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Conceal Carry, the 2nd Amendment, & Vigilantism
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OAW
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Mar 19, 2012, 07:17 PM
 
As most around here know I'm pretty much a center-left guy. But on certain issues ... such as gun control ... I'm pretty moderate or perhaps center-right. My position on that issue is summed up here. Now in that thread I expressed my general opposition to "conceal carry" laws under most circumstances. And here is a prime example of why:

A 17 year old kid named Trayvon Martin and his father are visiting the father's fiancee who lives in a gated community outside Orlando, FL. The kid decides to make a candy run to a nearby 7-Eleven. On his way back to the house "armed" with nothing but a bag of Skittles and and bottle of Arizona Iced Tea ... a self-appointed "captain" of the neighborhood watch named George Zimmerman (who was the subject of several complaints by neighbors over his tactics) takes notice of the kid approaching and immediately decides he is a "suspect". He then calls 911 and has these sorts of things to say per the recordings:

Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around looking about.
Now this here is a critical point which I'll revisit later. In response to the 911 dispatcher asking Mr. Zimmerman what the person he called about was wearing he had this to say:

Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
Yeah a dark hoodie like a gray hoodie. And either jeans or sweat pants and white tennis shoes.
Other comments by Mr. Zimmerman ...

Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
He's just staring, looking at all the houses. Now he's just staring at me.
Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
Now he's coming toward me. He's got his hand in his waistband.
Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
Something's wrong with him. Yep, he's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. Can you please get an officer over here?
Now then per the audio recording of the 911 call he then says ....

Originally Posted by George Zimmerman
These assholes they always get away.
More conversation between Mr. Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher takes place with the former giving info on how the police can reach his location. You hear some noise in the background but it's unclear what he's doing. Soon thereafter the kid supposedly gets spooked about something because according to Mr. Zimmerman ....

Zimmerman: You go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left. Uh ... you go straight in don't turn and make a left. Shit he's running.

911 Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running?
At this point you can clearly hear Mr. Zimmerman exit his vehicle.

Zimmerman: Down toward the uh other entrance to the neighborhood.

911 Dispatcher: Ok. Which entrance is that he's headed toward?

Zimmerman: The back entrance.
Mr. Zimmerman is definitely out of vehicle as the wind noise is readily apparent on the recording.

Zimmerman: F*cking [unintelligible].

911 Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yeah.

911 Dispatcher: Ok we don't need you to do that.

Zimmerman: Ok.
But again the wind noise is STILL readily apparent on the recording ... so apparently Mr. Zimmerman had other intentions. Soon thereafter 911 receives several calls from neighbors about an altercation. One caller tells the 911 dispatcher that two guys were wrestling behind his back porch and that one of them was yelling for help. And to revisit that critical point I mentioned earlier another caller said ...

The guy on top has a white T-shirt.
NOT a dark hoodie! Shots are fired. Clearly audible in the 911 recordings of the some of the neighbors calls. And then the cries for help fall silent. An unarmed kid with no criminal history who was apparently simply walking back from 7-Eleven with a bag of skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea lay dead. A self-appointed "captain" of the neighborhood watch who had been previously arrested on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer (charges later to be dropped) was questioned by police, admitted to killing the kid, and to date has NOT BEEN ARRESTED OR CHARGED simply because he claimed it was in self-defense. And per the police, they supposedly had no evidence to dispute his story. Notwithstanding witness testimony that Mr. Zimmerman ... the man in the white T-shirt ... was the guy on top during the struggle with the kid on the ground screaming for help.

Trayvon Martin Case: 911 Audio Released Of Teen Shot By Neighborhood Watch Captain (AUDIO)

Also of note ...

Media outlets have noted that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law may have effectively immunized Zimmerman from prosecution. As Mother Jones points out, Florida courts have found that under that statute, "defendant's only burden is to offer facts from which his resort to force could have been reasonable" while "the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense."
The Role Of Gun Laws In The Trayvon Martin Shooting | Media Matters for America

Mr. Zimmerman was legally able to carry a gun on his person under Florida's "conceal carry" law. The 911 recordings clearly indicate that he was acting as a vigilante since he deliberately chose to follow and confront this kid based solely on his own "suspicions" in direct defiance of the 911 dispatcher's instructions. He then took this kid's life. And there's a distinct possibility that he just might get away with it because per Florida law all he has to say is that it was in self-defense. Because if the police can't or are not inclined to prove otherwise ... then it's just "Ooops. My bad."

"Conceal carry" laws are a bad idea IMO because of this type of craziness right here. What say you?

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Mar 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM. )
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 07:36 PM
 
I'd gladly trade carrying concealed handguns for the fully automatic and anti-armor weapons required to defeat an invader or the army / national guard. That's what I think it was intended for. Not carrying handguns around for personal defence. This guy plainly instigated the confrontation and as the aggressor can't claim self defense.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 09:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Mr. Zimmerman was acting as a vigilante. He then took this kid's life. And there's a distinct possibility that he just might get away with it
F*cking asshole vigilantes. They always get away. Someone should make an example out of him. If the law won't do it then someone else should.

He was probably on drugs or something.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 09:25 PM
 
Do you have to pass a mental health check in FL to get a gun? I think even open carry this guy would still have gone paranoid on the poor kid. Kid probably started running when he saw a crazy old guy staring at him.

The parallels with the other thread is the old guy fired a warning shot. This guy didn't.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 09:38 PM
 
In all seriousness, I think that whether or not it turns out you were right afterwards should make a difference, if not all the difference. A warning shot fired at a mistaken identity would be wrong, and a killshot for an actual burglar or fleeing rapist wouldn't necessarily be wrong IMO. It's the part about flying off half-cocked and lack of due diligence that is the real problem here for me.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 09:58 PM
 
Sad story....but has nothing to do with concealed carry. This Zimmerman guy is clearly a nutcase. From the sound of it, he should not even have had a gun, let alone a conceal carry permit.

It's these RARE instances that gun control advocates point to when they decry conceal carry laws. You rarely hear about the instances where someone with a conceal carry permit saves their own life or the life of someone else.

99% of people with conceal carry permits are law abiding citizens going about their lives who will never pull their gun in self defense.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is at fault for him not getting prosecuted.
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Mar 19, 2012, 10:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
In all seriousness, I think that whether or not it turns out you were right afterwards should make a difference, if not all the difference. A warning shot fired at a mistaken identity would be wrong, and a killshot for an actual burglar or fleeing rapist wouldn't necessarily be wrong IMO. It's the part about flying off half-cocked and lack of due diligence that is the real problem here for me.
A "killshot" for a "burglar" or "fleeing rapist" would likely be considered murder.

Most self defense laws only allow you to use "deadly force" if you are in IMMINENT DANGER OF DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM.

How do you justify killing a "fleeing rapist"? Who's life is in imminent danger?
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Mar 19, 2012, 10:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mrjinglesusa View Post
How do you justify killing a "fleeing rapist"? Who's life is in imminent danger?
The rapists obviously.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 10:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mrjinglesusa View Post
A "killshot" for a "burglar" or "fleeing rapist" would likely be considered murder.

Most self defense laws only allow you to use "deadly force" if you are in IMMINENT DANGER OF DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM.

How do you justify killing a "fleeing rapist"? Who's life is in imminent danger?
How about the next chick who won't get raped? It's yer standard spiderman scenario. You consciously let a violent criminal off the hook and next thing you know it that same bad guy kills your uncle ben. That's not optimal either. People should be allowed to use common sense to stop bad guys, if they so desire, but they had just better be sure it really is a bad guy first. The vigilante will put his neck in the noose by acting, and a jury of hopefully sane and level-headed people will have a chance to take it out again, if he deserves it. Thus, vigilantism can still serve its purpose but not be taken lightly.
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 11:09 PM
 
How does this have anything to do with concealed carry? Would the process and end have been any different if he was open carrying?
     
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Mar 19, 2012, 11:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
How does this have anything to do with concealed carry? Would the process and end have been any different if he was open carrying?
Well in all fairness there is "the 2nd Amendment" in the thread title as well. And as I outlined in the post I linked to in the OP ...

Originally Posted by OAW
Carrying a firearm when you are out hunting or camping is fine. Inside urban areas ... not so much.
That applies to "conceal carry" and "open carry". Now having said that, I should have been more clear about that in my OP. My fundamental point remains though. This is a prime example of why I think people being allowed to carry firearms on their person in urban areas is a bad idea. A person's life should not be in danger of being taken because some random dude with a gun license takes it upon himself to decide that walking in the rain constitutes "suspicious" behavior. If the kid had been running this dude would have assumed he stole something and was fleeing the scene! On top of that, situations that otherwise would likely be defused can all too often go way south when firearms are readily available because they are on one's person. A verbal diagreement can quickly escalate with tragic consequences ... especially when alcohol is in the mix.

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Mar 20, 2012, 02:12 AM
 
But he had the victim pinned down and was beating him. If he wasn't "allowed" to have a gun, then he would have killed him with a knife
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 02:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Do you have to pass a mental health check in FL to get a gun?
I think living in Florida in and of itself implies a failed mental health check.

Totally my kind of state.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 03:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
"Conceal carry" laws are a bad idea IMO because of this type of craziness right here. What say you?
I had only heard about this story peripherally until I read your post, so I can give you my exact reactions as they happened:

1) Okay, wow, yeah this really sucks.
2) Hmmm... There's lots of (understandable) rage here and the DA is sitting on their hands.
3) DAs really like to prosecute people. Said people don't even have to be guilty, the DA just needs to be confident they'll win.
4) Something must be holding the DA back.
5) [dig, dig, dig]
6) Yup, exactly this. Florida has a "No Retreat" law. As we touched on in the other thread, a "No Retreat" law means you can use deadly force on anyone who threatens you. As should be obvious, this is a very low bar for the use of deadly force. Low enough it's hard to prove the person wasn't justified in using it unless there are numerous eyewitnesses.
7) So the DA isn't doing anything because what this guy did, for all intents and purposes, isn't a crime in Florida.

Conclusion: the issue isn't being able to carry firearms, the issue is laws pertaining to their use. Pretty sure if this happened in my state this guy would be in jail right now.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 04:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
But he had the victim pinned down and was beating him. If he wasn't "allowed" to have a gun, then he would have killed him with a knife
Or choked the kid to death. The tool used to kill the boy isn't the issue; gun, knife, ball bat, hammer, etc.. The problem is the paranoid nutjob with the intent to do harm.
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Mar 20, 2012, 06:49 AM
 
This was not about concealed carry of a handgun, it was about someone who should not have had access to firearms in any way. His behavior raises so many red flags that I'm surprised he hadn't had a court ordered psych evaluation already.

Unfortunately, the press tends to get a lot of mileage out of someone misusing a firearm, such as in this case, but doesn't bother to publicize the enormously more common appropriate use of a firearm to prevent or stop a crime.

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Mar 20, 2012, 07:19 AM
 
Perhaps everyone in the west should have their own nuclear cruise missile just in case the Iranians get itchy trigger fingers.

I would find it odd that none of you seem to recognise the difference between stabbing/beating someone to death and shooting them. With a gun, there is a disconnect. Its a remote action and to many of the idiots who would get drunk and shoot their wives or girlfriends for nagging them too much, or their neighbours for making too much noise etc, shooting them from a distance is just like playing Call of Duty.

I can't say I've experienced it myself but if you use your imagination, you'll quickly appreciate that killing close quarters is a lot more personal and visceral than shooting them. Feeling their bones break, getting their blood all over you or simply watching the life drain out of them you are far more likely to come to your senses and stop before its too late. That can't happen when all you have to do is pull a trigger.

I say I would find it odd that none of you appreciate this, but I don't because I simply don't buy any of your arguments. Those of you who are pro-gun just like owning them. Whether you enjoy collecting them, shooting them, pretending you're De Niro from Taxi Driver in front of a mirror or simply because they make you feel bigger and tougher and more manly. Short of accidentally shooting someone you care about (or deliberately and then regretting it), no statistic is ever going to convince you of anything. The debate is pointless.
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Mar 20, 2012, 07:25 AM
 
I agree, this has nothing to do with concealed carry and more to do with other batsh!t crazy Florida laws.

That said, I think that the father and his fiancee should settle this the American way: with a lawsuit for wrongful death. The "watch captain" may be shielded from criminal charges, but there's nothing preventing a civil suit where all this evidence would be considered. Heck, if the "watch captain" was found liable in the civil suit, maybe he'd lose his shield from prosecution?
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 08:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Or choked the kid to death. The tool used to kill the boy isn't the issue; gun, knife, ball bat, hammer, etc.. The problem is the paranoid nutjob with the intent to do harm.
I think the tool is part of the issue: an idiot with a gun is more dangerous than an idiot armed with a bat or with his bare hands. If the state makes it harder for people to carry guns, less idiots will be armed.

@Dork
A civil suit is a band aid. If we take the information we have here at face value, I think most of us would agree that what the shooter did was a criminal offense punishable by jail time.
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Mar 20, 2012, 08:48 AM
 
EDIT: Should have read the whole thread. I notice others havealready commented on how this probably wasn't a "CC" issue, but rather one where the laws in other areas where a little screwy.

Originally Posted by OAW View Post
"Conceal carry" laws are a bad idea IMO because of this type of craziness right here. What say you?
I'm not sure what "conceal carry" has to do with this. The same result could have occurred had the guy had the gun open and visible, or in a holster, which is allowed in most states without a conceal carry permit.

All CC does is allow you to carry a weapon without it being seen by others, and I don't think that there would be a different result if that where the case. You are already allowed to arm yourself and use a handgun for protection when a threat is there. If see see a prowler in my backyard and go out and take my gun to stop the prowler from engaging in illegal activity, I don't need a CC permit to do so.

The problem is that this guy wasn't really being threatened, and used his gun. The "suspect" wasn't likely on his property, wasn't showing an intent to harm, and was not engaging in any noticeable criminal activity. I'm not sure CC has a lot to do with this.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 09:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
How about the next chick who won't get raped? It's yer standard spiderman scenario. You consciously let a violent criminal off the hook and next thing you know it that same bad guy kills your uncle ben. That's not optimal either. People should be allowed to use common sense to stop bad guys, if they so desire, but they had just better be sure it really is a bad guy first. The vigilante will put his neck in the noose by acting, and a jury of hopefully sane and level-headed people will have a chance to take it out again, if he deserves it. Thus, vigilantism can still serve its purpose but not be taken lightly.
Because, as a responsible gun owner, it's not your job to fight crime or catch criminals. Just because you carry a gun does not give you the right to go around dispensing "justice".

The sole purpose of carrying a gun is to protect your life or the life of another when you or they are in IMMINENT DANGER of DEATH or GROSS BODILY HARM.

That's the standard almost everywhere in the U.S. Shooting a "fleeing rapist" in the back does not meet that standard.

This Zimmermann character had no reason to call the police, let alone chase after this kid. It's not "self defense" if you are the one who initiated the confrontation. In other words, I can't walk up to someone and pick a fight, start getting my ass kicked, and then pull a gun and shoot them and say I did it in self-defense.
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Mar 20, 2012, 10:53 AM
 
The police stupidly believe this Zimmerman fellow's claim to self-defense. But anyone who has listened to the 911 tapes clearly sees that Zimmerman is the instigator. And he clearly injured the kid before killing him; that poor kid was hollering in agony from something. But the cops have circled the wagons, and refuse to tell the public WHY they believe this person's story or WHAT they think justifies Zimmerman's claim to self-defense.

I don't think concealed carry is the relevant issue.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 12:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mrjinglesusa View Post
Because, as a responsible gun owner, it's not your job to fight crime or catch criminals. Just because you carry a gun does not give you the right to go around dispensing "justice".
It's not owning a gun that makes it your job to dispense justice, it's the failure of the police to do their job that makes it your job, regardless of what weapons you have available. I won't pretend that police inadequacy is common, as long as you don't pretend that it's unheard of. If I can't get the police to "police" my home (and thankfully I can), then I'm not going to simply let the criminals win. Plan B is unquestionably inferior to plan A, but it's better than no plan at all.

This Zimmermann character had no reason to call the police, let alone chase after this kid.
He was wrong. Other people are sometimes right. An overreaction to this one insane person could compromise the needs of many sane people who don't make the news. The problem isn't that he could go free for doing something like this, the problem is that it's automatic rather than being granted by a jury after weighing the facts specific to the incident.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 12:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
6) Yup, exactly this. Florida has a "No Retreat" law. As we touched on in the other thread, a "No Retreat" law means you can use deadly force on anyone who threatens you. As should be obvious, this is a very low bar for the use of deadly force. Low enough it's hard to prove the person wasn't justified in using it unless there are numerous eyewitnesses.
Isn't the 911 tape as good as an eyewitness?
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
If the state makes it harder for people to carry guns, less idiots will be armed.
You believe this shit ? Seriously ?

Reality is, if you make it harder for people to carry guns, less upright citizens will be armed. Criminals and crooks don't care about the laws (obviously).

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Mar 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
 
@ Stu, LPK, et al ....

As I mentioned in my response to mduell ....

Originally Posted by OAW
Carrying a firearm when you are out hunting or camping is fine. Inside urban areas ... not so much.

That applies to "conceal carry" and "open carry". Now having said that, I should have been more clear about that in my OP. My fundamental point remains though. This is a prime example of why I think people being allowed to carry firearms on their person in urban areas is a bad idea. A person's life should not be in danger of being taken because some random dude with a gun license takes it upon himself to decide that walking in the rain constitutes "suspicious" behavior.
So it's a FAIR CRITICISM to say that this isn't really a "conceal carry" issue. Point taken. What I'm really trying to say is the part that's in bold above. In most circumstances, carrying firearms in urban areas is simply a bad idea IMO for this very reason. Even the "Stand Your Ground" statute in Florida seems to be misapplied here given the latest evidence. From a relevant piece I read this morning ...

Imagine the following scenario:

You are a 17-year-old boy in Sanford, Florida. You are visiting your father and his fiancée at your soon-to-be stepmother’s home in a gated community. You decide to make a late-night candy run to your local 7-Eleven. It’s nighttime and drizzling, so you are wearing a hooded sweatshirt. At the store, you buy a package of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea, then head back home.

As you are walking home, you notice a man in an SUV following you. The man gets out of the car. He’s a big guy who outweighs you by 100 pounds. He doesn’t identify himself as a police officer – in fact, you don’t know who he is. What should you do next?

According to Florida’s justifiable use of force statute, you have the right to defend yourself. Section 776.012, in relevant part:

“A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.”

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who gunned down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in his family’s gated community in Sanford, is relying on Florida’s self-defense statute to escape prosecution. Because Florida’s self-defense law affords immunity from prosecution for those who use justifiable force, Sanford Police Department have determined they have no basis to prosecute Zimmerman.

However, as more facts come to light, it seems that Martin, not Zimmerman, was exercising his statutory right to defend himself against a reasonable apprehension of unlawful force.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has characterized Martin as the aggressor, based on the police department’s investigation. In an interview published by the Miami Herald, Lee asked rhetorically, “If someone asks you, ‘Hey do you live here?’ is it OK for you to jump on them and beat the crap out of somebody?” Lee said. “It’s not.”

Actually, in Florida, it might be.

Under the same self-defense statute that Zimmerman is relying on to avoid prosecution, Trayvon Martin also had the right to defend himself against a perceived threat of danger. Section 776.013 provides:

“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Trayvon Martin was a teenaged boy who was walking home from a convenience store. He was not engaged in an unlawful activity. He was in a place where he had a right to be – near the home of his father’s fiancée. George Zimmerman followed him, even after being told by the 911 dispatcher not to. Zimmerman left his vehicle holding a loaded gun and began pursuing Martin on foot. It is plausible to infer that Zimmerman, not Martin, initiated the attack. The tapes indicate that Zimmerman may have been the aggressor in initiating contact with Martin. Assuming the published reports are true, Martin, not Zimmerman, was exercising his lawful right to “stand his ground and meet force with force” by engaging in an altercation with Zimmerman.
Opinion: Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, was engaged in self-defense – In America - CNN.com Blogs

The problem here though is that the kid isn't around to tell his side of the story. Mr. Zimmerman said what he had to say and apparently the local police were inclined to take his word for it. But as it turns out apparently the kid was talking to his girlfriend on the phone while he was walking back to this father's fiancee's house. Kind of difficult to do if one's hand is in one's waistband as Mr. Zimmerman claimed ... but let's just put that aside for now. Per this latest evidence:

ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Crump about the last moments of the teenager's life.

"He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," Martin's friend said. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run."

Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

"Trayvon said, 'What, are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone."

The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.


Trayvon's phone logs, also obtained exclusively by ABC News, show the conversation occurred five minutes before police first arrived on scene. The young woman's parents asked that her name not be used, and that only an attorney could ask her questions.

Martin's father, Tracey Martin, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, listened to the call along with ABC News, ashen-faced.

"He knew he was being followed and tried to get away from the guy, and the guy still caught up with him," Tracey Martin said. "And that's the most disturbing part. He thought he had got away from the guy and the guy back-tracked for him."
Trayvon Martin Exclusive: Friend on Phone with Teen Before Death Recalls Final Moments - ABC News

So what we seem to have here is the following:

1. I'm not going to say Mr. Zimmerman is "crazy" or a "nutjob" ... because he exhibits a mentality that is unfortunately all too common. There are lots of people who are quick to make presumptions of criminality on kids like Trayvon Martin. And it would be nonsensical to think "mental illness" is the reason behind all of them. There simply aren't that many "crazy" people in the world.

2. What does make Mr. Zimmerman different, however, is his apparent willingness to act on the presumptions of criminality that he makes. Emboldened, no doubt, by his license to legally carry a firearm on his person.

3. Mr. Zimmerman follows and confronts this kid. Despite the 911 dispatcher instructing him not to and despite the fact that he has no legal authority to stop, detain, or question this kid whatsoever.

4. A verbal dispute escalates into a physical altercation. Considering the fact that Mr. Zimmerman outweighed this kid by 100 lbs I don't think it's a stretch to say that it is unlikely that the kid was the one who took it there. This is also borne out by the girlfriend's testimony who overhead the confrontation over the phone.

5. The kid fights back ... as he should have. Other neighbors who called 911 reported two guys wrestling out back. The kid must have gotten a few good licks in despite their size difference because the cops said Mr. Zimmerman was bloodied when they arrived on the scene. Fearing that he just might get his ass kicked, in an utter and complete display of "bitchassness" ... Mr. Zimmerman doesn't finish the fistfight/wrestling match he started like a man. Win or lose. Instead, he pulls a gun on a kid who he outweighed by 100 lbs! The kid begins to scream help for his life ... but Mr. Zimmerman decides pump some hot lead into the kid's chest nevertheless.

So the question then becomes ....

Do you still think it's a good idea for average citizens to be carrying a gun on the streets?

I understand the reasoning for not wanting to "throw out the baby with the bath water" over what may be a relatively isolated incident. But still, IMO I can see having the right to keep a firearm in your home, business, or even your vehicle. I just think that carrying weapons on your person (with certain exceptions) is not a very good idea. I know I wouldn't want to be out having dinner and drinks with my wife and a couple of inebriated knuckleheads get into an argument that results in a shootout because they were legally able to pack a piece. When otherwise they would have been simply tossed outside by security. I'm just saying ...

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Mar 20, 2012 at 02:09 PM. )
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Reality is, if you make it harder for people to carry guns, less upright citizens will be armed. Criminals and crooks don't care about the laws (obviously).
That's why there are less murders per capita in the US than in most other first-world countries.
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Mar 20, 2012, 02:04 PM
 
If Tray had a gun too...
     
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Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
If Tray had a gun too...
A "wild, wild, west" style shootout ensues? Perhaps with a stray bullet killing a neighbor trying to chill out in front of the TV?

Or even more likely, say the kid got the drop on Mr. Zimmerman and laid him down first ... he's then shot by the first cops who arrive at the scene because it's a pretty safe bet of my next paycheck and yours that they would make the same presumption of criminality on the part of the kid as Mr. Zimmerman did.

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Mar 20, 2012, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Well in all fairness there is "the 2nd Amendment" in the thread title as well. And as I outlined in the post I linked to in the OP ...
It's not even much about the 2nd ammendment if he was already beating on the kid. This story should just be about vigilantism.

Originally Posted by OAW View Post
A person's life should not be in danger of being taken because some random dude with a gun license takes it upon himself to decide that walking in the rain constitutes "suspicious" behavior.
A gun license has nothing to do with it: "A person's life should not be in danger of being taken because some random dude takes it upon himself to decide that walking in the rain constitutes "suspicious" behavior."
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
A "wild, wild, west" style shootout ensues? Perhaps with a stray bullet killing a neighbor trying to chill out in front of the TV?
Well you did bemoan the fact that the odds were uneven, Zim being larger and better armed than Tray. If both are armed, it evens the odds, regardless of physical size, and maybe Zim wouldn't have been as overly bold.

Edit: also Tray would have been able to defend himself. You have to weight POSSIBLE collateral damage against PROBABLE avoidance of direct damage (the person who definitely actually died under the status quo).
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Originally Posted by OAW View Post
As most around here know I'm pretty much a center-left guy. But on certain issues ... such as gun control ... I'm pretty moderate or perhaps center-right. My position on that issue is summed up here. Now in that thread I expressed my general opposition to "conceal carry" laws under most circumstances. And here is a prime example of why:

A 17 year old kid named Trayvon Martin and his father are visiting the father's fiancee who lives in a gated community outside Orlando, FL. The kid decides to make a candy run to a nearby 7-Eleven. On his way back to the house "armed" with nothing but a bag of Skittles and and bottle of Arizona Iced Tea ... a self-appointed "captain" of the neighborhood watch named George Zimmerman (who was the subject of several complaints by neighbors over his tactics) takes notice of the kid approaching and immediately decides he is a "suspect". He then calls 911 and has these sorts of things to say per the recordings:



Now this here is a critical point which I'll revisit later. In response to the 911 dispatcher asking Mr. Zimmerman what the person he called about was wearing he had this to say:



Other comments by Mr. Zimmerman ...







Now then per the audio recording of the 911 call he then says ....



More conversation between Mr. Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher takes place with the former giving info on how the police can reach his location. You hear some noise in the background but it's unclear what he's doing. Soon thereafter the kid supposedly gets spooked about something because according to Mr. Zimmerman ....



At this point you can clearly hear Mr. Zimmerman exit his vehicle.



Mr. Zimmerman is definitely out of vehicle as the wind noise is readily apparent on the recording.



But again the wind noise is STILL readily apparent on the recording ... so apparently Mr. Zimmerman had other intentions. Soon thereafter 911 receives several calls from neighbors about an altercation. One caller tells the 911 dispatcher that two guys were wrestling behind his back porch and that one of them was yelling for help. And to revisit that critical point I mentioned earlier another caller said ...



NOT a dark hoodie! Shots are fired. Clearly audible in the 911 recordings of the some of the neighbors calls. And then the cries for help fall silent. An unarmed kid with no criminal history who was apparently simply walking back from 7-Eleven with a bag of skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea lay dead. A self-appointed "captain" of the neighborhood watch who had been previously arrested on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer (charges later to be dropped) was questioned by police, admitted to killing the kid, and to date has NOT BEEN ARRESTED OR CHARGED simply because he claimed it was in self-defense. And per the police, they supposedly had no evidence to dispute his story. Notwithstanding witness testimony that Mr. Zimmerman ... the man in the white T-shirt ... was the guy on top during the struggle with the kid on the ground screaming for help.

Trayvon Martin Case: 911 Audio Released Of Teen Shot By Neighborhood Watch Captain (AUDIO)

Also of note ...



The Role Of Gun Laws In The Trayvon Martin Shooting | Media Matters for America

Mr. Zimmerman was legally able to carry a gun on his person under Florida's "conceal carry" law. The 911 recordings clearly indicate that he was acting as a vigilante since he deliberately chose to follow and confront this kid based solely on his own "suspicions" in direct defiance of the 911 dispatcher's instructions. He then took this kid's life. And there's a distinct possibility that he just might get away with it because per Florida law all he has to say is that it was in self-defense. Because if the police can't or are not inclined to prove otherwise ... then it's just "Ooops. My bad."

"Conceal carry" laws are a bad idea IMO because of this type of craziness right here. What say you?

OAW
The problem isn't "Conceal Carry" The problem is this guy shouldn't have been allowed any Gun Licence at all based on his history and possible mental condition. As long as stable law abiding citizens are the ones granted a license there is going to be few if any problems with guns. ITs when wacko's and unstable people are given guns you have these problems.
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Mar 20, 2012, 03:36 PM
 
From what I've read, this is about a vigilante (with a history of being nutso) and what seems to be a disinterested police department. Could this have been prevented?
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 04:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Could this have been prevented?
Fight fire with fire: instate a community watch of armed vigilantes to police the (other) vigilantes. They would have no choice but to respect each others' authoritah.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 09:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Isn't the 911 tape as good as an eyewitness?
Judging on what I've read here, it's good evidence as to his mental state, but the actual event itself?

Convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt this guy committed reckless homicide (or whatever) based on the taped sounds of a struggle? Pass.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
List of World Wars started by the United States

↑ Jump Back A Section

List of World Wars started by other First World countries

All of them.

↑ Jump Back A Section


The US is a multicultural country, people in the US attack each other. Countries in Europe are monocultural. Countries in Europe attack each other.
     
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Mar 20, 2012, 11:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
There's strict gun-control in many of the countries that top the list.

I'd rather be concerned with how effective firearms are at deterring very common crime, as opposed to one of the most uncommon (random homicide). The answer is: very.
     
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Mar 21, 2012, 02:06 AM
 
Mr. Zimmerman needs to be arrested.

The kid was murdered in my opinion.
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Mar 21, 2012, 06:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
The problem isn't "Conceal Carry" The problem is this guy shouldn't have been allowed any Gun Licence at all based on his history and possible mental condition. As long as stable law abiding citizens are the ones granted a license there is going to be few if any problems with guns. ITs when wacko's and unstable people are given guns you have these problems.
I agree 100%. Zimmerman seems to have problems with paranoia, racism, and an inflated sense of his own importance (and power). With the list of complaints lodged against him, he should have both been stripped of his license, and at least counseled that he was going to get a court-ordered psychologist visit. He shouldn't have been issued a license, but once he had it, he should have had it pulled.

Both the 911 transcript and Treyvon's cell phone, on which he was talking with his girlfriend, support that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation, escalated it, and then pushed it to its conclusion. A "gated community" is not one's own back yard, where one may decide one does or does not want a specific person on the premises, but Zimmerman seems to have felt he was the protector of his block (from what?), and to also have irrationally felt that an unknown, dark skinned youth had to be up to no good. That adds up to Zimmerman not being stable enough to be trusted to drive, let alone have a gun on his person.

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Mar 21, 2012, 06:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
A gun license has nothing to do with it: "A person's life should not be in danger of being taken because some random dude takes it upon himself to decide that walking in the rain constitutes "suspicious" behavior."
This. If the guy only had a sharp hunting knife, the kid would probably still be dead. The problem is that some guy decided to take it upon himself to play cop, and ended up committing murder. It really doesn't have much to do with gun laws, or even the Florida law that the cops are falsely trying to suggest would protect the guy, given the 911 tape and evidence presented.
     
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Mar 21, 2012, 06:54 AM
 
Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law will probably let this scumbag get away with murder.

I guess 'Stand Your Ground' Law gives guys like Zimmerman the idea that if he has a gun, he is the law and the law protects him.
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Originally Posted by subego View Post
Judging on what I've read here, it's good evidence as to his mental state, but the actual event itself?

Convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt this guy committed reckless homicide (or whatever) based on the taped sounds of a struggle? Pass.
Why was there a "struggle?" Was the kid on the guy's property? Was he in the midst of committing a crime? Did the kid brandish a weapon?

There doesn't seem to be any justification based on the evidence, that the guy who shot the kid had any reasonable fear for his life or even his personal property. He had no business harassing a kid who hadn't actually done anything wrong, and had no business shooting an unarmed teenager.

Seems pretty open and shut case to me. You can't justify deadly force against someone threatening you with a bag of skittles.
     
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Mar 21, 2012, 07:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law will probably let this scumbag get away with murder.
No, it should not. Florida's "Castle Doctrine" statute says that there is "no duty to retreat." That is almost completely the opposite from "chasing down an unarmed, innocent youth," which there is plenty of evidence to show was the case.

The kid was walking on a public street, away from Zimmerman, who began to chase him. Having someone follow me and then begin to run toward me would certainly make me feel that I should flee, but Zimmerman has characterized this as evidence that Treyvon was "escaping," though Zimmerman had no REAL evidence that he had done anything but walked on the public street.

The unfortunate fallout of this incident is that Americans' rights are going to be threatened by the backlash against Zimmerman. The tragedy was all about a mentally unstable person visiting violence on an innocent person, with the firearm component being a mere detail, but the press, those who irrationally fear guns, and those who have their own agendas regarding disarming the American people will make more about the gun than about Zimmerman's lack of stability and racism, which are THE issues here.

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Mar 21, 2012, 07:10 AM
 
Florida Stand Your Ground Law passed in 2005.

Five years since Florida enacted "stand-your-ground" law, justifiable homicides are up - Tampa Bay Times

Five years since Florida enacted "stand-your-ground" law, justifiable homicides are up.

Reports of justifiable homicides in Florida
2000 32
2001 33
2002 35
2003 32
2004 31
2005 43 <-- Stand your ground law passed
2006 33
2007 102
2008 93
2009 105
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Mar 21, 2012, 07:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
No, it should not. Florida's "Castle Doctrine" statute says that there is "no duty to retreat." That is almost completely the opposite from "chasing down an unarmed, innocent youth," which there is plenty of evidence to show was the case.
I better hope so. This Zimmerman guy needs to be in jail.


How 'duty to retreat' became 'stand your ground' - CNN.com


In recent times, "stand your ground" laws extended this concept in many states beyond the home to any place where a person might lawfully be found, such as a bar or a public sidewalk. Florida's version enacted in 2005 (over the objection of many in law enforcement) is one of the most far reaching.

The law states that a person "who is attacked" anywhere he is lawfully present has "no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm."
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Mar 21, 2012, 07:18 AM
 
Remember that homicides is down in the US.

Look at Florida's homicides numbers:

2000 890
2001 867
2002 906
2003 924
2004 946
2005 881

STAND YOUR GROUND LAW IN EFFECT

2006 1,129
2007 1,202
2008 1,168
2009 1,017
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Mar 21, 2012, 07:21 AM
 
Percentage of murders in Florida that is firearm related

2000 56.1
2001 57.9
2002 60.9
2003 63.4
2004 58.7
2005 59.1

STAND YOUR GROUND LAW IN EFFECT

2006 65.5
2007 68.6
2008 66.8
2009 68.3
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In This Thread™, I agree with Stupendousman.
     
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Mar 21, 2012, 08:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
In This Thread™, I agree with Stupendousman.
Except homicides went up more than 25% after Stand Your Ground was signed into law in 2005, while it's down in the US as a whole.

Kinda tells you that conceal weapon and Stand Your Ground does cause homicides to increase in Florida.
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Mar 21, 2012, 08:15 AM
 
Stand your ground law should be renamed to 'maybe I can get away with murder' law.


Reports of justifiable homicides in Florida
2000 32
2001 33
2002 35
2003 32
2004 31
2005 43 <-- Stand your ground law passed
2006 33 <-- Hmm... law is new. Let me think about this law for a year. Maybe I can get away with murder?

Getting away with murder and calling it justifiable homicide

2007 102
2008 93
2009 105
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