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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The great divide about guns

I started to write this post a few weeks ago but didn't get to publish it because so many shootings happened during that time that required my attention. But it is more cogent today than it was a few weeks ago. And that is because of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. This case has literally exploded and is the main topic on most of the media outlets- with the exception of Fox News, of course, who is trying to keep it off of their news shows. From this article:

"By March 19, the story was officially national news—and so was Fox News’s relative absence. Think Progress ran a story under the headline “All Major News Outlets Cover Trayvon Martin Tragedy, Except Fox News,” which was tweeted more than 1,500 times and picked up by a wide array of blogs and news sites. A chart accompanying the item said that between Feb. 26 and March 19, CNN had devoted 41 segments to Trayvon Martin, with MSNBC airing 13 and Fox News one."

The segments that Fox News did air quickly drew scrutiny. Monday afternoon, anchor Martha MacCallum introduced a piece that tied the release of the 911 calls to a general statement on the shooting by the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “The alleged gunman [is] claiming that it was self-defense,” said MacCallum, “and now anti-gun advocates say the 911 calls from some witnesses prove otherwise—and they’re using them as ammunition in a new attack on the National Rifle Association.”

Los Angeles correspondent Trace Gallagher described portions of the tapes, and then concluded: “Remember, Florida is also a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law state, which means that you can use guns or other deadly force as self-defense without backing out of a confrontation. Now, the National Rifle Association backed that law, and now the Brady Campaign, which is pushing for tougher gun laws, says, ‘That’s the National Rifle Association’s vision for America.’ It’s important to point out that gun sales in this country have never been higher, and the crime rate, says the FBI, is very low.”

Good grief. Can't they do any better than that? The NRA does have a vision for America that includes guns for all and everywhere. Why do we think these laws have been passed in the first place?

As my readers know, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently vetoed a "Shoot First" bill similar to Florida's Stand Your Ground law. This was a good thing for the public safety of Minnesota but the NRA ideologue lawmakers who pushed the bill did not agree. This article, written before the veto of the bill,  does a great job of getting to the divide in Minnesota about gun bills in general and about the Shoot First bill and how it applies now to what happened in Florida on February 26th in the Trayvon Martin shooting. From the article:
Shooting first, without asking questions, without an objective standard, gives armed civilians more rights as to the rules of engagement than are possessed by the police. The initiative to expand the Castle Doctrine and bring back the Wild West is national, with legislation pending in states across the country. All use the NRA template, and all rely on a shrill paranoia that comes down to doing “everything in your power” to defend your family.  Combine that paranoia with an emotion like road rage and you’ve got a deadly combination.  And for every anecdote of a street crime halted by a gun, there is a countervailing Chardon, Ohio episode to cite.
           What it comes down to is a discussion, not about the right to carry guns, but the right to use them based on an internal emotional state, however confused.  That’s what subjective determination of threat levels could lead to.  One man’s ugly urban encounter is another’s murder. 
(...) If the legal issue becomes the good intentions and bad vibes perceived by the shooter, then a brutal new standard of life-and-death becomes the norm.  This is the reality of, “An armed society is a polite society.”  It’s a loutish civility, a tyrannical politeness.  The expanded Castle Doctrine is a porch too far.  The bill deserves a veto from (Democratic) Governor Mark Dayton.
But I found this article to be particularly on point. Does someone who is carrying a gun become more suspicious that others are also carrying guns? I have written many times about the totally different worlds of the gun rights extremists and the rest of the world ( since the gun rights advocates represent about 2-3% of us). The author has some interesting observations which just became more relevant after the Trayvon Martin shooting. From this article:
In the study which was carried out well before the shooting, undergraduates at Notre Dame and Purdue glimpsed scenes of people holding objects and had to decide quickly whether the object was a gun. The results showed they were biased toward thinking so if they themselves were holding a toy gun, rather than a plastic ball. Just having a gun nearby didn't make a difference, researchers found.
Why is that? Brockmole said people are primed to act in the world rather than just passively see it. So their minds have to contain information both about what they see and what they might do in response. Evidently, each kind of information can influence the other, he said.
He said the work is not intended to support gun control, but it suggests that people should know that when they hold a gun "that might change how you're going to interpret what's around you."
He ends it this way:
Dennis Proffitt, who studies visual perception at the University of Virginia, said there are many reasons why one person might think another is armed, such as if he is worried about his own safety or if he thinks the other person is a robber. The effect of holding a gun oneself "could be part of the story" in Florida, he said. 
I asked the question in one of my previous posts about whether George Zimmerman acted more boldly because he had a gun. People who carry guns for self defense in public places appear to think there is danger around every corner and may be more suspicious than the average person. From interactions on this blog via the comment section, I gather that most of the folks who have chosen to comment here see the world as one filled with danger and the paranoia that comes with it; this view can lead to feeling unsafe and therefore the need for a loaded gun wherever one finds oneself. Most people manage their lives without the need for a loaded holstered gun to weigh them down both physically and emotionally. It's a heavy burden and it can lead to tragedy, as it did in the Trayvon Martin case.

As more laws are passed to allow more people to carry guns in more places, more analysis of the gun culture in America is happening. Such is the case with this Christian Science Monitor article. From the article:
But the vast majority of the momentum on guns is on the side of people who want a .30-30 rifle in their cabinet at home and the right to carry a Ruger in their coat pocket – anywhere. It is being driven, in part, by what could be called a "militia of one" mentality. While 20 years ago many people were arming themselves as part of a nostalgic identification with citizen armies, many today see carrying a gun in public as an essential right and a legitimate, even necessary, tool to ease peculiar and particular American fears about personal protection.
"People are buying guns to deal with their anxiety of feeling they have no safety or they have this need for their political sense of freedom, but not everybody shares that level of personal threat," says Joan Burbick, author of "Gun Show Nation," a critique of American gun culture. "And when you're going to insist upon this in public spaces or shared spaces like a basketball game or a park, then you're really intruding into where other people get their personal sense of safety." 
(...) "There's a kind of Second Amendment reconstructionism going on which has to do with Western individuality, freedom from coercion ... moving about and not having to explain your business to people," says Brian Anse Patrick, a University of Toledo professor and author of "Rise of the Anti-Media," which documents the gun rights movement's underground presses. "They may not think Washington is their friend, and they're certain that bureaucrats are working against their right to own guns. But it has less to do with resisting government authority and more about family: 'I want to be able to defend myself, I want the right to travel and refrain from fear, and this little .38 special here helps me achieve that.' "
(...) Yet a little defiance of government authority is mixed in there as well. "The Democratic Party in many ways overinvested in symbolic legislation on gun control, which explains the backlash from hunters or people who have a legitimate reason to feel unsafe and want a gun by their bedside," says Sanford Levinson, a University of Texas constitutional law professor and expert on the Second Amendment. "But the more important thing is what the Republican Party has done over 25 years, which is to really delegitimize national government and make people feel that the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical."
The 9/11 attacks reinforced the view among many Americans that dark forces lurk in society that people need to defend themselves against. While the overall violent crime rate is down, a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that 72 percent of Americans feel that local crime will increase in the near term. Some experts say this generalized anxiety is reflected in the popularity of movies and TV shows about zombies and similar topics. The grim mood hasn't gone unnoticed by ammo manufacturers, one of which is trying to capitalize on the zeitgeist by selling a line of Zombie Max cartridges and shells.
After writing more about how people got involved in efforts to beat back gun control efforts and a little history about the assault weapons ban, the author goes on with more quotes from people interviewed for the article:
"You go from self-defense to political freedom. And every step along the way you get to expand gun rights, you have a victory for political freedom. That's a heady equation," says Ms. Burbick, who studies culture and politics at Washington State University in Pullman. "It's simple, it's straightforward, but nobody seems to be able to test if it's accurate. So instead of funding town parks at a level where you can manage the environment and the people in the environment, you come up with this very shortsighted but direct solution, which is carry a gun."
And finally this:
Behind the proliferation of less-restrictive laws – and guns themselves – looms a question as old as the flintlock: Does having more weapons in people's hands make society more, or less, safe? Partisans on both sides marshal their numbers. Gun critics have long been concerned that concealed carry laws will lead to more routine disputes being settled with a bullet, especially if the weapons end up on the wrong hips.
And yet another editorial piece bemoaning the fact that in our current culture, a few lives lost to bullets is just the price our country has chosen to pay in order to allow a few to exercise their unfettered rights to own any gun they want wherever they want. From this Pennsylvania Public Opinion editorial (above):
Whatever gun control battle that might have existed in our state and nation seems to be over, and those who fought to reduce our rampant gun violence have lost.
The cost of that defeat, it seems, is that we all must simply accept the casualties whenever some lunatic inevitably goes off his nut and shoots up a school, or a hospital, or a church, or a public appearance by a congresswoman.
In recent weeks, an Ohio high school student filched a gun from his grandfather and killed three of his fellow students in their school cafeteria. This week, a man killed one and injured seven others - including a police officer - in a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic with two guns reported stolen in Texas, Associated Press reported Friday.
The Pittsburgh rampage happened mere days after the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to penalize municipalities that attempt to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police. 
(...) You can't even broach the subject of gun control these days without immediately generating an orchestrated defense of gun owners' Second Amendment freedoms that clearly outweigh everyone's freedom to not get shot.
And the editorial ends with this observation:
But it's mostly pointless. Apparently no one cares, least of all the lawmakers being lobbied by pro-gun special interests.
And the occasional-but-ceaseless news of gun massacres has seemingly and inexplicably desensitized us to such a point that Pennsylvania's efforts to prevent a sensible local gun control pass without a blip.
If that's the cost of freedom, the cost of losing the gun control battle, then it appears we're willing to pay up.
So, dear readers. Is the 30,000 or so gun deaths every year the price Americans have chosen to pay for doing the bidding of the NRA and its' minions? How sad is that?  Did Trayvon Martin pay the ultimate price for a law that made George Zimmerman think he was within his rights to shoot a young black man for just walking in the neighborhood unarmed? Remember, now, Zimmerman was suspicious of the boy just because he had a hoodie on and his hand was in his waistband. What that appeared to have meant to Zimmerman, whose beloved gun was at or near his own waistband, is that perhaps Martin, too was armed. Now Zimmerman is paying the price for getting caught up in the vigilantism he took on as a self appointed neighborhood watch program captain. But the price he should pay may not be enough. If he walks away from the shooting because of a law pushed by the NRA that Florida legislators passed happily, a terrible injustice will have occurred. And now, hypocritically, some of the Florida legislators are trying to back away from this dangerous and stupid law. Representative Dennis Baxley was heard to say on a media outlet that the fact that Zimmerman was not arrested is a misapplication of the law and that the statute itself should not be attacked. Come on. Give me a break.
Both co-sponsors told the newspaper, however, that they did not think the law needed to be re-examined.
"If you want to pass something, pass something that limits their ability to pursue and confront people," Baxley said. "It's about crime watch," he said. "What are the limitations of crime watch? Are you allowed to jump out and follow people and confront them? What do you think is going to happen? That's where it starts."
But during the town hall meeting in Sanford, Florida Rep. Geraldine Thompson promised the law's repeal would be a top priority for the state legislature's black caucus.
"If vigilante justice becomes the norm, will visitors feel comfortable coming to our state?," she asked.
The law should never have passed in the first place and now we are seeing why. It took the Trayvon Martin case to call public attention to a law that has seen many others go free after murdering someone while claiming "self defense".
Florida was the first of more than 20 states to allow people to defend themselves with deadly force anywhere they had a right to be.
Credit the National Rifle Association. Backed by the influential organization, the "stand your ground" legislation won broad support from lawmakers and praise from then-Gov. Jeb Bush as "a good, common-sense, anticrime issue."
Marion Hammer, the NRA's Florida lobbyist, said the measure was needed to prevent authorities from harassing law-abiding people with unwarranted arrests.
"The law was written very carefully and it means what it says: You have a right to protect yourself," she said.
Drowned out in the debate were the critical voices of law enforcement officials and prosecutors. They worried people would become less sensitive to gun violence and death. They envisioned vigilantism.
The gun lobby is in a bad place here. They supported a law that has led to more than one shooter of an unarmed person walk free of even a charge or prosecution for the shooting. They supported a law that makes it easy to kill another person and claim "self defense". These legislators need to be held accountable for the laws they pushed and voted to pass. Where is common sense?


  1. The thinking processes that some of those I've encountered who are gun carriers, whether concealed or open, deeply concern me. In all seriousness, they don't think clearly, and operate on a rationale that does not admit to themselves the possibilities of error or accident. In their self-mythology, they see themselves as some sort of heroes, who dramatically will intervene to save the day like some modern day lone ranger. The possiblity that they might have a poor criteria for assessing when to shoot is not allowed for; and when you see or read what they consider suitable situations for shooting, it makes you cringe. Their ability to think logically and critically is abysmal; they are relying on emotion, not reason in their responses. Their notions of the history of gun use, of prominent figures in the past with whom they identify as fellow gun carriers has the same weaknesses - they are images that are consistently historically inaccurate, and the emulation of them is dangerous.

    They will never acknowledge, no matter how many statistics show that there are seroius problems with unqualified people being armed, that any problems exist. Rational argument is often pointless; they always have an excuse, or they minimize the reality while maximizing their fantasy of guns and gun use.

    Your post about how having a gun changes the perception of the person who is so armed, even if it is only a toy gun is so significant.

    I would add to that the academic work by David Hemenway, at the Harvard School of Public Health, which also supports the fact that gun use reality, by objective measurement is very different than the subjective reality the gun nuts describe.
    The verifiable facts in the following show the gun nuts are not accurately, objectively describing their experiences. Which would track with the false version of events provided to Police by George Zimmerman. Heck Zimmerman may have even half-beleived his explanation; but it appears by a pretty strong assortment of unrelated witnesses to be grossly inaccurate. The problem is......that doesn't appear to be unique to Zimmerman.

    On the other hand, the more I read of Hemenway's work, the more impressed I am. It is not only the illegal gun carriers; it is the legal gun carriers who are just as big a problem, not a solution to anything.
    See below

  2. Harvard Injury Control Research Center

    Gun Threats and Self-Defense Gun Use
    37-39. Overestimates of self-defense gun use
    We use epidemiological theory to explain why the "false positive" problem for rare events can lead to large overestimates of the incidence of rare diseases or rare phenomena such as self-defense gun use. We then try to validate the claims of many millions of annual self-defense uses against available evidence.
    Major findings: The claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens appears to be invalid.
    Publication: Hemenway, David. "Survey Research and Self-defense Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 1997; 87:1430-1445.
    Publication: Hemenway, David. "The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events." Chance (American Statistical Association). 1997; 10:6-10.
    Publication: Cook, Philip J; Ludwig, Jens; Hemenway, David. "The Gun Debate's New Mythical Number: How Many Defensive Uses per Year?" Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 1997; 16:463-469.

    40. Legality of reported self-defense gun use
    We analyzed data from two national random-digit-dial surveys conducted under the auspices of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
    Major findings: Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective.
    Publication: Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah. "Gun Use in the United States: Results from Two National Surveys." Injury Prevention. 2000; 6:263-267.

    41. Hostile gun displays
    Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Center, we examined the extent and nature of offensive gun use.
    Major findings: Firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.
    Publication: Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah. "The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Use: Results of a National Survey." Violence and Victims. 2000; 15:257-27242. Gun use in the home.
    Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home.
    Major findings: Guns in the home are probably used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns.
    Publication: Azrael, Deborah R; Hemenway, David. "In the Safety of your own Home: Results from a National Survey of Gun Use at Home." Social Science and Medicine. 2000; 50:285-91

    to be continued.

  3. 43. The wounding of criminals.
    Using data from a survey of detainees in a Washington D.C. jail, we worked with a prison physician to investigate the circumstances of gunshot wounds to these criminals.
    Major Findings: One in four of these detainees had been wounded, in events that appear unrelated to their incarceration. Most were shot when they were victims of robberies, assaults and crossfires. Virtually none report being wounded by a "law-abiding citizen."
    Publication: May, John P; Hemenway, David; Oen, Roger; Pitts, Khalid R. "When Criminals are Shot: A Survey of Washington DC Jail Detainees" Medscape General Medicine. 2000; June 28. www.medscape.com

    44. Gun threats against and self-defense gun use by adolescents
    We analyzed data from a telephone survey of 5,800 California adolescents aged 12-17, which asked questions about gun threats against, and self-defense gun use by these young people.
    Major Findings: These young people were far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use a gun in self-defense, and most of the reported self-defense gun uses were hostile interactions between armed adolescents. Males, smokers, binge drinkers, those who threatened others and whose parents were less likely to know their whereabouts were more likely both to be threatened with a gun and to use a gun in self-defense.
    Publication: Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. "Gun Threats Against and Self-Defense Gun Use by California Adolescents." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2004; 158:395-400.

    45. Batterers' use of guns
    We analyzed survey data collected from over 8,000 males enrolled in a certified batterer intervention program in Massachusetts, 1999-2003.
    Major Findings: Recent gun owners were 8 times more likely to have threatened their partners with a gun than non-gun owners. Four main types of gun threat against partners were (a) threatening to shoot then, (b) threatening to shoot a pet or person the victim cares about, (c) cleaning, holding or loading a gun during an argument, and (d) shooting a gun during an argument.
    Publication: Rothman, Emily; Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah. "Batterers' Use of Guns to Threaten Intimate Partners" Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 2005; 60:62-68.

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  4. I wonder: How do you stand on castle doctrine in one's home?

    1. It's already in law in Minnesota as it is in my states. I am not against it as long as someone is not careless and shoots someone by mistake when they come to the wrong door and then they want to claim self defense which has happened before. No one in Minnesota has been prosecuted and convicted of a justifiable self defense case.

    2. "No one in Minnesota has been prosecuted and convicted of a justifiable self defense case."

      You mean "No one has ever been convicted of murder/manslaughter in a case where castle doctrine would have protected them because they were in their home", correct?

    3. I don't believe even outside of the home. The man who chased the person who hit a woman and robber her in a Cub Food store parking lot was not charged with shooting the robber. He did chase him when he didn't need to because the danger was over. He chased the man into an alley where he pulled a gun so the permit holder shot and killed him and was not charged.

    4. I see. I was just pointing out that "justified homicide" is not something you can be convicted under.

      It's like saying someone can be convicted on the charge of duress

    5. Japete: "He chased the man into an alley where he pulled a gun so the permit holder shot and killed him and was not charged."

      Didn’t you want him to be charged? Or a change in the law to allow him to be charged? You blogged about it here:


      Also, his actions would fall under Good Samaritan laws, not Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground. Zimmerman could use Good Samaritan laws as his defense IF Martin were committing a crime (which of course he wasn’t). Good Samaritan is what allows for initiating contact. Stand Your Ground does not.

    6. No TS, that was no Good Samaritan. The event was already over. The man was gone. The permit holder did not have to chase the man. He could have stayed at the scene with the woman and waited for police but he took action on his own.

    7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law

      I don't see much in there as a defense, but it could work.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Please read these articles- http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/03/stand-your-ground-and-vigilante-justice/254900/

    and http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=149120748

    This is what's wrong with SYG laws.

    1. Still, it's not enough for Zimmerman or anyone involved in a confrontation to simply claim innocence based on no duty to retreat, said Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson.

      "By the Florida law, he is not relieved of the traditional and basic requirement of showing that he fairly perceived an imminent deadly threat," Johnson said.

      "So the facts that have come out that I have become aware of, would tend to indicate he should not be granted immunity," Roger Weeden, an Orlando defense attorney closely following the case, said of Zimmerman.

    2. I saw that one TS. Then why do the politicians, judges and Florida L.E. assume that the shooter should be let to go free if they but claim self defense. The SYG law has made them think they can't arrest people. That is exactly why they let Zimmerman go. Maybe they shouldn't have but they were going on their understanding of the law. If the law were not there at all, Zimmerman would be sitting in a jail cell right now. Because of SYG, he is free. There is no question that the law prevented the officers from arresting Zimmerman.

    3. Japete: “The SYG law has made them think they can't arrest people.”

      Maybe because there is so much misinformation being spread about what it actually does. If this were true, they couldn’t arrest ANYONE who says the magic words “self-defense”. But that is not why they didn’t make an arrest. You said you watched Lawrence O’Donnell last night. The panel he had on the show discussed this exactly (and remember, these are people firmly in your camp). Mr. Lee’s (SPD chief) statement about being prohibited from arresting Zimmerman was about not having probable cause. The panel discussed how probably cause is a low standard, and they brought up a myriad of examples that would qualify for meeting probable cause. Probable cause is applicable to any arrest, not just SYG, other self-defense laws, or other gun laws. This is why Mr. Lee’s job is hanging by a thread. If SYG were to blame, and Lee was just following the law, they would have no cause to fire him. You can’t fire someone for following the law, right?

    4. You are wrong TS. I am finally, at long last, done with this thread. The bill is clear in what it says. The consequences of other cases before this one are clear in what the bill says. The law is wrong and wrong headed and should never have passed. It has led to vigilantism. That is very clear. The people who think otherwise are you and a few who have commented on my blog and Marion Hammer, the Florida legislators who pushed the law and the NRA. Virtually everyone else understands the flaws of the law and that the law stopped L.E. from arrested Zimmerman. Just admit this and move on. And stop sending me comments.

    5. TS wrote:"Maybe because there is so much misinformation being spread about what it actually does. "

      There us a kit if correct information being spread also; I suggest you look for it. The various district attorneys are excellent sources, and so are some of the local media who cover the people involved.

      There have been plenty of cases just like Zimmerman where people got off with the most cursory look by the cops, or where the courts let people off who had shot innocent people who like Trayvon Martin appears to have been doing, was just minding their own business when the gun guys went all vigilante on them for no good reason.

      You might find the vigilante on vigilante shooting in Utah that I wrote about of interest as well. Two guys with their pet rocks, er, guns, out protecting the neighborhood, drawing down on each other, resulting in a shooting.

      Some very pertinent parallels; I wrote about it on Penigma.blogspot.com.

  7. Here's another case of someone who thought he needed a gun to confront someone when the two had a few words over a skateboard- GUN NOT NEEDED! http://penigma.blogspot.com/

    And another case- recently decided in court using the SYG law-person who chased someone down and stabbed him to death now free because of the law http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002454564

    Legislators and gun rights extremists claim the law was not meant for people who pursue someone, kill them and claim self defense. In reality, that is who the law is working. Perhaps they should have thought it through more carefully before they passed this bad law.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this being taken to the Grand Jury? I do not believe he is sheilded from prosecution as he got out of his car and initiated the confrontation. Neither does the author of Florida's Stand Your Ground law.


    Let's see if our legal system does its job or not before we jump to any conclusions.

    1. The law grants immunity to anyone who claims self defense. That's the problem with the law. That is why he wasn't arrested. The Police Chief made it clear that his hands were tied because of the SYG law. It has been understood since the law passed that this is the case. There are other similar cases that have not been prosecuted or where people have been found not guilty because the SYG law makes it impossible to find someone guilty if they but claim self defense.

    2. Also from the article Jim sent- " But the lawmakers who crafted the legislation in 2005 — former Sen. Durell Peaden and current state Rep. Dennis Baxley — said the law doesn’t need to be changed. They believe it has been misapplied in the shooting death of Trayvon by a Sanford crime-watch captain, George Zimmerman."

      Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/20/2703579/state-senator-calls-for-hearings.html#storylink=cpy

    3. If all one has to do is claim self defense, and the state is unable to prove it, I highly HIGHLY doubt they've got any case worth going after at that point

  9. Other than the duty to retreat how does your state's law differ from Florida's. Your state also has a "reasonable belief."

    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.

    776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using 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 the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
    (1) 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; or
    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

  10. " in the actor's place of abode."" and " A person is justified in using 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 the other’s imminent use of unlawful force."

    Current Minnesota law applies to one's abode. Several cases have been deemed to be "justifiable self defense" however outside of the home.

    Current law does not grant immunity from prosecution for a person's subjective claims of self defense.

    1. neither does Florida's -- The in one's abode in Minnesota applies only to stopping a felony -- but did you notice that Minnesota's law also uses that dastardly phrase "reasonably believes?" So if what you are saying is correct then all I have to do in Minnesota to get away with murder is claim I "reasonably believed" I was in danger? Or maybe there is more to it than that? Which is what I asked you to explain to me. If it only applied in the abode how is it that the Cub Foods vigilante is still at large?

      Come to think about it, wasn't Darren Evanovich black? So Minnesota's laws are just as racially biased? No wonder you were against castle doctrine there. No telling how many people would die.

  11. Apparently you didn't read what I wrote, Robin. I said in some cases people have been found to have used self defense outside of the home and not been charged. You didn't read the rest of what I said either. Go back to the drawing board. Are you defending Zimmerman? Are you defending the Florida Stand Your Ground law?

    1. I am saying that the only difference between Florida's law and Minnesota's is the duty to retreat outside the home.

      From what I have read Zimmerman will probably go to jail but I am willing to acknowledge that the police on the ground probably have a better idea what is happening than I do. I am willing to wait until they finish their investigation to decide to try him and to wait until after his trial to convict. It is this thing called "due process." Apparently if you don't believe in and support the 2nd amendment you don't support the 14th either.

    2. Have I said I don't believe or support the 2nd amendment? What does that have to do with this case? Unless you think the 2nd amendment allows people to shoot someone for walking around in their neighborhood not committing a crime?

  12. From the Star Tribune article- " "While this man is to be commended for helping his fellow citizen in need, a note of caution is appropriate," Freeman said in a statement. "We prefer that armed citizens do not chase after criminals. Too much can go wrong, with deadly consequences. It is our preference to have our highly trained and armed police force respond in these kinds of cases.""