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.
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.
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.