Why George Zimmerman Hasn’t Been Arrested Yet.

“Ignorance and bigotry killed Trayvon Martin. The gun was incidental. Zimmerman would’ve killed him with a pencil if that was all he had.” – Al Stefanelli 

I would imagine right now most of your cockles are raised regarding my above comment about the gun being incidental. My comment should be understood not in the context of the huge epidemic of illegal weapons, but to the effect that because Zimmerman is a licensed, well-trained and legal gun owner, the epidemic of illegal weapons and their availability to all young people – not just minorities – does not come into play here.

The problem in general speaks loudly to the Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in combination with our judicial system operating on an “innocent, until proven guilty” premise. These two facts mean that there is absolutely no getting around the rather unpleasant reality that Mr. Zimmerman is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that in he was within his legal right to shoot that child.

I Am Not Supporting Zimmerman… 

Today’s article focuses on the question of why he has not been arrested yet. This has nothing to do with the police chief being white, or the victim was black. It has nothing to do with the assailant being white or Mexican. Even though it is morally wrong to take another human life and that it repugnant that another black youth’s life ended due to bigotry, Zimmerman has not been arrested because the law will not allow it.

Furthermore, it is highly likely that Mr. Zimmerman will never even be indicted, and enjoy the ability to walk free – albeit with an enhanced awareness of his surroundings.

The way this case is playing out is indicative of a problem that is systemic within our penal code. One that allows for the legality of what happened to that young man without provision for the rights of the victim in any way, shape or form.

Comments… 

An individual had stated to me that my comment about the gun being incidental was a stupid thing to say, maintaining that without the gun, Zimmerman would almost certainly not have confronted someone he felt was “suspicious” and potentially dangerous. This individual stated that the gun undoubtedly enhanced his feeling of entitlement and sense of authority and privilege. He then advised me to research homicide rates in countries with gun control so that I would understand that accessibility to firearms should not be considered incidental in cases like this.

As I had explained, the gun was incidental because the man using it had the mindset that it was OK to kill this person. To think that without the gun Zimmerman wouldn’t have confronted the young man is disingenuous. If one studies violent hate crimes, it is easily understood that gun was only a venue to achieving this task – just as if a knife were used, a bat, an axe handle or even bare fists.

If Zimmerman felt able to carry out this killing, he would do it with anything handy, even his bare hands. This happens in prisons with frequent regularity. Although there would have been less of a chance Zimmerman would have killed Trayvon without the gun, given the fact that Zimmerman’s physical mass is almost entire person heavier than Trayvon, and that Zimmerman has had significant training, it would not have taken much effort for him to effect the same results.

People Kill People… 

And of course the gun enhanced his feeling of entitlement and sense of authority and privilege. I would not suggest otherwise. But this is not case of a thug killing someone with an ill-gotten, illegal handgun. This incident was perpetrated by an individual that was trained and licensed to carry a gun and the gun he was carrying was obtained legally.

This should give everyone pause, because even if Florida had stricter laws regarding the ownership and concealment of firearms, Zimmerman would have been still been given his permits, and he would still have been able to purchase and carry his weapon.

Please understand, I am not trying to justify or stick up for Zimmerman. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What happened was an unnecessary and uncalled for act of violence. But until there is a change in laws that, when used in combination, allow something like this to happen, people like Zimmerman will have the legal right to shoot and kill an unarmed person who is walking in their own neighborhood, carrying nothing but an iced tea and a snack.

I am horrified at the death of Trayvon, and as a parent I cannot even fathom what this family is going through. However, the mob-rule mentality that is taking hold in this country, particularly the New Black Panthers offering of a $10,000.00 bounty for the capture of Zimmerman, is extremely worrisome.

The Core… 

Unless new evidence is presented that shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that he broke the law, there is no precedent for law enforcement to charge Zimmerman with a crime. This is the core of the problem, and this is the issue that must be addressed. The stark reality is that under the law, his gun was legal, and the “stand your ground” law gave him the right to shoot Treyvon. I consider this legalized murder.

I understand the need for all the vigils, marches, protests and rallies. I hope some of that energy will be focused on changing the core of the problem – the elimination of the law that allows actions that are not “self defense,” but a personalized version of the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strike.

The only way future incidents like this can be deterred is with the threat of penalty of criminal law. This needs to be addressed on the legislative level. The “stand your ground” law needs to be repealed or the next person who thinks that maybe, perhaps, their life could possibly be sort of in danger from someone who they have already judged as a potential threat will feel completely justified in killing them.

My condolences to the family…

  94 comments for “Why George Zimmerman Hasn’t Been Arrested Yet.

  1. March 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Regrettably, I have to agree with Al Stefanelli about the legalized murder of Trayvon Martin. This “Stand Your Ground” nonsense is a law looking for victims. Zimmerman will not be arrested for the simple reason that he did what the law allows, and apparently there is no eyewitness to dispute his version of events. Disgusting.

    • March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Disgusting, indeed, Allan.

    • Thorne
      March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I agree, he is legally not at fault because of a stupid, ill-conceived law. What intrigues me, however, is whether or not Mr. Zimmerman now feels safer while walking the streets. If it were me, I wouldn’t. That same law allows someone to shoot HIM as a potential threat. And the threat would be real!

      Mr. Zimmerman should be feeling very nervous right now. NOT a good situation for a man with a gun.

      • March 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

        Mr. Zimmerman should be feeling very nervous right now. NOT a good situation for a man with a gun

        A very accurate assessment, indeed, Thorne

        • Norman Lycan
          March 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm

          Mr. Steffani,

          You said:

          “that it repugnant that another black youth’s life ended due to bigotry, Zimmerman has not been arrested because the law will not allow it.”

          It does not surprise me at all, that discussion among atheists renders a conclusion before the facts have been thoroughly investigated. It seems to be a general mindset. To believe the universe is an accident, even though there is as much evidence to call it to question, as there is to support it. But, rather than take a pragmatic approach, you have stated that this case speaks to gun laws, and the rights of homeowners to defend themselves. All you know about this incident is what investigative journalists have scrounged. Bits and pieces, and while more comes in every day, you have already made up your mind. That’s atheism, but it’s not skepticism or freethought.

          When this investigation is over, and the police never tested Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol, I suspect the big hammer will come down on them. Unrecoverable evidence. But, we’ll see.

          Cop on black crime happens every day. It’s sick. It needs to be terminated. But, believing in a reality before it is proven is religion, I don’t go there, and no one else should either.

          NL

          • RH
            March 30, 2012 at 7:18 am

            Who here is talking about “and the rights of homeowners to defend themselves”?
            And we have a lot of facts in this case and questioning the wording of or existence of the ‘stand your ground’ law is hardly limited to atheist here or anywhere else.
            A law which in no way effects homeowners (or renters) defending themselves.

          • RH
            March 31, 2012 at 7:54 am

            But, believing in a reality before it is proven is religion, I don’t go there, and no one else should either.

            I noticed again while deleting emails this morning.
            My issue is that 1. Your statement is wrong and 2. I argue we have adequate evidence regarding race playing a role.

            1. The definition of religion is not ‘believing in a reality before it is proven’ That is close but it isn’t correct. For example when I am driving down the road and there is a hill, I believe the road continues on on the other side. I could be wrong but I proceed on a reasonable assumption that the road continues. Sometimes there is a washout or ditch or whatever. The difference is I am willing to question my belief. It is not one I will say it is impossible to be wrong about, etc.

            2. When we talk about race being a factor, we have a long history of 911 calls to look at that certainly appear to have a racist leaning and are obviously a bit paranoid.
            And we have the actual 911 tape which shows Zimmerman was expressing race based bias and paranoia feeding that bias at the time. There is good reason to infer until unless contraindicating evidence appears that the road continues over the hill, and that without racism there would not have bee a killing, and that the aftermath would most likely have been handled differently.

            Either way many of us are talking about the Stand Your Ground law being rubbish. That is a point of view with a lot of logical support and is hardly isolated to the atheist community.

  2. March 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Seems like only though reasoned thought can rational change be implemented. Emotion has no place in this process, keep it at the vigils and rallies to raise public awareness. The public will be thankful later, that it was kept away from decision making.

  3. unbound
    March 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Actually…I agree.

    The core of the issue is the horrifying law that let the murder take place by virtue of policy in lieu of having an investigation make the determination of whether there actually was an act of self-defense. Your phrase of “legalized murder” is very apt.

    • Randy
      March 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

      My only concern is now there maybe a white backlash against the President, and it will permit one of the Republican wack jobs to be elected.

      • josh
        March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        I wouldn’t worry too much about this. At least, I wouldn’t worry any more because of this incident. There is already a backlash against this president, driven partly by a segment of the white population who view him as a racial/religious outsider. But a lot of that is just icing because those same people would already hate him just for being the democratic candidate. A mildly supportive comment from the president about the victim of a racially tinged tragedy might throw those same people into paroxyisms, but they’ve already been frothing for years. I can’t see it affecting voting patterns.

  4. RW Ahrens
    March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I think that the focus on this self defense law is disingenuous itself. It is a legal foil used by the authorities in Sanford to excuse why they haven’t arrested him.

    I say that because it is clear that the dispatcher speaking to Zimmerman on the phone instructed him not to follow Martin and to stay in the car.

    Legally, as soon as Zimmerman left the car, HE became the aggressor, with intent to apprehend, if not specifically to harm, and the fact that he was armed, in spite of a Florida prohibition against Watch members being armed, places some doubt as to his intent.

    His statement, on the 911 tape, to the affect that he couldn’t let one of “these people” get away again(or something to that affect), is telling as to his intent.

    He was wearing nothing to advertise his role as a Watch patrol, and it is not clear when he confronted Martin if he so identified himself as such.

    Besides, it is not the role of Neighborhood Watch to be cops – their role is to Watch (hence the name) and report. He did that, and was assured that a patrol car was on its way, thus ending his legal role in the affair, unless the cops required his ID of an apprehended suspect.

    It is possible that the cops on the beat may not have seen an immediate requirement to arrest, due to this law, but on further examination, the DA’s office sure as hell should have.

    • March 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      THIS.

      Zimmerman STALKED this kid through the neighborhood, HUNTED HIM DOWN, and KILLED HIM IN COLD BLOOD.

      That is NOT “standing your ground”.

      • March 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        And that is exactly what is in contention here. As someone else had aptly pointed out, there are only two credible witnesses and one of them is dead. Under this law, Zimmerman will likely not be indicted. It’s tantamount to legal murder.

        • RW Ahrens
          March 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

          But there ARE other witnesses, and there’s the 911 tape. There is the fact that he left his car, against the advice of the dispatcher, ARMED (against the rules for Watch patrols), Martin’s girlfriend’s testimony that he was being chased and was afraid.

          Now, as of last night, we know that the lead investigator in the case wanted to charge him with manslaughter, but was ordered not to by the DA.

          There’s plenty of evidence to charge the man, and probably enough to convict. Else, why would the good ole boy network be trying so hard to prevent it?

          • March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

            Of course there are witnesses. Please try to remember that I am not sticking up for Zimmerman. Not at all. The question was posed to me as to why he was not arrested yet. I reason I answered this accurately.

        • Tang
          March 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

          There are at least three other witnesses. Two of them saw Martin attacking Zimmerman while the third witness said that there was no fight.

          At least one of the witnesses for Zimmerman spoke to police on the night of the shooting:
          http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/state/witness-martin-attacked-zimmerman-03232012

          Another witness was a teenage boy walking his dog:
          http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-15/news/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-zimmerman-letter-20120315_1_robert-zimmerman-letter-unarmed-black-teenager?pagewanted=all

          The third witness says there was no fight and that Zimmerman gunned down Martin in cold blood with no warning. This is the dominant news narrative, but it conflicts with the report of physical evidence of a fight.
          http://www.wftv.com/news/news/witness-sanford-police-blew-us-teen-slaying/nLSqk/

          The Stand Your Ground law is a red herring. If Zimmerman is telling the truth about leaving Martin alone and then being jumped by him, it was lawful for him to fight back against Martin regardless. If he attacked Martin, the law does not apply.

          • March 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm

            You cannot imagine how happy I am that these reports and accounts are coming to light. The more people that come forward, even with small details, the better. I hope even more people come forward, because even what might seem insignificant to a private citizen can prove to be very pertinent to the case. Thanks, Tang, for the links.

          • RW Ahrens
            March 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

            I will restate my position:

            Once Zimmerman left his truck, HE became the aggressor. Even if Martin jumped him later, Martin was doing so under the impression that he, Martin, was in danger from Zimmerman, who was stalking him, even to the point of chasing him at a run.

            Either way, the Stand Your Ground law doesn’t apply in this case, because Zimmerman was stalking Martin, and I doubt that a true reading of that law by a DA is going to allow a stalker to pass muster, unless it is a white man that shot a black one. In today’s sharply tense atmosphere, I doubt such a conclusion is possible.

          • DaveL
            March 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

            Tang,

            I don’t know if you noticed, but not one of the three links you provided substantiates the claim that Martin attacked Zimmerman. At most they establish that at some point in the fight, Martin was on top and Zimmerman was getting the worst of it. That’s not the same thing.

          • RH
            March 30, 2012 at 8:27 am

            “If Zimmerman is telling the truth about leaving Martin alone and then being jumped by him, it was lawful for him to fight back against Martin regardless.”

            That is a big IF and even if true self defense is a proportional defense. Being jumped by someone does not make it legal to kill them.

            Furthermore the footage released shows that the story of Zimmerman getting beat up is on seriously shaky ground.

  5. March 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I agree that the New Black Panthers’ bounty on Zimmerman is both wrong and illegal — but what the fuck did we expect? When one ethnic group commits an act of tribal war on another, and the state refuses to stop or prevent it, then the wronged group WILL respond accordingly: with another act of tribal war.

    The purpose of the state is to stop tribal warfare and feuding, and force everyone to live under a greater, more advanced and humane social order. Florida has failed in this most basic task of governance, and we’re now seeing the inevitable result.

    • josh
      March 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      That more advanced social order includes the concept of due process and innocent until proven guilty. As Al keeps saying, the Stand Your Ground law here is a bad law, but I think the central issue is that we don’t know with legal certainty that Zimmerman didn’t act in self-defense. He followed Martin, which he clearly had no business doing and which obviously sparked any confrontation if there was one, but (to my knowledge) it wasn’t illegal for him to do so. Zimmerman’s claim is that Martin assaulted him, which Martin wouldn’t have the right to do, regardless of what kind of asshole Zimmerman might have been. At that point Zimmerman is acting in self-defense. As I understand it, the Stand Your Ground law codifies that Zimmerman is under no obligation to retreat if he has a right to be there. (A public street.) If Zimmerman was attacked then he has a case for self-defense, and even without the SYG law the question becomes: did he have the opportunity or make an effort to retreat from combat? Did he reasonably believe his life was in danger, etc. If there are no witnesses or evidence that contradicts Zimmerman’s version of events, specifically who initiated the fight and how it played out, then it can’t be proved that he committed murder.

      Of course, he could be lying and maybe sufficient witnesses have been or will be found to contradict him.

      • EoRaptor
        March 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        There’s a problem with this analysis. Given what we know about the circumstances: Zimmerman, in his truck, following the boy on foot, getting out of the truck, and approaching the boy; Trayvon likely had the right to defend himself against a perceived bigoted attacker. It seems to me, in the end, that Zimmerman gave up whatever protection the law offers when he chose to pursue and confront Trayvon.

        Keep in mind that the “Stand Your Ground” law, while poorly crafted, nevertheless was a response to a real problem; that of the victims of crime having to pay for injuries to criminals because a post-hoc analysis by people who weren’t there and weren’t facing the threat of imminent bodily harm, concludes that there was some means for the victim to “retreat.”

        • March 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm

          Given what we know…

          Therein lies the problem, EO. What do we know? What does the public know that we haven’t gotten from the media? What mitigating circumstances are we not aware of? Was it illegal for Zimmerman to follow the boy? Was it illegal for him to get out of the truck? Was it illegal for him to approach him? What if Zimmerman was an evangelist trying to get the attention of this boy for the purposes of telling him about Jebus? The point is that we don’t know what other circumstances were surrounding this incident, and it is not illegal for someone to follow someone, or even to approach them. This is the issue behind the claims that he was stalking, which is very specific offense with very specific parameters that do not come into play in this situation.

          If it had, indeed, gone the other way and Trayvon invoked his right to self defense and shot Zimmerman, would we even be having this conversation? The point I am trying to make here is that the colletive outrage of the general population on any given issue that has social overtones or even what appears like blatant racism is usually vastly different from the information that is in the possession of law enforcement and the district attorneys.

          We can speculate all we want, and we probably should. But it does not change the fact that under Florida’s SYG law, as it is being interpreted, the lack of enough evidence for probable cause and the Jurisprudence of being innocent until proven guilty, I do not reason that the law allowed him to be arrested. As well, if they did arrest him, even the worst court appointed lawyer would have him out of jail in a matter of hours and probably give his attorney plenty of grounds for charging law enforcement with an improper arrest. This could severely damange the prosecution’s case.

          We must be patient…

          • EoRaptor
            March 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

            Not sure how to link so here’s the URL to the SYG law:

            http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html

            I encourage everyone to read the statute. Given what we DO know about this case: Zimmerman was not in his home, Trayvon had a right to be where he was, nobody — at any point — has claimed that there was, or might have been a “forcible felony” prior to Zimmerman confronting Trayvon; one can only conclude that Zimmerman should have been arrested.

            Also, how law enforcement “interprets” the SYG law, is something of a red-herring. The judicial branch is charged with interpreting laws. I’d have to do the research to see what the courts have said about this law, so I can’t say anything authoritative about that. Nevertheless, it will be a perversion of justice if there is never a finding of facts and a conclusion of law in this case.

          • Norman Lycan
            March 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm

            A funny thing happened on my way to this comment. You blocked the comments to my post where I said we should wait and see what the evidence is.

            Yet, then you say, “We must be patient…” Pretending that is your idea. Yet, the threadhead reads, “that it repugnant that another black youth’s life ended due to bigotry”. Please explain. Of course, this is your website, and you are free to operate it in any way you wish, you can go neo-nazi, it’s your page, but several of your recent articles have been based on my comments, and I consider that a good thing, but, I think it is in poor taste to take my ideas and make them your own, while blocking the thread I started.

            I am sitting here at my computer trying to figure out how freethinkers can win the world. We are fucked up humans, and there is no easy solution, maybe there is no solution at all, but, as I plunge headlong towards death, it seems a worthy idea. If I cannot form an argument that convinces atheists to free themselves from their religion, what hope is there for the rest of the world?

            You may not understand this, but, I am your friend. Do you remember the free speech thread, I stood by you, because you were correct. Give politicians the right to decide who is the voice of dischord or desent, and freethinkers will be the next convenient targets on the list.

            So, I ask you please, don’t ever do that to me again. Next time, you’ll have to find someone else to steal ideas from.

            NL

        • josh
          March 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm

          EoRaptor,
          I’m not sure where you get that Trayvon had a right to “defend himself against a perceived bigoted attacker.” IANAL, but whether or not Martin perceived Zimmerman to be a bigot, he can’t take a swing at him just based on that. There would need to be some credible threat of attack for Martin to act in self-defense (if he threw any punches), and, so far as I’ve seen, we just don’t know if there was any such threat.

          Someone linked to a few reports from witnesses elsewhere on this thread. The only eyewitness did not see the shooting itself, but apparently claims he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, before the shot was fired. There is also some evidence to support this: blood on the back of Zimmerman’s head and grass-stains on the back of his shirt.

          Legally, I’m not sure at what point you can draw a gun in a fist fight, but this would all be consistent with Zimmerman’s story that he was attacked first (from behind). We don’t know that that is true, but we don’t know enough to say that he didn’t act legitimately in firing in self-defense. At least given the information publicly available so far. I also don’t know whether proper procedure would have been to arrest him on the spot as some have asserted.

  6. March 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I notice the media have suddenly stopped talking about Zimmerman ignoring a police request to stay in his car, and have stopped talking about the inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s story; and are only parroting his claims of “self-defense.” Whatever is going on here, it’s a lot deeper than one recently-enacted law.

  7. Alexis
    March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    From the reports that I’ve read, it appears that Zimmerman did not “stand his ground” but actively pursued and confronted Martin. Zimmerman’s arrest under this circumstance would be completely justified.

    • March 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      If that were the case, he’d have been arrested already. I know this is a tough pill for everyone, including myself, to swallow. The law needs to be either repealed or modified to read more explicitly. Zimmerman remaining in position or tracking and aggresivly pursuing Treyvon is an issue, indeed. But without corroboration to the latter, Zimmerman cannot be held without probable cause. Until proven otherwise, he did not break any laws and there is not enough evidence to hold him on probabla cause. Morally, yeah, he should be locked up. Legally, though, no. This is why the law needs to be changed, so that murderers don’t get to walk free…

      The police did not tell Zimmerman to leave Treyvon alone. The police dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” when Zimmerman was asked if he was following him. Under Florida law, the police had no jurisdiction to tell Zimmerman not to approcach Treyvon. They couldn’t order him to leave the boy alone even if they wanted to. You see the problem here? It’s the law that allows for murder, and it’s bigotry that justifies it. You cannot pass a law telling someone not to be a bigot, but allowing for a pre-emptive assault is a recipe for this kind of disaster.

      Unfortunately, and as horrible an egregious as it is, it is very likely nothing will happen to Zimmerman, no matter how many people wish it to…

      • lk
        March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

        No. This is simply incorrect. Everyone seems to be forgetting that Zimmerman confessed to shooting Martin, but asserted that he did so “in self defense”–he actually did not assert at the time that he was “standing his ground” (that came later after legal counsel got involved) But, either way, it is irrelevant–both self defense & stand your ground are DEFENSES to be proven–they are not automatic and do not circumvent the probably cause, which clearly existed by virtue of Zimmerman’s confession. Remember, probable cause is a pretty low standard & a confession is a pretty big item of evidence. It is ridiculous to say that he should not have been arrested. Everyone seems to forget that “arrested” does not equal “convicted” or “guilty”–it just means arrested. It means that a judge can decide if Zimmerman should be released ROR, bail or bond. Right now, Zimmerman is free to do whatever he wants and to GO wherever he wants, because without the arrest, he is under no obligation to anyone.

      • March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

        If that were the case, he’d have been arrested already. I know this is a tough pill for everyone, including myself, to swallow.

        Sorry Al but this is the definition of begging the question.

        You’re presuming that the right outcome occurred because it was the outcome. You’re just dead wrong and honestly incredibly racial blind on this one.

        • March 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

          I am presuming a legal outcome, Ing. The right outcome would be the immediate arrest and incarceration without bail for Zimmerman. That would be the right thing. Racially blind? Really, you are going there with me? Seriously, the fact that this is a racial incident should be obvious enough that having to point it out is kinda redundant. It’s a given, I reason.

          • RW Ahrens
            March 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm

            Which, given the fact that the cops failed to answer the phone which Martin’s father repeatedly tried to call, and left him in the morgue for THREE DAYS before identifying him shows pretty conclusively that it WAS race that contributed to this outcome, and not a factor of a lack of evidence – I repeat that it has come out that the senior investigator has come out to say that he had wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, but was prevented from doing so by higher authority.

            Sounds like at least ONE cop saw probable cause!

    • 'Tis Himself, OM
      March 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Since there were only two people present at the incident and one of them is dead, Zimmerman’s story will be hard to disprove. It’s quite likely he will literally get away with murder.

      • March 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        Yes, it is, and that fucking infuriates me.

        • Paddy
          March 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

          You, me, and tens of thousands of others, Al. It makes you sick to your stomach.

          The feelings of frustration and injustice are overwhelming.

  8. Qwetzaqwetal
    March 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    While I agree that ignorance and bigotry definitely deserve some blame here, I don’t think we can entirely write off the proverbial smoking gun. Would Zimmerman, armed only with a pencil, have left his car to pursue the “dangerous-looking” youth? Or would he have just called the police. Prejudice may be the impetus, but the gun facilitates the unfortunate follow-through.

    The recent shooting in Atlanta, of another black teenager, by another non-policeman (this time a black one, instead of a hispanic one) does leave me thinking that people with guns begin considering themselves the law — judge, jury, and unfortunately executioner.

    • March 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Qwetz, my article today does not address whether or not he WOULD have jumped out of the car with a pencil, nor the proliferation of guns here in the good old US of A. Even so, I was not writing off the proverbial smoking gun. The article today addresses WHY Zimmerman has not been arrested.

      Also, please do not let the term “incidental” be construed as unimportance or irrelevance. There is no argument from me that the gun, as the facillitator, was not a mitigating factor in Zimmerman’s actions. However, I know plenty of people who are smaller and less well-trained than Zimmerman who would leap out of their car, armed only with a pair of fists and two feet.

  9. Peter
    March 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Can someone enlighten me please?
    How is the Florida “stand your ground” law, any different from the “castle” laws in the USA?
    Here in Canada, we actually have no such laws in effect. In fact, many people here who have defended themselves physically after being attacked, found themselves under the critical eye of the police and the justice system.
    We are in the process of changing that, thanks to our new government, to give people an adequate chance of defending themselves from attack, without recrimination from the same judicial system that is supposed to support them.
    I agree that in some cases, the laws can and will be abused. There is no stopping that. These things happen even without such laws in place.
    Now, I doubt that anyone will know what actually happened that night when Zimmerman pulled the trigger. There were only two people involved, and one of them can’t help in the investigation.

    So I guess my ultimate question is; if not this law, or one like it, what IS the solution? People MUST be allowed to defend themselves, their loved ones and their property without fear of prosecution for doing so.
    Right?

    • March 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      People MUST be allowed to defend themselves, their loved ones and their property without fear of prosecution for doing so.

      Yes, they should be allowed to defend themselves. My aversion to the availability of illegal handguns does not mean I do not support the 2nd amendment. This is an issue that I’ve tackled before, Peter, and one that I have not been able to reconcile completely. I wish I had a cut-and-dried answer.

  10. Matthew
    March 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I’m sorry, I disagree with you about the gun commentary. This was not a “hate crime” as defined by state laws and therefor you cannot use a study of “hate crimes” to say that this would have happened with or without a gun. And you can’t even begin to compare the conditions inside of prisons to the conditions of the night of the murder. Prisons foster primal territory based violent interactions which in no way exist on the outside of the bars (this is a major factor in the difficulties that convicts face when returning to the outside world).

    Yes, George Zimmerman felt he had the right to kill Treyvon. The gun facilitated his acting on that feeling. This was not a Hate Crime, this was a Fear Crime. And PERHAPS, if George Zimmerman hadn’t have been wondering if Treyvon might be carrying a gun as he himself was, then PERHAPS Zimmerman might have chosen a different action. Concealed weapons lead to fears that others might have concealed weapons. I don’t understand what pro-gun advocates don’t understand about that!

    In addition, I also disagree with you that this killing has nothing to do with his race. This is a clear example of institutionalized racism in America. Sometime when people hear “institutionalized racism,” they assume that the speaker is saying that the government (in this case) hates black people. That is not what I am saying. The stand your ground law(s) help institutionalize racism because they allow fear to be a legal justification for killing. The fact of the matter is that white people are still afraid of black people, especially black men. This IS EXACTLY about race. It is also about the way in which the law is blind to the racial issues that are still very real in our society.

    Until our laws reflect the fact that racial biases and prejudices exist between citizens, there will be continuing instances of racism. Racism does not necessarily equal Hate. Racism = ignorance. And that is exactly what we see in this case.

    • Matthew
      March 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Just a note here: I do recognize that Zimmerman is hispanic, not white. This doesn’t lessen the idea that there is fear between people of different races, and especially fear of african americans, in any way. If anything, it shows its more complex than just white vs. black.

      • March 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Why do non-hispanics think we don’t see each other as different groups/races? We have a history of European domination just like the Anglo-American countries, and all the racial problems that flow from it.

      • Tsu Dho Nimh
        March 28, 2012 at 11:17 am

        Hispanics are just as racist or not as any other group.

        You see ads in Latin American newspapers specifying that the position must be filled by someone of “Good appearance” … meaning mestizos or mulatos need not apply.

        I was invited to dine at a club in Latin America whose main claim to fame was that all of the members were of “pure Spanish descent” … none of those nasty brown or black people in their family trees. I declined, because I know what color my ancestors were and they weren’t all “ingleses”.

        ================
        I took a very good self-defense course and “stand your ground” is not the same as “follow”. It means to stay put, wherever you are, ready to defend as necessary. Don’t retreat, but don’t attack unless it’s really clear that you need to.

        When Zimmerman decided to follow, he was in pursuit, not standinghis ground. When he decided to give chase … he was definitely not standing his ground, he was on the offensive.

        • March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

          When Zimmerman decided to follow, he was in pursuit, not standinghis ground. When he decided to give chase … he was definitely not standing his ground, he was on the offensive

          Right, and this is what needs to be proven.

          • RW Ahrens
            March 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

            Which is pretty well shown by the 911 tapes! The operator asks him is he is pursuing Martin, and Zimmerman admits he is.

            So, he was in pursuit, and thus actively being the aggressor.

  11. March 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Uh, Al, Zimmerman essentially stalked and killed Trayvon Martin.

    The ONLY reason he hasn’t been arrested is because the cops are either incompetent or racist (possibly both). The police are obviously covering for him.

    • March 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      As I said, Kitty, that is currently a matter of conjecture.

      It doesn’t matter one bit what Zimmerman did “essentaially,” because the law does not cover “essentially” without due process. You are probably 100% correct regarding the stalking, but the operatvie word here is “allegedly,” and since there are only two witnesses, one of them being dead, it is likely that Zimmerman will not be indicted. Unless further compelling evidence is brought to light that is incontrovertable and beyond a reasonable doubt, it is unliley the Prosecutor’s office will move forward.

      The only reason he hasn’t been arrested is because there is no provision in the law that would allow him to be. The cops may very well be incompetent and/or racist. It wouldn’t be the first time. However, the cops have no need to cover for Zimmerman because his ass is covered by Florida law.

  12. March 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Al–I agree with your concept of legalized murder in relation to the “Stand Your Ground Law”. However, in this case, didn’t the 911 operator specifically tell Zimmerman to stop following Treyvon, to walk away from the situation and that a police cruiser was on the way? If those things are true, (I heard them on the radio last week, but have been traveling and am not sure of their validity) then Zimmerman should be held accountable.

    • March 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      When Zimmerman was asked if he was following him, the police dispatcher said,

      “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,”

      Under Florida law, the police had no jurisdiction to tell Zimmerman not to approcach Treyvon. They couldn’t order him to leave the boy alone even if they wanted to.

      • RW Ahrens
        March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

        It may not have been “an order”, but it was a request that Zimmerman was unwise to ignore. It places his actions into the category of aggression. It PROVES that Zimmerman was actively stalking Martin. So your theory of “only two witnesses” goes out the window.

        From the point where Zimmerman left his truck and began to stalk Martin, HE became the aggressor, placing Martin into the position of defender and negating any chance of Zimmerman being able to use the Stand Your Ground law as a defense. One cannot be defending oneself while stalking someone.

        There is a reason why the Florida governor was forced to appoint a special prosecutor to this case, and the fact that we now know the lead investigator was forced to drop his idea of charging Zimmerman with manslaughter is proof that there was something less than salubrious going on that night in the minds of the authorities.

        The supposed lack of evidence is NOT why Zimmerman was not arrested! The Stand Your Ground law is an excuse, a distraction.

        I think we’re going to see some facts about some relationships come to light at some point later in this investigation that will make this a bit clearer.

        • March 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

          Unwise? Hell yeah. I’ll even go as far as saying it was stupid. Zimmerman should have called the police if he found someone to be suspicious and let them handle it. But he didn’t, and his story is that he shot in self defense (as ludicrous as that is). I would also refrain from using the word “stalk,” as it has legal definitions that fit nowhere in this incident. From the appearance of the information that is out now, it would appear that the actions of the DA are suspect.

          My “only two witnesses” is not a “theory.” There were only two people who were completely aware of what happened with respect to action, dialog and reaction. There may have been several people who witnesses actions, and possibly one who heard some dialog, but nobody but Martin and Zimmerman knows exactly what happened because they were the only two involved in the incident. This is inherent in actions that involve two people, and the fact that one is dead, there remains only one left.

          The job of the DA is to gather all testimony, all witness accounts, circumstantial evidence and other pertinent information and build a case to prove that Zimmerman did not act in self defense. A citizen of the United States is innocent until proven guilty, no matter how much any of us (including me) wish otherwise in some cases. Our justice system demands this, even when it completely pisses us off. As far as why he wasn’t arrested, I still maintain that the problem lies within the interpretation of the law – which I suspect is why the DA declined to issue an arrest warrant.

          • March 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            I get what you are saying Al, but am not sure I agree. The police telling Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon may be important here. I am quite willing to let the courts sort that out. If he had followed instructions, we would not be having this conversation. I am not an expert of FL laws, but when the police tell you to stop doing something, and you choose to continue, usually bad things happen…

          • March 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

            One of the best things about being a Freethinker is being able to agree to disagree. One of the most common misconceptions about this case is that so many people think the cops told Zimmerman to stop. Actually, all the dispatcher said was, “We don’t need you to do that.” Perhaps if they were more specific…?

  13. Angela Clements
    March 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Ohhh, Yes Zimmerman DID break the law! He stalked Trayvon when he chose to follow him, to pursue him, then to kill him. This is incredible that people are saying that he can’t be arrested – its ludicrous. He’s obviously NOT a police officer and just because he talks to 911 before killing Trayvon doesn’t excuse or exempt him in any way. Zimmerman has the right to be in the neighborhood and so did Trayvon. Trayvon has the right to move through the neighborhood, committing no crimes, without being stalked. When Zimmerman CHOSE to pursue Trayvon is when he started to violate Trayvon’s civil rights which ended in the ultimate violation of civil rights, which is death. This is much more than a case of racial problems. This is also a generation power struggle where entitled homeowners have veiled themselves with CORPORATIONs called Homeowner’s Associations and Neighborhood Associations in order to persecute the un-entitled “undesirables” who either live in the neighborhood or might pass through the neighborhood. The courts have stood behind these gangs that call themselves Homeowner’s Associations, recognizing them as a quazi-government. In my neighborhood, my family moved in and built a house. The established neighbors didn’t want new people moving in and they used the veil of their Homeowner’s Association to make my family miserable through litigation for years. They are the sort of people who nail a summons on your gate post on Christmas Eve because they know you have kids and want to ruin their Christmas by making the parents all up tight about being sued… Our Sheriff’s department has also bowed to the group because of votes and connections – allowing them to file multiple false police reports against us that have been proven to be false reports but the cops refuse to do anything about it. The curious thing is that these groups always seem to go after children. Its like they are the biggest cowards. And they target families even when others without children are doing the same deeds.

    • March 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      You’re arguments make complete sense a thousand percent. This is the problem, Angela. Because it doesn’t make sense as to why he is not locked up. It’s travesty, an affront to our sense of justice and makes us mad as hell. It is morally ludicruous that Zimmerman has not been arrested, of course. However, according to the law as it is being interpreted, Mr. Zimmerman did nothing to warrant his arrest. He is innocent untili proven guilty, his gun was legally obtained and he used it a way that was within the Florida law. This is, of course, egregious.

      This should incense everyone, that someone can commit a crime of this magnitude and it be extremely likely that he will not even be indictied. I certainly hope that there are some very competent civil rights lawyers working on this case, and that they can convince the Florida Supreme Court to hand down a decision on this law that reflects the reality of what happened to Treyvon. I certainly hope that if someone has some credible, irrefutable evidence that shows – beyond a reasonable doubt – that Zimmerman acted in a way that the law cannot protect him from, that it is brought forth and that Zimmerman be convicted and the full weight of the maximum penalty of the law is applied.

      But, the reality is, they have no charge to arrest him on and they cannot hold him without probable cause while they investigate. That is simple the truth.

  14. March 28, 2012 at 1:30 am

    My understanding of the “stand your ground” law suggests that Zimmerman’s actions can’t be justified by that law. He was not standing his ground: he was stalking someone, wound up confronting him, and killed him. The law is intended to allow people to defend themselves from attack in their homes or vehicles or on the street without requiring them to run away, as past laws have required. The “stand your ground” law is not a bad law, but it simply has not been applied properly here to justify not arresting Zimmerman.

    I agree fully that the gun was just the tool he used and he could just as well used a different tool to accomplish the homicide. I have my reservations about the nearly unlimited access we have to guns in this country, but those concerns wouldn’t have affected the outcome of this episode in any substantial way.

    • March 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      My understanding of the “stand your ground” law suggests that Zimmerman’s actions can’t be justified by that law

      That was my understanding, initially. However, the application in this case and the fact that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested has proven that it is not interpreted that way by the representatives of the Florida Justice system. I certainly hope the law is further defined as such, and also includes the provision that is part of a similar law in Texas that the shooter be arrested, regardless.

      • RW Ahrens
        March 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        However, the application in this case and the fact that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested has proven that it is not interpreted that way by the representatives of the Florida Justice system.

        No, it proves no such thing. You are assuming evidence not made public. I state again, the lead investigator wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter, yet was prevented by higher authority, which you’ve already admitted acted suspiciously.

        I agree that we’ve got to wait for that evidence to be revealed as the investigation progresses, but you’ve no reason to assume that an application of this flawed law is why he wasn’t arrested. There are several possibilities, including lack of evidence, incompetence in gathering evidence, lack of communication between the cops and DA’s office, possible family, business or acquaintance relationships as yet unearthed, racism, or just good old fashioned corruption.

        We just don’t know, and your repeated assumption of one simple answer is just wrong on so many counts.

  15. south florida man
    March 28, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Considering that zimmerman is obviously hispanic, I find it very wrong and disturbing that they are for trying this as a racist matter, zimmerman was just obviously 1 gun ho sick individual, and I think it should be considered racist okone ethnic group accusing another ethnic group of aracist matter when zimmerman is not even part of the ethnic grou that there accusing that’s nick group of doing.

    • Sally Strange
      March 29, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Please tell me you aren’t so dumb as to think that being Hispanic makes you immune to being racist.

      Regardless of the true feelings of Zimmerman’s heart, identifying an unarmed Black teenager as “suspicious” because he was “walking slowly”, wearing a hoodie, and perhaps even putting his hands in his waistband is an act of racism. Regardless of Zimmerman’s innermost thoughts, responding to a verbal or even physical altercation by shooting said unarmed Black teenager is an act of racism.

      I guess you didn’t get the memo: racism involves more than wearing white hoods and burning crosses.

  16. herewegoagain_a
    March 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

    There are hundreds of black men and teenage boys murdered by black criminals and I don’t remember the New Black Panthers party (NBP) putting up cash to catch one of them. They are simply using this case for publicity. And right wing nuts crazier than the NBP party are using their statements to scare people and widen the gap between different communities.

    Unfortunately, the law is on the side of Zimmerman. I can only hope that when the shock subsidizes, citizens will make the necessary changes to the law that allow bastards like Zimmerman to get away with murder.

    • March 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Unfortunately, the law is on the side of Zimmerman. I can only hope that when the shock subsidizes, citizens will make the necessary changes to the law that allow bastards like Zimmerman to get away with murder.

      This is my position, as well.

  17. Kilian Hekhuis
    March 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

    So if I’m understanding correctly, this “stand your ground” law allows a person to kill another person if they feel threatened, regardless of the circumstances? So if I, say, was walking down the road, saw Zimmerman (how’s someone with a German name Hispanic btw?) and felt threatened (rightly so, he’s already killed somone!) I could shoot him? Seems the Panther’s reward is easy to collect then (for someone not too concerned with taking a life, that is).

  18. March 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    What’s interesting is that this case sets something of a precedent that makes it more difficult to prosecute people who do the same thing.

    When the concealed carry laws were first instituted in Texas, part of the training was that if you shoot someone, no matter what provocation or situation, you will be arrested. Whether criminal charges would be filed by the state would depend on the situation, but it would probably go to a grand jury.

    I think the NRA has an entire website devoted to ‘what to do after you shoot someone’. Because you will be arrested.

    No though, that entire idea is shattered. Using this case as a justification, many courts may begin to not prosecute anyone claiming self-defense (or whatever is being claimed). The police may be able to justify skipping a lot of paperwork based on this situation. Which means, more and more incidents like this happening.

    Further, if courts and police aren’t keeping track, then there’s very little to stop someone from becoming a serial legal murderer.

    It’s pretty frightening. We’re back to the old west with whoever has the fastest gun is right.

    • March 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      When the concealed carry laws were first instituted in Texas, part of the training was that if you shoot someone, no matter what provocation or situation, you will be arrested.

      And that is a provision that SHOULD BE included in the Florida law.

  19. Thorne
    March 28, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I have to wonder: from everything I’ve read about this “Stand Your Ground” law, it would have been just as legal for Martin, the boy, if he’d been armed, to turn and shoot Zimmerman, since he was being stalked (allegedly). He could have just as easily claimed he was threatened as Zimmerman is doing.

    Another thought: reverse the positions. If Zimmerman were a large, Black male and had shot a young White or Hispanic boy, would he still be out of jail? Sadly, I would have to think that the answer would be no. Whether or not he would be found guilty of a crime, I feel quite certain that the police would have arrested him on the spot.

    The law is bad, as written. The manner in which the police are implementing the law only makes it worse.

    • RW Ahrens
      March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am

      You hit the nail on the head. The reason Zimmerman has not been arrested has nothing to do with evidence or lack thereof. It has everything to do with the fact that the shooter wasn’t black and the victim was. There may even be some other, now hidden, relationships that may end up having some bearing on it, too.

      But the fact is, there was plenty of evidence that existed on the night of the investigation that should have resulted in his arrest.

      As i’ve already noted, as of last night, we now know that the lead investigator wanted to arrest Zimmerman for manslaughter that night, but was told not to by the DA’s office. That doesn’t sound like there wasn’t enough probable cause to arrest to me.

      • March 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

        OK, so then the actions of the DA should be questioned. I still reason that the law is at issue here in the first place. The racial motivation of Zimmerman should be obvious to anyone.

        • RW Ahrens
          March 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm

          …and I repeat what I wrote just a few minutes ago above:

          I agree that we’ve got to wait for that evidence to be revealed as the investigation progresses, but you’ve no reason to assume that an application of this flawed law is why he wasn’t arrested. There are several possibilities, including lack of evidence, incompetence in gathering evidence, lack of communication between the cops and DA’s office, possible family, business or acquaintance relationships as yet unearthed, racism, or just good old fashioned corruption.

          We just don’t know, and your repeated assumption of one simple answer is just wrong on so many counts.

    • March 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      The law is bad, as written. The manner in which the police are implementing the law only makes it worse.

      And that is the entire point, right there.

  20. machintelligence
    March 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

    There is still a lot of relevant information that has not yet been made public: What was the trajectory of the bullet through the body (was he shot from behind?) and at what range was the shot fired? Answers to these questions are highly relevant to the use of the self defense argument and it would seem reasonable to keep the shooter in custody until they have been answered.

    • March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

      …it would seem reasonable to keep the shooter in custody until they have been answered.

      Yes, it would seem very reasonable. However, I believe on that premise alone it would be unconstitutional. There are a very specific set of circumstances that allow an individual to be held in custody.

    • Michael
      March 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      I’d also like to point out that neither the trajectory nor the range are particularly reliable indicators of self-defense, unless they indicate something that wholely and clearly contradicts Zimmerman’s story. Police have to deal with the non-intuitive nature of these things in use of force investigations all the time. There was one officer who was almost convicted of using excessive force because several of his shots had entered into the victim’s back. The prosecution maintained that this showed that the man had been trying to retreat when he was shot. However, the defense was able to bring in experts who showed that it was not only consistent but expected for the victim to twist as he fell, and that what’s more, it would happen so fast that it would be physically impossible for the officer to cease fire quickly enought to avoid shooting the victim in the back.

      • RH
        March 31, 2012 at 8:03 am

        This is a VERY good point, but as you say they could contradict his story. A story of a struggle with a long range shot or whatever. I think the fear (and reasonably so) given how badly the police bungled (or how well they intentionally destroyed) this investigation, we may not have reliable court worthy descriptions of the wounds at all.

        I can think of a few ways the police could have handled this worse. But it takes some effort and several involve them doing bodily harm to reporters.

  21. elpayaso
    March 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Al, i have to disagree that the law doesn’t allow them to arrest Mr Z. i looked up the statute on westlaw and as i expected, it contained the language:
    if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    this is a bad and stupid law (assuming one holds the archaic view that the purpose of criminal laws is to enforce the public peace) but the law ain’t the problem here. where is the evidence that he feared death or “great bodily harm” (in most states, permanent or disfiguring injury) or a forcible felony? where is the evidence that any alleged fear was REASONABLE? these are standard components of most states’ self-defense laws, and cops and prosecutors regularly decide to charge people if there’s a dead body and no evidence that it was “reasonable” exercise of self-defense.

    • elpayaso
      March 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      to correct myself, the bad law ain’t the SOLE problem here…

  22. Norman Lycan
    March 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Actually forming an opinion before the evidence is evaluated is being a puppet of the hype. No sane person can conclude that black people are not unfairly profiled as offenders, not only by the police, but by juries. But, Mr. Steffani, while this investigation is underway, and the inevitable investigation of the investigation, to ask an opinion is tantimount to inciting a fury of speculation. That’s not freethought, that’s tabloid.

    NL

  23. March 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Some new video released by the police has some interesting implications for the case.

    I’m wondering if the police are releasing directly relevant video and audio now in order to say that no jury would be unbiased…

  24. RH
    March 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    The issue is NOT innocent until proven guilty.
    The issue is the stupid wording of the Florida law which (as I understand it) changed self defense from being an affirmative defense.

    Normally in a self defense case the suspect is innocent until proven guilty of hurting/killing the other person. Once the state proves that suspect caused the harm/death it is up to the suspect/defendant to prove it was self defense. NOT the prosecution to prove it was not.
    They must do this to the burden of proof that a reasonable person would have a reasonable belief that their life was in danger AND that the suspect/defendant held such a belief.

    IF the prosecutor is going for a higher charge than manslaughter they would have additional requirements that they must prove.

    IF self defense is an affirmative defense than this case could easily proceed to court for a jury to determine based on the evidence if a reasonable person would have a reasonable belief that their life was in danger.

    And it would be a hard case for the shooter.
    1. Any claim that he felt the kid could bodily beat him up to the point of death is trashed by
    a)Had a gun
    b)Pursued the individual (showing he was not afraid)
    c)Lack of evidence to corroborate claims his nose was broken etc.
    d)Significantly larger than victim
    e)Alleged lack of offensive or defensive wounds on victim

    2. Remarks on the 911 tape make it clear that he ‘doesn’t want this one to get away’ and was engaging in invigilate action (the chase) against the recommendation of officers. Not good for showing that whatever he claims is what a reasonable person would have perceived.

    3. Remarks on the 911 tape make him seem paranoid and racist. This helps regarding his belief but would work strongly against him on the reasonable person test.

    4. The victim did not have a weapon so any perceived threat would have to come from the shooters own gun (see 1 for reasons this argument fails) or from the victim ‘reaching for something’, or spun at me, or whatever. These seems to me to be a weak starting point.
    a)This seems to contradict earlier statements about being physically assaulted.
    b)This would seem to contradict some of the witness 911 calls
    c)I am unconvinced that a jury would find that a reasonable person (not this paranoid racist guy) would fear for their life when the know they have a gun and have chased this kid for some distance.

    I think the stand your ground concept is a mess that invites stupidity that ends in death.
    However if the normal rules of proportional defense with self defense being an affirmative defense applied here I think the shooter would be in jail awaiting trial. And in the magical land of OZ the officer who claimed he had wounds from defense that he did not would be awaiting trial as an accessory after the fact.

    Unfortunately Florida is a 3rd world country and it is extremely unlikely that any amount of logic will penetrate it’s boarders

  25. Dave The Sandman
    March 30, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Re Witnesses – see further “Rashomon Syndrome”.

    The evidence that should determne Zimmerman’s innocence and guilt would be photos of his alleged wounds, post mortem photos of Martins hands, knees and knuckles where conflict bruising would be visible, etc. Hard photo evidence that so far does not seem to exist in the public sphere.

    This should go to trial, if nothng else were I in Zimmermans shoes Id want it to go to trial to clear my reputation were I innocent.

  26. Norman Lycan
    March 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Armchair quaterbacks,

    You are all talking heads, doing what atheists do, leaping to conclusions before the science has been applied. It is also called “a leap of faith”, and that is a symptom of your disease, “religion”. And, as I have said before, I am not saying you have arrived at a false conclusion, how could I, because the evidence is not in, but what I will say, is that the fatal flaw in your philosophy is “leap of faith”.

    Zimmerman is the son of a judge, that looks really bad, from a coverup angle. The police drug tested the corpse, but, not the shooter, also, really bad. Police surveilance tapes show Zimmerman in apparent perfect health. It looks really bad. Timeline of phonecalls, it looks really bad. But, what blows my mind is that you people want to fry this guy before he gets his day in court. No one has heard his side of the story, except the Florida police, and while even I would suspect anything but a video tape of the interview, I just cannot take that “leap of faith”. No one should.

    NL

    • John Morales
      March 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      [meta]

      Yes, we get it: you practice Agnostism [sic].

      But, what blows my mind is that you people want to fry this guy before he gets his day in court.

      Perhaps because “you people” want him to face court, so when you dysphemistically call that to “fry this guy” while also appealing to his “day in court” it causes due dissonance.

      • Norman Lycan
        April 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

        Well, John,

        It appeared you would like perfect achord as you convict Mr. Zimmerman, like a trial by jury which you have denied him. It doesn’t surprise me but you said:

        “Perhaps because “you people” want him to face court, so when you C call that to “fry this guy” while also appealing to his “day in court” it causes due dissonance.”

        Wow, I want Zimmerman to face his day in court, I just don’t want him convicted without his day in court. Perhaps you thought you could intimidate me with an inappropriate word like “dysphemistically,” but I have introduced no political insults. It doesn’t apply, neither does “dissonance” in fact if you are a psuedointellectual, and if you were actually speaking to the common people instead of someone your intellectual superior, you would have used words like “din” or “cacophony” instead. It’s not my job to save you.

        I feel it is my obligation to do what I can to unite freethinkers. My days are numbered.

        NL

        Who will save you then?

        • John Morales
          April 3, 2012 at 4:47 am

          Cognitive dissonance, not auditory. 🙂

  27. Eric Hanson
    April 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    We need a lawful trial of Zimmerman and it will be very difficult for the defense to prove that Zimmerman’s actions fell within the “stand your ground” protections.
    Just read Florida’s law. It takes a great stretch of the imagination to believe that he would be protected by its stipulations.
    I feel your blog post is under-informed.
    All that said, these points we are making should be taking place in a court of law. It is a travesty of justice that Sanford Police did not immediately arrest him.

  28. Joe
    April 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Zimmerman likely lost his protection under the ‘Stand Your Ground’ statute when he pursued Martin, so let’s forget about that argument. Even the guy that originally drafted the law said that Zimmerman’s implementation of the statute wouldn’t hold water. You can’t track people like prey, kill them, and then try to bend the laws to protect yourself. The only thing Martin did wrong was “look suspicious” to George Zimmerman. It was Zimmerman’s free choice to pursue Martin even though he was instructed not to by the 911 dispatcher. Personally, I think the fact that he was armed at the time may actually show intent to use deadly force, but I’m no legal expert.

  29. Joe
    April 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I say let the legal system do its job. Due process will prevail, and the DOJ is doing a great job getting to the bottom of things. People just need to be patient.

  30. Thorne
    April 2, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I heard an interesting take on this the other day. Apparently, according to the reporter, Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested yet in order to allow the police to gather more information carefully. If he’d been arrested and charged, his defense team could have demanded a quick trial, as is his right, which may not have allowed the prosecutors to gather the evidence they need.

    Possible? Maybe. Sounds like rationalization to me, though.

  31. Randomfactor
    April 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Due process will prevail,

    Forget it, Jake, it’s Florida.

  32. Tay
    April 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I completely agree Al, it’s as if we’ve let the mad hatters take over the legislature in so many states, here in my state last year they passed the Castle Doctrine, which is basically a ‘stand your ground’ law, it is literally a license to kill and it is clear. I think what people don’t understand, is how hard it is to get these type legislative decisions repealed once they’re on the books, that’s why we still have so many ridiculous laws on the books (plowing soybean fields with elephants comes to mind).

    People need to seriously consider who they’re voting for a why when they go to those polls and stop just for a minute to think, if it sounds ‘sooo’ grand from the podium, how it might affect them and their children down the line. I too thought some parts of the Castle Doctrine sounded great, giving the homeowner a right to protect themselves, having known a woman who was prosecuted for throwing a bottle through the window and injuring a peeping tom, but I wasn’t taking into consideration the whole of the law. Now a homeowner could simply allege that they felt threatened and shoot a neighbor walking by their door, so if they have a neighbor they don’t like for some reason, these laws give them elbow room to snuff out the irksome neighborhood irritant, then claim they were frightened of them and walk free as Mr. Zimmerman is doing, all nice, tight and legal.

    It’s insane! But here people are angry with the police, angry with Zimmerman and his family, completely misdirecting their ire as intended I might add, when their ire should be directed at the state legislators who wrote this madness into law! The same ones trying to legislate all the anti-gay and anti-woman madness in all these states, it is high time people woke up to these divisive tactics and directed their anger at the deserving. Anytime it gets hot they pull out one of the three hot button issues to get us going at one another and put us off their scent; race, gay issues, or abortion, seriously it is disheartening to think that most people are that simple minded and so easily led.

    However getting back to the topic of ‘stand your ground laws,’ there are even some of these laws on the books in states like Texas and here in NC that have provisions allowing you to shoot someone in the process of stealing your car! What if it’s a repossession agent in the process of doing his/her job? Before anyone thinks me a knee-jerk, liberal, pansy, I’m a law-abiding, gun toting grandma thank you very much, but I’m of the old school, we don’t use iron to solve problems, we use our heads and call the police if need be, a gun should ALWAYS be a last resort. These laws to my mind sound like some sort of behind closed doors, Cointelpro type crowd control plot! I’m completely creeped out by the general public, they seem to be just fine with legalized murder so long as it doesn’t affect them…

    • Tay
      April 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      The following link is the NC’s Castle Doctrine legislation, as you can see it seems purposefully vague as you have no ‘duty to retreat’ from a dwelling or vehicle. It seems a broad license to kill and many people here seem to find it just grand… I can’t tell you how much that bothers me.

      http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/PDF/H650v6.pdf

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