Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Managing Zimmerman/Martin expectations

Written By: Bob - Mar• 30•12

I’ve been checking the #travyonmartin tag on Twitter from time to time over the last week of this media circus, and note that quite a few people are absolutists about the chain of  events that ended in George Zimmerman firing the single shot that killed Trayvon Martin.

One absolutist position is that Zimmerman was totally justified in shooting Martin, without qualifications. This seems to be a minority absolutist position that relatively few people espouse.

The other absolutist position–which sadly seems to be shared among a large contingent, if not the majority of Martin’s politicized supporters–is that Martin did nothing wrong, and that Zimmerman is a murderer.

The reality is much more likely that both men are at fault to varying degrees, and it is in these varying degrees that we either have a crime or we don’t.

There simply isn’t any evidence that supports the cries that Zimmerman “murdered” Martin.  I’ll merely link to the applicable statutes under Florida law instead of publishing the whole of law on homicides, but the “short of it” is that the shooting does not come close to being a murder under the law.

If George Zimmerman ends up being charged for Martin’s death, it is more than likely that he would face a charge of manslaughter , or perhaps 782.11  “Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act” if Zimmerman’s self-defense claim does not seem valid. It is also possible Zimmerman’s decision to shoot will be judged valid.

It is my, non-judicial opinion that the severity of the wounds Zimmerman’s suffered will play a role in the grand jury’s ultimate determination (though sadly,  not as much as politics at this point).

If Zimmerman’s injuries are consistent with being assaulted, and the severity of the wounds suggest that the assault was of such ferocity that a reasonable person under the same sort of assault would feel that their life was in danger, then Zimmerman has a valid self-defense claim.

That isn’t going to be popular, but it is the law as I understand it.

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7 Comments

  1. Neo says:

    This is a sad example of what happens when somebody (I have no idea which) starts an unnecessary altercation. Martin lost his life, Zimmerman’s will never be the same. All unnecessary.

  2. I think that there is a small chance he will be indicted, and almost no chance that he will go to trial. There is an evidentiary hearing after indictment before a judge who decides, on the preponderance of evidence, if it was self defense. If they don’t have enough evidence to arrest him and hold him until indictment, then I doubt that they can fool a judge into believing that the preponderance of evidence points to “Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act.”

    Plus, I don’t really care if Zimmerman is totally blameless. Perfection is not the standard for self defense. The standard is “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”

    That’s the problem with the haters. They are advocating a standard of utter blamelessness on the part of a person using lethal force in self defense. That’s idiotic. And it’s being done on purpose.

  3. greyarea says:

    I just want people to put themselves in this child’s shoes … If some huge man was chasing after you (possibly while using threatening or hateful/racist words), would YOU defend yourself? Aren’t unarmed persons also allowed to “stand their ground”?
    Unfortunately, dead men (or boys, as it were) tell no tales. We may never know the full extent of what happened that day, but it does seem obvious that an overzealous (at best, racially motivated at worst) neighborhood watchman disobeyed the advice of police dispatch and took the law into his own hands despite the absence of an immediate threat to either property or public or personal safety.
    A real tragedy, yes. Grounds for race war? Absolutely not.

    • Bob says:

      If you have actual evidence of chasing, threatening/racist words, you are the first, and need to get in touch with the district attorney and grand jury. As I’ve stated, the unarmed have the right to stand their ground. They do not have a right to initiate an assault or commit an assault with a deadly weapon.

    • David says:

      I love it when someone commenting on things like this impeaches their own comments with deceptive terminology.

      “[C]hild”? “[H]uge man”? The facts as now known are that the “child” was taller than the “huge man” and the two were within 20 pounds or so of being the same weight. IOW, if one were to handicap a figh in a ring between these two based on physical characteristics, Martin’s longer reach would probably about cancel out Zimmerman’s ~20 pound weight advantage.

      And calling a 17-year-old who’s already exhibited miscreant behavior in other contexts a “child” is simply being deliberately disingenuous, unless, of course, the person using those terms to refer to Martin and Zimmerman, respectively, is simply another ignorant tool of the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind and its racist hate-mongering co-conspirators. (How’s that for the use of–at least defensible–loaded terminology, eh? :-))

  4. Fairness1776 says:

    “The reality is much more likely that both men are at fault to varying degrees, and it is in these varying degrees that we either have a crime or we don’t.”

    Why is the author calling someone who is only 17 (barely) and cannot vote, drink, smoke or enlist a “man”? One is a man (28) the other is a child who attends school.

    White America:

    Recently, in Maryland (4) cops pull over man dressed as Batman driving an expensive car which is missing its rear plate. A violation of Maryland law according to their DMV. Driver not cited. Driver shakes cops hands. Cops take picture with driver and send him on his way (waving goodbye). Laugh and joke with each other after driver leaves.

    Black America:

    (Texas)Man driving in a hurry with his wife to get to a hospital after him and his wife receive a call from the hospital that his wife’s mother is dying! He slowly goes through a red light with emergency lights flashing! He is pulled over in hospital parking lot at gunpoint! His wife runs into hospital in a panic ignoring cop’s order to stop but the man has to stay at gunpoint in order to produce insurance papers. The cop being told the situation, by the man and two hospital security officers and a nurse IGNORES them and continues to write ticket. Cop also makes additional threats to driver. Driver never mentions he’s an NFL player! Mother in law dies while he is in the parking lot with the cop. Cop suspended still believing he’s doing his “JOB”!! One sure is made to wonder what color the cop is and what color the driver and his wife are? So much for equality & justice in AmeriKKKa!

    http://www.ktla.com/ktla-man-delayed-by-traffic-cop-whi-251140,0,4093191.story

    • Bob says:

      Since Martin would have been tried as an adult if he’d managed to kill Zimmerman by banging his head to mush on the pavement (allegedly), then I think it fair to consider him an adult if the trial ends up going the other way.