I Disagree

I agree with the sentencing of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin Case. I don’t agree with what he did but I agree he didn’t break the law. To demand he be jailed is unfortunately “illegal”.

There is a disease that affects America.

I like to call it the cult of the gun.

Put it this way. Both Canada and the USA have high gun ownership. As does Switzerland. But neither of those two places have the same problems as the USA has with guns. This may be due to theri societies.

Economics wise? Both Canada and Switzerland have a more even society  with a large rich/poor divide but the poor aren’t “poor enough to suffer”. You struggle but it’s not “deal drugs to put food on the table” kind of struggling. So there is a group of poor people who are easily enticed into crime to survive.

The second problem is the fetishisation of guns. The way guns are sold is as if the entire world is out to get you and that the only thing protecting you and your property from the filching bastards is hot lead. Gun culture is sold with an almost sexual fervour. In the EU  such people would be considered weirdoes. In America? They are normal. Oh don’t get us wrong. We think guns are cool. We like the same video games and movies, the difference is that we don’t think of them as anything but movies.

Guns are sold with the notion of being used.  The handgun’s sole purpose is to kill humans. Anything else is not the ideal usage of the gun. You “could” use it to shoot targets, but it’s entire construction is designed to kill another human.

So you excuse yourself. Why should I own it? WELL the world is dangerous and to keep my family safe from the dangers within it.

These are the same people who happily feed their kids fat laden burgers, bacon, beer and salty snacks without a grasp of what “really kills people”.

If you ask someone to defend guns in the USA you are invariably met with a scenario of rapist/burglar/murderer (two out of three) somehow attacking you forcing you to gun  them down. I bet such instances are rarer than we think.

I followed the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case with sadness because neither side got the problem here.

From the way the law was written, George Zimmerman was perfectly in the right. The law states that if you ever are at risk and you have a gun you can fire it to kill. George was in trouble. By the law George did not murder Trayvon.

It’s why I have to disagree. The verdict in this case was to the letter of the law. George did not break any criminal laws.

There is no law in confronting someone, there is no law in following someone. Trayvon didn’t break any laws in fighting back against a perceived (and indeed very real threat) and George didn’t break any laws in shooting Trayvon when he was losing a fight.

No laws were broken. Hence George Zimmerman walked free. The death of Trayvon being put down to self defence.

However. Trayvon Martin still died because of the colour of his skin. The only reason George targetted him was because page 1 of the Renta-Cop handbook says “Black People Are Criminals”.

The 911 call seems to have told him to not follow Trayvon. They specifically said so. Because why would a black kid run away from a strange white man chasing him. Oh right… Because racists exist. If a strange white man followed me it’s not because he wants to give me free money but because he wants to kick my terrorist arse. In this period, Trayvon probably responded to the threat with violence. George was forced to defend himself. Two men defended themselves, only one brought a gun.

The British Museum is testament to the fact of the night. That Gun beats Fist.

The law was upheld though. At best it’s a civil case.

However it doesn’t mean the law is sensible. Racism made him pick on Trayvon Martin. Everything else is just the fantasy of gun use. Concealed Carry turns minor altercations into deadly fights. Concealed Carry emboldened George Zimmerman to act out his Walter Mitty Fantasy.

The only people who benefit are the NRA and undertakers from this insane line of thought. Where the problem of guns is solved by more guns.

Now let’s think about it this way. We are disgusted by this verdict because self-defence should apply when you are the unarmed victim. George Zimmerman picked a stupid fight and was losing. George was driving around looking for trouble and when he found more than he could handle he had to shoot.

Trayvon on the other hand was armed with the environment and had to outrun a fucking car.

This implication is that every black male should be considered armed at all times and it’s the responsibility of the black man to run away and not confront the people following them.

This is the sort of experience of many communities of colour with police, the justice system, and other figures of authority. It can seem silly to focus on this single anecdote, but cases like this become high profile because they strike a chord with a lot of people. We are told how to behave in the wake of a tragedy. Don’t tell people you speak Arabic. Don’t go out. Don’t go to the pub.

LeVar Burton talked on CNN about teaching his son how to behave with cops. It’s something that’s on the minds of black parents everywhere: teaching your kids how to avoid being shot by authority figures and how to be “less scary”. But what sort of conversation do you have when you have to explain to your kids that they may get shot by another man they don’t know if they don’t answer questions correctly. About how they should not fight and instead take a beating. About how they should run away first no matter what.

We must remember one thing though. We have been looking at this all wrong.

There are a sizeable number of atheists on various forums claiming that the only reason this case had a media circus was because Trayvon was Black. That’s not true. Initially no one really cared, Another criminal shot. BIg Whoop.

But that’s because Black males aren’t media darlings that  white males are. If Zimmerman was black and Martin was any other race, this would not have made International news. The trial would have been short, fast and there would be less “doubt” and leeway. Zimmerman may have even ended up with the death penalty. And no one would have known or cared. Which is the reality of most Black criminals. It is well known that Black Men and other minorities do not have a constructive relationship with the police.

The case is not big news because of Martin, it is big news because of Zimmerman looked pretty white and was accused of murder and racism instead of upholding the right and the fantasy of “appropriate gun use”.

Zimmerman’s acquittal is not a travesty of justice. The law that allows for all this to take place was the travesty. Zimmerman is just another effect of that cause. Zimmerman should be free. He is only guilty of being a casual racist. The same kind that abounds on the Internet. The sort that say “I have black friends” to excuse their statements. The ones who are not malicious, just stupid. That is his only crime.

Everything else was perfectly legal. And indeed Trayvon acted perfectly legally too.

This means that the law is broken. That the culture is broken. That society is ill and it must be fixed. And that fix comes with the removal of guns and the weaning of American culture from the Cult of the Gun.

“Fucking Punks! They always get away!” – George  Zimmerman

Words of truth there.


  1. Pen says

    I agree with every word you say. The only thing I would emphasise even more is the real and shocking culture of fear that exists in America society, such that a lot of people feel under threat a lot of time, especially around race and religion. I’m talking about casual everyday comments made by otherwise perfectly reasonable people very frequently with the effect of spreading fear and distrust. How will they not be trigger-happy if they have guns?

    I wonder how many people remember this interesting parallel case which occurred in Florida not long after the Trayvon shooting. Two white British guys, drunk, in the wrong neighbourhood. Their killer was jailed practically before their bodies were cold. Which is what should happen obviously.

  2. Pen says

    Why? Not that it matters, I was using parallel in a social sense not a legal one. Is that what you mean? I don’t think Tyson tried to claim self-defense. I guess he should have said they thumped him when he accosted them? In fact with so much at stake it would be worth bashing his own head against the nearest wall. Except the Americans suggest that wouldn’t work for him.

  3. smrnda says

    The way the Florida ‘stand your ground law’ seems to work, it seems almost designed to encourage violent confrontations amongst people since just the perception of a threat is seen as an adequate motive for deadly force.

    You’re spot on that the problem with this country is our gun culture. I often think many gun nuts don’t want to live in a safe country – they want every excuse to live out fantasies in which they save the day heroically with guns. They all see themselves as action movie heroes.

    Zimmerman was clearly a gun nut with the same fantasy, which is why he was rolling around in his car as a self-appointed vigilante. He wants to convince himself that he’s always in danger so he can justify his gun fetish. From a psychological perspective, you might say he has hostile attribution bias. People like this are dangerous since nothing will convince them that they aren’t in danger from everyone all the time, and that, the other way around, they’re a danger to others.

    Even if crime dropped in the US substantially, people would be trying to justify their own gun fetish. Perhaps its because guns are part of a lot of cultural myths and narratives in the US (how accurate those are is of course up for debate.) I’m trying to think of an analogous cultural value from a non-US country where people value something even after it’s been shown to be bad for them, but I can’t offhand. Maybe a hunting society that’s starting to drive species to extinction?

    An American writer Kurt Vonnegut described white people as having a collective fantasy where they’ll have to defend themselves heroically with guns from the dark skinned people who want to take everything the white people worked hard for. All said the state of Florida should just be honest and put up a sign saying “In Florida, it is legal for white people to kill minorities if they *feel* threatened.”

  4. says

    Thank you Avicenna, you actually managed to change my opinion on this case which seemed decided in my mind long ago. Not only why Zimmerman was found “not guilty”, but why he should have been found “not guilty”, and the correct and more productive thing to be angry about instead. Reason ftw.

  5. Adam Hebert says

    While I agree with your points regarding gun culture in America, you are dead wrong about Zimmerman not committing a crime. The fact is he stalked Trayvon Martin. He cornered him. He sat on him. He shot him dead. What part of that doesn’t constitute some form of a murder charge? There was no self-defense. If Martin had been doing what Zimmerman said he had (Punching him, bashing his head into the concrete, et cetera), Martin would have had Zimmerman’s blood on his hands. The only blood on Martin was his own.

    Zimmerman is a liar. A crook. And a killer. And if you don’t think the wacko gun lovers out there won’t be emboldened by this case, you are mistaken. Zimmerman’s a cold blooded murderer. And he will murder again given the chance.

  6. fentex says

    By the law George did not murder Trayvon.

    Are you sure you know sufficient details to say this?

    Having not been in the court room, nor read any transcripts, I do not know what details beyond the widely reported were presented. I am lead to believe that the actual confrontation has no surviving witnesses but Zimmerman, so any account of them is likely presented in his interests.

    If Zimmerman threatened Martin, Martin acted to defend himself, then Zimmerman shot him Zimmerman was not acting in self defence.

    For you to accept that Zimmerman did not murder Martin then you accept as fact that Martin must have attacked Zimmerman.

    And while I cannot profess to detailed knowledge such that I can assert what happened I personally believe Zimmerman threatened Martin rather than vice versa, and therefore committed murder as Martin acted to defend himself.

  7. says

    I lived in Florida when they were passing that law, and this is the sort of thing that critics feared. The Stand Your Ground laws are written so broadly that you can invite someone to your house, yell loud enough for the neighbors to hear you yelling and break a bottle against the wall, and then murder your houseguest in cold blood. The cops can’t do shit because the only living witness is you, and they have to prove that you weren’t scared of your houseguest.

  8. Samsara says

    As an embarrassed American I’d like to elaborate on the US’s ‘gun culture’.
    More aptly put the American ‘gun culture’ is a culture of ‘war & vengeance’.
    The US’s entire rhetoric is one of ‘war & vengeance’ from it’s immoral foreign policy to addressing social & health problems with terms like ‘war on drugs’. ‘war on poverty’, even ‘war on obesity’.
    ‘War & vengeance’ is the culturally preferred way of solving problems in the US.
    Forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, & rehabilitation- NOPE none of that sissy crap for Americans!

  9. firsttimereader says

    I didn’t follow the details of the case very closely.

    I do know the following though.

    1.It is not a crime to follow somebody. Stalking has a proper legal definition in most jurisdictions, and it’s not the same as following.
    2.Shooting somebody and killing them is not a crime in itself.
    3. The proceedings of the court seemed to be transparent and no procedural errors have been found that I can see.
    4. To convict someone, you have to show that they are guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”, or whatever the equivalent wording is in that jurisdiction.

    It’s right for avi to point out the cultural issues here rather than the verdict in this particular case.

    It seems to be the narrative that many Americans grow up with, that at the time of the founding fathers, everyone lived like they were characters in “a little house on the prairie”, and everyone had their own little farmstead and the bad guys wore black hats and there was no police force to speak of anyway. If you think your society in that way, it kinda makes sense to have a gun. It’s not quite realist though, is it….

  10. gshelley says

    I have seen a lot of posts and commentary blaming racism for the verdict, but it is rare (I am not sure if I have actually seen it) to see anyone actually argue on the facts as presented that the verdict was wrong

    For you to accept that Zimmerman did not murder Martin then you accept as fact that Martin must have attacked Zimmerman.

    This might be possible. It might even be probable, but the prosecution failed to prove it was certain. Zimmerman had injuries they couldn’t explain and there was no reliable way of knowing which of them initialized the fight.. From a legal point of view, not liking Zimmerman is not sufficient to assume it had to be him.

  11. says

    “Are you sure you know sufficient details to say this?”

    I believe that there are.

    “Having not been in the court room, nor read any transcripts, I do not know what details beyond the widely reported were presented. I am lead to believe that the actual confrontation has no surviving witnesses but Zimmerman, so any account of them is likely presented in his interests.”

    I read a fair few of them. I also read the law about it. The problem is NEITHER of the individuals did anything wrong.

    Stand Your Ground applies to Trayvon too. Trayvon was entitled to fight a perceived and indeed very real threat that George was. George then was “losing” a fight and then was entitled to self defence since he was getting his head pounded on the pavement.

    Neither of the two individuals are wrong here of anything but George picking a fight. George having demonstrated sufficient fear for his life opened fire.

    That’s the scenario that’s postulated. That’s unfortunately the problem. No one’s guilty. There is no winner, there are only losers.

    “For you to accept that Zimmerman did not murder Martin then you accept as fact that Martin must have attacked Zimmerman.”

    There is reasonable doubt as to who swung the first punch. And yes I mentioned. It sadly means minorities will have to tell their kids to dodge the first one.

    “And while I cannot profess to detailed knowledge such that I can assert what happened I personally believe Zimmerman threatened Martin rather than vice versa, and therefore committed murder as Martin acted to defend himself.”

    But we are discussing the court of law. Personal belief isn’t important. The facts and reasonable doubt are.

    As I said. The problem is Zimmerman picked an escalating fight that resulted in him killing Martin. He may have grabbed him resulting in a push resulting in a shove resulting in a fight resulting in a shooting….

    That’s the problem. The start of that is not illegal, the progression is not illegal by the laws of Florida. No laws were broke. The entire problem here is concealed carry laws and stand your ground. This entire incident may not have occurred had Zimmerman not had access to a gun.

  12. kagekiri says

    The only thing I really disagree with you about is the “handguns being solely designed to kill people”, and it’s not really too important. I’m just not sure that the design purpose matters as much as that the far and away main reason you carry a handgun is to shoot people (hunting revolvers are the main exception).

    Handguns are small and are actually pretty crappy for killing anything compared to various rifles and shotguns designed to bring down large animals; handguns are just easier to carry around concealed.

    But yeah, as a former gun nut (who never owned a gun), I know a lot of gun lovers and used to peruse various forums about guns, and to hear it, they’re pretty damn scared that they’re going to defend themselves against an attacker, but the police will arrest them and jail them for having insufficient evidence of life-threatening danger.

    That fear, which is ostensibly based on some sort of nigh-libertarian anti-police view (to be fair, our police do suck a lot of times), along with stories of non-lethally shooting someone attacking/threatening you and then you’re the one getting prosecuted, are what fuels these ridiculous “the killer is always right” stand your ground laws.

    Sayings like “better carried by 12 (a jury judging you for a self-defense killing) than by six (as in you’re dead in a casket and being carried by pall-bearers)” or advice that you should always shoot to kill if you need to shoot at all (so that you’re the only witness); that’s the paranoid Wild-West view inspiring these laws.

    Laws that brandishing a gun means you’re assaulting/threatening someone just mean to them “I’d draw my gun to kill, not scare anyone off”, which is pretty damn scary. Stories of a guy concealed-carrying who warned a mall-shooter he had a gun, and the killer subsequently turned around and shot him, paralyzing the concealed carrier? They further encourage them not to warn their assumed attacker to back off because they’re armed. Everything ramps up towards immediately killing as the best option if you’re scared for your life.

    Stories about a black woman shooting into the roof to scare off an abuser then being the one arrested don’t make them try to fight racism in our legal system; they make them all the more convinced that they have to kill people if they draw their gun. The stories make them envy Florida’s or other state stand your ground laws (ignoring, of course, that some of these stories of being arrested for non-lethally defending yourself are IN the same states that have these laws).

    Fricking fear-mongering NRA gun salesmen… the worst part is, trying to get rid of guns will just leave guns not merely with the criminally minded (as gun nuts love to quote “outlawing guns will mean only outlaws have guns”), but also with the insane gun-stockpiling libertarians who have pledged to shoot anyone trying to take their guns, make them register their guns, limit their ammo, etc.

  13. the_wildlifer says

    Just a few points, assault and battery is a felony, although they never charge the deceased.

    Martin indeed had the right to “stand his ground” but not the right to assault Zimmerman because he was pissed at being followed. The assault wasn’t proportional to the alleged threat.

    Even if one assumes Zimmerman was the aggressor, any escalation of violence by Martin – pounding GZ’s head into the sidewalk – returns the right of self defense to Zimmerman.


    776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—

    The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

    (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

    (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

    (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

    (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

    The bashing of his head into the concrete would be applicable under 2(a) and if one accepts that the calls for help were from Zimmerman, that would qualify under 2(b).

    Had the State been able to charge Zimmerman with felony stalking (as so many claim he was doing) self-defense wouldn’t have been available to him under this statute.

    As for the SYG law, even if it hadn’t been enacted, Zimmerman would still have had the same legal defense to use deadly force if he had a reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death. So while people want to blame the SYG law, Zimmerman would have had the same legal right in all 50 states (except in Ohio he would have had the burden of proof, while in 49 other states, the burden is on the prosecution).

  14. says

    Unless he knew Zimmerman had a gun in which case the existence of the gun would place the onus of self defence back on Trayvon. However since Trayvon is dead there are no claims from him to match or oppose George’s.

  15. the_wildlifer says

    Hi Avicenna,

    Only true if Zimmerman was menacing Martin with the gun. And running seems a lot more rational and probable action than punching someone pointing a gun at you. It would also be improbable GZ would let TM get in range of disarming him without shooting.

    But simply knowing Zimmerman had a gun on him would not give Martin the right to attack him.

  16. Acolyte of Sagan says

    the-wildlifer, there’s really no use in conjecture since there is only the one living witness, so with no way of verifying the facts the discussion could go around forever – which is why the jury had to return a Not Guilty verdict.
    Just one example, you said to Avi “Only true if Zimmerman was menacing Martin with the gun..” We don’t know whether Martin knew Zimmerman was armed, but if I were to speculate I’d say that a guy getting his skull banged into the pavement ought to find it tricky to say the least to reach for, find, and use a concealed weapon considering the amount of disorientation – not to mention pain – that he would be experiencing, suggesting that either he had gun in hand before the head-banging started, or he wasn’t undergoing as severe a beating as he claimed (or he’s a superhuman who can function perfectly well whilst his brain is being bounced around the inside of his skull).
    But that’s just the way I see it from my own experiences of disorientation owing to blows to the head, both on the rugby pitch and in the boxing ring, which left me unable to function normally for anything from a second-or-two to a couple of minutes (but that was a kick to my temple by a 16st. prop forward….ouch!).

  17. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Nathaniel @ #18; I’m beginning to think Avi has a point.
    Then again, when one is talking about a country that has a higher percentage of its population in prison than any other country in the world (yes, including China), and one whose prison population has a disproportionately large number of young black males compared to the overall population of the country, I’d say a cult of the gun is the least of their problems.

  18. says

    Trayvon never received a proper prosecution for his case. That seems to be the prevailing opinion I get from legal analysts. How anyone can smugly say that justice has been served just because the letter of the law was followed is beyond me.
    What if Trayvon had shot Zimmerman? It sounds like he could have legally done that because he was minding his own business.
    This was not justice. Zimmerman was told to back off: he did the wrong thing, violated orders and protocol, and ended up provoking his own assault.
    Fuck him. He wasn’t charged with the right crime, then, and/or the charges were improperly prosecuted.

  19. Acolyte of Sagan says

    mikmik, I know it sounds harsh, and maybe you’re right that he was charged with the wrong crime (though I’m not sure what alternative charges could have been bought) but the fact of the matter is the prosecution could not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, so the jury had to acquit, and justice was served as far as the U.S. and State laws are concerned.
    It seems to me that the problems aren’t restricted to this case, but are a problem of the entire legal system in America.

  20. says

    It seems to me that the problems aren’t restricted to this case, but are a problem of the entire legal system in America.
    I agree. Legal justice was served, but can’t that be said of any trial? I can’t see how you should be allowed to intimidate someone, then when they respond in anger, shoot them.
    However, having given further thought, it hadn’t really sunk in that Trayvon had Zimmerman pinned down and was bashing him. I can see that if Martin had had the chance to keep on moving, and he chose instead to assault Zimmerman, how the verdict was fairly reached.
    Too many shades of Rodney King in my head.
    It does look, to me, like license for the G. Zimmermans of the world to create a scene and then use the ensuing melee as an excuse to draw and shoot. Perhaps a civil suit will turn out differently because the onus is then on Zimmerman to prove his case that he acted reasonable all the way through.
    I just wish to add that even if Martin was a troublemaker, isn’t the best course of action to leave him be on his way? If someone around here is looking for trouble, I wouldn’t give them an excuse to start it.
    Of course, last one to pull the trigger wins – and don’t leave any witnesses!
    You’re right, Acolyte of Sagan, if I can’t say what happened beyond a reasonable doubt, I can’t say that the jury was right or wrong.

  21. says

    Zimmerman wouldn’t have had a legally valid self-defense case if he assaulted Martin, first. From the physical evidence, it’s unlikely he punched him, but it he blocked him or grabbed his arm or displayed his gun, that would have counted. It’s quite likely he did, in fact, do this, but impossible to prove.

  22. says

    When thinking of other charges, I thought of something like criminal negligence, or some such accounting, for escalating the situation.

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says

    July 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM (UTC 5.5) Link to this comment

    [………..]It does look, to me, like license for the G. Zimmermans of the world to create a scene and then use the ensuing melee as an excuse to draw and shoot.

    It could start a whole new craze among the gun-toters. Forget ‘suicide by cop’, how about ‘murder by self-defence’?

    Personally I think it’s a crazy system that lets its ordinary citizens wander the streets with guns in the first place, so it’s no wonder the laws are so mixed up. I suppose there is a mad kind of logic to it, though; why allow them to carry guns in public if they’re not allowed to use them. Seems a little arse-first to me, but what do I know?

  24. methuseus says

    I know I’m late, but I wanted to say this: Zimmerman should have been charged with something akin to “not listening to a police officer” when he was told to stand down and didn’t. He also, likely, could be charged with assault if there was a reliable witness besides him. Unfortunately, the way the SYG law is written, even if he assaults someone, he gets off for the murder charge if he starts losing. Being white and living in Florida means I have little to worry about from this law, but it still makes me wonder about people in this country that they think this is right.

  25. says

    From a purely legal standpoint, sure neither person did anything wrong (though I think in GZs case, a good lawyer would be able to find something), but from a moral standpoint? GZ racially profiled and stalked (or followed/harassed if you prefer) TM, who was merely walking home. The “suspicious activity” he was engaged in was undefined and at this point looks like the crime of hoodie wearing, nightwalking kid whos is black. GZ was wholy in the wrong to follow Madtin, let one get out of his car.

  26. says

    Indeed. Which is what I pointed out. I think he was working on

    1. The Casual Racism. I am sure George Zimmerman is no different from anyone else who walks across the street when a bunch of black guys are walking together. It’s not conscious.

    2. The confidence gained by concealed carry to engage Trayvon

    3. The cult of guns which glorifies this sort of interventionalism.

    Had Trayvon been a genuine bonafide robber, George Zimmerman would be paraded around the NRA like the second coming of Heston. (Charlton, not Blumenthal)

    The problem is the law is an arse.

  27. says

    Uh, no, this is still not legal. SYG is not an issue here – his lawyers used vanilla self defense, and vanilla self defense does not state that just because you irrationally feel threatened, you can pull a gun out. That’s putting aside everything else, including the possibility of his murder being committed during the commission of a felony. That doesn’t mean SYG is good, but pretending for 10 seconds that this asshat should have gotten off does no good whatsoever.

  28. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Rutee, nobody is saying he should have got off, just that with the available evidence and the law being what it is, the jury had no option but to acquit.

  29. fentex says

    Personal belief isn’t important. The facts and reasonable doubt are.

    As I said. The problem is Zimmerman picked an escalating fight that resulted in him killing Martin. He may have grabbed him resulting in a push resulting in a shove resulting in a fight resulting in a shooting….

    That’s the problem. The start of that is not illegal, the progression is not illegal by the laws of Florida.

    I am not a lawyer, and living in New Zealand have little reason to think myself expert in U.S let alone Florida law, but I find it hard to believe that starting an assault and losing a resulting fight provides for a legal defence to employ lethal force.

    That would appear to make manslaughter, providing one begins one assault with simple manhandling, legal.

    Surely if Zimmerman assaulted Martin, and Martin defended himself, Zimmerman’s escalation a continuation of an assault employing increasingly deadly force.

    Surely a law titled “Stand your Ground” does not protect people who initiate confrontation? How can that possibly be, for that would protect the mugger who starts with a threat that I imagine the law was written to allow people to resist.

    As I understand it Zimmerman was over-charged, and the jury was could not find a required premeditation in his actions. That makes sense to me and makes a failure to convict understandable. But it does not demonstrate that he would be found innocent of a lesser charge has the prosecution not allowed itself to be pressured into over reach.

    Which is why I question you assertion Zimmerman did not break the law. I think he did, hinging on the decision over who initiated violence, even though the laws he broke may not have been those he was tried under.

    I suspect Mr Martin has been ill served by the writers of laws and the prosecutors of crimes who allow political pressure to undermine their responsibilities.

    I think Zimmerman did murder Martin though without premeditation and might have been found guilty of manslaughter had that been the charge.

  30. says

    @fentex: The problem with your reasoning is that following someone is not in and of itself an assault. If Zimmerman had been proven to have assaulted Martin first, then the jury would have almost certainly found him guilty of manslaughter. While Zimmerman’s story about what happened wasn’t very plausible, No witnesses or physical evidence said that he struck first. It’s quite likely he did (grabbed his arm or something), but thinking a speculative scenario with no direct evidence is likely isn’t enough for the courts.

  31. fentex says

    The problem with your reasoning is that following someone is not in and of itself an assault

    Obviously to convict Zimmerman a jury would have to accept as fact he assaulted Mr Martins person, or that Mr Martin had reason to feel in danger and a right to defend himself under these Stand Your Ground laws.

    That it’s clear Mr Martin had good reason to fear Zimmerman suggests to me a jury could be convinced.

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