3/22/2012

Why the shooting in Florida isn't covered by that state's "stand your ground" law

The "Castle Doctrine" or "stand your ground" law doesn't let you pursue someone and then shooting them. There is a reasonable person test that the victim felt that they were in danger and that it was necessary to fire the gun in self defense. From Fox News:

Media stories sharing the transcripts of the 911 tapes from the evening of the incident clearly show that Mr. Zimmerman was instructed by authorities to remain in his vehicle and to cease pursuit of Mr. Martin. George Zimmerman seems to have ignored the direction of the authorities and continued his pursuit of Mr. Martin.
Mr. Zimmerman's unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the "Stand Your Ground" law for anyone who pursues and confronts people. . . .


CNN has some edited takes of the 911 calls, but they didn't have any racist comments being made.

His parents believe that race was a factor in their son’s death. . . . . Zimmerman’s family made a statement saying, he grew up in a multiracial family and that he was not racist. He has since moved out of the family home after receiving death threats. . . . .


More is available here.
Audio of 911 call
Listen to the audio and tell me if you can tell when George Zimmerman supposedly uses the term "fuckin' 'coons." I have listened a couple of times and I can't hear it. Even the left wing Daily Kos only says:

It's not clear. It's said in a low voice. But, in the opinion of many who have listened to this publicly available version of a 911 call made shortly before he shot unarmed Trayvon Martin to death last month, George Zimmerman seems to be saying "fuckin' 'coons." . . . We know for certain that the 28-year-old Zimmerman, who has been identified as the "captain" of an unregistered neighborhood watch group in some reports, made other comments in that 911 call that could, in context, be considered racially charged. For example, "These assholes, they always get away."


I am not sure how that last quote is racist given that Zimmerman never even volunteered the race of Martin until he was specifically asked about it and that it could have been referring to the criminals that had been breaking into homes that he was obviously upset about.

Some details about the case from Fox Orlando:

"The guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, 'Help! Help!' and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911," said the witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John.
John said he locked his patio door, ran upstairs and heard at least one gun shot.
"And then, when I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point."



See more details here. The Examiner has a summary here:

-- The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.
-- The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.
-- Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.
-- Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin's father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son.


A copy of the police report available here confirms some of these points.

Statement from the Brady Campaign President Dan Gross rushing to judgment about a concealed carry permit holder:

"Make no mistake: This tragic shooting represents the National Rifle Association's vision for America. The NRA's vision is an America that looks just like Florida, where it's easy for criminals and dangerous people to get, carry, and use guns. The NRA wants us to be a nation without any gun laws, a nation where just about anybody can get a gun and take it anywhere. Their leaders and spokespeople use fear, paranoia and misleading notions of self-defense to justify flooding our streets with armed and violent people, and the result is more tragedies like Trayvon's.

Trayvon's life has been lost not because of an accident, but because of the easy access to a gun by a violent person permitted by a state with weak gun laws. It is time we stand up to the NRA and the politicians who put the agenda of the gun lobby ahead of the safety of the people they have been elected to represent. It is time that we as a nation flatly reject the vision of the gun industry and replace it with the vision where our young people can grow up without the fear and tragedy of gun violence."


The Brady Campaign's Vice President Dennis Henigan also had some very strong words and managed to link it to the recent Maryland judicial decision that the government can't completely ban people carrying guns:

“Recently Judge Benson Everett Legg of Maryland became the first federal judge to hold there is a Second Amendment right to carry a gun outside the home. Only days before, Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager, lay dead from a shooting that dramatically illustrates the price in lives we will pay if Judge Legg’s renegade ruling becomes the law across the United States.”


The Republican governor is already caving on the "Stand your ground" law in Florida. "Gov. Rick Scott announces task force on Stand Your Ground, assigns new state attorney to Trayvon Martin case"

After speaking with Gov. Scott, State Attorney Norman Wolfinger voluntarily decided to step aside form the case to avoid “the appearance of conflict of interest,” according to a release put out by the governor’s office on Thursday evening. Angela B. Corey of the Fourth Judicial Circuit has been appointed the Assigned State Attorney in the case.

Gov. Rick Scott also announced that Florida will put together a task force to study the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which has come under intense media scrutiny in the wake of Trayvon’s death. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Caroll, House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, will be involved in the task force.

“They will be recommending individuals for me to appoint to the Task Force, which will thoroughly review Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and citizen protection,” Scott said in a release. . . .


Well, at least we know who to blame:

MSNBC host blames Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for death of Trayvon Martin
Karen Finney blamed the language of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rush Limbaugh for creating the enviroment that led to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. . . .



Trayvon Martin case: 'Blacks are under attack,' says Jesse Jackson

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said Friday that he's grateful the rest of the country has sat up and taken notice of the tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin. But he can't help but wonder: Why has it taken so long for everyone else to recognize the chronic injustices that African Americans face?

"We're surprised that everyone else is surprised," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. African Americans have tried for decades to get the rest of America to understand their plight, he said, particularly their beliefs that justice is still elusive in many parts of America, especially the Deep South.

Then along comes the Trayvon Martin case, and facts that are not in contention: Volunteer neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman pursued and then gunned down the unarmed 17-year-old last month, and never faced arrest because police said there was no evidence to contradict his claim that he fired in self-defense.

"I hope that this will be a transformative moment," Jackson said. . . .


Obama gets personal

President Barack Obama weighed into the controversial killing of a black teenager in Florida in very personal terms on Friday, comparing the boy to a son he doesn't have and calling for American "soul searching" over how the incident occurred. . . .

"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said in his first comments about the shooting, acknowledging the racial element in the case.

"Obviously, this is a tragedy," Obama told reporters. "I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids."

The case has rippled across the nation and prompted rallies protesting the failure of the police to arrest the shooter, George Zimmerman, and, more broadly, a pattern of racial discrimination black leaders cite in Sanford and elsewhere in the country. . . .


Even on the right, people condemned Zimmerman. Take Jeb Bush for example.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday that the “stand your ground” self-defense law he signed while in office should not apply to the case of a teenager who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in his home state.
“This law does not apply to this particular circumstance,” Bush said after an education panel discussion at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Stand your ground means stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”
He was referring to reports that the 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, was pursued by the volunteer and fatally shot in a scuffle.
“Anytime an innocent life is taken it's a tragedy,” Bush said. “You've got to let the process work.” . . .


Newt Gingrich thinks that the shooter is at fault, but still had this to say.

“It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background," Gingrich said. "Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn’t look like him?" . . .


National newspaper editorials have concluded that Zimmerman must be prosecuted. The piece obviously has its facts wrong.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

I don't see how saying "We don't need you to do that" constitutes being "instructed" to stay in your car and not to follow. And yes, then Castle Doctrine is relevant as it has to do with not having a duty to retreat when you have a right to be there to begin with. The reporting on this story has been so biased, it's staggering.

Almost all of the news items about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin contains a combination of false statements, opinions presented as facts, transparent distortions, and a complete absence of some of the most relevant details. Almost all news items are written solely from the point of view of the grieving family. The media also fills their articles with outdated baby-faced pictures of Trayvon. Very few include that he was a 6’2” football player.

There is a news story from SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) on March 5.

------------------------------

Man shot and killed in neighborhood altercation

Investigators with the Sanford Police Department are still trying to figure out exactly what happened during an altercation which resulted in a fatal shooting in the Twin Lakes area. The shooting happened just after 7 p.m. Sunday evening on Twin Trees Lane. A man who witnessed part of the altercation contacted authorities.

"The guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, 'Help! Help!' and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911," said the witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John.

John said he locked his patio door, ran upstairs and heard at least one gun shot.

"And then, when I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point."
---------------------------------

On March 16, the police department released the following details:

1. The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.
2. The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.
3. Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.
4. Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin’s father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son.

3/22/2012 12:37 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

I find it highly disturbing that the 16 March Police information release has been completely ignored by the so called main stream media.

3/24/2012 11:36 AM  
Blogger Chas said...

Justice has gone begging in the killing of Trayvon Martin? Sounds more like it's political correctness that's gone begging and will continue to do so, since it's become even less likely, not more likely, that Zimmerman will be going to jail.
It's amusing to see leftist sensibilities trumped by reality - they get so angry when the facts contradict their Marxist narrative.

3/24/2012 1:36 PM  
Blogger ToryII said...

An unarmed Trayvon Martin "stood his ground" and was shot by his stalker.

If George Zimmerman pointed his pistol at you, would you stop beating his face ?

How many incidents can you recall where police either arrested the victim or allowed the perpetrator to go free ?

3/25/2012 5:16 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear ToryII:
Could you please explain your bottom line to me a little differently? I am not sure that I understand your point. Thanks.

3/25/2012 8:00 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

I'd like to know what entity, be it an individual, or an organization, came up with the concept that Zimmerman is hiding behind the "stand your ground" law. I'm reasonably sure it wasn't Mr. Zimmerman himself...

3/26/2012 1:23 PM  

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