Al Sharpton went down to Florida
He was looking for a story to steal
‘Cause this hustler of race
Never yet saw a case
In which racism wasn’t revealed.
(“The Devil went down to Georgia”, the Charlie Daniels band. Slightly altered.)
Oh boy. I have not wanted to touch the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman story with a ten foot pole. However, this blog is at least partially about news/politics, and it’s definitely about guns and gun rights, and this happened pretty damn close to me. Therefore, in no specific order, here are my random thoughts:
1. The “Stand your ground” law in Florida is a GOOD and SENSIBLE law. It is inherently stupid to insist that a victim, upon being attacked, must try to turn and run away before defending oneself. If I am carrying grocery sacks or a baby and someone rushes at me with a knife, it is stupidity of the highest order to demand that I turn my back and wait to get tackled from behind as I run before drawing a weapon to defend myself.
I want to point this out first and foremost. We don’t have all the facts at the moment, but whatever details emerge about the confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman does not change that the law is SENSIBLE and REASONABLE.
2. The “Stand your ground” law specifically exempts situations in which you provoke the violence against yourself, unless it’s actually becoming deadly violence. In Lissa’s-layman’s terms, if you start a fight and get your ass whupped, it’s no more than you deserve … UNLESS the person you started a fight with is actually about to kill your ass. You’re not required to lie there and get killed even if you were a stupid freakin’ jackhole who started the fight.
A lot of the next few points were either drawn from or partially formulated by this Ace post, which I recommend you read in its entirety.
3. The shot with LeBron and his friends in hoodies made me want to throw up. If you take that slant on the story, this evil white guy – WHITE, not Hispanic, dammit!! – followed a young black kid wearing a hoodie and gunned him down in cold blood . . . for the temerity of being a black male in a hoodie. I’ve seen Emmett Till mentioned. I would like everyone to join me in a collective vomit.
Read the 911 transcript (available at the Ace post). The way the media is spinning the story, you expect it to go something like this:
Zimmerman: There’s a suspicious kid in my neighborhood. He’s black and wearing a hoodie and therefore must by definition be a criminal and a drug fiend so I’m going to kill him.
Um, not so. The dispatcher ASKS Zimmerman whether Martin is “black, white or Hispanic” and then ASKS Zimmerman what Martin’s wearing. It was an attempt to get a physical description to give to the incoming cops.
4. All that being said, the story still looks pretty bad – innocent young black kid shot to death for looking suspicious. HOWEVER – and this is a BIG, HUGE “HOWEVER” – WE DON’T YET KNOW ALL THE FACTS. I think there are two basic likely scenarios:
a) Zimmerman accosted Martin and tried to detain him until the police arrived. Martin, seeing a strange man – obviously not a cop – grabbing at him resisted being detained and responded with physical violence deemed necessary to defend himself. Zimmerman, being on the losing end of the altercation, drew his weapon and killed Martin.
I’d think in this case that he would go to jail. It’s obviously not premeditated, but you can’t start a fight, draw a gun when you lose, and not get jail time.
b) Zimmerman confronted Martin (not accosted, confronted). Martin responded with physical violence; he initiated the fight. Zimmerman, assaulted and bleeding, drew his weapon and fired to defend himself.
In this situation – B – I personally think that Zimmerman acted stupidly. I don’t believe in walking up and confronting what you think is a potentially dangerous and drug-ridden criminal; it’s moronic and foolhardy. It is NOT, however, a crime. And however stupid and ill-advised it may be to walk up to someone and demand, “What are you doing here?? Are you a criminal??” or whatever it was Zimmerman said in this scenario, if Martin responded by attacking Zimmerman than he is morally justified in defending himself.
The last few points I’ll quote directly from Ace:
5. If the facts are as the media reports them, then it does seem like Zimmerman was following around a kid who wasn’t doing anything illegal at all. Then again, if the facts were as the media reported them, the Duke Lacrosse Team was guilty of violent gang-rape.
While the liberal media screams, once again, “Trust us, and forget all about our hitting the Panic Button time and time again before!,” some of us would like to see what the facts really are before coming to a conclusion.
6. As a general matter, and inescapably, the law of self-defense is a very thorny thicket. The media would like to simplify the law and simply declare that anyone who shoots anyone else is guilty of murder (because they would like to ban all guns, period, and this is a cutesy manner of achieving that goal through the back-door).
But these laws are inescapably thorny and these cases are inescapably very dependent on actual facts.
At the heart of every self-defense case are a pair of related questions: Did the defendant reasonably believe his safety was in jeopardy when he struck the fatal blow? And, based on the circumstances, did the defendant act lawfully, within the accepted safe-harbors for the use of lethal force in defending one’s life (or another’s life)?
Facts, not ginned up racial outrage or general anti-gun animus, answer these questions.
Given what we think we know (and remember, the media has lied before): it appears that the kid was unarmed, the guy can’t rely on self-defense to save his life.
Further, it appears (again, appears) that Zimmerman initiated the contact/confrontation, not the kid, so the “stand your ground” law is not even relevant in the case.
But that’s how it appears, at the moment, and for a whole year the media was pretty sure that drug-addled, mentally-imbalanced nightcrawler Crystal Gayle Mangum was a pretty solid citizen and dependable witness.
We’ll see how this plays.
Various inarticulate, charity-hire racists don’t need a sober assessment of the facts, because their conclusions are animated by racism — the party of the Disfavored Race is always guilty. (Even when the member of the Disfavored Race is only an honorary member of that Disfavored Race.)
Although America has brought shame to some racists, others flaunt their racism proudly.
We’ll have to do something about that. What is this, the 50s?
If I were the praying type, I would put Trayvon Martin, his family, George Zimmerman and his family all in my prayers. Since I’m not, I just feel sad and sorry and like the whole damn thing is a ***damned waste.