The Inherent Danger Behind Zimmerman Being Found “Not Guilty” of Murdering Trayvon Martin

George ZimmermanI’m not here to talk about the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman.  I didn’t follow the trial much, so I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on what evidence was presented by either side.

He was found “not guilty.”  Right or wrong, that’s the verdict and there’s nothing we can do to change it.

The general consensus that seems to be coming from those involved is that while the jury found him “not guilty,” they don’t believe that he was innocent.

But the bottom line is a tragedy occurred and a young life was taken far too soon.  A lot of people want to make it into a race thing, and it’s valid by some of the arguments I’ve read, but I see life as life—regardless of race.  The loss of such a young life is awful and I feel terrible for Trayvon Martin’s family.

But I will say this — the belief by many that someone is suddenly not dangerous just because they had a bag of Skittles (instead of a weapon) is a naive way to look at this tragedy.

And it also leads me to my point.  These laws which give people the right to kill based on their perceived notion of “danger” and “self defense” are a slippery slope toward disaster that we’re barreling into head first.  Broad laws such as the “stand your ground” law used by Zimmerman’s defense are a recipe for tragedy.

It’s indisputable that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.  That wasn’t on trial.  He freely admitted to killing the young man.

What was on trial was the “why” he killed him.

See, in most murder trials the “why” isn’t on trial — it’s the “did they” that has to be proven by the prosecution.  Even in a normal murder trial, juries are instructed that a verdict of “guilty” is supposed to be based on the notion that “without a doubt” the person accused of murder is the one who’s guilty.

All the defense really needs to do with these trials is create enough doubt that the jury cannot come to that conclusion.  It’s why prosecution is much more difficult than defense in many cases.  The prosecution must prove “without a doubt” that the person accused is guilty.  The defense just needs to create enough doubt where the jury might think they’re guilty, but there are some unanswered questions based on whatever evidence the defense used to build that doubt.

With the Zimmerman trial, there was no disputing that he was the one who killed Trayvon Martin.  So the prosecution was held to an even more difficult task — proving that Zimmerman acted with malicious intent rather than self defense.

And that’s where the danger lies.

If it’s often difficult to prove murder, it’s even more difficult to prove intent when the defense is “self defense.”

Because what defines self defense?  Everyone’s point at which they feel threatened is different.  What I deem as threatening might not be what another person feels is threatening.

So how do you say, “Well, they overreacted so they’re guilty.”  Sure, you’re allowed to feel that way, but it’s often impossible to prove, and essentially puts jurors in a position where they must use their own personal judgments to determine the level of threat in a situation.  A situation which they weren’t involved in and there might not be any direct witnesses to collaborate any accounts of what actually happened.

That’s what makes these laws like “stand your ground” so dangerous.  It gives people permission to act as the judge, jury and executioner based on what they feel might be a threatening situation.  And if there’s no one to paint a clear picture that they weren’t threatened, how do you prove that they didn’t feel they were in danger?

Sure you can use evidence to piece together a picture where logic might dictate what was the most plausible series of events, but does that prove “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that’s what actually happened?

Because what these laws do is open the door for people to commit murder and place in a jury’s hands “why” they killed — which is a hell of a lot harder to prove than whether or not they actually committed the murder.

They justify killing based on self perception of threat and provide enough of a gray area that “without a shadow of a doubt” becomes almost impossible to prove.

Because it’s one thing if it’s your house, someone tries to get in, and you shoot them protecting your home and family.  That’s the stereotypical “self defense” image many think of when the topic is brought up.

But when two individuals have a run in on a street with no witnesses, and one of them shoots and kills the other while claiming “self defense” when there are no weapons found on the victim — how do you prove they didn’t feel threatened?   How do you prove that they didn’t just shoot the person in cold blood and say they felt threatened?  How do you prove that they didn’t know the victim wasn’t armed?

It’s a dangerous precedent that these laws open the door wide open for.

If we continue to allow laws such as the “stand your ground” you’ve seen passed in many states, we’re then opening the door not to prove whether or not the defendant killed someone (that won’t be on trial) but to prove “why” they killed someone.

And as we’ve seen with this trial, for the prosecution proving malicious intent is a lot harder to do than it is for the defense to create doubt.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Duncan McNeil

    It is now effectively legal in Florida to start a fight, and if you’re losing the fight to murder the other guy.

    • Darkthunder

      And claim self defense.

      I don’t buy it as being self defense, regardless of what Mr Martin did or didn’t do. Mr Zimmerman had no business chasing after the kid, and the police dispatcher told him as much. It’s no longer self defense, when you purposely put yourslef in a position where you must “defend” yourself.

      • thor1111

        ahh, but it is. As long as your actions leading up to the point where you had to defend yourself were *legal*. In this case, Zimmerman broke NO law in following Martin, or even inquiring as to why he was there, regardless of the 911 dispatcher’s advice (and that’s what it was, advice, not an order than Zimmerman was obligated to follow). If I walk up to someone on the street, or follow them down the street for a couple of blocks, and then ask that person who they are, or what they are doing, that does not violate ANY law. I have a right to be there, and inquire If I so desire. And if that person decides to start a physical altercation with me for doing that, HE/SHE has stepped over the legal line, not I. If then, I am put in situation where I am being physically assaulted and feel like my life is being threatened or that I will be seriously injured, I am allowed by law to use force, even deadly force to defend myself from this assault. Just because I initiated the original encounter does not make me responsible for the violence. That responsibility would be the person who initiated violence, not the encounter. As to this article, it is ridiculous, especially since Zimmerman’s defense didn’t even CITE the stand your ground law as a defense. It was simple self-defense. Not “stand your ground”.

      • SMH

        Except in the case where you are a black woman going inside your own home to recover your own things needed to leave for the night and your significant other tries to hurt you. In that case, if you shoot a WALL as a warning shot, you should receive 20 years in prison. In the same state. Around the same time. Because you told not to go back into your own home to retrieve your own belongings that you felt you needed.

      • joecrouse

        The goalpost you missed it.

      • Pull your head out of your @$$

        that does not fall under either “stand your ground” or ” “self defense”.

        “Stand your ground” = Someone is coming towards me. I do not have to retreat or run away I’m legally allowed to Stand my Ground against an attack. (Smart thing would be to run like hell but you don’t have to)

        “Self defense” = I was at that point in time (not before or after the fact) being beaten or injured to the point that one is in fear of their life. (someone sucker punches you and runs away doesn’t qualify)

        “Attempted Murder” = Whatever happened happened one person leaves gets a firearm and returns and fires a round or two into the wall near the person. You attempted to murder someone your aim just suxs.
        and now a clarification: If a person were to be physically abused beaten on several occasion and or fear for life of their child etc. person leaves gets a firearm returns and shoots someone, It’s still Murder! and would then be up to a Jury to determine if it was Justified but still Murder!

        Apples and Oranges! VS my $.02

      • Nasty

        The actual story was that she LEFT, then she came back and discharged her weapon into a wall that had TWO children on the other side of that wall. We could call that two counts of child endangerment. What do you think, now that you know the facts?
        Since you what to bring up race, she endangered the lives of two BLACK children.

      • Mad Madam Mim

        hm. sounds like you’re describing entrapment.

      • joecrouse

        incorrect assesment of what Entrapment is.

      • Annie Mazur

        i guess as for legal ease it is, however it happens daily, come over, bam your dead it happens and it is a trap!

      • mdc

        100% in agreement. Zimmer broke no laws in following Martin, nor in speaking to him. Martin broke the law in that he physically assaulted Zimmer. He just picked a fight with the wrong guy.
        Picture yourself with a broken nose, having your head smashed, repeatedly on the concrete screaming for help, with no help in sight….
        A child with skittles, no; an aggressive teenager who could have gone home, but decided to act out; yes.
        I assure you that this is not the first time Martin punched someone in this manner. He didn’t go from ‘child with skittles’ to aggressive teen brawler out of no where.

      • joedrache

        fuck you

      • mdc

        That’s the extent of your thought?
        Sorry to disrupt your contemplative state.
        No need to reply.

      • Annie Mazur

        why did he need to go home? why would he need to answer to joe blow? what are you saying? if some dude follows me and stops to talk i am to obey his commands or even give an answer? i think not.

      • Guest

        I’m entitled to an opinion. As are you. As is everyone on this planet. And my opinion, is that the jury returned the wrong verdict.

        As I said above, Mr Zimmerman would never have been in danger, and requiring to protect himself in “self-defense”, if he hadn’t put himself in that position, in the first place.

      • mdc

        Annie,
        I agree. By law, he doesn’t need to go home. He doesn’t have to answer to a stranger or obey his commands. He also, doesn’t get to attack anybody as he goes about his legal business.
        Going home was a choice that seems in everyone’s best interest, especially if that was his intent in the first place. Stopping to engage in a fight is another choice that he made.
        Mr. Martin had choices within the law and within his own best interest as did Mr. Zimmerman.
        Again: choices within the law. Who made the choice outside of the law is what the entire trial was about.

      • karyn

        Trayvon did run from him once and George followed while he was on the phone with 911. (and they told him not to) Maybe Trayvon didn’t want this strange guy that was following him to know where he lived. ???

      • Mark

        He was on the neighborhood watch, he has the authority to ask these questions

      • Colin Daniel

        He also needed to identify who he was. By the way, what authority would that be?

      • Griff Jim Griffith

        No he doesn’t. You are confusing “the right” with “the authority.” A neighborhood watch volunteer does not assume the power of law enforcement. It’s this type of ignorance of the law that is leading us down this dangerous road.

      • Amanda De

        He wasn’t on some community organized neighborhood watch. He called himself a member of the neighborhood watch and called the cops on people a lot. People saying that as if he has some sort of official right to harass anyone he likes is ridiculous.

      • Jennifer Mcgrath

        And no one would be making comments like this if Z would have been stalking a 17 year old girl. What gives him the right to follow/chase anyone through a neighborhood? Why wouldn’t Trayvon think Z was out to harm him?

      • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

        Yes, but – Trayvon had a right to be in that neighborhood. He had a right to walk down the street & not be accosted by someone he didn’t know. All we have, when it comes down to it, is Zimmerman’s version of what happened. We REALLY don’t know if that was the way it transpired or not. Trayvon doesn’t get to tell his side. Remember, there was no DNA evidence of Zimmerman on Trayvon. If he had banged his head against the pavement & furthermore had broken his nose, wouldn’t there have been SOME kind of DNA transfer. As far as I am concerned, Zimmerman stepped over the line when he got out of his car to follow this kid. He knew nothing about him. & Zimmerman’s story changed 9 times at least. While it is true that given your scenario, the jury had to find Zimmerman not guilty; it is equally true that the only other person who REALLY knows what happened that night is DEAD. The tragic part of this is that in order to save Zimmerman, a dead kid’s (& he was a kid, he was only barely 17) life was drug through the mud. He was painted as a thug out looking for trouble. We will never know whether he WAS or not.

      • Cheryl Battle

        and you know you hit this one right on the head…Trayvon was on trial….not GZ. Why wasn’t GZ’s life picked apart? What about his cousin who said she was molested and bullied by GZ until she was 19? What about former coworkers who said GZ was arrogant and pushy? Why wasn’t he drug tested as well? I heard he was on Adderall, a drug given to ppl with ADHD. But, I digress. We can pick at this forever but it will not change what was decided. The prosecution did all they could with what from the outset was going to be a no win situation. Proving GZ’s intent was a tough challenge. Especially when there are so many lies. If you remember back, GZ was NOT arrested from the beginning because it was seen by authorities as not a crime. Public outcry FORCED action. And to appease, GZ was charged. But no justice in the end. In this case, we must believe that a greater power will handle this.

      • deborah ellison

        Bullshit-Zimmerman, a grown man, provoked this kid. There had no reason to get out of his car and follow a kid with a gun-how would YOU FEEL, what would YOU DO if some guy started following you down the street with a gun asking you questions? Would you stop and say “Hello Mr. guy with a gun, you are perfectly justified following me and questioning me with no one around while I am unarmed. Let’s have a little chat. Thank you for protecting the neighborhood, with your gun.”
        Mr. Zimmerman is not a policeman-he called the police and they told him he did not need to get out of his car and follow Martin, and he chose to disregard the police. He is a bully, to pretend he is anything else is bullshit, to defend the actions of bullying is amazing and horrible.

      • STF

        “How would you feel if a guy started following you with a gun?”–How about how would you feel if you were a 17 year old who fought and did drugs in your spare time. How would you feel if you were on suspension from school and had to stay with your dad and his girlfriend in Sanford FL? I’ll tell you what…I WOULDN’T. I would have never left my house again if I was caught with drugs and was in fights at school even once.

        Mr. Martin didn’t know Zimmerman had a gun and if he did, he definitely shouldn’t have been punching him-he should have ran as fast as he could. Everyone wants to ignore the fact that Treyvon had PLENTY of time to get home but hid in the dark and came out to confront Mr. Zimmerman about him following him. He chose to stick around and fight and he clearly chose the wrong person to fight with.

      • matt

        How does this have to be said, he didn’t have his gun out

      • deborah ellison

        It doesn’t matter if his gun was out or not, he was intimidating a young man, someone without enough life experience to know what to do in a situation where he is being followed and interrogated. Zimmerman provoked this kid. Zimmerman is a grown man, a grown white man-he is at the advantage in age and race-to pretend Zimmerman did nothing to escalate this situation is bullshit.To pretend Travon was probably not scared is bullshit. There is NO DEFENSE for Zimmermans behavior. Period.

      • matt

        Yes it does matter if his gun is out you referenced that martin should have been in fear because of the gun at least 6 times. I know you will never change your mind because of the facts, they don’t seem to matter, only the guilt you feel for prior injustices by whites and the system seem to be what forms your opinions’. But let me try anyway. Zimmerman had become friends with a neighbor who had been terrorized by two burglars who had broke into her home while her and her infant daughter had hid, not to mention the other burglars in the area. I believe that, that was what was driving his decision to follow someone in the dark. It is a fact that Martin is the only one who uttered a racist slur, There is no law that Martin had to go right home and not circle around and confront Zimmerman, but why didn’t he? Or he could have just said hey asshole quit following me I’m going home to call the cops. But he didn’t do that. He has shown that he was a racist, from there its not hard to imagine that he wanted to kick a white mans ass, He just chose the wrong one. And all this talk about Martin only being a kid is bullshit, I served my country when I was 17

      • karen_green

        And you know that Trayvon physically assaulted zimmerman first, even though there was none of zimmerman’s DNA on Trayvon? You are good. How were you able to knowvthat?

      • Duncan McNeil

        Because he is recorded as saying that Trayvon Martin was running from him and that he is now running after him. This is an non-uniformed armed aggressor chasing a distressed teen at night.I bet if he had said to him – “Sir, wait a second!” instead of – as best we know – chasing him on foot – he’d have thought – this man isn’t going to hurt me.

      • AuntInAZ

        You assure us? And you know this how? Where’s your evidence?

      • reggie

        And whoever you are claiming Martin punched lived and more likely another kid his age…. funny how Zimmerman felt his life was threaten where lethal force was needed. The only thing threatened was Zimmermans EGO. And this is stupid a lot of kids are aggressive at that age reason why we have a Juvenile system. A lot of people have been in fights in high school it’s part of being a kid not sure why we are treating the kid like the adult and the adult like the kid seems backwards to me.

      • Angela Monger

        I have a right to walk down a street and not be followed or questioned by anyone for any reason. This is supposed to be a free country. And if some strange man armed with a firearm follows me and starts asking me questions, I may very well feel threatened and kick him between the legs and run like hell from him. Most of the time when some armed stranger follows you in the dark, the intentions are not good. We do live in a crime ridden country and no one should feel comfortable being followed by an armed stranger. That is scary crap.

      • SophieCT

        Angela, we only think we have the right. Yesterday’s verdict tells us otherwise.
        You do however have the right to kill your stalker dead, and relate the story of what they did and said in a manner that reflects favorably on you.

      • ruthanneb

        Right, Angela. AND actually he didn’t even ask any questions, did he? Just said he “didn’t have any problem”….so one can/should argue that Trayvon Martin’s probable fear for his own life informed whatever action HE took.

      • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

        Exactly. When they made a big deal out of Zimmerman’s injuries as proof that he was attacked, I thought, “well, what would YOU do if a stranger came at you in the dark? Pose?” I think it was Trayvon who stood his ground, and it cost him his life.

      • deborah ellison

        I agree

      • Brad Elroy

        That’s not true. Police can stop you and question you. I have just as many rights as you do. I can question you. You can choose not to answer if you so desire. You can run. But I have the right to walk where I please as well, and say what I feel like to whomever I feel like talking to. Ignore me if you want.

      • Pull your head out of your @$$

        Two thumbs up! I’d give you third but hat would just be weird!

      • Shawn Sisler

        Actually, the police can stop and question you but unless they can clearly and concisely state what they are suspicious of, without it being ethnically or economically based, you do not have to answer and they cannot detain you. Ethnically based means based on skin color, religious clothing etc.. Economically based means not fitting in with the areas look or what ever, wrong clothes, car, style… It is illegal however to follow someone

      • Thomas61

        Yes the Police can stop you but George Zimmerman is not a Police Officer is he? Did he swear an oath to protect and serve? Is he an employee of the city so if needed if their is any malice on his part the victim can seek monetary justice from his employer ? NO NO AND NO . The irony of this whole case is he was acquitted but will have to look over his shoulders for the rest of his life , he will know how Trayvon felt when he was being stalked and have to wonder if this will be the day someone performs the same kind of vigilante justice that he gave Trayvon because of the constant nation wide media coverage of this case I bet there is nowhere in this country he will be free in again .

      • Nasty

        I can stop YOU Thomas61. And ASK you whatever I want to ASK you Thomas61.
        What are you going to do about it Thomas61?
        Punch me in the nose? Like TM did.
        Knock me down? Like TM did.
        Beat me about the head and shoulders?
        Like TM did.

      • Thomas61

        Well NASTY if Georgie Porgie couldn’t defend himself he should have stayed his butt in the car . Yes if someone was stalking me and not identifying themselves yes I would defend myself. he blood on Zimmerman’s head was a bit too perfect for me .He shouldn’t be a neighborhood watchman if he can’t handle himself And you can stop with the idiotic capital letters

      • Nasty

        Are you a 12 year old idiot? Or do you just have a problem with facts in general?

      • Thomas61

        Nasty I believe you are the idiot so all 12 yr olds are idiots? Today children are more mature than people like you. I do not have a problem with facts if everything was exposed. I have read many of your comments and they appear to be one sided . Zimmerman could have equally stayed in his vehicle and never suffered any of his fake injuries. I suppose in your mind that stupid law only applies to certain people of a different race . I will say whatever I wish this America and we have freedom of speech or do you believe that only applies to certain people as well . Get over you ignorance and hate and move on . The amount of times you have commented here tells me you are the one who has some deep rooted problems .

      • Nasty

        I’m not the one who wrote a “paragraph” … Hehehe
        You don’t know the simplest of facts from the trial. Therefore, anything you say is uninformed emotional crap, at best.

      • Thomas61

        My initial reply wasn’t even to you NASTY so just move your troll butt along and find someone else to harass . What do I have to be emotional about? All the facts were not presented in the court case and when they were being introduced the defense started the same type of name calling. Talk about immaturity and as many times as you have replied to others on here who do not see things your way you appear to be the emotional one LOL

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Nasty, you sound pretty paranoid…which by your standards gives you the right to shoot people any time you “feel threatened.” Also you’re very aggressive, which means if you and George Zimmerman saw each other – armed and paranoid – each of you could feel threatened and shoot the other. A win-win situation! Since your gun seems to be integral to supporting your ego, it’s only a matter of time before you kill someone on a whim. FACTS??? Look up DNA transfer; it’s not possible for Martin to have done what Zimmerman claimed with the ONLY DNA transfer being Martin’s blood. Perhaps you believe Trayvon wore latex gloves to beat up George, then cleverly removed and concealed them while he was bleeding out. I pity all your family and neighbors, you’re a bully with a loaded gun just looking for a target you think you can justify killing.

      • Nasty

        The facts are, as the jury decided, the 6 foot tall black male attacker a shorter and fatter older Hispanic male. Those are the facts.
        Now, I never “feel” threatened. I’m not a Liberal that depends on “feeling”. I am either threatened or I am not threatened.
        As for being aggressive, well I plead guilty. I don’t see it as a bad thing. You sound very aggressive yourself, wishing that two people would kill each other. Oh wait, that isn’t “aggressive” at all. That is simply mean and hateful.
        So I am aggressive and you are mean and hateful.
        (I like me more than I like you)

      • Thomas61

        By the way he could be a man and learn how to defend himself with out a weapon. What kind of neighborhood watchman is he? Not one who I would want to protect my neighborhood. After all it was his defense that claimed Trayvon didn’t appear to be the same person in the pictures being dispersed claiming he was 6ft with gold teeth . Wimpy should have stayed in his vehicle and let the real Police deal with it oh wait they dismissed his call because he constantly made these phone call that is a fact not allowed into court .

      • Nasty

        How can you ask such a Stupid Question? He is an ARMED watchman!
        It isn’t high school, punching in the arm BS that you are obviously thinking about.
        Are you even out of your teen years yet?

      • Thomas61

        It is just your opinion that it is a stupid question . He was a neighborhood watchman who is not required to carry a hidden concealed weapon as he admitted himself , he did not identify himself. My age has nothing to do with this but I will give you a hint the 61 is the year I was born. Apparently you are a fan of Zimmerman because just like him you believe it is fine to stalk someone who you disagree with . bet you can’t even read a paragraph . Be gone with your ridiculous insults your username accurately fits you NASTY

      • Nasty

        Facts? Ok, since you do not know the facts, I will help you out. It is legal to carry a gun. I carry a gun. It is legal to ask anyone, anything you want outside on any street or anywhere else. Being young and stupid is no excuse to attack a man of equal size. Being young and stupid is no excuse to break a man’s nose after you attack him. Being young and stupid is no excuse for threatening to kill another person. TM had FOUR minutes to get home and GZ did not know where he was. Somehow, TM did NOT go home. TM turned back and INSTIGATED a confrontation with the obvious intent of AT LEAST a serious ass whipping.
        Now it is clear that you didn’t follow the trial and know little of what was said there. TM was a victim of his own stupidity. He should have just kept on walking home. He didn’t.

      • Patrick King

        I carry a gun everywhere too now and if you stalk me I’ll use it… and walk like Zimmerman if you’re also packing.

      • Nasty

        GOOD! I believe you should carry a gun Patrick. perhaps you will get your “carry permit” like GZ did. I have a permit also.
        Now, TM evaded GZ. Look it up.
        TM had plenty of time to get home, according to his girlfriend. (You did hear his girlfriend’s testimony didn’t you?)
        TM circled back and confronted GZ.
        According to the medical report, GZ had a broken nose and damage to the back of his head consistent with his clamed attack.
        A Witness called 911 and reported the attack (you know that right?) He stated that GZ was on the bottom, not on top.
        Now Patrick, if you want to pick out some random individual and actually “stalk” them…You are just as stupid as TM and he got killed.
        Go ahead. I might even read about you one day.

      • Patrick King

        I don’t need a carry permit. I’m from New Hampshire. We “live free or die” up here. I don’t stalk anyone and nobody sure as hell stalks me and walks away from it. Just saying.

      • Nasty

        Good boy Patrick.

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Nasty and Patrick need to meet each other. It’s a sure bet that one or both of them will feel threatened, and they’ll shoot each other. This is much better than if they go stomping around looking for unarmed people to shoot. Sheesh, if your manhood needs enhancement that badly just take a pill. Guns are high-risk tools to be used when NECESSARY, not to swagger around looking for an excuse to whack somebody. I grew up on a farm, we used guns to protect livestock from varmints and hunt for food. We didn’t use them to terrify our neighbors or inflate our egos. You creeps give responsible gun owners a bad reputation.

      • Nasty

        I don’t “swagger” Peeler. Unless you know me you will not even know I am armed.
        Now like most Liberals you think a gun is a penis. What is wrong with your ability to think? Is everything a penis to you people. Let me guess, a “stick shift” is a penis to you right?
        I grew up on a farm also. I have hunted squirrel and deer. I feed deer out my back door these days. I also feed the raccoons that come around at night.
        I pretty much stay home most of the time and almost never go out at night. I have a loaded 22 in the house. The same one that I carry on my person when I leave the house. I have no desire to shoot anyone. It tends to complicate ones life and I like the simple life.
        I have been Judged a “responsible” gun owner by the State and the Federal Governments. I’m sure the 70 year old couple that live near by would call be very responsible, as the ask me to take care of their garden and water their flowers when they take trips. The family across the street do not have any problem with me. I doubt they are aware that I have five rifles and four pistols in my gun safe. I cut my yard with a puss mower (electric) and I water my flower bed in the front yard.
        Now all that being said, I will shoot the first SOB THAT attempts to do harm to myself, my family and if my friends need assistance I will help them defend also.
        Now you want to make a monster out of a man that believes in taking the responsibility of his own and his family’s protection.
        You are nothing more than a hate monger, and the world is filled with worthless pos just like you. That’s ok, as long as you present no physical threat, you can run your hate filled mouth all you want. This is America and you have that right.

      • Nasty

        Roderick Scott Trial: What’s Wrong with New York?

        His name is Roderick Scott. He’s a 42-year-old black man with the build of a football player. He also holds a New York State Pistol Permit, or he did until recently. In fact, until April of this year, he kept a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol readily to hand. Whether that pistol has been returned to him by now, and whether he still holds his permit (or will again) is anybody’s guess. I don’t know Mr. Scott and have never spoken to him.

        Roderick Scott is, to his misfortunate, a resident of Greece, New York — a suburb of the crime-ridden, crumbling city of Rochester, NY. I say this is to Roderick Scott’s misfortune because, were he a resident of a state that leans less perilously to the left, he might not just have endured several months of legal torture, followed by the longest 19 and a half hours of his life.

        Back in April, after an argument with his common-law wife, Scott was asleep on the couch in his home. At 3:00 in the morning he heard a disturbance outside, looked out the window, and saw three teenagers trying to break into his car. Shoving his gun into his waistband, he went outside to see what in hell was going on.

        He caught one Christopher Cervini, then 17, in the driveway across the street. With Cervini were his cousin, James, and their friend Brian Hopkins. They were busily rifling through the neighbor’s car when Roderick Scott confronted them. These teenagers, you see, are (in Cervini’s case, he was) petty criminals. They were working their way through all the cars in the neighborhood in order to find things to steal.

        The teens had also been drinking earlier in the evening. A toxicologist’s report confirmed that Christopher Cervini was legally drunk at the time of his death. (All three teenagers had, as at least one of them admitted, been drinking stolen gin before the incident.) This fine, upstanding young man, who (we were repeatedly informed during the trial) had no criminal record, also had marijuana and amphetamines in his system. The marijuana traces were consistent with a history of such use, while Cervini had been perscribed no drugs that would have accounted for the positive amphetamine results.

        Under oath, James Cervini claimed that he and Christopher were standing still with their hands up when Christopher was shot — an assertion James never made prior to the trial. If it seems strange to you that he never brought this up before to taking the stand, you aren’t alone in your incredulity. This seems to me an obvious lie — last-minute perjury intended to damn Roderick Scott by false witness.

        Now, here’s something relevant, something you need to know about Christopher Cervini’s cousin James. James, at 15, has been on probation not once, but twice, for assisting in a burglary and for holding a knife to the throat of a ten-year-old boy (reportedly over a dispute involving marijuana). Roderick Scott’s defense attorney, a brilliant lawyer named John Parrinello (to whom Scott owes his freedom), argued during the trial that it was very likely Christopher rushed Roderick Scott in an attempt to help his cousin James escape. Both “kids” knew that James would be in trouble were he caught committing more petty theft.

        Roderick Scott took the stand in his own defense, explaining that he “looked outside the front door to see what was going on,” identifying “three individuals walking out of [his] driveway.” He “intended to go out and stop the criminal act or detain them.” He then chambered a round in his weapon. “I had no idea what was going on,” he said, ”so I had to protect myself.” He was, he testified, aware that he was outnumbered, and that is key to this issue as a self-defense scenario. When outnumbered, even if those facing you are unarmed, you are generally justified to use a force multiplier — a weapon — to defend yourself.

        “I wanted to stop them before they could get away,” he admitted. “We live so far away, they would have been gone before police got there.” When Scott told the three teenagers that he had called the police, Christopher Cervini broke from the group and ran at him, shouting either, “I’ll get you” to Scott or “I’ll get him” to his fellow thieves. Scott fired two shots in response.

        John Parrinello shrewdly released Scott’s 911 call following the shooting. On it, Roderick Scott and his girlfriend can be heard; Scott’s statements to the operator come without hesitation. His account of the incident is consistent with his testimony, and his tone and demeanor are anything but that of a trigger-happy vigilante.

        Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Julie Finnochio, by contrast, ruthlessly and relentlessly prosecuted Scottt. She got the last word during closing arguments, too, and tried to tell the jury that, regardless of the circumstances, the shooting was not justified. After the jury came back with their verdict of not guilty, she couldn’t resist the chance to twist the knife in Scott’s guts — or to further the propaganda that has been spewing from her office from the outset. “I just hope it’s not a message to this community,” she sniffed, “that you have the right to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old kid for breaking into a car.”

        This is intellectually dishonest. The woman is still trying to paint Scott, now a free and vindicated man, as a cold-blooded murderer. These “kids” — these teenaged, drunken, drug-addled, sometimes knife-toting petty criminals — were not shot at for breaking into a car, but for trying to assault Roderick Scott when he caught them committing a robbery.

        Cervini’s family, for their part, had the gall to shriek that Christopher was “brutally murdered” — that poor, innocent Christopher Cervini was essentially on trial alongside Roderick Scott. In the Cervinis’ eyes, Scott “was the judge, jury, and executioner.” Never you mind that Scott himself just sat before a jury and a judge whose job it was to pass sentence over him. In the twisted, unreal world of those who make excuses for drug-abusing, potentially violent thieves, it is a law-abiding citizen defending himself with a legal weapon who must prove his innocence after the fact.

        Even the dead boy shared his family’s sense of entitlement — their indignant cries of “murder” after their boy died a victim of his own criminal stupidity. By Roderick Scott’s own testimony, we know that, as Christopher Cervini bled out into a gutter on that suburban street, he uttered the words, “I’m just a kid.” Those words will probably haunt Roderick Scott. They should bother all of us, for Cervini clearly thought that, to the end, he should not be held responsiblity for either theft or attempted assault.

        Worse still is the fact that there are plenty of people in Roderick Scott’s neighborhood, and in the greater Western New York area, who wrongly think he’s a murderer. The local AM talk shows featured many Mondy morning quarterbacks, newly minted firearms experts pontificating from ignroance on why the shooting could not be justified. Why, after the fact, we learned that those teenagers weren’t armed this time, so clearly Roderick Scott could not have feared for his life. After all, the man dared to leave his home and confront those committing a crime. Has he learned nothing from living in modern society in New York State? You’re supposed to cower in your home, hiding under the couch, praying dearly that those terrible, mean people outside won’t choose to come inside. You’ll have plenty of time to pray while you’re on hold with the 911 operator, waiting for police who can’t possibly get there in time.

        This is what’s wrong with the culture of New York State. Our state values victims over victors. It enshrines passivity over direct action to preempt or thwart criminal activity. It excuses the acts of teenaged thugs, revising history to absolve them of blame for their petty crimes, while pillorying good citizens who dare to defend themselves with legally permitted arms.

        In a state with the strictest gun control in the union, to own a legal handgun is no small thing. Roderick Scott is a decent person who did everything legally and correctly… yet in the minds of many, he is the villain simply because he dared not to do nothing. Had this shooting occurred in another state with less liberal hand-wringing underlying its legal code, it’s possible Roderick Scott would never have stood trial. It is, quite frankly, a miracle that the jury — deadlocked just a few hours before it came to the “not guilty” verdict — eventually granted Scott his life back.

        Fortunately, Roderick Scott is not bitter. “I feel that justice was served today,” he said after his legal ordeal.

        His lawyer was diplomatic but more pointed: “I just want to say that I hope this case sends a message to families out there to watch their kids, to know where they are and what they are doing.”

        That lawyer’s message is clear: If your kids live like garbage, trade in garbage, and contribute nothing to their community but garbage, they very well may die like garbage. If that happens they have no one to blame but themselves… though their parents ought to think good and hard about whether they share responsibility.

      • Cathryn Conner Buchanan

        I don’t think TM knew at the time GZ had a gun. It also is not against the law to follow someone . What if TM had just broken into a home and murdered a young Mother and child, We would now be calling GZ a hero for helping to catch the guy. What saddens me the most is that there were 6 people that heard the screams for help and only one person even made the attempt to render help , why out of fear for their personal safety. What if this had been a child being kidnapped or any number of things. What if TM had gotten his hands on the gun and shot GZ would that have been justice and frankly would we have even heard about it? Reasonable doubt, Yes. The jury did not vote on emotion, they voted on reasonable doubt, & That is The LAW. So many things could have changed the out come of this tragic event, TM could have called the police about the man following him instead he called his friend. TM could have walked straight home instead of a confrontation with his follower .Because of the Violence in the neighborhood , many felt the need to carry weapons, guns, pepper spray etc, if the young burglar had been caught maybe folk would have felt safe in their neighborhood again .It is not Justice folks want it is revenge. There is so much doubt as to what happened and so much false media reports making matters even worse. GZ did not walk up to TM and just shoot him, that would have been murder . Is it Justice you want or revenge?

      • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

        Keep it up with your imaginary justifications. Maybe someday you’ll believe them. Hope they stand up when it’s your grandchild being shot.

      • Nasty

        Those are the facts presented at the trial Chuckles. So sad for you that you don’t know that.

      • kaputnik

        Looks like Z-man was looking for revenge for those burglaries in his neighborhood and got it.

      • Nasty

        Looks like he was trying to prevent other burglaries from happening Kaputnik. But you really don’t understand the difference do you?

      • matt

        Maybe he was trying to stop one, You know this could have been all avoided. trayvon didn’t have to circle around and lay in wait and then assault him. He could have just as easily said ” hey man leave me alone ilive right over there” and gone on home

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Tell me how you decide which people have a right to stand their ground and which people are obliged to be humble and timid and beg for the stalker to let them go home??? Which category are you in? If someone was stalking and threatening you for no apparent reason, would you think you have a right to stand your ground or would you think yourself the sort of person who should ask the stalker to pretty please let you get home alive? Unless you believe that YOU have no right to stand your ground, you’re a hypocrite. Look in the mirror and say, “If someone stalks me, I’d better be respectful and humble or I deserve to be killed.” Can you do it?

      • Shawn Sisler

        And the adult male, who was supposed to have a fully developed brain capable of making better choices, could have stayed in his vehicle and just relayed TMs whereabouts to the police. Oh, maybe, just maybe, he could have followed Neighborhood watch protocol and left the gun at home as he was told by police organizers to do many times. I find it strange that so many expect more from a teenage boy, size doesn’t make the man, rather than from the adult of the situation. Color shouldn’t be an issue, we are all the same race, it’s called human. Puberty and brain development do not end until well into the early 20’s, meaning Z should have been far more capable of making better decisions than T, but as we can see, he wasn’t. I also just adore the way T’s behavior as of late has been a big issue but the things that Z did at that age aren’t even making a blip. What about the things Z had done well into his adulthood? A kid should be more responsible than an adult? Really? Someone please explain why.

      • matt

        how do you know if he hadn’t been carrying the gun he could be dead. Up until the time Trayvon was shot he was according to witnesses still beating George, Even though the media tried very hard to minimize it a broken nose and stiches on head show that trayvon was doing serious bodily harm and had no inclination to stop

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Where are the gloves? For Trayvon to beat Zimmerman with no DNA transfer, he had to be wearing gloves. Zimmerman didn’t think ahead, or he’d have had latex gloves to put on the dying TM while he was injuring himself to make his story look better.

      • Patrick King

        The problem, Cathryn, is that Tryavon Martin did NOT break into a home and murder anyone. We cannot go around killing people we think might do something in the future. This is the problem with this entire case. George Zimmerman took it upon himself to intimidate a young man until he felt the need to defend himself, shot him to death and got away with it under the guise of “self defense.” He better not come around my neighborhood. He’s not the only one who can defend himself.

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Wow, for a person who is all about the law instead of emotion you’re quite the fiction writer. Now TM was possibly going to murder a mother and child, so Zimmerman is a hero. Based on nothing but your imagination. You could have a future writing mediocre pulp fiction. You remind me of an old cartoon where Andy Capp tells a cop (of the man out cold at their feet) “I thought he was going to hit me so I hit him back first.” Has it never crossed your mind that if someone like Zimmerman decided YOU looked suspicious he’d shoot you in a heartbeat? So long as he felt a quiver of fear before he pulled the trigger, justifiable fear or pure paranoia, it’s kosher. And Martin is going to feel paranoid the rest of his life, so there’s a good chance he’ll shoot as many people as FL will allow (is there a bag limit on shooting unarmed juveniles in FL, or is it open season?). If some creep stalked my daughter like that, she’d have clocked him with the iced tea can. And been shot. And you’d be just fine with that, but I would object a LOT.

      • Guest

        your absolutely right! but on the other side of the coin! you also have the right to walk through your OWN neighborhood

      • matt

        nobody stopped him

      • common law

        This standard for self-defense is not defensible. It requires no common sense or restraint on the part of the person claiming “self defense.” It merely requires the person who kills in “self defense” to claim he “felt” threatened. The dead man could have very reasonably felt threatened by an aggressive person chasing him down on a public street and confronting him (for walking through a neighborhood while being black). If Martin had a gun he could have shot Zimmerman and also claimed self defense. This way of doing things will take us back to the days when there was no law except whoever shot first lived (if their aim was good) and the other person was dead.

      • Tracy

        What about Trayvon Martin’s right to defend himself? Are you asserting that he was not afraid that someone was following him? This is argument poses quite a double standard.

      • BG

        Defend himself from what? According to everything presented as evidence, Zimmerman was not threatening him – he was following him – and if you are being followed and feel uneasy about it, why would you turn around to confront the person? Would you not continue on to your home which is just ahead of you? Would you not walk a little faster to get there? Well, Trayvon puffed up his chest and wanted to be the bad ass thug that he played the part of in his daily life (with text messages about kicking people’s asses, being caught with a backpack full of jewelry and a screw driver, and posing with guns in photos) and Zimmerman took the beating for as long as he could. Case closed – literally.

      • Colin Daniel

        Because I don’t want the person to follow me home. I don’t know if he is up to no go or not. I am sure you will not lead a stalker to your home.

      • BG

        At 17, I would of went home, yes. And from there you can call the cops yourself and notify your parents that something is amiss.

      • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

        If your entire family weren’t dead by then.

      • Nasty

        What?

      • luceroblanco

        Exactly. Every time I have been “followed” by someone I would go another route–not to my home. I would not want them to know where I live.

      • Nasty

        So YOU would have turned to attack? Rather than go to the safety of your home? Really…..

      • matt

        Why is it impossible that trayvon maybe just wanted to beat someone up that night, we know he was a racist

      • Aaron Miles Davis

        have you heard of flight or flight? Have you ever been followed by an armed guy? Just by the nature of his actions it is threatening…

      • Brad Elroy

        Fight or Flight is a reflex response referring to what your body does when you are scared. It describes the physical preparation that your body undergoes internally, the hormones released… ect. And it doesn’t take away your free will. O_o??? The urge to Run has to be TRAINED out of you. It is physical and mental effort. That kid had himself pumped up in his own mind. And if he knew the guy was armed that makes it even worse. You gonna turn and bump chests with someone you know has a gun? That sounds intelligent to me.

      • Shawn Sisler

        What about the way we train our male children? We, as a society, teach them to not be cowards, cowards run. We teach them to stand and fight, to suck it up, no crying, no fear. Then when a young teenage male does this he is a thug. Boys have been posing in “I’m a badass” poses for as long as there have been cameras. Think about it… even in the 1800’s boys and men posed with guns, bullet holes in their hats and bodies of those they shot. All to make them look tougher. Z was no angel when he was a teen either, look at his record, or at least the part you can, must be nice that most of it is sealed because “daddy” is in a position to do so. To expect a teenager to behave better and make better decisions than the adult in the equation is a joke.

      • Nasty

        Most teens would run from someone following them. Unless of course they were looking for trouble also.
        As for “Z” history, how clean is yours? Could we perhaps find someone to say you were once no angle?
        Not that either your past or Z’s past has anything to do with that night. The trial was about “that night”. If you have to look beyond that night, you are admitting that you have a weak case.

      • Aaron Miles Davis

        So you’re right – he probably didn’t know that he armed or not. However that verifies my point… if he knew he was armed then what you said makes sense he would have ran. However he didn’t know, so being backed into a corner – he fought. Also how do you know that he had himself pumped up in his own mind? Yes we have free will but in an intense situation like that, the chemical reaction inside causes you react you don’t choose to act in a certain way – you don’t weigh options and consequences, you instinctively react. Also we can’t know for sure what was going on in his mind – but that doesn’t change the principles of flight of flight in a conflict situation. He was followed by a guy, felt threatened, and he turned on him. They both had the right to defend themselves – however only one got his day in court – and the other is dead.

      • Aaron Miles Davis

        Also have you ever froze up before? Yes we have free will but our bodies sometimes don’t follow what our minds want it to do. Shit doesn’t happen always because you will it. Sometimes we act instinctual and shit happens… they both more than likely acted in this manner. They both fought because they felt threatened. I’m not saying either one is an angel however if Zimmerman just stayed back like the 911 worker advised. They would both be alive, well, and this whole mess would have been avoided. Zimmerman may not be guilty of murder, or even manslaughter, but he is guilty of being an idiot. Unfortunately most cases that’s not a crime, even when it leads to someones death.

      • matt

        He didn’t know it was a armed guy. Its not like he was walking around with his gun out

      • Aaron Miles Davis

        I apologize for adding the gun point in there… however with our without the gun being present is moot… being followed by a guy for a lengthy period could certainly illicit fear for ones safety.

      • MJ

        “According to everything presented as evidence” – that’s exactly the problem. The only evidence came from the the killer. Trayvon had every right to puff up his chest and defend himself against someone he thought was threatening. Except we don’t know what he thought or felt because he’s no longer here to testify,

        Though I’m glad you asserted that his past behavior in text messages has anything to do with how he reacted to be followed by a strange man in the dark. Because apparently immature texting by a 17 year old justifies the killing. Case closed indeed.

      • K-Ann

        Actually there was forensic evidence presented that supported Zimmerman’s statements.

      • Nasty

        You forgot about the person that called 911 to report the fight.
        Remember? The WITNESS that reported in court that TM was on top of GZ.

      • Griff Jim Griffith

        “…Well, Trayvon puffed up his chest and wanted to be the bad ass thug that he played the part of in his daily life (with text messages about kicking people’s asses, being caught with a backpack full of jewelry and a screw driver, and posing with guns in photos) and Zimmerman took the beating for as long as he could. Case closed – literally….”

        Or so you say. No one knows if Trevon “puffed up his chest to be the bad ass thug.” That’s speculation on your part. You were not there. And since when is anyone’s murder justified by texts and photos in his phone? And finally, there was no evidence that Zimmerman “took a beating.” That is again, speculation. No one, including you, knows what actually happened except that an unarmed man was stalked and confronted by a man with a gun and that the man without the gun was dead on the sidewalk. Without the testimony of the victim, without Trevon there to tell his side of the story, everything else is speculation. And the conclusions that anyone reaches from said speculation says a lot about the speculator and nothing about what actually happened: an unarmed, innocent
        man was murdered.

      • AuntInAZ

        It irritates me that people keep talking about texts and photos. How many people, including those a lot older than Trayvon, send stupid texts out without thinking? And as far as the photos, at least a couple that people repeatedly cite as Trayvon are actually of someone else. Yet people still cite the photos, and even continue to show them.

      • matt

        It goes to show his character, doesn’t prove anything, but it does show he has a propensity for violence

      • Brad Elroy

        Guy looked pretty thrashed to me. There are pictures. EMT’s stated that he had a busted nose and he lacerated the back of his head. He took a beating.

      • Kristin Stanton

        Apparently not enough of a beating to seek medical attention, only to inquire about a doctors note for work. I would think that if someone took a big enough beating to feel like his life were threatened, he would need to be seen by medical professionals. It wasn’t until he knew he was being prosecuted that his wounds were severe. Funny.

      • matt

        He did see a doctor and got stiches, just didn’t see a follow up doctor

      • Nasty

        No evidence? There was a WITNESS you twit. Damn.

      • matt

        are you forgetting about the broken nose and stiches to back of head

      • reggie

        Florida law 784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.—
        (1) As used in this section, the term:
        (a) “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
        (2) A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

        Martin was distressed when telling his friend this white guy keeps following me. At this time Zimmerman is not following him he’s stalking him which IS against the law. Then start a confrontation loses the fight and shots a kid. That’s manslaughter.

      • Brad Elroy

        “No legitimate purpose” I would call making sure the neighborhood is safe, a legitimate purpose.

      • reggie

        1. in order to perform security duties you must obtain a Guard card in the state of FL. 2. he should have announced himself as security and respectfully approached him if martin ignored him Zimmerman should have let it go and kept a distant view. If he would have taken the guard course which is required to perform security duties he would have learned that you observe from a distance and report to authorities.

      • Nasty

        You have no idea what a “volunteer ” is do you?

      • reggie

        Being a volunteer does not excuse him from the law. It clearly states “security duties” which Zimmerman was performing therefore by Florida law he should have had a guard card.

      • Nasty

        Nor does it mean he cannot defend himself when attacked.
        I understand that you want TM to be a “victim”. However the facts are that he was the attacker. Six women (five of them Mothers) decided that.
        If you believe you know more than the six women of the jury, you should have stepped forward and made sure GZ was convicted.
        They decided the evidence and witnesses pointed to TM being the attacker.
        (look it up)

      • reggie

        Being found not guilty does not make him innocent i listen to the juror and she wasn’t very bright no witness 100% confirmed it was trayvon on top and that was a kid screaming on the 911 tape. He just turned 17 weighing in at 120 Zimmerman at 220 i don’t see how that scrawny kid could have pinned him down to the point where the only move he could make was to grab his gun. I’ve been in a few fights when I was younger this was a school yard fight the only thing that was truly threatened was Zimmerman’s ego

      • Nasty

        You and I do not know who was screaming. so that is that. Both Mothers said it was their Son. So you know squat reggie. Just like me.

        His age does not matter. I had skinny 17yo that can kick some ass when they wanted too, and TM wanted too.

        His weight does not matter either. I weight 228 but I’m short and just about any skinny 17yo could take me IF he stunned me with a punch to the nose first.

        Do you know nothing about fighting reggie?

        Obviously you don’t. Good. That means you have never needed to know. I’m happy for you reggie!

        This was not a “school yard” fight. Not according to the witness.

        I understand that you want to get all emotional about it and make TM out to be a victim.
        But that isn’t the way it was. Again, six women (five Mothers) disagree with you reggie.
        Did GZ kill a person? YES! No question! He wil have to live with that.
        Did GZ have the Right to take that life. Yes. He was defending what he believed to be his own life.
        That makes it a justified killing.
        So GZ is guilty of “Killing”, but not guilty of Murder.
        If you are unable to understand the difference, that is your problem. You should read up and educate yourself.

      • reggie

        Lol I’m not sure why you think saying ” educate myself” is that suppose to validate your point or something? You wanted Zimmerman to be found innocent I think we all get that however to say he was stunned but was coherent enough to grab a gun and shoot is silly. If you’re stunned and being hit his first instinct was to grab a gun rather than fight like a man. He would have stayed in the car if he was unarmed because he was” soft” i think you haven’t been in any fight this was a normal fight no concussion meaning he wasn’t being struck hard enough Lol it was unreasonable force. lastly, You can tell it’s a kids scream I’m sorry you can’t tell between an almost 30 year olds scream and a boy just out of puberty scream. Bottom line Zimmerman started the confrontation should have never stalked trayvon.

      • Nasty

        Listen reggie, I don’t have a “point”. I also do not care if you do any research or not
        Obviously you have an Opinion based on emotion rather than the facts. Enjoy your rage reggie, it is all you have. The facts of the trial and the Jury can be found on the net and clearly show you are not interested in the facts presented.

      • Nasty

        You can’t even get the race right. Still? Still you don’t know the simplest of facts about the case?
        You messed up the quote also. What he said was; “Some Crazy assed Cracker”.
        Did you not watch or read ANYTHING about the trial?
        Oh and by the way GZ is just as “white” as President Obama.
        Both of them have one white parent.

      • matt

        He didn’t say white guy he called him a racial slur

      • Dee

        Wait an f’ing minute, here. It is ok for white folks to pose with guns and even threaten to shoot others but a person of color doing the same makes them a “thug”? Off the top of my head, Mr. “suck on my machine gun, Obama” Ted Nugent seems to be lauded as a patriot of the highest order, rather than a thug in the same circles that defend Zimmerman.

      • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

        Zimmerman didn’t appear on foot out of the blue. He had been following Martin in his car for awhile first, which I’m sure Trayvon noticed. If someone followed your kid in a car, wouldn’t your kid feel threatened? That’s how kids get kidnapped, ya know. White kids, even….maybe that concept brings it into your sphere of reality.

      • kaputnik

        …and the gun industry laughs all the way to the bank

      • Nasty

        You don’t have to defend yourself. You can allow whoever to do whatever they want to you. You have that right also.

      • This is perfectly explained, and I shall now copy and paste it for my friends to see because I am sick of typing it out.

      • Annie Mazur

        no need for stand your ground then ..right?

      • SophieCT

        Wow, the perfect crime: stalk someone until they are so uncomfortable that they defend first, then kill them because they didn’t want to be a victim. Then walk.

      • Pull your head out of your @$$

        Paranoia must suck!

      • SophieCT

        Yes it does. Look what it did to Zimmerman.

      • kaputnik

        You hit it on the nose, Sophie! All that is required for this to go into a recursive cycle is for someone to follow the z-man until he is alone, scream “help” a couple times, shoot him, and make a couple quick self inflicted wounds. If the murder victim is not around to tell the tale then Kudos to you for defending yourself!

        Well Done Florida and the Gun Industry for your loyalty and support to the 2nd-half of the second amendment! …all that junk about a “well regulated militia” going along with the right to carry a gun probably has nothing to do with this..

      • matt

        your forgetting that people were watching trayvon assult him

      • Nasty

        Or the ultimate act of stupidity. You have 4 minutes to go home. the guy watching you don’t know where you are.
        Smart move: Go home!!
        Stupid move: Go locate the guy and punch him in the nose, then tell him he is going to die tonight.
        Well well well. What do you know? Stupidity DOES kill.

      • Morwyn Margaret Peeler

        Tell me how you decide which people have a legal right to stand their ground and which people have a legal obligation to sneak home and hope the stalker isn’t still after them? Hell, if Trayvon had gone home he’d have been endangering his little sibling by leading and armed and dangerous man to the house. You clearly believe that some people can stand their ground and some people should sneak away or they deserve to die. You keep saying that, but you keep NOT saying which people have rights and which people don’t. Say it!

      • Nasty

        I don’t decide. The government decides. When I buy a gun AND when I got my “carry permit”, the government decided if I was allowed by law to have one.
        If the punk wasn’t out looking for trouble he would be alive today. If he had gone home he would have been alive today. If he had not turned to attack a fat Hispanic that he thought was an easy man to beat up on, he would be alive today.
        E V E R Y O N E…can stand their ground.
        Is that SIMPLE enough for you?
        Now if your are attacking someone then it is not possible for you to stand your ground. You are the “attacker” not the one being attacked.
        Did I lose you there? Was that logic quite beyond your ability to understand?

      • deborah ellison

        If you follow someone for a couple of blocks and ask them what they are doing you may not be doing anything illegal but you are behaving in an intimidating manner and that may provoke the person you are following-especially a kid, who might not know how to deal with a bully. I think your argument “Just because I initiated the
        original encounter does not make me responsible for the violence” is bullshit because you are not taking any responsibility for provoking it.

      • Brad Elroy

        Isn’t what you people are constantly stating here that “Violence isn’t the answer” or along those lines? So, even when someone walks up to you and merely questions you… even if they are a dick about it… you are responsible for your actions against them. You can deal with them with your words. Or you can deal with them physically. But, one of those is illegal, and one is legal. I am may have provoked him… but I didn’t attack him… and there is a BIG difference.

      • Cathryn Conner Buchanan

        Could TM have called the police to report the suspicious person following him instead of his friend? This is a very tragic event, But certainly Not Murder.

      • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

        Bingo. Remember – if Trayvon hit Zimmerman, it means Zimmerman got close enough to hit. I’d have kicked his ass, or at least tried.

      • K_Ann

        Bully? – I live in Florida – I’ve had people ask me who I was before – yeah it was a little annoying but understandable. I wasn’t breaking any law but looked out of place and if a person has a such a chip on his shoulder he can’t respond in a civil fashion – he is the problem.

      • Thomas Ryan

        So an adult, follows a 17 year old around, the 17 year old runs…. adult continues to follow him. Although that’s perfectly “legal” as you say, which person is the one acting suspicious here?? Keep in mind, this is at 7pm on a weekend night. It’s not 2am…
        If I’m the “neighborhood watch” and I see these actions, I’m calling the police on Zimmerman, as his actions are much more consistent with criminal behavior than Martins were.

      • Nasty

        Thomas, you were wrong at the second line. You don’t know the simple facts presented in court?

      • matt

        your forgetting that Trayvon circled back around to confront Zimmerman

      • thomas

        allegedly… That’s the testimony of the guy who ultimately killed him. Martin’s actions were never on trial. Everything we “know” about what Martin did, is alleged action, not fact. He was not on trial, Zimmerman was.

      • Clueless Neophyte

        How do you know Trayvon started the violence? Should we take Zimmerman’s word for it?

      • matt

        do you have any evidence to the contrary

      • reggie

        Florida law 784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.—
        (1) As used in this section, the term:
        (a) “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
        (2) A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

        Martin was distressed when telling his friend this white guy keeps following me. At this time Zimmerman is not following him he’s stalking him which IS against the law. Then start a confrontation loses the fight and shots a kid. That’s manslaughter.

      • sjhuinker

        Thank you! I was wondering why nobody brought up the point of STALKING. What Zimmerman did was STALK a 17 year old kid. If I was a 17 year old being followed by someone, I would be terrified too. I would call a parent or friends first as well to find out “should I call the cops? Or can you stay on the phone with me until he leaves me alone or in case he does something and YOU need to call the cops.” Like the article said, this is scary to know people can now get away with murder based off “WHY” they did it. TM probably also felt very threatened for his life being STALKED, but we wouldn’t know that because he can’t speak for himself thanks to his stalker.

      • Duncan McNeil

        He wasn’t even being *stalked,* he was being *chased.* During the phone call Zimmerman says – Trayvon Martin is running from him.

      • Tillmann Puschka

        oh c’mon- Zimmerman is a bum and cowardly rogue cop wannabe who had several previous altercations with law enforcement and, like most cowards who’re nothing without their little guns, was looking for an excuse to use his. basta.

      • Mase

        What if the person you are questioning(arm chair cop)does not answer-or gets verbally abusive. What do you do-kill him and claim self defense?

      • Judy Kachelmeyer

        You fail to point out that just before Trayvon punched Zimmerman, George himself said he was reaching into his pocket. That is when Trayvon first strucxk out. So now ee have a strannge man following Trayvon first slowly in a car, then on foot. Then we have the stranger who had been following Trayvon reach into his pocket. I submit to you it wasTrayvon who was protecting himself from an unknown stranger, who NEVER identified himself as a neighborhood watch and who then reaches into his pocket.

      • You don’t buy it? Did you have evidence they didn’t have at trial? Or is that using emotion over facts to decide the fate of another human being?

      • Darkthunder

        I’m entitled to an opinion. As are you. As is everyone on this planet. And my opinion, is that the jury returned the wrong verdict.

        As I said above, Mr Zimmerman would never have been in danger, and requiring to protect himself in “self-defense”, if he hadn’t put himself in that position, in the first place.

        (Guns make people brave, and stupid.)

      • karyn

        Guns don’t make people stupid. He was already stupid 🙂

      • reggie

        haha you gotta point there

      • deborah ellison

        I agree, Zimmerman had no business getting out of his car with a gun after the police told him “no thank you”. I for one do not like gun wielding vigilantes cruising around-they might be heroes in the own universe but in the real world they are a dangerous, unnecessary, threat to our communities-we hire policemen to patrol and protect-not JOE-SCHMOE.

      • livelaughlove

        “We don’t need you to do that.” was the dispatcher’s ‘request’. If you listened to Zimmerman’s side, he said he turned around when the dispatcher told him that. Mr. Martin had an entire four minutes after this call to get to his house which was only a few hundred feet away. He chose not to. He clearly didn’t mind fighting (he was on suspension from school at the time for fighting), he had drugs in his system as well and didn’t seem very scared of Mr. Zimmerman. He clearly was the one who was beating up George and he could have also gotten away at that time. He was athletic and could have ran home without George Zimmerman ever making contact with him.

        And I would beg to differ with you that just because you’re somewhere you ‘shouldn’t be’, you should not defend yourself. If you were told by your spouse or parents that they would rather you not go somewhere, you go, and are put in a situation where your life is in danger…should you just not defend yourself because you ‘shouldn’t have been there’?

      • danallison

        So he was murdered for smoking pot? Do you have any clue what the difference is between a “leaf” and a “drug”? Any 6-year-old does! Just more anti-pot-hysteria BS. whether smoking or not, being followed late at night by ANYONE makes me paranoid.

      • Heather McDougall

        No, he was shot because he was on top of a guy beating him. Martin had a phone. He could have called the police if he thought the “creepy ass cracker” posed a threat to him. He did not need, nor had a legal right, to attack him.

      • Griff Jim Griffith

        “…No, he was shot because he was on top of a guy beating him. …”

        And yet another eye witness! Why didn’t you testify at the trial?

      • reggie

        Would Zimmerman have pursued Trayvon if he was unarmed? I think that question is why he didn’t take the stand. his fighting instructor called him soft so with that notion Zimmerman is a punk. The gun gave him power and knew at any sign of trouble pull the gun. Whereas any other MAN would have fought back he had 100lbs on him for crying out loud. Zimmerman broke the law by Stalking Martin. You can not stand your ground while also being the aggressor. it’s an oxymoron

      • Duncan McNeil

        Yeah, stop and call the police while someone is running toward you with a firearm – you’re unsure of his intentions, and you don’t know how long the police will take (and he was right if he thought it would take too long).

      • Griff Jim Griffith

        “…He clearly was the one who was beating up George and he could have also gotten away at that time. He was athletic and could have ran home without George Zimmerman ever making contact with him…”

        Oh really? I had no idea you were an eye witness. Shouldn’t you have come forward during the trial?

      • Cathryn Conner Buchanan

        Sadly if you listened in court, Zimmerman did not chase anyone, The police dispatcher did not tell him NOT TO FLOOW THE KID he asked if GZ was following the person GZ said “NO”

      • Amanda De

        Someone is REALLY dense. GZ said so, that makes it true? WOW

        GZ admitted LATER to LYING on the tape about not following him. He did follow him. You can even hear him get out of his car on the tape.

      • Brad Elroy

        Eye Witness resport says Trayvon had Zimerman on the ground beating him. Stand your ground isn’t even viable then. Even if there wasn’t a stand your ground law… if the guy had him pinned and underneath him, and Zimmerman couldn’t escape… he has done everything in his power to get away… and the kid is still beating on him… he is within his rights to kill the little bastard. In any state. He’d exhausted all means. You’re going to find, even without Stand your ground laws… that it is hard to prove against self defense in that case.

    • BluesFan44

      Honest question: who initiated the physical altercation? Who laid hands on whom first?

      • Cathy Baumgardner

        We will never know that because George Zimmerman made sure he silenced the only other real witness in this case.

      • How did he make sure? With one shot fired while being pounded? If he wanted to silence witnesses, he probably wouldn’t have called the police first.

      • Annie Mazur

        he didn’t expect trayvon to be there when he got there he called the cops to cover his ass it worked well.

      • Nice fabrication due to bias.

      • Also, there were no signs of Trauma on the towering Trayvon Martin.

      • ruthanneb

        Including no signs on his fists, of having slugged someone.

      • Amanda De

        LOL towering. He was two inches taller than Zimmerman. (According to the medical examiner and police reports) You’re pathetic. Truly.

      • AuntInAZ

        This is another thing that irritates me-the portrayal of Trayvon as some sort of big, hulking guy. He was around 5’11” and weighed 158 pounds. Ridiculous to say he towered over Zimmerman.

      • Calling other people pathetic on the internet is pathetic I think.

      • Trayvon did. Obviously, if you look at who’s got cuts and bruises, and who doesn’t.

      • HelenRainier

        Zimmerman is alive. Trayvon is dead. Zimmerman is the adult. He should have left well enough alone once he was told the police were on the way and that it wasn’t necessary for him to continue following him. Zimmerman didn’t say Trayvon was in the middle of commiting a crime when Zimmerman happened upon him. It would have been different if Trayvon was doing something illegal — like raping someone — and Zimmerman came to the aid of the person being raped. That did NOT happen.

      • Annie Mazur

        you never saw anyone make bruises on themselves, never saw anyone fake an injury .. no one saw trayvon hit him, he did however have 2 flashlights on himself and one didn’t work who carries a broken light around?

      • Fake an injusry? Did you watch the trial?

      • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

        But Trayvon had no DNA evidence linking him to Zimmerman…don’t you think there would have at least been some skin under his fingernails? The video I saw of GZ the night of the murder (& I am calling it that because it really WAS) showed a George with no visible broken nose, no cuts or abrasions on his scalp & not much blood on his clothing…. We will never know the REAL story … Trayvon CAN’T speak for himself & Zimmerman is not exactly known for speaking the “truth” = but you can go ahead & believe every word that comes from Zimmerman’s lips. Believe that Trayvon, no longer here to defend himself, was a thug. Certainly helps the idea that Zimmerman, stalked him & then shot him….If Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he shot him, where the hell was all the blood from Trayvon? It certainly wasn’t on Zimmerman’s clothing when he was picked up & the last I heard, Zimmerman was many things, quite a number of them, horrendous; but Vampire wasn’t one of them.

      • karyn

        Good question. No one knows except the two people who were there. One is dead and one told several different stories. ???

    • Scott W. Bell

      As long as you don’t have dark skin.

      • The only people making it about race, was the media, and Trayvon using the word Cracka.

      • Annie Mazur

        except whites don’t feel hurt,oppressed or denigrated by the words , it’s only descriptive of white, i love crackers, call me cu*t and ill break your nose call me craker and ill say who me?it’s very different.

      • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

        So, in your mind, Zimmerman using the word Coon didn’t count? It IS about race. If you really think Zimmerman would have followed a white kid he didn’t know, I have some swamp land in FL cheap. It wouldn’t have been a blip on Zimmerman’s radar. He had already called the police numerous times about “suspects” – not 1 of those suspects was white.

      • Annie Mazur

        it’s about connections, trayvon had none georgie boy was all over the place and trying so hard to be a dogooder, so hard to become important and he had many helpers who disregarded his obvious lack of ability.trayvon had a higher IQ and he hadn’t been previously accused of a single crime.george was.

    • That is exactly what I’ve been saying since the day Trayvon was murdered.

      • Randy L Hill

        He was shot in self defense

      • I Once Was Andrew

        And you say that based on… what, exactly? Zimmerman’s word?

      • What else do we have? Oh yeah, 57 witnesses and no bruises on the boy whatsoever.

      • Annie Mazur

        57 witnesses…. name them LOLZ maybe 5 who were on the scene and also too afraid to look out and those experts.

      • tcaruso01

        After he initiated a confrontation that he was told to avoid!! He jumped off a cliff by getting out of his car and pursuing an unarmed child, realized that he made a mistake when the child defended himself, then cried for a parachute to save him by pulling out his gun and shooting said defenseless child!!!

      • Incorrect, it isn’t illegal to follow or talk to someone. It is illegal to hit someone, please check your facts.

      • Annie Mazur

        where is a link to this talking to tray at i watched the evidence i saw it was mostly george’s statement as far as i saw or heard no one said a thing except george is take i don’t have proof.i’m open minded and googled already didn’t find it but will remain open minded until i read or see otherwise.

      • samthor

        follow? you mean stalk someone.. first in a car then on foot.
        the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree in the state of Florida.
        better yet … if a man IS stalking you… slowly in a car… waiting till you are alone in the dark rainy night … then jumps out his car to come at you… NEVER once identifying himself… would you feel the need go on the defensive? to perhaps ..stand your ground?

    • HumanWrites

      As long as no one sees you start the fight, it looks like it may have been Florida law, even before this case.

    • joecrouse

      When the evidence shows that Martin Escalated from verbal assault to Physical assault. How did Zimmerman do anything to escalate. By Responsibility for neighborhood watch he is the first responder and has the right to ask for identification AND detain someone till the police arrive if the suspect is deemed to be trespassing. This will be increasingly the case especially in gated communities which do have their own local laws regarding. WHICH can be different from the municipality that they are in.

      • Amanda

        Whoa…he had NO right to detain anyone. Trayvon was NOT trespassing, he was a guest of a resident of the community. If he asked Trayvon who he was, Trayvon had every right to tell him to go F himself. Zimmerman was not an agent of the police department and never even ID himself as a member of neighborhood watch.

      • He didn’t though, he punched the guy in the face.

      • Annie Mazur

        and if you were punched in the face what would you do?

      • Shoot them if they had me cornered, are you paying attention?

      • Annie Mazur

        none of which happened RESPONDER TO WHAT? when he was in the car getting out the bell rang (recall that) he was told not to follow he also remarked “he’s coming towards me yeah he’s checking me out ” well that would have been a great time to say”what you doing” he didn’t he followed/

      • ruthanneb

        He was NOT “neighborhood watch.” He was SELF-APPOINTED, self-styled neighborhood watch, without training. First rule the police emphasize to ACTUAL Neighborhood Watch groups: DO NOT CONFRONT; DO NOT DETAIN. Just call the police. His mission seems to have been to call the police every time he saw a young black man in the neighborhood, even though the neighborhood is itself multi-racial. AND we know, by his own statements, that he was sick and tired of having the police NOT arrest the people he identified as “suspects.” Also, he did report a dialogue he claims to have had with young Mr. Martin, and if you’ve ever read an adventure comic book you know the dialogue will sound very familiar, as coming from the mouth of a comic-book villain and hero–not from the mouth of any living being. This was a fantasy spree from the beginning, starring ZimmerMan. I find him terrifying, and if he had followed ME down a dark street I would have screamed my head off. I wish Trayvon had done the same.

      • AuntInAZ

        Neighborhood watches must have different rights in Florida than they do here if what you are claiming is true. As far as I am aware they don’t have the right to detain anyone here.

        Gated communities can have their own rules or a code of conduct, for example; however, they can NOT have ‘laws’ that are different from the municipality they are a part of. That part is true everywhere.

    • Following someone isn’t starting a fight, it’s following someone. Punching them in the face however, IS starting a fight, in which if you are pinned on the ground, can defend yourself with lethal force.

      • AuntInAZ

        If everyone who was supposedly pinned on the ground defended themselves with lethal force the population in this country would be a lot less than it is now. I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that anyone in a fight, especially when they initiated the whole thing themselves, should be allowed to employ lethal force.

    • SignDoc

      Trayvon went in a house and came back out. He Should have stayed in also. They were BOTH at Fault

  • Joel Watson

    Hmm, but that’s the thing with “slopes,” isn’t it? They have to start somewhere.

    I have a hard time believing that the outcome of this tragedy would have been different if the law had been different; after all, it’s hard to imagine that Zimmerman pulled the trigger *only* because he believed he would get off under the stand-your-ground law, and that he would have kept it holstered if the law did not exist.

    No, it was a tragedy, and unfortunately Martin is dead. But denying the ability of a citizen to protect themselves from real threats, regardless of where they might have to be, is worse. Without recourse to self-defense, one’s only hope is in the hired mercenaries of the government (e.g., the police), which is no help at all.

    • Dissenter13a

      Read the dissent in Blyew v. US, and tell me that leaving it to the cops is a good idea.

  • Dissenter13a

    It is The Law of Unintended Consequences: You don’t know that a law is bad one until you see it in application.

    The law is what put Zimmerman in a position to confront Martin. But if you are on the ground getting pummeled, you have every right to reach for a gun and shoot. Forensics and an eyewitness put Zimmerman on the ground according to news reports, which is probably enough for “reasonable doubt.”

    • DM

      So, if someone attacks me, and I happen to be better at fighting than my attacker, my attacker can then shoot me without penalty.because then my attacker is then afraid for HIS life???? WTF kind of law or justice is that???? Too damn bad for a criminal who chose to pick on someone perceived to be weaker and gets his ass whipped! Why should he get off when he SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN COMMITTING A CRIME IN THE FIRST PLACE???

      • DM

        Didn’t the law used to be that if someone was killed during/ as a result of a crime the penalty was increased??? How does zimmerman get to be the aggressor and then cry scaredy cat and walk free? He was acting as vigilante and should be in prison. I hope he never has a peaceful moment as long as he lives.

      • V_Valentyne

        Yes, there is a law, but it’s not quite the same as you described.

        It’s called a Felony Murder Rule common law, which is a law on the books in 46 of the United States. Specifically, in California it is codified under Penal Code Section 189.

        Basically, it states that if a death occurs during the act of committing a felony that the person engaged in the felony act may be charged with murder.

        I’m not sure it would apply in the Zimmerman case, however, as I do not believe Zimmerman had committed a felony during the crime.

      • Bosco117

        No that’s not the law.

      • joecrouse

        Zimmerman was attacked first. He shot first and rightly so.

      • AuntInAZ

        He had to shoot first. Trayvon Martin didn’t have a gun and couldn’t shoot anyone. And so glad you were there to see all this so you could tell us. Why didn’t you testify?

      • Dissenter13a

        What “crime” was committed, DM?

        While no one would dispute that GZ was not acting prudently, the law doesn’t care. He had a legal right to be where he was, and we don’t know how the altercation started. We don’t know for certain who attacked whom: one of the parties can’t speak, and the other has a reason to lie if it benefits him.

        The right to self-defense is determined at the moment you avail yourself of it. And in a life-or-death struggle, it is available to both parties. This is the law we have lived under for a quarter-millenium and Britain, for a half-millenium before that.

    • ruthanneb

      And another eyewitness put Martin on the ground.

      • Dissenter13a

        If the raw testimony is in conflict — and it frequently is — the jury decides who to believe.

  • me

    When the police told him go home ….that was where it needed to end..,but HE CONTINUED to Track the teen…as far as being dangerous in regards to skittles.. a 98 pound Grand mother would be dangerous if her life were in jepoardy.. you impley.TM was dangerous. Why????If some stranger was following you at so late hour at night how would react…if they were white…black….or some other so called.race..if they pulled a gun on you…your logical perception would be changed VERY QUICKLY

    • modera8

      I would get the hell out of the area as quickly as I could, I sure wouldn’t start a fight with them, as I don’t know if they’re carrying a weapon or trained in some sort of fighting. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, though, nor do I have a chip on my shoulder.

    • MrLightRail

      911 operators are CLERKS, nothing more. They are not sworn officers, and have no powers of the police. A directive given by a 911 operator is only a suggestion, not an order, and cannot be construed as such.

      • MaryLF

        Zimmerman was supposedly in the neighborhood watch. Neighborhood watch groups always caution their member not to confront but to call the police and wait.

      • V_Valentyne

        Even if he was technically told not to follow him by a police officer, that would still technically be just a suggestion and not make following him illegal. You are under no obligation to follow a police command unless you are actually under arrest.

      • Bosco117

        That is not true. If a sworn officer gives you an order, you are obligated to follow it unless it places your life in danger. Try driving away during a traffic stop and see what happens.

      • V_Valentyne

        It is indeed.

        In your example specifically, if you are pulled over in a traffic stop the police officer should and must first announce why you were stopped. If he did not stop you with appropriate probable cause, you have the right to politely excuse yourself. For instance, a random DUI stop where you showed no signs of impairment and made no infractions – you have the explicit right to excuse yourself.

        The point of the police was not intended as a security force to control the citizenry and there are rights to assure that they are not given that power. The fact that people don’t know and understand these rights is what allows them to command as they do.

      • joecrouse

        911 dispatch are not sworn officers.

      • AuntInAZ

        911 operators may not be sworn officers, but if you think they are simply ‘clerks’, you clearly have no idea what the job is really like. I do, I applied for the position with the City of Mesa. It’s not some easy, sit on your rear end and dispense advice position.

    • Cathy Baumgardner

      Didn’t George Zimmerman say he was in fear of his life? What I don’t understand is that Trayvon walked right around his truck and made no moves of aggression towards Zimmerman who was sitting there with a loaded gun and could lock the doors. Why was he in fear of his life and if he was then why in the hell would he get out of his truck in the rain and dark and go looking for this person? He is a liar. He stalked that kid and I would bet pulled his gun on him and when Trayvon was fighting for his life he killed him. The fact that he made the statement something like “these assholes always get away” I think is more than telling. George made up his mind that no one would listen to him and take him serious as a cop and he was going to make sure this one did not get away. I will bet you he thinks now he is going to get the real badge and gun. Heaven help the people in Florida who live any place near this idiot.

      • Angela Monger

        That’s what gets me. He refers to this kid as an asshole and fing punk before he even approached the kid. He already had ill will towards the kid from the very start. However I seriously doubt any police station would want him on their force so I think we can rest easy on that one. His fantasy of being a cop will be just that. A fantasy.

      • Annie Mazur

        his delusion got a kid a young man with great potential killed and the cops were sympathetic and catered to him for some absurd reason.

      • Annie Mazur

        exactly

    • joecrouse

      The Police didn’t, the DISPATCH office did. That is NOT the Police. And As Neighborhood watch and Neighborhood security He is liabel for any mischief that Mr Martin would have Caused. AND as it is a GATED Neighborhood he can also ask for ID and WHERE YOU ARE STAYING TO VERIFY WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE. PERFECTLY WITHIN HIS RIGHTS.

      • SyntheticPhylum

        No. Neighborhood Watch is NOT an official agency; it’s a bunch of residents in a community who promise to CALL THE POLICE, and DO NOT ENGAGE. Neighborhood Watch warnings in neighborhoods say that SUSPICIOUS PERSONS WILL BE REPORTED TO THE POLICE, not SUSPICIOUS PERSONS WILL BE SHOT BY OVERZEALOUS COP-WANNABES. Unless, of course, you live in a NON-COMEDIC version of the village in Hot Fuzz. Zimmerman was NOT employed by the neighborhood in an official capacity as a Security Officer. No Guard Card, no uniform, no company car. Claiming him as such is BS, and he would have been in no way liable for any mischief that Trayvon MIGHT have caused. And, since Trayvon was living there with his father, he had every right to not be harassed by anyone, much less a failed cop with a gun & an attitude & a chip on his shoulder, because “these assholes ALWAYS get away.”

      • Annie Mazur

        well put

      • Annie Mazur

        March 13, 2012 – Sanford Police Department’s homicide detective Christopher Serino recommends Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter.

        Zimmerman “failed to identify himself” as a concerned citizen or
        neighborhood watch member on two occasions that night. Serino reports
        that he thought Zimmerman’s head injuries were “marginally consistent
        with a life-threatening episode, as described by him, during which
        neither a deadly weapon nor deadly force were deployed by Trayvon
        Martin.” source cnn timeline of events

      • AuntInAZ

        People like you keep saying Zimmerman was within his rights as a member of the Neighborhood Watch to detain or question Trayvon Martin, but then you turn around and say the 911 dispatcher is not officially the police, and therefore has no authority to tell Zimmerman what to do. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Someone working for the PD has no authority, but a random citizen does just because he claims to be a member of the local Neighborhood Watch?

        Of course the dispatcher couldn’t force Zimmerman to listen, especially over the phone, but Neighborhood Watches certainly have no right to detain anyone.

  • Bertram Allen

    For a ‘professional commentator’ this was a fail……..

    • Mad Madam Mim

      It’s an opinion article. Just because you disagree with the opinion, that does not make it ‘a fail’.

  • jfletch

    I feel like there needs to be some sort of “order of events” to determine the first act of aggression. Zimmerman chose to follow Martin with a loaded gun. To me, that makes him the aggressor and there should be some sort of consequences for that, regardless of what happened after. Had he stayed in his car, Martin would be alive and Zimmerman would not have been on trial. Zimmerman committed the original act of aggression.

    • I Once Was Andrew

      I agree with that, but there’s nothing technically illegal about following someone while in possession of a firearm, and I don’t think we’d want to (or could) change that law.

      There is, however, something very, very illegal about murdering an unarmed kid who was minding his own business until he was accosted.

      • stardreamer42

        There’s nothing illegal about tailgating someone in your car either, but if you rear-end them while doing it, then it’s your fault. IMO the point where Zimmerman stepped over the line was when he got out of the car, against the specific instructions of the police dispatcher. Did he think he was under threat then?

      • Heretic50

        Tailgating is illegal..it’s called “following too close” and you can be pulled over and ticketed for it.

      • I Once Was Andrew

        I agree — once you get out of your car, armed, to follow someone who’s not doing anything to you, that’s obviously wayyyy over the line.

    • Incorrect, learn your laws. Following someone to ask what they are doing after calling police is not considered aggression no matter how many people like your comment.

      • jfletch

        Maybe you should learn to read as I never said what he did was against the law; I’m saying it’s an act of aggression that should have consequences. Racially profiling a teenager and following him with a loaded weapon IS an act of aggression and it is an act of vigilantism. We have cops for a reason. We don’t need vigilantes.

  • Right is Wrong

    The decision was based on the moment of pulling the trigger. Since bullies are cowards (disprove if you like), I am sure that this whiny wannabe DID feel that his life was in danger.

  • George Nestico

    Innocent men don’t lie and a man with a gun don’t cry for help, the lack luster performance of the Prosecution allowed this murderer to go free, and maybe just maybe the father being a Judge could explain their less than stellar performance when cross examining defense witnesses which at times was just nonexistent .

  • metah nna

    I stopped reading after this sentence “… the belief by many that someone is suddenly not dangerous just because they had a bag of Skittles (instead of a weapon) is a naive way to look at this tragedy.” Another way of being naive is believing Zimmerman , was looking for a street name ( there were only 3 streets) and looking for an address! AND DEFENDING HIMSELF!

  • Cathy Baumgardner

    In this case though if Zimmerman had followed what the 911 operator said and did not follow Trayvon and let the professionals deal with it this child would not be dead. I think what this trial opened the door for is if you don’t like the looks of someone, take a loaded gun and follow them and make sure there are no witnesses and shoot them but make sure you shoot to kill when you do. You will walk just like he did. We have not heard the last of George Zimmerman and his need to take out the “bad guys” as he thinks of them.

    • Chris Hope

      But be sure to get in a fight first, that way it looks like your life might actually be in danger.

      • stardreamer42

        And it works best if you’re white and they aren’t.

      • kaputnik

        …or just pretend to have had a fight to cover your crime (no reason to actually put yourself in danger while committing the murder).

  • Mike Morrissey

    Why even bring up the “Stand Your Ground” laws? I thought GZ waived his right to a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, so that it not an issue. BTW I think a reasonable person would not feel threatened by someone asking, “Why you following me for?”

    • kaputnik

      The defense decided not to invoke stand your ground. However, it was the reason Z-man was handled with kid gloves…until the community complained to force a prosecution of some kind.

      • Mike Morrissey

        Yes, and also the jury instructions included language from SYG, and the self-defense laws in Florida closely mirror SYG.

  • Wes

    Stand your ground was not on trial here. Stand your ground states that you don’t have to retreat – that you can meet force with force. According to the evidence presented, Zimmerman was sucker punched, then pummeled while he was down. No retreat was possible at that point. This was a self defense case. Go back and read the instructions to the jury. Stand your ground was not even a factor.

    • Sense

      Except that in a case where an abused woman fired a warning shot, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison because she didn’t run.

      • V_Valentyne

        Cite your case and present your argument based on the decision that her “not running” is what got her sentenced to 20 years to life.

      • Tgmoore

        I have seen Sense’s supposed case mentioned several times in this article alone. I would really like to see this case instead of people just spouting off,

      • Meh

        The case Sense and others are citing are about a woman in florida, who fired her gun at her estranged husband as a warning shot. She got 20 years for it. But they fail to mention that this woman fired the gun with her husband and children in close proximity. They also fail to mention that the warning shot wasn’t fired into the ceiling but at head level with the husband position. They also fail to mention that she had a restraining order on said husband, but she personally broke that RO and got into a fist fight with her husband and gave him a black eye. There were many inconsistencies with her testimony and her attempt to use the Stand Your Ground law to get her out of her behaviour which put her children’s life into danger.

    • Amanda

      The evidence proves that he was hit, probably once, not 25 times like he claimed. It doesn’t prove why he was hit or that he was sucker punched. It doesn’t prove that he wasn’t punch in the face after trying to physically detain Martin. It doesn’t proved that he didn’t shove Martin who then hit him and overpowered him during the scuffle.

  • Ole Man

    Hope someone shoots him.

  • bfreesun

    Beyond reasonable doubt is quite different from beyond doubt so the whole premise of the article fails

  • Marianne Flanagan

    The best justice is voting out the people who signed that law into existence, and overturning that law. With a different legislature in Florida, this law would not have passed.

  • HumanWrites

    Like you, I didn’t follow it day-to-day either. But, here is something I recently read about the not guilty verdict: In Florida, the legal definition for manslaughter is “the unjustifiable, inexcusable, and intentional killing of a human being without deliberation, premeditation, and malice.” Other states allow for an “imperfect self-defense” conviction, even when someone kills in self defense. In Florida the George Zimmerman jury ONLY had the option of deciding if George Zimmerman killed in self-defense, or was a murderer in the second degree, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    If the judge had allowed the middle ground option of aggravated assault, the Zimmerman jury would have had another option to possibly fit some specific details of this case. When the jury went with self defense, their only option was to let Zimmerman walk, based upon the letter of Florida law. Thus, the Florida jury was allowed a limited deliberation. One can only speculate other possible results in states with broader legal language and additional options for conviction.

  • Pat

    I guess only God, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman know for sure what happened that night. I don’t know if George Zimmerman lied or not, and the other person involved is dead, so we can’t get his side of the story. If George lied, God would know that, and George will have to answer to the ultimate judge and jury at that time. I hope he told the truth, for his own soul’s sake. RIP Trayvon. My sincere sympathy goes out to your family.

  • V_Valentyne

    I do not find this article to be very credible, as this writer is clearly not very knowledgeable on the topic they are speaking of:

    A. They openly admit in the first passage that they did not follow the trial and are not “an expert on what evidence was presented by either side”. How can you even begin to argue about the problem of “intent” in this case if you don’t even know what evidence or testimony was presented to establish intent.
    Strike 1.

    B. The standard for conviction is “beyond a reasonable doubt”, not “without a doubt” or “beyond a shadow of a doubt” (which they put in quotes as if quoting precedent, by the way.) Those standards are quite vastly different things. This author’s standard implies the prosecution is required to prove that there is no feasible way the person is not “Not Guilty”.
    Strike 2.

    C. Slippery slope arguments tend to be bogus, as they are based more on speculation that any actual or tangible evidence.
    At least we know the author’s favorite childhood book must have been “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”.
    Strike 3.

    D. I work in law and I’ll make this quite explicit: Defense is almost always more difficult. Why? Because people tend to side the law before they side with the person accused before them. After all, he’s being charged, so he must have don’t something, right?
    Rationally, the prosecution does have a higher standard and thus it should be more difficult. But juries rarely actually apply this standard and all the prosecution really has to do is strut their feather as an authority of the law in front of the jury and, most importantly, get them to dislike the defendant. The thought process for a juror is not really “it seems like a reasonable possibility that he isn’t guilty”, but more like “it’s possible he did it and therefore I should err on the side of caution and send him to prison far away from my neighborhood… just in case.”
    Strike 4.

    Because the system worked this time and applied “a reasonable doubt”, we should apparently be concerned that the murderers win and are free to terrorize society using self-defense as a loop-hole.
    Like, really?
    The point remains, if you are going to make a point, make sure you know something (hell, anything) about what you are actually talking about.

  • joecrouse

    You fail to recognise the definition of MURDER,

    MURDER 2nd degree Is deliberately on the spur of the moment deciding to kill some one for OTHER than self defense purposes. manslaughter 2 or 3 would be the MOST he could have gotten

  • Truthseeker7

    — Is it a sign if the times, or the failure of the education system that has so
    many of you forming and defending opinions that are not based on FACT. Over and
    over again I see post from BOTH sides filled with anger and claiming this or
    that that have absolutely NO foundation in fact! Far too many, mainly due to
    media coverage or hearing biased rumors, formed an opinion early on without
    knowing the facts. It’s as though they now have filters on that block out any
    new information or facts that could counter their prematurely formed opinion.
    Before you continue (Yes I Mean YOU) to argue your opinion (feelings are
    different- learn the difference) step back and look at ALL the facts. And try to
    remember that facts are based on scientific evidence unlike the claims from both
    sides as to who was calling for help. Here’s a few Facts to ponder. The person
    talking to Zimmerman was not at the seen and had NO authority to tell him what
    to do or how to respond! When officers meet with crime watch citizens THEY
    instruct them on proper procedures. If you see someone acting unusual (he did)
    call the police (he did) and keep them in your sight till we get there. That is
    how they instruct crime watch volunteers! Yes Zimmerman got out of his vehicle,
    that was the only possible way to keep Martin in his sight until the police
    arrived! There is NO evidence that Zimmerman tried to confront Martin. He was on
    the phone with police right up to the point and just after he lost sight of
    Martin. Four minuets went by between Zimmerman’s last call where he lost sight
    of martin and the screams for help. It takes a whole lot less than four minuets
    to walk let alone run from the T in the walkway to where Martin was headed.
    Soooo Exactly why wasn’t Martin already there, especially if some “creepy” guy
    was following him? Both sides claim to know who the voice calling for help is
    but we all know they both cant be right. What is on that tape is unbiased
    scientific fact, not opinion. Pull up the recording and listen without your
    opinion filters on and hear the truth calling out. What is heard are multiple
    cries for help, a scream, a single gunshot………Keep your ears open
    ……..and one more LOUD shout for help in the same voice as before. If you
    didn’t hear it try to get an unedited copy. Why is this important. We know as
    FACT that the bullet put two holes in Martins heart and pierced his lung. So I
    ask how could that be Martin yelling for help! And before you respond at least
    go listen for yourself. This was never about race, though some people tried to
    make it that way. This was not about the police not caring or doing their job,
    they did. What this was about is media hype, encouraged by Martins family. What
    this was about is politics, which Martins family also encouraged. What this was
    mostly about was 17 yea old Martin. Was he in the wrong place at the wrong time?
    There are no facts for that. Did Zimmerman confront Martin? There are no facts
    for that. The one lingering fact we do have is he had four minuets out of
    Zimmerman’s sight to travel a very short distance and make it home safely and he
    didn’t do so. And that’s the question that will haunt his parents!

  • Willa Spatz Cartwright

    All of this is really bullshit.

    As a woman, a fat skinhead following me up the street in the night would have freaked me out enough to perhaps defend myself with anything I could have laid my hands on …

    (Goodness knows how this situation played in the mind of an inexperienced 16/17 y.o..)

    In this situation I would have been dead and it would have been my fault – even though I was just walking home.

    It may have been technically legal for Zimmerman to do what he did, but in nearly everyone’s mind, Zimmerman should be in jail.

    It may perfectly legal in Florida to stalk someone for several blocks and demand their names and intentions, but in nearly every other civilised place this would be seen very, very badly.

    The simply truth is that had Treyvon Martin bin petite, blond haired, blue-eyed and big tited, Zimmerman would already be in jail.

  • Heretic50

    When all is said and done….Zimmerman went into court with the presumption of being innocent. He came out when a jury found him not guilty. He is still presumed innocent. Whether that reflects the reality of what happened or not doesn’t legally matter. No one posting their opinions here were on the jury so your opinions…….well you know “opinions are like…….” BTW OJ Simpson is still legally innocent. As for “stand your ground”…..someone posted you can kill someone “trying” to get into your home. No you can’t. They must be IN your home…….stand your ground doesn’t mean you can kill someone for getting “in your face”. It means you don’t need to run away. You are only allowed (like the police” to use only the amount of force necessary to defend yourself. One does need to be VERY careful before using deadly force.

  • Helper

    It doesn’t start with racism or “stand your ground” – it starts with guns.

  • JoeBS

    There’s so much wrong with this article I don’t know where to begin. The “why,” or motive, is ALWAYS on trial in a murder case. Why is the very difference between murder and self-defense. Secondly, though I agree that the Stand Your Ground law is superfluous and too broad, it doesn’t change the fact that self defense has ALWAYS been available as a defense in cases like these. Thirdly, the inherent danger in a headline like the one here: “The Inherent Danger Behind Zimmerman Being Found ‘Not Guilty’, etc…” is that it encourages people who are hoping for a specific outcome to go on politicizing verdicts, rather than understanding the facts of a case and judging it based on those merits; something we DEFINITELY already have too much of in this country. I personally think the whole situation is a sad joke. A kid got killed, and that is a huge tragedy. Then EVERYBODY on EVERY SIDE took this tragedy and politicized it to the utmost. Whether Zimmerman was guilty or innocent, or a mix of the two, I don’t know – I WASN’T THERE. But the coverage, the trial, everything, has been a textbook case of how much [email protected]#t both sides can be full of in a case like this. There is no honest party in any of this.

  • jeff

    Sooooo… you say you are not an expert on the evidence presented and you didnt follow the trial much. Then dont give your two sence regarding this case. It’s all based on the “general concensus” of what you heard about the case. Why dont you do some research and then give your opinion based on the evidence and not what people are saying or emotions. Just a word of advice for you so you dont sound so ignorant.

  • The sad thing is, we only have one story. Everyone here that says Zimmerman is guilty has zero evidence to back that up. Zimmerman’s story however had PLENTY of witnesses and physical evidence of an altercation taking place.

    If you think Zimmerman is guilty with no evidence, then I am sorry to say, you are what’s wrong with this country. We can’t convict a man who’s story holds up very well if there is no evidence to support it.

    Following is not illegal, physical contact is. Trayvon had no bruises whatsoever. Looks like self defense, and if you say different you are using emotions, not facts, and I hope you never get on my jury when I get falsely accused of murder.

  • Tracy

    Why don’t you, or anyone else for that matter, recall that the ‘stand your ground’ defense was set aside by the defense because it would have meant that Zimmerman would have had to have testified in court? They didn’t use that defense. There are articles popping up all over the place about ‘stand your ground’ and its immaterial to this case. As far as this, or any other case, goes…our justice system is only as good as the jury that presides over each case. When you have six low-information white women on the jury, how do you think it’s going to go?

  • karyn

    They did not use the “stand your ground” defense. They used self defense. People wanting to do away with stand your ground because of this case are mistaken. It wasn’t used at all.

  • Tracy

    My personal opinion is that if you go looking for a fight, then you don’t deserve to have legal standing for self defense in the first place. Zimmerman had many alternatives and yet pursued Martin and confronted him. He was ill-trained, ill-equipped, and got in over his head. He used a gun to shoot his way out of it. I don’t think that acceptance of that kind of judgement is prudent in a country so vigilant about the right to own a firearm. With rights come responsibility. Even when that means the responsibility to leave the situation.

    • karyn

      I totally agree Tracy. Zimmerman was the only one here who had the ability to make this situation end well and he chose not to. He made one bad decision after another and it cost that poor kid his life. I think you shouldn’t be allowed to claim self defense if it’s your own poor choices , one after another, that put you in a situation where suddenly you are in fear for your life. Bullsh*t. I hope GZ’s life will suck from now on out anyway– although I do think he should have at least been found guilty of manslaughter… just my opinion. His face and his name are so well known now, his life as he knew it is over. 🙂

  • KevinCA

    Jesus. Who the hell writes these things?! The standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt” not “without a doubt.”

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen Hot Fuzz far too many times. I just read “judge, jury and executioner” as “Judge Judy and executioner”. Oh dear.

    Really though. Beautiful article. I disagree with this whole case and the way it has gone but oh well. What’s done is done.

  • mdc

    Question: What would we be thinking today if George Zimmerman did not shoot Mr. Martin, but took his beating at the initiation of Mr. Martin and survived the attack?
    Certainly, Mr. Martin would be alive, but how would Mr. Martin’s actions have been reported in this case? How would you describe his behavior? How would the police report this incident? How would the press report his actions?
    Just a thought.

  • deb

    I believe that someone has a right to defend himself if he feels threatened, and we’ve all seen GZ’s bloody nose and scraped head. However, in my mind, his story just doesn’t add up. He claims that TM pummeled his face and broke his nose, slammed his head against the pavement, and that his face was covered in blood. How did TM do that without getting a speck of GZ’s DNA on his body or under his fingernails? TM had no bruises or cuts on his hands. None of GZ’s blood or saliva anywhere on his body. There was no physical evidence on TM indicating that he had brutalized GZ. Of course the defense argued that fact was completely irrelevant, like it was the immaculate conception or something. They urged the jurors to just look at the photos and forget the rest. It doesn’t add up and the prosecution should have hammered on that fact home.

  • Edward Kirby

    A *very* valid point by the author. Law will become highly subjective at a time when it needs to be increasingly more precise in its objectivity. However, not every defendant will have the kind of legal defense that Zimmerman had. In most of these cases, it will proceed as it does today, with the public defender cutting a deal with the prosecutor (every five minutes).

    I believe we can expect more of these kinds of laws as police departments continue to be defunded (as are all publicly funded organizations). There will be far less emphasis placed on protection and what little money the police departments have will be focused on solving crimes already committed. Once the drug laws are reformed — as they must be, for the same reason as the above: a dramatic decrease in public funding available to pay for the incarceration of all those prisoners — then local police departments will no longer have the option to seize and sell assets from drug busts to pay for law enforcement expenditures. Thus, the citizenry will be on their own as far as protection goes. “Stand Your Ground” will become the rule of the land. The rich that live in gated communities will have organized private protection companies defending them, but for the rest of us, the vigilante chaos of the Wild West will return.

    OTOH, if the already ubiquitous cameras that have created our new surveillance society continue to proliferate, the above aspect of cost when it comes to solving crimes may drop through the floor. It will simply be a matter of looking at the ‘film’ of the incident from a few dozen angles to determine who the criminal was, and where he went to. In brief: crime prevention can be achieved by increasing the percentage of success in crime detection to a 99.X%+ rate.

  • gtererte

    We don’t know the whole story and these news caster are bias as hell

  • msnvlysue

    Dead men tell no tales. Everybody is going strictly on what George Zimmerman says.

  • Bob

    Silly article that assumes self defense some how doesn’t count if one party has a weapon and the other does not.

  • Alichia

    Question on this, because I myself did not follow close enough, Did Zimmerman tell Travin to drop all objects in his hand? If not how in the world does a person mistake a red bag of skittles for a gun?

  • Aaron Miles Davis

    His defense waived his right to stand your ground.. instead just claimed self defense… I would guess presumably because he didn’t stand his ground he approached Treyvon so the likelihood of him being found guilty probably would have increased if he claimed stand your ground… but that’s just my opinion.

  • danallison

    Factual error here: “Did they” is actually seldom at question, most homicide trials revolve around extenuating circumstances. “Did they” trials make more news, like OJ and Casey Anthony.
    Secondly, the fact that TM was stalked and hunted down makes this more than a “simple” confrontation. GZ sought out this confrontation. And unfortunately, running around on the street with a gun and looking for trouble is not a crime in Florida. That is where legislation can begin to address this matter. Without such legislation, the number of guns on the street is certain to increase.

  • Brian

    “How do you prove that they didn’t just shoot the person in cold blood and say they felt threatened? How do you prove that they didn’t know the victim wasn’t armed?”

    The lacerations on his head, from it being repeatedly slammed into the ground, while Trayvon yelled “you’re gonna die tonight, cracker!” That would make me feel threatened…like I was going to die.

  • Toni Douglass

    Recently in New Haven Ct and man walked into a park with his dog. Tied the dog to a post and then shot the dog. A witness followed the man as far as he could, but lost sight of him. So I want to understand the logic. If the man that shot dog turned around and shot the man following him, he would have been justified, because the man was stalking him. Do I have it right?

  • Simon Si

    The problem with this article is that it failed to take into account the other similar cases with black defendants that actually returned guilty verdicts. While there is an inherent danger in such a broad self-defense law, the Zimmerman case was hardly an example of that – there was simply too much circumstantial evidence that pointed to Zimmerman’s guilt and his frame of mind . To me the bigger inherent danger in such a law is the carte blanche it gives both trigger-happy racists such as Zimmerman to translate their hatred into actual murders with impunity and also all-white racist jurors carte blanche to deny justice to Black victims.

  • Dont believe he murdered the kid, more or less he panicked after starting a fight.

    I’m not to good with charges, but I think he should have been charged with negligence causing death. More comparable to someone not following basic safety procedures at work, and having someone die from it.

  • Krist Martin

    I have two arguments against this article and more importantly the trial: Argument 1) All murder cases are about not just if someone committed a murder but why. That is why we have degrees of murder, manslaughter, and self defense. In most cases (though it should be all) the concept of “necessary force” is used to clarify how much force in “defense” of one’s self or another one must take to prevent an attacker from furthering their attack. 2) It is clear by the evidence that Trayvon was no real threat, he was carrying, as we know, a bag of skittles. Not a knife, not a gun, not a sword or bat or other weapon, just skittles. This means that the degree of “feeling threatened” doesn’t matter here, as reasonable force would have dictated simply that killing him was unnecessary.

    This trial is a farce and should be thrown out and he should be retried with different people and judge as dictated by the law.

    While it is true that this trial seems to open the door for judging why a murder is committed, in reality it is the mere product of earlier trials that have created the degrees of murder in the first place.

    • reggie

      I agree with most of what you are saying however, I think you’re mixing up the “why” with the “intent” where in a murder trial the state needs to prove the defendant committed the crime and have correct charges that fit the crime according with intent and the law. The article is right I’ve been in a lot of civil cases and prove state of mind is very hard and near to impossible that’s why most racial discrimination cases are shoved to the side. Example, If i’m an employer I don’t like hiring women I’ll interview woman but only hire men. My excuse could be the Men that applied interviewed better, has more experience, better credentials but my true reasoning is I don’t want women in the workplace This is the same situation with self defence how can we prove Zimmerman really felt threaten. Only way to fix inappropriate self defense claims lower the evidence to preponderance of evidence “more likely than not” standard.

      • Krist Martin

        However, I think you miss the bigger picture Reggie. The law is implicit when it defines right and wrong. It is right to protect yourself, it is wrong to kill another. However, which one trumps the other? If we were to take an extreme example, let us say a person was tripping on LSD and thought EVERYONE was trying to kill them, and so they defended themselves by killing everyone they encountered. Did they commit mass murder or did they act to protect their self? This is far more similar to the Zimmerman case than the example you gave.

        While it is impossible to PROVE intent, we can logically infer from evidence whether or not a person was under threat. This is the great value of objective thought. We can even disregard intent if enough evidence exists that shows the person was under threat and it constitutes life or death threat. If it doesn’t then any force that resulted in the loss of life was excessive force and the person “defending” themselves via shooting is guilty of murder or at the very minimum manslaughter. Now if enough evidence exists that is outside of the perspective of the defendant (in this case Zimmerman) that shows the now deceased had presented a life or death threat necessary for the defendant to kill the aggressor then he is in the right and not guilty.

        The issue here isn’t the matter of intent, other than the fact that trial where it became a point of contention. It should never have been looked at in the first place. Purely the why should have been looked at. Why can be answered, examined, and given factual foundation. Intent cannot.

      • reggie

        yeah, I agree my example is to show state of mind nothing really do with Zimmerman’s case. Saying trying to prove one’s state of mind during an illegal act is very hard to prove. AS to the LSD I think at that point the state should be able to prove he was tripping and how that drug alters the state of mind with expert testimony.

        As to what you said about “Why” can be answered, examined and given factual foundation. In this case with Zimmerman, that is why he didn’t take the stand we had to speculate on his “Why” without asking him any questions and speculation causes doubt which is why he walked. I thought the strategy was crazy at first but now it makes sense. How can we really know his why without hearing from him.

        In future cases will defendants do the same thing make everything just speculation and not take the stand how can we move from speculation to facts with no other witness besides the defendant which whom will not take the stand?

      • Krist Martin

        That’s the case though, to defend him the why must be answered, regardless of if he took the stand. The why could be defined without even a word from him. The fact is that speculation is unnecessary, instead observation of facts should rule the court room. It is when speculation is brought in by the defense to counter the prosecution, you have to question if the court was rigged.

  • Tillmann Puschka

    a very similar incident occurred in Houston (Texas) a few years ago. a wannabe cowboy named Joe Horn shot two unarmed robbers who were fleeing his neighbor’s house. he shot them in the back, with a shotgun, and killed them. this was after he called 911 and the dispatcher told him not to go outside and pursue the robbers, but, instead, to stay on the phone until police arrived. must be a southern state kind of thing.

  • Michael Siever

    So, Stand Your Ground says a mugger can follow me down a dark alley, and mug me, and if I attempt to fight him back, throw a few punches into him, and he shoots me dead, he can get off, saying he was defending himself? Because that’s what the verdict basically said.

  • bfreesun

    I think it’s obvious to everyone that if Trayvon was white and Zimmerman was black the verdict would be quite different

  • Michael Siever

    For those of you wanting somebody to put a bullet into George Zimmerman, keep in mind that that’s not justice. Justice is one wrong being undone by the justice system. Zimmerman getting murdered is two wrongs, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Right now, it doesn’t look too good for him, in terms of a civil suit. There are neighborhood watch rules he clearly broke, such as failing to identify himself as being with the neighborhood watch by self-identifying himself to Trayvon Martin or wearing a badge; he was by himself, while the rules say parties must consist of two volunteers at any given time; he took matters into his own hands when he decided to pursue Martin, when the neighborhood watch is supposed to call the police and do nothing else, being the “eyes and ears” of the police, not their “hands and feet”. The neighborhood watch is going to throw him under the bus when trying to deny liability in the civil trial, and he will lose a wrongful death trial.

  • Cathryn Conner Buchanan

    What saddens me the most is that there were 6 people that heard the screams for help and only one person even made the attempt to render help , why out of fear for their personal safety. What if this had been a child being kidnapped or any number of things. What if TM had gotten his hands on the gun and shot GZ would that have been justice and frankly would we have even heard about it? Reasonable doubt, Yes. The jury did not vote on emotion, they voted on reasonable doubt, & That is The LAW. So many things could have changed the out come of this tragic event, TM could have called the police about the man following him instead he called his friend. TM could have walked straight home instead of a confrontation with his follower .Because of the Violence in the neighborhood , many felt the need to carry weapons, guns, pepper spray etc, if the young burglar had been caught maybe folk would have felt safe in their neighborhood again .It is not Justice folks want it is revenge. There is so much doubt as to what happened and so much false media reports making matters even worse. GZ did not walk up to TM and just shoot him, that would have been murder . Is it Justice you want or revenge?

  • Gary

    Great article. Thanks

  • Old Lady

    Wasn’t Trayvon acting in self defence? Wasn’t he standing his ground? Doesn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground?

    • Brad Elroy

      If Zimmerman had attacked him. Yes. I don’t know who threw the first punch. The autopsy report said the only other injuries TM had was an abrasion on his hand. Zimmerman had his entire face beaten, and two lacerations on the back of his head. IF I had to guess… one of them was throwing punches… the other was taking them… That is pretty telling to me.

  • Drew Zimmer

    the author should have stopped after: ” I didn’t follow the trial much”.

  • Andre Malik World-Peace

    Who ever said GZ didn’t initiate the physical altercation? TM could have
    tried to walk away and G “Vigilante” Z could have grabbed him or tried
    to stop him from “getting away”. Because we all know he was tired of those little _______ getting away.

  • Jose Camano

    The measure is still “reasonable fear of imminent injury to life.” Zimmerman, armed, stalked the Black Teenager, initiated the confrontation, and the one threatened was the victim and he reacted by punching him. He could not have thought of his life being in danger because he prepared for the situation by arming himself. He lured his victim into his trap by provoking him with his ‘vigilante attitude’ that inasmuch as he is black he is up to no good. He knew that his victim would respond to his stalking, confrontation and suspicion that he was a criminal. He wanted his victim to react the way he reacted so he can shoot him. There was malevolent intent to kill him. The jury fucked up!

  • Concerned

    First
    of all the article was thorough in defining how this law from a logical
    standpoint makes absolutely no sense. I have said prior to the verdict
    that each persons emotional state of being is different based on many
    factors. So how then do you have a law based on a perceived threat? The
    way you perceive a threat will be different from the way lets say a 220
    plus lb. man with a Gun perceives a threat. And the facts in this case
    are the facts: George Zimmerman was not pursued, Treyvon Martin was. The
    one that should have had justifiable perceived threat was Treyvon.
    Furthermore we can dance around the fact that this isnt about race all
    day, but what makes up a profile is in part “Race” just ask law
    enforcement. And George Zimmerman is on record stating “They always get
    away”. Not to look deeper into what he is saying but he George Zimmerman
    is clearly profiling Treyvon. There are many forms of self defense and
    keeping a safe distance is one of them. George Zimmerman had every
    opportunity to keep that safe distance because at no time did George
    Zimmerman say he was the one being pursued. This case is a set back for
    Human rights and a glimpse into how some benefit from being white in
    america and some die from not looking white enough.

  • mdc

    Theoretical question: What if Zimmerman did not shoot Martin, but took his beating, hopefully survived, and then reported it to the police?
    What would be your opinion of Martin for initiating a physical attack on Zimmerman? How would the press view his actions? How would the police report the incident?

  • L. Takama

    This article has so many errors about the legal process and legal sufficiency it should be taken down. Please refer to an editor with legal education.

    For instance ““without a doubt” the person accused of murder is the one who’s guilty.”

    and “The prosecution must prove “without a doubt” that the person accused is guilty”

    This is could not be more incorrect. The level of proof does not require a lack of any doubt, it requires the state to prove the case beyond REASONABLE doubt. The jury can have doubts, but they must have a reasonable doubt to acquit.

    ” It gives people permission to act as the judge, jury and executioner based on what they feel might be a threatening situation.”

    This is lacking a very important element. Sufficiency of fear in self defense is not based on the state of mind of the person invoking self defense, it is based on a “reasonable person” test which considers whether a reasonable person would be in fear for their limb or life the circumstances. The subjective state of mind of the person doing the self defense is typically noted but irrelevant. If a person was afraid solely because someone was Chinese is subjective and would not stand the test to create a sufficiency of fear because a reasonable person would require something more to reasonable be in fear.

  • theresa

    the defense never used stand your ground as a defense..they used self defense

  • Chuckles Hotzenpfeff

    You should get mandatory jail time, even a small amount, if you kill someone, no matter why or how. The threat of a month in jail would calm down a few wannabe Barney Fifes, and that alone would be worth it.

    • Dissenter13a

      I respectfully disagree. You should not be penalized if you are put in the position of killing the rapist who had you locked up in a room for a decade in order to gain your freedom.

  • Corky

    This article is full of crap. At least as far as using the Zimmerman trial as an example. THERE WAS AN EYE witness to begin with.

    Was it a tragedy? Of course. It nver should have happened, but it WAS proven that it was Martin’s actions that brought it upon himself.

    And to Duncan McNeil and Deborah Ellison below: Zimmerman was headed BACK to his truck when he was jumped. Come on get your facts straight or shut up.

  • commonsenseamerican1

    Apparently ,and Judging by the overwhelming support for Trayvon,….Its ok for Blacks to kill Blacks, since in the 513 days between the Trayvon shooting and the Zimmerman verdict 11,106 Blacks were murdered by OTHER Backs, but its NOT ok if a Non Black kills a Black, in self defense.

  • K_Ann

    Ah Mr. Clifton would have us all stand by and do nothing while we are murdered because self defense is a dangerous precedent. Actually, quite opposite is true – taking away the right of self defense would be a dangerous precedent. As for how do you prove self defense – I guess the uninformed Mr. Clifton glossed over the evidence that showed Martin was on top of Zimmerman when the shot was fired. It was obvious to law enforcement from the beginning – this was self defense; it only went to trial because the state AG wanted to curry political favor.

  • Kniz71

    Totally ignorant is correct at your knowledge of the case. Defense DID NOT use stand your ground as a basis for his defense. It used self-defense. Both are very different legal positions.

  • Crysta

    Lesson well learned, EVERYONE needs to carry a gun, and if you feel threatened, shoot first, and shoot to kill, and then claim you felt threatened…

    Good job!

  • Charles Vincent

    “But when two individuals have a run in on a street with no witnesses, and one of them shoots and kills the other while claiming “self defense” when there are no weapons found on the victim”
    This author is full of shit, George Zimmermans story and subsequent testimony at trial was validated by 18 witnesses. The story went like this, the neiborhood George lived in had been burglarized several times in the last several months so the neighborhood head formed a neighborhood watch of which George was a part of. George followed trayvon because he though he might be up to no good. When trayvon noticed Zimmerman following him he asked if he had a problem, Zimmerman replied no. At which point martins struck Zimmerman in the nose breaking it and knocking him on to his back, Martin jumpe on t do Zimmerman and started banging the back of Zimmermans head on the concrete side walk. It is at this point that Zimmermans coat came open exposing his hand gun and Martin told Zimmerman he was “going to die tonight” and he reach down to take Zimmermans holstered weapon, at this point Zimmerman feared for his life and pulled his weapon before Martin could take it and Zimmerman fired one shot hitting Martin in the chest killing him. Keep in mind that this story was backed up by 18 witnesses at trial and that’s why Zimmerman was found not guilty.

  • AlfredLehmberg

    The NRA could pay for Zimmerman, a wife beating, hot-headed racist, and
    murdering pin-head, out of the change lost in their sofa cushions… and will.

  • Zimmerman won’t make it a year.
    In the peoples court he’s a child murderer.

  • Florida resident

    Stand your ground was not a defense in the Zimmerman case. A defense of Stand Your Ground is not the same as a defense of Self Defense.