Tuesday 16 July 2013

What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?

What happened on the night of February 26, 2012? I mean what really happened? Like you, I've read numerous newspaper articles. I've read the sometimes conflicting testimony. I've read the analysis. While the CSI television shows arrive at a conclusive ending, it would seem real life leaves many questions unanswered. My kingdom for a time machine.

Stand your ground. Don't back down. It's your castle. You have the right to defend yourself up to and including deadly force.

What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?

There is no doubt that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead. There is no doubt that 28-year-old George Zimmerman killed him. Despite the trial, there are lingering doubts about what transpired before the shooting. There are questions about how both Martin and Zimmerman acted and how they handled the situation, an escalating confrontation between two strangers.

What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?

Nobody has the right to intimidate you. Stand your ground. Nobody has the right to touch your person. Don't back down. Nobody has the right to attack you. Defend yourself up to and including deadly force.

What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?

Yoshihiro Hattori
On October 17, 1992, a 16 year old Japanese exchange student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went out to a Halloween party dressed up in a tuxedo like John Travolta in the film Saturday Night Fever. He went to the wrong house by accident. Thinking the student was trespassing with criminal intent; the owner shot and killed the student.

In the subsequent criminal trial, the owner, Rodney Peairs, was acquitted. In the civil trial, he was found liable to Hattori's parents for $650,000. From Wikipedia:

District Attorney Doug Moreau concentrated on establishing that it had not been reasonable for Peairs, a 6-foot-2, well-armed man, to be so fearful of a polite, friendly, unarmed, 130-pound boy, who rang the doorbell, even if he walked toward him unexpectedly in the driveway, and that Peairs was not justified in using deadly force. Moreau stated, "It started with the ringing of the doorbell. No masks, no disguises. People ringing doorbells are not attempting to make unlawful entry. They didn't walk to the back yard, they didn't start peeking in the windows."

"You were safe and secure, weren't you?" Moreau asked Peairs during his appearance before the grand jury. "But you didn't call the police, did you?"

"No sir." Peairs said.

"Did you hear anyone trying to break in the front door?"

"No sir."

"Did you hear anyone trying to break in the carport door?"

"No sir."

"And you were standing right there at the door, weren't you - with a big gun?"

Peairs nodded.

"I know you're sorry you killed him. You are sorry, aren't you?"

"Yes sir."

"But you did kill him, didn't you?"

"Yes sir."

What if Rodney Peairs didn't have a gun?

Running Away
I go into my cottage and find an intruder. I run away. A fight breaks out in a bar. I run away. I'm sitting at home when I hear somebody break a window. I run away.

I don't have a gun. I don't have any other options but to protect myself by running away. I see danger and I attempt to escape. I perceive danger or I interpret something as dangerous and I run away.

NY Times - Apr 27/2005
Florida Expands Right to Use Deadly Force in Self-Defense by Abby Goodnough
[The "stand your ground" bill] lets people use guns or other deadly force to defend themselves in public places without first trying to escape.
The measure codifies in state law what many courts have already ruled in Florida: that a citizen need not try to escape an intruder in his home or workplace before using deadly force in self-defense.

The measure also goes a step further, letting "a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be" use deadly force without first trying to flee.

Final Word
A 17-year-old teenager is dead. What could any 17-year-old do to deserve being dead? I run down the list of crazy-assed things I did during my teenage years, heck in my entire life, and wonder about the difference between Trayvon Martin and me. Oh yeah, the people I met didn't have a gun. Have I made mistakes? Yes. Have I sometimes been impolite? Yes. Have I sometimes been confrontational? Yes. Have I been drunk and disorderly or even stoned and slightly nuts? Yes. But I'm not dead. The people I met didn't have a gun.

What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?


Picture: Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm semi-automatic pistol, the gun used by George Zimmerman.

Wikipedia: Stand-your-ground law
In the United States, stand-your-ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.

Wikipedia: Castle doctrine
A Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine that designates a person's abode (or, in some states, any legally-occupied place [e.g., a vehicle or workplace]) as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities permitting him, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend against an intruder -- free from legal responsibility/prosecution for the consequences of the force used.

Wikipedia: Shooting of Trayvon Martin
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed-race Hispanic American, was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place.

Wikipedia: Yoshihiro Hattori
Yoshihiro Hattori (November 22, 1975 – October 17, 1992) was a Japanese exchange student residing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States at the time of his death. Hattori was on his way to a Halloween party and went to the wrong house by accident. The property owner, Rodney Peairs, shot and killed Hattori, thinking he was trespassing with criminal intent. The controversial homicide, and Peairs's subsequent acquittal in the state court of Louisiana, received worldwide attention.

my blog: Guns: as American as apple pie
You, America, and maybe not all Americans but some, want the right to carry a weapon into Walmart when you buy milk. I can't help thinking that there is a far greater issue at stake here. I'm not talking about your individual freedom to do whatever the hell you want; I am talking about why you want to have a weapon in Walmart in the first place. Seriously. Are you walking around all the time worried, no scared about God only knows what? A terrorist attack? A crazed psycho mass murderer? The evil federal government bashing down the gates of your Waco compound?

my blog: Carnography: Vegetarians need not apply
The average child will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average American has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders. At a meeting in Nashville, TN last July, Dr. John Nelson of the American Medical Association (an endorser of National TV-Turnoff Week) said that if 2,888 out of 3,000 studies show that TV violence is a casual factor in real-life mayhem, "it's a public health problem." The American Psychiatric Association addressed this problem in its endorsement of National TV-Turnoff Week, stating, "We have had a long-standing concern with the impact of television on behavior, especially among children."

The Washington Post - Dec 14/2012
Chart: The U.S. has far more gun-related killings than any other developed country by Max Fisher
The United States has by far the highest per capita rate of all developed countries. According to data compiled by the United Nations, the United States has four times as many gun-related homicides per capita as do Turkey and Switzerland, which are tied for third. The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries on this chart. That means that Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from another developed country.

Slate - July 15/2013
You Are Not Trayvon Martin by William Saletan
His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict.

Criminal Defense Blog - July 14/2013
The Embarrassment Of The George Zimmerman Verdict by Brian Tannebaum
The result of a verdict today in a criminal trial is that everyone with a twitter or Facebook account gets to let the world know how ignorant they are of the criminal justice system. I know, First Amendment. But your ignorance shows again when you mention that. The First Amendment protects you from the government, it doesn't protect you on twitter or Facebook from people calling you out for your ignorance.
(Brian Tannebaum is a criminal and Bar Defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.)

The Daily Show July 15/2013: The George Zimmerman murder trial concludes.
Click here for The United States
Click here for Canada

The Guardian - July 16/2013
Eric Holder condemns self-defence laws in wake of Zimmerman acquittal
Holder insisted it was time to look again at legislation such as the state's stand-your-ground law that eliminated "the commonsense and age-old requirement" that people who felt threatened had a duty to retreat.

The New York Times - July 15/2013
The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin by Charles M. Blow
The system failed him when Florida’s self-defense laws were written, allowing an aggressor to claim self-defense in the middle of an altercation — and to use deadly force in that defense — with no culpability for his role in the events that led to that point.


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Anonymous said...

Or what if George Zimmerman stayed in his damn car like the police dispatcher told him? Just lock the doors and wait for the cops. Nobody had to die that night.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

"What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?"

He would have been beaten to death and his death wouldn't have received any national attention at all.