Defensive Gun Use, Murder and State of Mind

Mens rea is a legal term meaning ‘guilty mind’ referring to a person’s intent. For a crime to be committed, both the criminal act and criminal intent have to exist at the same time. State of mind is how jurors determine if a defendant committed a mistake, or is guilty of a crime. Fans of whodunit stories are familiar with murder in the first degree, second degree and manslaughter. Plan out a murder and that makes it premeditated – it’s murder in the first. Kill a man you caught in bed with your wife and your flash of passion makes it murder in the second. Kill a man by negligence, such as driving drunk, and you’re facing a manslaughter charge. Intent is – just about – everything . . .

I am loathe to wade into the tragic events in Florida where, at the very least, a confrontation ended in the death of a young man. So far, I’ve heard nothing indicating that Trayvon Martin was doing anything other than maybe taking a shortcut through a community where he wasn’t known.

Zimmerman appears to have been active in keeping an eye on his community. A rash of burglaries and other crimes had prompted residents to form a neighborhood watch.  Zimmerman was the only one willing to be a captain, according to reports.

It seems pretty clear that Zimmerman was ignoring the “observe and report” directive the police give neighborhood watch participants the night he shot and killed Martin. He approached Martin rather than waiting for the cops to ask the “who are you and why are you here” questions. The dispatcher told Zimmerman “we don’t need you to do that” – advice he should have heeded.

One witness had Zimmerman on his back calling for help.

“The guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help! Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911,” said the witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John.

John said he locked his patio door, ran upstairs and heard at least one gun shot.

“And then, when I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”

This awful situation almost seems as if it were written by a very clever screenwriter.  Zimmerman should have obeyed the police, but I’ve chased off burglars myself (the cops arrived 15 minutes later). My neighbor has thwarted a break-in.

I am armed almost all the time. I don’t carry because I want to use a gun, God forbid. No, I carry in case I need to use it for self defense and I go to great lengths to avoid trouble. Still, I could see a situation going south in an instant. Flat on my back, having taken a couple good strokes to my melon. Do I have to lose an eye because my assailant may not be armed?

What was Zimmerman’s state of mind when he chose to confront Martin? Did he go with murder in his heart, was he angry, looking to provoke a fight with Martin?  Was Zimmerman in fear for his life or limb?

We don’t know – that’s what juries are for. Right now there are plenty of hustlers out there trying to seize control of the narrative without regard to facts, never mind justice. The problem is, any of us could be one mistake in judgment away from a dangerous situation. The Sanford shooting is certainly a tragedy. Perhaps it’s a crime. The most important thing we can do is demand that the law be followed.

70 Responses to Defensive Gun Use, Murder and State of Mind

  1. avatarGeoff says:

    Thank you! People need to wait for the facts before they throw the rope over a branch and drag MR. Zimmerman to it. It looks like both sides made wrong choices and a tragedy has resulted. Let the law decide what happened. As is normal there are 2 story’s being told, and the truth will be somewhere in the center.

  2. avatarAharon says:

    That woman has the biggest mouth that I’ve ever seen.

  3. avatargrizzly says:

    Well written, well said.

  4. avatarDerek Lindgood says:

    Unfortunately, this is what the militant blacks in this country do. If this was a black on black incident, none of these shenanigans (Sharpton instantly comes to mind) would be going on. And we have a “community organizer in chief” riling up “his people.” Holder of the “US Dept of INJustice” should be next to start flapping his mouth.

    Civilized people would let the cops do their jobs. But seeing the chief has already stepped down due to racist pressure and the stupid talking heads of the meida, I don’t see that happening.

    • avatarRalph says:

      In all fairness to that bloviating gasbag “Reverend” Al, I haven’t heard him say anything bad about white or Hispanic people in connection with this case.

      If he feels that the Sanford PD buried this case because a black guy died, I hope that he’s wrong. In fact, I believe he’s wrong. However, given the history of central Florida, I can understadn that people who live there might have another impression.

      Moreover, if you think that if a black man shot a white man in “self defense” there wouldn’t be any racial ramifications, you’re living in a dream world.

      • avatarFrank H says:

        Just such an event occurred in 2009 in Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester. Roderick Scott, a black man, shot and killed an unarmed white teen, Christopher Cervini, whom he believed was burglarizing a neighbor’s car, with a licensed .40 cal. handgun. No charges of racism were leveled (and it would seem none should have been).

        Despite Zimmerman’s poor judgement, it would appear the his motivations were not racist. On the other hand, Sharpton, Jackson, and the rest of the race-baiter’s circus are trying to re-kindle the race riots of the late sixties, just in time for the 2012 election.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          And let’s not forget our brother Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, who were out in force at the rally, promoting membership in the NoI, and selling his book.

  5. avatarJason says:

    People all seem to be forgetting one thing: Zimmerman had just called the cops. He knew they were on the way, and could come around the corner any second. How many people with murder on their minds call the cops first, and then commit murder with the full expectation that the cops might have just rolled up and be looking over their shoulder?

    • avatarRalph says:

      There’s no question that his intentions were honorable, even if his tactics were wrong. But under older laws, the status of a shooter could legally change from concerned citizen to murderer in a nanosecond. That’s one of the reasons SYG was passed.

  6. avatarStacy says:

    Folks, I’d really advise all to stay off the Zimmerman bandwagon. At a bare minimum, Zimmerman got out of his car to chase Martin after the 911 operator told him not to. Even if Martin was beating him up when he shot him, Zimmerman caused the confrontation. It may legally be self defense at that point, but it’s still Zimmerman’s fault. This situation calls for studied silence, not circling the wagons.

    • avatarRalph says:

      It’s all Zimmerman’s fault because Martin wasn’t a criminal. If Martin was a criminal, Zimmerman would be a hero.

      The problem with second guessing is that Zimmerman didn’t have the chance to ask Martin for his High Scool transcript and some nice pictures when he was on his back.

      Having said that, I’ll also add that it doesn’t matter. Right or wrong, Zimmerman is going down. Sacrifices have to be made. I’m down with that.

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        If the choice is between Zimmerman going down for this, and him successfully using the SYG law to remain free in a way that results in the anti’s using the decision as a lever to push the pendulum back in the other direction… all I can say is, “Sorry about your luck.”

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          It isn’t a “Stand Your Ground” case. It is a “use of lethal force in self-defense” case, though the statute providing the SYG right reinforces the value the state places upon the right to defend. I expect the PR by the antis on this case to backfire with the voters.

      • avatarTim McNabb says:

        That rather runs counter to the whole idea of “the rule of law”. Under the law, Zimmerman is either guilty of a crime or not. The American ideal is that guilt or innocence is irrelevant to “The Greater Good”.

        • avatarCarlosT says:

          The ship has sailed, the horse is gone, pick your tired cliché, but the rule of law is hardly an American ideal anymore.

        • avatarJoe C. says:

          I completely agree. But if we adhered to “the rule of law,” what would everyone do with their free time? The marching, the facebooking, the general internet posting, and trial by media would be largely unnecessary. An overwhelming number of people do not, or choose not to, understand the difference between “the rule of law” and “the rule of man.”

          I find it extremely ironic that people who are connected by blood and history to those who were so many times tried, convicted, sentenced, and punished under the “rule of man” (i.e., lynched) are essentially calling for the same in this case.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        I’ll take the over, that if it gets to a jury he’ll be acquitted. Aside from the sport of opposing, I think if Zimm’s attorney is alert he has a good case. If he can’t convince the jury of the following, he isn’t trying: There were actually two calls from Zimm. In one he arranges with an LEO to meet him near the postboxes. (This was not the dispatch call.) It seems likely that Zimm followed Martin when Martin wouldn’t answer “Why are you here?” It also was dark and rainy, and Zimm’s statement, made without counsel and freely (yes, I’m aware of the issue there) was that he was trying to follow Martin but lost him. That indicates to me, given the layout of the houses and paths (via Google Earth) that Martin had sought hiding beneath a deck or other cover. Visibility wasn’t so bad that night that he couldn’t see Martin 15 feet away. On the other hand, if Martin was sixty or eighty feet away, the two would never have come into contact. I’ll argue the hide. Zimm walked to the back, presumably looked both ways, and gave up on keeping track of Martin for, he thought, the PD. Martin, made very uneasy by Zimm’s inquiries, and we infer having not answered them (else Zimm would have gone back to his car) decides he’s into some greater danger from Zimm, or feels enraged at Zimm. As Zimm walks past, Martin sprints at him, hits him hard on the back of the head, and the two end up wrestling less that twenty feet from the hiding place, next to John’s patio. Martin, Zimm has clearly reported, started the physical contact…and was winning it. Zimm did NOT immediately draw his pistol, this according to John’s and Zimm’s statements, and the obvious facts. Zimm called for help, but none was forthcoming. John said “stop, I’m calling 911.” Meanwhile Zimm was taking repeated blows to the head. When Zimm decided that he was in danger of losing an eye or getting a fractured jaw or skull (both explicit included in serious injury caselaw in FL) he drew his gun and fired, probably with the gun close to his own chest. The weak grip and perhaps contact with his own chest caused a failure to feed. The one shot killed his assailant, quite in line with the relevant law. Zimm awaited the police, making no attempt to flee. Why should he? He knew John had witnessed the attack. [Recent photos of Martin will appear, including details of his recent state of mind.] That is essentially the same description I offered in a comment to your post “Life Imitates Art” some days ago. (Not to mention the same in the next Defensive Tip TV Reporter post). One dollar, Mortimer? er, Ralph?

        • avatarRalph says:

          If the Feds want to get him on the civil rights charge, they’ll get him. Offhand, I can’t think of a case where there was an acquittal. The threshold for conviction is actually very low. As for a state homicide chage, I don’t have enough facts. Nor does anyone else.

          BTW, I think a “hate crime” enhancement is a nonstarter.

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          I’m only taking the over on state charges in state court. What testimony may come also hasn’t made into the record yet. I’m inclined to think that a homicide or manslaughter charge shouldn’t stick when someone is being beaten to a pulp, when a witness has noticed and warned, and yet the beating doesn’t stop. There are other bits. A jury may well wonder why Martin did not in fact continue walking home very fast if he was afraid of Zimm, rather than merely p’d off, or if he intended to remain out of physical contact with Zimm. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the facts further develop. The $1 bet was of course a reference to “Trading Places.” The public and the media seem as concerned about justice for Zimmerman as Randolph and Mortimer were for the rights of Louis Winthorp III.

    • avatarrentonben says:

      >>Zimmerman caused the confrontation.

      That depends on what Zimmerman did. And you (nor I) know what he did. I’ll point out that it’s lawful to ask annoying questions to anybody in public.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      I repeatedly read and hear the comment that Zimmerman got out of his car to “chase” Martin. It seems he followed Martin, rather than chased. It also seems that he lost sight of him for a time. The use of “chased” is not justified.

    • avatarJames says:

      The 911 Operator didn’t “tell him not to” chase Martin.

      He (Zimmerman) told the Operator that he was following him; the response was that, “We don’t need you to do that.”

      That is not an order, nor is it a clear, lawful command. It is advice.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        There is also another call in which Zimmerman speaks with an LEO and arranges to keep track of Martin and meet the LEO near or by the row of mailboxes.

      • avatarRalph says:

        James, I posted that some time ago . The statement “we don’t need you to do that” is as equivocal as a statement can be. By no means can I view that as an order. Plus, I don’t belive that a police dispatcher (911 operator) can give an order. A 911 operator is not a police officer.

  7. avatarSilver says:

    Doesn’t matter. Guilty, innocent, he’s already been judged.

    Frankly, there’s no reason to even follow this travesty of a case. Just wait it out and post the story where he’s either convicted or murdered. Those are the only two outcomes for him.

    • avatarTom says:

      Well, the new Black Panther Party has offered a reward for anyone killing Zimmerman.

      • avatarAharon says:

        Say hello the new party same as the old party…

      • avatarTom says:

        Actually, I was wrong, they just want to detain Zimmerman.
        Uh-huh. Sort of like the Nazis just wanted to detain the Jews for their own good.

        • avatarTom says:

          But then again, the Southern Poverty Law Center has stated that the New Black Panther Party is extremely violent and wants to kill Whites and Jews.
          But, hey, aren’t they all violent?

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        It’s the New Black Panther Party that more assuredly will be going down. They’ve already violated four laws in two states. Their use of intimidation, wrongful apprehension inducements, polling place intimidation, and so forth spells trouble. Their leadership won’t be able to stop. They don’t want to stop. That’s the sort of behavior that leads eventually to nemesis.

  8. avatargen4n9 says:

    Tim,

    I don’t know where you get that Zimmerman approached Martin and asking him the “who are you and why are you here“ questions. From what I have read, Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and was heading back to his vehicle when Martin confronted him. Even if that is not the case. The fact is, whoever laid hands on the other first is the aggressor, period. But we may never know for a fact who touched who first, because one of them is dead.

    Also I have seen nothing that says Zimmerman was right on Martins heals, just that he was following him. And I would consider following someone with the objective of keeping them in sight, after calling 911, to be the very definition of observing and reporting.

    And in regards to the dispatcher saying “we don’t need you to do that” and Zimmerman following anyway. I say so what. I certainly don’t need some dispatcher barking orders at me, when all they know is what I have told them. They’re not seeing what I am seeing and they don’t know me. It is their job to listen to me, get help on the way, and give advise if I am asking for it. But until the police arrive, I will do what feel to be prudent.

    • avatarTim McNabb says:

      I did not say that Zimmerman asked questions. It’s clear he approached Martin rather than wait for the cops to ask questions

      Somehow, Zimmerman and Martin closed their distance enough for Martin to get on top of Zimmerman. You may be right that Martin approached Zimmerman, not the other way around.

      Good catch.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        That’s a rather crucial distinction in the law of self-defense. (Forget “Stand Your Ground.” George was unable to get away and being pummeled, with a witness. SYG isn’t relevant. The underlying FL lethal force law is.)

    • avatarHD76 says:

      The report of Zimmerman questioning Martin comes from the girl that was on the phone with Martin. She reported hearing Zimmerman asking something like “what are you doing here?” and Martin asking “why are you following me?” I don’t have a link handy, so I could not confirm the exact wording, but this was where the report came from.

  9. avatarKelly in GA says:

    How about this: Zimmerman pursued, bad idea. But can you blame him? Say Martin HAD been armed, Zimmerman let him go, and Martin broke into a house around the corner and killed someone while they were eating dinner. Wouldn’t we all be here saying that Zimmerman should have done more? It’s not like it’s a quite neighborhood. Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed in hindsight, but in those situations the people involved don’t get the benefit of hindsight.

    Secondly, whether or not he was right to follow him, if the witness is accurate and Martin was on top of him beating him, then what does someone who is pinned down have to wait on before using deadly force? Plenty of people have been beaten to death in similar situations. ( Pinned to the ground, someone else on top). Say, for example, Martin’s next blow had caused massive head wounds, is that the right time for deadly force? After being knocked unconscious?

    Thirdly, I don’t know the exact timeline, but if people want to pass blame shouldn’t we be looking at the police response time? There were random shots fired outside an old apartment if mine, and it wasn’t until after the SECOND incident about two hours later that cops actually showed up. Someone could have been laying in the bushes dead after the first incident, and nobody ever came to scope it out. Possibly Zimmerman felt the same outcome was possible in his case. He did, after all, know how quick they were to respond much more so than any of us.

    Finally, in the blame game, if as some yet unverified reports suggest, Martin was indeed suspended from school, then whatever decision he made previously could be blamed partially for his death, too.

    I guess my rambling point is that we need to let the LOCAL cops deal with this age trust them to make the right decision. If Zimmerman broke the law, not just made a bad decision, then he needs his fair date in court, but only if there were laws broken. Otherwise, we need let him deal with this with his family and friends and go on with his life.

    Sorry for getting preachy and playing the blame game and whatnot, but I really wanted to show that there are so many things that lead to this situation that we should mind our own damn business.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      Kelly, you don’t need to get into their heads to assess the facts, except to determine at trial, if you are a juror, whether their belief at the time of using lethal force was reasonable. The critical issue is who initiated the fighting after Martin turned back. Part of this will involve argument about this: Why was Martin very close to Zimmerman yet not within sight of Zimmerman? Next, why did Martin not stop punching when the witness yelled “stop, I’m calling 911.”

  10. avatarSteve says:

    Based on what is known, including the reference witness statements, this still does not rise to a legitimate claim of self defense. There was insufficient disparity of force, no weapon, and no claim of a felony in progress as a basis to interfere with, or detain Martin.

    What it was, was a brawl gone wrong. That the shooter may have thought his life in danger (no matter how incorrect that notion) may save him from a murder 2 charge. What we really have is a case of voluntary manslaughter.

    Is Zimmerman evil? No.
    Racist? No.
    And while malice probably had no role either, he DID exhibit extremely poor judgement in pursuing and accosting martin, who no doubt offended, decided to deliver a simple schoolyard style beatdown in response. This shows poor judgement as well, but not nearly to the level of Zimmerman. And I don’t see how FLA’s SYG law was even remotely a factor here.

    Now it’s a pathetic circus of racial disputes, lead by all the usual suspects, who are going to inflame things to the point that a REAL racially based crime (S?) will occur.

    • avatarKelly in GA says:

      Again, Zimmermann didn’t know. Bad decision to follow, completely. Illegal? Absolutely not. Again, we’re getting to armchair QB this one. We should be leaving well enough alone. Like I said above, if Zimmerman was indeed on the ground being beaten, then he had the right to defend himself and after trying to get Martin off him unsuccessfully, maybe he felt that he had no choice.

      Plus, God forbid I ever get in the same situation, but I’d hope people would be so quick to call me guilty.

      Plus I feel that some posters here are trying to quickly hang Zimmerman out to dry in a possible effort to use him as a scape goat. No finger pointing at all from me. Just leave him be, guys. Unless you want us all to do the same to you if (God forbid) you’re next.

  11. avatarKelly in GA says:

    The people here are quite sensible sir, a simple please with an explanation would have sufficed. No need for threats.

  12. avatarAharon says:

    Nice shot. What did you shoot with?

  13. avatarKelly in GA says:

    The people here are quite sensible sir, a simple please with an explanation would have sufficed. No need for hostile language.

  14. avatarJay says:

    From what it appears, it is a crime of manslaughter at the very least. Now to prove such is going to be hard. No evidence, no crime. A witness isn’t enough for a reasonable jury. It will help to make an arrest but to convict of murder based on one person’s statement…

    He went to confront the stranger. At that point I would expect the teen to ignore the guy and try to get away from a strange angry man who is looking for trouble. I would do the same. Then the man (with the gun) tries to stop the suspect individual from leaving until the police arrive. But the teen wouldn’t want to get in trouble just for being in someones “private” neighborhood and he wouldn’t want to get in trouble with his parents. So he would try to run away, but the man didn’t want him to get away, so he fights to keep the “suspect” from leaving.

    The man starts a physical confrontation and eventually shoots and kills someone who was not armed and was very unlikely to kill an armed man or even being capable of doing so. Therefore, the man with the gun is guilty of a crime. I would expect the same treatment for police officers who shoot an unarmed man because that man punched a police officer.

    It wouldn’t be a crime if the teen was in the commission of a crime or the crime was imminent . A real crime. Like robbery, murder or rape. Not trespassing.

    When I was younger I used to always take short cuts through people’s yards and private apartments because a straight line is faster than walking four blocks. This is especially the case at night, as I didn’t want to be out in the street longer than necessary. I never thought I would be shot dead by a grown adult because I was taking a short cut. Yelled at, yes. Shot to death, no!

    • avatargen4n9 says:

      I don’t know what makes you think Zimmerman had any intention of confronting anyone. There has been nothing I have seen that suggests Zimmerman confronted Martin, or that he tried to detain him. So I don’t know where you’re getting that. It look to me that Zimmerman was just trying to keep Martin in sight, and waiting for a call from the first arriving police officer, so he could tell them where he was and point the guy out to them.

      And there seems to be no doubt that Martin was beating the snot out of Zimmerman, so he didn’t shoot him for trespassing, he shot him because he was being attacked.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Agree with you. There are no facts that Zimm tried to “chase” Martin, and Zimm had previously agreed to meet with an LEO to let him know where Martin had gone. That call was posted, but it seems no one has listened to it. There is also no evidence of any kind that Zimmerman intended to “apprehend” Martin. There is evidence that in the past Zimmerman did not do that while helping the PD find an offender.

        • avatarJay says:

          I was speaking speculatively as I wasn’t there. From what I heard and considering the situation it could have been that way.

          I heard a 911 call from Zimmerman, if I remember correctly, he asked if he should follow (you could use “chase”) the suspicious person. If you follow/chase after someone you can end up confronting them if that person decides not to run. If someone followed another person and that person didn’t do anything wrong, it is likely that person will confront you about it. So how does he make contact with the teen and how does he get in a fight?

          When you are carrying a firearm will you shoot someone when you get in a scuffle? I wouldn’t shoot someone because I was punched. If they were armed, threatened my life or was kicking me in the head I would fire on them. As that isn’t a fight, that is a beating. I don’t want to receive brain damage or die from head trauma.

          I still think Zimmerman did wrong. I do not think he planned to kill a kid. I know he was prepared for confrontation and was willing to kill.

          Seems that Zimmerman did not run through the scenarios he could find himself in and what course of actions he should take. If that was the case he would have more than a pistol. Did he have a taser and baton? Did he train Jiu-jitsu so he could better restrain an attacker?

          If you are going to protect your neighborhood you should be prepared for everything. If you cannot hold yourself to a high standard of competency do not place yourself in those situations. Same goes for police who are not willing to give their life on behalf of the public they are supposed to protect.

          Do we really want people (even police) protecting others who only know of one response to every bad situation? Would you just hand them a gun and say, “now go protect everyone from those evil bad guys”?

  15. avatarAaron S. says:

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Zimmerman may have set out to do the right thing for his community, but when you take a life, an innocent one, you must be punished. That kid did nothing wrong, and because of a possibility he’s dead. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter what happened after the verbal altercation. Zimmerman sealed his fate when he stepped out of the car. Check out the girlfriend’s statement of what she heard while she was on the phone with him. He walked faster to get away from Zimmerman. That’s the most likely reason Zimmerman lost sight of him.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      In other words, Zimmerman did not grab Martin or hit him. Starting a verbal exchange neither cancels self-defense rights nor proves any motivation other than to ask Martin why he was in the neighborhood, i.e. did he live there? This might seem rude, but it certainly wasn’t a physical blow or restraint of any kind.

  16. avatarAaron S. says:

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Zimmerman may have set out to do the right thing for his community, but when you take a life, an innocent one, you must be punished. That kid did nothing wrong, and because of a possibility he’s dead. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter what happened after the verbal altercation. Zimmerman sealed his fate when he stepped out of the car. Check out the girlfriend’s statement of what she heard while she was on the phone with him. He walked faster to get away from Zimmerman. That’s the most likely reason Zimmerman lost sight of him.

  17. avatarStant says:

    Hue and cry folks hue and cry.

  18. avatarLeo in Central Florida says:

    Rodney King style riots in Centra Florida will MOST definitely mean lots of dead black folks. I hope the Black community can find it in their best interest to let the police do their investigations and determine whether it was self defense or murder rather than taking this tragic incident in the direction of hate and racism themselves.

    I’m personally waiting for the investigation before I start to determine who was at fault.

  19. avatarg says:

    The police completely bungled the investigation… if they had properly taken care of business, I think the outcry would have been less. There are conflicting witness reports, but it’s undeniable that on the 911 calls, Zimmerman was following the kid, maybe even pursuing him, even when he was advised NOT to by the dispatcher. That’s pretty damning.

    As for Martin being on top of Zimmerman and beating him to the point where he feared for his life, I find that extremely unlikely. Martin was a 140 pound kid; Zimmerman by all accounts weighs 240 pounds. That’s a 100 pound advantage! Even if Martin fought Zimmerman, the facts of the case point to that it was Zimmerman who initiated the confrontation. Not to mention that Martin was only carrying a bag of skittles and ice tea. Nothing life-threatening that can justify Zimmerman pulling out his gun and shooting Martin in the chest.

    SYG doesn’t apply here, and we who are in favor of gun rights for law-abiding, RESPONSIBLE, citizens ought to distance ourselves from Zimmerman, lest we be tainted by association with this man’s poor decisions.

    • avatarRalph says:

      The police completely bungled the investigation

      Uh, no, they didn’t. They bungled the PR.

      Under FL law, an SD shooter cannot be arrested. Period. He is immune from arrest.

      When the PD investigated, they found no probable cause to believe that Zimmerman had not acted in self defense. They burden was on the cops, not on Zimmerman. The PD acted within the requirements of the law. But what the cops didn’t do was manage the communications aspects of the case.

      • avatarg says:

        Yeah, the PR was messed up as well.

        But I think parts of the investigation wasn’t handled correctly, either. From the Miami Herald:

        “Phone records have not yet been inspected, witnesses’ calls were allegedly not returned and the criminal record of the shooter was not checked until the morning after the shooting — what experts call examples of sloppy police work that undermined the police department’s credibility and could hamper a future prosecution…

        • Initial police reports never mentioned that Zimmerman had a bloody nose or a wet shirt that showed evidence of a struggle. Attorneys for the dead teen’s family believe the information was added in a second report to justify the lack of an arrest.

        • Police said witness statements supported Zimmerman’s account. But several of the witnesses expressed surprise, telling The Herald that they reported hearing someone crying for help just before a shot ended the cries. The 911 tapes of witness calls bolstered their claims.

        • One of the witnesses who heard the crying said she called a detective repeatedly, but said he was not interested because her account differed from Zimmerman’s.

        • Even though investigators have the dead boy’s cell phone, it was Trayvon’s father who combed through the phone records to discover that his son was talking to a girlfriend in the moments that led up to his death. Police never contacted the girl, who told lawyers that Trayvon was alarmed because he was being followed.”

        http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/21/2706876/sanford-commission-votes-no-confidence.html

        • avatarRalph says:

          G, you’re wrong. First point: Trayvon’s GF’s statement is not only hearsay, it’s hearsay twice removed and in no way defeats Zimmerman’s statement or the statements of eyewitnesses. Second, the police report absolutely noted Zimmerman’s wounds. Check the report, which Dan provided links for. Third, please don’t cite the Miami Herald for anything. It’s a total rag. You might as well cite the National Enquirer. Finally, we have only one self-identifed “witness” who claims she wasn’t contacted, while the police report notes many witnesses who were contacted during the initial investigation.

          I’m not blaming you for these mistakes. I’m blaming the Sanford PD. It’s communications were terrible.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Yep.

      • avatarTim McNabb says:

        To be clear, you really are not a witness unless and until you put your hand on a Bible and swear or affirm – under penalty of perjury – to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

        I think 911 tapes are very instructive, but it’s not exactly the sworn testimony of someone who saw.

  20. http://video.msnbc.msn.com/msnbc-tv/46843101/#46840973

    This is another one of this incident that will most certainly push some of our recently earned gun right back to the 1980′s.

    Another black boy get shot after leaving an underage drinking party when the police arrive choosing to hide in an enclosed porch prompting the home owner to shoot him after the same when to investigate the noise in his porch. Now the liberal media is blaming the incident in the Castle Doctrine law that just passed in the state of Wisconsin and giving the same liberal media the impulse it need to try and abolish that law there and in other states like the one I live Florida.

    Maybe this should be an editorial but since you guys’s (the editors) emails are very hard to find I posted the link and info here.

    • avatarRalph says:

      This is another one of this incident that will most certainly push some of our recently earned gun right back to the 1980′s.

      No, it won’t. That ship has sailed.

  21. avatarAharon says:

    Skittle candy sales are booming.

  22. avatarmike says:

    Is that poster suppose to say “skittles VS a B2 bomber”

  23. avatarHueMan says:

    While I did not read all posts as they are the same thing over and again, I did glean the “it ain’t me” sentiment which is disturbing. Any of you (myself included) could be the next Zimmerman and how would that feel? Knowing what you think you know, how would you feel, think, and act knowing that the people you might have once thought of as “like-minded” law abiding armed citizens are now second guessing you! Innocent until proven guilty is a pipe dream at best with the MSM playing judge and jury AND making it work!

    We as a group should quit being PC and take a stand FOR Zimmerman as innocent until proven guilty which would send a strong clear message to those who need this message. Every week I read about Black on Black shootings/killings for far less than Self Defense, which is what current evidence supports FOR Zimmerman!

    Also let us be clear on one more item, a dispatcher is NOT a certified Peace Officer (and I use that term loosely), therefore no LAWFUL ORDER was disobeyed!

  24. avatarHueMan says:

    A few more tidbits ogre info…

    This a snippet from The Daily Caller, ” On Saturday, outspoken film director Spike Lee continued trying to bring attention to the case and Martin’s shooter. Lee has retweeted Zimmerman’s home address to his 245,000 followers at least twice since Friday. The New Black Panthers, meanwhile, have distributed signs and fliers demanding that Zimmerman be apprehended “dead or alive.”

    If this is not a hate crime in the making I do not know what is. Where is Obama’s mouthpiece and why is this not what is being talked about? Has it escaped everyone but me that ALL of the so called leaders of The New Black Panther Party have MUSLIM names.

    Screw Trayvon, he’s room temperature but Zimmerman has had to go into hiding. Where are the outcries of what I used to think were like-minded Armed Law abiding Citizens like:-)myself.

  25. avatarMatt G. says:

    So let me get this straight. Zimm’s on the ground getting his ass handed to him, and some POS see’s this happening, decides it’s best that he locks himself inside and calls the police? Sounds like a real winner. Seriously, 2 on one here, if the asshole had jumped in there and pulled martin off of zimm and they both held him down, everybody could have lived, but since Joe dumbass decided to hide in his house like a little girl, zimm is forced to decide to use the gun, and I’m forced to hear about both of them a million damn times from people who don’t know a damn thing about anything.

  26. avatarKristine Cervini says:

    For Any of you, that think you understand the Judicial System or the Laws. Think Again..Unless you have walked the shoes of those involved in the criminal justice system you have absolutely no clue. As for, the Roderick Scott/Christopher Cervini case that took place in Greece N.Y. you do not have the facts or even the very truth of this case. Even though there was trial..it does not mean it was handled properly or even fair. Roderick Scott got away with cold blooded Murder and was never on trial for his actions. My nephew was shot in his back and that is the first bullet that killed him. That is not self-defense. Our police and the Town Supervisor was under investigation at the time of the shooting. There is so much to this case and the injustice of the legal system..you have no idea. Someday the very truth of our case will be told. And for certain..Science does not lie! Evidence, lead investigators, coroners report and so on denied by the Judge and never entered by the prosecution. So..don’t think having a trial is truth or even seeks the truth.

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