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What’s wrong with the Zimmerman Verdict

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The Zimmerman Verdict is bullshit.

Why?  Because there is no way I can see, given the law of self-defense in Fla., that he was able to invoke the privilege conferred with the Stand Your Ground law. Why?  Because he initiated the confrontation.  He provoked it. That defeats the privilege.  It really is that simple.

From the model Jury Instructions in Florida, on the use of deadly force:

                The use of deadly force is justifiable only if the defendant reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to [himself] [herself] while resisting:

1.            another’s attempt to murder [him] [her], or

2.            any attempt to commit (applicable felony) upon [him] [her], or

3.            any attempt to commit (applicable felony) upon or in any dwelling, residence, or vehicle occupied by [him] [her].

Zimmerman can’t claim those.  Martin wasn’t committing any crime.  He was walking.  Zimmerman called the police, to get advice.  He refused to follow it.  He said, “”Fucking punks. These assholes. They always get away.”  That shows a predisposition to see Martin as some sort of malefactor.

But Zimmerman had gotten training.  He knows what the legal justifications are for initiating deadly force.  He willingly entered a situation which could have led to violence, i.e. he initiated the chain of events.

Play it out.  You are walking to the place you are staying.  It’s your father’s place.  It’s dark, it’s raining.  Some dude you don’t know shows up, and confronts you.  He’s hostile (remember, “These punks, they always get away”).    What do you do?  You probably don’t say, “Oh dude… I’m sorry, what can I do to help?”.  Why?  Because some dude just came out of a car, followed you and got angry.

That, is a case where one is justified in defending oneself.  We don’t know what happened.  All we know is the result.  Zimmerman shot Martin.  Zimmerman was playing cop.  He was worried about Trayvon Martin, “getting away”.

Zimmerman is the only witness.  He’s the only one who could tell the tale; and he has a reason to lie. He’s committed homicide.  He has every reason to paint it as justified.*

The rest of us (those who don’t want to be able to just go out and shoot people) have every reason to think it isn’t.  He was playing Lone Ranger.  He was lying in wait and going after people he didn’t like the look of.  He was engaged in racist profiling.  Florida just made that a lot more legal.

If you aren’t black, of course. 

Trayvon Martin had every legal right to be there.  Zimmerman had no actual right to challenge his presence.  That voids the base claim of self-defense.  So Zimmerman’s claim has to be that Martin’s reaction was so intense that he had no choice but to use deadly force to prevent himself being killed.

A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

When is deadly force not justified?

Aggressor.  § 776.041, Fla. Stat.

                However, the use of deadly force is not justifiable if you find:

                2.            (Defendant) initially provoked the use of force against [himself] [herself], unless:

a.            The force asserted toward the defendant was so great that [he] [she] reasonably believed that [he] [she] was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and had exhausted every reasonable means to escape the danger, other than using deadly force on (assailant).

b.            In good faith, the defendant withdrew from physical contact with (assailant) and clearly indicated to (assailant) that [he] [she] wanted to withdraw and stop the use of deadly force, but (assailant) continued or resumed the use of force.

So… Zimmerman’s only out is that Trayvon Martin was so powerful that he was being beaten to within an inch of his life.

Right.  Zimmerman trained in Mixed Martial Arts.  MMA is the core of the US Army’s hand to hand combat.  I’ve done a moderate amount of it.  The first thing you learn to do is “break hold” when someone is on top of you.  The next thing you learn to do is reverse hold.

So, if Martin was able to prevent that, maybe Zimmerman was in so grave a fear; and being beaten so badly that he was unable to respond with the drills he trained in.  At which point he was able to get his hand under his body, behind his waist, extract a pistol, get it to Martin’s center of mass, and shoot him.

Bullshit.

The only way he can do all of that is if either he’s not being beaten so badly as all that, or is not in physical contact with Martin.  There is, actually, one other way he can do that… if he has the gun in hand when he approaches Trayvon Martin.  In which case… he can’t claim he was acting in self defense.

So this was bullshit.  Zimmerman got away with murder.

 

 

*He didn’t assert the right to “Stand Your Ground”, so the perversions of self-defense it creates didn’t come into legal play.

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27 thoughts on “What’s wrong with the Zimmerman Verdict

  1. Thank You For This! The Body Image Project Blog – What is the Color of Water? Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman Trial http://wp.me/3yyyC

  2. I know this post is rather old and the Zimmerman verdict has been argued to death, but I feel compelled to say that
    1) Z never invoked ‘Stand Your Ground’ and the verdict had nothing to do with the SYG defense.
    2) Even though he was foolish enough to play renegade cop w/ Trayvon, if you’ve listened to the 911 call (or just read the transcript) you’ll notice that he agreed to meet a uniformed officer and stated that he did not know where TM was (suggesting he was no longer following him). At some point after the call terminated, according to Z’s account, he was ambushed by TM on the way back to his truck – meaning that TM could’ve initiated the conflict, not Z.
    3) I mean, this is what ‘reasonable doubt’ means – not that Z didn’t do anything/was completely innocent, but that we don’t have enough evidence to determine whether he’s guilty or not. As for the combat bit, I’ll take your word for it since I hardly have any knowledge of it, but have you seen any pictures of Z after the conflict? The back of his head was marred and bloodied b/c TM allegedly bashed his head against the concrete enough to nearly knock him out cold. Are you suggesting he did this to himself?

  3. 1: No, Zimmerman didn’t invoke it, but the judge included it in the Jury Instructions.

    2: What? You are making a huge leap of reasoning here. You don’t know what happened after the call ended, but you pretend that Trayvon Martin ambushed Zimmerman.

    3: What the jury decided has nothing to do with my conclusions.

    In the first place, I am not limited to what was presented in argument at trial. Two, I have seen the photos taken by the police the night Martin was killed

    Three, I have experience in hand to hand fighting/combat. The damage to Zimmerman’s scalp is superficial, which is what the ER report said. His jacket… look at it. Not a mark on it. I’ve been in fights on the ground (both grass and concrete). There is zero evidence of struggle on that jacket. No abrasion, no grass stains. Not a mark on it. The night was raining. There should be signs of pressure (from Martin being on top of Zimmerman and held down/smashed against the ground.

    Four, at the critical level who/how (I could make the hypothesis that Zimmerman approached Martin, who was scared. That Martin was being crowded, and threatened. That he lashed out with his hand/plastic bottle of tea, and hit Zimmerman in the nose. Zimmerman fell, injured his head, got up and shot Martin: it’s not less possible than your theory of Martin ambushing Zimmerman). What matters is who initiated the hostility.

    What also matters (in ways which are antithetical to justice) that only one person is alive to tell the tale, and Florida law privileges the testimony of the survivor.

    So, I maintain, the Zimmerman Verdict was wrong, both morally, and legally (because the evidence available to me, precludes me from granting a “stand your ground” exemption to the killer in this case. I have sufficient lack of faith in his version of the facts; from that evidence, to not grant that a reasonable person would have felt in danger of his life, nor that he had not created the predicate conditions which led to the altercation: in short he was the primary agent for the fight, and the proximate cause cause for a non-self defense related homicide.

  4. 1: not invoking stand your ground means he had a duty to retreat if possible. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that “dude, I have a gun, and am leaving now, don’t be stupid” would likely have worked.

    3: yeah, those are superficial alright. That looks far more like falling on cement than being shoved into it with any force (I say having gone head over handlebars and gotten much nastier cuts)

  5. You were right, it was stupid to just jump to that assumption when reasonable doubt applied to both of them, not just Z. Sorry. The rest of this response is also going to be terribly wrong, so apologies if it looks like I’m spamming you or something! So this is from the jury charge:

    An issue in this case is whether GZ acted in self-defense. It is a defense to the crime of Second Degree Murder, and the lesser included offense of Manslaughter, if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force. “Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm. A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. In deciding whether GZ was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing GZ need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, GZ must have actually believed that the danger was real. If GZ was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of GZ and TM. If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether GZ was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find GZ not guilty.

    Just b/c the words “stand his ground” were used in the jury charge does not mean that the “stand your ground” law played any factor in this case. It didn’t. For an explanation of why, see here (dunno how to embed link – http://jonathanturley.org/2013/07/20/the-stand-your-ground-law-and-the-zimmerman-trial/) Here you go:

    Many people believe that SYG was used as a defense. This mistaken view has been reinforced by people, including the President, calling for a national campaign against the law. (To his credit, he did not expressly claim that the law played a role at trial). In fact, the defense elected to present a traditional case of self-defense. SYG was waived pre-trial by the defense, which did not seek immunity under the law. As the Florida Supreme Court has stated, it is the immunity provision is generally referenced as the Stand Your Ground law.. The point of the law was to avoid the need for a criminal or civil trial entirely due to the immunity grant. … Some people have insisted that SYG was applied in the case as a defense through Judge Nelson’s jury instructions. This is understandable given the fact that the jury instructions state that there is no duty to retreat. The jury was told that if Z “was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed [as above].”
    However, the common law does not impose a duty to retreat. It preexisted the SYG law in most states. If it didn’t, hundreds of thousands of cases of self-defense would have had different results after people defended themselves rather than flee. Indeed, this is a point that I often made in opposing these laws: you already have the right to defend yourself and not to retreat. There are slight difference in the jury instruction among the states, including Florida, but the Z instructions reflected the general common law standard for self-defense and the justified use of force. If the President was referring to the no duty to retreat rule in his call for reform, he would have to change not the SYG laws but the common law in the majority of states. This has been a rule either through statute or common law for a long time. The change would require citizens to retreat or flee when attacked in most cases or lose the defense in the use of lethal force.

    No rational person will expect someone who is being physically attacked, with someone on top of them, banging their head into concrete and punching them in the face, to be thinking clearly or to react calmly and rationally. No one would physically be able to do so. The law accounts for this, and the law is based on a person’s perception of what is going on. For example, if a police officer pulls you over, and you pull out a paintball gun and point it at the officer, that officer is justified in shooting you, because he feels his life is in danger and in that moment, it was not possible for him to know whether or not the gun was real (and, in fact, it probably wouldn’t even cross his mind).

    When you are under physical duress you are not capable of judging whether or not you are in actual mortal danger and, whether you want to or not, your body will react as though it is fighting for its life and the law expects people to behave that way and will defend their actions accordingly.

  6. *glowers at the lack of blockquotes* Dammit. Just imagine quotemarks around the 2nd and 4th paragraphs, please~

  7. Omfg. “Also going to be terribly long. I just … *sighs into hands* Please excuse me. I’ve had a bad week.

  8. I read Turley’s piece when it came out.

    He’s being facile, and there are some conclusions being drawn which are not supported by the evidence.

    No rational person will expect someone who is being physically attacked, with someone on top of them, banging their head into concrete and punching them in the face

    There is a major flaw with this sentence: it presupposes that this is what was happening. Zimmerman has every incentive to be less than forthcoming about the events which transpired.

    The physical evidence (i.e. Zimmerman’s jacket, his head wounds and the injuries to his face) don’t support that claim.

    The fatal wound to Martin doesn’t support it either. It was close, but not so close as to have flash burns from the muzzle blast. That puts the muzzle not less than 18″ from him.

    Which means any blows which may have been delivered to Zimmerman weren’t being delivered when he was trapped on the ground.

    </blockquote>When you are under physical duress you are not capable of judging whether or not you are in actual mortal danger and, whether you want to or not, your body will react as though it is fighting for its life and the law expects people to behave that way and will defend their actions accordingly.

    This is also not true. One can be so aware (I speak from experience) and Zimmerman had gone out of his way to acquire training of the sort which is supposed to increase one’s awareness of real vs. perceived danger.

    The law also (esp. when Stand Your Ground Laws are not in play) demands that only act as needed to deal with immediate threat. That Zimmerman was at least 3 feet away from Martin (the muzzle being not less than 18″ and the need to level the weapon requiring at least another 18″, though all things being equal I’d guess it was closer to 5 feet, than it was to 3) means that, absent the presence of Stand Your Ground principle he needed to have an imminent threat which a reasonable person would assume to be lethal in nature to legally shoot an assailant in self-defense.

    Here’s is the other thing… if Martin was engaged in a lawful pursuit (which he was), in a place where he had a right to be (which he was), he had no duty to retreat.

    Zimmerman approached him. Zimmerman engaged in threatening behavior. Martin was within his rights to defend himself.

    Zimmerman was the aggressor, and the law in Florida says that his aggression being lethal means it was legal.

    That’s what wrong with the verdict.

  9. OK, hi again. It’s been a looooong time, I was busy and if you don’t mind I’ll just pick this up again. Again, this’ll be a long comment. Excuse me if I am very nutty/angry tonight b/c shit has happened and I’m not in a great mood right now.

    The physical evidence (i.e. Zimmerman’s jacket, his head wounds and the injuries to his face) don’t support that claim.

    Link or elaboration? They are consistent with him being punched in the face and having his head banged on concrete, yes. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57592031-504083/george-zimmerman-trial-jacksonville-medical-examiner-says-zimmermans-injuries-from-altercation-were-insignificant/ From the article;

    Rao said she believed Zimmerman’s injuries resulted from three impacts, one of which could have been against concrete.
    “Looking at the concrete area in the reenactment I was given, it’s consistent with his head having come into contact with that rough surface,” Rao said, taking the stand Tuesday afternoon.
    Rao said she was given photographs of Zimmerman’s injuries, along with other evidence including Martin’s autopsy photographs and Zimmerman’s videotaped account of the fatal struggle.
    …Answering questions from prosecutors, Rao said she believed the injuries were too minor to be consistent with repeated slamming on a sidewalk.
    “If someone’s head is repeatedly slammed against against concrete with great force I would expect lacerations, a lot of injuries that would bleed profusely that would necessitate suturing, so I don’t see that in this picture,” Rao said.
    However, responding to questions by defense attorney Mark O’Mara about whether it was possible to medically exclude the possibility of repeated impacts, Rao conceded it was a possibility.
    “Is there any medical evidence to exclude the possibility that the skull was hit on the left side four times?” O’Mara said.
    “That’s not my opinion, but it could be possible,” Rao responded.
    Rao also testified that the abrasions on Martin’s hands were consistent with him striking someone.

    They were not life-threatening or major, but they are consistent with his story. The extent of the injuries have no relation to the case, other than proving he was being attacked.

    The fatal wound to Martin doesn’t support it either. It was close, but not so close as to have flash burns from the muzzle blast. That puts the muzzle not less than 18″ from him. Which means any blows which may have been delivered to Zimmerman weren’t being delivered when he was trapped on the ground.

    Nope. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/17/autopsy-reportedly-shows-trayvon-martin-died-from-single-gunshot-wound-fired-at/

    A leaked autopsy reportedly shows that the bullet that killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was fired from “intermediate range,” which one forensics expert said means anywhere from one to 18 inches away… Michael Baden, the former New York City medical examiner, said “intermediate” in such cases is defined as the muzzle of the gun being one to 18 inches away from the entry point when fired.
    “If the muzzle is right against the skin, that’s a contact wound,” Baden said. Anything beyond 18 inches is considered “distant” range in coroner’s parlance, Baden said.

    Yeah, I don’t feel like clearing up your clear misinterpretation of psychology, but correcting your blatant lie here clears up most of the crap you continue from here:

    The law also (esp. when Stand Your Ground Laws are not in play) demands that only act as needed to deal with immediate threat. That Zimmerman was at least 3 feet away from Martin (the muzzle being not less than 18″ and the need to level the weapon requiring at least another 18″, though all things being equal I’d guess it was closer to 5 feet, than it was to 3) means that, absent the presence of Stand Your Ground principle he needed to have an imminent threat which a reasonable person would assume to be lethal in nature to legally shoot an assailant in self-defense.
    Here’s is the other thing… if Martin was engaged in a lawful pursuit (which he was),

    What?????? Where the fuck did that come from? Do you even understand what that combination of words means? Martin had no reason to after Zimmerman… if he even did so! And claiming that he did so means that you believe the prosecution’s story is false, and that Martin went after Zimmerman instead of vice versa!

    in a place where he had a right to be (which he was), he had no duty to retreat.

    As I’ve already explained, “duty to retreat” HAS NO BEARING ON THIS CASE. It doesn’t even exist as a legal concept in Florida IIRC.

    Zimmerman was the aggressor,

    BASED ON WHAT EVIDENCE? Evidence of the extent of the attack proves nothing about who instigated the fight.

    and the law in Florida says that his aggression being lethal means it was legal.

    Argh, are you even reading what you’re writing?

    That’s what was wrong with the verdict.

    You didn’t even discuss the verdict, you discussed the terms of the fight, which had nothing to do with anything.

  10. *exhales messily* Oh, may Jesus take the damn wheel, blockquotes have gone to shit again.

  11. Oh boy, after coding in four languages today, my if…then logic is in prime shape! So then!

    Rao said she believed Zimmerman’s injuries resulted from three impacts, one of which could have been against concrete.
    “Looking at the concrete area in the reenactment I was given, it’s consistent with his head having come into contact with that rough surface,” Rao said, taking the stand Tuesday afternoon.
    Rao said she was given photographs of Zimmerman’s injuries, along with other evidence including Martin’s autopsy photographs and Zimmerman’s videotaped account of the fatal struggle.
    …Answering questions from prosecutors, Rao said she believed the injuries were too minor to be consistent with repeated slamming on a sidewalk.
    “If someone’s head is repeatedly slammed against against concrete with great force I would expect lacerations, a lot of injuries that would bleed profusely that would necessitate suturing, so I don’t see that in this picture,” Rao said.
    However, responding to questions by defense attorney Mark O’Mara about whether it was possible to medically exclude the possibility of repeated impacts, Rao conceded it was a possibility.
    “Is there any medical evidence to exclude the possibility that the skull was hit on the left side four times?” O’Mara said.
    “That’s not my opinion, but it could be possible,” Rao responded.
    Rao also testified that the abrasions on Martin’s hands were consistent with him striking someone.

    Today in less than surprising things, an ME wavered on the stand. Or rather, got pinned in a corner with whether it was, at all, possible, and, having no solid proof that it was competely impossible, said that it could be possible. Might’ve maybe could’ve been is not nearly enough to say that that’s what happened, particularly not when the person with the medical training doubts it.

    They were not life-threatening or major, but they are consistent with his story. The extent of the injuries have no relation to the case, other than proving he was being attacked.

    No, they really do. You have to be in fear of your life to use deadly force and call it self-defense. Not life-threatening is, in fact, the exact opposite of that which justifies the use of deadly force. You just disproved your own argument in other words.

    Nope. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/17/autopsy-reportedly-shows-trayvon-martin-died-from-single-gunshot-wound-fired-at/
    A leaked autopsy reportedly shows that the bullet that killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was fired from “intermediate range,” which one forensics expert said means anywhere from one to 18 inches away… Michael Baden, the former New York City medical examiner, said “intermediate” in such cases is defined as the muzzle of the gun being one to 18 inches away from the entry point when fired.
    “If the muzzle is right against the skin, that’s a contact wound,” Baden said. Anything beyond 18 inches is considered “distant” range in coroner’s parlance, Baden said.
    Yeah, I don’t feel like clearing up your clear misinterpretation of psychology, but correcting your blatant lie here clears up most of the crap you continue from here:

    Besides the whole “you’re citing fox ‘news’?” part, there’s so very much wrong there. Like reporting what Zimmerman’s personal doctor said his injuries were when we can all plainly see he didn’t have any black eyes.

    Yeah, I just can’t be bothered to try parsing fox ‘news’, not after parsing arrays all day. That aside, just what “clear misinterpretation of psychology” did pecunium commit?

    Here’s is the other thing… if Martin was engaged in a lawful pursuit (which he was),

    What?????? Where the fuck did that come from? Do you even understand what that combination of words means? Martin had no reason to after Zimmerman… if he even did so! And claiming that he did so means that you believe the prosecution’s story is false, and that Martin went after Zimmerman instead of vice versa!

    No, the better question here is if you have any understanding of those words. If Zimmerman was following Martin (which isn’t in question) and Martin felt threatened (which is entirely possible), then Martin had equal rights to use force in self-defense. More so actually, as Zimmerman started it by following him.

    in a place where he had a right to be (which he was), he had no duty to retreat.

    As I’ve already explained, “duty to retreat” HAS NO BEARING ON THIS CASE. It doesn’t even exist as a legal concept in Florida IIRC.

    Indeed, it does not, ergo Martin had no duty to do it. Which is another mind-bogglingly simple concept that you don’t seem to realize disproves your argument. As for the bearing it has on this case, Martin had every right to use self-defense.

    Zimmerman was the aggressor,

    BASED ON WHAT EVIDENCE? Evidence of the extent of the attack proves nothing about who instigated the fight.
    and the law in Florida says that his aggression being lethal means it was legal.

    What? Yes, if his aggression had the potential to be lethal, then lethal force would’ve been justified. But the ME testified that Martin probably wasn’t going to cause fatal injury, and you yourself said that his injuries were, and I quote, “not life-threatening or major”. Thus negating the legality of using deadly force.

    Argh, are you even reading what you’re writing?

    That’s what was wrong with the verdict.

    You didn’t even discuss the verdict, you discussed the terms of the fight, which had nothing to do with anything.

    And again I ask, are you reading what he’s writing? Because the nature of the fight is the sole factor in the outcome of the trial.

  12. Ok, I *know* I got the blockquotes right, wtf is up with this theme?

  13. I don’t know. I my control panel it’s properly formatted.

  14. Excuse you? To a point, but you could have chosen to wait until you were calmer.

    Now, to the meat of matters.

    ******
    The physical evidence (i.e. Zimmerman’s jacket, his head wounds and the injuries to his face) don’t support that claim.

    Link or elaboration?
    ******

    You might want to read what I’ve written, since I’ve got a link above, but I’ll be indulgent and repeat myself: This is the photo the police took when they had him in custody the night he killed Trayvon Martin. I was a Combat Lifesaver in the Army (not a medic, but highly trained in first aid for trauma). Those are superficial head wounds.

    He has his hair cut to the skin. Had his head been, “pounded” against the ground there ought to be pulping of his scalp. Observe his jacket, it’s spotless. Had he been on his back (with his head being pounded against the ground, while struggling to get another person off his chest; on a wet and rainy night, that jacket should be scuffed, grasstained or begrimed from the concrete.

    There should be damage to his elbows.

    I will also quote your supporting article (you really might want to double-check your sources to see how well the support your theses).

    ******
    …Answering questions from prosecutors, Rao said she believed the injuries were too minor to be consistent with repeated slamming on a sidewalk.
    “If someone’s head is repeatedly slammed against against concrete with great force I would expect lacerations, a lot of injuries that would bleed profusely that would necessitate suturing, so I don’t see that in this picture,” Rao said.

    ******

    You would probably say the “concession” gotten from the defense att’y obviates that, but it doesn’t. An expert, when pressed, is; almost always, going to have so say, “It’s possible”. And it’s true. It’s possible I could win the lottery, but the odds are millions to one against.

    *****
    Yeah, I don’t feel like clearing up your clear misinterpretation of psychology, but correcting your blatant lie here clears up most of the crap you continue from here:
    ******
    Blatant lie? Crap?

    Tell me something… why are you so invested in defending Zimmerman? Does it have anything to do with the “stand your ground” killing in Michigan last week? Where a black teen when to get help after her car broke down and the homeowner shot her?

    Yeah, I’m cranky too. Mostly because I’m actually an expert in firearms, and hand to hand combat, so I am not talking crap, nor speaking from ignorance. I’m well out of high school. I grew up in/around S. Central LA. My second step-father is from Compton. I know what street fights look like. I know what actually goes on in a firefight.

    There are no close powder burns. Zimmmerman was using a KelTec-PF9, which has a muzzle blast of 9-12″. With no close powder burns the range has to be more than 12″

    Just so you know the amount of blast, take a look at this: and keep in mind that in the sunlight some of the terminus is lost, because it fades into the background light of day.

    Video of a KelTec PF9

    When you look at that, be aware that the bright light means the apparent muzzle-blast is shorter than the actual muzzle blast; and even at that there is burning powder a good eight inches from the muzzle. So if there weren’t powder burns than that is at least how far the muzzle was. Note also the distance from the weapon the shooter is, and add that. I am, based on the evidence, and my personal knowledge, certain Zimmerman was at least three feet from Martin when Martin was shot.

    I’m also certain he was standing when he drew the weapon, and that Martin was not, at that time, hitting Zimmerman.

    *****
    Zimmerman was the aggressor,

    BASED ON WHAT EVIDENCE? Evidence of the extent of the attack proves nothing about who instigated the fight.
    *****

    Zimmerman approached Martin. That makes him the aggressor.§

    Here, let me help you with your problems in the comprehension of simple Enlgish:

    ******
    ag•gres•sor (əˈgrɛs ər)

    n.
    a person, group, or nation that attacks first or initiates hostilities; an assailant or invader.
    *****

    Zimmerman went up to Martin, and confronted him when Martin had every right to be there, that would be the initiates hostilities. Again, follow the link I gave to the principle of proximate cause.

    No, it’s not as simple as, “X hit Y, so Y is allows to kill X”. It’s complicated by X having a hostile mindset toward Y.

    We know that Zimmerman had made a preliminary conclusion that Martin was “up to no good”. That puts all his subsequent behavior under suspicion. I have, based on his statements prior to the altercation, no reason to think he wasn’t aggressive, insulting, and threatening. I have nothing, but his questionable word, that he didn’t do anything to make Martin fear for his physical safety.

    We know from the phone call Martin made before Zimmerman accosted him that he was scared; he knew he was being followed, perhaps stalked. Martin had every right (under Florida law to “stand his ground” but that evaporated. Why?

    Because of this sentence you didn’t like: +++ and the law in Florida says that his aggression being lethal means it was legal. +++

    To which you said:

    *****
    Argh, are you even reading what you’re writing?
    *****

    Yes. Are you reading what I’m writing.

    Let me break it down for you, because this is what the law in Florida has been determined to be.

    If a person (in this case Zimmerman) goes up to someone, and creates a situation which leads to violence, that person (in this case Zimmerman) can use that situation (for which he was the cause) to justify “defending himself” from an attack which would never have happened other than for his actions.

    And, since the other party (in this case Martin) isn’t alive to impeach the version of events the killer presents, the killer gets away with murder.

    In short, something for which he might have been indicted (assault/battery) goes away; because he killed the only person who could have had him charged.

    ******
    You didn’t even discuss the verdict, you discussed the terms of the fight, which had nothing to do with anything.
    ******

    It didn’t? The entire basis of Zimmerman’s defense is based on that fight. How that fight is interpreted is the basis of the verdict.

    And you think I didn’t say say anything about the verdict? Let’s see… the OP is about 850 words. So there’s that. The 434 words in my last response to you were just that, a response to the banal regurgitations of others you offered up in defense of your previous apologia for Zimmerman.

    Again, why are you so interested in convincing me that Zimmerman’s actions were justifiable?

    He called the police. They told him to stay out of it.

    He ignored them. He moved from tailing/stalking Martin to accosting/confronting him. Unless you can show evidence that Martin attacked him without cause or provocation (which is refuted by his phone calls… he had provocation, in that Zimmerman was stalking him), then Zimmerman caused a violent interaction, and wasn’t charged with it because (drum roll) he got away with killing the person he attacked.

    And Florida said it was legal.

    § It’s also based on the evidence from the phone conversations of Martin, who said he was worried/scared about the person who was using a truck to follow him. Also, I am convinced, from the physical evidence we have, and from where Zimmerman’s holster was, that he either had the gun in hand when he approached Martin, or drew it after he got back to his feet.

  15. I can make a MySQL database that creates an array of comments that have been disemvoweled, a form to disemvowel said comments, and a function to query that database. But I can’t work out why your blockquotes aren’t working.

    Typical isn’t it?

  16. Entirely off topic, but I don’t think I will ever get used to the sound of gunfire. You think I would, seeing how around here it nearly always means test shooting, but nope.

    Actually, this is on topic — that Zimmerman felt the need to carry a gun pretty much says he was looking for, or at least expecting to find, trouble. Which, after the cops had told him not to pursue Martin, really looks awfully fishy for any “but he didn’t start it” claims.

  17. I am used to it, and that’s probably because I know what it sounds like when it’s aimed at one. As to the, “looking for/expecting to find”, to a point.

    There are legitimate reasons to carry, and people who do, and don’t have that mindset (I know more than a few people who regularly carry). What Zimmerman seems to have not had was a sense of place.

    He wanted to be a cop. He joined a neighborhood watch. He was acting as if he were a cop. He was (I think) treating himself as a cop, with the right to police the neighborhood. He did that without any of the social markers which get cops the sort of deference people who want to be cops often desire.

    That desire is one of the prime reasons a lot of people who attend private police academies fail to get onto a police dept. It’s one of the prime reasons people in directed police academies (like LA, or San Francisco, or Chicago) fail to graduate.

    So (wild speculation) I think he accosted Martin. Martin didn’t show him respect. Zimmerman got aggressive. Martin tried to push past him, or just shoved him away. Zimmerman got more aggressive and Martin hit him (perhaps with the plastic bottle of tea), and Zimmerman fell.

    What happened then I don’t know, but it ended up with Zimmerman on his feet, shooting Martin.

  18. I should clarify — my brother and father both regularly carry, the latter goes and gets involved in shit like stopping shoplifters cuz wtf are they going to do to him, he’s got a gun after all. My brother carries in case anyone does anything fucking stupid and he needs to defend himself/others. Yeah, a certain amount of “guns make people safe”, but not like my father, more like “screw it, I’m picking up my new game system on release night”.

    It’s the neighborhood watch part, combined with having been specifically told to stay out of it, while having no reason to suspect anyone might be in physical danger that all adds to excepting trouble.

    Oh and don’t load my site on your phone, I have no clue why it hates iOS, but it does. I’ll be looking into it shortly. /OT

  19. I know I should’ve just waited when I felt saner. as for why Im being such a nag about this? Lots of reasons; I’m interested in law, and that story in Michigan is one of many I resonate w/ b/c I get being discriminated against. Yet after pouring over the details of the Z verdict over again (when everyone was arguing about it over tumblr) I just don’t think it was wrong, even though what happened to Trayvon was unfair.
    i wish im saying this w/ the utmost respect here, but unless you’re a medical examiner who actually looked at the body, how does knowing about guns have to do w/ the actual forensic examination of bullet wounds? No autopsy photos were ever released, only one photo of the actual corpse, and one photo of the hoodie with the gunshot wound (with no information about how the evidence had been processed up to that point). No professional would claim that they could draw any conclusions from that. and hey, Argenti, sorry if it looks lik I’m ignoring you rn, but I don’t think you’d appreciate w/e word-diarrhea I’d be spewing atm.

  20. Because I have experience reading forensic reports.

    Because I have experience dealing with bullet wounds.

    Because the photo of the hoodie made it plain the distance was outside the muzzle blast.

    Because had there been powder burns they would have been mentioned. Because had there been powder burns the report would have said, something on the order of, “tissue in the vicinity of the entry wound has traces of unburned gunpowder”

    So, as someone with that level of expertise, and with the other experience I have, I don’t believe Zimmerman’s version of events.

  21. He got arrested again — http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/19/yet-again-george-zimmerman-proves-he-s-violent-aggressive-and-confrontational.html

    Threatening someone with a gun, calling 911 to spin himself as the victim, sound familiar? Yeah, it was his girlfriend this time and she’s alive to testify.

    (Hey, if you do a follow-up, cross post it?)

  22. i’ve no knowledge of legal and medical varieties but how would the fox news article siddiya cited be faulty in this case? a dozen other news websites cited the exact same autopsy report

  23. just gonna bust some other points out i missed before i forget again –
    1) i heard that apparently zimmerman was planning to scope out martin in the beginning b/c there had been a string of robberies in the same neighborhood they were in? was that actually true at the moment of the crime, not just what zimmerman said, b/c i can’t find any other sources verifying it other than z’s word. not being a devil’s advocate here, but if true couldn’t that actually explain why z had a right to be there?
    2) (hth did i miss this before??) why did you miscount the testimonies of the lady who looked down from her apartment window and saw tm on top of Zimmerman (there’s audio from her call to police support that too), the guy who testified that he saw tm punching z “mma-style,” and tm’s gf that showed he made it home then went back outside to confront z , the “creepy-ass cracker” in her words?
    3) er, dont think marissa a. is the best example to use here. she got into an argument with her estranged husband (whom she had a restraining order against) and said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle to get the gun she legally owned. she came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling… she left the scene, came back with a gun and fired the shot into the wall, which was illegal.
    that’s it, my brain is fizzing out rn and happy holidays to you

  24. ok, yeesh, i didn’t mean ‘miscount’ the testimonies there, meant to say ‘dismiss.’ so… yeah.

  25. Wondering where my first comment went?
    Also, dude, what’dya think of this video? youtube.com/watch?v=Ebu6Yvzs4Ls Has a part about the case, but mostly about the media perception on it.

  26. Also inb interesting detail that so many leave out while discussing the case. Apparently after Zimmerman stalked after the kid and went back to his van, Trayvon could’ve easily went back to his dad’s gf’s place but he chose to follow after the cop instead. Why else, other than to start up another, entirely separate, altercation?

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