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Zimmerman

1. Stand Your Ground played no part in the trial of George Zimmerman, it was the excuse used by the local prosecutor for not filing charges when the crime occurred. Zimmerman’s attorneys used the standard Self-Defense provisions of the law.

2. The Prosecution filed the wrong charge against Zimmerman, even though they lacked the evidence to prove it. This is the second time recently that prosecutors in Florida have gone to trial with unprovable charges and lost the case because they couldn’t prove it beyond reasonable doubt. They are getting as bad as the Los Angeles district attorneys.

3. Zimmerman could have and should have been charged with Manslaughter. Manslaughter was included in jury instructions, but the prosecutors didn’t explain to the jury how the facts in the case corresponded to the elements of the law.

4. The Judge is restricted to explaining the law, she could not tell the jury how that law applied to the current case, as the judge must remain impartial.

Manslaughter would have been a short, straight-forward trial. Trayvon Martin was dead, and George Zimmerman killed him. That was never the question, that was a fact. The prosecutors should have used that great legal fiction, “the reasonable man”, to show that Zimmerman caused the death of Martin by failing to act “reasonably”. There were several points on the night of the incident when, if Zimmerman had done the “reasonable” thing, there would have been no confrontation with Martin and no death.

The prosecutors had a case they could have proven with the evidence they had, most of it supplied by Zimmerman, but they decided to go for the ‘big win’ because CNN was going to cover it. This was never about the death of Trayvon Martin, this was about the political aspirations of the prosecutors. Justice was not served.

35 comments

1 hipparchia { 07.15.13 at 6:41 pm }

Zimmerman’s attorneys used the standard Self-Defense provisions of the law.

i heard one commentator on the radio today, probably on npr, say that the stand your ground law has changed the self-defense provisions – that “duty to retreat” has been replaced with “ok to use deadly force if you feel your life or your property is threatened.”

2 Bryan { 07.15.13 at 7:39 pm }

The commentator doesn’t understand what the “Stand Your Ground” law does, or when it is used. The law is used to avoid indictment or charges, not after charges have been filed.

You are not required to retreat if you are attacked, but you have no assumption of fear unless you are in your dwelling or vehicle. If you are the attacker, you can’t use a self-defense plea.

Zimmerman claimed he was attacked and was defending himself. With no witnesses you can’t prove otherwise, and no matter what is said about retreating, that requires an opportunity, which again is something that requires witnesses.

The reality is that the prosecution had no witnesses to what happened, so they had no proof that it didn’t happen the way Zimmerman claimed.

They did have witnesses that Zimmerman ignored the directions of the 911 operator that would have prevented a confrontation and Martin’s death, which is why they should have settled on Manslaughter.

3 Badtux { 07.15.13 at 11:07 pm }

I’m not sure that it would have passed muster as manslaughter even, given the “Stand Your Ground” law, but manslaughter was at least a more appropriate charge. Zimmerman never struck me — or the jury, apparently — as the type who was lusting to kill, kill, kill, as the type who was planning to kill when he left home that morning. I just gaped in astonishment when the prosecutor attempted to claim Zimmerman stepped out of that car because he wanted to kill Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman struck me more as the kind of cop wanna-be who thinks packing iron makes it okay to go looking for trouble because the gun will get him out of trouble. Well, he looked for trouble — and found it. And whatever you have to say about who was in the right and who was in the wrong, one person is dead and one person’s life is ruined because he did go looking for trouble. Seems the gun didn’t get him out of trouble after all, he’s going to live in fear for a significant portion of his life, and the inevitable civil suit in Federal court will impoverish him until the day he dies. Just another reason why certain personality types should not be allowed near a gun…

4 Bryan { 07.15.13 at 11:21 pm }

I should have explained that the reason behind the law was a case over in your area where a guy went nuts after Ivan and broke into a camping trailer being used by an elderly couple while their house was undergoing repairs. The man shot the intruder, but there was no ruling on the case for months, which was upsetting for the couple.

The major change was the assumption of fear for life if your house was invaded, or someone was trying to highjack your vehicle. There have been other changes at other times, but the basic thing that Stand Your Ground did was give people an automatic assumption of self-defense if they were in their dwelling or vehicle, rather than having to hire an attorney to file paperwork for them.

If Zimmerman had stayed in his vehicle, it would have applied if Martin had approached the vehicle.

That was the screw-up of the original prosecutor who looked at the case; he applied the law, even though Zimmerman wasn’t at home or in his car.

5 Bryan { 07.16.13 at 12:26 am }

We were posting at the same time, Badtux, but the comment to Hipparchia stand to explain some of my reasoning on Manslaughter.

The important thing is that Zimmerman’s reason for being on the street and involving himself with Martin was acting as part of a Neighborhood Watch organization. He didn’t act like the Neighborhood Watch, and the prosecutor could have hammered that home. He didn’t wait for the police, as requested; continued to follow Martin, contrary to instructions; and he left his vehicle and pursued Martin on foot. None of those things are part of the Neighborhood Watch program.

As long as he stayed in his vehicle, he was protected by the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, as well as the physical protection offered by the vehicle. When he left the vehicle, he left that protection behind and ‘willfully subjected himself to what he perceived to be a dangerous environment’, as we used to say around the cop shop.

If you listen to his interaction with the 911 operator, he wasn’t cooperating with the police. He didn’t follow instructions, and refused to provide the information requested. He wasn’t being reasonable if he wanted the police to confront the ‘suspect’. Further, if he had seen actual criminal, he would have tipped him off, and the guy would have been carrying nothing but Bible tracts when confronted.

Zimmerman provided a lot of solid help for a Manslaughter charge, importantly things that jurors would understand were not reasonable, and not choices they would have made in a similar situation.

6 hipparchia { 07.16.13 at 12:56 am }

I should have explained that the reason behind the law was a case over in your area where a guy went nuts after Ivan and broke into a camping trailer being used by an elderly couple while their house was undergoing repairs.

yep, i know all about that. we’re ground zero here for all kinds of crazy – ufos, abortion clinic violence, creation science theme parks, people bringing their dead babies to revivals (yes, to get them revived)… stand your ground is probably saner than most.

of course, the guy who did the shooting was never arrested and was eventually exonerated. BUT because he had to wait and worry for a few months for the investigation to be completed, we have spawned a whole new level of gun-crazy.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/floridas-stand-your-ground-law-was-born-of-2004-case-but-story-has-been/1225164

7 Badtux { 07.16.13 at 1:24 am }

I’m not sure what you mean by “over in my area”. In Louisiana there has always been a presumption that if someone has entered your home without your permission that your life is endangered and you are entitled to use deadly force with no duty to retreat — i.e., the so-called “Castle Doctrine”. My father once joked that if he ever killed someone breaking into our home, he’d make sure to drag the body into the house before calling the cops. The more recent changes to the law eliminate the need to drag the body into the house and make it easier to simply claim you felt that your life was endangered — such as by that “dangerous” Japanese exchange student who was shot after excitedly ringing the doorbell of the wrong house — but the core presumption of self defense when an intruder is in your home has been a part of Louisiana law since before I was born.

This “stand your ground” law, on the other hand, extends that protection to actions *outside* the vehicle and home. It eliminates the “duty to retreat” beyond the “castle” that was previously codified in most law. That is why I said that manslaughter was going to be a tough charge to prove given current Florida law — Zimmerman had a right to be in that townhouse complex, the common grounds were arguably his property (partly), thus he had a presumptive right to self defense with no duty to retreat under current Florida law.

In other words, yes, we can prove Zimmerman did things that were unwise and not what the hypothetical reasonable man would do. But I personally believe the original prosecutor’s conclusion — that Zimmerman could not be convicted given the lack of witnesses and evidence and current Florida law — was a reasonable one. And the current prosecutor… WTF possessed him to try to turn a manslaughter case into a murder case? There was never any evidence that Zimmerman stepped out of that car with the intent to murder Trayvon Martin. It just boggles the mind.

8 Bryan { 07.16.13 at 8:16 pm }

Actually, Hipparchia, the prime mover was, as always, State senator Durell Peaden, MD, Ob-Gyn, Esq., NRA, GOP, who from 2000 to 2010 represented the north of the local counties. In addition to “Stand Your Ground”, he wrote “The OK Corral” bill, and “Going Postal” [aka “Clock in with your Glock”]. He was the prime mover for all of the whacko gun legislation in Florida.

Badtux, ‘over your way’ was directed at Hipparchia, as I was expanding on my response to her when you were posting.

I think that ‘retreat’ was the real feature of the OK Corral bill, rather than STG. In any case, last year Durell said that STG didn’t apply after Zimmerman got out of his vehicle.

The case for Manslaughter is straight forward:
1. Martin was entitled to defend himself from Zimmerman.
2. Zimmerman provoked the confrontation by following Martin.
3. Zimmerman was armed, Martin was not.
4. Zimmerman had martial arts training, Martin did not.

Without any indication that he was anything other than a guy on the street, Zimmerman acted like a mugger.

That is something a jury would believe. The prosecution never presented the situation from Martin’s point of view, while the defense was hammering home Zimmerman’s point of view.

9 Badtux { 07.16.13 at 10:30 pm }

I still think manslaughter would have been a long shot given the jury pool (man, did you see that interview with that racist juror?) and Florida law, but you are correct that it would be the proper charge if the decision was made to lay a charge, and the way to prosecute it would have been the way you stated. Filing a murder charge was never supported by any evidence, just the demands of the Martin family who emotionally called for justice. Well, emotion is fine and good in its place, but its place is *not* in determining what charges to lay.

Also, are all Florida prosecutors this incompetent, or was this guy especially “special”? Just wonderin’…

10 hipparchia { 07.16.13 at 11:14 pm }

State senator Durell Peaden, MD, Ob-Gyn, Esq., NRA, GOP, who from 2000 to 2010 represented the north of the local counties. In addition to “Stand Your Ground”, he wrote “The OK Corral” bill, and “Going Postal” [aka “Clock in with your Glock”].

😆

11 hipparchia { 07.16.13 at 11:17 pm }

The case for Manslaughter is straight forward:
1. Martin was entitled to defend himself from Zimmerman.

well…. we can’t have any cases decided where black teenagers in hoodies have any of their rights established.

12 Bryan { 07.16.13 at 11:33 pm }

As for the prosecutor in charge, she is running for higher office, but hasn’t decided which one. The trial prosecutors worked with what they were given, and probably fought like hell to get that manslaughter charge included in the jury instructions.

That juror is fairly typical for the area, and the reason they should have been establishing Martin as the victim, the truly innocent person in the case, but that works better with manslaughter than murder, because murder victims tend to be lab specimens in Florida.

You have to show some level of intent that a jury can understand, and that requires a witness to the actual confrontation, and there wasn’t one. They tried to infer the intent with the ‘profiling’, but half of the jury didn’t buy it.

The only ‘good’ news is that Ms Racist Florida lost her book deal after appearing on Anderson Cooper, and now everyone knows it was about race, no matter how much they have been denying it.

13 Bryan { 07.16.13 at 11:57 pm }

This time you were responding the same time I was, Hipparchia.

The worst part of the joke is that it is actually true, those really are features of the laws in the state of Florida.

I think the interview with the juror pretty much confirms your statement about the rights of black teenagers, i.e. they don’t even have a right to live.

14 JuanitaM { 07.17.13 at 9:12 am }

I knew if I checked out your site here, I would find a well reasoned argument about this case. If you see Fox News, all the commentators have that wild-eyed look with spit flying about how Zimmerman was as innocent as the driven snow. CNN & MSNBC commentators want the guy buried under the jail as the raving racist lunatic they believe he is. But manslaughter would have been the sensible position to take which is why you could almost be guaranteed it wouldn’t happen.

Which is why letting politics and pressure rule anywhere in the judicial branch should be anathema (and yeah, I know that’s in an ideal world and not the one we live in, sad to say). It forced them to overreach and focus on the murder with manslaughter almost as an afterthought.

Bryan, I’m curious, if Zimmerman had been convicted of manslaughter, what would have been his sentence do you think?

15 Bryan { 07.17.13 at 12:06 pm }

The regular Manslaughter conviction would have been not more than 15 years, but Trayvon Martin was under 18, so Zimmerman could have received up to 30 years. Given the way the case was handled I wouldn’t believe that the judge would give less than 10 years.

I’m also waiting to see what happens to the attorneys on both sides. I think there is a very good chance that both sides will receive reprimands for their conduct of the case.

16 hipparchia { 07.18.13 at 12:37 am }

The worst part of the joke is that it is actually true, those really are features of the laws in the state of Florida.

i know, and all the more appreciated for that.

i had to go look durell up on the internet because while i knew he wasn’t from around here, i couldn’t remember where exactly he is from. we’ve got our share of crazy here, but i have to admit defuniak is no slouch in that department either.

17 Bryan { 07.18.13 at 9:58 pm }

Defuniak Springs is a really pretty little town built to host the Chautauqua meetings during the winter. It was one of the first ‘tourist’ locations in Florida.

Currently they are about as dead opposite of the Chautauqua movement as anything could be.

18 Kryten42 { 07.25.13 at 9:09 pm }

Jim over at Stonekettle has a piece up about this.

The Zimmerman Verdict: Anatomy Of A Tragedy

Yeah. A tragedy to start with, and made even more so by the prosecutors.

19 hipparchia { 07.25.13 at 11:32 pm }

it’s a lovely place, i’ve driven out of my way more than once just to spend a few hours there. and i’d forgotten about the chautauqua connection, thanks for the reminder.

20 Bryan { 07.25.13 at 11:57 pm }

Jim’s right, Kryten, he was just a kid who went to the store for candy and a soft drink and was on his way back to his family to watch television. He did nothing wrong or abnormal, and he is dead. Society failed him.

You are quite welcome, Hipparchia. I take people up there just to prove there is more to the area than the beach.

21 Kryten42 { 07.26.13 at 7:43 pm }

I posted over at Jim’s blog about your post above. He was interested and asked for a link here, which I provided. 🙂

There are a couple comments there after that you might be interested in. 😉

The Zimmerman Verdict: Anatomy Of A Tragedy – My Comment

Have fun! 😉 😀

22 Bryan { 07.26.13 at 8:48 pm }

Well, I popped in to explain that this was a case in Florida, and therefore Florida laws were being used.

The same terms have different meanings from state to state, i.e. assault in Florida doesn’t involve physical violence, but it does in New York. You have to read the laws of the state where the crime was committed to understand what the charges mean.

In the US the criminal justice system is criminal in that it provides no justice, and is certainly not a system by any stretch of the imagination.

23 Kryten42 { 07.27.13 at 7:09 pm }

Your *friend* 😉 in comments at Stonekettle replied, twice. 🙄

The fun of blogging. 😀

24 Bryan { 07.27.13 at 8:14 pm }

He’s looking for a fight not a discussion, and I’m not going to waste Jim’s storage teaching criminal procedure law. Claiming he’s lawyer was just sad. The only reason I responded was because he mistakenly indicated that ‘intent’ was required for Manslaughter, and it isn’t. If you can prove ‘intent’ you have murder.

On the Internet no one can tell you are a dog, so I’ll let him bark on his own.

I noticed people talking about forensic evidence, who obviously don’t know that in Florida almost all of the forensic evidence is gathered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who specialize in it. The local department had nothing to do with the collection of the forensic evidence, but they should have been questioning everyone in the area looking for witnesses while memories were still fresh.

The forensic evidence showed that Martin was killed by a bullet that entered the front of his torso and was fired at close range, which fits with Zimmerman’s story. If there hadn’t been powder residue around the entry wound or the wound had been in the back, it would have made a difference.

Too many people wacht TV shows like CSI [Crime Scene Investigation] and don’t understand that they are science fiction.

25 Kryten42 { 07.27.13 at 9:01 pm }

LOL Heh… Now, you know how I loooove troll’s m8!! 😀 I just thought I’d share the fun. 😉 😀

We got rid of our troll ages ago. Been kinda… well, *pedestrian* around here, if ya know what I mean. 😉 😀

(On a more serious note: It is actually nice to have a troll-free blog. You’ve done well m8.) 🙂

26 Kryten42 { 07.27.13 at 10:18 pm }

I posted my comment about this. But it’s awaiting approval. So, I’ll post it here:

and if you’ve ever carried a weapon as part of the military guardforce you damned well know that you are always, always, responsible for your actions

That is so true! The number of reports I had to file, and ‘after action’ (or incident) reviews and eval’s I and others of my team had to deal with during my service were several. And most people outside of the Military (any Military) have no clue because they get their info from TV, which like to leave out these details because they are boring. There is a reason why we have to do several courses for our specialties, and “close enough” does NOT get you a pass! When you are in a sudden life/death situation, you have to make the right decision fast! And the only way to do that is with intense training and practice. (and I am not just talking about the *physical* courses, such as weapons training. And it’s why many don’t make the cut.

To become a member of an SF unit here takes years. You first have to pass the SF Barrier Phase (50-60% make this), then there is the intense Cadre Phase, about 10-15% pass this, then you have a 3 week Candidate Selection Phase (you can only be selected if a position is available, and you have ‘something to offer’), and then an 18 mth Reinforcement Cycle (we called it REO), this included several basic physical & weapons training courses, but also legal, ethical/moral, psychological and basic medical courses. A candidate must pass ALL the courses in this cycle, and then they will join the SF unit as a junior and finally start the intensive 12 mth Unit Training Cycle (plus time for any extra specialties). During those two course cycles, you are constantly monitored by specially trained Sergeants and Patrol Commanders, and any hint of a problem has you facing an evaluation hearing pretty fast. There are other *tricks* the use to continuously evaluate a candidate, especially their mental state. There is a reason why there have been zero incidents of an Aussie SF personnel going postal, or even *accidentally* killing someone in a bar etc., in the past 50 years!

And if you are eventually chosen as a team leader (or squad leader or an officer candidate), you are not only responsible for *your* actions, but those of your team mates or men under your command. ALWAYS!

It’s one of the reasons when I left the Military/Intel services and worked in Civilian security, I refused to have a weapons permit or carry a weapon. Because I would have used it. I was trained that way. And part of my training for my specialty was “One shot, one kill”.

As my friend Bryan said on his blog, too many people watch CSI or those Police drama or military shows and think they are fact. It’s all fiction! If those shows were ‘real-to-life’, nobody would watch them! They would be mostly tedious and boring!

I’ve known Bryan Dumka (from the Why Now? blog) now for about 6 years, and I have a VERY high regard for his knowledge about things such as this tragedy, especially in Florida. I have no doubts he is correct in this case. I don’t know Jim Write well at all, but I have known WO’s (we have WO’s here as well). I knew a WO2 very well when I became team leader for my team. Because here the WO2 is the senior adviser to the Unit Commander, and he holds the power of your *life and death* in his hands! 😀 Here, they can have unassuming titles like… Chief Clerk, or Quarter Master and others, but woe betide anyone in that Unit that thinks they are lowly desk jockeys that can be taken for granted! That’s the fast-path to the end of your Military career! 😀

So, on that basis and on the whole, I think I will respect and believe both Bryan and Jim’s opinion’s in this matter.

Of course, everyone IS entitled to their opinion. Even if it is ill-conceived or based on ignorance and misconceptions. And even those who pretend to be something they are demonstrably not!

Sorry Jim that this is long-winded. But I felt it was necessary.

And of course, everyone can take it or leave it. *shrug*

I posted after Jim’s comment here: Jim’s comment

27 Bryan { 07.27.13 at 11:11 pm }

I wouldn’t have done anything about him if he had at least pretended to stay in the same general planetary system of the conversions, and responded to issues. One day he just went overboard and I disappeared all traces of him.

I don’t care if people disagree with me, as should have been obvious given how long I put up with him, but you need to stay near the issues.

I have no idea what that guy’s problem was, maybe he thought I was giving him a hard time. I assumed that he didn’t know the specifics of the law, and provided a link to it. When you don’t provide any context for your claims, and anonymous posting certainly doesn’t, you can’t expect to be accepted as knowledgeable. That’s his problem, I was simply interested in accuracy, and now anyone who cares can read the appropriate law for themselves.

As we both have noted multiple times, carrying a weapon is a major hassle, and for people who have been trained to do it. you will automatically react as if you still had the right and responsibility to take action. The money for the rounds to maintain decent accuracy with a handgun is better spent on good coffee that makes your life better.

Carrying a weapon doesn’t make you taller, stronger, or better looking, and certainly doesn’t impress women, so what the hell is the point? The only thing carrying a weapon attracts is trouble.

28 Kryten42 { 07.28.13 at 1:46 am }

A caveat to your last paragraph, if I may… 😉

It doesn’t impress *sane* women. 😉 If they are from right-wing-nuttia… It impresses the hell out of them! Hell, most of them are proud to show the World they are themselves fully paid up NRA crazies!

Ahhh, is that what happened to the troll? 😆 Yeah, some really are quite insane, even more than usual. 😀

One thing I don’t usually mention about that altercation I and my two buddies had in that Texas bar all those years ago, is that it was the first and most definitely the last time something like that happened. Sure, we didn’t start it, and we didn’t hurt anyone too badly (or kill anyone), but it should never have happened in the first place. And I admit that. The evaluation and hearing we had to attend after was not at all pleasant! And I was about a mm from a dishonorable over it! Civilians don’t realise, but even today, I can still be held responsible and face a Military tribunal over an incident where someone is harmed or killed. Even if a Civilian court clears me! Just because I left the Military, doesn’t mean they have forgotten all the training and all the conditions that I agreed and signed for, and it doesn’t mean the military have left me! 🙂 So, I do my best to stay as far away from trouble as possible. It’s one of those things they forget to mention when you first sign up! 😉 The Military always takes care of their own, at least they do when you screw up!

Part of me is glad I served, but another part wishes to hell I hadn’t! which part win’s depends on the day. 😉 🙂

On the one hand, I never have any problems with anyone who wants to fight or prove how tough they are etc, etc. (I’ve been told it’s my eyes, and the slow crooked smile that I just can’t help having when someone tries to get tough with me!) 😆 And I also lapse into what a friend here calls my “Military posture”. My breathing slows, and my whole body relaxes and I straighten up but my eyes are steady and alert and that smile just forms. 😀 He said that the first time he saw it, he had to do a double-take because I suddenly looked like somebody had changed places with me. He said I radiated an aura of “You are about to die.” and there was no doubt at all. And he’s right. *shrug* We were actually trained that way, so that most reasonably sane people would back off, and they do.

People watch too much TV and take it as fact. *shrug*

29 Bryan { 07.28.13 at 5:04 pm }

I lived in the city of Rochester and went anywhere I wanted to in the city, whether I was carrying or not. It was a matter of body language and attitude. You know the rules and you follow them and there are no problems.

After working an evening shift a friend and I would grab a couple of beers and then go to an all-night restaurant for what was literally called a “garbage plate”. It wasn’t unusual to see a chalk outline on the floor near the restrooms, but you ignored it because the food was good. The crowd was night people, and the chalk was the result of people not leaving their personal problems outside of what was a neutral zone. You couldn’t get away with killing someone in there because there were usually half dozen city cops who just got off their shift among the diners, as well as guys from other departments. It happened but the food was still good.

The really bad people recognize other really bad people and don’t start anything. It is the morons who think that a gun will make them invincible that cause problems. They are scared and armed, but they will often end up unconscious and unarmed if they get annoying. Then there are going to be a lot of questions to be answered when their gun is used in a crime.

These people rushing out to buy guns for self-protection are simply arming the criminals, and too often killing innocent people.

Funny thing, but I don’t remember too many ‘gun collectors’ among cops.

30 Badtux { 07.29.13 at 2:19 am }

I got in a really long argument with one of those morons who was sure that any black teenager with a hoodie was a thug and thus you needed a gun in today’s day and age to protect yourself from them. I was like, dude? I spent a fair amount of time dealing with these kids armed with nothing more potent than a gradebook, and I can tell you that I would have *not* been attacked by Trayvon Martin if I’d been walking down the sidewalk behind him. Because it’s all about attitude and knowing how to talk to people. I went into a number of situations unarmed where people warned me that I shouldn’t do that, and I’m still here because a) I had official business doing what I was doing, and b) I was very polite towards the people I was dealing with, I didn’t put on an attitude, I didn’t pretend that the government ID gave me liberty to be an asshole, I didn’t make accusations, I just gathered the facts I was assigned to gather, did my job, and left. And c) because I wasn’t carrying a gun, I wasn’t a threat to be eliminated, I was just a guy doing his job, and that removed half the incentive to kill me right there.

There are neighborhoods in this area where I don’t go after dark, because I have no business being there. But when I lived next door to the projects I thought nothing about walking around the block after dark, because I lived there and thus had business being there. I didn’t make trouble for anybody, they didn’t make trouble for me, I just walked around the people standing on the sidewalk doing whatever they were doing there, not ignoring them but not paying them any special attention either, and we all went our separate ways without any mayhem. I had no business asking them what they were doing, I’m not an officer of the law nor hold any other official position that would make it my business to interrogate them, so I didn’t, so we were all fine with each other.

Which is the problem with a weenie with a gun. The problem with a weenie with a gun, is that he doesn’t *know* he’s a weenie with a gun. He thinks the gun turns him into Superman and gives him the right to interrogate random people on the street just because he has a gun. But the gun doesn’t turn him into Superman. Nope, just turns him into a weenie with a gun. If Z-Man had really run up against a thug on that dark evening, he’d be dead, and a thug would be better armed. Because a thug wouldn’t have got into a shoving and wrestling match with Z-Man like Trayvon did. A thug would have simply killed Z-Man before Z-man could have even thought of pulling his gun. A thug would have done this the moment Z-man yelled at him “Hey you, what are you doing here?” That kind of disrespect, to a real thug, isn’t something to be solved by yelling and punching. It’s something to be solved by killing the person who’s dissing you. Z-man thought that his gun made him immune to thugs. But it really just made him immune to 16 year old kids sick of being racially profiled. A real thug would have shoved that gun up his ass after killing him for the crime of dissing him on the street.

Did I mention that I was *very* polite when dealing with real thugs? 🙂

31 Bryan { 07.29.13 at 10:34 pm }

The worst thing about morons with guns is that more often than not they end up killing an innocent. The perfect ending for one of them would be to accidentally shoot themselves while practicing their ‘quick draw’ in a mirror. Bonus points if Taxi Driver was in the DVD.

Frightened people and firearms is not a good mix, and that’s what most people with concealed weapons permits are. They would be a lot safer if they just bought soft body armor and wore it. If you really have a need for a weapon, you have a need for the body armor, and should buy it first.

A really ‘bad’ person doesn’t need a gun, they can use whatever is around as weapon, and they always go for the kill, no stunning or wounding. That was one of the huge differences between urban and suburban bars – if you started a fight in a city bar, you were usually going to die because life or death were the only options if the people involved weren’t friends or family.

Like you say, it is all about attitude and the way you treat people. I was always polite, even to people I arrested. It didn’t cost anything and it made the bad guys nervous – they assumed I was some kind of psycho. There are a lot of ways to say ‘Sir’. The biggest benefit of being polite is that people would talk to you. They wouldn’t necessarily pass on useful information about criminals, but they gave you a better feel for what was happening. If there was a problem it was always easier to maintain the peace if you knew people’s names, and they knew who you were.

My former neighbor had four boys, and the oldest could have been Trayvon. We talked, mostly about computers, but I felt he was really happy to talk to an adult who wasn’t on his case over something and was willing to let him get the cheat codes for his computer games. He did stupid things and annoyed the hell out of his mother, but that is the basic function of teenagers in life. Being a teenager shouldn’t be a capital offense.

32 Badtux { 07.29.13 at 11:00 pm }

I’ve dealt with real thugs, and I’ve dealt with posers, and I’ve dealt with idiots like Zimmerman. I agree with you — the real thugs are basically sociopaths who would have no trouble at all killing Zimmerman simply for looking at them wrong, nevermind yelling at them and asking what they’re doing in his townhouse complex. Then you get the Trayvons, young men filled with machismo… but they’re not real thugs, they’re just kids who have a warped idea of what it is to be a man from mass media and society, but it’s all an act, and if they ever encountered a real thug they’d shit their pants. Then you add a gun into that and you get Zimmerman, who thought the gun made him a real man because that’s what mass media says, but he was a weenie before he had the gun and a weenie after he bought the gun. The gun didn’t make him a man, it just made him a weenie with a gun.

And unfortunately, a weenie with a gun too often means an innocent dead, as you pointed out :(.

33 Bryan { 07.29.13 at 11:56 pm }

If I were in Trayvon’s place, I would have assumed that Zimmerman was a mugger. If you aren’t doing anything and someone starts following you, that would be a reasonable assumption. He should have sprinted to where he was staying, but he decided to stand his ground because ‘that’s what a man would do’, and boys his age always want to be ‘men’. I don’t know why, a lot of men are smucks.

34 Badtux { 07.31.13 at 11:25 am }

Yeah, it’s mass media BS fed to our teenage boys about what it means to be a man. The sensible thing for TM would have been to do what you said — no way Z-man could have kept up with TM. But that “a man wouldn’t run away from a mugger” BS… too common with teenage boys, alas. (Not common with me when *I* was a teenage boy, faced with that situation I would have lit out like a frickin’ rocket, but I wasn’t a normal teenage boy).

But to your point about why teenage boys want to be men — well, if you’re a teenage boy, you have to go to school, can’t work a number of jobs, can’t drink a couple of Buds at the ballgame, have no legal right of contract, are often told no you can’t do such-and-such that seems perfectly reasonable to you just because (just because teenage boys are typically hormonal idiots and what seems reasonable to them often isn’t, but that’s not something a teenage boy actually hears even if someone says it). Why *wouldn’t* you want to be a man? Sure, most men are schmucks, but at least they’re schmucks who can drink a brewskie at the end of the day without having to use a fake ID to get past being carded.

35 Bryan { 07.31.13 at 1:02 pm }

Well, I was playing football [soccer] a lot and could have taken him, but I had a history of getting into trouble for that sort of thing, so I would have left him behind in the dust.

I was in New York at that stage in my life and 18 was the drinking age, so I didn’t have a problem getting a beer if I wanted one, or going to work [OK after 16] if I felt like it. Of course I was related to about 10% of everyone in that area because my maternal grandfather was one of 18 kids, so I was in a privileged position, which Trayvon wasn’t.