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Eamonn

Trayvon Martin

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Zimmerman decided to follow and confront Martin - in his own words, "This guy looks like he's up to no good". This was based on observing what Martin looked like. Martin had not been involved in any criminal activity. He was walking along, minding his own business. Zimmerman decided that Martin looked suspicious.

How are black teenage men supposed to walk so that they won't get shot?

 

Martin didn't get shot from walking around. He got shot from trying to beat somebody. If Martin had done what we tell every kindergarden kid to do--keep your hands to yourself, he would be alive, and Zimmerman would have a normal life.

Just as in kindergarten if zimmerman had listened to the authority figure, 911 dispatcher, he wouldn't have his life ruined.....

 

If If If.......

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I believe that it is wrong and foolish to judge individuals based on race. As a southern white male, I do not have much experience being the recipient of racial or gender discrimination. At the same time, it is possible and probable that my judgement is influenced by race due to my heritage and life experience, even though I would prefer that it was not. I have been in situations where black people have accused me of being racist due to a decision that I had made. It is easy to excuse comments made in the heat of the moment. The fact is that there is racism in our country and accusing people of racism where it is not justified simply allows real racism to hide.

 

Paula Deen continues to get pounded in the media because she admitted under oath to using racial language decades ago. An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black. One part of the Zimmerman case that troubles me is the enthusiasm that some people on the right have shown over the verdict. A young man is dead, how is there anything to celebrate?

I am guessin you have never sat in a waffle house and dennys were the white folks were served long before you........At one waffle house in Cincinnati my friends were served and received their bills before my food came.... I got up and went to walk out and was told if I did they would call the police on me......forget that I sat there for nearly an hour and watch my friends eat....

 

Judging folks by race happens all the time.....

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An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black.
I highly doubt that Zimmerman shot the Trayvon Martin because he was black.

 

 

 

I think folks are forgetting a few things and not thinking analytically. One, as jblake47 and others have tried to point out - jury trials such as these do not have an objective to prove someone innocent. The judges direction to the jury was to determine if George Zimmerman acted in self-defense or in legalese - if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force and that a person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. The jury was also instructed to judge Zimmerman by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used, that the danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.

 

 

 

There was conflicting testimony - there was very different testimony by several witnesses stating who was the aggressor. So, for me - concluding that there was reasonable doubt was the correct verdict. That doesn't mean that Zimmerman acted properly. Also, I believe the jury was 100% female, as was the Circuit judge and no one is claiming gender issues? (It was not 100% white as some have claimed. Five where white and one Hispanic.) The fact that Trayvon Martin did not simply go home or that Zimmerman should have stayed in his car or not followed Martin are irrelevant to the case at hand. It did not matter how the confrontation came to be - if Zimmerman was profiling, if Martin was looking for a fight - it only mattered that when Zimmerman fired a bullet through Trayvon's heart, was the appearance of danger so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person believe that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force?

 

 

I do pretty much agree that Zimmerman acted improperly, but not illegally. It would have been better for all concerned, if he had stayed in his vehicle. That said, it's easy to say that in hindsight, and not living in a neighborhood that has been burglarized several times.

I live in that neighborhood....

 

You call the law and try to stay out of it.....Otherwise the gang members will kill you.

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I believe that it is wrong and foolish to judge individuals based on race. As a southern white male, I do not have much experience being the recipient of racial or gender discrimination. At the same time, it is possible and probable that my judgement is influenced by race due to my heritage and life experience, even though I would prefer that it was not. I have been in situations where black people have accused me of being racist due to a decision that I had made. It is easy to excuse comments made in the heat of the moment. The fact is that there is racism in our country and accusing people of racism where it is not justified simply allows real racism to hide.

 

Paula Deen continues to get pounded in the media because she admitted under oath to using racial language decades ago. An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black. One part of the Zimmerman case that troubles me is the enthusiasm that some people on the right have shown over the verdict. A young man is dead, how is there anything to celebrate?

Yes, judging folks by race happens all the time. I try to be intentional to avoid making that error.

The media reaction to the Paula Deen mess, and all the companies racing to dissociate from her, was an overreaction. It would have been more beneficial to acknowledge that Mrs. Deen recognizes that the racial attitudes that were common in certain places 20 years ago are not acceptable today.

But here's the challenge: If it is offensive for a white woman to use certain racial terms, why is it acceptable (common) for a black rapper? To say that certain words are acceptable when spoken by one racial group but offensive from another is its own form of racism.

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An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black.
I highly doubt that Zimmerman shot the Trayvon Martin because he was black.

 

 

 

I think folks are forgetting a few things and not thinking analytically. One, as jblake47 and others have tried to point out - jury trials such as these do not have an objective to prove someone innocent. The judges direction to the jury was to determine if George Zimmerman acted in self-defense or in legalese - if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force and that a person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. The jury was also instructed to judge Zimmerman by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used, that the danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.

 

 

 

There was conflicting testimony - there was very different testimony by several witnesses stating who was the aggressor. So, for me - concluding that there was reasonable doubt was the correct verdict. That doesn't mean that Zimmerman acted properly. Also, I believe the jury was 100% female, as was the Circuit judge and no one is claiming gender issues? (It was not 100% white as some have claimed. Five where white and one Hispanic.) The fact that Trayvon Martin did not simply go home or that Zimmerman should have stayed in his car or not followed Martin are irrelevant to the case at hand. It did not matter how the confrontation came to be - if Zimmerman was profiling, if Martin was looking for a fight - it only mattered that when Zimmerman fired a bullet through Trayvon's heart, was the appearance of danger so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person believe that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force?

 

 

I do pretty much agree that Zimmerman acted improperly, but not illegally. It would have been better for all concerned, if he had stayed in his vehicle. That said, it's easy to say that in hindsight, and not living in a neighborhood that has been burglarized several times.

OK, so let's agree then "that Zimmerman acted improperly, but not illegally". Then we need to correct the criminal code to get rid of the stand your ground provisions that make it next to impossible to convict the shooter in a case like this one.

In 2010, 4,828 young people (age 10-24) were victims of homicide, over 82% from gun fire. Also during 2010, there were 499 US military fatalities in the Afghanistan area. I don't know what an acceptable number might be, but I think that we have too many young people getting shot and it should be more difficult to do that.

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perdidochas - "The evidence points towards my view of the story, or more on a legal standpoint, there is no evidence that Zimmerman started the physical confrontation. WIth our legal system, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone did something. Defendants are not required to prove that they didn't do something. "

 

Perhaps in the media you watch it may seem to you there was more evidence for Zimmermon.. The media took sides and favored only showing what pointed out their theory.. But, no you side held no better evidence.. All you had was Zimmermans word, which he did not want to get on the stand and restate under oath, so he just let videos play out, and those videos held a lot of lies that were proved false.. So it left questions as to if anything was the truth.. You couldn't get the other side of the story as Martin lay dead.. All other accounts were guesswork, or seeing a part of the fight from a distance in the dark, or listening in on the fight.. No one SAW who started it..

 

Yes there is reasonable doubt as to who started it first.. But, evidence does not point towards your view, no more then to the other view.. It is just that with reasonable doubt as to who is telling the truth, the outcome by rules of the court favored the side you were rooting for. Having reasonable doubt does not mean he had more or better evidence to convince anyone of anything that he said.

 

Why is it Zimmermans right to stop a total stranger and ask them what they are doing?.. He wasn't the police, he didn't even identify himself as neighborhood watch. He just stalked someone for a while make him feel nervous, then without giving any reason demanded Martin to explain himself.. And his neighborhood may have been burglarized, but there is no proof it was by young black men except for in Zimmermans mind, as evidenced by the fact that he only called the police if it was a black man (or men) walking in his neighborhood..

The woman going to 20 years for firing a warning shot isn't going to jail for being black, it's for firing warning shots. You may not use a gun in Florida to "scare someone." You may only use a firearm to kill someone. If you reasonbly fear your life is in danger, you may fire, otherwise, you may not fire or brandish a weapon. Using a firearm to "scare" someone is a serious violation of Florida gun laws, regardless of skin color.

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perdidochas - "The evidence points towards my view of the story, or more on a legal standpoint, there is no evidence that Zimmerman started the physical confrontation. WIth our legal system, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone did something. Defendants are not required to prove that they didn't do something. "

 

Perhaps in the media you watch it may seem to you there was more evidence for Zimmermon.. The media took sides and favored only showing what pointed out their theory.. But, no you side held no better evidence.. All you had was Zimmermans word, which he did not want to get on the stand and restate under oath, so he just let videos play out, and those videos held a lot of lies that were proved false.. So it left questions as to if anything was the truth.. You couldn't get the other side of the story as Martin lay dead.. All other accounts were guesswork, or seeing a part of the fight from a distance in the dark, or listening in on the fight.. No one SAW who started it..

 

Yes there is reasonable doubt as to who started it first.. But, evidence does not point towards your view, no more then to the other view.. It is just that with reasonable doubt as to who is telling the truth, the outcome by rules of the court favored the side you were rooting for. Having reasonable doubt does not mean he had more or better evidence to convince anyone of anything that he said.

 

Why is it Zimmermans right to stop a total stranger and ask them what they are doing?.. He wasn't the police, he didn't even identify himself as neighborhood watch. He just stalked someone for a while make him feel nervous, then without giving any reason demanded Martin to explain himself.. And his neighborhood may have been burglarized, but there is no proof it was by young black men except for in Zimmermans mind, as evidenced by the fact that he only called the police if it was a black man (or men) walking in his neighborhood..

"Now put Travon with the gun and Zimmerman with the skittles and ice tea.. Ask if Trayvon would have gotten off with reasonable doubt."

 

Probably never goes to trial. The police and prosecutors haven't liked bringing ambiguous shoot out issues to trial since Stand Your Ground, too hard to prove. Hence the initial decision not to prosecute the latino man in Seminole County Florida for shooting the unknown black teenager. Remember, this was a SMALL gated community, nobody thought to ask the neighbors if the deceased lived there because they knew all the residents and he wasn't one. As far as the police were concerned at the time, George Zimmerman found one of the burglars, caught up with him, and shot him in self defense.

 

When Al Sharpton got hold of the story and the German/Jewish sounding name, he got a national outcry and thought he had ideally a fresh pogrom against the Jews at best, and a chance to stoke racial flames at worst. The media held out to the nonsensical "white Hispanic" idea to cover for the fact that they were told they had a white man shoots black teenager story in the deep south, when they had a fight turned lethal between a troubled black teenager from Miami and a local latino neighborhood watchman who was well loved by many of his neighbors for trying to help.

 

Until this became a news story, the police saw an injured guy with a gun and the teenager dead, investigated, talked to witnesses, and concluded self defense. The idea that latinos are given some sort of racial privilege in Seminole County Florida is absolutely farcical.

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I believe that it is wrong and foolish to judge individuals based on race. As a southern white male, I do not have much experience being the recipient of racial or gender discrimination. At the same time, it is possible and probable that my judgement is influenced by race due to my heritage and life experience, even though I would prefer that it was not. I have been in situations where black people have accused me of being racist due to a decision that I had made. It is easy to excuse comments made in the heat of the moment. The fact is that there is racism in our country and accusing people of racism where it is not justified simply allows real racism to hide.

 

Paula Deen continues to get pounded in the media because she admitted under oath to using racial language decades ago. An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black. One part of the Zimmerman case that troubles me is the enthusiasm that some people on the right have shown over the verdict. A young man is dead, how is there anything to celebrate?

Basementdweller, you just reminded me of some terrible things I've witnessed. You're right.

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perdidochas - "The evidence points towards my view of the story, or more on a legal standpoint, there is no evidence that Zimmerman started the physical confrontation. WIth our legal system, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone did something. Defendants are not required to prove that they didn't do something. "

 

Perhaps in the media you watch it may seem to you there was more evidence for Zimmermon.. The media took sides and favored only showing what pointed out their theory.. But, no you side held no better evidence.. All you had was Zimmermans word, which he did not want to get on the stand and restate under oath, so he just let videos play out, and those videos held a lot of lies that were proved false.. So it left questions as to if anything was the truth.. You couldn't get the other side of the story as Martin lay dead.. All other accounts were guesswork, or seeing a part of the fight from a distance in the dark, or listening in on the fight.. No one SAW who started it..

 

Yes there is reasonable doubt as to who started it first.. But, evidence does not point towards your view, no more then to the other view.. It is just that with reasonable doubt as to who is telling the truth, the outcome by rules of the court favored the side you were rooting for. Having reasonable doubt does not mean he had more or better evidence to convince anyone of anything that he said.

 

Why is it Zimmermans right to stop a total stranger and ask them what they are doing?.. He wasn't the police, he didn't even identify himself as neighborhood watch. He just stalked someone for a while make him feel nervous, then without giving any reason demanded Martin to explain himself.. And his neighborhood may have been burglarized, but there is no proof it was by young black men except for in Zimmermans mind, as evidenced by the fact that he only called the police if it was a black man (or men) walking in his neighborhood..

True enough about that law. 'Stand your ground' is practically a license to kill...as long as you make sure you do kill. The lesson here is to make absolutely sure of your deadly aim.

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perdidochas - "The evidence points towards my view of the story, or more on a legal standpoint, there is no evidence that Zimmerman started the physical confrontation. WIth our legal system, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone did something. Defendants are not required to prove that they didn't do something. "

 

Perhaps in the media you watch it may seem to you there was more evidence for Zimmermon.. The media took sides and favored only showing what pointed out their theory.. But, no you side held no better evidence.. All you had was Zimmermans word, which he did not want to get on the stand and restate under oath, so he just let videos play out, and those videos held a lot of lies that were proved false.. So it left questions as to if anything was the truth.. You couldn't get the other side of the story as Martin lay dead.. All other accounts were guesswork, or seeing a part of the fight from a distance in the dark, or listening in on the fight.. No one SAW who started it..

 

Yes there is reasonable doubt as to who started it first.. But, evidence does not point towards your view, no more then to the other view.. It is just that with reasonable doubt as to who is telling the truth, the outcome by rules of the court favored the side you were rooting for. Having reasonable doubt does not mean he had more or better evidence to convince anyone of anything that he said.

 

Why is it Zimmermans right to stop a total stranger and ask them what they are doing?.. He wasn't the police, he didn't even identify himself as neighborhood watch. He just stalked someone for a while make him feel nervous, then without giving any reason demanded Martin to explain himself.. And his neighborhood may have been burglarized, but there is no proof it was by young black men except for in Zimmermans mind, as evidenced by the fact that he only called the police if it was a black man (or men) walking in his neighborhood..

Yes and no... There are definitely abuses of the law, but most of the abuses don't really concern the government. Sure plenty of gang fights get claims under stand your ground, but the powers that be are generally okay with them killing each other anyway.

 

Prior to the Castle Doctrine being codified, Florida had a mess of crime and lawsuits in the 1980s. Burglars falling through skylights and suing homeowners, tripping on pools, fences, etc., during break-ins and suing. Homeowners getting caught up in urban violence spreading, etc., so the legislature codified the castle doctrine (which evolved from common law, but shut down the civil avenue)... Prior to this, there was a dispute between the castle doctrine to defend your home and the duty to retreat. With castle doctrine codified as carrying the day, this issue went away.

 

With the success there, it was expanded out to a general removal of the duty to retreat. The media has played it out as a license to kill, but that's not quite right, you need to have "reasonably feared for your life." This does have the quirky side effect of a dangerous fight escalating to the right to kill in self defense, but only if the fight is reasonably seen as lethal. There is an exception if you broke the law in creating the situation, BTW, it didn't apply in this case because while getting out of the car and pursuing might have seemed dumb, it didn't break a law, so it wasn't allowed into the jury instructions.

 

Prior to this, self defense was VERY hard to use because you had to defend yourself in a split second decision, then the prosecutor could craft all sorts of "what-if" scenarios to suggest that you failed to retreat and therefore were guilty. If you think that this prior state of affairs was good for minorities, ask yourself who was more likely to have a public defender and who was more likely to bring in expert testimony about the likelihood of retreat.

 

George Zimmerman did not claim Stand Your Ground, since his claim was that he was on the ground, there was no option to retreat, so it was not relevant to the situation (but will be used in a potential civil suit for dismissal). The media drummed it up because they hate Stand Your Ground.

 

The codification of Castle Doctrine was to protect home owners. It has had tragic consequences at times, but it has made home owners feel more secure in their home and our crime rates have fallen. A few freaky stories have come out of Stand Your Ground, but crime rates are falling and the law is generally popular here, especially as budget cuts have resulted in dangerously long response times from local police.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that we are a bilingual "border" state (albeit with a naval border) with a large undocumented population, a massive criminal underground (Miami Vice was a dramatization of a real problem), and a ton of problems related to rapid growth. We have unique problems here, but in general, few of our gun deaths or violent crimes are attributed to concealed weapon permit holders OR legal gun owners in general. Not none, but few, most of our problems are with illegal guns in lawless areas. Concealed Permits, Castle Doctrine, and Stand Your Ground are extremely popular outside of liberal enclaves because there are seen as protecting the legal citizens from the criminal element.

 

The media wants to paint race as this big issue in Florida, but when you get away from the nonsense, race isn't so straight-forward here. Our Latinos aren't some oppressed minority, former Governor Bush was married to a Latina, Miami's Cuban population is extremely powerful (and conservative), etc. Our urban poor in metropolitan areas are similar to urban poor elsewhere, but we have a TON of people that are classified on the census as black but aren't culturally "African American," they are first/second generation immigrants from the Caribbean Islands, and their culture (and cuisine) is totally different from the rest of the black population.

 

We might seem like a freaky state by the news media, and we have plenty of oddities, but we're a unique state with it's own unique problem. Every state with a large undocumented population is struggling with the criminal element. Most immigrants are hard working contributors to society (documented or not), but citizen criminals have a paper trail to catch and something to lose, undocumented immigrants don't legally exist and therefore are nearly impossible to catch. That's why self defense becomes such a critical issue in states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida. It's easy to point fingers at the "redneck racist southerners" but the situation is considerably more complicated that it is elsewhere, including non-border southern states.

 

Don't believe the media caricature, Trayvon Martin was failed by the disaster that is Miami Dade Public Schools long before the petty crimes he got involved with got him suspended and on an ill-fated trip to Sanford, FL. You saw it in his 19 year old friend that is a senior in high school and can't read cursive writing at all, and these were people with hard working parents involved in their children's lives.

 

However, the lesson from these cases is: if your life is really in jeopardy, shoot to kill, and sort out the proof in court, you have a very fair chance at defending yourself in court. If your life is NOT in jeopardy, do NOT pull a gun at all, you will spend 20 years in prison. In theory, this makes perfect sense, in practice, it probably pays to be able to afford a good attorney.

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stand your ground

 

Except this case had nothing to do with Florida's "stand your ground" law ... it's hard to retreat from a threat when someone is beating you to a pulp and smashing your head against the pavement.

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stand your ground

 

Except this case had nothing to do with Florida's "stand your ground" law ... it's hard to retreat from a threat when someone is beating you to a pulp and smashing your head against the pavement.

The juror interviewed by Anderson Cooper specifically mentioned the stand your ground law even though it was not highlighted as part of the legal arguments in court. This indicates that the jurors were at least aware of the law. The problem with the stand your ground laws is that they are not needed. Self defense has been an acceptable use of force for a very long time. The stand your ground provisions only serve to increase the motivation for violence.

Self Defense: "I tried to get away from him but he kept after me so I had no choice but to defend myself."

SYG: "I felt threatened so I killed him."

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stand your ground

 

Except this case had nothing to do with Florida's "stand your ground" law ... it's hard to retreat from a threat when someone is beating you to a pulp and smashing your head against the pavement.

Stand Your Ground only made two major changes:

 

1. The obligation to retreat was removed

2. The option for a Stand Your Ground Hearing

 

Obligation to Retreat:

 

The problem with the obligation to retreat is it is evaluated in slow motion depending on how aggressive the prosecutor is and how bad the defense council is. I mean, if you're pinned down, irrelevant, if someone is charging you with a knife and you shoot them, you then have to defend in open court how long it takes them to run at you vs. the time for you to get to the door and run... Basically, the standard is warped because you make a decision in split seconds that gets second guessed in hours. Florida's case law was horrendous on this, which is what let to codifying castle doctrine and stand your ground in legislation.

 

Stand Your Ground Hearing:

 

At a trial, the defendant merely has to establish reasonable doubt, i.e. > 5% chance... At a Stand Your Ground Hearing, the defendant has to establish a preponderance of the evidence (51%) that it was self defense. So, in a tough case like this one, it's better to ignore the SYG Hearing and fight the trial with the lower threshold for you.

 

The difference is, that an innocent person can get bullied into a plea... We're going after you for Murder 2, Life in Prison, but you can plea self defense... However, instead we'll play aggravated assault and 5 years... With a Stand Your Ground Hearing, the defendant can attempt to establish their freedom for MUCH less money (a big defense bill can be $1 Million or more), and not get railroaded into a plea deal that they have to accept because they can't afford to go to trial.

 

On television, Self Defense vs. SYG seems like a license to kill, the biggest change is NOT allowing prosecutors to railroad people, since there is almost always a theoretical means of retreat, even if you couldn't really see it at night but only at day time with a camera to show it....

 

Seminole County Florida is a rural/suburban mixed area outside Orlando. Of course they knew Stand Your Ground Laws in a colloquial sense. All of the jurors probably knew someone with a concealed weapon permit.

 

The media, including the Orlando Sentinel went ape shit when these laws were passed, explaining that we were turning into the wild west. Yet honest citizens have less to fear from crime now, so they are popular.

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stand your ground

 

Except this case had nothing to do with Florida's "stand your ground" law ... it's hard to retreat from a threat when someone is beating you to a pulp and smashing your head against the pavement.

The campaign to get SYG laws on the books is a tactic from the NRA to outflank any federal regulation of guns. The SYG provisions encourage people to shoot first which only increases the level of violence and they make it more confusing to the authorities on when to prosecute.

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