Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Demonizing Trayvon Martin

And so it begins. The victim is demonized and re-victimized. The person who committed the crime takes on a victim status. The gun rights advocates don't much like victims. They love to demean them, demonize them, make unsavory and inappropriate comments about them. I have experienced those on a personal level. It's disconcerting to now hear the talk turning towards demonizing Trayvon Martin in the recent Florida shooting. This was inevitable. Whatever happened on February 26th will hopefully come out in a trial by jury so the innuendos and accusations on both sides can stop. From the article above:
" Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified. Clearly, there are two different versions of the events that transpired on February 26, the night Trayvon was killed. There are conflicting statements by witnesses and conflicting evidence as to who was the aggressor. Zimmerman has the right to tell his side of the story. But his opportunity to do this will come in a court of law after he is charged and arrested. In the meantime, Zimmerman’s supporters should stop trying to smear the reputation of a dead, 17-year-old boy."

That is the problem with the Stand Your Ground laws. It has been a month now. Memories change over time. The crime scene in this case was not the usual crime scene in that the police department determined that Zimmerman's claim of self defense was legitimate. That was obvious by the fact that he was apparently questioned and then he walked free. Nothing much would have come of this case had a few people not decided to ask a few questions and call attention to it. Once the case hit the light of day, the obvious conversation began about this individual case and the many other cases of claimed self defense since the 2005 Stand Your Ground law passed in Florida. This video of New York City Mayor Bloomberg is a good assessment of the laws:


So what do we know and how does it affect what happened? And where are the facts? It's really hard to discern because of the emotional nature of this case. Here are a few of my questions based on what has been leaked and what we know or think we know:
  1. Travyon was suspended from school for several violations. Should this make a difference in the case? Should kids be shot for violating school rules and allegedly experimenting with drugs? Did Zimmerman know anything about that when he encountered Trayvon in the neighborhood? He made a guess that Trayvon was on drugs or something. What made Zimmerman think that given his statement that these a^%holes always get away with this?
  2. Zimmerman claims that Trayvon attacked him. Did he? How will we know? 
  3. If Trayvon was aware that Zimmerman had a pistol, what is the likelihood that he would have then attempted to jump Zimmerman as he went back to his vehicle?-  especially given that Zimmerman was older and heavier and had already been following Trayvon, making Trayvon fearful of Zimmerman. Does it make sense that, if Trayvon had seen the gun on Zimmerman, he would have gone after him? How would you break some one's nose with a punch if you came at someone from behind? I'm just asking.
  4. Much of the evidence is now non-existent or altered because this was not treated as the usual crime scene. It had been determined by the officers and Zimmerman that this was a self defense shooting. The clothing worn by Zimmerman was not taken as evidence ( or at least it doesn't appear to be.) Were photos taken of any of the evidence? Was the scene treated in the manner of usual crime scenes? What evidence was gathered at the scene? It doesn't appear that evidence was on the mind of the police that night. Trayvon Martin was considered to be an outsider and was taken to the Morgue as "John Doe" without even finding out if he actually belonged in the neighborhood.
  5. A homicide investigator in Sanford allegedly wanted a Manslaughter charge against Zimmerman after he looked at the case. That lends a new twist to this story. But the officers on the scene claimed to have believed Zimmerman's story about self defense and so a charge was not made. Did the Sanford police department know George Zimmerman? Remember, he had made many calls to that department over the past year about alleged suspicious people in the neighborhood. Does anyone remember that when this story first broke, the Sanford police said the Zimmerman was "squeaky clean" and was a criminal justice student ( as if that should have mattered)?
  6. One month later, how has the story changed? People are less reliable with their memory about events and incidents as time comes between them and the actual event. What we have are the 911 calls by Zimmerman and the neighbors. We have a call to Trayvon's girlfriend in which it is made clear that he was worried about Zimmerman following him. We now have a "friend" who is now on the circuit making some claims about Zimmerman based on his gut reaction and a conversation with Zimmerman over the week-end. 
  7. Zimmerman knew police were on the way. Couldn't he have waited? Trayvon had no idea that police had been called, or so we think. Did Zimmerman inform him he had called police?
  8. George Zimmerman was known to carry a gun in a holster around in the neighborhood while on "patrol" for the neighborhood watch. Was he wearing a holster that night? How will we know that? Did Trayvon see the gun?
  9. How did the idea that Zimmerman likely knew about the Stand Your Ground law affect the case?
  10. Trayvon was being followed because he appeared to be suspicious. Even if he was, does he deserve to be shot for appearing to be suspicious? This could have ended with an altercation between the two but the gun made the difference. Whose claim of self defense would hold up in court if only one of the involved is still alive to tell his story? Who was armed and who was not? 
Why does this case continue to resonate with the public and the media? Certainly the issue of race has caused much of the tumult and concern. The Stand Your Ground laws are now under scrutiny as well they should be. This was the murder of a teen-ager by an older man who appeared to be involved in vigilantism. Subjective claims of suspicion just don't pass muster when it comes to cases like this. What happened in the end does not resonate as self defense amongst the general public. Yes, Zimmerman should have a chance to tell his story. Will he get that chance, given the law? 

The reaction from the far right is mixed. Some have defended the Stand Your Ground laws. Others have been critical. Does the law apply here? Should it? Even conservative columnist George Will has weighed in on this incident.
When asked about the tragedy by George Stephanopoulos, Will brought the conversation directly to the law.
“It tries to codify a right of self-defense that really confers upon citizens the illusion of these, that they have powers exercised by highly-trained police officers. Mr. Zimmerman says he was acting under this self-defense law, but he is said to have been recorded saying he pursued the person. You cannot be in pursuit and acting in self-defense.”
During the same news segment where Will made his comments, others discussed the case. This comment brings it back to what we are all about in our country and why the Stand Your Ground laws change the way we think. This one by news commenter Matthew Dowd:
 Matthew Dowd noticed an irony in how much “stand your ground” is supported by people and legislators who consider themselves Christians.
“We want to be a Christian nation, and we want to act in a Christian manner, but, oh, by the way, we don’t believe in the turn your other check, we don’t believe in love your enemy, we believe in loading… citizens and basically giving them an opportunity to shoot people.
Marian Hammer, noted NRA Florida lobbyist and first woman President of the NRA had this to say in an article about the case:
“It has become very emotional and political,” she told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Politicians who say we need to rewrite the law are politically grandstanding.”
She also has decried the “rush to judgment” and the use of “one incident” to change the law. Hammer is an expert in just that type of emotional politics where one anecdote leads to a wholesale change in law.
In 2005, for instance, she got the Stand Your Ground law passed based on just one case, that of 77 year-old James Workman. He shot and killed an intruder in his hurricane-ravaged home near Pensacola.
Workman was never charged. The state attorney specifically said Workman had a right to defend himself on his property — a concept known as the “Castle Doctrine,” a reference to the old saying that “a man’s home is his castle.”
But Hammer persuaded legislators that citizens needed to have the doctrine enshrined in statute. And they decided to expand the right to use deadly force almost anywhere a person feels reasonably threatened.
Hammer’s successes are a result of her tenacity and the fact that gun owners are passionate. They email. And they vote.
In nearly every debate, gun-control advocates have predicted “blood in the streets” and a “wild West” atmosphere.
We vote, too. A sleeping giant has been awakened. We also e-mail and pay attention. This case may just change the debate about gun laws in this country. As Dan Gross, Brady Campaign President said yesterday at a House hearing on the Trayvon Martin case, " The NRA says that an armed society is a polite society. Tell that Trayvon Martin's parents." Many others at the hearing urged Congress to look at the hate crime laws, and asked that Stand Your Ground laws be examined and repealed. They are not needed. We don't need loose cannons like George Zimmerman carrying guns in public places. The chickens have come home to roost. This story is not going away.

What to do now?
  • The consensus view, which I’ve heard expressed by supporters of Stand Your Ground, is that police were wrong to extend the law’s self-defense immunity to Zimmerman so quickly without a more thorough investigation — and that, given what we have learned about Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin, the law does not seem to apply. 
  • But why does Florida, or any other state, need this statute? State laws already allowed the use of deadly force in self-defense. By making explicit that the person who feels threatened has no obligation to retreat, all the state Legislature accomplished was to lessen the odds that a hot-tempered confrontation would be allowed to cool down without violence.
  • The Florida law took effect in 2005. Five years later, the Tampa Bay Times said that reports of justifiable homicide across the state had tripled. The newspaper found cases in which the protection of Stand Your Ground had been invoked by persons who felt — perhaps with good reason, perhaps not — that they faced imminent attack in their homes. Those incidents were at least in keeping with the intent of the legislation. But the newspaper also found the law being used to excuse violence committed during fights at house parties, disputes between neighbors and disagreements in public parks. (...) These laws encourage hotheads to go into potential confrontations with loaded firearms. They give permission to shoot first and ask questions later. This may be good for gun manufacturers, funeral homes and the NRA, but it’s tragic for justice in America. 
  • Ask Senators to stop the Conceal Carry Reciprocity bill from going forward. Why would a U.S. Senator vote in favor of a bill that will allow more people like George Zimmerman to carry in states that have stricter gun laws? Florida permit holders get their permits with little or no training in handling guns. It comes from the Department of Agriculture ( Fresh From Florida website). True. What does agriculture have to do with public safety? 
  • Demand reasonable legislation. Bills such as Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 and Ban on High Capacity Magazines are lying dormant in Congress. They should be passed. Their purpose is to prevent gun injuries and deaths no matter what the gun lobby may say about them.
  • Demand that our legislators stop adhering to the tired and false NRA arguments now being exposed publicly. In a New York Times column by author Drew Westen:
  • And in yet another show of bipartisanship, political leaders on both sides of the aisle put on their silencers. If an assassination attempt on one of their own did not move members of Congress to ask whether the N.R.A. has a little too much sway in their chambers, a few dead and wounded teenagers, medical patients, and their family members were not going to unlock their safeties. Most have clearly made the risk assessment that they have more to fear from the N.R.A. than they do from an occasional sniper. In the 2010 election cycle, the N.R.A. spent over $7 million in independent expenditure campaigns for and against specific candidates, and it has a remarkable record of success at taking out candidates and elected officials with the misfortune of being caught in its crosshairs.
 And more from Westen:
  • And in yet another show of bipartisanship, political leaders on both sides of the aisle put on their silencers. If an assassination attempt on one of their own did not move members of Congress to ask whether the N.R.A. has a little too much sway in their chambers, a few dead and wounded teenagers, medical patients, and their family members were not going to unlock their safeties. Most have clearly made the risk assessment that they have more to fear from the N.R.A. than they do from an occasional sniper. In the 2010 election cycle, the N.R.A. spent over $7 million in independent expenditure campaigns for and against specific candidates, and it has a remarkable record of success at taking out candidates and elected officials with the misfortune of being caught in its crosshairs.  
  • Be aware of ALEC type legislation and what it can mean for your state. In many cases, law enforcement and people who are closest to the laws oppose Shoot First type laws. Is your legislator or Congress person a member of ALEC? Who supports these proposed bills?
  • Get involved and stay involved with organizations fighting against the behemoth NRA, such as the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence or a state group working on preventing gun violence.
  • Be vigilant about your own safety but don't become intolerant of others and don't shoot first and ask questions later. Use common sense when it comes to protection in your home and in public. It can be done without shooting as the first resort. Store guns safely. 
  • Practice common sense if you have a gun. Demand common sense when it comes to gun laws that are meant to protect our communities and children from too many shootings resulting in gun deaths and injuries. Common sense also means that we can come together and form solutions to the problem of gun violence. As Drew Westen said ( link above):
  • Beginning with a statement of principle both makes clear the speaker’s intent and inoculates against all the slippery-slope arguments used by the N.R.A. and the elected officials in its employ or fearful of its power: “My view on guns reflects one simple principle: that our gun laws should guarantee the rights and freedoms of all law-abiding Americans. That’s why I stand with the majority who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt or protect their families. And that’s why I stand with the majority who believe they have the right to send their kids to school and see them return home safely at night.” Versions of a message containing that principle win by over a 2:1 margin with independents, and they win in every region of the country, including in my own backyard, in the red clay of Georgia.
I couldn't have said it better myself. 

23 comments:

  1. Regarding item #5 "homicide investigator in Sanford allegedly wanted a Manslaughter charge against Zimmerman after he looked at the case. That lends a new twist to this story. But the officers on the scene claimed to have believed Zimmerman's story about self defense and so a charge was not made."

    Did you even read the story of the headline before you posted this? The Seminole County State Attorney's office was the one who made the call to not bring charges. They believed they didn't have enough evidence. It was not the investigating police officers who decided.

    This is what is wrong on both sides of this issue and any gun related issue. Both sides have to "spin" everything to make it seem the other is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

    Why can't we have an HONEST discussion about this with only the FACTS, not EMOTIONS. I think both sides would be surprised that they are closer to agreements than they imagined.

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  2. George Zimmerman was known to carry a gun in a holster around in the neighborhood while on "patrol" for the neighborhood watch. Was he wearing a holster that night? How will we know that? Did Trayvon see the gun?


    From the initial police report. "Located on the inside of Zimmerman's waistband, I removed a Black Kel Tek 9MM PF9 semiauto handgun and holster." I have no clue if Martin saw the handgun but it would be hard to see unless Zimmerman's shirt/jacket was pulled up.

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  3. “Demand reasonable legislation. Bills such as Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 and Ban on High Capacity Magazines are lying dormant in Congress. They should be passed. Their purpose is to prevent gun injuries and deaths no matter what the gun lobby may say about them.”

    They’ll never pass the Senate. And why is more than 10 “high capacity”? I’ve never gotten a good answer on that. My gun came with a magazine of 30 rounds. That’s standard capacity for a M4 Tactical. Several Glocks have more than 10 as a standard capacity.

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  4. Here is some information about the previous charges against Zimmerman http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10894561-zimmerman-accused-of-domestic-violence-fighting-with-a-police-officer:
    " In 2005, Zimmerman, then 20, was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” both which are third-degree felonies. The charge was reduced to “resisting officer without violence” and then waived when he entered an alcohol education program. Contemporaneous accounts indicate he shoved an officer who was questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking at an Orange County bar."

    " In August 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman counterfiled for a restraining order against Zuazo. The competing claims were resolved with both restraining orders being granted.
    In December 2006, Zimmerman was charged with speeding. The case was dismissed when the officer failed to show up in court."

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  5. http://extranosalley.com/?p=22124

    That link has some more info. I still think Zimmerman made some very bad decisions that night..But until all the information is in the public domain we just don't know..And we may never know fully what happened.

    “We want to be a Christian nation, and we want to act in a Christian manner, but, oh, by the way, we don’t believe in the turn your other check, we don’t believe in love your enemy, we believe in loading… citizens and basically giving them an opportunity to shoot people."

    This statement is precisely why religion shouldn't be allowed in gov't. "We" are not a Christian nation. There are many other religions in this nation and there are many that simply don't identify with any religion.

    This case has been tried in the media on both sides. Gun activists as well as anti-gun activists need to stfu and let the justice system work this out. If this does go to trial I really don't see how Zimmerman could get a fair trial anywhere in this country. And that's a shame.

    Jake

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    1. I agree, Jake, that we are not a Christian nation. We are a nation. There are people practicing many religions or none at all. Unfortunately, I think the Christian part gets pushed too much and especially during elections where it has no place at all. As to the rest, You may be right. This would likely not be happening this way if we didn't have laws that have made it possible for this mess. That has been my point all along and the point of those of us working in the gun violence prevention movement. The SYG laws have been written to be vague and to allow the word "reasonable" to be included. That is too subjective. It has caused too many problems.

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    2. You are overly hung up on the “reasonable” word in regards to SYG. All self-defense statutes have that word (or equivalent language). What it means is if a jury of your peers will also find it “reasonable”. The difference with SYG and non-SYG self-defense statutes is removing the duty to retreat and granting civil immunity if and only if they are not criminally liable- but they all have the “reasonability” standard. And that word is quite common outside the context of self-defense as well, like the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt”, and in probable cause (the officer had “reason to believe”…)

      It works like this: say some young physically fit man pulls a gun and from 15ft shoots and kills an old lady armed only with a walker. He claims he was in fear of his life and that he was standing his ground. If the investigating officers don’t find that fear to be “reasonable”, and the prosecutors don’t find that fear to be “reasonable”, and a jury of his peers don’t find that fear to be “reasonable”… then he is going to prison for a long time.

      It is subjective, because it has to be subjective. Without subjective language, the statute would have to specifically list out every scenario where self-defense is justified, and that is impossible. Every situation is unique.

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  6. An important point: even if Zimmerman isn't covered by the "shoot first" law, he certainly thought he was. Thus the law has proven deadly simply from the impression of protecting him. What effect will that have on vigiliantism by others?

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  7. Found a link for the clothing #4

    Statement: Sanford police failed to collect key evidence in the case: the clothing of George Zimmerman, the gunman who killed Trayvon.

    Not true, police said. They took his clothing as well as Trayvon's and packaged it for crime-lab analysis. A spokeswoman for Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would not disclose Tuesday where the clothing is now, but she wrote in an email that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement "is assisting with the processing of physical evidence."

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-27/news/os-trayvon-martin-question-answer-20120327_1_medical-examiner-releases-bodies-police

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    1. Here's the main problem- "Florida Statute 776.032 expressly prohibits police from arresting someone who had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm. Police may investigate, the statute says, "but the agency may not arrest the person" without probable cause."

      After seeing the video last night of Zimmerman being brought into the police department, I believe everything is up for question and concern.

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  8. You said "The SYG laws have been written to be vague and to allow the word "reasonable" to be included. That is too subjective. It has caused too many problems."

    And yet Minnesota's current law uses that same word.

    Chapter 753, Article 1, Statute 609.065 of the Minnesota statutes states the terms of Minnesota's self-defense laws. It is included in the same section as other laws regarding crime and punishment in Minnesota. The law states: "The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized [...] except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode." It has been included in Minnesota's laws without change since it was first written.

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    1. I find this wording to be vague and subjective- " reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode."

      Delete
    2. and what word would you put in reasonably's place? What it legally means is that a "reasonable" person would believe that. For example I might believe that you are actually a giant white man eating rabbit but a "reasonable" person would not. Since the language has sufficed for hundreds of years how exactly would you rephrase it?

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  9. You said "Here is some information about the previous charges against Zimmerman http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10894561-zimmerman-accused-of-domestic-violence-fighting-with-a-police-officer:"

    And this is different from the "demonizing" you decry how?

    Notice he was not convicted of anything. And come on, a speeding ticket? You brought up a speeding ticket?

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    1. I didn't bring up a speeding ticket. It was reported in the article.

      Delete
  10. You said "One month later, how has the story changed?" Well today you said ...

    "Were photos taken of any of the evidence?" while earlier you said..japete Mar 23, 2012 05:20 PM
    no photos of the crime scene- no clothing seized

    While the press said ...
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321850
    The officers that arrived at Mr. Martin's home showed him a crime scene photo for identification.

    and on the subject of the gun you said...
    japete Mar 23, 2012 05:20 PM

    "Most of it is now gone. No gun- Zimmerman has it- no ballistics testing-"

    While the police report said the gun and holster were taken from Zimmerman and placed into evidence. You probably got your info on the gun from the Brady Campaign as described below.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/26/gun-control-group-falsely-claims-zimmerman-still-has-gun/

    The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that advocates for stricter gun control laws, claimed Monday that George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, still has his gun despite press reports to the contrary.

    UPDATE: The Brady Campaign sent this statement to TheDC Monday evening: “It has now been reported that the Sanford Police Department is in possession of the gun that George Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin.


    Then today you said "It had been determined by the officers and Zimmerman that this was a self defense shooting."

    And you followed that with "A homicide investigator in Sanford allegedly wanted a Manslaughter charge against Zimmerman after he looked at the case."

    So yeah, you are right. The story is changing.

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    1. Indeed it is. It just got a whole lot more interesting after last night's ABC news video was released of Zimmerman being taken into the police headquarters.

      Delete
  11. I am always amazed at how poor quality security cameras are. You would with recent camera tech you should be able to read the officers badge numbers but instead we get this crappy low resolution footage. Please update you cameras they are actually rather cheap now!

    If you can see any detail in that video you have better eyes than me. The daily caller has supposedly "enhanced" a still that shows a vertical cut that looks to be a few inches long. I cant wait for the actual evidence to eventually be published. I wonder if it will come out after the 10th.

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    1. Would a reasonable person assume that Trayvon was suspicious and about to do something wrong? What is the definition of reasonable in this case?

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    2. You asked.."Would a reasonable person assume that Trayvon was suspicious and about to do something wrong? What is the definition of reasonable in this case?" Really, whether Trayvon's behaviour was suspicious or not has no bearing. Neither does "Castle Doctrine." We can all agree that Zimmerman thought Trayvon was suspicious and reported him as such to the police. We can agree that Zimmerman got out of his truck. We can agree that there was a fight. We can agree that Trayvon died. It doesn't matter whether we think these were right or not.

      The 1998 version of Florida's self defense law (prior to Castle Doctrine) is ...

      776.012 Use of force in defense of person.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

      776.041 Use of force by aggressor.--The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

      (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
      (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

      (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
      (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

      Castle Doctrine removes the duty to retreat which isn't relevant here. Castle Doctrine presumes that a stranger in the home or vehicle unlawfully causes a reasonable fear. That isn't relevant here.

      What is relevant here is...
      1) Did Trayvon attack Zimmerman first or did Zimmerman provoke the incident? If Zimmerman provoked the incident he has a problem. So did he get out of the truck to confront Trayvon or did he get out to get the house number?
      2) If Travon did attack would that attack be considered unlawful? Would it be considered a "forcible felony. Here is where Castle Doctrine works for Trayvon and not Zimmerman.
      3) If Trayvon did attack would Zimmerman reasonably be considered in "danger of death or great bodily harm?"

      So what we need to do is allow the police to try to establish these facts and then allow a Grand Jury to determine if Zimmerman should be taken to trial. If it goes to trial a jury will determine the "reasonableness" of Zimmerman's actions. If we don't do that then we are all vigilantes pursuing mob justice.

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    3. I have been saying that consistently.

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  12. I'm guessing this one won't get as much attention from the anti-gun side because it involved those 'professional and well trained' law enforcement officers who are clearly more capable of making life and death decisions in moments of high stress:

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/29/11-caller-arrested-after-california-cops-shoot-dead-alleged-armed-robber/?test=latestnews

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    1. " Police were dispatched to the scene after a man, identified as Oscar Carillo, called 911 and said he had been robbed by two armed men who stole his laptop and backpack as he was buying tacos.
      The 26-year-old claimed one of the men pointed a gun at him during the robbery, but police said Wednesday he lied to officers and that detectives now believe the two men -- who included McDade -- were unarmed." and " Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez told the newspaper, "Mr. Carillo emphatically indicated a gun was involved... that is very important. It sets the platform for the mindset of the responding officers.""

      I don't get your point Molon. Why did the man lie about being robbed by an armed black man? Police believed his story and assumed the man was armed. What else should they think? Shame on the guy for making the call. Did it have anything to do with race do you think?
      This was totally senseless loss of life all because an idiot lied.

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