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If you carry concealed, it’s likely that you’ve given a good bit of thought as to what you would do if, God forbid, you ever had to shoot someone. If you’re smart, you’ve played the game of “what if” in your head, and taken to heart the advice you’ve gotten here on TTAG and elsewhere, regarding how to behave after the incident. But in the Twilight Zone of polarizing politics and media bias, what you may not have thought through is that none of that may matter, if circumstances let slip the Dogs of Media. You may well find yourself on the wrong side of an angry mob, armed not with pitchforks, hot tar and feathers, but something far scarier: video cameras, microphones, and network satellite uplinks. Presented for your consideration: George Zimmerman, 28. A man with a mission. A neighborhood watch captain, caught in the media’s Twilight Zone.

As far as we can tell this early in the investigation, the facts are these: George Zimmerman is a neighborhood watch captain, who was on patrol the night of February 26, 2012, near his home in Sanford, Florida. He has a license to carry a concealed weapon.

Enter Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old returning from a convenience store to his father’s fiancee’s home in a gated community. Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious man. The 911 dispatcher sent out a call to a patrol car and advised Zimmerman not to confront the suspect.

By the time police had arrived, Martin lay dying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his chest. He was unarmed, carrying only some candy, a bottle of iced tea, and a small amount of cash. Zimmerman told police that he was afraid for his life and shot Martin in self-defense.

That’s all we know. It’s not much. But you’d be amazed at the number of people willing to leap to a conclusion (on either side of the issue) from those scant details.

One group, more than eager to do some Olympic gold-medal quality leaping is the news media. For you see, Zimmerman has not (yet) been charged with a crime and has not been arrested by the local police. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has told the media that they are conducting a thorough investigation, and until the investigation is complete, Zimmerman will not be taken into custody.

To the media, that’s like waving raw meat in their collective faces. Click on the video to listen to the police chief’s impromptu presser. Pay close attention to the questions the reporters ask. Then ask yourself one important question: Do you think Zimmerman can possibly get a fair shake (not to mention a fair trial) if he’s tried in the press (by the press, for the press’s – ratings) with reporters that don’t even bother to contain (much less hide) their bias?

Look, I can see six ways o’ Sunday where this whole thing could have gone horribly wrong. Let me count just a few of the ways, scenario-wise:

  1. Zimmerman could be jumpy – we haven’t yet heard if there was a recent string of burglaries or home invasions in the neighborhood – so he might have been predisposed towards being more suspicious than he needed to be in this instance.
  2. Zimmerman could be inexperienced, and forgotten/ignored the rules of engagement, although he IS claiming self-defense.
  3. Zimmerman could be, in fact, a bigot or racist as the news media implied claimed, just itching to shoot somebody.
  4. Martin could have been in the wrong place, in the wrong time.
  5. Martin could have made some moves that looked overtly threatening to Zimmerman, either in jest, or because he was feeling a little cocky, perhaps. (And if you don’t think that’s likely, you don’t know many 17-year-olds.)
  6. Martin might have taken offense to being stopped or challenged, and might have done something to exacerbate the situation, to a point to where it reached a tragic conclusion.

There are many more I could come up with, but you get the point. We don’t know what happened. And in fact, we may NEVER know. There is a tape, of course. The 911 operator recorded the whole thing. The police have not yet released the tape, pending the conclusion of their investigation.

Unfortunately, regardless of their findings, it sounds as if the media is going to push and push and push, until the D.A. has no recourse but to indict, even if all evidence points to the idea that Zimmerman was telling the truth.

Please understand. I am NOT rushing to judgement here. We don’t know enough to make an intelligent, informed judgement on this. I love armchair quarterbacking as much as the next guy, but until we know if Martin threatened Zimmerman or Zimmerman believed his life was in imminent danger, there’s not much to say, except that this is a tragedy.

Martin’s family will carry the scars of this forever. Then again, so will Zimmerman, one way or another. Even if he is no-billed, the weight of the knowledge that he took a human life, and shot a kid who posed no threat to him will not be something easy for anyone to scrub from their conscience.

Obviously, the boy’s family is heartbroken. And until the investigation has run its course, they have every right to be suspicious of Zimmerman and his motives. For his part, it would seem that Zimmerman is taking the principle of StFU seriously. Good for him. And the cops (at least for now) seem to be taking a very measured, careful approach. Good for them. I don’t see any racism in the aftermath, save for that coming from the media.

In their rush to impose their “social justice” agenda, the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing (much less the whole “not charged with a crime” thing) seems to have completely escaped their notice. And I think the family and community is being remarkably ill-served by the media trying to turn this into the next race riot.

Is Zimmerman guilty of anything? Homicide? Manslaughter? Bad judgement? Bad luck? I don’t know. Nobody does. Yet. But I sure wish the media, in their unbridled passion and glee to find story they can trumpet that has all the makings of a remake of the Bonfire of the Vanities, would try a little StFU therapy on themselves. Maybe those of us left to pick up the pieces after this mess would all be better off.

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  1. Sometimes I wish the person answering questions, in this case the police chief, would answer in much more plain language. He answered factually and correctly, but frankly, the question deserved more derision than it received.

    Q: Can you tell us why you are passing the buck? When someone shoots and kills someone, they get arrested. Why are you passing the buck in this case and putting it on prosecutors to make a determination on whether he should be arrested?

    A: Your question demonstrates your ignorance of the law as it is written, and it is neither my job nor my responsibility to educate you on that law. I suggest, given your chosen profession as one who asks questions, that you educate yourself prior to asking them, so as not to demonstrate your ignorance and bias to the world, and on tape.

    • You forget that a police chief is a political appointee and the length of his political career is very often dictated by whether the local media support him or not. I’m not disagreeing that your answer to the question was much better than his, but when have you ever known a politician to tell it like it is?

    • So in Florida you can chase someone who isn’t bothering you, then shoot and kill them, claim it’s “self-defense” – and that’s all you have to do

  2. On the list of worst-case scenario outcomes tied to drawing down in legitimate self defense, we must add certain media bias to a list which already includes death & long term incarceration.

    The mainstream media is no friend to the 2nd Amendment or its adherents thereof. Anyone who has to kill in self defense should not only expect a tough legal fight in court but also must expect to be portrayed as the bad guy by the media. Its one negative outcome that armed citizen and armed cop can both equally expect to happen. The Amadou Diali case in New York stands as a great example of this effect, as does the Rodney King incident. In the former, the departed Mr Diali had a criminal record for petty crimes and evaded police when asked to stop. When the NYPD caught up to the man in a dark hallway, he reached for his wallet-which for all the world looked like a gun. I used to think the cops were full of it until I got a clue and education on lethal force encounters, and realized that dark objects held by people in the dark can look an awful lot like Glock pistols. Any of us who concealed carry could shoot an unarmed man who just happened to be standing in the wrong dark alley holding their wallet in the wrong light.

    In the latter, Rodney King evaded police and was high on cocaine, which is why an army of cops were responding when the cameras rolled. Of course the video never showed Mr. King’s rap sheet or actions before the cops pulled their nightsticks.It is easy to look at those events and think “eh, sucks to be them” , but any of us who carry can be subject to the same treatment. Honestly, I expect it. The next “Armed Vigilante shoots High School Student in Cold Blood” headline may be written about *your* DGU.

    • Please get your facts straight Mr Diallo had no record was asked for identification and when he pulled out his wallet he was shot at 41 times he was shot so many times even after he was down he had bullets in the soles of his feet this was overkill!

  3. He is guilty of bad judgement. Neighborhood Watch is all about observing and reporting. Not following, not confronting, not disregarding police dispatch advice. Observing and reporting, that’s all.

    Zimmermann is guilty of DTFM. DTFM stands for, of course, Doing Too F***ing Much. Because of that a teenager, regardless of what was said or happened, is dead. This very well could be a situation where self-defense was justified, but we don’t know that for sure yet.

    What I do know for sure is that Zimmerman is guilty of DTFM. Armed. And he may or may not be a busybody.

    Mind your own damned business, folks.

    • Agree. If he witnessed the teen attacking someone, different story. I don’t see any media bias in clear self defense cases usually, but in cases like this, he comes off looking like a self appointed neighborhood commando. Be aware of how your actions can be perceived.

      • Yep. And I think there’s been a visceral reaction to the whole event because many people know someone who fits the stereotype you mentioned. That and it was completely avoidable yet he kept pushing forward.

    • Agreed. The reports I’ve read say he was a self appointed captain of the neighborhood watch. I dont care if you’re only PFC Snuffy in the neighborhood watch, you dont need to be patroling the neighborhood armed and looking for trouble.

      The other reports I’ve seen say something about bystanders who saw them arguing and wrestling on the ground, and the kid calling for help.

      • Another story on the matter. Any of you folks even remotely defending the shooter should read/watch. This isn’t our usual first and second amendment arguing stuff. This was a law-abiding kid telling an armed bully to go piss off, just like most of us would do. This appears to be murder. I suspect the shooter’s days of non-incarceration are numbered.

        • You must have read a different article. That article supports the self defense claim more than anything else.

          Either way we won’t know till the facts come out. Hence the whole point of this article, don’t jump to conclusions.

        • You’re kidding yourself. Guy gets out of his vehicle, chases a law abiding child who isn’t on shooter’s property, initiates a confrontation and shoots and kills the child. Are you kidding me? I’ll bet a year’s salary that the shooter will be sentenced to many years behind bars.

        • Notice how right out of the gate the news story points out the race of the actors in this. When three black teenagers beat the shit out of a taxi driver and his passenger you had to go 4 paragraphs down to learn it was “possibly” “maybe” a hate crime.
          The media isn’t helping, they are actively fanning the flames. Why have police investigate, just let the media handle it all.

        • I’ll go out and say we were openly told that if it’s white on black then make sure you charge them with the enhanced penalties of a racially motivated crime (as long as the victim felt it was so). If it were black on white (almost a nightly occurrence), you were to ignore race even if the suspects were calling the victim “cracker” or “whitey” and telling him he was being beaten for being white.

        • cant rewrite statistics that 30 percent of people that are black and incarcerated are vindicated and released under dna evidence. Imagine the people that have no dna evidence. Blacks on average get convicted more and with stricter penalties than whites. Do you know what percentage of whites are vindicated through dna 6 percent. very disproportionate difference.

    • I thought one of the points of the article was that we don’t know what happened there. Therefore, we don’t know if he DTFM. He might actually have DTRT.

  4. Armed citizens would do well to add to their regimen of self-defense the sober acknowledgment that they live within a racially charged country. They must remember that they operate at all times as potential media spectacles who are understood not as individuals but as caricatures within a social drama familiar to all.

    Even if you believe that it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six, include the twelve in your tactical judgments. You should perhaps be more afraid of how they will interpret your definition of “suspicious person” than you should be of “suspicious people”.

    • That’s an excellent point. Professional victim groups have boatloads of cash. Boatloads of cash buy primo lawyers. Primo lawyers extract blood from your veins.

      But a lot of this can be avoided by moving somewhere with more people of one’s own background.

  5. Did the black kid with the candy and the iced tea actually jump the white guy with a gun? Who knows. I do know that if that’s Zimmerman’s story, it just sounds kinda preposterous.

  6. I agree that in a claimed self defense scenario you are innocent until proven guilty, just like any other crime. While we do not know the facts and whether or not defense was ligitimate, that is still the way it is. So I agree that he should not have been brough right to jail. Think of the other story that’s been brought up recently about the guy who was aquitted in a DGU after sitting in jail for for a month because he couldn’t pay bail. Meanwhile his landlord knew he was in jail, but evicted him anyway without notification and threw all his belongings on the street, which of course got stolen. So now the man has nothing and is living in a motel. He also lost his job, but thankfully got that back. I think everyone who frequents this sight agrees that he should have been treated with an innocent until proven guilty mindset and should not have been brought in to begin with. He should have been able to live at home, pay his rent, and keep his job while awaiting his trial and aquittal.

  7. What catches my attention is that Zimmerman was in an SUV as he patrolled and made the call to the PD about his suspicions. If the kid was so suspicious, why would Zimmerman get out of his SUV? That doesn’t wash. I don’t know Florida law, but in Pennsylvania the facts so far reported would be difficult to overcome: Self-defense shootings are not justified if the shooter initiates a confrontation in public space or is mutually culpable in the start of a fight without weapons in a public space. In other words, informally speaking, a person may not escalate to firearms to win a fight which he started in a public space or in which he willingly joined, but must attempt to remove himself. Zimmerman did not have police powers of arrest. The kid had no duty to answer any questions or instructions from Zimmerman. It seems Zimmerman had no business even getting out of his SUV. Others report that Zimmerman was previously charged seven years earlier with resisting arrest ‘with violence’ though the charges were later dropped. (Zimmerman’s neighbor says Zimmerman is a fairly dark-beige Hispanic, not an ‘Anglo.’)

    • Very true. He has no business initiating any interaction with the ‘suspect.’ This is why the police were called. He could monitor from the distance and safety of his SUV until polic arrive. I would give them more respect than some neigborhood watch guy without a badge asking me questions.

    • As a free citizen anyone can interact with anyone else. It’s called society. If I see someone who looks lost in my neighborhood, I might ask them if they are looking for a street or person. If that person then gets all crazy and escalates the situation to a deadly force level; tough cookies for them. In Florida there is no legal duty to retreat (covered from civil liability as well). In fact, law enforcement is prohibited from even taking the firearm used in the SD event provided there is not enough probable cause to arrest.

      In FL, it is pretty standard to run some of these by the SA even when an officer is involved. If he wasn’t charged and booked immediately, it is unlikely he will face charges in the future unless the SA has some political or personal bone to pick.

      • “it is unlikely he will face charges in the future unless the SA has some political or personal bone to pick.”

        unless it gets to the FBI and or DOJ as a civil rights case. the TV has gotten a hold of this story and its not going away.

        this ****ing guy zimmerman is a total Gomer. a CCW DOES NOT make you the police, it is to protect yourself, not to pretend he is Bruce Willis in die hard.

        • Although he may be a gober, he has every legal right as you and I do to walk the same public streets. He has no duty to retreat in FL and has the right to meet deadly force with deadly force. Until we get the details, this is just a “what if” game. If there was enough probable cause in the first place, he would have been arrested and booked.

        • He wasn’t walking the streets. He was driving the streets. If you stopped your vehicle at night and hopped out to start questioning me without a badge showing, you’d have made a mistake.

        • That is where he went wrong. There are plenty of things he SHOULD have done differently. Even if Zimmerman was harassing me, the most I would do is call and wait for local LEO to arrive assuming he didn’t present a threat.

          It was a dumbass mistake on his part to leave his vehicle when he could just as easily followed from a distance and reported everything to dispatch.

          The problem is we don’t have all the details. You and I would both be ready to draw down should someone do likewise to us, but it is still within peoples’ rights to talk to anyone they want. It is within our rights to react to perceived threats.

          I’m not saying Zimmerman is in the right, but we don’t have all the details to figure out anything but the following:

          1. Zimmerman exited his vehicle
          2. Zimmerman got his ass handed to him
          3. Zimmerman fatally shoots the kid

          Everything else is a matter of conjecture at this point.

        • Yep. Agree. We’ve speculated. Now it’s time to see what the SA says. They MUST teach the FL NW guys not to act as he did? If not, hope they start.

      • Bluntly, if the facts so far made public occurred in my neighborhood, I would hope to see the case go to a grand jury if there wasn’t physical evidence or a witness to back up Zimmerman. It’s that simple. Without the SUV, cop advice, apparent lack of a weapon on the kid, and Neighborhood Watch participation (which requires a training session that includes instructions not to approach or apprehend) I would feel otherwise. “Stand Your Ground” does not mean, legally speaking, “Get in his face and then stand your ground.”

        • If you were walking around a gated community going from one place to another would you rather a) have someone stop and ask “I haven’t seen you around here before what are you doing” or get stopped by the cops, who maybe seeing your gun make the situation a lot more complicated than it had to be?

        • Please hold the cop bashing when I say this, but I’d rather be asked by the cop, who is a sworn officer of the law, is a recognized symbol of authority, and in theory, knows what the hell he’s doing, than be accosted and questioned by some neighborhood yahoo who I don’t know from a hole in the wall.

          Police officers are appointed/elected/hired to do that job in our society. John Doe from up the block is not. Neighborhood WATCH.

        • The kid didn’t have a gun. Zimmerman would have been much more sensible to ask “are you lost?” from his SUV window, and politely. And he would have been safe, able to simply hit the gas if something really was wrong. I laugh at this ‘gated community’ stuff. Gated with no security? Is this a Florida thing? I may be out of touch. The only gated communities I know have a guard in a little guardhouse.

        • The funny thing is, in my in-laws gated community, they do it EXACTLY like that. There’s security at the gates, but it’s huge and security can’t be everywhere. If anyone has an issue internally, they’ll usually politely challenge you with the helpful sounding ‘are you lost, this place is so confusing’ routine. If you’re really skeevy, the ‘help’ is to get security to come and ‘direct’ you. I’ve gotten it a couple of times (and a couple of those times I was genuinely lost, so – bonus), and it’s a completely non-confrontational way to handle it.

        • There are many gated communities in Florida that have a keypad to call a resident that can open the gate for you, or an electronic RFID system that will open it. Hardly any of the apartment/townhome/condo places here that have gates have a security station at the entrance. Most have security roving in marked cars.

          IANAL, but I think Zimmerman will wind up going to jail with a charge of manslaughter. Even though we have SYG, you don’t confront someone if you can help it, even as a member of Neighborhood Watch. The moment he got out of his car and approached this kid, he made a mistake.

    • “But about a minute later, Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot between two rows of townhouses”

      Kinda hard to drive an SUV on the common area between town homes. That grass and landscaping is usually not area you are supposed to drive on.

      • Why on earth should a Neighborhood Watch guy be pursuing ANYONE on foot into backyards? And if you’re pursuing someone and then you shoot him, it has nothing whatever to do with DGU. That is not ‘standing your ground.’ He wasn’t a cop. Think I’ll follow this story.

  8. Seriously, how many 20-somethings do you know who participate in neighborhood watch? I knew exactly one, and hes the most “tacticool” guy I know and the last person who should be doing what he does. Anecdotal, judgemental, and unfair.. but I can’t help wondering if this guy falls into the same category.
    I’d love to know what exactly made the kid “suspicious” in Zimmerman’s mind in the first place.

    The fact that he was self-appointed head of the neighborhood watch, armed, and got out of a vehicle all indicate that he did indeed confront the kid, when the cops said not to.
    In my mind, this is some sort of vigilantism-gone-wrong story.
    Personally, if I CCWed on community watch, I’d never, ever confront or attempt to detain a “suspect”.

    • Black people commit more violent crime than white people.
      Anecdotal, judgemental, and unfair.. but I can’t help wondering if this guy falls into the same category. Doesn’t seem so fair when it’s turned around does it?

      • What does black, Hispanic (in this case, Zimmerman), or white have to do with hopping out of your SUV to interrogate someone on the street in a gated community while you’re supposed to be on Neighborhood Watch, reducing crime? If you were walking in such a community and he stopped his SUV and approached you at night with no badge, would your hand be on your weapon? Mine would, discretely.

        • “If you were walking in such a community and he stopped his SUV and approached you at night with no badge, would your hand be on your weapon? Mine would, discretely.”

          This is it, right here. I don’t live in the best neighborhood, and the condo association (such as it is) has allowed this group known as the Guardian Angels to take up residence, rent free from what I understand, in an apartment across the street from me, in exchange for them “patrolling” the complex during the nighttime hours. With the exception of their head guy, they all have the sketchy look of “ex-cons trying to go straight,” and I don’t trust any of them in, much less out of, my sight.

          The one time I had a disagreement with one (I was unrepentantly walking my dog off a leash, as I’ve done for 4+ years now), he radioed up to the apartment, and asked Mike to “come down here a minute, and bring Joe with you.” I’m not sure what his plans were in adding two more people to the conversation, but to quote Ron White, “I don’t know how many of them it was gonna take to kick my ass, but I know how many they were gonna use.” I withdrew from the confrontation and took my dog home.

          So, to reiterate my answer to ScottA’s question a few posts up, I’d rather talk to a cop than some sketchy ex-con looking dude of questionable authority who’s gonna call his buddies for uncertain reasons at the slightest provocation.

  9. In my mind, I see the scenario going like this (please excuse my dramatic license):

    Guy sees kid walking, calls cops, is advised not to confront him.
    Does so anyway.
    “Hey kid, where you goin?”

    “Hey, kid, I’m talking to you. Where are you going?”
    “What’s it to you, old man?” (still walking)
    “I want to know where you’re going. The police are on their way.”
    “That’s nice.” (still walking)
    “You’re going to wait right here ’til the cops come, and we’ll get this sorted out.”
    “The hell I am.” (continues walking)
    “Hey!” (somewhere around this point guy exits vehicle) “You stay here!”
    “I don’t think so.”

    At this point, a scuffle ensues. Whether it began with the guy trying to physically restrain the kid’s forward progress (e.g. a hand on his arm), or with the guy simply standing in front of the kid and the kid trying to push past him, they end up in a physical altercation, during which the guy feels in danger for his life, draws, and shoots.

    I’m fairly certain that the guy should have never exited his vehicle and confronted the kid. That’s not what neighborhood watch is for. Whether that makes him criminally liable for what followed is a matter for the prosecutor; I don’t know. My opinion is he had no reason to exit the vehicle, no right to impede the kid’s progress, and therefore ultimately no justification for the shooting, based on that whole “you can’t start a fight and then claim self defense” thing.

    Since I don’t think he remained on the line with the 911 dispatcher following his initial call, I’m not sure if we’ll ever know how it played out. I will be interested to hear the tapes when they’re released.

  10. Brad, I am sorry to say, but it seems that you are acting like the main-stream media: you seem to be selecting a certain way to frame this issue that best puts forward a position. In several articles I read, we are told that police chief Lee has said the police told Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle and let the police take care of the situation. This seems to be an important point to leave out, and it clearly is troubling, for Zimmerman could not have felt threatened by Martin, and he chose to confront the “suspicious” young man.

    Yesterday, as I recall, the question of open carry was discussed here, and there were even pictures of nice, middle-class, white folk folks shopping and sitting around while open carrying. Nope, this does not seem threatening, but what if these pictures were of 25 year old African Americans? Would that seem as non-threatening? If Zimmerman thought this young man was suspicious, what would he have thought if he were openly carrying a pistol (I know Martin was only 17, so he could not, legally do that, but the point still stands)?

    I have no idea what happened that made Zimmerman suspicious of Martin. I have no idea why Zimmerman got out of his vehicle after he was told to stay in it. I have no idea what provoked the two to get into a physical altercation. I have no idea why Zimmerman chose to shoot Martin.

    That said, there are a few more things that we know that might well make us suspicious of the neighborhood watch captain: He got out of his vehicle. A fight took place between two young men–a fight in which the suspicious one weighed 100 pounds less than the watch captain (according the Reuters). A young man, who was carrying Skittles and icetea, was shot dead.

    Finally, in reading the articles, I did not see the race-baiting that you did. I did see references to Claims of racism and police mishandling of the case, but those are points being raised by bloggers and the Martin’s attorney. That does not seem like the main-stream media is out to fan a race war. That seems like the media accurately describing what others are saying.

    • The police did not tell him to stay in the car, a dispatcher did. You are not legally required to follow advice (and it is advice, not an order) from dispatch.

      • Clearly you are correct. The point, though, is that Zimmerman was given reason and time to reflect on whether he should be getting out and approaching someone he himself said was suspicious. He was NW. He shouldn’t have. I think I’m at the point of being seriously [email protected]@@d off about guys playing cop and people leaving loaded guns around for kids to play with.

    • KarlB – I appreciate your perspective. Let me give you mine. American Justice is not perfect. But it’s better than any other system in the world, as far as I can tell. The wheels of justice move slowly, and sometimes, that’s a good thing. I don’t know if Zimmerman is guilty of anything. I suspect you can make a case for all sorts of things. But that’s not the point. What stuck out for me on this story were the comments of the media. Given the racially-charged atmosphere (white shooter/young, black victim) I would guess that it’s likely that they’ll be a Grand Jury indictment, if only so that the events can be explored in court. I would expect the boy’s family to file a wrongful death civil suit, too, especially if the shooter has any property or insurance. It’s the way the world works. But my point in writing was to point out how biased (not to mention ignorant of the law) the members of the 4th Estate seem to be, and to raise questions on how that bias can (and likely will) affect the story.

      In a perfect world, reporters are supposed to report. Editorial writers (like me) are supposed to offer opinion. Sadly, “advocacy journalism” seems to be the order of the day, and the sheer power of the media makes for a situation where a biased media can affect the outcome of a trial.

      I live in a city that is now predominantly black. We have a black mayor. I don’t go around, expecting beatdowns from “roving bands of Negro youths,” nor do I look for race as in issue in every story. Unless somebody wants to make it an issue, race just doesn’t matter to me. (As a professional musician, I’d have to be a complete idiot to have a problem working with/respecting/admiring someone because their skin is a different color than mine.) But I know race-bating when I hear it. And those reporters were looking for a reason to play the race card. Go back and listen. See if you don’t hear it, too.

      • A fine response. I am not sure if we have the finest justice system in the world, but it is better than the vast majority of the rest. And I agree with the distinction between reporter and editorialist, and it is a shame that we are at a place in our nation where there is an almost universal distrust of the media . . . Conservatives point to the generally liberal perspectives of reporters, and Liberals point to the corporate ownership of news outlets as the sources of the biases. But we should remember that in the long history of news in the US there has only been a brief time when unbiased reporting has been the norm or even the ideal.

        As far as race goes, I do not blame African-Americans for being quick to see racial components to problems and conflicts. Think how often we talk about the wisdom for everyone, especially Jews, to remember the lessons of fascism. Well, it probably makes a great deal of sense for minority groups to remember what happened in the past in the US. Were millions of African-Americans killed in the US as Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others were by Nazi Germany? Of course not. Were there literally centuries of maltreatment and subjugation on an epic scale? Certainly. As a well-educated, middle-class white man, I have never been in a situation where I have had opportunities limited by the color of my skin or by the limitations imposed upon my forefathers. I am not sure how or when race can stop mattering. I live in Wisconsin, and people here think that race is a problem of big cities and of the south. But they do not realize that there were many towns and cities in the Midwest that had sunset laws (African-Americans had to be out of town at sunset). The reason there are fewer minorities in smaller cities stem from the biases and racism of the not too distant past . . . the repercussions of history last a very, very long time.

  11. sorry Brad, Zimmerman had a gun and the kid had skittles. The fact that he went out of his way to stop this kid minding his own business does indicate racial stereotyping.

    ” any racism in the aftermath ”

    no, just in the fact that tacticool wannabe zimmerman (IE ****ing scumbag), who is not a LEO, forced contact with some one who was doing nothing but being Black and walking in a neighborhood his family lives in.

    how exactly is it race baiting by pointing out that the vic in this situation was not just Black, but unarmed and smaller than the CCW holder?

    i cannot comment on the MSM reactions, we all know how that goes.

    shooting unarmed people, who were not breaking into your house/car/neighbor’s house/ looting/ doing anything criminal; regardless of color make you a scared little bitch.

    • How do you know it was racially motivated? By assuming that something is racially motivated because the parties involved are of different skin color makes you the racist.

      Also last I checked, it isn’t illegal to talk to random people. Just FYI in FL there are quite a few instances where you can meet unarmed confrontation legally with deadly force. If this kid where kicking the crap out of him and he was about to loose his CCW or go unconscious; he very much has the legal right use deadly force.

      How do you know the kid wasn’t doing anything criminal? We don’t have enough information from the article to really know what happened. Playing the race card before getting all the facts makes you look like the racist.

    • He was wearing a hood covering his face, Zimmerman probably didn’t know he was black.

      How do you know that Zimmerman is tacticool, a scumbag, or even that he forced contact?

      By the way if you bother reading the articles, before he fired Zimmerman was on the ground yelling for help while your “victim” was on top of him beating him. Zimmerman’s bruises, as documented by the police on scene, certainly don’t back up your thesis that he shot him just for fun or the color of his skin.

      Again, the point of this article is TO NOT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. We do not know what happened.

        • I’d like to know the facts too. Just don’t pull your SUV over at night, hop out, walk up to me, and start asking me questions about what I’m doing there when you don’t have a badge. The kid was on a sidewalk. Zimmerman could have asked the question out the window, with no greater confrontation. He didn’t. Good for Zimmerman that the kid wasn’t me.

        • I concur with that as far as our rights in FL go; we can go to deadly force if we perceive deadly force. If non-LEO jumps out of a van bee lines it for me; I will likely have a firing grip. If I then notice a firearm; things will not go well.

          No doubt Zimmerman should have never left his vehicle, but I’m still waiting for all the facts. We don’t know what we don’t know.

      • We know Zimmerman initiated contact because the incident didn’t happen inside his SUV, and he doesn’t claim that the kid dragged him out of it. If he’d have stayed in the SUV, there’s zero evidence that any confrontation would have occurred.

        And if you read the article, there’s at least one person saying that the kid was calling for help, then being coached by the police to change that to Zimmerman.

        I wonder how many people would be falling all over themselves to defend the shooting if the individuals were reversed, and it was a young black kid standing over the corpse of a white guy on his way home from the store. Even if it turns out to be a completely honest mistake, it’s a mistake of epic proportion, that has deprived an, as far as anyone has shown, innocent young man of his most fundamental right.

        • Yep. It isn’t about black versus Hispanic. It’s about pulling over at night, hopping out, approaching, and asking questions without a badge. Those facts are clear. Nobody on either side is challenging them. Don’t do that to me. I bet, actually, most people above feel just like I do.

        • “But about a minute later, Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot between two rows of townhouses”

          Kinda hard to drive an SUV on the common area between town homes. That grass and landscaping is usually not area you are supposed to drive on in my experience.

          How dare neighborhood watch want to see what is going on when someone covering their face at night starts walking down the back of town homes.

        • You’ve yet to show what evidence of any wrongdoing Zimmerman had the made a foot pursuit across other people property imperative. Unless not showing your face to random guys in SUVs has officially become a capital offense. Maybe it’s a HOA rule.

          And I guarantee, if you hop out of a car and start chasing me when I’m minding my own business walking back from the store, in a place that I have reason and permission to be:
          “Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot
          you would be at a ridiculously high risk of catching a bullet. What is so difficult to grasp that even if Zimmerman thought Martin was a criminal, that exiting his car and initiating a foot pursuit – up to the point of grappling distance – was tactically stupid. By rights, if Martin had in fact been a criminal, Zimmerman would likely be dead. The fact that Martin apparently wasn’t a criminal just compounds the train of bad judgement.

          You can keep beating on the reverse racism, lefty media hates us drum all you want. But you seem to be ignoring the fact that an innocent young man is dead. And I have to ask myself why his life is so un-important compared to Zimmerman’s.

        • pursued Martin on foot =/= hop out of a car and start chasing

          Again you are making up things not supported by the few facts we have so far and treating them like facts. You have clearly missed the entire point of this article.

        • I’m quoting the chunk of the story you quoted in an attempt to support your argument.

          MadDawgJ says:
          March 14, 2012 at 20:56
          “But about a minute later, Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot between two rows of townhouses”

          Kinda hard to drive an SUV on the common area between town homes. That grass and landscaping is usually not area you are supposed to drive on in my experience.

          Are you saying that you quoted what you believed to be BS to support your theory? So what’s the new theory? Martin attacked Zimmerman’s car with his tea and Skittles forcing Zimmerman to abandon it, then pursued Zimmerman between the houses where Zimmerman was forced to shoot him? Is there ANY evidence… Any. At. All. …that Martin did anything other than wearing a hood in the rain, that made him a threat? Really, how convoluted does your logic need to get before you even acknowledge the possibility that Martin didn’t deserve to die and that Zimmerman could conceivably not be the pure as the driven snow victim of some ‘get whitey’ witchhunt? I’m pretty sure the answers to both questions is ‘beyond the bounds of reason’ but I’m throwing it out there. And again I will ask you why is Martin’s life is so un-important compared to Zimmerman’s? Why are you so convinced that he deserved to die?

    • SDog – go back and read your comments. Sounds like you have your mind made up, and that’s before an indictment, much less a trial.

      Sure hope nobody ever calls on you for Jury duty.

  12. The media is all about money, not truth, not justice, and certainly not morality. It doesn’t keep the TV on if the stories are about facts and due process. Of course they’re trying to tar and feather this guy before any kind of trial or indictment, why wouldn’t they? It makes money.

    And yes, it’s wholly unsurprising for the media to bring race into it. Mass media, and leftists in general, would absolutely love a race riot that ends in a blazing city and hundreds of deaths (so long as they’re white deaths). After all, that’d be months’ worth of headlines, news programs, and social “justice.”

    • Thats a hell of a stretch to get to because the reporters (who were both black) were pissed off that an unarmed black kid with candy and iced tea got shot to death in his own neighborhood and the other guy wasn’t in jail. See, the thing is… they didn’t say he should be convicted. They wanted to know why he hadn’t even been arrested!! Compare that to the black guy who justifiably DGU’d, was put in jail, and lost his apartment… all featured prominently in TTAG. That guy was black, shot a white thug assailant.. and went to jail immediately… No wonder alot of black folks think there is a double standard! You compare that to this…
      From that clip, you’ve decided that anyone who votes democrat (leftist) wants white people to get killed in a big race riot. No generalization there huh? Yes sir, you’re the logical one there.

      • Beware what you wish for is a saying that comes to mind here.

        You may be the guy society wants jailed without cause, simply because a man with darker skin than you was found dead on your home without an apparent weapon on them.

        For an example of how the media can and WILL warp the story to suit their ends, look no further than this article by Massad Ayoob :
        Situation: First the crazy woman jeopardized her little kids’ lives. Then she came at them–and you–with a cleaver-like edged weapon.

        Lesson: Do what you know you must. Leave it to the rest of society to determine why the mentally ill, and children they endanger, go neglected. Be prepared for unwarranted hostility when ethnic bias and public ignorance make you out a murderer for “killing one of ours.”


        ……..The device is, in essence, a half-size meat cleaver. I’ve had the opportunity to examine the particular dao bao that Tran was holding when she was killed. It was, unquestionably, a deadly weapon. The authorities sent Tran’s dao bao to a cutlery manufacturer, with instructions to take a couple of genuine brand-new cleavers and compare them in terms of sharpness and cutting power. The cutlery professionals determined that Tran’s weapon came dead in the middle between the two new, dedicated cleavers in its ability to cut and inflict wounds.

        However, the media called her weapon a “vegetable peeler.”

        This was monstrously unjust, unfair, and untruthful. The public in this country, hearing the term “vegetable peeler” and never seeing a dao bao in size or weight perspective or examining its sharp lower edge, imagines a carrot peeler or a potato peeler. An innocuous little thing that is dull all around the outside and couldn’t hurt someone even if its wielder tried. A cop who had fired to protect himself, his partner and two little kids from being chopped up with what effectively was a cleaver, was falsely painted to the public as someone who shot a small woman who wasn’t armed with a real weapon.

        The media, and the well-organized Vietnamese community in San Jose, clamored for the officer’s scalp. Chad Marshall was ordered to go before the grand jury, facing indictment for Manslaughter or even Murder.

        Source Article here:

        Given that story of the media’s reaction to matters, I am reserving any and all judgement on matters until the triers of the facts do. The rest is unfounded spin masquerading as intel.

        • Is even Zimmerman suggesting that the young man had a weapon? Is ‘can of iced tea’ a media euphemism for ‘a Hi Point and a bag of crack rock’? Were they in any place were Zimmerman had the definitive authority to challenge someone? No? Then the whole jailed “…simply because a man with darker skin than you was found dead on your home without an apparent weapon on them…” thing doesn’t really apply.

        • Were you there at the scene?

          Because if you were not, you are relying on the media to impart the details of the incident to you, the same as I and the rest of us here are. My point is that trusting the media to tell one the honest nature of a violent event with regard to a firearm is akin to trusting a drug dealer when he says his street heroin is “90% pure”. The source material simply cannot be trusted. How foolish will your statement prove if it turns out the 17 year old kid indeed did have a weapon at the time?

        • That would be something. Since the reporters seem to be getting their information from police sources, I would think the police might just mention that (they have been put in a bad light with this case, and a gun on Martin would get them out of this jam). I know that you are not claiming that there was a gun on the kid, but it seems funny that your “what if” comes right after a diatribe about the untrustworthiness of the media . . . almost as if a reporter would ask “could there be racial bias.”

        • Not foolish at all. I’m addressing the case based on extant data. If that data changes I’ll change my opinion. But you’re addressing it on the fairly huge speculation that there might be a weapon, that no one to this point has claimed exists, may in fact exist. The police didn’t mention any claim of a gun. No eyewitnesses did. The kid is apparently a good student with no history of violence. So other than your distrust of the media, what evidence, at all, do you have that there was another weapon?

        • Kid was unarmed. Zimmerman outweighed him by 100 pounds. Zimmerman pursued him. Zimmerman had gun.
          Yet, kid was black and black people are more violent (you mentioned earlier), so in your mind (ST), Zimmerman was justified.

        • Hilarious that you reference Massad Ayoob… hes the first guy who would say how in the wrong Zimmerman was.
          His book, “In the Gravest Extreme” and his “Guide to Concealed Carry” both council strongly against what Zimmerman did.

        • Im not defending this guy or saying he was right or wrong. My point in citing Ayoob is that the media cannot be trusted to report the facts accurately on defensive gun useage.

          Insofar as Zimmerman goes, I reserve judgement until the triers of the facts make a decision. Kozak’s point is that right now nobody besides the deceased and Zimmerman know what happened. The police didn’t take Zimmerman into custody, so clearly there wasn’t evidence of a crime at the scene. Those of you clamoring for his head at this point are no better than the media reporters fishing for an angle on these tragic events.

        • Understood. Just, if you get a chance, read Ayoob’s chapter on ankle holsters in his Conceal Carry Guide… He specifically mentions a guy who’s own racial suspicions/paranoia almost instigated a tragedy.
          Its not “clamoring for his head” to expect that a guy who instigated a confrontation, and then shot another guy to death on a sidewalk would be arrested and questioned. We aren’t talking about conviction. We are talking about due process. The police didn’t even interview all the witnesses.

      • Yes, actually, it’s exceedingly logical to believe that those who would benefit from an incident desire for that incident to occur. So, yes, both the mass media and leftists want racism and racial violence to endure because they benefit from it. That simple.

        And if you want to talk about double-standards, let’s talk about INSTITUTIONALIZED double-standards, and which race they are stacked against. I’ll give you a hint: you’re wrong.

  13. Brad, when you say “That’s all we know. It’s not much.” My impression is that you did not delve too far into the various reports out there, which contain several more reported facts than you include. The limited information you use to make your post allows you to take a stance that perhaps this shooting was completely justified and this should serve as a lesson to us all about how the media is out to get us. The sum of the information out there paints a different picture and I don’t think that has much to do with anti-gun media bias.

    By reading a little further, I think it seems likely that the shooter chose to instigate an altercation, found himself in over his head, and chose to end it by shooting a kid to death. It also appears pretty clear that the shooter went after the kid because he was black and therefore didn’t seem to belong in the neighborhood. While the race component doesn’t necessarily change whether or not this was a crime, it appears to be a real factor, not something fabricated by the media or NAACP.

    After reading these news stories earlier today, I was hoping that TTAG would hold off on editorializing before the picture was a little clearer, but it seems you’ve chosen to pursue the “watch out for a media circus!” angle, which to me seems like a stretch. There would be no media circus if it weren’t for the fact that a neighborhood watchman decided to go after a 17-year-old kid, ended up shooting him dead, and wasn’t arrested for it.

    I’m interested in Farago’s take on this incident. This is a national news story involving CCW and I’m curious about whether TTAG will be willing to take a swipe at this guy or continue the “there’s no way to know what really happened!” path that prevents us from acknowledging that sometimes people use CCWs in bad ways.

    • Seems to me this post could better have been written as a “Does CCW Give You the Right to Play Cop?” types, or a cautionary tale, not a “media is bad” tale.

    • Ted, you raise some interesting points. If you look at the thrust of my article, you’d see that what I was arguing for was more time to get at the facts. The news cycle in the Age of the Internet is a lot different than the way things worked, back when I started out in journalism as the news director of my college radio station. While we have much better resources today (thanks, Internet!), the flip side is that the shelf life of a story is often measured in minutes, rather than weeks or months. The other effect the Internet has on news is that, while more outlets report on stories, there’s been no concurrent increase in field reportagé. In other words, for most news organizations, they simply pick up on the news feed of whoever covers the story, repeats it/rewrites it/amplifies it and moves on. That’s why it’s so easy to see some bizarro urban myth or tall tale get passed off as the “truth” in the blink of an eye – and why it’s so difficult to track down the origin of a story.

      I was arguing that we should avoid a rush to judgement. At TTAG, we also try to avoid a rush to publish. Personally, I’m only comfortable if I can find corroborating facts/sources on a story and determine that the second source isn’t simply repeating what they heard from the first. That’s not always possible on some stories. (Not a problem here, however.)

      The other thing to keep in mind is that for most of us at TTAG, this isn’t our “day job.” We write about guns because we enjoy it. Not because we’re getting paid the big bucks. I like to think if we were rolling in dough, we’d have a big research department, field reporters, and an organization that would rival CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS/AP and Fox all put together. (Then again, most of those guys are busy cutting back on staff, so soon enough, it may not be that big of a gap to cross.)

      Given the race-baiting comments of the reporters at the presser, and their obviously “we’ve got our minds made up” fury they expressed, I don’t think media bias was a stretch by any metric. And as further comment on the state of the mainstream media, I think it’s pretty sad when a gun blog spends more time and effort trying to be fair and even-handed in a single editorial than the mainstream press does in their blanket coverage of the shooting.

  14. Unless the kid was a Muslim I doubt anyone named “Zimmerman” would be accused of prejudicial violence.

    Without reading any background information, solely as a first impression, this “watchman” fellow sounds like a douche. Neighborhood watches should follow an “observe and report” approach. Hence “watch” and not “do.”

      • The MSM and “minority” victim groups don’t “forget” race. In fact they club us over the head with it to great effect. Making a quick buck in the process doesn’t hurt them either. Retreating from reality isn’t an option.

        • Can’t blame them. If the races were reversed, tell me that the shooter would be walking free right now.
          Look at the black guy who defended himself against the drunk white assailants a while back. In jail for a month. Justified defense. Lost his home.
          Racism isn’t as bad as alot of minorities claim, but its alot worse than most white people understand.

        • And, of course, you assume it’s all because of race. Couldn’t possibly be anything else. The system never screws anyone over or lets people slip through cracks unless it’s race-based. Right.

          Remember that incident a while ago of the firefighters who all took tests for promotion and when no minorities made the cut, the courts ruled to scrap the test and promote minorities anyway over whites? I bet you think that’s not racism because, ya know, whites can never be the victims of racism.

        • Now you’re switching to the “affirmative action is bad” talking point. Like it or not, that is a policy implemented by elected folks that can be changed.
          What we were talking about before you switched to a non-defense-related point, was the “race war” the “leftist media” is trying to start where white folks get killed. That to me is non-sense.. maybe its because I’m a youngun raised in a different time. I don’t know.
          My point is this: if your son, or my son was walking on a sidewalk and was confronted, then shot to death by a non-uniformed individual who wasn’t a cop, we’d have a reasonable expectation that that person would at least be booked, and that all witnesses would be interviewed. That didn’t happen in this case. He was let go, and the cops didn’t even bother to question all the witnesses. One of the witnesses had to call the cops and pester them to be interviewed. This was wrong, and you need to get over the “race war” and stuff and see that.

  15. I remeber reading that Zimmerman is a wannabe cop trying to get into the academy. If it is true that he said “these a##holes always get away,” it is reasonable to assume that he made a determination that a young black kid wearing a hoodie didn’t belong in the upperclass gated community, and acted based on that assumption. How many think that Zimmerman would have batted an eye if it was an OFWG? Now I agree that we don’t know how the fight went down, but if Zimmerman was getting his butt kicked, as some versions have suggested is still not grounds for use of deadly force.

    • Upperclass? There was no guard at the gate. Agree with your comment generally. This must be one of those ‘gated’ communities only ‘gated’ as a sales pitch.

    • Again read the articles people. It was a community of townhomes, not mansions. In most areas like Orlando decent working class apartment and townhouse communities have gates for security and peace of mind. Perhaps you should not make so many assumptions.

  16. It does fairly disgust me that the NAACP sent a letter to Holder before the SA has had time to conduct their investigation. Par for the course, I suppose. Sanford turns out to have lots of crime by people of all racial groups. The ‘gated’ community turns out definitely not to be upper class. Zimmerman got his jaw broken while working as ‘security’ for a party not long ago. Tough town.

  17. This is not a who done it. Some things are not in dispute.
    There is a dead kid. He happens to be black. And unarmed. And within his rights to be where he was.
    There is a guy that admits he pulled the trigger. He happens to be white. But he claims he is justified under the self-defense law. But the information released so far raises serious doubts. There is the 911 call where he is told to stay away from the “suspicious person” and let the en route police deal with it. Other speculation, of unknown veracity, looks bad for him too.
    The burden of proof for self-defense is on the shooter to show he acted within the law.

    So that said, why isn’t he in jail awaiting a determination by authorities of the legality of his actions? One would hope they have good reason to think he won’t be charged. Normally there would be a statement to that effect. But if thats the case they need to communicate that better because the public thinks this is a case of unequal treatment. I doubt I would be out walking the streets if it was clear I had shot someone without a clearcut case of self-defense as they haven’t shown anything like that yet.

    • “There is a guy that admits he pulled the trigger. He happens to be white.”
      He’s Hispanic.

      “The burden of proof for self-defense is on the shooter to show he acted within the law. So that said, why isn’t he in jail awaiting a determination by autohrities of the legality of his actions?”
      Because the way the self-defense laws are written in Florida, the “burden of proof” is not on the shooter. He is not in jail because, “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.” §776.032(2) So, he claimed self-defense, the initial evidence (there was a scuffle) supports it at first, so he remains free while the investigation is conducted.

      Don’t get me wrong here, I think Zimmerman did lots of things wrong, like exiting his vehicle and pursuing on foot. I’m simply responding to your question of law.

    • He violated the statute when they told him to stand down and he proceeded that doesnt protect him on the self defense front either. The Sanford PD really messed this one up. From what I know of the law and I am a laymen with some experience. I have always been told that the police are not to decide that he should have been arrested pending an investigation and the courts are to decide. This is not going to be a good outcome by any means!

      • Actually dispatchers have little to no legal authority for what is said over the line with 911. There is no FSS for not listening to a dispatcher. Law enforcement actually does decide who is arrested on-scene pending probably cause. I will agree this is a crappy situation no matter what the outcome.

    • “And within his rights to be where he was.”

      Also false. He was tresspasing across people’s backyards.

      “He violated the statute when they told him to stand down and he proceeded”

      False. Dispatchers are not police officers and can only offer advice, not give legal commands to callers.

      • Trespassing? Isn’t this a town-home or condo community where the spaces between buildings would be considered common property? Were there any no trespassing postings? Is trespassing a capitol crime? If so wasn’t Zimmerman also trespassing when he chased him down?
        The bottom line is that Zimmerman isn’t a cop and doesn’t have police powers. If the other party could talk (wasn’t dead) and had been armed than Zimmerman could possibly have been considered the aggressor that escalated the situation and he likely could have been legally shot in self defense by the kid.
        And if that had happened and Zimmerman was the one room temperature with only the kids word of what happened, do you think he would be walking around free while awaiting a grand jury?
        I hate when Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson shows up and tries to inflame any situation that involves more than one race. But this thing doesn’t pass the smell test and the police/DA owe the public and the kid’s parents a better and more timely explanation of what happened or charge the guy.

  18. I live in florida and am a gun owner. I did a check on the florida division of licensing and nowhere does George Zimmerman’s name come up in the search. There are several other Zimmerman’s but no George. I would be demanding to get a copy of that Concealed Weapons Permit right away if I was the family.

        • That search WILL NOT bring up CCW holders. The license you are referring to is called a “G” license for security guards.

    • FL Stat § 790.0601 Public records exemption for concealed weapons.—
      (1) Personal identifying information of an individual who has applied for or received a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm pursuant to s. 790.06 held by the Division of Licensing of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to such information held by the division before, on, or after the effective date of this section.
      (2) Information made confidential and exempt by this section shall be disclosed:
      (a) With the express written consent of the applicant or licensee or his or her legally authorized representative.
      (b) By court order upon a showing of good cause.
      (c) Upon request by a law enforcement agency in connection with the performance of lawful duties, which shall include access to any automated database containing such information maintained by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  19. there’s an easy way to check if this was racially motivated.

    ask yourself if this would happen to a white kid. period.
    heck i can be deathly afraid of clowns and truthfully claim i was feeling threatened. doesn’t make it right.

    • I dunno, baclava. I seem to remember reading a story just this week about a white teen who was approached by three black kids who doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. Reportedly, they said something about “getting what you deserve for being white.” Apparently the attackers and the victim didn’t know each other (at least that’s what was in the report I read.)

      Racism and bigotry are colorblind. Hate and stupidity are Equal-Opportunity Destroyers. I don’t think anybody’s got the market cornered there.

      • Kid survived, with first-degree burns on hands and face. Terrible incident. I grew up in a majority-black area and dealt with my own share of bigotry, sometimes violent, at times. It made me hyper-aware of when it really happens for either race, and this particular case rings a lot of bells in my mind. Zimmerman doesn’t deserve worse treatment because of whatever tripped the “suspicious” switch in his mind. Our justice system automatically gives him the benefit of the doubt. In this case, its very unfortunate that there is very little direct evidence, other than the shooter’s word.
        For obvious reasons, there is a huge conflict of interest there, and people will be understandably upset if his word alone is what makes the deciding difference.

        • I was laughing so hard when someone mentioned that so few people with concealed weapons permits are not charged with a crime and I said yeah because the other party is dead. LOL hard to get their story. Nobody is going to admit they made a mistake and killed someone. Nobody they are gonna lie like a motherf to stay their ass out of jail. I own a gun and I live in a n eighborhood where there has been breakins and never would i think to carry and confront someone with it. Thats not my job Im not a cop. If im going around my neighborhood and i see something happening I call period end of story it is not my responsibility nor my job to walk around with my gun like im some type of rambo looking for suspiscious people to confront. We pay taxes let the trained people in uniform do their job they are hte ones who have the authority to to shoot make arrest ect.. not people who carry guns it is for your own protection family and property thats it. If he didnt have a gun with him do you really think Zimmerman would have gotten beaten to death and lets say he did Martin would certainly be behind bars for killing an innocent self appointed watch captain who was just trying to do good a man with a squeaky clean record a college student studying criminal justice while this thug with a hoodie took his life. I wonder if Martin would have the same treatment as self defense when he said he had no idea who this man was that was slowly following him in a dark suv all the while staring at him exiting his vehicle and when he did he Martin ran and then this strange man is running after him trying to get at him and he defended himself from some strange man that outweighed him by 100 pounds in the middle of the dark night i wonder if his story would have been taken soley on his word!

  20. Really, if this is all the evidence there is, you’d have to let Zimmerman go, I’m thinking. Remember, if a cop had shot the kid in this instance, there would be little discussion. “The officer feared for his safety. After conducting a thorough investigation [ of ourselves] we find the officer acted appropriately and within department policy.” Mundanes deserve the same benefits as those who serve the state.

    • No they dont because they are not trained and qualified Id like to see the blood spatter on his shirt the trajectory in which the bullet entered he has not splatter or fragments he was standing over him!

    • You can plainly see thru what Zimmerman was doing he was setting things up funny how he contradicts himself when he said the boy was coming at him then when asked by the dispatcher if he was following him he said yes then he said these assholes always get away then he says he was running what business did he have following or running after him he wasn’t doing anything he wasn’t commuting a crime he accoste the boy this kid was probably thinking who the hell is this guy following me in an suv kid was probably scared for his life ended up fighting for it and consequently losing it because of someone that had no business not just following but running after him from what I know of the law you do not have a right to run after someone confront them and when they react to you shoot them

  21. I love how an article clearly about not jumping to conclusions before all the facts are known gets flooded by people jumping to conclusions without even looking at all of the facts available, let alone waiting for all the facts.

    • You mean like you? You’ve made just as many blanket assumptions as anyone else in this thread, several of which are contrary to the facts. Example:
      “And within his rights to be where he was.”
      Also false. He was tresspasing across people’s backyards.

      Do you know how townhomes work? If it’s not in your walls, you can’t really say it’s yours. Here’s the development where the incident took place: Google Maps. You see the sidewalks that run between the backs of the buildings, on the east and south sides of the development? I don’t know which one of the two, but it was along one of those sidewalks that the shooting happened. Walking down a semi-public sidewalk towards your destination can hardly be called trespassing, no?

      As a general note, after seeing the layout of the property, Martin walking “behind/between the townhomes” suddenly doesn’t seem so sinister, does it?

      • “You see the sidewalks that run between the backs of the buildings, on the east and south sides of the development? I don’t know which one of the two, but it was along one of those sidewalks that the shooting happened.”

        Do you have a source for that? I have not seen anything mention they where on sidewalks and there are plenty of spots in that development that you can be between townhomes and not be on a sidewalk.

        • I’m sorry, I don’t have the links right now (I’m on my phone), but I watched several local news reports, a couple of which had reporters saying, “It happened right here, and the witness was looking out that window,” and in those reports the reporters were all standing on a sidewalk between the backs of two buildings. The two locations I indicated are the only two places in which you can be both on a sidewalk and between two the backs of buildings.

      • “I don’t know which one of the two, but it was along one of those sidewalks that the shooting happened.”

        Do you have a source for that? I have not seen anything mention they where on sidewalks and there are plenty of spots in that development that you can be between townhomes and not be on a sidewalk.

      • “He was tresspasing”

        Per Florida Statute 810.08 that is what he was doing. Per Florida Statute 810.08C Zimmerman may have had a legal right to detain him pending the arrival of police if the HOA or complex owner(s) authorized the neighborhood watch.

        • I am not a lawyer, but I think, since he was minor child and one of his parents was on the property, and he was staying on the property, that would make him an invitee, and therefore not trespassing. I think saying he was trespassing is pretty thin, and I see no one but you making the argument that he didn’t have the right to be there.

        • Are you serious? this is a god damned forum im not worried about being grammatically correct thats the least of it and Matt my reply wasnt to you so dont u fell like an ass now. answering some shit that wasnt even adressed toward u maybe you should get a lesson in reading comprehension and the definition of words kick rocks dic i mean matt

        • So I guess this is the “mob mentality” part of the post? All I see is jumping to conclusions and substituting misspelled opinion for fact.

        • Even if he was trespassing which he wasnt he had no right to enforce any laws he is not a trained law enforcement officer especially when the police were on their way. WTH are u smoking?

        • I read the Hoa rules listed online in the Leland management website and it states the hoa is not their to enforce any local or state laws

        • Again, this shows your fundamental misunderstanding of how things work. The HOA is responsible for covenants and other civil matters. Crime watches are mainly a function of the responsible law enforcement agency or municipality.

        • The HOA is the one who sets up the watch and the rules say NO weapons on patrol what part of no dont you understand. He wasnt supposed to be doing that.

        • The HOA can say lots of things that are NOT legally enforceable as the “no weapons rules” you have just pointed out. The HOA may host the watch MEETINGS, but the municipality typically does the training for watch members.

        • Well newsflash the municipality did not have a program in place and he was not appointed or given this position by the community he gave it to himself first thing he had no right to do. Im gonna appoint myself ceo of a bank and go and demand the teller give me money because i feel that i can run the bank better more effeciently and responsibly lets see what happens when I ask for them to give me the money and then when they dont and try to throw me out ill shoot them and claim self defense.

        • Newsflash. Call the Sanford Police Department. The Crime Prevention Team handles the watches. Quit making stuff up.

        • I did and they dont. Call them up yourself they do not run any programs for HOA community watches crime wats neighborhood watches etc.. Please get it together bro. You are one of those wanna be’s like Zimmerman that you inject yourself so much into law enfoecement and know terms and statutues but are to incompetent to become one. Do me a favor and go sign up for the dept you will fit right in.

        • The Crime Prevention Team is supposed to handle the neighborhood watches, but they dont. You can call to confirm. What part of WATCH dont you understand. It is watch and report not watch report follow engage and kill!

  22. Brad, I may have missed it in your lengthy post, but did you mention anything about Zimmerman’s past record. I read elsewhere that he’d had some problems before.

    As I was reading your tremendous efforts to not jump to any conclusions like the media does and to give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt, I wondered if you do the same thing with the apparent burglar or home invader. Do you work so hard to be fair to him?

    The answer is obviously no, that’s because you are awfully biased towards the gun owner and the concealed carry guy. Just like you consider the man climbing in your window at night worthy of summary execution, and just like you justify that seven ways to Sunday, you could jump to some obvious conclusions about Zimmerman.

    • “Just like you consider the man climbing in your window at night worthy of summary execution…”

      And what should he do? Offer him cookies? The best part of his wife’s behind? Some cash? AA assistance? New clothes? How ’bout he just let’s the guy abduct a loved one? Do any of these satisfy you, Mike?

      Man you antigun guys will just go to any length – even the justifying of why someone shouldn’t be shot invading ones home… nothing is sacred with you. It requires a check I think.

      • No, you got it backwards. Nothing is sacred to you, like the life of a guy you judge to be worthy of death. The problem with that is sometimes your mistaken, sometimes you judge too quickly, sometimes killing the intruder is not necessary.

        With you it’s not the safety of yourself and your family it’s the principle of the thing.

        • The intruder is the one forcing the choice, not the defender. He has no legitimate reason for being there and by his very presence has already demonstrated a disregard for the law and the norms of society. Who’s to say what he’s going to do next? Why should anyone be required to gamble with their lives on the answer to that question?

          A shooting that may or may not be an act of self defense is a much different proposition. A person hasn’t committed a crime by simply being out on the street. Shooting someone isn’t in and of itself a crime: the exact circumstances determine that. Did Zimmerman initiate a confrontation? Was he the aggressor? Was the Martin the aggressor? Did Zimmerman start out as the aggressor, but then did Martin counterattack? Etc., etc. All of that makes a huge difference in whether a crime was committed or not.

        • Zimmerman was the aggressor let me ask you even if Martin became the agressor heres food for thought u see a dark suv slowly tailing you u see a man staring at u u then see this same ma that may be a pedophile a murderer a robber coming towards u after tailing you and he is almost twice your size in a neighborhood u dont know late at night he confronts u quite possibly attempts to detain u u see a weapon in his waistband what do u do u fight for your life if anyone should be claiming self defense it would be martin if he was still here!

        • What you say is plausible but we really don’t know what happened. That’s what the investigation will be about.

          Seriously though, use some punctuation. It’s makes it hard to follow what you’re trying to get across when there’s nothing breaking up the words into sentences.

        • Wrong, Carlos. You and only you are responsible for the choices you make.

          It’s funny how you guys are big on personal responsibility, except in certain cases, like when you’re “forced” to shoot someone in self defense.

          You should be consistent and take responsibility for your choices and decisions. Then we can argue about whether it was justified or not.

        • For once I have to agree with mikeb.

          @letty. You keep making sweeping assumptions about the law and have general misconceptions about how things work indouble law enforcement. You should really take the time to research statutory and case law before substituting your opinion for fact.

          Spell check also doesn’t hurt if you want anyone to take you seriously.

        • caffeinated: what about the intruder and the choices he’s made? He’s the one that’s forced the confrontation on you. The situation wouldn’t exist if not for his choices. The defender didn’t go out in the street and drag him into the house. Yes, if I make the choice to shoot him, I take that responsibility, but none of us would be in the position we’re in without the intruder making the choices he made. If he decides to stay home, then the whole scenario never plays out in the first place.

        • Just because I am not saying Zimmerman is guilty you guys seem to think I support his actions. My point is that we have no official report or investigation to go on. There are unreliable witnesses that don’t corroborate the released tidbits of information from the report and different stories from different news outlets. All I am saying is we need to reserve our judgement for when ALL the details come out.

        • We seem to have switched conversations now. I’m all for reserving judgment. If Zimmerman didn’t act in self defense, then he should be charged with the appropriate crime and prosecuted.

          I was just responding to Mike’s ridiculous statements about the intruder coming through the window. If we’re going to have an honest conversation about that scenario, we have to acknowledge who kicks it off, and it’s the guy who decides to place himself in someone else’s home illegally, with unknown intent.

        • Yup. In fact the “stand your ground” law is just that. It does not permit you to go after someone. Honestly with the conflicting information and media sources, who knows what really happened.

          In FL if you are the “primary aggressor” you typical bear the brunt of responsibility for what goes down. For example if wife1 calls in a domestic and the investigating officer determines wife1 to be the primary aggressor because she was beating on hubby, wife1 takes the ride. The powers-that-be want paper on just about all domestics down here and state that “you will make an arrest if you have enough PC.” The same goes with anything that involves injury and death.

        • I know I’m late to the game, and maybe no one is even reading this post anymore, but your line of thought “Did Zimmerman start out as the aggressor, but then did Martin counterattack?” doesn’t make sense to me. It seems like you’re implying, and I may be wrong, that if Martin “counterattacked” the Zimmerman, that Zimmerman would have been within his rights to shoot. If Zimmerman was the aggressor and Martin “counterattacked” I’m pretty sure that would be defined as…self-defense, and Zimmerman would still be *morally* in the wrong, and his *legal* case for self-defense wouldn’t be so cut and dry.

          I don’t have a problem with the rest of what you said, but the logic struck me as unsound.

        • You are also wrong in this count. You have the right in Florida to use deadly for to stop a forcible felony. There is a rather lengthy list that you might surprised to read.

        • Tell me good sir what felony was being commited Heard 911 tapes great how he contradicts himself that Martin was coming at him then you hear him get out of his vehicle and you can hear him breathing heavily as he is walking because his fat ass probably cant walk and talk at the same time the dispatcher asks him are you following him contradiction right there when he says yes they tell him not to then he says hes running that means the kid was trying to get away from some creepy guy watching and slowly following him in a dark suv this kid doesnt know who this guy is he sees the guy get out coming toward him he runs and guess what he runs after him no threat to his life or property he persues him tries to accost him when the kid tries to defend himself he shoots him and says self defense. This kid didnt have a weapon and wasnt commiting a crime. So in Florida you can chase someone who isn’t bothering you, then shoot and kill them, claim it’s “self-defense” – and that’s all you have to do wow that makes sense to me then there should be alot more peolpe dead. I am a responsible gun owner and take that ownership very seriously taking someones life is not to be considered lightly. He also had a choice if he could pull out the gun to use it he could have hit him with it but he wasnt a responsible mature gunowner it was just alot easier for him to shoot. His is a BS made up story to keep his ass out of jail i would only shoot someone if they had a weapon not because i was getting my ass whooped for not minding my business.

        • I never said anything was happening. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW. Your explanation is filled with assumptions of what you think already went down. The fact is we don’t know. I was making the point that if forcible felonies can be met with deadly force in FL. Do you even know what a forcible felony is?

          Your previous statements show a complete basic misunderstanding of FL statutes and how the legal system works in general. Law enforcement doesn’t just make up the rules as they go as you have implied.

          I’m not making assumptions until the whole story gets aired post investigation. Seriously? Pull out a gun to hit someone on the head? There is a huge difference between Reno 911 and real life.

          Again, no one knows the real story right now except for Zimmermann and the deceased.

        • Who the fck do you think you are are u a god damned lawyer? trying to patronize me with do you know what a forcible felony is? like some self righteous jackhole know it all. I am aware and very versed in the law and the statutes of florida just because i do not interpret them the same as you do doesnt mean i do not comprehend them. i understand the language of the law and i take exception with you trying to criticize my knowledge of the law like u are some law guru. I have represented myself in a pro se case and won. so i think im at least a little literate when it comes to the language of the law. I also wonder what you mean by your comment of me being prejudiced I know exactly what type of personailty he is because i used to be like him when i was an ignorant immature adolescent. The fact is this and there are no others he admittedly shot and killed him he admittedly followed him and ran after him you can not run after someone and then claim self defense when the person gets pissed because you are following him lets you know it and you are getting your ass served to you and are loosing that u pull a goddamned gun and kill someoen chasing after someone does not justify a shooting he went looking for it damn coward let him come by me better yet let me follow him down a dark street in an suv get out run after him and when i get to him what do you think Mr Zimmermans reaction would be?

        • I’m no lawyer, but if you actually read my comments you will see I am not defending Zimmerman. I am only saying we have no idea what happened at this point. You’ve made multiple incorrect statements ranging from the ability to look up CCW licenses publicly to what is justifiable deadly force in FL. Now you feel like you have to throw insults and call names.

          It’s not a personal attack on you, but writing like an angry 5th grader won’t make others accept your statements.

        • No not anyone only you! Becasue I dont see a response from anybody else except for you. Practically All the comments you make are towards me. Got a hardon for me buddy because thats what it looks like. If you have a problem with what I know to be fact then then to fckin damn bad for you. Handle it buddy

        • I am handling it. It’s you that has to resort to name calling. If you keep throwing out your own opinion as fact, I’ll keep calling you on it. Deal with it.

        • Those are the facts that i mentioned. I got it straight from what the police said what Zimmerman said Im not making this up its all out in the open.

        • I got a laugh from that Matt but I suppose you and others on here already have your mind made up as to the type of person I am race and sex. Lets see how much assumption is on here about me lets see what misconceptions people have in their head. Lets see the conclusions that are being jumped to in regards to me because they think they know me. Im curious what peoples minds come up with over my name and my views.

    • “As I was reading your tremendous efforts to not jump to any conclusions like the media does and to give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt, I wondered if you do the same thing with the apparent burglar or home invader. Do you work so hard to be fair to him? “

      No, you don’t work so hard to be fair to the home invader/burglar as you do to Zimmerman.

      Brad’s point in writing this post is to not jump to conclusions, as many seem to be doing, and assume that Zimmerman was a racist, tacticool wanna-be cop with an itchy trigger finger, because we don’t know the whole story.

      In contrast, the “apparent” home invader (not sure how you can be an “apparent” home invader; you’re either in my house or you’re not, but I digress) is that by law, someone in my home, without my permission, can be presumed to have evil intent, and I am thus justified in using force to repel him. That is the whole story, as far as the law is concerned, so no, he gets no great effort to be “fair.”

  23. People have mentioned that Mr. Zimmerman was arrested several years ago. It is also true that Mr. Martin was on a week long suspension from his Miami high school where he was a senior. His father wanted him at his house to get his priorities straight.

    Legally, the question would be who initiated the fight. If Martin attacked Zimmerman, then Zimmerman can claim self defense.

    The police have stated that they have not found any evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s story.

    I find it hard to believe that if there was *any* evidence to convict Zimmerman of a crime, that they would not arrest him. There is clearly enormous pressure on the police to do the politically correct thing.

    We do not know just what happened after Zimmerman left his vehicle. From a biological perspective, I suspect two aggressive young males essentially got into a territorial dispute. There is only one person telling the story of who started the fight, but it is not hard for me to believe that Martin could have been the first one to initiate physical contact, if only because it is clear that Zimmerman, older and heavier, was clearly losing the fight.

    • Get this they previous cheif was forced to resign when a lt son didnt get arrested after attacking a homeless man not until it was posted on u tube did they decide to arrest him two security guards one who worked at a compl,ex and the other his friend which had no business riding along with him said that a car that dropped off some friends lunged at them they shot at him in self defense funny how coroner said he was shot in the back hard to drive with ur back facing the steering wheel oh and car had bullets on the side of the doors

      • Seriously, man… periods. Learn to use them.

        Oh, and your near-incomprehensible story is completely irrelevant to anything going on in this thread.

  24. It’s called neighborhood “watch”, not neighborhood play cops and robbers, and this is exactly why. An experienced (not just trained) police officer might have a calibrated ‘gut’ that can tell whether this particular young guy in a hoodie seems ‘suspicious’, but plenty of 20 year veterans have trouble with that, let alone this Zimmerman guy, who reportedly had several prior complaints from neighbors about his aggressive attitude. Whether or not he has bigoted attitudes, what he did amounts to stalking and harassing someone because of his clothing and (probably) skin color. I’m not being PC – we all have the built-in tendency to assume the worst about people who seem different from us, and if you’re going to be out patrolling the community, you need to actively remind yourself of that fact before you decide you need to get in someone’s face.

  25. Let’s say after an investigation, Zimmerman was found to be at fault, I think that the significant aspect of this situation is how rare that a person with a CCL is in this type of predicament.
    Anywhere from six to ten million people with CCL’s, yet the incidence of criminal mis-use of their weapons is still a fraction of a percent.
    This why CC cotinues to grow, the vast majority of law abiding citizens can be trusted to use good judgement in using their weapons.
    Which, of course, the anti-gun faction won’t ever publically acknowledge.

    • Sure Thomas keep believing those incredibly bogus numbers.

      Use some common sense, man. Given the minimal requirements for concealed carry in many places, they are no better than gun owners at large. And gunowners at large are no better than the citizenry they are part of. People have problems in many cases which make them unfit even though they qualify.

      • The people who commit violent crimes are a very small and identifiable percentage of the citizenry at large. The citizenry at large is very non-violent, and gun owners tend to belong to those subsets who are even more law abiding than then general citizenry.

        The reason CCW carriers have such a low crime rate is because the vetting process forbids those of the relatively small subset of violent criminals from obtaining a CCW permit.

      • Mike, Mike, Mike, the numbers I refer to are those reported by the states as to the number of people licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
        Then there is the number of people reported who lost there license as to some criminal act, which add up to a fraction of a percent of all those legally carrying a weapon.
        Facts as reported by the police and the FBI trump what you anti-gun people call “common sense”. I would say what you have as “common sense” is actually called delusion, denial and just plain irrational beliefs, example, “lets put up a no gun sign on the side of a building, that will keep all those homicidal maniacs out” LoL, that’s what I call delusional, in denial and just plain crazy!

      • Please explain to me why so few CCW holders get charged with crimes? Is that also some kind of conspiracy?

    • I explicitly agree with you one this point: nearly every legal CC person will use good judgment and act in a safe, reasonable manner. But this is the type of incident that makes those who have qualms about people carrying firearms worried (and this group is not made up of just anti-gun people). A sceptic looks in and sees that a kid was shot and killed by, at the very best, was an overly active neighborhood watch member–and many of these people believe that he is being given a pass by the police. When there are hysterical calls that the streets will run red if Stand Your Ground laws are passed, this is an incident that people will point to as proof.

  26. Just an update: the Sanford PD wrapped up its investigation Monday, and the case was sent to the prosecutor’s office late Monday or Tuesday for a determination if charges will be filed.

    Also, the Miami Herald reported that Zimmerman was carrying a “black Kel Tek [sic] 9mm semi-automatic pistol.” That’s the first mention I’ve seen anywhere about what he was carrying. Not that it matters, I’m just in a sharing mood.

    • Matt, I went to their site and could not find that. Could you provide a link to that. I am interested in knowing why this would not have been made public much earlier.

      • The Kel Tec thing? It’s in this story, about 3/4 down the page.

        They also mention that it was sent to the State Attorney Office Monday; I’ve seen other stories that said Tuesday. Either way, it’s there now.

  27. Two lives ruined (the worst for the kid), unless the kid said something like “I will kill you!” or tried to take the gun from the guy, how can this be justified?

  28. reposted from commenter on reddit named jlbraun (he sums it up best):

    “”As a gun owner, you have to be cool-headed, moreso than the police ever have to be.
    And you do not ever run around pretending to be the police while carrying a gun because then shit like this can happen.
    You do not start shit, act aggressively, flip the bird, roll your eyes, talk shit, or even raise your voice. To anyone. Ever.
    A combat instructor (who happened to be Buddhist and a Marine) once said to me: “From now on, when dealing with (ed.) crazy / possibly violent people, you will lose every argument. You are always wrong. You are sorry for impinging on their day. You will apologize and apologize again. You will back the fuck down. You will put your tail between your legs. You will let them talk shit about your ladyfriend. You will let them call your mother a bitch and a whore and your dad a bastard. You have no ego. ”
    “You do all this because if you are the one to start a fight, by default that fight now has a gun in it, and if you start losing, you’re going to pull it and kill him. And even if you don’t go to jail because you could convince the jury that it was self-defense, you’re going to have to live with the fact that you could have saved someone’s life and yet you let your ego kill someone.”
    “You are not the police, so don’t act like them. Though all of you [civilians] are better shots than the police, you do not have the training, the continuum of force policy, or a union plus free lawyers protecting you if you screw up.”
    ed: He also said: “but after backing down and trying to apologize, if at any time you then feel your life or that of a loved one is in danger, put three rounds into his [cardiothoracic] vault, call the police, give a statement, go home, and sleep like a baby. You did all you could for your attacker, and he was the one that made the final decision to kill himself.””

    • I am awestruck by your post. I too am a gun owner and it is a heavy responsibility not to be taken lightly I often do not carry my gun I dont feel the need to walk around with it I am not gonna let me ego get in the way of the responsibility of taking someones life.

  29. Pretty messed up, whatever the case.

    My opinion is that the operative word here is “watch”, as in “neighborhood watch”. A person in Zimmerman’s position should not be challenging a potential criminal unless the subject is actually engaged in violence against someone, or actually breaking and entering a known inhabited dwelling. “Watching” means observing, not engaging, to wit, “The 911 dispatcher sent out a call to a patrol car and advised Zimmerman not to confront the suspect.”

    From the facts reported in this piece, I can see no reason for Zimmerman to have engaged this guy – he’s not a cop, and has no sworn duty nor authority to investigate and/or effect an arrest.

    What is evident, at least to me, is that the neighborhood screwed up in appointing this guy as a watch captain. Hindsight is 20-20, however…..

  30. More information from the Zimmerman side:

    by andyinga March 13, 2012 3:22 PM EDT
    This is not the real story. George called 911 to report a suspicious person. As he got off the phone the kid attacked him and started beating the crap out of him and slamming his head against the walkway. All the while saying “you’re gunna die tonight motherfxxxxx” George was screaming help when someone in a nearby apartment called 911 again. George’s shirt came up while the kid was beating him, revealing the gun that he is licensed to carry. The kid went for the gun and they struggled for it, George ended up shooting the kid and saving his own life. All these people on yahoo saying that he should be in jail when they don’t even know what happened. George is the brother-in-law of one of our good family friends, works with my parents, and is one of the nicest most gentle people you will ever meet. He’s completely devastated that this happened and has barely been functional from the guilt. No one shoots someone for no reason, and especially not George. And they need to stop pulling the race card, George is hispanic, not white.

    • Yeah, I read that on Facebook too.

      There’s not enough salt in the ocean for me to take a story from Facebook as anything approaching fact.

    • I call bulshit on this all the way. If anything it was the other way around.Trayvon had every right to DEFEND HIMSELF from Zimerrman. this kid just comes and attacks him out of nowhere BS. in the 911 he is in his car he states these people always get away. that means he was following him.he was told not to he then proceeded to follow him what freakin business is it of his to follow someone who is just walking and not commiting a crime and with a weapon no less this kid was unarmed was half Zimmermans fat ass weight and was being stalked and then confronted by this egotistical maniac. He is not a cop again not his business police were on the way and the kid was not commiting a crime and even if he was he is not a law enforcement officer he is supposed to watch and report and let the professionals handle it he had no training on how to handle situations or people he had no right or business to do anything but report what he saw thats why we have police lets say this kid did get into it with him lets see he watches follows gets out of his vehicle even when he knows and was told police were on the way and he still decided to go follow the kid Trayvon saw this creepy guy following him who could have been a pedophile a abducter a MURDERER which he turned out to be all of this with the kid fearing for his life if it was me i would have fought like hell fought for my life and defended myself against some jackhole who just made up this story to keep his ass out of jail!

      • It is very hard to make up a story that is consistant with the physical evidence, after the fact.

        All this happened quite quickly, with the police there in minutes.

        The thought that Zimmerman could fit his story into precisely agreeing with the physical evidence on the ground so rapidly is beyond believable.

        This fits exactly into what the police have been saying, that the investigation found that the self defense story was consistant with their investigation.

        It is not unheard of for young men under stress to attack someone, essentially unprovoked. Many people have had it happen to them, because they looked at someone or “disrespected” them.

        • its not hard for anyone to lie and yes im not scared to admit it in public or anywhere else.Ive done it to save my ass or more like made myself look in a better light. dont act like there are some self righteous people here because everyone lies sometimes to save their ass everyone because if you or anyone else says they dont then thats a lie right there.

      • @Letty — Try and use some punctuation and spellcheck if you want anyone to take your posts seriously.

        You seem to have a poor understanding of law enforcement as well as the law in general. Sweeping assumptions and substitution of opinion for fact will quickly get the bullshit flag pulled on you at this website no matter which side you are on.

        • And I guess you are another George Zimmerman thinking becuase i dont use punctuation or spellcheck that im commiting some kind of flaggable offense what are you the fking grammar police! Get a freakin life loser!

        • So you seriously have to resort to name calling? Congrats. Your intelligent arguments are winning me over.

  31. The police have finally released the eight 911 calls related to the case. One is the original from Zimmerman. Seven are from neighbors as the action takes place. I’ll paste in what the paper say, deleting only reportage of comments by people who were not there (on either side of opinion):

    “This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his SUV. He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.

    “These a——-. They always get away,” Zimmerman said on a 911 call.
    Several of the 911 calls made by neighbors describe some sort of scuffle or fight outside, someone yelling for help and a gunshot.

    The case has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, which can decide whether to file charges or present evidence to a grand jury.

    Moments after Zimmerman’s first call, dispatchers were bombarded by seven 911 calls from frantic neighbors describing a fight between two men, screaming and then a gunshot.

    “There is somebody screaming outside,” one female caller said, as an unknown male voice can be heard crying in the background. Then a shot is heard.

    A male caller described a physical altercation between Martin and the shooter.

    “I just heard a shot right behind my house,” The caller said. “They’re wrestling right behind my porch. The guy is yelling ‘Help.’ I’m not going outside.”

    Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern said the department stands by its investigation but welcomes help from any outside agency. FBI agent David Couvertier said the agency has been in contact with Sanford police and is monitoring the case.

    • If Zimmerman broke and ran, he’d run for his vehicle. If the kid broke and ran, he’d head away from the vehicle. Zimmerman seems to have pursued the kid from the sidewalk. I don’t see any ambiguity on the surface of these facts. Zimmerman had no right to pursue. Further investigation will clarify this appearance one way or the other.

      • Something does seem fishy and Zimmerman should have stayed with his vehicle. So the question is whether there is any truth he was dragged from it? Only Zimmerman and the deceased know that fact. Hopefully the investigation will provide more facts.

        • Fact one Zimmerman calls 911 says a guy is suspiscious but not stating any reason except for him looking around. Fact 2 Zimmerman when asked if he was black hispanic or white answers he THINKS hes black Fact 3 when asked what he was wearing could not even describe him correctly he says dark hoody then he says gray then he says he THINKS he has sweatpants or jeans he doesnt know. fact three he says he looks like hes on drugs but in order to look like you are on drugs you have to see his face which he admitedly says he couldnt see becasue he didnt even know if he was black he can see he is supposedly on drugs but he cant see his face fact 3 he says he sees something in his waistband but still cant describe what pants hes weraing or what race he is fact 3 he says that hes coming toward me but he contradicts himself when the dispatcher asks if hes following him and he says yes he says these assholes always get away proving he was in fact following him you here him exit his vehicle while hes talking fact4 he says hes running AWAY from him so in order for Zimmerman to catch up to him he had to run after him at this point his vehicle is by the curb and Martin is down a sidewalk fleeing from him. he had no right to persue and engage him under any law or circumstance he had no legal right to chase someone down and when he gets his ass served to him the fckin coward pulls a gun you CAN NOT I repeat CAN NOT run after someone shoot them down and claim self defense period end of story!

        • You don’t know that is what happened anymore than the rest of us. If that is what happened, then the physical evidence should support it. In certain circumstances you can actually shoot a fleeing felon (Tenn v Garner). Please get your facts straight.

        • Hello what state are we in? That law does not apply here and from what i know it was for dangerous subjects and trying to prevent their escape by law enforcement this does not apply at all so get your facts straight before you go quoting case law.

        • TN v Garner is a FEDERAL case. That means it applies at the state level.

          Again your fundamental understanding of law is lacking. You said that one cannot run after someone and shoot him “period.” I’m just again showing you why you are wrong.

        • This DOES NOT apply to this again I repeat this does not apply it is for law enforcement in regrds to someone who poses danger. Running away from someoen while not commiting a crime and the shooter not being law enforcement DOES NOT apply. Wah Wah Big fail try again!

        • I dont give a god damed what the leo says i do not have faith in any system because they all make mistakes and can be corrupt. I know what I know and Zimmerman= Murderer he murdered that child. May he rot in his own hell. How many people are for Zimmerman and how many gainst him. The petition for this boy has reached almost 300k strong. Why dont you start a position in his defense and see how many people you get. Since this law has been enacted shootings under this law has trippled.

      • Kid was wearing a hoodie… they usually go over the waistband… think about the last time you wore one in chilly weather.. You tend to shove your hands into the front pocket while walking. Maybe thats what he meant by waistband… Either way, its all adding up to a big stretch to consider the kid suspicious in the first place.

        • Not just that if you think about if you ever put a bottle of anything or a can of anything in your hoodie pockets it weighs it down substantially so it would come down way past the waist. Waistband who even uses those terms. Sounds so wannabe cop talk. He was setting this up just in case he intervened and there was a problem that there was a scenario already established. I at one point in my life when I was younger immature adolescent I was exactly like Zimmerman I know his personality and how he thinks. I didnt want anyone in my neighborhood like it was mine and i wasnt gonna let anyone mess with it like it was my territory if i didnt know u i suspected i watched i followed shit i even beat this kid with a dog chain one time because he was trying to rob someone. I even took the test for the NYPD and passed with a 97 but my parents were so against it they were afraid of me losing my life on the job so i didnt go forward with it. Which probably was the best thing for me. I now own a home a vehicle have my own business and am probbaly less stressed and happier than i wouldve been as a cop.

  32. If he is within his right and he is not wrong then let him walk the streets proclaiming he had every justifiable right to do what he did he was just protecting himself. He is in hiding like the coward that he is. He was a coward then and still remains a coward. I know this about myself if I did no wrong I am and have walked around without giving a shit what anyone things I dont go into hiding. I grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in new york and i had 4 people try and jump me in my own neighborhood. I defended myself against 4 people and I was arrested for it. I was released ror and saw these people all the time. I wasnt a coward i wasnt afraid. I was vindicated the judged dismissed the case once one of the other parties admitted to coming after me with a weapon. By the way I was trying to get away from them because i knew they were going to try and harm me because they were following me. So come out Zimmerman whereever you are ans show that you were in the right.

    • That’s what we are all waiting for, the investigative report. You seem to think he was in the wrong even though you don’t know what happened. We have what Zimmerman posted and what you assume is the worst case scenario. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

      Your tough guy attitude doesn’t really add any credibility to your statements. In fact you have so far:

      1. Limited knowledge of the legal process
      2. No clue of FL state statutes
      3. Zero concept of law enforcement procedure
      4. You are willing and find it easy to lie to make yourself look better

      Anything you say seems pretty easy to discredit at this point. There are quite a few people who post and read this forum who work in the legal and law enforcement profession so pretending that you know when you don’t will only make you look like a troll.

      • 1. First I have an extensive knowledge and am very well versed in the legal process
        2. Everyone knows the Florida Statutes they are all listed on the internet just like you get them. I actually get mine from law books sometimes
        3. Law enforcement procedures are not without flaws and are not failsafe especially when human beings make soo many mistakes and just because you are a LEO doesnt mean you are infallible and dont commit errors or mistakes
        4. I never said I was willing or find it easy to lie to make myself look better you are misquoting me so do me a favor and read it again. Dont play some self righteous crap on me like you are better than anybody else. Have you ever lied. What was that? Yes, but, but,so then you are a liar right? Come on. Trying to discredit me because you are on the losing end of an argument. Your actions remind me of that coward Zimmerman he was getting the ass whooping of his life and was too pussy to use his hands he brought a gun to a fistfight hmm. and Im whipping your ass with my words. Your gonna have to do better than just calling me a liar because if thats all you got then you lost buddy better luck next time!

        Anything you say seems pretty easy to discredit at this point. There are quite a few people who post and read this forum who work in the legal and law enforcement profession so pretending that you know when you don’t will only make you look like a troll.

        • Look, others have also posted corrections to your misunderstanding of FL state statutes as well. No one called you a liar except yourself.

          While it’s been fun, I’m done feeding the troll. Anyone else want a stab?

    • I will quote it for you since you don’t quite know how to comprehend the website:

      Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer.

      Sponsored by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Neighborhood Watch can trace its roots back to the days of colonial settlements, when night watchmen patrolled the streets. The modern version of Neighborhood Watch was developed in 1972 as a response to requests from sheriffs and police chiefs who were looking for a crime prevention program that would involve citizens and address an increasing number of burglaries.

      If you would like to start a Neighborhood Watch in your community please contact Wendy Dorival at 407.688.5070 ext. 6008. You can also click on the Neighborhood Watch link above to get more information on how to start a Neighborhood Watch. ”

      • You are quite laughable. Copying and pasting from the internet and The Sanford PD website is just sad. I will tell you for the last time because you seem to be SPECIAL that there is no program for the HOA I repeat there is NO crime prevention program in place for the HOA, Its all nice that you can read and the Sanford PD puts that on their website, but did you actually call to confirm if there is a supervised program for this HOA. What was that NO, I didnt think so becasue if you did call and not just copy and pasted something from their website you would have found out that they have NO let me say No again just in case you missed it here we go again NO PROGRAM IN EFFECT FOR THE HOA NONE NADA ZILCH NO you would be better informed if you stopped trying to discredit me and actually not be so lazy by copying stuff off the internet. You remind me of the Sanford PD because you dont actually investigate you take the words off the internet and believe them to be true.

      • “If he was attacked, he can stand his ground,” said retired Miami-Dade prosecutor David Waksman, who is not involved in the case. “But if police say back off and we’ll take care of it, he’s not covered by the law.”
        Last month, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch denied the immunity claim of a Florida International University student who fatally stabbed an unarmed football player during a brawl.

        The law “does not justify the use of deadly force in response to threats or shows of force of any and ever kind. In ordinary circumstances a push or a slap may be met with a push or a slap, or perhaps a punch — but not with a bullet,” Hirsch said.

        Police took Zimmerman’s statement and he was subsequently allowed to return home. He was never tested for drugs or alcohol, a standard procedure following shooting incidents. ABC News also reported Zimmerman was not registered on any neighborhood watch lists, something Sanford Police were unaware of at the time of questioning.

        According to Chris Tutko, the director of the National Neighborhood Watch Program, there are about 22,000 registered watch groups nationwide, and Zimmerman was not part of a registered group — another fact the police were not aware of at the time of the incident

  33. Time to remove this post – the case is getting clearer. Police recordings apparently say that Mr. Zimmerman LEFT HIS CAR to pursue this guy. Hard to say that you were shooting in self-defence when you pursue a kid with Skittles. Zimmerman has a previous criminal record and isn’t the right poster boy for a media criticism moment…

    As an owner of multiple guns, please, please take this post down. It makes gun owners look like assholes. Too much of us are already. Let’s not give more ammunition to the “other side”.

    • That he may turn out to be guilty of something does not negate the point of the initial post, which was “don’t rush to judgement; wait for the investigation.” This is in counterpoint to those who would have strung Zimmerman up by his heels within the first 24 hours, based on nothing but opinion and conjecture. Innocent until proven guilty is still the law of the land.

      • Matt, puh-lease. Calling for an arrest is NOT a rush to judgment. In most places in the United States, someone will be arrested immediately after shooting someone, whether lawfully or not. I’m not saying he should be in jail for life or he deserves to be beat up by the cops.

        The facts so far suggest that he picked a fight with an UNARMED 17 year old kid with a bag of candy, and then shot him with a pistol. This is the kind of guy we do NOT want in the gun community – the neighborhood watch mall ninja, with a criminal record, who PURSUES teenagers. Jesus Christ, people. Exactly why are we not arresting him? The pursuit alone indicates something is wrong with Zimmerman, and he should be taken into custody.

        If the shooter were a poor black guy with a criminal record, and the victim were a pretty, educated white woman, I have a hard time believing that most people who say “wait for the investigation” would maintain that position.

        As I type this, I have 15 rounds of 9mm at the four o’clock position on my hip, so don’t think that I’m some anti-gun lunatic. I’m just really saddened that people would defend this – it makes the gun community, which already has more than its fair share of assholes, look even more assholish.

        • “In most places in the United States, someone will be arrested immediately after shooting someone, whether lawfully or not. “

          Those places are not Florida. Zimmerman is still walking free as of this writing because that’s how the law is written in Florida. Please see my post from 5 days ago here for the relevant law. I understand there’s a lot going on in this post, so you may have missed it.

          The original point of this post, as I read it, was that some people (including the press) were demanding Zimmerman’s immediate arrest, and some minority of them were attempting to play the race card to inflame their rhetoric and reinforce their desires. We did not know, at the time, what happened, and despite the release of 911 tapes, it’s still pretty murky. The fact that he may end up being charged and even convicted of something does not negate the initial post about rushing to judgement. It’s in the hands of the prosecutors, and as of this writing, a manslaughter charge seems a very real possibility. Until then, he’s free because the initial evidence did not immediately run counter to his claim of self-defense, and state law says that in those circumstances an immediate arrest, just because there was a shooting, is not permitted.

        • “If he was attacked, he can stand his ground,” said retired Miami-Dade prosecutor David Waksman, who is not involved in the case. “But if police say back off and we’ll take care of it, he’s not covered by the law.”
          Last month, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch denied the immunity claim of a Florida International University student who fatally stabbed an unarmed football player during a brawl.

          The law “does not justify the use of deadly force in response to threats or shows of force of any and ever kind. In ordinary circumstances a push or a slap may be met with a push or a slap, or perhaps a punch — but not with a bullet,” Hirsch said

        • Police took Zimmerman’s statement and he was subsequently allowed to return home. He was never tested for drugs or alcohol, a standard procedure following shooting incidents. ABC News also reported Zimmerman was not registered on any neighborhood watch lists, something Sanford Police were unaware of at the time of questioning.

        • According to Chris Tutko, the director of the National Neighborhood Watch Program, there are about 22,000 registered watch groups nationwide, and Zimmerman was not part of a registered group — another fact the police were not aware of at the time of the incident

        • Matt, fair enough. If that’s the law, then that’s the law. I think that the firearms community needs to rally behind this case and get the law CHANGED. There are now reports that Zimmerman would go around and warn people of black males. I’m all for a fair trial, but this one sounds like Zimmerman was a guy who wanted to be a local hero in the wrong kind of way. Anyone who KILLS someone else should immediately be at least tested for drugs and alcohol. I don’t want to live in a state where I can shoot someone, and without any evidence to the contrary, not at least be questioned and tested.

          This guy is NOT the poster child for gun rights, people. Again, I have a 9mm on my hip as I’m typing this.


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