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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Zimmerman case not going well

Didn't we just know this would happen? When a "law abiding permit holder" shoots someone, he/she sure as heck wants everyone to think it was the other guy in the wrong. Because surely, they, themselves, as self styled safe gun owners, would not make a fatal mistake. It doesn't look good, does it? But these folks try their hardest to defend their actions. Lives are lost. People are grieving for the loss of a loved one or a friend and the shooter is making things up to protect himself. Such is the case with George Zimmerman. Remember him? He hasn't been much in the news of late. But yesterday, some new evidence was released in the case against him for shooting Trayvon Martin. 
"The results from forensic tests also included within the documents show that Zimmerman's DNA was the only one that could be identified on the grip of the gun used to shoot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The results rule out Martin's DNA from being on the gun's grip.
Zimmerman's DNA also was identified on the gun's holster. The tests were inconclusive as to whether Martin's DNA was on the gun's holster."
Hmm. This just does not fit with the story told by Zimmerman. More from the article:
Martin was shot to death by Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, in a Sanford townhouse complex. Zimmerman said the shooting was self-defense.
Zimmerman said Martin was on top of him, slamming his head against the ground when he grabbed his gun from a holster before Martin could get it.
I suggest that if we didn't have Stand Your Ground laws on our books in quite a few states, we wouldn't need to be wondering about cases like this. It would most likely be the case that when someone shoots a person in a questionable case such as the Trayvon Martin case, the onus would be on the shooter to prove that he/she was practicing actual self defense. Instead, with the laws we have in some states, the onus is on the state to prove that the victim didn't deserve to die because someone with a gun had a feeling the victim was doing something wrong or about to do something suspicious that may or may not harm said shooter. There is no common sense to these gun laws. The NRA and its' minions have made sure to muddy the waters by injecting their agenda that more guns make us safer and that they themselves get to decide the rules after the guns are used in shootings involving Stand Your Ground. It may be that Zimmerman will not use Stand Your Ground as his defense but that was clearly his intent when he shot Trayvon Martin. Without the Florida law in place, it is much less likely that Zimmerman would have felt bold enough to shoot his gun that fateful night. Rather than a license to kill we should do a better job of making sure vigilantes like George Zimmerman don't get gun permits in the first place or, at the least, do a much better job of screening people who carry loaded guns around in public places. We are better than this.


  1. It's not the first time Zimmerman has lied to cover his ass, is it? Remember how he lied about how much money he had raised, and then tried to shift it around to hide it, while getting passports to leave the country? And remember how he claimed he had his head slammed so hard he thought he would pass out, yet the EMT thought his head wound was no big deal and Zimmerman refused to be checked out?

  2. Zimmerman said Martin was on top of him, slamming his head against the ground when he grabbed his gun from a holster before Martin could get it."

    How is this bad?

    "BEFORE" Martin could get it.. Doesn't that imply that Martin didn't touch it?

    If I open a door for you BEFORE you could get it.. YOUR DNA would not be on the door knob..

    Why would this be any different?

    1. Zimmerman said that Martin grabbed his gun. Apparently he didn't by this DNA evidence. Zimmerman lied.

  3. Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin; Zimmerman claimed Martin was clearly drunk or on drugs - he wasn't; Zimmerman was hassling a guy who was minding his own business and doing nothing wrong other than being black and wearing a hoodie -- a crime in Zimmerman's eyes, but not a crime breaking any law.

    Zimmerman was apparently confronted for stalking Martin, and panicked, including shooting Martin -- all precipitated by Zimmerman making inaccurate assumptions.

    Even the shoot first laws only apply when someone is commiting a felony, and support self defense when someone is threatened -- which Zimmerman did to Martin, not the other way around.

    Zimmerman has been less than honest every step of the way in this case. If Martin had been grabbing for the gun in such close physical contact, there would be his DNA SOMEWHERE, but there isn't.

    This makes Zimmerman's claims less plausible.

    Zimmerman may not have had a problem with all black people, based on what some people have said about him; but he was clearly racist in his prejudice about black male adults he didn't personally know, making the assumption that all of them when seen in his neighborhood and surrounding area were criminals, based on his calls to law enforcement over an extended period.

    That shows he operated on assumptions that were both false and negative, and was willing to exceed reasonable force and authority, which also supports him wrongly shooting Trayvon Martin.

  4. Zimmerman alone is personally responsible for his actions. Trying to connect this to law abiding permit holders, Stand Your Ground Laws, and the NRA is as egregious as trying to connect the Muslim faith to a few terrorists.

    1. Good grief, Migo. Give it a rest. Did you read my post? What I wrote in my post is what I believe to be true.

  5. "Zimmerman said that Martin grabbed his gun"

    SOrry Joan, I think you are simply wrong about this..

    Here is the link to the pdf of Zimmerman's hand written statement to the police.

    Page 3: "As I slid the suspect covered my mouth and nose and stopped my breathing. At this point I felt the suspect reach for my now exposed firearm and say "You gonna die tonight M**F**" I upholstered my firearm....."

    No where does it say that Martin even TOUCHED the gun.. Just that he reached for it.

    That's why I see this as a non-story..

    Here is a link to ALL of the evidence submitted at the bond hearing.


    So, please show me a link where Zimmerman says that Martin even touched his gun.

    1. " Zimmerman said Martin had been on top of him, slamming his head against the ground and smothering his mouth and nose with his hand and arm when he grabbed his gun from a holster on his waist before Martin could get it. He shot the teenager once in the chest.
      WFTV dug up the recorded interview with police that shows Zimmerman re-enacting his version of what happened. Zimmerman said that he only shot the unarmed teenager after he reached for his gun.
      “He reached for it and I felt his arm going down to my side and I grabbed it and I just grabbed my fire arm and I shot him,” Zimmerman said in the video.
      But Zimmerman never said Martin "touched" his gun."

      From http://www.wftv.com/news/news/more-documents-be-released-zimmerman-case/nSFQh/

      Zimmerman was intimating that he had to shoot Trayvon Martin because he was going for his gun or actually touched the gun. Zimmerman has lied about a lot of things regarding the case. How do we know whether Trayvon Martin was even intending to get his gun? We don't know that because the only witness is now dead. We now know that Trayvon didn't actually touch the gun. Whether he touched the holster couldn't be determined.

  6. I think the notion that Martin said 'you're gonna die tonight mother fucker' is not credible.

    The rest of Zimmerman's story is not credible either.

    Given the drastic increase in the number of shootings in states after shoot first laws were passed, and given that there were exactly ZERO instances of someone who legitimately had cause to shoot in self-defense being wrongly prosecuted, these are clearly not really justifiable shootings accounted for by the increase.

    Given the number of people who are shot while unarmed, while not clearly threats, while on the other side of a locked door simply knocking, or while leaving in a vehicle, it is absolutely appropriate to fault the shoot first laws and those mistakenly called law abiding people who use their guns to execute others without benefit of law enforcement or court due process.

    As for the nonsense about law abiding permit holders, we know that hundreds of them wrongfully shoot others, that any of them for example commit murder suicides, that many of them have misdemeanor convictions that were plea bargained down from felonies, and that many of them in the state of Florida had warrants out for their arrest or otherwise were not at all law abiding and should never have had a permit issued to them.

    That old groan about law abiding permit holders has gotten pretty smudged and tatty, and it never has stood up to real scrutiny.

  7. Dog Gone said "...given that there were exactly ZERO instances of someone who legitimately had cause to shoot in self-defense being wrongly prosecuted..."


    1. A while ago on Mikeb's blog I researched the number of fatal stabbings with a screw driver, in the larger context of those who insist that firearms are just tools, to prove the distinction between something designed for the purpose of a lethal weapon, versus an item designed for a more general utilitarian purpose.

      There were something on the order of three fatal stabbings, worldwide, with screw drivers over a period of roughly ten years.

      That is about the relative frequency of people wrongly behing prosecuted, much less convicted, of wrongful self-defense shootings, especially in their own home.

      It is as ridiculous to pass restrictive legislation for the public possession of screwdrivers on the basis of those fatal stabbings as it is to pass permissive legislation for shoot first laws on the basis of wrongful prosecution for self-defensive shootings.

      Unless you have a screw loose.

    2. I love the last sentence, dog gone.

  8. Robin- there are no cases in Minnesota. It's interesting in the article you sent that the defense lawyer said this: " But even his own attorney has concerns about the Stand Your Ground law. "You don't want a situation where Miami becomes a Wild West show," Rier said. "You really don't want that, but the way this law is written, you can shoot somebody if they're unarmed, if you reasonably believed they were.""

    As shootings like this make their way through the courts, because of these laws, we will see more people acquitted who shouldn't be. That's the purpose of the laws. People will get away with murder. Legitimate self defense cases speak for themselves and are usually considered as such in a court of law. We don't need Stand Your Ground. People are generally not found guilty if there is a legitimate case to be made.

    1. But then of course, there is this from Huffington Post-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/stand-ground-man-shot-dead_n_1630974.html

      " A man who won a controversial ruling under Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law three months ago was fatally shot when he got caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting, police and local reports said Wednesday.

      Greyston Garcia, 26, was driving home from his convenience store job late Tuesday when gunfire erupted between gang members, The Miami Herald and local TV stations reported.

      Officer Kenia Reyes said a bullet struck Garcia, causing him to crash. He appears to have been an innocent victim and died en route to the hospital, she said. Also killed was 16-year-old Ron Jones, who was found lying in the street."

      And- " Last January, Garcia was in his apartment in Miami's Little Havana district when he saw Pedro Roteta stealing a stereo from his truck. Garcia grabbed a kitchen knife and chased after Roteta for about a block. When Garcia caught up to him, surveillance cameras caught Roteta swinging a bag containing the stereos at him. Authorities said Garcia fatally stabbed Roteta in the chest, picked up the bag of stereos and then went home and went to sleep. He then hid the knife and sold two of the stereos.

      Arrested and charged with second-degree murder, Garcia claimed his actions were taken in self-defense as defined by Florida's "stand your ground" law. That law came to national prominence after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman invoked it in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

      The 2005 law broadly eliminates a person's duty to retreat under threat of death or serious injury, as long as the person isn't committing a crime and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

      In March, a circuit judge ruled that Garcia acted within the law. The judge said Garcia could have been killed or seriously injured if Roteta had hit him in the head with the bag of stereos.

      State prosecutors, who had been appealing that decision, declined comment Wednesday. The appeal will be dropped."

  9. you said "Robin- there are no cases in Minnesota"

    That is funny because when you said that a year ago or so I sent you over a half dozen cases I found where your Minnesota Supreme Court overturned convictions for shootings the the Supreme Court said were justified and that the lower court erred in convicting.

    1. http://insight.mprnews.org/discussion/250/should-minnesota-change-gun-laws-when-it-comes-to-using-deadly-force-the-debate-5-9-to-5-13/

      Representative Cornish could not cite one case of someone unjustly jailed or imprisoned for justifiable self defense.

  10. Without going back and doing the research again since you will just ignore it again here are 4 easily found cases of Supreme Reversals off murder convictions in Minnesota. Can we agree that 4 is more than "no cases in Minnesota."

    Supreme Court of Minnesota v. William Glowacki

    Supreme Court of Minnesota v. Jeffrey Warren Baird

    Supreme Court of Minnesota v. Tony Lamar Carothers

    Supreme Court Minnesota v. Akeem Pendleton

  11. Here we go again. Robin wants us to believe that there are people whose cases of self defense were overturned are serving time for their crime. In the cases he cited, the shooter, or perpetrator, got out of prison after appeal. So justifiable self defense won. In the one case, Glowacki, there was not a death involved nor a gun. It had more to do with evidence than the actual crime committed. The Carothers case seems questionable to me but the Supreme Court overturned the case, saying self defense could be used. And now he is free. The Baird case also did not involve a death or a gun. Baird's case was overturned. Read it. Baird is not exactly an example to hold up as a good one. It involved improper instruction to the jury about whether he had a duty to retreat. That seems to be a problem in most of these cases.

    In the Pendleton case, there was no death but a shooting in claim of self defense. This one is interesting because it goes to what the Minnesota gun rights activists wanted and got in the language of the Shoot First bill. They wanted a jury or law enforcement to believe that the shooter believed there was a threat of bodily harm so that that person would not have to face a jury trial like the one in the Pendleton case, but walk away without penalty. " At trial, Pendleton claimed the shooting was in self defense, or in the alternative, in defense of his home. He requested that the standard jury instructions on self defense be modified to make clear that the fear of great bodily harm or death required for a self defense claim was not an element of a claim of "defense of dwelling." The trial court refused, and gave the standard jury instructions, which include the fear of great bodily harm or death element for both "defense of dwelling" and self defense. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on the first- and second-degree assault charges and not guilty on the attempted second-degree murder charge.
    Pendleton appealed to the court of appeals, which affirmed, holding that the jury instructions accurately reflected "the current law of self defense in Minnesota." In addition, the court of appeals concluded that even if the instructions were in error, the inclusion of the fear of great bodily harm or death element for "defense of dwelling" did not have a significant impact on the verdict and therefore, did not require a new trial. We reverse and remand for a new trial."

    Nice try, Robin. I don't believe you made your case.