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On Zimmerman

July 13th, 2013

Josh Marshall summarizes my own view very well:

If you’re a wannabe cop loser with a gun who starts stalking a kid in the dark, you’re responsible for the outcome.

I blogged pretty much the same thing back in April 2012, and my opinion is not changed now:

In my mind, Zimmerman is guilty. Not because I know how the specifics played out, that Martin did not assault him, or anything else. Instead, it was because Zimmerman was the one holding a gun, he did not need to pursue Martin (the 911 call made that clear), and so he bore responsibility.

Too many Americans have too cavalier an attitude about what it means to carry a gun—essentially, “I’m packing so don’t frack with me.”

There’s a reason why we ask professionals to take care of law enforcement, and reasons why cops train long and hard for it. Zimmerman had not been through this. There are damned good reasons why even a late response time from cops is better than grabbing your gun and taking care of things yourself.

But this was not even that. Zimmerman was not defending his home. He was not even “standing his ground”—you cannot stalk someone and chase them and then claim you were “standing your ground.” He was, in fact, instructed to hold back, and not for no reason.

He defied the instructions from authorities, violated the principles of armed confrontation, and had he not done these things, Trayvon would have had his Skittles and iced tea and Zimmerman would have finished his trip to Target. It was Zimmerman’s gross misconduct which caused the death.

That’s my take, at least.

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  1. Tim
    July 14th, 2013 at 02:18 | #1

    Then there is the wisdom of old English Common Law.

    As I recall from law school, the old common law rules had established a requirement to retreat before using lethal force in self defense.

    Every so often, modern people like to think that maybe they know better wisdome than common law judges. Rarely do they. “Stand your ground” is a case in point that proves the general rule.

    Imgaine the precedent if Zimmerman prevails.

    If I have carry a concealed gun, I can pick a fight with you, and if I am beating the cr@p out of you, everything is fine and dandy – but if you turn the tables on me and start beating the cr@p out of me? Well, I can claim self defense and just shoot you dead.

    That’s in a casual situation.

    And maybe I really want to kill you. So I provoke a fight, allow you to get the upper hand, and then stand my ground and shoot you dead.

    I haven’t listened to the closing arguments, but if was a prosecuting attorney I would have pointed this out to the jury in terms they could understand.

    The combination of legal concealed and carry + stand your ground has the potential for real mayhem.

  2. Troy
    July 15th, 2013 at 11:17 | #2

    this wasn’t a murder case, and manslaughter was difficult given the altercation and head injury to Zimmerman.

    But Trayvon’s civil rights to walk through his father’s girlfriend’s condo without being harassed by a wanna-be condo cop were indeed violated that night.

    Carrying a piece should make you more responsible for the outcomes of your actions, not less.

    Part of the conservative worldview requires Martin to be in the wrong and Zimmerman’s explanation of his actions to be accepted.

    Otherwise, the entire principle of carry laws goes out the window when idiots like Zimmerman blow some kid away.

    The Hattori shooting back in 1992 comes to mind.

    Guns cause much more human sadness than they prevent.

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