Quote of the Day: Disarming Zimmerman’s Neighborhood Watch Program Edition

Trayvon Martin cell phone photo (courtesy legalinsurrection.com)

“People in the community are nervous to join a group (neighborhood watch) that was tarnished in the media and got a bad image with everything that happened. We really want to put those fears to rest and get the community going on the program.” – Sanford Police Department spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly quoted in Florida city bans guns for neighborhood watch volunteers [via chicagotribune.com]


  1. avatar Chas says:

    Sorry, Shannon – you don’t get to trump state law.

    1. avatar Will says:

      My thoughts, exactly.

  2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Well not saying there are not wannabe cops on neighborhood watches, but does anyone actually want to walk the streets at night armed with a cell phone and flashlight? Granted I can do a lot of damage with a mag light but not as much as a gangster with his ak….

  3. avatar Amagi1776 says:

    Besides being <18 and therefore legally unable to own a hand gun…

    Take your buger hook off the bang switch until you're ready to fire.

  4. avatar vioshi says:

    Sanford’s new rules are laid out in a more detailed handbook and will require neighborhood watch groups to undergo training, register members with the police department and regularly update their status with the department, Cordingly said.

    The neighborhood watch program will be overseen by the department’s new full-time three-officer community relations unit, she said.

    So the answer to a justified DGU is to add more government? As to my status, I’m packing…

    1. avatar Cortney says:

      I’d help were I closer. Alas, Utah: where none of that b.s. resides.

    2. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Ok, the neighborhood watch program requires its members to disarm? Sounds like it’s time to reorganize as a “neighborhood militia”….

      1. avatar G.R. Mead says:

        The really funny thing about approaching it as an armed militia, is that the police COULD exercise authority over them if they were expressly required to be armed as an auxiliary body to the police (which is itself the locally organized militia, FWIW — or “select corps” in Hamilton’s phrase from Federalist 29 ) … But

        if they are merely armed by individual choice for their own protection in an unofficial body — they are preempted by the state statute on uniform firearms regulation.

        Funny, how that works.

        The city can only affirmatively govern the people under arms if it first requires them to appear and be armed.

    3. avatar Nickbnumbers says:

      Or…don’t register as a neighborhood watch member. Just be a guy out for a walk who happens to be legally carrying concealed.

      People are such suckers for credentials and having things be official.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Exactly. I don’t need to be a member of anything to watch my own house and keep an eye on my neighborhood. And if I happen to be prudently armed, it’s nobody else’s business but my own.

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed: What happened to crime in the neighborhood AFTER Zimmerman shot Treyvon? Burglaries up or down? Rape? Violent assaults? Muggings? It would be interested to know.

        Question #2, who in the world would be stupid enough to sign up for that neighborhood watch program when they have announced publicly that every member MUST be a walking gun-free zone?

  5. avatar Layne says:

    Is there some law that there can only be one government sanctioned neighborhood watch program? Won’t people just start their own new one and carry anything they want?

    1. avatar mlopilato says:

      It’s probably forbidden by the contracts they signed to live in that neighborhood.

  6. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

    Its all about fear and feelings. No surprises here. Unless you feel the need to carry for fear of getting your head bashed in on concrete. Then you are SOL.

  7. avatar Martin says:

    Get that booger hook off of that bang switch. The person in the pic has no trigger control

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      The image is allegedly travon who is dead and cannot hear you, granted if he was alive he obviously had no care for the law, and probably had no respect for safety rules either.

      1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

        There is no allegedly. That pic is from saint skittles cell phone. It is him holding his mom’s handgun. Such good upbringing

    2. Looks like the picture is of someone in the process of firing, in which that finger HAS to be on the trigger.

      Of course, I could be wrong.

  8. avatar freakshowSMVM says:

    Wouldn’t preemption stop that from being a lawful policy?

    1. avatar vioshi says:

      No because neighborhood watch is a voluntary program. And you can volunteer to give up your rights.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        uh, no, you can’t. With the exception of the military, where you agree to held to a different set of laws, a citizen cannot sign away his or her rights, subject to due process. One can face civil penalties by agreeing to a contract and then failing to uphold such contract (i.e. neighborhood association rules) but cannot be criminally charged.

        I bet you think those signs in store that say “Store retains right to search bags” mean something, huh?

    2. avatar Sertorius says:


      Pretty much. Preemption stops them from being able to make it a crime. All they can do if you break the rule is kick you out of the police-approved neighborhood watch program. They actually admit this at the end of the article.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    Why be in a “neighborhood watch” at all? Study after study has found them ineffective for decades and the simple task of looking out for yourself and your community can be and should be done all the time by any individual. Watching your back and the backs of others isn’t a task that can be scheduled 9-5 or 10-2 or whatever.

    Like a burglar gives two shits if there’s a stupid sign on a telephone pole. About as powerful as one of those stupid home alarms where the voice says “the police are on their way!” You’ve still got a good five minutes to rummage and molest at leisure.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Because a neighborhood watch program gives certain members of an HOA power and control which, after all, is the name of the game.

  10. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Here in Palm Beach County the civil watch programs are handled by the Sheriffs dept.
    Volunteers have uniforms, drive county supplied vehicles marked Civilian Watch.
    Their job is to assist in vehicle accidents give out parking tickets and patrol neighborhoods.
    Their primary purpose is the Watch and report.
    Not to react.
    They are not cops aren’t given any special authority to act as one.
    The program works as its intended to here.
    I can for once actually agree with the Sanford police and its about time they gave out a comprehensive set of guidelines for unauthorized watch groups.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Just curious – under what statute are they deriving the authority to regulate that activity?

      Unless the watch group is doing something criminal, I believe they can tell the PD to get stuffed, with no consequences. Since the Zimmerman trial proved being a part of the neighborhood watch will be used AGAINST you at trial, it’s no surprise people don’t want to be associated with it.

      Based on some of the coverage of the Sanford PD, it seems they have their own internal problems to sort out.

    2. avatar Chip says:

      “… gave out a comprehensive set of guidelines for unauthorized watch groups.”


      ‘splain please.

  11. avatar DaveL says:

    The new rules, to be released at a community meeting on November 5 in Sanford, Florida, will state explicitly that residents acting under the authority of neighborhood watch

    Exactly what authority is that?

    1. avatar Chris. says:

      I’m going to guess the authority is based on trademark.

      1. avatar DaveL says:

        So basically, the authority to call themselves “neighborhood watch. ” Unimpressive.

  12. avatar John Boch says:

    Why is it people think they have to belong to a “neighborhood watch” program to watch and report suspicious behavior?

    Is it that hard to dial 911 and offer the location, a brief description of what is happening and suspect description?

    I know Rachel Jeantel could even do this, but I’m sure she would chose not to. Unless it was her house getting broken into. Heaven forbid someone steal her boo toof.


    1. avatar jwm says:

      I have called the emergency and non emergency number to my local PD a number of times over the years without ever being a part of a watch group. It’s very satisfying to watch the cops cuff up some low life preying on the hard work of others.

  13. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    Simple solution:

    “I’m not on the neighborhood watch… I’m just a resident who likes to take nightly walks around my development for exercise… legally armed of course.”

    1. avatar Vendetta says:

      Most excellent. Im thinking that is the best course of action.

    2. avatar Nickbnumbers says:


  14. avatar Bob4 says:

    Put the fears to rest? If Zimmerman had not been armed, he would have been beat to death. Neighborhood watch is a lose-lose endeavor. If you stumble on something, you are just a convenient victim for the bad guy. If you are merely reporting suspicious behavior, police consider you a whack job after a series of false alarms. If you decide to confirm that a suspicion is more than a harmless coincidence before calling, you risk being attacked and you risk legal issues because you needed to defend yourself. In the typical liberal city, helping a neighbor or a stranger is filled with a lot of risk, both legally and physically, so most people just walk away. This is another lesson for the city dwellers of a blue city…just walk away. The lesson for me: Do not live in a city…especially a blue city. I would rather live where I do not need a neighborhood watch.

  15. avatar jwm says:

    Well now, I guess i’ll have to keep a better eye on my Sigma. It’s obvious that that poor young man was led astray by that gun.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      I know when I got my first gun I went right out and knocked off a liquor store, started listening to rap music, smacked a couple of hoes, smoked crack, joined a gang, made my parents get a divorce, made my mom get knocked up by another man, etc. blah blah blah. Behold the power of just one gun! Looking back on how my life has gone astray I know I could have stayed on the honor roll, gone to college on a Rhodes scholarship, and found a cure for cancer. I blame my downfall on Ruger 6 7/8 .22. Damn that gun.

  16. avatar Piet Padkos says:

    Am I the only one that noticed her name? SHANNON Cordingly? Shannon Watts? Either all Shannons are people who advocate gun common-nonsense, or Ms. Watts changed her name to further her ambitions of an America safe for the children. Or hide from Dirk. One of the two.

    1. avatar Jay1987 says:

      I’m bettin she changed her name to hide from the big scary black dude (Dirk) that she’ll never admit she’s attracted to and imagines whilst she has “relations” with Johnny boy after he’s done with the babysitter, whom he is spending more time with anyway since his wife is always out crusading.

  17. avatar shawn says:

    How did he get that gun? I thought he was a sweet nice, gentle, young, scholar, & up and coming African American.

  18. avatar Jozan says:

    But Zimmerman wasn’t “patrolling”, he was on his way to Target to do some grocery shopping.

  19. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    My Boo cannot hide.

  20. avatar Paul B says:

    I wonder if Zimmerman had knifed martin this might have turned out differently.


  21. avatar Mike says:

    If I am wrong, please correct me. But if I recall correctly, Zimmerman (because this is ALL about what happwnwd that night) wasn’t actually on patrol or watch that night. He was on his way to thw grocery store when he spotted Martin.

  22. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Question: why do we refer to our grandparents (who fought in World War II) as the “Greatest Generation”?

    Answer: because they were not afraid of their own shadows.

    All people in this country have to step up — take it to the next level — and be courageous.

    When are we going to start acting based on what is good and true rather than fear?

  23. avatar Kendahl says:

    Although I will, and have, called the police to report suspicious activity, I refuse to join a neighborhood watch group. Prowling around late at night looking for criminal activity is a good way to get yourself hurt. Criminals, especially gangbangers, resent interference. Disarming yourself in order to go on patrol makes as much sense as removing your insulated mitts before taking a hot dish out of the oven.

  24. avatar Fudgesicle says:

    Great, now I have to go scrub my Sigma. Rationally, I know that it’s perfectly clean, but it just FEELS dirty now…

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    Okay, it is now official. Anyone who joins a “neighborhood watch” is insane.

    A neighborhood watchman can’t count on the authorities or anyone else to have his back, and that’s the truth.

    How about this: I’ll watch out for me and my neighbors can watch out for themselves. Because in a pinch, if I had to use my pistol on their behalf, they’d be the first people to roll over and hang me out to dry, just as several of Zimmerman’s neighbors did to him.

  26. avatar ropingdown says:

    The dramatic rise in burglaries, hot or otherwise, came to the neighborhood after Sanford closed down nearly 500 units of single-story semi-detached Section 8 housing. As the newly-homeless took their HUD vouchers and found rentals in the Reserve at Twin Lakes, the neighborhood’s safety changed. It isn’t going to change back. What more humane action could the town mothers take than to assure Neighborhood Watch members don’t shoot? They already know the PD will be late getting there. Since the PD is increasing its ‘community relations’ staff, rather than its patrolman staff, 911response times will only increase. With ‘children’ doing a good bit of the crime, this move is definitely ‘for the children.’

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      How did closing down a section 8 and relocating the same people to different housing in the same neighborhood change the burglary dynamic?

      Someone please explain this to me.

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        I suspect that the people in the former Section 8 housing had little if anything worth stealing, so burglary was a waste of time. When they moved into the more middle-class neighborhood they discovered that their new neighbors DID have some nice stuff AND were not used to being surrounded by people willing to steal it from them.

  27. avatar Todd S says:

    “What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh Language?”

  28. avatar Hannibal says:

    Who would want to be on a sanctioned neighborhood watch program when, if you defend yourself from an assault, you get charged with murder by a prosecutor, even if the police realize it was a reasonable shoot? Watch out for you and your own; maybe the neighborhood will devolve enough so that people stop taking things for granted.

  29. avatar William Burke says:

    There goes the neighborhood. Nothing to do now but leave.

  30. avatar colinp says:

    Pretty soon it will illegal to report activity unless you are registered to do so. We can’t have all you non professionals deciding when the cops should be called or not.

  31. avatar dan says:

    Freedom and Liberty are NOT what the sanford police require for their watch program….I would have to pass on any of these type programs….

  32. avatar niceguns says:

    Calling all criminals, our neighborhood watches criminals, we don’t do anything we just watch.

  33. avatar Pat says:

    Then don’t be a volunteer. Just walk around you neighborhood, minding your own business…..and pack heat.

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