about the broken nose and cut head, and all the grass, earth and blood that should be on Zimmerman’s clothing? Why no photographs documenting the “injuries” before they mysteriously healed? Why, when they knew Trayvon Martin’s identity that night, did they identify him as a John Doe and leave his body in the morgue for 3 days before even notifying his parents what had happened to him? I grew up in the South and now how the white Good Ole Boy network acts. And the Sanford police chief and state attorney sure seem to be acting like the Good Ole Boys I remember.

vitro's avatar

Yes, a belt holster, but no mention of it being visible prior to the fight.

You need to be a level 1 trauma expert to clean a bloody nose and grass stains? You don’t keep on bleeding when your nose is broken. You can stop the bleeding.

It’s not a big conspiracy, relax.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro The video was extremely clear on air on ABC News this evening. It’s clear enough on the web as well if you run it full screen. Zimmerman’s gray tee shirt and even the red jacket would show blood stains. There was no blood on Zimmerman’s clothing, not even a single drop. A broken nose doesn’t return to looking normal in less than an hour. First aide would not involve dry cleaning his jacket so the supposed grass stains disappeared. It certainly does look like a conspiracy. I’m not saying Zimmerman admitted guilt and the police decided to cover for him, but they certainly bought his story and failed miserably at even a rudimentary effort to gather evidence. And the story they concocted is clearly full of lies. If the shooter had been Martin, and the victim Zimmerman, I am pretty sure the investigation would have proceeded in a very different manner.

By the way, the Special Prosecutor now on the case says she’s gathering a good deal of evidence and may act before the Grand Jury convenes. I would be stunned with all the attention this has now drawn if she acted to drop all charges. If she thinks that’s the right action, she would surely leave it to the grand jury so as to avoid the appearance of further investigative interference.

vitro's avatar

Yes, because he was cleaned up prior, as the officer said. You can tell by a video if a nose is broken? lol. Get real. The video is blurry and not zoomed in on his face. It’s only one source, so the video is not going to look clearer on TV either.

Let her try…I’m eagerly waiting to see how this pans out.

jca's avatar

On another thread about this, “Was what Zimmerman did justifiable (the other side of the story)?” someone just pointed out that if Zimmerman was as bloody as he would have or should have been with a broken nose and having had his ass kicked, the cops would have been wearing gloves when they brought him in (as shown on the video), and you can call it grainy, which it is somewhat, but it is clear that the cops were not wearing gloves.

Today, Zimmerman’s lawyer was on the Today Show. Matt Lauer asked him why there are no documents showing Zimmerman was treated by EMS or hospital for his broken nose, and that you would think if there are those documents available, he would be showing them. The lawyer gave a non-conclusive answer. Matt Lauer has a good point. Why not show those documents, even if through the lawyer?

vitro's avatar

The cops would have no need to wear gloves if he was cleaned up by the ems prior to coming down to the station, as the officer said. Here is a snap shot photo of the video showing the fairly large injury on the back of Martin’s head. Link

tranquilsea's avatar

@vitro you are comparing apples to oranges with your rape comment. They are two totally different circumstances. Zimmerman was following this kid not the other way around.

vitro's avatar

You said you shouldn’t use an equivalent amount of defense as the offense. That means if Martin attacked Zimmerman, or hell, if Zimmerman attacked Martin, they would have to defend themselves using their hands only which means whoever is the better fighter, or the stronger of the two, will be crowned winner. The loser either gets killed, or deformed, or hospitalized all because he wasn’t allowed to use a more powerful tool to defend himself against a better/stronger opponent. That is nuts.

vitro's avatar

Woops, I meant to say should use, not shouldn’t.

6rant6's avatar

@vitro That’s an injury? It looks like smoke coming out of his head. Hothead indeed!

vitro's avatar

Heh, how long did it take you to come up with that?

I see a nice long and thick red line and a side wound next to the line.

tranquilsea's avatar

@vitro in this scenario Zimmerman was the adult and should have have used proportionate force to get the kid away from him and then walk/run away.

But I really doubt that this played out the way Zimmerman has said. He’s covering his ass at this point.

6rant6's avatar

@vitro To be clear, I don’t think the pictures are detailed enough to see any details. He could be bleeding, or he could just have hair or even a shadow. I agree it probably is a head.

But categorically, there is no “thick red line.”

Unless maybe you’re looking at a colorized version?

vitro's avatar


It has nothing to do with Zimmerman being an adult or not. It has everything to do with physical strength and talent. This “kid”, was a 6’3 150lb 17 year old man-football player. It’s not that simple, “as an adult”, to just push away a person that knocked you to the ground with one punch and continuously pounding you into the ground. Zimmerman was losing the fight, the witnesses that came out saw martin pounding on Zimmerman and Zimmerman asking for help. Obviously Zimmerman was haven’t a very hard time overpower the “kid”.

You’re an adult. If a “kid”, who is twice as tall and stronger then you, how do you plan on, “as an adult”, to fight him off?

vitro's avatar


If you can only make out the shape of a head, but not the details, then that already removes the relevance of this video to the case.

6rant6's avatar

@vitro I’m only writing about the link you posted which is apparently a single frame of the video. From this we can’t make a judgement about the video.

fey's avatar

It looks like a dark stain on the back of his head with a smaller stain next to it.

vitro's avatar

That is basically what I’m seeing too. A stain in the shape of a horizontal line, and another smaller stain on the right of the horizontal stain. Zimmerman’s father was interviewed, said he had two separate cuts on the back of his head which is exactly what I said I was seeing.

jca's avatar

@vitro: If someone was “getting pounded into the ground” they would be in the hospital for at least a few days with swollen eyes, head, teeth out, in bad shape. Not walking and talking like nothing happened, like seen in the video.

vitro's avatar

Well he obviously managed to find some breathing room, enough to shoot him. “Only” a broken nose, and a wounded head.

The point is you don’t know if you’re going to survive an attack, or overpower your offender, or how bad it’s going to get. You use common sense. If you’re having a hard time overpowering your offender, and manage to get some breathing room, then you shoot the guy before he gets a chance to finish the job.

jca's avatar

@vitro: Yes, but in this case Zimmerman does not look like someone who sustained any kind of trauma at all. Someone who was beaten to within an inch of their life, who needed to shoot to kill as self defense, does not walk and talk as seen on the police video.

Not only that, but if he had medical attention, why would he not be willing to give up documents proving that he was seen by either EMS or hospital, just to shut people up (somewhat)?

vitro's avatar

You don’t have to wait on till you’re verge off death to shoot someone. In fact, you cannot analyse the situation while you’re getting your ass kicked. Maybe he just wants to hurt you a little, maybe he wants to deform you, maybe he wants to kill you. If someone punched me in the face and kept on beating me up, I would shoot him too if I get the chance.

The documents, I have no idea why they won’t show it. There are a lot of things they won’t show, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Where is the phone conversation of Martin’s girlfriend?

jca's avatar

@vitro: You’re not addressing that Zimmerman does not appear to be someone who got beaten to a pulp, nor does he act like someone who just got beaten to a pulp, on the police video. The police video is grainy, yes, but not so grainy that those details would not be seen if they were there. Someone who was just beaten to a pulp would be hospitalized.

vitro's avatar

I never said he wasn’t beaten up to a pulp. He “only” got a broken nose and head wounds.

You’re trying to say that since he didn’t allow himself to be beaten up severely, he shouldn’t have shot Martin, and I’m telling you that Zimmerman doesn’t have to wait until Martin seriously hurts him in order to shoot him. Zimmerman managed to get an opportunity to break free for a second from Martin’s attack and shot him.

jca's avatar

No, I’m saying you used the wording “continuously pounding you into the ground” (your post above to @tranquilsea), and I’m saying that what’s seen on the video is NOT someone who was “continuously pounded into the ground.”

vitro's avatar

Ah, semantics. You’re reading too much into my words, or I should probably phrase them better, but all I was saying is that it has nothing to do with Zimmerman being an adult and has everything to do with physical strength/fighting talent.

jca's avatar

@vitro: I am reading into your words because I am trying to understand your logic.

If he was pounded into the ground, that may explain having to use his gun to save his own life. If, however, he pursued Martin, and got a punch in the nose in return, did that justify shooting him? Would a punch = shoot to kill?

It doesn’t matter now anyway, because Zimmerman has had over one month to come up with a glossed over story to back up his crime and make himself look good. Shows no proof of supposed medical attention. He is probably scared for his life, which is good. At least he still has a life to live, unlike Martin.

vitro's avatar

If it went down the way you claim it did, then no, that wouldn’t justify gun use. I just don’t believe it went down the way you think it did

It has nothing to do with Zimmerman. It has everything to do with the witnesses.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro When I said that debunking a story doesn’t prove that an entire source is biased, I just meant that we shouldn’t reject anything ABC News says just because one story might have been mistaken. Let’s just assume your critique of the gun video is completely correct—that still wouldn’t mean we should ignore what Martin’s girlfriend said just because ABC News reported it. I mentioned this point only because you seemed to want to dismiss her testimony based on who she gave it to. My apologies if I misunderstood what you were saying.

Ultimately, I don’t think we are that far apart. It seems that we both want a full investigation, and that we both acknowledge there is more to this story than we yet know. Since new information is coming out all the time, I don’t really blame you for making a mistake about what the witnesses saw (and thank you for being forthright about your error). For my own part, I am certainly willing to admit that I don’t know what happened. New information could totally reverse how I think about the situation.

As for the Stand Your Ground laws, you are correct. I would prefer that a claim of self-defense remain an affirmative defense that needs to be proven to the satisfaction of a jury rather than to a judge at a preliminary hearing. I fully support a judge being able to dismiss a case because there is simply not enough evidence to bring it to trial, and I support the “no duty to retreat” doctrine. But since these are already part of the law without the Stand Your Ground legislation, I am as yet unconvinced that we need the latter.

vitro's avatar


It would help if they actually release the phone conversations to remove any speculation that she is lying. However, as I mentioned before, despite getting the actual phone conversation, her comment on “then somebody pushed Trayvon because his headset just fell” is speculation since it could have easily been Martin who through the first punch which caused his headset to fall.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro See this comment on another thread about the known timeline, based on verifiable call report records. I totally agree we all need to back off and let the facts emerge now. This should not be decided by spin; whether left or right.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@vitro I agree. If the phone call was recorded, then hopefully it will be released. And yes, we do need to be open to the possibility that her interpretation of what she heard may be incorrect. It will be interesting to see what comes of all this in the end.

ETpro's avatar

The OP was actually asking if the law was a good idea as written, and not who should or shouldn’t be charged in this particular case. I felt this case has pointed to some difficulties with the law as written. Now that we are essentially concluding that none of us know for sure which party was the aggressor in the Zimmerman/Martin case, can we turn our attention back to the law itself? It’s intent was to prevent those who were clearly defending life and limb from facing crushing legal expenses and disruption of their lives and careers defending themselves against manslaughter or murder charges. Clearly, when someone is sitting in their own home minding their own business, and an armed intruder kicks their door down, they should have the right to stop that home invasion using deadly force if necessary. We wouldn’t want them to have to retain brutally expensive legal counsel and spend months or perhaps years mired down in the legal system for having done that. So how do we craft a law that protects clear-cut self defense yet ensures that anyone that even conceivably might be acting as a vigilante or as a racist profiling and eliminating undesirable types from a neighborhood does have to go through the legal system and face up to an examination of their actions?

vitro's avatar

“anyone that even conceivably might be acting as a vigilante or as a racist profiling and eliminating undesirable types from a neighborhood does have to go through the legal system”

Nope, I don’t agree that you should go through the system for this either. If the police, the state attorney, or a judge believe that their isn’t enough evidence to prove a man was racial profiling, or a vigilante, or whatever, then that man should not be charged. Hence, Zimmerman ins’t charged. Zimmerman would have been in the system for more then a month now just because there is a possibility that he might have been racial profiling, or might have been a vigilante. Key word being might. Well might doesn’t cut it. Evidence or freedom!

The police already have probable cause rights, but they cannot hold him if there is no concrete evidence.

JLeslie's avatar

I skimmed through the answers. Here are my thoughts: I don’t think somekne is obligated to only use equal force if they feel threatened. I am watchin Chris Matthews right now and they talked about a case where a man was being robbed, called 911, the 911 operator told him police were on the way and to not go outside where the theives were. The man said he knows the law he is going outside and going to shoot them. He did just that, and got off with the stand your ground law. Honestly, I don’t mind he got away with it. He doesn’t know if they have guns and they are stealing his property. I guess he could have first yelled out to leave he has a gun and shoot, give the people a chance to run, but really is he supposed to just wait around for the polic while theives on his property, possibly going to enter his house next? If they had a gun, they might have shot at him, before he shot back. I’m very mixed on this type of scenerio, but it did bother me that in this particular example the shooter seemed rather calm, and happy to kill the robbers.

I also think Zimmerman seemed all too comfortable killing Martin. And, in that case Zimmerman pursued Martin, he had some sort of mission in his head to get that kid, and I think Zimmerman should be under psychiatric evaluation and jailed.

You might remember a case not too long ago of the teen mom who killed one of two robbers who kept trying to get into her home when she was telling them to leave. I certainly don’t think she should wait for anything. Shoot those MFers dead I say. They terrorized her. Not just as a young woman, but anyone, could be a 40 year old physically fit man should be allowed to shoot them in my opinion. Not have to wait to see if they are going to try to kill the homeowner or not.

But, these extreme exmples fall under self defense laws I would think (not zimmerman, if anything possibly it can be said Martin was put in a possition to defend himself and zimmerman was the agressor) and stand your ground laws seem unnecessary, too permissive. Opens things up to becoming the wild wild west. But, it does horrify me to think that someone protecting themselves and family from someone breaking into their house could go to jail for murder, or be responsible to care for the theif if they are hurt on their property. There have been cases of thieves getting hurt climing the side of a house and wanting the owner to pay through his insurance for the medical bills of the injury? Huh? Someone is trespassing, or stealing and the owner pays? That is another screwy topic for another discussion.

Buttonstc's avatar

I have read through ever response on this thread and I have one simple question for anyone defending the authorities decision to NOT charge Zimmerman. And my question is based upon the few facts which we do know.

At the time of his call to 912,Trayvon. Martin was doing nothing other than walking and “looking suspicious” according to Zimmerman himself. Trayvon was not in the process of breaking into someones home nor was he even seen on anyones property. He was merely walking home from the store. Period.

The other obvious fact is that Trayvon was on foot while Zimmerman was in a car. That was his “ground” so to speak. Once he voluntary left the safety of “his ground” for absolutely no apparently compelling reason (ie: he wasn’t being carjacked ) he ceded all rights to claim the stand your ground law or self defense. Unless Trayvon came and literally dragged him out of his car in order to assault him, he put himself in jeopardy of circumstances. No one forced him to get out nor even hinted that he should do anything of the sort (the 911 dispatcher told him the opposite)

He could have just as easily asked Trayvon whatever he needed to without getting out of his car. He was a neighborhood watch person, not a cop. And if Trayvon were as physically imposing and threatening looking as some have stated, a sensible person would definitely not have exited their vehicle.

So for those who keep talking about how what Zimmerman was doing being so normal and all, how about answering one simple question.

How does the fact that he exited his vehicle not make him the one in the wrong right from the beginning when his doing so is what created the problem in the first place?

There are a lot of subsequent events on which we done have all the facts. But this fact we do know. He chose to get out of his car and confront Trayvon and he obviously was not in a friendly frame of mind about it based on what he said to the 911 operator. This one fact indicates that Zimmerman was clearly the instigator.

And if I were Trayvon, I would be in fear the moment this imposing looking guy got out of his car. I would be ready for a fight as well.

What purpose did it solve for Zimmerman to get out of his car other than to provoke a confrontation and teach this ” suspicious looking” intruder that he better not come back again or think he could get away with something.

I done see any sensible reason for a neighborhood watch person to exit their vehicle at all. It makes absolutely no sense. Its not his job. This is vigilantism pure and simple. We cant crawl inside Zimmermann head or read his mind for racist intent. But its crystal clear he had vigilante intent based upon that action alone. And he subsequently meted out vigilante justice.

He started the confrontation and he ended it in a deadly way. Actions speak louder than words.

Unless someone can give me a sensible reason for him to get out of his car, I see this as simple vigilantism for which he should be brought to justice. A vigilante is heroic only in a movie with Charles Bronson. All others are clearly acting outside the law and deserve the legal consequences of their choice.

ETpro's avatar

@Buttonstc Very solid analysis. @vitro “Might” most certainly does “cut it” when we are talking about whether to bring a matter before a jury or not. Are you suggestion that murders should never be investigated unless every single fact of the case is known beyond any shadow of doubt before the police even reach their headquarters?

jca's avatar

@vitro: Well, it’s a good thing the police chief stepped down and there’s a new prosecutor looking at the case, then, isn’t there? Isn’t is possible all of the professionals listed in your post acted hastily or didn’t review things thoroughly? Good that “new eyes” are now looking! I recommend you read @Buttonstc‘s post above. He brings up the best point that nobody has brought up yet on all of the threads and all of the “live, in person” discussions I’ve had on this topic. Why did the Z man exit his vehicle? That justifies Martin’s defending himself.

Brian1946's avatar

“Why did the Z man exit his vehicle?”

I think I read a report that Zimmerman claims he “lost sight of Martin”.
However, that assertion as a justifiable reason for egress in that situation is invalidated by the facts that he had no authorization to follow Martin, and Martin was not engaged in any suspicious activity.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc Great answer. Very well said.

vitro's avatar

@Buttonstc wrote, At the time of his call to 912,Trayvon. Martin was doing nothing other than walking and “looking suspicious” according to Zimmerman himself.

When you have a recent history of 50 suspicious calls, 8 burglaries, and 9 thefts in the neighborhood, and you see a black person in a hood on a rainy night, wondering around in a white gated community, who looks like he is on drugs, then common sense dictates to call the police. It’s a probable cause (statistical probability). I provided the statistics of how rampant black crime is.

You wrote, How does the fact that he exited his vehicle not make him the one in the wrong right from the beginning when his doing so is what created the problem in the first place?

What law did Zimmerman violate? None, exactly. Which means he has every right to be at any location he wants, accept on private property. If he wants to follow him, he may. If he wants to ask him a question, he may. Nothing illegal here. The point is his stand your ground rights applies anywhere he goes provided that he doesn’t do anything illegal. You can walk in to gangland and the chances of you running into a fight is very high, but you have ever right to be in gangland, and your stand-your-ground law will apply in gangland.

Martin Trayvon has no legitimate self-defense because Zimmerman wasn’t doing anything illegal. That is the bottom line.

vitro's avatar


No, might doesn’t cut it. That is dogmatism. A man isn’t a murder if no one proves he murdered X, so why would you arrest someone without any evidence that he murdered someone? If you have something legitimate, then arrest him, no problem. But you can’t speculate when this world works on evidence, not on hunches.

Buttonstc's avatar

Where did I say that it was illegal for him to either call 911 or to exit his vehicle? I didn’t.

What I did say is that it was not sensible for him to do it as well as being totally illogical. As a neighborhood watch person his ONLY clear responsibility was to watch and report (which he did do with the 911 call)That should have been the end of his action other than continuing to watch NOT TO CONFRONT.

Confronting is the clear action of a vigilante. Z was in absolutely no danger when he was in his car because he could have simply driven away. He purposely put himself in potential danger by being on foot. He purposely caused the very situation which he then claims gave him the right to self defense. He acted in the way a vigilante acts.

He should be legally accountable in a court of law because he took another persons life needlessly . He was the one who created the situation so he should be held accountable for the result. Had he not exited his vehicle, its possible that Trayvon Martin might be alive today. Zimmerman caused his unnecessary death by getting out of his car and provoking a confrontation. He was not a policeman and had no right to question Trayvon about anything since Trayvon was doing nothing other than walking back from the store in his own neighborhood wearing a hoodie.

Whatever burglaries or 911 calls ccurred in the past are irrelevant since Trayvon was doing nothing wrong. Simply walking in your own neighborhood is not sufficient cause to be followed and interrogated. The police do this routinely because that is their job. This was not Zimmermann job to either follow or go confront. Every neighborhood watch group makes it crystal clear to their members that they are only authorized to watch and report. NOTHING FURTHER. And they stress this point repeatedly. Over and over again.

Zimmerman was acting as a vigilante not as a watch person. The moment he exited his vehicle he put himself in that category whether anyone wants to admit it or not. His explanation about losing sight of the victim being the reason for him to get out of his car doesn’t pass the smell test because it makes no sense at all. You can cover a whole lot more territory in a car than you ever could on foot. It makes it far more inefficient to be on foot than in a car. This is just him fishing around for rationalization after the fact because this death is no longer buried from sight. Hes the one who pulled the trigger and caused the situation to begin with so now hes in deep shit and is starting to realize it.

vitro's avatar

You wrote “Where did I say that it was illegal for him to either call 911 or to exit his vehicle? I didn’t.

That is all I wanted to hear you say. If you admit Zimmerman did nothing illegal then you have nothing on him in a court room since no law was violated. It also means that if Zimmerman didn’t violate any law, then Martin had no legitimate reason to strike Zimmerman. Case closed. The rest is conversation.

vitro's avatar

Here you go, March 27, 2012. A 18-year-old black “teenager” killed a 65-year-old air force veteran with his bear hands. Link/101214/9723728//smmndu/-/index.html Video

The killer claims it was self-defense too. That the veteran pushed his pregnant girlfriend, yet no witness saw that happen. Now you see what a “teenager” can do with his bear hands? Is this also one of Obama’s hypothetical sons? Or only Martin?

Yet the silly media is presenting Martin out as poor defenseless little boy with skittles in his hands, showing pictures of him when he was 8-years-old.

vitro's avatar

First link didn’t work. Try different link

jca's avatar

@vitro: You are twisting @Buttonstc‘s words. Yes, it is not illegal for Zimmerman to exit his vehicle or follow Martin. However, it was unnecessary, and seeking a confrontation. That is above and beyond the role of the Neighborhood Watch, and directly opposite of what he was told to do by the 911 operator. Illegal? No. Unnecessary and looking for trouble? Yes.

If I see my neighbor walking down the street, and I decide to follow her or him and then question what they’re doing here, am I doing something illegal? No. Am I looking for a confrontation? Yes. No matter what color the neighbor is.

I am sorry to tell you this, but no matter what the crime stats are, black people have every right to walk the streets in peace without being harassed, no matter what they wear, no matter how white the neighborhood is.

Is being Black a crime that deserves being shot?

Broken laws? Let’s see what the new prosecutor determines, as case is not closed just yet.

ETpro's avatar

The 911 tapes are out now and experts have used voice analysis to rule out the idea that it was Zimmerman yelling for help. Also, one of the 911 callers actually saw the fight in her back yard. She told police she could not see the person on the bottom because it was too dark, but she said the person on top had a whit tee shirt on. A dark blue hoodie would not appear white in the darkness. George Zimmerman’s grey tee shirt would. Zimmerman was on top. Trayvon Martin was screaming for help, and was shot while doing so. And the Zimmerman family and surrogates have been wildly cranking out stories that conflict with the known facts, stories that were carefully crafted to fit Florida;s Stand Your Ground law.

The bottom line is this. Zimmerman’s 911 call tells us he falsely identified Martin as up to no good. He falsely noted that “These assholes always get away.” He muttered under his breath that Martin was a “fucking coon.” His father claimed he said “goon” and that this is a term of endearment, but let’s put that in context. Zimmerman says “He’s up to no good. These assholes always get away. Fucking (coon or goon).” Anyway you slice it, that is NOT a term of endearment. Zimmerman then decides against police advice to take it upon himself to leave his truck and chase Martin down. He ends up on top of him in someone’s back yard, and as the teenager is screaming for his life, he shoots him to death.

What we can say for certain at this point is that if Zimmerman had followed the 911 operator’s instructions not to pursue Martin, the kid would be alive today. We also know that Martin was no “up to no good.” He was returning home from a trip to a convenience store to buy Skittles and Iced Tea. He did not deserve to be shot dead for that.

Buttonstc's avatar


Wow. I guess you have more difficulty with reading comprehension than I thought.

So, let me draw it in crayon for you.

While it is certainly not illegal to call 911 nor to exit ones vehicle, it is illegal to act as a vigilante and provoke a confrontation in order to kill someone for doing nothing more than walking through their own neighborhood.

The moment Z exited his vehicle in order to pursue and confront Trayvon, he put himself in the role of vigilante. The action of exiting his car speaks to intent. He wanted a confrontation. He acted as a vigilante. He cant claim that he was just out for a walk and was attacked by Trayvon and thus had to defend himself with lethal force.

Had he stayed in his car, there would have been no need for any defense at all. He cant logically claim either self defense or “stand your ground” as justification for killing because he left his ground (his vehicle) and accosted the victim.

If anyone had a right to stand his ground, it was the teen since he was the one on foot being pursued by someone who obviously was not police (they are legally required to identify themselves as such) for all He knew, Z wanted to rob him. But he didn’t stand his ground. He tried running away from this nut job vigilante who was stalking him. And we know that as a fact from Zimmermann own words.

The fact that Z chose not to leave him alone and persisted in chasing him down also speaks to intent. You cant claim self defense if you’re the one chasing down the other guy. Trayvon was running away in fear and Z persisted in order to force a confrontation. Thats being a

What is it about that simple fact that seems to elude you, vitro ?

There is a lot we done know about the full story here but my statements are based upon the few facts which are known and undisputed. And those facts point clearly to Zimmermann intent. He was not going to be satisfied without a confrontation since its clear that even tho Trayvon was doing his best to run away, Z continued to pursue him FOR NO GOOD REASON.

THIS is what makes him responsible for the death. Whether it ends up being murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter is left for the legal system to determine. But gunning down someone in the street after chasing him down is still illegal.

Had he merely gotten out of his vehicle and nobody died as the result, thats another story. He couldn’t be charged for merely getting out of his car. But getting out of his car in order to chase someone down and ending up shooting him to death? YES, that is clearly ILLEGAL. (regardless of whether you like it or not)

Just because the system failed to act on the original set of facts doesn’t automatically mean Z is right. It simply means that those whO attempted to sweep this under the rug were wrong.

tranquilsea's avatar

Zimmerman was with Neighbourhood Watch not Neighbourhood Confront and Tackle.

I have seen suspicious behaviour myself and I have just asked, “Can I help you?”. That is usually enough for someone to take off.

The big problem I have with this is Zimmerman is alive and well and tell any story he wants as to why he shot and killed him. It is in his enormous favour to convince us that his story is true as he could be put away for a long, long time.

Tayvon isn’t. It is up to the police to find out exactly what happened by looking at all the evidence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t understand why they enacted the law in the first place. It’s always been legal to kill someone in self defense, it there was nothing else you could do.
I think Zimmerman would have done what he did regardless of the law. I don’t think he was thinking about that particular law at that point…do you guys?

vitro's avatar


Alright, let’s start slow.

1. Zimmerman was following Martin because Zimmerman was behind the town houses and couldn’t see the nearest address to tell officers. This is why Zimmerman went down to the next street, got out of his car to see the address, and on his way back Martin confronted Zimmerman.

2. A vigilante is someone who punishes criminals instead of waiting for cops to do it. You just said it isn’t illegal to follow or question someone, and yet at the same time you’re inaccurately saying Zimmerman is a vigilante for following Martin. Do you not realize that a vigilante is not someone who follows someone? It’s a person who punishes.

3. Zimmerman following Martin, and Zimmerman getting out of the car to see what address he was on, is not provocation.

4. Martin was walking in between town houses instead of the sidewalk and scoping out the houses at night. That right there is already reason enough to call the police.

5. You don’t lose the protection of the stand-your-ground law, period. Since Zimmerman has every right to be on public property as Martin, and since following someone, questioning someone, or getting out of your car isn’t illegal, then you can maintain your stand-your-ground law at any location. He has just as much of a right to be at point A as much as he does at point B.

vitro's avatar


Sorry pal, but your first paragraph is only one side of the story, and your second paragraph is a complete lie of the evidence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@vitro And exactly how do you know all of that information?

vitro's avatar

The same place everyone get their information from, news.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Would you please post some links. I didn’t see any of that in any of the news I’ve been reading. Or is that just what “some people” are saying, like in the comments section at the end of the news article?

vitro's avatar

What part?

Dutchess_III's avatar

See below @vitro:

1. Zimmerman was following Martin because Zimmerman was behind the town houses and couldn’t see the nearest address to tell officers. This is why Zimmerman went down to the next street, got out of his car to see the address, and on his way back Martin confronted Zimmerman.”

4. Martin was walking in between town houses instead of the sidewalk and scoping out the houses…

JLeslie's avatar

Even if the kid was a theif, robbing half the houses in the neighborhood, Zimmerman confronting him was wrong. That is for the police. We are not a country of vigilante or mafia justice. We live criminal arrests and justice to the police and state. If Zimmerman wanted to follow him to be sure he did not do anything criminal I am ok with it, it is profiling, but I am ok with it, but confronting him, harrassing him, completeky unnacceptable. Of course this is way more than harrassment, but even simple harrassment would be a problem to me.

vitro's avatar

Part 1. Was a response to Button’s speculation on Martin’s intentions. I gave a counter speculative take on it. Zimmerman’s father was the original person who said it.

Part 4. Can be found here. Link

Dutchess_III's avatar

Part 1: It also didn’t say a word about Zimmerman getting out of his car because he didn’t know where he was. In other words, @Buttonstc said, “Unless someone can give me a sensible reason for him to get out of his car…” and you made something up to explain it, right?

Part 4,From the link you posted to back your claim up: “He was walking along the PATH that goes through the back of the townhouses…” that’s not the same thing as skulking between town houses, “scoping them out.” I have no idea where you came up with that. Nothing about scoping the houses out was mentioned in the article or anything else I’ve read.

It sounds like you just made all of your assertions up.

vitro's avatar

Right. Only Part 1 was speculation because Button is making up assertions too. Evidence wise, she has nothing. That is why I said, the rest is conversation. Speculate all you want, it won’t help the case.

Part 4. On the 911 call, Zimmerman tells police that Martin was staring at the houses, so that adds to Martin walking in the back of town houses rather then the sidewalk.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro Staring, but had not taken any action. Zimmerman could have just scared him off probably, by just telling the kid to leave.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Part 1: @Buttonstc was making very logical deductions from what evidence we have. Zimmerman had no reason to get out of his car, and none has been given except that he was going after Trayvon. You, on the other hand, are making things up out of thin air.

According to a paranoid- superman- savior wannabe who called 911 fifty times last year, for similar complaints, said a black kid in a hoodie was “staring” at the houses. Bullshit. He was walking home, that’s all. It adds up to nothing but that the kid was taking a well known short cut.

vitro's avatar

Alright this childish back and fourth is getting boring. lol, logical deduction. You missing the point too. He wasn’t a vigilante because following someone is not a crime. A vigilante is someone who punishes people for a crime they’re committing. You cannot be punished for following someone and you don’t provoke someone by following them, nor does Martin have a right to kick someone’s ass for following him.

What is illogical about what I said? He needed to give police an address, so he went up to the next block to see what street he was on. It was dark, so he got out to look on foot. What is the problem? There is no indication that he had the intention of harming Martin. Bullshit.

Blacks have a rampant history of crime. I showed this already. You think those burglaries and thefts were caused by whites in a predominantly white neighborhood? Get real. It’s a statistical probability and Zimmerman used it. You don’t assume a stranger you don’t recognize in your neighborhood who is hiding behind houses and staring at them is going home.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ did he seriously say what I think he just said?

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro Good God. What you said is just unbelievable! Even if only blacks commit crimes, which is of course ridiculous, it would still not mean the majority of blacks are criminals. Think about what you are saying. You are implying every black person deserves suspicion. That is nuts. Racist. Prejudiced. Remember, I am the one ok with profiling, but you have just gone too far.

vitro's avatar

You’re not seeing it in Zimmerman’s eyes. Again, what do you think probable cause means? It’s a statistical probability. If you have a series of burglaries and thefts caused by blacks, and now you get a black person checking out houses from the back entrance at night in a private gated community, and this isn’t his neighborhood, the of course you’re going to call 911.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
vitro's avatar

Of course there is white crime, but it is incomprehensible in comparison to blacks and hispanics. Whites are the majority of the population yet they’re only responsible for 22% of the crime.

Current crime statistics from various organizations such as the FBI, BJS, Pew show that 70% of the nations crimes are caused by Blacks and Hispanics who only make up 30% of the nations population.

In prison, Blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2009 and Hispanics were 20.6%. Which means 60% of the prison population is blacks and hispanics, and yet they only make up 30% of the population.

In gangs, from 2005–2008, black gang members in larger cities were 35.6%, in suburban counties 32.3%, in smaller cities 29.6%, and in Rural Counties 41.3%.

Hispanic gang members in larger cities were 48.1%, in suburban counties 43.8%, in smaller cities 49.7%, and in rural counties 30.2%.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@vitro so you think Zimmerman, an Hispanic himself, was completely justified in assuming the kid was up to no good just because he was black?? The kid deserved to get shot because he was black? Is that what you’re saying?

Brian1946's avatar


The total US prison population is about 2.3 million. By your statistics, that means about 906,200 of those prisoners are black.

There are over 30 million black people in the US, which means that about 3% of them are probably criminals, which is far, far less than a majority.

vitro's avatar


Zimmerman is not your typical Hispanic, given that his father is white. I’m saying Zimmerman was justified in making a 911 phone call because Martin was in a private gated community that he doesn’t belong to and was walking at the back entrances of houses whiles scoping them out at night. Mind the fact of the recent burglaries and thefts. Common sense dictates to make the phone call.

He didn’t deserve to die, but if Martin is going to assault an innocent person (Zimmerman), then Zimmerman has a right to defend himself.

vitro's avatar

“According to a US Department of Justice report published in 2006, over 7.2 million people were at that time in prison, on probation, or on parole.”

The United States has a higher percent of imprisoned minorities than any other country in the world. In Washington D.C., three out of every four young black men are expected to serve some time in prison. In major cities across the country, 80% of young African Americans now have criminal records.S

vitro's avatar

The top 3 states with the highest % of whites is Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Those 3 states also have virtually no gun laws, and finally, those 3 states have the lowest amount of the crime in the country. Miracle? I think not.

The biggest population of blacks are in New York, yet some of the lowest crimes in the country are only found in New York counties that have a demographics of 90%+ white.

Brian1946's avatar

“According to a US Department of Justice report published in 2006, over 7.2 million people were at that time in prison, on probation, or on parole.”

That would make it at most just under 9%.

“In major cities across the country, 80% of young African Americans now have criminal records.”

That doesn’t state what percentage of the major cities have that percentage, what age range is considered to be young, or what percentage of all “young” blacks in the US have criminal records.

Besides, the source for that 80% assertion is Michelle Alexander, who says, “Yes, thanks largely to the war on drugs, a war that has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies have consistently shown that people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites. The war on drugs waged in these ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status, not unlike the one we supposedly left behind. Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, public benefits, much like their grandparents or great grandparents may have been discriminated against during the Jim Crow era.”

vitro's avatar

lol, 9% is nothing? That is a hell of a lot of criminals.

You can research the 80% manually. I gave you an example I personally researched on the top 3 states. You can find the similar relation in other cities. Just look up demographics and crime rates.

He didn’t talk about the other studies conducted by the other institutions that show how much murder, rape, assault, burglary, and theft goes on in the black population. The rest of it is his opinion. “war on drugs, on poor communities” aha.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro The kid might have been up to no good. Still, what zimmerman did was wrong. I lived in more than one gated community, if there was someone suspicious I would call security or the police. I can’t imagine it escalating to someone being dead. Especially if the suspected party does not have a gun. Cops usually come in pairs for their own safety and the safety of the person being arrested. The security staff at the subdivions I lived at, I can’t imagine them risking their own lives pursuing someone like this, if the kid was not actively harming someone else. Zimmerman is not even security he is just neighborhood watch. His roll is to report suspicious behavior, not take action. I have to assume he felt the authorities were not going to do anything maybe? He should have snapped a photo of the kid if possible, and left it alone.

JLeslie's avatar

Just out of curiosity have they searched Martin’s house? Have they found stolen goods?

vitro's avatar


Again, a vigilante is someone who punishes criminals when they break the law. Following someone does not constitute vigilantism. Neither is asking someone a question, and neither is getting out of your car to see what street you’re on.

So I ask again, what did Zimmerman do that was illegal? And how did he provoke Martin into hitting him?

Last year, police found jewelry and a screw driver in Martin’s backpack. Martin said a friend gave it, yet didn’t want say which friend, but the jewelry didn’t match any that was stolen.

Brian1946's avatar

I never said that 9% is nothing, but apparently you have yet to realize that it’s far short of a majority.

Your supposition that I “can research the 80% manually.” isn’t proof of the 80% assertion.

“He didn’t talk about the other studies conducted by the other institutions that show how much murder, rape, assault, burglary, and theft goes on in the black population. The rest of it is his opinion. ‘war on drugs, on poor communities’ aha.

What gives you the impression that Michelle Alexander is a he?

Besides, that 80% is also her opinion.

vitro's avatar

I never said the majority of the black population are criminals. I said that most of the crimes we have are caused by them and Hispanics. Likewise, our prison system consists mainly of them.

Sure it’s proof, I gave you an example of how it works with the 3 states. Demographics and crime rates.

It doesn’t say if she statistically derived 80% or what, same goes for her commentary, so I guess you’d have to read the book to find out. But as I said, you can manually see for yourself as I showed you. Or go read the other studies I mentioned before. The FBI, the BJS, and the PEW. The biggest factor here is that all these crime statistics were lumping hispanics as whites to hide the disproportionate amount of crime by them and to make it seem like whites are the biggest criminals, but that was already exposed and you have to consider that when reading the statistics.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro Most people who are suspicious of someone would not confront them, they would let the authorities do it. Zimmerman, armed and feeling pretty cocky I would assume, wanted to get the guy. I have a hard time believing anything else.

vitro's avatar

Who says he wanted to confront him?

Historically Zimmerman didn’t follow anyone in this neighborhood when he was on watch, so why would he start now?

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro Didn’t he get out of the car? How else did he wind up shooting him?

Also, if Tayvon Martin was white would you be so ok with Zimmerman’s actions? imagine Tayvon is your son. A teen, walking where he is not supposed to be, maybe up to good, or no good.

Or, how about imagine you are black, then what type of treatment do you want?

vitro's avatar

He didn’t get out to confront Martin because he lost sight of him. He got out of the car to take a look at the street name because he lost sight of Martin and he needed to give cops an address.

Of course I would be Okay with Zimmerman’s actions if Martin was white. Evidence is evidence. If Martin was my son, I would do everything I can to make sure the evidence is legit which is what Martin’s family is doing.

My only concern here is the stand-your-ground law. I believe a person should not be jailed, just like in the case of Zimmerman, when there is no evidence that makes him guilty of wrong doing. He shouldn’t go through a system because some people doubt his story. Provide legitimate evidence that he is in the wrong, and only then send him through the system. Otherwise, leave him the hell alone.

It’s also disgraceful what this country does to an innocent person, making him fear for his life. Personally, if I was Zimmerman, I wouldn’t give a damn if people were threatening him. He should just go on living his life and simply change his phone number to avoid harassment. If the situation should arise again, he has his gun rights still, and he can use the stand-your-ground law again against attackers.

Brian1946's avatar


“I never said the majority of the black population are criminals. I said that most of the crimes we have are caused by them and Hispanics.”

So do you agree that the majority of the black population are not criminals?

Brian1946's avatar


“He didn’t get out to confront Martin because he lost sight of him. He got out of the car to take a look at the street name because he lost sight of Martin and he needed to give cops an address.”

Do you see the contradiction in “He didn’t get out to confront Martin because he lost sight of him. He got out of the car…because he lost sight of Martin.”?

I don’t recall the police asking him for an address. On what grounds are you deciding he needed to give them an address?

vitro's avatar

The prison population isn’t the only thing you rely on when judging what part of the black population are criminals. You have a lot of crimes that have no arrests, and a lot of people who don’t go to prison.

Check out all the black riots. How many of these do you see in white communities?

Rochester 1964 race riot; Rochester, New York – July
New York City 1964 riot; New York City, New York – July
Philadelphia 1964 race riot; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – August
Jersey City 1964 race riot, August 2–4, Jersey City, New Jersey
Paterson 1964 race riot, August 11–13, Paterson, New Jersey
Elizabeth 1964 race riot, August 11–13, Elizabeth, New Jersey
Chicago 1964 race riot, Dixmoor riot, August 16–17, Chicago, Illinois

Watts Riot; Los Angeles, California – August

Hough Riots; Cleveland, Ohio – July
Hunter’s Point Riot; San Francisco
Division Street Riots; Chicago – June

1967 Newark riots; Newark, New Jersey – July
12th Street riot; Detroit, Michigan – July
1967 Plainfield riots; Plainfield, New Jersey – July
Milwaukee riot; Milwaukee, Wisconsin – July 30–31
Minneapolis North Side Riots; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota – August

Orangeburg massacre; Orangeburg, South Carolina – February
125 cities in April and May, in response to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. including:
Baltimore riot of 1968; Baltimore Maryland
1968 Washington, D.C. riots; Washington, D.C.
1968 New York City riot; New York City, New York
West Side Riots; Chicago, Illinois
Louisville riots of 1968; Louisville, Kentucky
Hill District MLK riots; Pittsburgh, PA
Summit, IL. Race Riot at Argo High School, September 1968

May 11th Augusta Race Riot; Augusta, Georgia – May
Jackson State killings; Jackson, Mississippi – May
Asbury Park Riot; Asbury Park, New Jersey – July
Chicano Moratorium, an anti Vietnam War protest turned riot in East Los Angeles – August

Camden Riots, August 1971, Camden, New Jersey

Escambia High School riots; Pensacola, Florida

New York City Blackout riot
1980: Miami Riot 1980 – May. Another riot occurred there in January 1989 and again in October 1995. The causes of riots by local Blacks against cases of police brutality by the Miami Police Department and competition with Cubans, Haitians and other Latinos.

1989: Bensonhurst and Elmhurst, Queens involved mostly Black sections of Queens in New York City.
1989: Virginia Beach, Virginia – Violent incidents by African Americans and whites occurred in a public beach.
1991: Crown Heights Riot – May – between African Americans and the area’s large Hasidic Jewish community, over the killing of a 10-year old black child by a Jewish motorist.
1991: Overtown, Miami – In the heavily Black section against Cuban Americans, alike earlier riots there in 1982 and 1984.
1992: 1992 Los Angeles riots – April 29 to May 5 – among the worst rioting in U.S. History.
1992: Harlem, Manhattan in New York City – July – involved Blacks and Puerto Ricans against the New York Police Department, around the time of the 1992 Democratic National Convention being held there.
1995: St. Petersburg, Florida Riot, caused by protests against racial profiling and police brutality.
2001: 2001 Cincinnati Riots – April – in the African-American section of Over-the-Rhine.
2005: Toledo, Ohio – Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched in North Park, a mostly African-American section of town.
2006: Los Angeles, In MacArthur Park, Hispanic activists clashed with L.A.P.D. in pro-amnesty demonstration for illegal immigrants.
2009: Oakland CA, Oscar Grant Murder Riots.
2011: UK London Riots

vitro's avatar

No, I don’t see a contradiction.

If Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, then he couldn’t have the intention of getting out of the car to confront him because there was no one to confront.

Now, if you listen the 911 call, the dispatcher asks Zimmerman if he wants to meet up with the police. Zimmerman says yes, so the dispatcher asks for an address or if he just wants to meet up with them by the mailbox. Zimmerman says fine, then changes his mind and says let the cops call me and I’ll tell them where I am at. So Zimmerman went up the block, got out the car to see where he was, and on his way back to the car, Martin approached him.

As a watchman, Zimmerman doesn’t have a history of following anyone, or playing vigilante, so there is no reason to assume he would start now.

vitro's avatar

An unarmed 18-year-old black man was killed by two armed private security guards in Atlanta. The mother is seeking justice. Link

Why aren’t news media’s covering this in full throttle? I don’t see Al Sharpton all over this? An innocent black child has been murdered, and yet where is the outrage? Why isn’t there a similar outcry from the community? Why hasn’t Obama said if he had a son, he would look like this 18-year-old child? Why no interest in this story?

Oh, I think I know why. The two killers are black.

gorillapaws's avatar

@vitro the alleged killer is being CHARGED with the crime.

vitro's avatar

lol, you should have read the article before commenting. Read…

“Two security guards have been charged with impersonating a police officer

No charges have been brought against the 25-year-old Scott in connection with Jefferson’s shooting, though police are still investigating, Miller said”

As I asked, where is the outcry?

vitro's avatar

And where the hell is the news coverage from big networks such as ABCnews on the 80–100 black students that were protesting Martin’s death who decided to vandalize and steal items from the local Walgreens store? Link

That isn’t important, right?

Brian1946's avatar


“You have a lot of crimes that have no arrests, and a lot of people who don’t go to prison.”

No arrests for those alleged crimes falls far short of proving that they were committed by black people.

You still haven’t answered my question, so perhaps if I rephrase it that will facilitate your comprehension of what I’m asking: do you think that the majority of black people are criminals?

How about the white people that committed genocide against millions of people?

vitro's avatar

No, not the majority.

I’m not talking about white history here. I’m talking about now, in our country, in our system.

Hell, if I go all over the world, I can start with what is going on in South Africa now. Blacks committing white genocide. It’s not the point though.

The point is you have a higher motivation to raise doubt towards blacks and Hispanics due to the rampant crime they’re responsible for throughout the nation. It also becomes easier to raise that doubt when you live in a predominantly white neighborhood, or in a neighborhood that particularly suffers from black crime.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What makes you think that Trayvon didn’t “belong” in that community?
Also, you said Zimmerman wasn’t a “typical” Hispanic @vitro? WTF is wrong with you? .... Wait…. either you’re a young blood White Supremest with a below average IQ OR you were an adult before 1960, raised with the comforting assumption that white folks are superior in all ways, and you don’t have the intelligence to question that assumption

How do you feel about a black man being president?

vitro's avatar

Because he lived with his mother and brother, not father. He was visiting his father that day, but Zimmerman obviously didn’t know that.

What don’t you understand about a multiracial couple? White father, Hispanic mother. If it was a Hispanic father, then he is Hispanic, otherwise you’ll have to explain to me how a white father and Hispanic mother equates a Hispanic son? It’s mongrelization.

How do I feel about a black man being president? I just think he is a typical liberal idiot, nothing to do with his skin color. It’s more of a mental disorder, in my opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro I just wanted to make sure you saw my very first answer. I am pretty forgiving when people shoot to protect themselves and their property. I would not even use forgiving probably, I would say I am supportive. I just see Zimmerman as different.

jca's avatar

Holy Cow. I am on vacation, did not check this for 24 hours, and 51 new answers! Wow.

@vitro: You said Zimmerman needed the address so supposedly he gets out of his car to see the address? If Zimmerman has been doing this neighborhood watch for years, and has made all these calls to 911 over those years, he should and would know the streets. He may not know the house numbers, but if Martin is walking, the house # would not be important, as someone walking would not be at that # for more than about three seconds. A street name and cross streets would suffice.

Also, @vitro, you said Martin was walking between houses and checking out windows. I have never read that in any of the many articles I read on this shooting. Zimmerman might be saying that now to add to his made up story, now that he knows he’s in deep doo-doo. Martin is not here to tell his side of the story, however. Regardless, I have not heard that from anywhere else other than you.

Your quote “What don’t you understand about a multiracial couple? White father, Hispanic mother. If it was a Hispanic father, than he is Hispanic, otherwise you’ll have to explain to me how a white father and Hispanic mother equates a Hispanic son? It’s mongrelization.” WTF? Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

The New York Times had an article in yesterday’s (April 1, 2012) issue about hate crimes commmitted by Hispanics on Blacks. I recommend you go to their site and read it. Very interesting stats on Hispanic on Black hate crimes and their prevalence.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro I’m glad @jca mentioned the half Hispanic thing. WTF?! Why does it matter which parent is Hispanic. 50% Hispanic in America is Hispanic. You really are unbelievable. I don’t mind stats on crime and race/groups, but you obviously have a pretty screwed up thought process on any group that is not white by your definition. I assume you are white, wow you must be so glad you were born the right color.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca re needed address: Plus Zimmerman LIVED in the community. Has for years. @vfitro was making stuff up to explain why Zimmerman got out of the car. No where, anywhere, does it mention that Zimmerman got out of the car for any reason other than to peruse Trayvon. He also made up the fact that Trayvon was skulking between houses. He even posted a link to prove it. Only problem his, the article in his link states that Trayvon was walking on a path that goes behind the townhouses.

@vitro You got another fact wrong. He wasn’t visiting his father. He was visiting his father’s fiancee. OMG. A black woman lived in that gated community!!!
You are just off your rocker, man.

Ron_C's avatar

I does not matter that Florida has a “stand your ground law”. It does not matter that Zimmerman may have been of mixed heritage. It doesn’t even matter that Zimmerman had a gun and Martin had iced tea!

All that matters is that Zimmerman tracked down Martin and confronted him in what could be considered a threatening manner to a teenager alone, at night.

No law excuses Zimmerman. Martin, however was threatened and was actually covered by the “stand your ground” law. The only problem is that the threatened party only had his fists while the assailant was armed. No matter how you look at it Martin’s death was unnecessary and that is the shame of all of this.

vitro's avatar


1. Zimmerman has been a watchman for less than 5 months, not years. He started around September 2011.

2. Do you know what townhouses are? Everything looks the same in a gated community, so on a rainy night, you’re not going to recognize anything, and he was going to a cross street, that is why he went up the block in his car, to the nearest cross street.

3. First of all, I already linked to the articles that backup what Zimmerman said, and in the 911 he says Martin is staring at houses. But, if you don’t like Zimmerman’s side of the story, you take Martin’s girlfriend who says “It started raining harder as he walked, so he pulled up his hood and sought shelter at one of the buildings in the townhouse complex, the girlfriend he was chatting with on the phone told attorneys.” Alright? So even if Martin was seeking shelter in the townhouses, it confirms Zimmermans story of what he saw. Hence why Martin wouldn’t be walking on the sidewalk, but at the back entrance of the houses, and why he would be staring at them, but Zimmerman had no recollection of Martin’s motivation, obviously.

4. You guys keep asking me I’m serious, yet none of you can explain to me how a mongrel is being labeled Hispanic when he is a mongrel… duh?


4. Is for you too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@vitro in your first post you twisted it into “Martin was walking in between town houses instead of the sidewalk and scoping out the houses at night,” but in the link you posted to verify the comment it said he was walking on a PATH that ran behind the houses. Martin may well have been looking for a carport or something to stand under for a moment until it quit raining so hard. It’s Zimmerman’s paranoiac words that have the kid “peering at houses”, and your own racism, that turns it into something dastardly.

As for the mongrel comment…virtually every African American has white blood flowing in their veins, so, according to your argument, NO African American can be considered a “typical” black either, and that goes for Trayvon too. You keep tripping over your own arguments.

And I don’t think Zimmerman is the mongrel here.

vitro's avatar

The source I gave you said exactly what you wrote – he was walking on the path that ran behind the houses. Then there is thissource that says “George Zimmerman, he said, found it odd the teen was walking in between the town homes on a rainy night, rather than on the street or on the sidewalk.”

Now if Martin was seeking shelter as his girlfriend said, then it confirms Zimmerman’s story because to seek shelter, you have to scope out houses to see where you can hide out. He went on the path behind the houses perhaps to see if there was a porch, or something. The point is a black man who doesn’t live in this neighborhood wasn’t simply walking on the public street towards his fathers house. He was seeking shelter on private property and walking where people don’t normally walk. Given the recent crimes, you put two and two together. My own racism? Typical liberal bullshit. You can’t handle the facts so you yell racism.

Where the hell do you come with that virtually every African American has white blood flowing in their veins?

I’m simply saying a mongrel cannot have one label. It’s common sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro From what I understand one of Zimmerman’s parents is Hispanic, so he is Hispanic. You want to call him a mongrel because he is mixed I guess? No one uses that term, it is derogatory in my opinion. Being Hispanic in America is mostly about being from Latin American decent. Even if the person is 100% Native to the Americas, no Spanish blood, they are called Hispanic in America, so the terms are used not to the true specific definition. My father-in-law was born and raised in Mexico, he is “Hispanic” but his parents are Israeli, and before that from other areas of the middle east.

Are you 100% whatever you are? 100% British? 100% German? 100% Polish? Your family came from somewhere before America, and likely you are a mix of something.

You sound so white supremist. If you aren’t a neo-nazi I recommend you consider altering your vocabular so you don’t send off the wrong vibe.

vitro's avatar

His mother is Hispanic and his father is white. It doesn’t make him Hispanic just because his mother is Hispanic because the other half goes to the white father, hence he is a mongrel.

No, YOU don’t use that term. Don’t lump in “everyone”. That is a fallacious statement. Webster Dictionary – Mongrel “an individual resulting from the interbreeding of diverse breeds or strains” or “a cross between types of persons or things” Nothing derogatory about it, it’s just another word in the dictionary.

Just because America has its system of labels doesn’t mean they’re correct. Hell, look at the new FBI rules. They lump in all Hispanics as white now. Does that make it right? Nope. A mongrel is a mongrel. It’s incorrect to give them one label.

Yes, I am 100% whatever I am. I can trace my roots back to the 17 century.

I don’t give a shit what you think I sound like and I’m not going to follow your insane political correctness because you find mongrel offensive. There is nothing derogatory or racist here. Get over yourself.

Brian1946's avatar


“Yes, I am 100% whatever I am. I can trace my roots back to the 17 century.”

That’s not proof, that’s just your assertion.

Even if your unsubstantiated claim was true, how do you know that your lineage wasn’t “mongrelized” before then?

vitro's avatar

It’s a possibility, but an unlikely one. If I investigate this further, I’m sure I can trace the roots back even longer.

JLeslie's avatar

@vitro BFD it’s in the dictionary. Some dictionarues have bargain as a definition of the word Jew. It’s offensive.

Why the hell do you think being half Hispanic is not Hispanic? What if someone is half black, are they black? Or, just another mongrel? All mongrels,no katter what the mix are ll just that, mongrels? Mutts? At this point I don’t care what you call them, but I do care that you want to remove someones national or cultural identity. And, just out of curiosity what do you define as white? In America people from Spain, Italy, Greece, France, would all be classified as white. So those Hispanics are white too.

Where does it say FBI counts all Hispanics as white? Every government form I see of late asks Hispanics to check white, black, or other.

JLeslie's avatar

So, what are you? Why didn’t you tell us where your family is from?

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
tranquilsea's avatar

To me the race of the individuals is less important than the circumstances of what happened. Racism exists in every culture and every race. I find it offensive where ever I see it.

Calling some human being a mongrel is offensive. Aren’t we all????

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] @vitro has left the building.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Every link he posted to bolster his assertions did just the opposite. For example , the link he posted above to “prove” his claim that Trayvon was skulking behind houses turned out to be this which is more evidence that Zimmerman was outright lying about Trayvon beating him up. It didn’t say a thing about Trayvon “skulking” between houses. It was no fun arguing with him plus he was just plain nasty!
I have never, ever met anyone like that before. And I hope I don’t again.

tranquilsea's avatar

I wonder if @vitro has two id’s here as every post he/she posted got at least one thumbs up. I’m mean really?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hmmmm. Time to spy?

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Labeling fellow humans as mongrels ends it for me. PLONK! We have no basis for common understanding, so there is no need to communicate further. Talk with whatever racial purity cohorts speak your language of racial superiority.

jca's avatar

breathes a big sigh of relief that prejudiced, thick-headed @vitro is gone. After his racist rants on this one about mongrels, I was tempted to flag him.

I also wondered who is the one person on here continually giving him the single thumbs up on each of his posts.

@vitro, where ever you are. Zimmerman may or may not have been a neighborhood watch person for only a few months, but all of the news accounts have said he called 911 about 80 times over the years, so therefore, he had some basis for being so enthusiastic, officially neighborhood watch or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Yeah, who is giving that guy GA’s?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I don’t know, but I started seeing one for each of his posts. I’m glad he’s gone but his type (the argumentative, thick headed type) will be back.

Brian1946's avatar

Here’s one of vitro’s posts from a previous identity trying to make the same racist application of the aforementioned crime statistics:

I also guess that he will be back.

augustlan's avatar

He was a returning troll, and was using an alter identity to lurve himself.

Response moderated
jca's avatar

@Brian1946: He’s real big on labels of people’s race, isn’t he?

N U T Z !!!

Brian1946's avatar

Yes! ^ ▲

ETpro's avatar

It makes you wonder of Godwin’s Law wasn’t proposed by one of these RWNJs. Granted lots of Internet debates end up in completely unjustified Nazi references, but let’s never forget there are real Neo-Nazis and white supremacists out there. There are black supremacists as well. Any racial purity sort is fair game, and Godwin’s Law is suspended.

6rant6's avatar

Taking the race out of this entirely, a citizen decides to take a gun and put himself and someone else in harms way.

One one level, his intent was to protect his neighborhood. But he assumes risks when he goes out of his house – his own safety for starters. When he takes a gun with him, he adds the danger that he might be in a position where someone gets killed with it. And I think we have to hold him responsible for that possibility, especially in the case where the person killed is unarmed and apparently not doing anything wrong until threatened by Zimmerman’s approach. All this is regardless of who threw the first punch.

Maybe we take some measure of Zimmerman’s good intentions into the equation. But I do believe he created a situation with foreseeable consequences and should have to pay for it.

jca's avatar

Adding to what @6rant6 said, not only did Zimmerman leave his house with a gun, he left the safety of his car to confront, unnecessarily, this boy walking on the street. Even if he thought the boy looked suspicious, even if the boy looked like a man, the boy was not harming anybody at the time Zimmerman confronted him, therefore, no need for immediate intervention.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Something I’m curious to hear about…I’ve listened to the heartbreaking tapes, and it sounded like Zimmerman was freaking torturing the kid. We have yet to hear if Tryavon had scrapes and bruises on him. (As an aside, I read an article today that they showed the dad the first picture of his son after he was killed, in the spot where he was killed. The article said Trayvon ”...had a tear on his cheek…” All of it just makes me want to cry.)

ETpro's avatar

@6rant6 Excellent point. And it dovetails into the fact that when Zimmerman volunteered to orgainze a neighborhood watch, Sanford Police sent a trainer out with a PowerPoint presentation that told volunteers, stay in your car or home and call the police. It specifically instructed them never to confront anyone and never to carry a gun.

Blackberry's avatar

So, long story short: Checkmate, Zimmerman.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What have you seen @Blackberry? I just saw that it wasn’t going to a Grand Jury, but whether charges will be filed are still up in the air. Do you have more info?

Blackberry's avatar

No, I was saying after this long debate nothing has changed.

ETpro's avatar

@Blackberry Ha! After this long debate, nothing has even been said about the OP. It was a quastion about the Florida “Stand Your Ground Law” and its wisdom, not who was guilty and who started the confrontation. Oh well, so Internet discussions go.

ETpro's avatar

Regarding the actual topic of the OP, there is this news today regarding Oklahoma’s “Stand your Ground” law and the impact it may have had on recent gun violence there. It would be interesting if we could actually discuss the question, and leave Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence up to the special prosecutor..

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ETpro You can only stay on one subject for so long. Everything that could have been said about the law was said, so either it segues off or it dries up….We’re only speculating and sharing ideas about the underlying issue that brought up the question. No more harm in that than debating the rights or wrongs of a law. Or…should we just leave that up to the law makers and stay out of it?

Zimmerman’s lawyers quit because they can’t find him.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III The OP was about the law, but virtually all the discussion has been about who was at fault in this particular case, not the logic of the law. I saw the bizarre news conference in with Zimmerman’s attorneys quit. Just when you think the case can’t get mire surreal, it does.

Brian1946's avatar

About 2 days ago I read an Alternet article about some cases in FL where the homicides committed were ruled justifiable, even though the assailants were pursuing their victims, but I deleted it because of offline distractions. :-/

However, I just heard that Zimmerman is being charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Brian1946 I just read that he’s been charged….FINALLY! I have not understood why they didn’t just charge him to begin with and let the courts sort this out.

ETpro's avatar

@Brian1946 If you stumble back onto the article (or if it’s in your browser history—hint, hint—by all means post a link. That actually gets at the heart of my actual question.

@tranquilsea I doubt they can make 2nd Degree Murder stick. Maybe Manslaughter. First degree murder is often easy to prove, ad you only have to point to proof that the defendant was the killer and planned the crime. There’s often forensic evidence to show both those things. But 2nd degree murder required jurors to climb inside the defendant’s head at the moment the murder was committed. To get a 2nd degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman acted with ’‘a depraved mind’’.

I’m wondering if this finding was really meant by Florida to ensure Zimmerman walks.

Brian1946's avatar

I’ve scrolled through the 1,974 links in my 7-day history, but I have yet to find that article.

However, here’s one article about a specific incident that I remember.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I have a question. If you’re being followed by an unknown person and you’re in fear of what his intentions are, is it only OK to shoot him and not OK to engage him in hand-to-hand combat? I mean, if Zimmerman wants to say Trayvon tried to hurt him, well, wasn’t Trayvon standing his ground instead of trying to retreat?

The law is just too damn ambiguous and irresponsibly redundant IMO.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III That may be. The NRA and ALEC wrote the law, and pushed it through. Their intent was to sell more guns. If boxing and karate trainers were funding it, the law would likely have been quite different.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I hope they repeal it.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III They will have to repeal the Republican dominated legislature and Governorship before there is much chance of that.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@ETpro I’m afraid you are right. All indications are that Rick Scott will be re-elected and the republican-dominated legislature will remain intact for the next generation. Florida is an extremely corrupt state. Our legislature legalized bribery a couple of years ago—and I’m not refering to the normal legalized bribery experienced by other states and our federal government through our corrupt lobbying system. I’m talking about the fact that a physician can legally give $175,000 directly to a legislator in order to have laws passed that will ensure the success of his clinics without the usual pesky competitors horning in on his market—without fear of prosecution.

This place stinks to high heaven. What can one expect from a state that elects a governor who made his millions as CEO of a health care corporation that paid the highest fines ever to the federal government for medicare fraud. His excuse, as CEO, was that he was unaware of the fraud although it represented 60% of HCA’s revenue for the years he was boss. He was exonerated. His parachute was $360 million in cash and stock. With $75 million of it he bought the governorship. He invested the rest into ventures ranging from a national chain of health care clinics, cyber security companies, to media outlets that bring him close to a billion dollars per year.

BTW, he rode in on the mindless teabagger vote which was spoon-fed by the most corrupt state republican apparatus in the US and his ill-got millions. He regularly criticizes the federal government on it’s wasteful ways—especially medicare waste (a benefit he has often stated he would like to see eliminated)—of which he has profited greatly and without which he would still be just another suit hammering away at a desk somewhere.

Don’t expect anything good to come out of this state. Not in our lifetimes.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

If the NRA and others feel the Stand Your Ground Law is threatened, all they have to do is spread a little cash around Talahassee—regardless of good argument or the intent of the voter/taxpayer. It works the other way too—all you need is more money than the other guy. It’s perfectly legal in the state of Florida. Now that is an open market.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Sadly, I think that the only way to wake up the righties may be to let them have their way to the point that the disaster they create even gets through their thick skulls.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro That is what I said recently to my mom about healthcare and the situation in America of the shrinking middle class.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know guys…as long as they aren’t affected by it personally, they don’t have a reason to change. As long as they stay rich and can stay healthy, why should they care about a disaster that doesn’t touch them.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I hope it doesn’t have to come to that, but it may.

@Dutchess_III Ask Marie Antoinette how the “Let them eat cake.” strategy worked out for her.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro That’s what she said.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, Marie Antoionette’s attitude came back to bite her in the butt, and I imagine the same thing would eventually happen to the politicians, but until that day, they wouldn’t care.

Ron_C's avatar

I have one more gripe about this whole topic. Hispanic is not a scientific or proper racial term. People that speak Spanish are black, white, native, or mixed. They may or may not speak Spanish. I know German people that live in Mexico and Spanish people that live in Brazil. The guy in Brazil doesn’t speak Spanish and the German speaks German and English and Spanish with a German accent. If we must persist in describing people by their race at least be accurate!

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I tried.

Last Thursday I was out to dinner and this friend of a friend was saying how great he thought my husband was (they had been sitting near each other, I introduced myself late in the evening after dinner was already done) the guy kept saying he knows a lot of people from South America, I said, “well my husband is not South American, but I know what you mean.” That guy did not know what I meant though. I countinued a little, “he is Mexican, not South American.” But, then I let it go.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C Not that it has a thing to do with the Florida Stand Your Ground law’s merits—but Zimmerman has an Hispanic mom and German dad. He is not bi-lingual. English is his only language.

Ron_C's avatar

and he’s not Hispanic either.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Why do you say he is not Hispanic? His mom is Hispanic.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie Hispanic is a false indicator of race. Like I said, people that speak Spanish are white, Indian, black and I know a Chinese guy that speaks very good Spanish.

Zimmerman is of German decent and whatever his mother is (white, black, Indian.)

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I don’t think Hispanic is a race at all. But, that does not mean he is not Hispanic.

wundayatta's avatar

Hispanicity has nothing to do with race. It is an ethnicity and is measured separately by the US Census. You can be Hispanic as well as any other race. Race and hispanicity are two separate things.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta Would you agree Zimmerman is Hispanic? If I had a kid I would always check Hispanic, because his/her father, my husband, is Hispanic.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, @JLeslie, that’s the other thing about the Census. It’s up to us to describe ourselves. No one can say what anyone else is in this country, except prison officials. Only in prison are you what the officers decide you are. Everywhere else, we get to choose our own races and ethnicities.

So, for me, there is the question of whether I am Jewish or not. According to Hitler, I would have been categorized as Jewish. My mother’s mother is Jewish. That makes me Jewish. I think Israel uses the same rule for the right of return, although I’ve also heard otherwise. Some people want it to be easy to be Jewish, and others want it to be hard.

In any case, if his Mother is Hispanic, he could call himself Hispanic. If it was his great grandmother who was Hispanic, he could still call himself Hispanic. We have the freedom to decide what we are in this country, for what that’s worth.

Frankly, I think heritage should be cultural. I’m not Jewish because I don’t know shit about Judaism or Jewish culture or tradition. Well, I know a little from living in NYC and hanging out with a lot of Jews, but my parents didn’t teach me a thing.

But then, I carry cystic fibrosis, which likely ties me to the Jewish people, although there are some other ethnic groups with the same genetic mutation.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I was just thinking, if I adopted a kid I could say Hispanic too I guess, because it is cultural more than anything in America.

Since Judaism is not a census question, you don’t have to worry about that. I think you might have right of return to Israel actually. I think you should, even if you had never identified with Judaism your whole life, and never practiced the religion.

wundayatta's avatar

If you and your husband adopted, then absolutely, I would understand you calling him Hispanic.

Friends of ours adopted two kids of Hispanic ancestry (they are white). They look very Hispanic. Well, one more than the other. I don’t know how they answered the Census. But it all goes to show us that race and ethnicity are mostly cultural ideas, and have little to do with science. In fact, you can’t determine race from genes. I would guess that you could determine ethnicity… if you wanted to handle it that way.

jca's avatar

What I find interesting about the Hispanicity issue is would we be having this discussion if his name was Gomez or Lopez and not Zimmerman?

Brian1946's avatar


Probably not.

I don’t think @6rant6 would have referred to him as the ‘white guy’.

However, I think it would have ended there if vitro hadn’t entered this thread.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Maybe. My husband’s name is not Hispanic/Spanish it is very Jewish, when people don’t know it is Jewish they almost always guess Arab or middle eastern, never Spanish. It is middle eastern, so that guess is not wrong, but with that there is usually an assumption he is Arab, which is incorrect. Not that it matters, except to say it is inaccurate. And, there are tons and tons of German’s in South America, especially countries like Argentina, who would be considered Hispanic in America. My closest and dearest Venezuelan friends are Italian. A lot of people in America probaby don’t realize, they have a stereotype of Latin Americans, but many Americans do realize, so it would matter who you ask if they would understand and classify as Hispanic or not. I don’t really like the term Hispanic, it groups together too large of a group, a very varied group, but it’s the one that is used so I go with it.

My neighbor in the second house I lived in was Italian, and his wife Domincan. He found out his daughters put they were Hispanic on some application, and he got all upset. He said to me, “they are Italian, their last name is Italian.” I think part of it was he was macho enough to think his genes and ethnicity dominated. I told him it’s better for them, gives them more advantages if they put Hispanic, he should not be upset. Not sure that was true in FL since we have so many Hispanics there generally speaking, but not a ton in the specific city we lived in. But, in the future it might be an advantage, so might as well always call them Hispanic on forms.

jca's avatar

My father is Hispanic, but I am white as can be. I always put Hispanic on applications when asked. When I registered my daughter for kindergarten, I put her down as Hispanic, even though she’s whiter than I am. The application had two categories, Ethnicity and Race. Ethnicity I put Hispanic, and race I put white. My last name, which is my father’s last name, is one that is not too “Spanish” sounding, so when I tell people I am half “Spanish” they’re usually surprised.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Are you half Spanish or Hispanic? I realize Hispanics can be from Spanish decent, but I only use Spanish to mean from Spain. My FIL is Hispanic, but his family came over from Israel, I would never call him Spanish.

jca's avatar

My father is from Mexico, his family is Castilian (which is a region in Spain). That’s why I am whiter than white! A lot of people express surprise when I tell them I’m “Mexican” because they think of Mexicans as being short and dark, where I am tall and white, and so is my father.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am under the impression that the word “Hispanic” refers to a race of people that are of American Indian and Spanish (white) descent.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would think technically it means people from the Iberian peninsula who came to the Americas, but now in the US it means basically anyone in Latin America. They could be pure Inca, or German, or Irish, and if they came to the US most people would call them Hispanic. It’s because we use it as a cultural or ethnic definition synonomous with Latin America. It’s like calling all Americans American, even though we are from Russia and Italy and Ireland and name 100 more countries. It’s part of the reason I don’t like the term Hispanic.

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