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How Has the Trayvon Martin Case Impacted Society’s View of Guns?

by Doug Howlett   |  April 23rd, 2012 210
Martin-and-Zimmerman

Trayvon Martin (left) and George Zimmerman

When Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman approached a young man he had never spotted in the area before, little did he realize the events that were about to unfold would potentially ruin his life and end another. By now, we all know the details of what played out on that February night that led Zimmerman, allegedly in self-defense, to shoot an unarmed, but allegedly attacking, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Or do we?

Since the story made news, it has taken on a life of its own, with people from every corner of our society weighing in through protests, message boards, blogs, radio shows, social media and around office water coolers. At first blush, according to news reports, the case looked like a cut-and-dry case of an overeager citizen taking the law, perhaps mistakenly, into his own hands and shooting a teenager carrying nothing more than a pack of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.

The case was shocking not merely for the crime itself, but because the police didn’t even arrest Zimmerman, who in claiming self-defense, and supported by their investigation to that point, was protected by the state’s Stand Your Ground laws. Those laws say citizens don’t have to retreat in the event of an attack, but are within their rights to defend themselves with deadly force when necessary — a philosophy few gun owners and self-reliant individuals would argue with. However, much of the public seemed incredulous, and rightfully so, if what the news reported was indeed fact.

Fanning the flames of public outrage was the fact that young Trayvon was black and Mr. Zimmerman was Hispanic — half Hispanic and half white, to be specific. As such, the debate quickly rotated on the axle of race, and just as quickly drew all the usual players, including Al Sharpton, who has cleverly positioned himself as the most vocal voice of indignation over the shooting. Right behind him has been the ever-present Jesse Jackson, who has wrestled somewhat clumsily throughout his life to carry the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy since standing beside the fallen hero on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on that epically tragic day in 1968. Even film director Spike Lee jumped head first into the headlines, only to land in the shallow end of the pool. He had to offer a sheepish public apology after he tweeted the wrong address in trying to tell the public where Zimmerman lived. One can only surmise what Lee hoped to incite by his actions. But the story is far from done — and for gun owners, it may just be the beginning.

Since the Martin story soared to the top spot on most national news programs, other facts have come to light. Facts that at least suggest maybe the public shouldn’t be so quick to judge, and that we should allow the judicial system, both investigative and prosecutorial avenues, to work as it is designed. Witnesses have stepped forward to say it was indeed Martin attacking Zimmerman and getting the better of him, too, before the armed citizen resorted to gunfire.

At the same time, the public veneer of Martin as a happy-go-lucky, Skittles-eating innocent child is beginning to peel away under blogger scrutiny — the mainstream media has had less to report on this. Martin was staying with his father’s fiancee in the unfamiliar neighborhood because he had been suspended from school for 10 days after marijuana residue was found in a bag he was carrying. It was his third suspension, the other two being for other reasons. On a now deleted Facebook profile, young Martin also appeared to celebrate and emulate the gangster lifestyle, complete with photos of tattoos and a gold grill on his teeth. To be sure, that certainly doesn’t mean he deserved to be shot or even accosted by Zimmerman. Plenty of teenagers — black, white and Hispanic — identify with the tougher, rougher elements of their peers in an effort to be cool and stand out, and generally to the disapproval of their parents. What it does suggest, however, is how a young black man might have taken an affront at being hassled by an older man of another color when he was minding his own business and how things could have spun horrifically out of control in the ensuing argument.

Comedian Bill Cosby, who like most men growing older seem to become more serious with time, waded into the fray last week suggesting that the Trayvon Martin case isn’t about race, but rather gun ownership and the need to limit that ownership.

“When a person has a gun, sometimes their mind clicks that this thing is, will win arguments, will straighten people out,” Cosby told CNN. Cosby, who admitted to once owning a firearm, but says he doesn’t own one now, has an understandable sensitivity to the issue. His son, Ennis, was shot to death during a robbery attempt in 1997 after his car broke down along a California highway. Cosby agrees people should be able to protect themselves in their homes, but suggested once they go out into the neighborhood, they shouldn’t be carrying guns, despite the fact many citizens face greater danger out and about than they do in their own homes.

Cosby’s remarks were ultimately only half right. He’s correct when he says this case shouldn’t be about race. But this case isn’t about gun ownership run amok either.

Florida, with the help of the NRA, has led the way to pass firearm-friendly legislation designed to improve individual and community safety, protect the freedoms of recreational and competitive shooters, and enforce responsible gun ownership and safety. Many states have followed the Sunshine State’s lead, and the wave of laws that have been successfully approved over the last decade have overwhelmingly passed muster.

Despite more and more Americans buying and owning firearms, the random shootings and violence naysayers feared was inevitable with the passage of these laws hasn’t occurred. In fact, according to The Associated Press, when accounting for the increase in the country’s population, numbers of justified homicides have actually decreased. At the same time, the national violent crime rate has also decreased, something many gun owners suggest may just be because the bad guys no longer know when they will be outgunned by an intended victim.

The NRA (an organization this writer once worked for) hasn’t taken a position or released any statements regarding the Martin case, other than those spoken by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at last week’s NRA Annual Convention, when he accused the media of sensationalizing the issue. A call requesting their thoughts on how the case might impact gun laws in this country was not returned.

Yet, in typical reactionary fashion, some legislators have already dashed to their capitols to reverse laws that support Stand Your Ground and right-to-carry doctrine. In Florida, a special task force has already been selected to review the very law that allowed Zimmerman to avoid arrest immediately following the shooting. (He has since been charged with second-degree murder after a special prosecutor was appointed to the case.) In Georgia, Rep. Rashad Taylor has already proposed legislation that would repeal a similar self-defense law his state passed based off Florida’s model. And you can bet there will be more.

As Americans all seeking a safer, freer and more prosperous country, we should welcome healthy debate and work to develop laws that serve the greatest good of our communities. As gun owners, we need to be informed, articulate and involved in those discussions that will impact our firearms freedoms, so that good laws that support public safety aren’t tossed out of reactionary ignorance and emotion.

How do you think the Trayvon Martin case has impacted our society and its view on guns?

  • Keith L

    As a typical, semi-informed, citizen and a gun owner, I can't profess to KNOW what happened that evening an more than any other outsider in this incident. I find fault with parties that immediately claim this is/was a case of racial profiling as well as those who immediately condemn or invoke the Stand Your Ground statutes.

    What seems clear at this point is that Mr. Zimmerman was acting within his rights as a citizen and taking part in a neighborhood watch program and, upon witnessing what he believed to be a suspicious character in his neighborhood, he contacted the authorities via 911 and reported his concerns.

    Where I find fault is in multiple actions PAST THAT POINT. In the first order, Mr. Zimmerman categorically ignores the instructions of the 911 to avoid confrontation (and, ostensibly leave the next steps to properly trained and licensed authorities) and the in the second order, the Sanford police department's decision not to press charges because 'there was no evidence to contradict Mr. Zimmerman's claim of self defense'.

    I can't speak to Mr. Zimmerman's ultimate guilt or innocence or even what a jury will hear at trial however I strongly feel that the moment Mr. Zimmerman countermanded the 911 operator's instructions to stay in his car, he immediately opened him self up to additional levels of scrutiny. The only 'facts' revealed so far are that Trayvon had every right to be in the neighborhood, had valid REASON to be in the neighborhood and, once Mr. Zimmerman decided to ignore police suggestions, wound up dead at the hands of Mr. Zimmerman and his concealed handgun. Surely this merits more investigation, review and, ultimately, judgement than the police force's callous dismissal.

    I don't believe this is specifically a racial issue, a gun issue or a Stand Your Ground issue as much as it becomes a question of where 'self-defense' and 'vigilantism' are defined. That is something a jury should (and now appears to be scheduled to so) decide.

    • Dave

      Your comments are well taken, but we need to clarify three things: (1) While Zimmerman did ignore the 911 operator's instructions, he was under absolutely no obligation to obey. The operator cannot see the situation as it really is, and has no authority to direct your actions over the phone. Zimmerman's decision seems a poor one in retrospect, but he violated no law by continuing the pursuit. (2) You omit the claim that Zimmerman did indeed cease pursuit and was in turn attacked by Martin. In this case, the victim is Zimmerman and he has the right to self-defense. (3) I notice that, like the media, you use Zimmerman's last name but Martin's first name. Doesn't this reveal a bias? We should speak of Martin and Zimmerman or Trayvon and George.

      • Charles

        Dave, maybe you should see this video of Zimmerman lawyers on Zimmerman: http://fsblog.s3.amazonaws.com/zimmerman.mp4

        • MTZ

          It's amazing that the facts appear to be superfluous to the case to so many of the posters.

        • Edward

          Great resource – an invalid URL

      • Thomas Pierce

        George Zimmerman as a neighborhood watch, means watch not assume the duties of a officer of the law and watch's are not to carry arms by mandates in the watch program. And he lost his right to Stand your ground law when he pursued Trayvon Martin and if Trayvon struck GZ it was it may have been in self defence and may have gotten some good hits in for he was in all likely hood fighting for his life against a grown man almost 100 lbs heavier than himself. I am a veteran who has used lethal force more than God may forgive me for, and I have carried concealed for 40 years. And sometimes if you go looking for trouble like GZ your likely to find it as GZ has found it before assault on a police officer and smacking a ex girlfriend and a pattern emerges of GZ who failed to become a police officer and was playing one that night.

      • Kirk

        No, it most certainly was illegal for Zimmerman to intimidate, stalk and slowly follow Trayvon at night, for over 15 minutes. That most certainly would be viewed as menacing by any rational person. There also is no evidence Trayvon started anything, and in fact it is unlikely because he was on his cell phone at the time the physical conflict started.
        As for names, there were 3 Martins in the articles, and George is a common name.

        • Bill

          Obviously, your mind is made up, never mind the facts. Zimmerman had every right to shoot Martin if Martin was attacking him!

          • rokrok

            Yeah, a 28 yr-old man vs. a 17 yr-old UNARMED teen. If you can't handle situatons that DON'T require firearms, you shouldn't be in it at all. If you get your butt kicked by someone that YOU confront, don't take your firearm out & shoot him. Instead, take your ass home & put some ice on those knots you just received & say lesson learned. He used excessive force when he drew pistol & shot Martin. Would've been different if he (Z) used pepper spray, or a baton to ward off an unarmed attacker. I can only see him (Z) drawing gun if Martin tried to take it from him. But NOBODY had ever said that that had happened.

          • Travis

            RokRok…. a response to your double negative… I guess when planning my day, I will look into the future and see if anyone who may attack me is armed, and will arm/disarm myself accordingly. Pretty silly…
            From what I've heard/seen (GZ) WAS attacked. It WAS at night, and there was no way to know if (TM) was armed or not. When fighting for your life, you cannot take time to try and find the least means available that MAY stop your attacker. Have you ever been trained in self defense? I have, and have had to use it. Luckily, I didn't have to use deadly force, but I would not have hesitated to either. If you hesitate, it may be you headed to the morgue. If you are being attacked, and scared for your life, there is no excessive force.

            Your point about taking a lump with a lesson learned my have validity IF he had been hit a few times, had a black eye and a busted lip. Did you not see the cuts on his head?

    • Hardvark

      I believe you are making the assumption that Zimmerman made the call from his car. If he was actually out on the street and then at the termination of the call was retreating and faced a confrontation, the defense senerio makes sense.

      • Kirk

        No, Zimmerman did not retreat after the 911 call, and not only continued following, but tthen initiated a confrontation by demanding Trayvon tell him what he was doing in the neighborhood. Trayvon's response was to ask the same thing back. We hear this in the tapes. So clearly Zimmerman caused the confrontation at night.

        • Sk8man

          I guess you (kirk) were on the scene? Based on your comments, there would be no need for a trial. Perhaps in addition to the role of star witness, you can be judge and jury also.

    • matt aronson

      Zimmerman rescinded his right to invoke the "stand your ground" as soon as he disobeyed an order not to follow Martin; it's a "simple" as that.

      • Gary1836

        Based on what law? A dispatcher has no legal authority to order you to do anything.

        • mike

          This country is so seperated by ways of race and why is it that the dispatcher have no authority? One should not use race to dertermine the outcome this case or pass any judgement. However some comments even though itis ones opinion, are just not reasonable and based on the audio tapes of the Trayvons girlfriend, the dispatcher, and Zimmerman own words " these asshole always gets away" he should have stayed and leave it up the the men who are trained (police) to handle the overly exaggerated situation of a black child the the neiborhood. Also if some unknown person is chasing you 9:30 ta night, i am sure all of us would be prepared to defend ourselves. futhermore, what if Trayvon had a gun? What if Trayvon was your child? When this country goes to war or there is a disaster or even terrorist attack, we all fight back and suffer as one equal nation, BLACK and WHITE. Mike

          • John

            You are right this country is so seperated by race it is evident everywhere even in your reply ! Had this situation been one where the survivor was Black and the alleged perpetrator was White or even Hispanic (like Zimmerman)….nothing would be mentioned more than a pargraph 5 sections back in the local newspaper ! "Media Tool's" is the name for people like you that drink every last drop of the koolaide the mainstream media serves !!!

          • shootbrownelk

            Isn't this where they start playing the National Anthem?? Get a grip Mike.

        • Fred Bush

          Thank you. That was exactly the point I was going to make!

        • james

          Unless the dispatcher was a sworn law enforcement officer.
          If just an employee of the govt then he can ignore or follow the instructions.

          • rokrok

            Yeah, ignore something that made good common sense, & pay dearly for it.

      • Mebejets

        What order did he disobey? It was a suggestion! "you do not have to follow him." have to means wevare not responsible for what happens if you follow him! Not an order.

      • mishiho

        Where, where, where is there any indication that Zimmerman dis-reguarded the suggestion to quit following Martin? Tell me. Show me.

      • Brian

        There was no lawful order not to follow him. The 911 operator has no authourity to order anyone to do anything.

      • Scott

        a 911 operator is a civilian and has no authority to order anyone. my wife makes her living as such.
        I believe Mr. Zimmerman thought he was doing the right thing. I think Mr. Martin probably thought he was in the right also. It's all sad for those involved…. But how it became national news is beyond me. I'm sure there are things right in your own communities that could use some looking into….

        • rokrok

          It was not about giving orders, it was about the fact that officers were being dispatched,& if the subject was actually dangerous person, it was in the operator's best interest to keep the caller as safe as possible under the present circumstances. Zimmerman should've kept his distance 'til LEOs arrived. Just GOOD common sense,that's all.

      • BJC

        I don't understand why people like you listen to and take to heart what the media says. GZ did not disobey an order, he was not ordered to do anything by the 911 operator. The 911 operator simply stated "we didn't need him to do that" but wanted him to report to the police where the suspicious person went to and that would be hard to do without watching him. You need to watch the video and listen to what the lawyer says.

        • rokrok

          Then "watch" him then! Don't approach him. Observe from a safe distance until cops arrive. Then give them your report based on your "observations". Let the cops do the field interview with the subject. Zimmerman did not have the right, or authority to stop & question Martin. If Martin refused to stop or converse w/ Zimmerman for any reason, he was well within his rights as well. No criminal activity was being enacted, no neighbor was in imminent danger, Martin did not approach him, he approached Martin. Overzealousness & failure to use GOOD common sense can cost you big time.

      • Edward

        IF the witnesses who state Martin was on top of Zimmerman are truthful and correct, Stand Your Ground had no application regarding a duty to retreat – it isn't possible to retreat when you are on the ground, on your back, with an another person on top of you.

    • Myles Klein

      If the emotional media uproar can so overwhelm rational thinking as to put aside reason & justice according to the LAWS OF FLA. & commonsense self defense. Then no one is safe from prosecution when defending themselves with a firearm & maybe even when without one if the survivor is white & the other party isn't. We as law abiding citizens should help fund Mr. Zimmermans defense as should the NRA. If this isn't partly about race, then why is Jessie Jackson & Al Sharpton so heavily involved. The police on the scene did in fact arrest Mr. Zimmerman or were the hancuffs a fashion statement. After a review of the facts by a felony review lawyer & a police commander was the RATIONAL decision not to place charges made.

    • rhcomms12

      I recommend anyone interested in the case to read about the incident on Wikipedia.com – George Zimmerman. It’s complete with background information regarding the shooting, but MOST IMPORTANTLY – 911 RECORDINGS. The review is quite revealing and unbiased …
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Zimmerman#Geo

    • Bob Porter

      There's an issue that the comments here are ignoring. Zimmerman stopped following and the two men actually went in separate directions. As one crossed in front of the long housing structure the other passed behind. They met, unintentionally, at the end. Most probably, each thought he was being pursued by the other — and it's night. Even an accidental confrontation would seem ominous to both. All of the photos of Wilson shows him as a young, frail, smiling young black man. Yet, at 17 years of age, I would suggest that a more current photo would show him as a rather large young man — certainly as large as, if not larger than, Zimmerman. His macho attitude and dress (referred to by many reporters) could have precipitated the confrontation simply because he was being combative and he didn't know that his target was armed. Zimmerman's head was beaten against the cement (photos show lots of blood) and his back was soaked and stained from wet grass. This suggests that the confrontation was not a brief one but that Zimmerman had been on the grass before his head was banged on the concrete. This takes time and Zimmerman fired his weapon when this confrontation went beyond a simple tustle and turned into fear that he was going to be seriously injured. Most people who carry legally will do anything they can to prevent gunfire. They know what the consequences will be and they know that they carry deadly force. Zimmerman's firing would seem to be from fear as this plays out since he, and any person carrying a weapon, would do everything to avoid gunfire. The message that this will send to the rest of America is, "if you wish to be confrontational, be careful. The person you bully may be the person who can bite back."

      • Walt

        So right, Beware bad guys out there. The limping old man may be packin.

    • John

      Wait, if we don't convict Mr Zimmerman the blacks will riot and burn down their own neighborhoods ! Wait, never mind ! That would be a good thing !~!!~! Me…I'll just sit out on the porch with my FAL !!

    • ROBERT AUGERI

      FIRST THE 911 DISPATCHER IS TRAINED TO SAY THINGS LIKE THIS. HE WAS NOT AT THE SCENE AND MOST POLICE RESPONSE IS MORE THAN 5 MINUTES. HE WAS A CITIZEN WATCH GROUP. HE WAS WATCHING AND OBSERVING AND THIS IS HIS RIGHT TO DO SO. IN FLORIDA THE WORD STAND YOUR GROUND MEANS JUST WHAT IT SAYS. THIS YOUTHFUL JERK HAD NO RIGHT TO ATTACK ZIMMERMAN. TO BAD ZIMMERMAN CAN NOT AFFORD LAWYERS LIKE OJ SIMMONS. HE WOULD PROBABLY BE HAILED A HERO. IF I WAS BEING ATTACHED AND KNOW ALL OF THE JERKS IN THE MEDIA AND SOME HAD BEEN FIRED FOR ALTERING THE 911 TAPES SHOULD BE HUNG OUT TO DRY. I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU DO NOT FACE A SIMILAR CIRIMSTANCE. PIEHOLES WEATHER YOUNG OR OLD SHOULD THINK BEFORE THEY ACT. IF A PERSON WHO WAS A SENIOR CITIZEN AND FOLLOWED THIS YOUTH AND DID THE SAY THING DO YOU THINK HE HAD REASONABLE CAUSE TO PULL THE TRIGGER. WAKE THE HELL UP.

    • uscitizen1970

      The only question needs to be, was George attacked. If he wasn't, then he is a murdering thug. If he was attacked, then he is a surviving victim of a thug attack. The people defending Trayvon need to understand if Trayvon attacked George for any reason other than self defense, and being offended is not self defense, then these supporters are supporting a new law. You have the right and duty to take a beating from anyone who is offended for any reason by you whether you offended knowingly or not. The beating can be up to and include death if the offended deems it necessary. While the offended will be convicted of violence if caught, they will be incarcerated no more than four years. See Reginald Denny case for more info, particularly the part of the reconstructive surgery on his skull so his eyeball wouldn't fall out.
      May God have mercy on our country!

    • Bill

      Kieth, you obviously aren't concerned with all the facts, just the ones that let you blame Zimmerman. The fact that Zimmerman ignored the 911 instructions has little to do with this case. Did his refusal to follow police directions give Trayvon the right to attack him? Does it prohibit Martin from defending himself while Martin beat his head into the concrete?

      The facts say Zimmerman had every right to shoot Martin. Martin was assaulting Zimmerman with the intent to murder or cause serious harm. I'd have shot him too!

  • Derrick

    Let the justice system work as it was designed. Where any laws broken by Mr. Zimmerman following Mr. Martin? No. Where any laws broken by Mr. Zimmerman not acting in accordance with the 911 operator?No. The 911 operator is not a sworn officer and they do not give lawful orders, at least in the state where I am located. That is the job of law enforcement. Did Mr. Martin break a law if in fact he did assault Mr. Zimmerman? Yes. Does one have the right to protect themselves during an assault where bodily harm or injury is occuring? Yes. Regardless of what Mr. Zimmerman did, following Mr. Martin, etc., that is no excuse for Mr. Martin assaulting Mr. Zimmerman. The point is, Mr. Martin failed to excercise due caution when he chose to assault a citizen who was lawfully armed. Sad as it is, when a teenager dies, when is it not a poor choice upon their part? Drugs, driving recklessly, playing games involving huffing or choking to the point of passing out…the list goes on.

    • Stephen

      "Let the justice system work as it was designed"

      Yes, I agree. But then you contradict yoursefl by giving a highly tendentious account of the incident which portrays Zimmerman as the victim and Martin as the aggressor. Isn't that for the courts to decide? You say that Martin broke the law when he "attacked" Zimmerman? How do you know that Martin wasn't acting in self defence because he felt threatened by Zimmerman? If a creepy looking guy was following me, I might think that it was a prelude to attack. If that fear is genuine, then it is legitimate to strike first. How do you know that was not how events unfolded?

      I don't know whether Zimmerman acted lawfully and you don't either. Stick to your original comment and let the justice system work as it was intended to.

    • tjbaz

      When Zimmerman aproached Martin he became the instigator. He can no longer claim self defence. While he is not rquired to take a beating, it is not self defence, rather he should claim justifiable homiside.

      • Russt

        One must ask yourself would Zimmerman have confronted Martin if he (Zimmerman) was not armed. Was his courage on his hip?

        Being a part of a neigborhood watch does not give ont the right to stop, question and interrogate others. The watch group in to be the eyes and ears of local LEO's and they are to be notified when something suspious is found.

        Zimmerman should have remained in his vehicle.

        • WSA

          I've been carrying a weapon for more than 40 years, I never felt courage from it, just responsibility.

    • Rudogg4Guns

      Well he was being following by a guy in a car with a gun. How do we know T Martin wasn't standing his ground. Did George Z flash or go for his gun before the scuffle we don't know. He did start a chain of reaction leading up to the death of another human being after he was advised not to do so. Standing your ground works both ways my friend. Maybe he just couldn't take a beat down like a man. Whatever there both dead, Martin is in the ground and Zimmerman is a marked man.

      • Rudogg4Guns

        Meaning that Zimmerman's former life as he knew it is over not that he should be killed. Because he was the original aggressor he ruined his own life persuing some misguided form of vigilante justice.

    • WSA

      I believe that Zimmerman acted in self defense, the arrest was political in nature and should have not taken place the way was done. The Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's should be ran out of town, they are racist pigs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dwight.hill.7121 Dwight Hill

        Like you're not , eh wsa ? A racist pig I mean .

    • Stanley

      I am an NRA member and I believe in the right of self defense with a legal gun either in your house or on the street. I believe in the stand your ground law, because some times local DA's are just looking to improve their conviction records and procecute the innocent. But I don't believe that law should has been applied in this case, I think Zimmermans acted in an overzelous manner he had a history of over calling 911, he should have listened to the 911 operater and stopped following the kid and I don't believe this 160lb kid was beating up a 200lb man. Martin might have been suspended from school a couple of times, but he was not a gang banger nor did he have a criminal record. I believe very much in the second adendment and the laws that protect it, but shooting an unarmed kid walking on the street(not mugging any body or breaking into houses) who is 40 lbs lighter than is not my idea of self defense. If Zimmerman had listened to the operator, Martin would be alive, Zimmerman would not be in trouble and we would not have all the anti-gunners attacking us again.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dwight.hill.7121 Dwight Hill

      Derrick , any person who works as an 9-1-1 dispatcher , is A SWORN POLICE PERSON . And , yes , Zimmerman either stopped taking orders , or , thought he didn't have to listen to the orders . It doesn't matter at this point . The thing about this case , is they , the police of Sanford , said to the public , that there " weren't any witnesses " , now they have a slew of them . The only person who says what happened that night , is saying that " my life was in danger " ,yet , he have changed his statements at least 4 times now . The court have already found out he is a liar . That's why his wife is now being charged with lying under oath . Do you know who assaulted who ? Were you there ? The only other person who knows what happened , is dead . It's pretty hard to ask him anything .

  • Kevin

    I am not sure we'll ever know if Martin did break any laws. That's where the blur, uncertainty in this case evolves.
    To the topic…. Clearly Zimmerman felt empowered. He would've followed instructions;which was REALLY good advice in hindsight he would've taken if he wasn't armed. But he was… So he felt empowered. He's even sorry.
    If I was was the direct object of someone's purposes assault target… An they died I don't know how sorry I'd be.

    People behave differently. He (Z) wasn't an off duty police. From the reported 911 transcripts, there was no good ending to this one. How does this case effected gun laws? Guns don't kill, people with them do. Do we really believe the cost of a life was worth anything Martin did?(Really??) Unless he was taking one…. Definitely not. We weren't there but everything points to him on a mission SOMEPLACE. Not breaking and entering.

    • Sister Katherine

      Zimmerman is THE MAN! Who knows the weapon he used…they should start a commemorative edition.

      Why does Michelle Obama look like a halibut-jawed transvestite?

  • sean

    This whole thing has turned into fodder for politics. I support gun rights, I support individual freedoms….now let's let the court decide this individual case on it's own merits.

  • Minarchist_1776

    I don't claim to know exactly what happened between Zimmerman and Martin. However, as one who has worked a lot more security jobs than I care to recall, I have to say that there is often no alternative to simply walking up to people and talking to them if you want to find out what's going on. In many respects it's probably the most polite way to handle the interaction. Therefore I do not see the mere fact that Zimmerman chose to talk to Martin as necessarily being harassment. Granted, a lot would depend on Zimmerman's mannerisms, tone of voice, specific word choice, etc., as he talked to Martin; but what little information that is available does not suggest anything obnoxious in that regard.

    Regardless, the case will now go to trial and a jury will decide the issue. I can only hope that they reach a fair, honest and just decision. I will apologize in advance for making a comment that some people might regard as cold, but in my opinion if it should turn out that Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin, then there is no need for an apology. Under that circumstance Martin's relative youth would be irrelevant. Martin was old enough to try to kill somebody (or at least put them in fear of being killed), Martin was therefore old enough to die for that. If on the other hand the jury determines that Zimmerman's actions were not justified and returns a guilty verdict for murder and or manslaughter then an apology is the least of the things that Zimmerman should be expected to provide.

    • Edward

      I guess the most pertinent question currently is whether it is possible for Zimmerman to get a fair trial, given the amount and type of publicity which has already had ample time to cause people to come to a conclusion regarding the case.

  • D_rwc

    I got this far…

    "The case was shocking not merely for the crime itself,"

    and stopped reading.

    What 'crime' are we talking about? The bashing of someone's head against the cement, or the 'crime' of self defense?

    It looks to me like you convicted one or the other without telling us who you are declaring a criminal.

    Is it that you have jumped on the 'lynch Zimmerman' band wagon? I can't tell.

    • disgusted

      Absolutely!!
      When did the courts and law enforcement become lapdogs of the TRUE racists, the race pimps Jackson/Sharpton/Lee etc.?
      Truth is NOT hate
      Facts are NOT racist

    • Rudogg4Guns

      STAND YOUR GROUND works both ways, duh he was being followed by a wannabe vigilante with a gun. And he knew he was being followed, STRIKE HARD, STRIKE FAST, NO MERCY!

  • Workaholic

    I was told that Trayvon's mom. Has already licensed his name and is looking for movie rights. I don;t feel this is justice for Trayvon. Just a money maker for his family.

  • Ray

    Obama and the left wing media have done everything they can to turn this into a racial issue to solidify the black vote behind Obama. Had this not been an election year I'm sure things would have been very different. Holders non action against the NBPP for the bounty is yet another vote gathering tool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jspaulding1 Jamie Spaulding

    Rest assured, fellow readers, Zimmerman’s life, as he knew it, is over. Whether convicted or aquitted, he now has aquired the “Mark of Cain” . Even if we find out later that certain things happened which might have made his reaction more reasonable, it will never be a priority in the news coverage that it has already been. Because the “reasonableness” was not readily apparent i.e. knife, gun, big stick, he has already been tried, not by a jury of his peers, but in the court of public opinion. I’m sure that if you were to ask him now he’d say he would have been much better off to have curled up in a ball and let the kid stomp him to within an inch of his life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jspaulding1 Jamie Spaulding

      While I don't know enough to determine if this was the case in this instance, let this serve as a lesson for anyone with a handgun and a “hero complex”. Lock up your gun and buy yourself a shiny red cape! You will save yourself much misery. Thankfully, only an infintesimal percentage of them exist in the CCW community.
      Avoidance is the 3rd A in my “triple A” insurance lecture to my students. Whatever it takes to avoid having to deploy your firearm, do it! Avoid confrontations, If you get in one; Run, backdown, jump up and down yelling “I am a coward” if it will keep you from having to shoot someone. Your best performance as a “gunfighter” will be the gunfights you avoid. Gun fights are messy, complicated, life-altering experiences and should be avoided except at the peril of your life or the life of your loved ones!

      • Stan

        I agree, Jamie. I've been CCW for as long as I can recall. I have NEVER, to date, had to deploy my weapon. I don't go where trouble is. Mr. Zimmerman escalated the situation when he followed Mr. Martin. Having been involved in several neighborhood watch programs, our job was to observe, and report. We also were NOT allowed to carry ANY weapons. A cell phone, and perhaps a flashlight. Conflict resolution is a large part of carrying a concealed weapon in a responsible manner. As a Concealed Carry Instructor, I teach my classes as much about avoiding a bad situation, as I do about when and where to PROPERLY deploy a firearm. As you said, "Run, backdown, jump up and down yelling “I am a coward” if it will keep you from having to shoot someone". Using your weapon in a situation that could have been avoided, is not the act of a person who carries responsibly. Mr. Zimmerman should NOT have been carrying a weapon in this situation, and also had ample opportunity to back away from the scenario, and let LEO handle it. By his actions, he has forever given the CCW community a "black eye", and invited the anti-gun crowd to bash our way of life.

        • B. K. ERICKSON

          SOUNDS GOOD STAN , BUT IS IT REALITY ? I WAS A SOCIAL WORKER AND IN LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR 16 YEARS ! I'M NOW A S.O. & P. I. WITH A CWP ! I CARRY ALL THE TIME !
          ON AND OFF DUTY ! WHY ? MY LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY JOB , ETC. WITH A CWP, MY EMPLOYER HAS 'NO' RIGHT TO TAKE MY LAWFUL RIGHTS FROM ME ! I DO HOWEVER , HAVE MY OWN SELF PROTECTION PLAN ! FIRST, DON'T CONFRONT THE ALLEGED PERP. ! IF CHALLANGED, GET ON YOUR BICYCLE AND EXIT THE SCENE ! HOWEVER, IF ATTACKED, AND DEPENDING ON THE SEVERITY OF THE ATTACK, USE MASE ; YOUR SAP; ZAPPER; FIRST!
          EVEN WACK THEM WITH THE FIREARM IF IT HELPS, BUT USE YOUR FIREARM LAST ! ! ! AND ANOTHER WORD OF 'GOOD' ADVISE IS TO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO LAWENFORCEMENT AT THE SITE ! MAKE NO STATEMENTS, AND IMMEDIATELY CALL OR ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY ! IT'S BETTER TO SPEND A COUPLE OF NIGHTS IN JAIL THAN 25 YRS. IN PRISON ! IN SUMMARY, ONLY USE YOUR FIREARM AS THE LAST, LAST, LAST RESORT ! AND DON'T MAKE ANY STATEMENTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT ! GET AN ATTORNEY AND LET HIM SPEAK FOR YOU ! PERIOD !

          • dad

            Agree 200%.

            A can of mace is less than $10 and is usefull. If you have more $$ buy a Kimber pepper spay, it is effective and can avoid the use of a real gun.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001808106791 Adam Braunersrither

          was he patrolling on neighborhood watch cause the way i understand it george was on his way to the store also, because he volunteered to do neighborhood watch he cant carry at all anytime

    • Mark McKinney

      Jamie, you are absolutely correct. Right or wrong Mr. Zimmerman's life will be forever wrecked by the incident. The article stating how other states are re-looking at their "Stand your Ground Laws" because of this one isolated problem. I hope that the states will realize that "We the People" are so tired of having to be victims of crimes whether we protect ourselves or not.

      Financially ruined if we protect ourselves. Sometimes makes one feel that they had been better off curling up in a ball and just letting themselves be killed or injured and hope not crippled for life.

      I personally am so sick of bureaucrats deciding how to protect me when it's already been established in the 2nd Amendment.

      No matter the outcome, Zimmerman, you are probably screwed because Rev Jesse (No church) Jackson will make it a race issue to win because society deems it so. That's why government will never impeach Obama for his Constitutional violations… They would make it a race issue. That too, many of us are getting sick of.

  • Constitution Man

    "The case was shocking not merely for the crime itself," This is from the G&A story above. Unless I'm wrong, there is no "crime" until a court of law says so. Hence, the entire story above can be considered as bias. Therefore, not worthy of consideration.

  • topgun

    I,m not a part of a watch .I watch my house and property.I carry to protect me my family i think of what happens before i react i,m not here to serve and protect that is the polices job.I will take care of me.If deadly force is required so be it. Look at the facts before you call the boys in to stir the pot.

    • Mark McKinney

      Yes and when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

  • carmen fovozzo

    I think G&A should stick to guns and ammo…..

    • Big Daddy Rich

      This IS a vital element of gun ownership. The consequences of actually utilizing the right to carry are not understood by enough people. If you decide, or are forced to escalate a situation to the point where deadly force is used, you should understand what you are getting yourself into. Owning a gun and using a gun are an entirely different animal than using a gun with intended deadly force. Whatever else, we know that Mr. Zimmerman is alive and able to tell his story because he chose to make this decision. He now must live with the consequences, be them as they may. If more people consider his plight in a reasoned though process instead of the heat of the moment, they may be better prepared for what follows.

  • Dr. Bob

    In spite of the national news, all of you need to ask yourself this simple question. If you find yourself walking down a street, at night and some one starts to follow you. You take off running in a attempt to elude the perceived threat and the threat continues to follow. Would you not feel threatened, would you not fear for your life and be ready to beat down who ever is following you?

    This is not about race, this is about the basic freedoms that we all enjoy. The right to be a citizen and not have anyone, police, gang member, of neighborhood watch threaten our peaceful transit on the streets of the United States.

    Also one must ask, had Zimmerman not have a weapon at the time, would he have been as aggressive in his pursuit of Martin.

    • rhcomms12

      If I felt threatened, feared for my life … and I were not backed in a corner – I WOULD RUN! To be in a wide-open neighborhood with plenty of exit points, if I attacked, it would not be out of fear, but out of anger, rage, ego, etc.

    • TAC

      Wow, you are just adding a lot of information that was previously unknown. I hadn't heard anywhere that Mr. Zimmerman pursued Mr. Martin after Mr. Martin "took off running." You must be privvy to other information or you're convicting someone based on your not-so-humble opinion of Right and Wrong. According to news and eyewitness accounts, Mr. Zimmerman gave up his "following" of Mr. Martin AND returned to his vehicle AFTER the 911 dispatcher advised him to stop following the young man. Whereupon Mr. Martin approached Mr. Zimmerman and asked, "Do you have a F#^*ing problem?" then he struck Mr. Zimmerman, knocking him to the ground and proceeded to bash his head into the pavement. Mr. Zimmerman, fearing for his life, drew his legally carried firearm and shot the man! This does NOT sound to me as if Mr. Martin was seeking "peaceful transit on the streets…" And in answer to your question, a resounding NO! If I felt threatened and in fear for my life I would defend myself if necessary but would NOT track down my pursuer to "beat down" he who was following me. Why don't you work on your facts!!

      • dad

        Do you really belive that a 160lbs kid put down a 200lbs guy ? ? ? LOL, LOL, LOL

        Or Z is a sissy or Martin has super powers . . .

        • Alan_T

          You'd be the one to know about being a sissy , dad …. with all your allusions to and fixations on phallic symbols YOU are the biggest sissy on here .

    • Heretic

      Martin was not "walking down the street". He was sneaking along the back of some apartments, in the rain.

  • Mike L

    Where was Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the news media when a 17 year old black male shot and murdered to English Tourists in Sarasota, Florida last year when they inadvertently wondered into a black area.
    I firmly believe in the Martin case if the races were reversed, we would have herd nothing out of Jackson, Sharpton and the Main Stream News Media and President Obama.

    • Tommy

      In the case you refer to Mike, the victims family wrote THREE letters to president Obama about it and he did'nt have the decency to even REPLY to them. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northam
      He is using this incident as someone else said, to further the divide in this country and to solidify the black vote for himself NO MORE, NO LESS. It's been said that Trayvon was 6'3" and 190 lbs., 17 yrs. old and yet the media continues to show a photo of him when he's 12 years old, to incite people to riot.

      I feel that BOTH of them were probably at least somewhat to blame for what happened here. However, regardless of what happened it should'nt require any laws to be changed or repealed. If Zimmereman was right, he walks. If he acted inappropriately, he goes to jail. SIMPLE AS THAT…

      • shootbrownelk

        Tommy, It's NOT as simple as that. It all depends on how the lawyers stack the jury deck….If there are mostly black jurors Zimmerman will be found guilty….If there are mostly white or hispanic jurors then I suspect that Zimmerman will indeed walk…. O.J. justice, if you will! Meanwhile, the media will continue to do their level best to convict him BEFORE the trial ever starts. And yes, the media should really try to find some RECENT photos of Trayvon….not Grade school photos. By the way, Zimmerman also suffered a broken nose and numerous cuts, besides the ones on the back of his head. At least someone photographed those injuries!

    • Ron I

      AMEN MIKE>>>>>

  • Giterdone

    The 911 operator's response to Zimmerman was "I wouldn't do that" regarding Zimmerman following Martin. I dont see that as an order even though Zimmerman was not obligated to follow the 911 operators instructions. This is NOT a race hate crime but one of a young troubled black youth dressed like a gang banger acting suspiciously in a gated community then responding with violence when confronted by a concerned adult citizen which resulted in his ultimate demise.

    • Brian

      Gitterdone, you just summed up this whole case in one paragraph.

    • Mike

      Yes! Concerned citizen that assualted an officer and girlfriend? WHO DETERMINED THE WAY A GANGSTER DRESSES? A man in a suit walking down the street @ 1:00 am. would have gone by without looking suspicious to Zimmer and would not be considered an asshole, while he could have been a serial killer. Show some respect for the parents.

      • Brian

        Mike,
        If anyone is walking through one's neighborhood and is questioned. It does not give them the right to respond with violence. This could only end up bad.

      • Dragon

        I'm 60, fat and white. I wear hooded sweatshirts at times. Does that make me a gang banger, too? I should look out when I go for evening or early morning walks in my neighborhood.

  • Cindy the Bear

    I believe that Mr. Howlett's article is a good summation of the case. The courts must now pass judgement on the charges.

  • Mil Vet

    If states remove self protect rights of their citizens what are they thinking? If someone attacks me I will defend myself with any force I deem necessary to eliminate the threat. If they persist in any way they will likely end up on a slab. Many military vets are amongst the civilian popultion and I don't think any attacker would want to mess with one of us. We are US citizens and should not put up with bullying, crime, theft or opression from anyone, anywhere at any time. Having a neighborhood watch came about due to criminal activities and is a tool to deter them. Police cannot be everywhere all the time and they do appreciate eyes on the areas they cannot be. Many lives have been saved by such programs.

  • Mil Vet

    When you have the President of the United Satates making comments on an event like this people in positions of authority feel pressured to go above and beyond to cover their butts and usually try to impress or dog and pony their roles. I hope as a gun owner and trained firearm user this case will not cascade any result in removing our rights to defend ourselves as law abiding citizens through local or federal means..

  • Ray

    Carmen, the theme behind the story is what effect this incident may have on gun laws in this country. It is about "guns and ammo". The non gun owning public relies on perception rather than first hand knowledge and the perception the media gave this incident is slanted to say the least, more like fraudulent to be accurate including editing the 911 call to make it appear race was the issue.

  • Frank983

    Point of clarification: Stand your ground was the law of the land and had always been until a "duty to retreat" was invented out of thin air by the liberals of the 60's. Self defense was a valid reason to exercise force, including deadly force if you were attacked. It was often used to attempt to justify a murder. It was up to prosecutors and grand juries to decide whether a trial was needed, and a jury to decide if self defense was indeed the case in any particular event. All the Castle Doctine and stand your ground does is roll back the clock and prevent an honest citizen from facing charges for justifiably protecting home and family against criminal intruders. The one thing criminals fear the most is an armed citizen. (based on interviews of convicted criminals in prison)

    The judicial system will sort out what happened. My only question is why the prosecutor did not seek a grand jury indictment. The fact that the police did not arrest and prefer charges would seem to support Mr. Zimmerman's claim of self defense. Stand your ground is not a get out of jail free card.

  • Mil Vet

    I feel when people engage each other in a respectful way you usually do not have a problem. Somehow this situation got out of hand or someone became offended. Teens are usually respectful towards adults (depending on their parents guidance). Procedures for Neighborhod watch groups may need to be tweaked to improve how potential threats are dealt with. If there is no criminal activity going on at the time of engagement finding out who someone is and their reason for being there is not outside of normal investigation while on a watch duty. How you do it makes a difference though. You can either reveal who you are openly or discreetly fish for information by key questions / reaction to greetings or looking for signs of abnormal behaviors.

  • Outlaw.yer

    Beyond race or the politics it creates, what amazes me is how this event has further polarized an already separated citizenry. Just in the handful of responses here we can see that opinions and emotions are worn bright on sleeves while reason and temperance are tucked into a drawer. in the legal system we use an adults last name and a minors first, but doing so seems to create tension in this discussion. We assume Trayvon was right or wrong in his actions depending on which side of the imaginary line we stand on. We condemn or defend Mr. Zimmerman using nothing more than our political agenda. A trial will happen, and I fear, regardless of the result, that sides will remain unmoved. Interestingly, I suspect they will become more rigid as the news coverage of the trial gives opinions the belief of accuracy. Only the Jury will have heard all the evidence, non of us will. The more things change the more they remain the same, in particular when we are unable to talk with each other.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jspaulding1 Jamie Spaulding

      I tend to agree that the trial will, most likely, not salve the emotions on either side. When you say only the jury will hear all the evidence, you need to realize that may not be true. Any criminal history or behavioral/discipline problems Trayvon may have had will most likely be determined, by the judge hearing the case, to be prejudicial and will not be admissible. So, the possibility exists that we may hear more evidence than the jury!

  • Mil Vet

    This case will be more about who started the aggression or attack. If Mr Zimmerman waited until he was being attacked to pull his firearm he will be justified. If Mr Matin was shot at a distance or in the back he will not be justified. I am an advocate for Pepper sprays and non-lethal means as a primary defense…(depends on the neighborhood or threat level). Neighborhood watch members should be as highly trained as possible to handle situations and how to deter threats and if attacked have rules of engagement options clearly defined.

    • Heretic

      I have a friend that loves pepper spray. He puts it on his tacos.

    • Travis M

      Does joining a neighborhood watch take away my 2nd amendment rights? If so, who in their right mind would join them?
      I'm all for good training, but not every situation can be handled with non lethal force. And in this AWESOME country, we have the right to bear arms, and use them if needed to protect ourselves.

    • Mark McKinney

      I have ruled out the pepper spray and or other means of non lethal because in Indy most crimes is not handled by one person. It is usually by a gang or more than one. Some occasions there may be the lone perp. (rarer)

      In the summer conceal 380, in heavy clothing, 40 or 45. I don't plan on being a loser. And btw, I am also a Mil Vet (Vietnam Combat) former deputy Sheriff and have packed for many years prior and after. And I always hope that I will NEVER have to use my firearms at anytime for self defense or defense of my family. But I refuse to NOT be ready and/or denied that right!

  • Don

    Fact! Travon and George had the right to be where they where. Circumstantial! Travon told his girlfriend over the phone during the event that he was being followed by an unknown person. When advised to run he responded No!, I'm not going to run, I walk fast. Based on that reported conversation he appeared to be concerned for his safety. Fact! George followed, pursued, ran after Travon to a point some distance from his vehicle onto a walkway/pathway to the rear of and between homes, a place where vehicles (his vehicle) are not allowed where he eventually shot and killed Travon. Fact! At this time George has not produced any evidence that would cause a Reasonable Person to believe that he had been in a struggle that would have likely produced great bodily harm or death to him.
    What's clear is that George did not have the proper training nor the proper demeanor to carry a concealed weapon. While I am a supporter of the right to carry, I am an even bigger supporter of the need for those owners who carry to participate in regular, formal, hands-on training.
    I will leave you with this "Bare Fear Alone Does Not Justify The Use of Deadly Force" the fear must be reasonable.

    • rhcomms12

      I recommend anyone interested in the case to read about the incident on Wikipedia.com – George Zimmerman. It’s complete with background information regarding the shooting, but MOST IMPORTANTLY – 911 RECORDINGS. The review is quite revealing and unbiased …
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Zimmerman#Geo

    • djsmokybacon

      "Fact! George followed, pursued, ran after Travon to a point some distance from his vehicle…" Not true. Listen to the 911 calls. GZ was trying to locate TM and find an address to give the dispatcher.

      "Fact! At this time George has not produced any evidence that would cause a Reasonable Person to believe that he had been in a struggle that would have likely produced great bodily harm or death to him. " Not true, see the picture of the back of GZs head. Unless those cuts are self-inflicted, *someone* was sure slamming his head into something solid.

      It sounds like you have a few basic facts wrong and/or have accepted Al Sharpton's account as gospel, and your conclusions are therefore wrong.

      Research the event firsthand, and what you'll find is that not only does it have nothing to do with "Stand your ground" and everything to do with last-ditch self-defense (where is GZ going to retreat to once he's on the ground?) it's a good shoot. Tragic, but a good shoot. It's a travesty that GZ has been arrested, much less charged.

      • Don

        You seem a little emotional, take a deep breath, re-read my analysis and try to look at this objectively. I give George the benefit by saying followed, pursued or ran after, which ever works for the reader. Additionally, I recommend researching the definition of justifiable homicide. I don't think that in the minds of most a scratch on the head justifies the use of deadly force. I understand that George may have believed that the "attack he" described amounted to life or death. Frankly at this time there is no evidence to support his belief. I would have expected someone who had been in a life or death struggle, with injuries that would have supported the use of deadly force to have a significant laceration, broken and bloody nose, some visible or complained of injury that would have caused the EMT's/Paramedics to continue through and recommend he (George) been seen by an emergency room doctor.

        • Warren

          Don,
          Exactly how long would you allow your favorite head to be banged on concrete before you said enough?

        • Keith

          Don, Warren,

          I think the two of you are identifying the central issue here. It's not race, it's not Stand Your Ground, it's identifying what truly are the "facts" of this case and what, if any, repercussions there are when an armed Neighborhood Watch volunteer confronts and ultimately shoots and kills an unarmed resident.

          Ultimately this is an issue that a jury (grand or trial) will need to decide. Make no mistake, the entity that poured gasoline all over this brush pile and begged for the ensuing firestorm was the Sandford police department that summarily declined to press charges or submit the issue to a grand jury. The rationale of "well, the dude still alive after this argument claims self defense and there ain't no one left to say otherwise…" THAT is what's so objectionable to me. Should the courts determine there is no sufficient evidence to contradict Mr. Zimmerman's claim, then the legal system has done it's job. For the police department decline any sort of investigation, review or follow up was obscene.

    • dad

      You are 100% correct. All CAPABLE, non criminal, skilled and IN GOOD MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HELATH law abiding citizens must be allowed to carry a gun.

      In the Republic of Texas it is mandate that you paricipate in a 10 – 15 hours course to learn legislation, non lethal defense, basic handgun instructions and also demonstrate your marksmanship firing 50 rounds. Said that, I made my 15 year son (who likes to go to the range with me) to participate in this course with me. Even if he will not get his CCW, he had the instruction on how to handle a gun, on legislation and how to handle hostile situations in a non lethal way. Why ? Because I want that my kid be responsible, trained and that undestands that only because you have a gun you are not Dirty Harry or Laura Craft . . .

      PS: In the state of Florida you get a CCW license by mail . . . even for non residents . . .

    • james

      Why no hospital ER examination, if I was getting a beating that was life threatening,
      I would demand the ER NOW.

      No cat scans of his skull, to rule out any damage or internal brain injury from the
      beating he was receiving? No black eyes or shut eyes from the beating?

      Too many unanswered questions that may be answered at the trial.

      Mr Z own words on 911 non emergency hotline will be used against him in court.

      "he is up to no good" "these xxxxxxx get away…" etc.

      He should have said to police he was in fear for his life and he needs to settle down,
      he needs medical attention at the nearest hospital and then get his lawyer to make
      all the statements, remain silent, talk to nobody.

      Instead, he spends almost two hours in bond hearing under cross examination by his lawyer,
      prosecution should have stopped it but they let it continue because he was under oath,
      all he said can and will be used against him.

      Sad event for the youth and Mr Z.

    • Alan_T

      From ABC News 5 / 15 / 12
      " A medical report compiled by the family physician of accused Trayvon Martin murderer George Zimmerman and obtained exclusively by ABC News found that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a "closed fracture" of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury "

  • Roy

    Here's a question. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are all over this because it was a white/hispanic man killing a black man with the former being on neighborhood watch patrol. They say it's not about race but about handguns. But in Conroe, Texas a black woman killed a white woman (using a handgun) in order to steal her newborn baby. Where is the dynamic duo on this one??? Does this not fall into their "evil handgun" premise?

  • CCW

    WHEN SECONDS COUNT, THE POLICE ARE ONLY MINUTES AWAY!

    • Mark McKinney

      Amen

  • Ron

    Just because a person has a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon does not give them a right to use it. The issue at hand should be, was it justifiable use of a deadly weapon? To me, if you carry a handgun then you must also be trained in it use, and have available other items to use before, or after a firearm. Examples, Cell phone, Flashlight, Pepper spray, Taser, Expandable baton, Knife, Trauma first aid kit. You can only use the minimum force required to end a confrontation, not escalate from hand to hand, to handgun. If, someone is shot, then you must render first aid, until First Responders arrive. Just my 2cents…

    • Brian

      Ron, wouldn't you agree that someones nose being broken with a punch then having the back of ones head beat in to concrete, life threatening?

      • james

        He looks too good to have been on the receiving end of a beating that was life threatening.

        Why no ER examinations after the attack? No cat scan to rule out skull damage or brain injury?

        He looks too good. Was his nose broken during the event or broken afterwards?

        Who knows?

      • Ron

        If he was close enough to break his nose. He's close enough to take away Mr Zimmermans, KelTec PF9. If all you have is 1 item to defend yourself with, you are not trained well or prepared for a confrontation.

      • dad

        LOL, there was no exam that can prof it. Also a 160lbs kid doing it to a 200lbs man ? ? ?

        LOL, I do not belve in it.

        • Alan_T

          That's because you're stupid dad . HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Rudogg4Guns

      Right on Ron. In my opinion Zimmerman wanted to act tough with the gun, but couldn't take a beat down. People should learn to fight before they start trolling the streets with guns. Don't get me wrong i love guns and support the 2nd amendment and CCW. But my previous statement still stands.

    • Useyourhead

      Ron, really??? You can only use the minimum force to end a confrontation? Are you retarded. If somebody starts beating on you, you should go through a list of non lethal methods. You're an idiot. When yu are in fear of your life, you should react in a way to stop the threat. Was he supposed to present a knife? So it can be wrestled away and used against you? You present what is going to stop the attack. Buy the way that would include two quick shots to the chest. George was lucky that single shot worked. Cell phones, flashlights, pepper spray, tasers, expandable batons, knives and first aid kits are terrible responses to an ass beating. The gun is the only responsible reaction. Youre a tool.

    • Ray

      You expect people to carry knives, extendable batons and trama kits everywhere they go as well as being trained in trama first aid? Besides the fact that some of the non lethal items you mentioned are illegal in some states a person carrying for self defense has no reason for packing all these items. Avoiding dangerous situations is my duty not taking all steps I can to protect and care for the person who attacks me.

    • Mark McKinney

      never take a knife to a gun fight. Never pepper spray a man on meth (I've done it working as a deputy sheriff). No run law does not require a minimum force. If your life is in danger, you use what means you have to stop the threat. And you DO NOT have to render first aid. As an old movie statement from way back, "shoot him again Louie, he's still kickin" I jest on that. Barney Fife may have been given one cartridge to keep in his shirt pocket, but my high cap mag is inserted and ready for use. :o)

  • Jim

    I myself feel that there individuals in our society that are trying to destroy law abiding people, there right to protect there families and property, from those who are willing to take the risk outside the laws to afford themselves, what they want to steel from those who work for and pay out of there pockets for their selves and their families. The criminals and thugs in any society and in government need to realize that we the people are taking back what belongs to us the law abiding citizens of this country. As each person whom possess a permit to carry a weapon to protect them selves and their families and property and the lives of others , then those who try to prevent this will be in harms way. There are only too people who know what took place in the case of Martin and Zimmerman and one of them are only able too speak of what the cause of the death of the other.

  • Jim

    To continue There are always going to be people in this world of ours who insist that criminals also have rights, So someone please speak up and say where does it all end. While it states in our laws and the laws of our Lord, Thou shall not kill. Where does it STOP. His life or mine Her life or mine .

  • Anishinabi

    I see so many different comments on what happened, many of which conflict with each other, including what the 911 operator said, what Zimmerman did, and what followed. There are conflicting versions out there and conflicting understandings by those commenting here. I think we all should keep our mouths shut and our keyboards silent and let the system run its course. Even talking about it muddies the water. I am not saying STFU, but take everything as rumor until the trial. If the guy lives that long.

  • Rob V

    Facts are simple, zimmerman, a concealed weapons permit holder signed a paper saying that he understands when to carry a concealed weapon. This permit is to carry the weapon not a license to use it. Why? Because idiots like zimmerman will use it in the wrong situation. You don't knowingly step out into a dangerous situation because you know you will possibly use that gun. The only reason why zimmerman stepped out of that truck, to pursue a suspicious character, which could very well turn dangerous, is because he felt he was protected because he had a gun on his hip…what did he expect to happen?..guilty

    • rich

      exactly, i imagine this case would have a much different end if zimmerman confronted martin with his fist as his only weapons. a LOT of concealed carriers take unnecessary risk because they have a gun.

    • Ray

      So you know for a fact that he would not have done exactly the same things had he not been armed. Must. E nice to know all things and say exactly what anyone else will do Its idiots like you that turned this whole incident into a mess.

  • dad

    Let Mr. Zimmerman root in jail, he deserves it. As neighborhood watch he must not carry guns, he must not leave his grounds, he must not attack a thin teenager unarmed. He must call 911, tell then what is happening and continue observing.

    He just moved – AT HIS FREE WILL – from a neighborhood watch to become a VIGILANTE. Now let hi, face the consequences, He will have 40 years to think about it . . . in jail . . .

    I Have a Texas CCW license. The Great State of Texas mandates you to sit 10 hours in a classroom learning legislation, non-lethal defense, shot 50 rounds to proof that you know how to handle a handgun. In Florida you get your license by mail.

    I am a favor that all CAPABLE, NON CRIMINAL, SKILLED AND IN MENTAL AND EMOTINAL GOOD HEALTH law abiding citizen can have a gun. Said that, Mr. Zimmerman – a wanna be police officer does fall in that category. He should never be allowed to have a gun.

    Guns are for responsible citizens, in good mental health and in good emotional state.

    • Rudogg4Guns

      Yes thank you DAD thats what I'm talking about common sense. Not oh he attacked me I'm gonna use my gun, not to mention following him after being advised not to. and playing cops and robbers. He got in way over his head i.e. couldn't take a beat down and then he pulled his gun. Maybe in prison he will learn how to take a beating a little better. mooo hahah moo hahaha

      I know I'm gonna piss off my fellow gunners with my comments but thats how i feel. I don't know all the facts. But i do know he followed T martin after he was advised against it.

    • Dumass

      Retard

      • dad

        NIce to meet you.

    • Alan_T

      Guns are for responsible citizens, in good mental health and in good emotional state ? ….. Well … that lets YOU out dad !

    • Alan_T

      From ABC News 5 / 15 / 12 __" A medical report compiled by the family physician of accused Trayvon Martin murderer George Zimmerman and obtained exclusively by ABC News found that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a "closed fracture" of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury "

  • Mike

    It sounds like Zimmerman is a cop "wannabe". I have a carry permit and don't want to see a guy like Zimmerman cause me to lose the ability to have one because of public backlash. Based on what has been printed in the newspaper, Martin was just walking thru the neighborhood, and inspite of advice from a 911 dispatcher to wait for the police, Zimmerman took it upon himself to confront Martin. Stand you ground means you don't have to retreat, it doesn't mean you can pursue and instigate a confrontation! Regardless of who may have thrown the first punch, the fight would have never happened if Zimmerman had waited for the police.

    • james

      If he watched the youth climb the fence, break a lock, climb out of a window with a pillowcase full of loot,
      sure that is suspicious.

      If he wanted to get into law enforcement then he should have applied to the academy or in the military.

      No doubt in my mind if he did not have his firearm with him he would not have left his truck to follow
      the youth.

      • james

        Young Martin must have had a gate key, security card, or clicker to gain entrance to the
        gated community, he had reason to be there, hoodie or no hoodie.

        This entire situation will make things more difficult for everyone else who wants to ccw
        or carry where you do not need ccw. permit.

  • Gordon G

    Although the article seems fair on the surface it does lean a little bit in the favor of the shooter. The pictures that dipicted Marrin with grills were actually of another person, not Martin. The Stand Your Ground law was not intended to give an agresser the right to attack and then say he or she stood thier ground. The fact that Martin was suspended or anything else has nothing to do with this and the article did not mention the run ins that Zimmerman had with the law.
    I carry when ever it is legal and would not want to have this right taken because of some stupid acts from stupid people.

    • Brian

      Gordon,
      Your statement emplies that Zimmerman was an attacker. Following and observing someone does not make them an attacker.

  • ZIGGY

    You can, "he said, they said, I think, in my opinion" all you want however the only fact is, you were not there and what you say does not really matter. In the end the only thing you are going to be able to say is" I told you so or I did not know that or I would have had a different opinion."

    Know this, if Zimmerman is found not guilty there will be a riot. If he is found guilty of a lesser charge, there will be a riot. If he is found guilty of the 2nd degree murder charge, there will be a celebration riot. History always repeats itself.

    "I told you so"

    • rhcomms12

      ZIGGY – I Agree and … Thank You!

  • Moigy

    Every person can legitmately expect to be held responsible for their actions. We may never reach a concensus regarding who is right or wrong in this situation. Being 'gun' people, we are sensitive to anything which may impinge on our rights. If Zimmerman had used a knife, or a hammer, instead of a gun, many of us would not be interested in the case at all.

    Everybody who uses a weapon of any sort must realize that there will extra scrutany of their actions. As gun users, we must really become educated as to the legal ramifications of gun use. Self defense, Justifiable use of deadly physical force, and minimum force necessary, are concepts which need to be very well defined and learned by everybody. KNOW THE RULES. Since every state had different ideas as to what those phrases mean. We should examine this case in light of Florida law. Justice grinds slowly. We all may be surprised by what happens.

  • Reloader

    This is 20/20 hindsight, but if the dispatcher had been able to patch Z through to a sworn police officer, who could have issued authoritative instructions, perhaps this tragedy could have been averted. My daughter is a dispatcher, and has handled thousands of calls, but she isn't sworn, and has no authority. In addition, this sheds light on the fact that some type of training be formulated for volunteers doing crime watch duties. Whatever else that comes out, I think most folks have figured out that Z mishandled the situation, and a teenager is dead. Is Z guilty of murder? I'll leave that for a jury to decide.

  • Dr. C. E. DeLeon

    Folks… it does not matter what your comments reflects, especially, when they come as a response from ignorant, uneducated. morons trying to "write" an article that reflects on, almost, anyone that walks the streets!! I could not read beyond the third paragraph of this idiotic rantings of some idiot hired by G & A… when he, like most other idiots, called Zimmerman, half-Hispanic and half-white!!!??? HISPANIC, LATINOS, CUBANS, PUERTO RICANS… AT BEST, ARE, GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS!!! If Zimmerman's mother is from Mexico, you would, still, have to ask her what racial combination is in her background… if THAT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FREAKING SHOOTING !!!?

    • shootbrownelk

      De Leon, "Half-White" is good enough for Rev. Sharpton & Jesse Jackson. To them, and the media..it's all about color!

  • SnowCrash7

    This article is only ever so slightly less biased than the race baiting nonsense we have been getting from the mainstream media. Even down to the inclusion of the old, cute, young innocent teenager photo.Pretty sad article guys!
    For one thing how do you know for a fact that Martin was 'minding his own business'?
    In any case I suggest you check out what Dershowitz had to say on this. Proably carries abit more weight than a lot of the uneducated, uninformed ramblngs of the seahouse lawyers here. :) http://www.examiner.com/article/dershowitz-believ

  • Michael

    Life Goes on and in NV were I live No big deal i see and read and watch about crime every day people have a basic right to self defense period. It Will be up tot he prosecuter not Mr amdn Mrs treyvons Lawywer But He and the prosecuters Resonsability to find the ffacst and proove GZ was Negligent!

    GZ has a legal Permit and owns a gun s he was not off his rocker as the media claims. it is political pressure and even Some of the Black leaders in the community are On GZ side let the law and Justice prevail the Economy and Fear of Of the town is Destroying peace and prosperity from out side trouble makers!

  • newyorker

    If something like this will happen to off duty or retired cop, we would not even have this conversation. But citizen protecting his life is a "bad guy" now? I live in good, but not perfect neighborhood in NYC ( of course if you can call any neighborhood in NYC good), and if I see someone on my condo property I am questioning them what are they doing; some teen apologizes and leave and other confront you and curse you and all your relatives out and are very aggressive. But here is the thing; I cannot protect my life outside my home, so if someone will knock me down and start bashing my head, how I suppose to use a phone to call NYPD….
    Mr. Z did what any normal and responsible citizen will do, it turns out to be really bad, but S#%&^ happened.

  • george

    As a police officer for some 28 years, if someone attacks me and is on top of me beating my brains out to the point of breaking my nose and at the risk of passing out and the attacker can get control of my firearm. Police officer or not your ass is going to get shot to stop the attack!!!!! Zimmerman is a hero! For not letting a thug get his handgun away from him. Did zimmerman shoot this guy attacking him several times as I might ( no). Did Zimmerman intentionally shoot Martin to kill him ( perhaps not) Police and military are trained to do a double tap. Obviously this did not happen, what would the media say if Martin got the gun away from Zimmerman and robbed someone with it. Point is dont attack anyone trying to be a tough guy for the purse toting grandma may be packing heat!

  • Kirk

    What people seem to be ignoring is that Zimmerman had 3 violent arrests on his record already, and should not even have been allowed a permit to carry. Anyone who would deliberately harass, intimidate and follow someone at night, it a clear and present danger to society. The real question is if the daddy judge got the permit for him?

    • shootbrownelk

      No felonies?? Unless they were for domestic violence, he's allowed a permit. Read the law.

      • Stephen

        "No felonies?? Unless they were for domestic violence, he's allowed a permit. Read the law"

        If someone with a violent criminal record is permitted to carry a gun then the law is wrong and should be reformed. Someone who has form for domestic violence is likely to be operating on a short fuse. I do not want someone like that carrying a gun anywhere near me.

    • Big Daddy Rich

      … and NOT convicted of anything. Everyone keeps forgetting that innocent til proven guilty thing here.

      • Stephen

        ".. and NOT convicted of anything"

        Didn't admit it and go on a "diversionary course"?

        "Everyone keeps forgetting that innocent til proven guilty thing here"

        It would be nice if some extended that courtesy to Treyvon Martin, who is portrayed by many here as a hardened gangster and drugs lord, yet he had never been arrested or convicted or any crime.

  • Kirk

    Everything Zimmerman did was illegal. Neighborhood watch wears vests, works in teams, and does other things to prevent frightening people. The last thing they would do is follow someone alone, slowly, at night. That most certainly is illegal, because it would be intentionally trying to intimidate them. And we have by Zimmerman's own account, proof that he did continue to follow instead of going back to his SUV. He admits guilt.

    • Ray

      You don't know what you're talking about. I'm a neighborhood watch volunteer. We don't we don't wear vests or any uniform type things. We WATCH and report. If I'm out walking my dog I still watch but I do carry for self defense.

  • shannon_f

    All I'd like to say is that Bill Cosby is an idiot.

  • Tyrel

    Why has the police report not been released? Why has the facts not once been addressed? Does the media desire a riot? Fact is Z did inform M that he was a watch member. Fact Z informed M that he was armed after M sucker punched Z. There are documentation statements that M was viciously beating Z in the head and face while Z begged for help and to call 911 from witnesses. Furthermore why the Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and others intervention ? This race card they are all playing????? Fact is most so called "african american" issue is a moot point as most so called black people do in fact have white ancestor blood in their veins. Very few have true african dna from the mother continent , as a proud black man myself we are first americans of a vast melting pot of diverse races and cultures.

    • Stephen

      "Fact is Z did inform M that he was a watch member. Fact Z informed M that he was armed after M sucker punched Z. There are documentation statements that M was viciously beating Z in the head and face while Z begged for help and to call 911 from witnesses"

      Why have a trial at all when omniscient fellows like you already know all the facts. Were you standing ten feet away when this happened? No? Then why are you pontificating as though you were?

  • SEMPER FI

    Remember, George was on private property not on a city street. If someone walked through your backyard would you ask them "what are you doing in my yard?". I get many calls from residents in my condo about suspicious persons walking around. I ask them who do they want. They are usually confused until I show them how to get to their destination. Yes, I carry, like any law abiding citizen. George was attacked, end of story.

  • Brian

    Amen Tyrel,
    What a great breath of fresh, honest air!!

  • jimmy

    Trayvon Martin does not look like that in the pic the above show what he look like today

  • Gary Curnoq

    Remember Rodney King? The media bombarded us with eight seconds of cops beating him mercilessly. That is what was burned into our memories. At the trial all of the evidence was presented to the jury. ded that the arrestt was justified and the cops were released. After there was rioting in the streets, including dragging an innocent trucker out of his rig and beating him so badly he had no memory of his attack, there was a "new" trial and the cops were judged guilty.

    Will this be another Rodney King all over again?

  • BroncoBob

    What would have been Zimmerman's fate if Travons last name had have been Gotti, or Escobar.This would have been A foot note In the Trading Times.

  • Alan_T

    @ Dr. C. E. DeLeon ..
    Typical liberal …. attacking something that you know nothing about ( by your own admission that YOU DIDN'T READ THE ARTICLE ! ) , Sounds to me like YOU'RE the one who is an ignorant , uneducated moron Doc ! As for calling people " idiots " for using the term Hispanic , you're the idiot , IT IS NOT A GEOGRAPHICAL TERM … IT'S AN ETHNICALTERM … open up a dictionary , that;s a big book with words in it Doc , or look on the next U . S . Census form or any other number of U . S . Government forms ! ! !
    What are you a Doctor of , self – proctology ? If you really have a doctorate in something , you printed it yourself in crayon !

  • Big Daddy Rich

    takes one to know one, as they say.

    • shannon_f

      What a smart insult…instead of defending Cosby's gun control beliefs, you use something a grade schooler would say

  • Donny

    The US is a violent country. Let's go down the Canadian path and ban guns

    • Shadow

      Last time I looked you could still own guns in Canada.

      • james

        Firearms ownership is in the Bill of Rights, it can not be taken away, period.

        • Alan_T

          I wouldn't bet on it james …. not if Chairman …. I MEAN , President Obama gets reelected .

  • LOngknife

    I not knowing not even one fact of this case will reserve any judgment until I have some real facts to base an opinion with. However, I still believe that in this country you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I sure hope that I am not wrong and we as a people have not degenerated to the point that people are found guilty before any true facts are known. As for myself I don't know what I would do if I were put in Zimmerman's position. And anyone who really thinks about it does not either. The act of killing aomeone is very easy,it is the living with it afterwards that is extremely hard.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003273026027 Scott Nelson

      Well said, especially your final sentence. After having gotten the chance to go through jury selection for a felony trial in district court I don't envy either side in this case. If this case goes to trial we'll all find out after the court system wrings it all out. I learned long ago to not place all my trust in news reporting of sensational stories. There've already been quite a few contradictory statements made and recanted.

  • Drapper

    Good for you Alan T, i'm sick of that jag off !

  • Woob

    I'm going out on a limb on this one but, here is what I see……………………………………………….two assholes came face-to-face and one of them suffered the ultimate loss. Sad? Yes. Unexpected in today's society? No. Now, lets see what the evidence and a jury has to say. As for the race card being played, I'm going to have to call: BS! Jesse, Al, get some real jobs.

  • Doug

    Several of you have alluded to the use of the word “crime” in the sentence that began, “The case was shocking not merely for the crime itself…” and I appreciate your challenging my use of that particular word. At the time I wrote this, Mr. Zimmerman had indeed been charged with a crime—second-degree murder. But it is worth pointing out that the case is still pending, and he was not charged with a crime initially. I can see where a reader would assume bias with that word usage; however, if they did continue reading, they would see that was not the case. That being said, I agree a better, and more accurate, word choice might have been “shooting” or “incident.” Again, thanks for the comments. This is a tragic case for all involved, regardless of who is found to be right or wrong in the end, if that question is ever even answered. It will also serve as an important test case moving forward, where each of us should consider what we might do if ever caught in a similar situation…Doug Howlett

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003273026027 Scott Nelson

      Thanks, Doug for putting the pieces of this story together for us. It's time to let the courts do their thing because it is their job, not your's or mine, not Revs. Sharpton or Jackson, to assign twelve qualified jurors plus alternates to hear the testimonies and rebuttals and make a firm decision of Mr. Zimmerman's fate.
      This is an ugly tale that we should all just sit back and watch, without fanning the flames of our passions, whichever side of this argument you are on.
      Stay tuned….

      • Doug

        Agreed. Thanks Scott.

  • Alan_T

    You're a gentleman Doug .

    • Doug

      Thanks Alan.

  • Douglas Knight

    Let's all jump to conclusions & try this one w/out benefit of testimony(witnesses,etc.). This is why we have a legal system- police,Judges, lawyers, etc. I am an American, & it alarms me when Black Panthers put a "hit" out on someone, & law enforcement does nothing! I am not black or white, but will tell you that if some white supremacist had put a "hit" out on a black they would prob'ly be incarcerated & facing terroristic threatening charges.

  • Duane

    If you carry a gun legally you still need to use good judgement. Me and my family carry concealed with permits and if it come to some one hurting me or my family i will us my gun.

  • J Nelson

    No one knows what happened that night however I dare say an armed individual would start a fist fight. Makes no sense. The contraversy as I see it a terrible situation involving one legally armed citizen trying to watch out for his neighborhood. A young man not wanting to be hassled, and a media who thinks all people who carry guns want to take the law into their own hands. I and millions of gun owners in the USA never want to be in a life or death situation where we made need to defend our families, ourselves and or property against a well armed illegally gun trotting criminal segment of our society. We do however want the ability to defend ourselves. We follow the rules crooks don't. One mistake should no effect all the rest of, if it was a mistake. I wonder how many people wish the lady gunned down for her baby would have been better able to defend her self.

  • James Macklin

    The 2011 Florida Statutes

    Mr. Zimmerman wasn't arrested because Florida law protects an innocent person until the State can prove that the force used wasn't in lawful self-defense And why was he brought into a court hearing witha chain around his waist and his hands cuffed to the chain-belt?.
    Why did Mr. Zimmerman allow the prosecutor to ask questions "When you committed the crime…" when there is no crime.
    The only crime so far was the attack by Trayvon and teh arrest by a special prosecutor.

    CRIMESChapter 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
     776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
     (1)A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
     (2)A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
     (3)The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
    History.—s. 4, ch. 2005-27.
    CHAPTER 776
    JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
     776.012Use of force in defense of person.
     776.013Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.
     776.031Use of force in defense of others.
     776.032Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.
     776.041Use of force by aggressor.
     776.05Law enforcement officers; use of force in making an arrest.
     776.051Use of force in resisting arrest or making an arrest or in the execution of a legal duty; prohibition.
     776.06Deadly force.
     776.07Use of force to prevent escape.
     776.08Forcible felony.
     776.085Defense to civil action for damages; party convicted of forcible or attempted forcible felony.
     776.012Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
     (1)He or she 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; or
     (2)Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
    History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27.
     .

  • Rich

    Hmmm. Interesting debate, but too many contributors who want to try the case themselves without access to all the facts.

    First, the backlash on this case is justified, on the grounds that the crime scene investigation was tainted from the start with the presumption that this was a "stand your ground" situation. Whether this was racially motivated, laziness on the part of the investigators, or a conscious decision not to invest scarce resources in a case that was going nowhere, we may never know. But without the national attention, it is unlikely the legal system would have "worked" in this case — in other words that Zimmerman's actions are judged by his fellow citizens.

    Second, as a CCW-licensee I am sensitive to the seriousness of a citizen carrying and using a firearm. Any lawful gun owner should reject this kind of reckless behavior since it puts all of our rights to protect ourselves and our families at risk. Lawful or not, Zimmerman's actions created unnecessary violence and moral hazard. I listened carefully to my firearms instructors during CCW training about the level of scrutiny that would be applied to my public use of a concealed weapon, so none of this is a surprise.

    Bottom line is that this incident will have no impact on the gun laws if it is shown that Zimmerman overstepped his legal authority and that the "Stand your Ground" law does not apply.

  • ron

    i hate to admit it but i do think race played some part in this case i dont think zimmerman would have been following martin if he was'nt black also growning up in a very bad neihborhood myself i can say the quickest way to get someones attention is following them at night i dont know who attacked who first so i cant pass judgement but i know where i grew up if someone was following me and i advised them to stop and they didn't a good but whipping would have been in order.. i am a white male who grew up in an all black area of town and has been the victim of crime before i was old enough to own a gun but odly enough the criminal who attacked me was was white crime is a problem of all races i wish race did not play such a part of todays issues and we could somehow find the true cause of mans evil ways so we could own guns for the fun of it and not to protect ourselves also.. but i know i'm just dreaming

  • Sam

    The State of Florida enacted the Castle Doctrine Law in 2005. This law and its content is governed by Florida Statute 776.013. I would suggest that any offering comments on this sight that doesn't understand this law to go on line and read it thoroughly. Most important, There is no such thing as "The Stand Your Ground Law". That is a term embedded in one small area of the Castle Doctrine Law. If you need to make comments about this Law, first try to understand it. As for the GZ case. Leave to the courts.

  • DetroitMan

    George Zimmerman acted foolishly and should be tried. It's clear from his call to the police that he believed Trayvon Martin was a criminal. He mentioned the break-ins in his first statement to the dispatcher. He speculated that TM was on drugs when he couldn't possibly know. His statement "these *** always get away" seals it. He then chose to pursue a person he believed was a criminal when he ran. Ask yourself: was that a smart decision? If your answer was yes, you need to retake your self defense class. Following somebody at night is guaranteed to scare them, especially after they see you and run. GZ escalated the situation by his actions, and the resulting confrontation was deadly. He bears some of the responsibility for what happened, even if TM hit him first. If GZ had backed off and let the police handle it, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. George Zimmerman did not stand his ground. He tried to play sidekick to the police and caused a terrible tragedy.

  • ron

    just herd the judge is thinking of raising zimmermans bond or cancelling it all together.
    smell a rat somewhere.

  • Alan_T

    Ever notice how Dr. C. E. DeLeon , dad and several others all use the same phraseology and capitalization ?
    Same person/s ? Hmmmmmmmmmmm makes you wonder , doesn't it ?

    • dad

      I like your conspiracy theory . . .

      So to your narrow little brain there is only one person that thinks that Mr Z is guilty ? ? ?

      I fell pitt for you.

      PS: Watch the video of his arreast – no blood marks on his clothes, no marks on his face or skull that supports the punch and bang his head on concrete.

      Just wondering . . . did you contribute to his defense ? ? ? He got more than $200.000 in donation fro morons like you.

  • Alan_T

    Interesting to note that YOU showed up HERE right after I posted this isn't it dad ! HAHAHAHAHA
    So it does seem to be MORE than just a theory , doesn't it !
    You fell pitt ? ? ? …… or do you mean , FEEL PITY ? As I told you before on the Media Gun Coverage page , I HAVE watched the video where Mr . Zimmerman was brought to the police station and it CLEARLY SHOWS a " Y " shaped gash on the back of his head !
    Mr . Zimmerman wasn't " arreast " ( sic ) nor was he ARRESTED at THAT TIME .
    No , I didn't contribute to Mr . Zimmerman's defense , because , for one thing I'm NOT a moron …. LIKE YOU !
    So in summation dad , you're illiterate , you can't spell , you can't compose simple sentences , you don't have the correct facts , and you have " arreast " or arrested , tried and convicted a man without benefit of a trial .
    Sounds like YOU ARE THE MORON , dad ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • dad

    The way I write is the was a HB RN like you can understand. Illeterate HB RNs like you can only understand simple sentences . . . Go and confort yourself with your .50 . . .it will replace something that you probally miss in your cabin on the mountains.

    PS: I will not waste my time anymore with personal offenses, when you grow up and can stand a debate without personal offenses I will repply. The first sign of loosing an argument is to start on personal offenses . . .

    • Alan_T

      Every time you metaphorically open your mouth , you prove me right , dad !
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Phil

      dad…… you obviously don't know what the word " Illeterate " ( sic ) means and can't spell , which is and of it's self the epitome of irony ! ( the word is spelled : illiterate ) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      And what is this fixation you have with phallic symbols ? HAHAHAHAHA
      Deciphering your text is just hysterical ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      My last point , though is this : you say " PS: I will not waste my time anymore with personal offenses, when you grow up and can stand a debate without personal offenses I will repply ( sic ) . The first sign of loosing ( sic ) an argument is to start on personal offenses . " but then ……. you go on to continue your insane rantings at me on the " Media Gun Coverage " blog …. Not very honest are you , dad ? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • Phil

        Alan-T you got him ! ! !

        • Alan_T

          Thanks Phil ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Sam

    A few statements have been made about not having to obey a 911 Operators suggestion. Recent case in point is wher a young lady called 911 and reported an unknown person had threaten to kick the door in if she didn't open it. She told the operator the person is now trying to kick the door in. She then she told the 911 operator that she had a gun. The 911 operator told her to "put the gun away and wait for the police". The unknown person kicked the door in and she shot him and he turned and ran. He collapsed about two blocks away and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Later on he was placed under arrest upon being released from the hospital. No charges on the young lady. So, as I feel it needs to be said, what would have happened if she had followed the 911 operater's suggestion? Remember, 911 operators to issue orders.

    • rokrok

      Well, apparently the operator was "smoking crack" when she gave that "suggestion".

  • Alan_T

    dad…… you obviously don't know what the word " Illeterate " ( sic ) means and can't spell , which is and of it's self the epitome of irony ! ( the word is spelled : illiterate ) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    And what is this fixation you have with phallic symbols ? HAHAHAHAHA
    Deciphering your text is just hysterical ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    My last point , though is this : you say " PS: I will not waste my time anymore with personal offenses, when you grow up and can stand a debate without personal offenses I will repply ( sic ) . The first sign of loosing ( sic ) an argument is to start on personal offenses . " but then ……. you go on to continue your insane rantings at me on the " Media Gun Coverage " blog …. Not very honest are you , dad ? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Jack Francis

    "it is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction. for instance." "All effective propaganda must appeal to the emotions and to a very mall degree to so-called intellect". Those are the words of Adolf Hitler in MEIN KAMPF the infamous volume in which he expressed his racial hatred of the Jews and anyone not "Aryan" and mapped out his course for Germany and the world. The left-wing media seem to have read MEIN KAMPF and gone to great effort to employ the guidelines therein. They've only told us part of the story regarding Tryavon Martin, the portion of the story THEY want us to hear. High-profile morons like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the media have appealed to the public's emotions in the extreme. They already have Zimmerman tried and convicted before he even appeared in court. What about the lacerations on the back of Zimmerman's head? What about the witnesses who said they saw Martin attack Zimmerman. I don't believe Martin was the sweet, innocent little boy the media and his family have painted him to be. I hope Martin is innocent, and when he is proven innocent, I hope Jackson, the media and all the other dupes are not even asked "how they want their crow".

    • Alan_T

      Well said Jack !

    • rokrok

      Regardless of how "sweet & innocent" Martin may not be, one thing is apparently clear, he was not ARMED! He had no lethal weapons on him what-so-ever. If Zimmerman is incapable of defending himself against an unarmed "attacker" w/o using a firearm, then he shouldn't be confronting anyone at anytime. How many cops would draw guns on an unarmed subject after being punched? Much less shoot him. If Zimmerman would've followed operator's "suggestion" not to follow subject (not exact words), we would've had no knowledge of these persons, for the cops would've arrived, interviewed Martin & Zimmerman, & BOTH lives would've went on as usual. Now, TWO families are feeling the devastating effects of this act.

  • Jack Francis

    i need to correct the last sentence of my comments. The sentence should read,"I hope ZIMMERMAN is innocent and when he is proven innocent, I hope Jackson, the media and all the other dupes are not even asked "how do you want your crow served; rare, medium rare, medium or well-done?"

  • Robinholt

    Personally, I feel that it is "a bunch a crap" – to be honest. The point is – the kid was somewhere he should not have been. He was given a chance to leave – but he came back. I know two separate eye-witnesses and they say the same thing.

    • Dennis B.

      He had every right to be there in that neighborhood he was there with his dad.

  • Hen40sw

    Its cases and people like this that give gun owners a bad name. Our gun freedoms were given and earned by our forefathers, but we will lose them with stupid mistakes like this. They both had rights yeah, but when you follow someone confront and question them they dont have to answer or like what you have to say. Gun ownership does not make you a peace keeper. Defense of your home or person yes, but not if you go looking for trouble. You best self defense weapon is your brain. Why put your life in the hands of jurors in court for a dumb ass choice you made. Im all for self defense, i have many guns, but i will not go beyond my place in the eyes of the law. Im not a cop, i wont question someone who looks suspicious in my block because thats asking for trouble. Just because you have a gun doesnt make you bullet proof either.

    What if zimmerman called to police and let them handle it, nothing would have happened right. If he is guilty he deserves what he gets for being stupid.

  • John

    Never heard of this story; news to me.

  • Robert Farmer

    Zimmerman had a permit to carry for self-defense only and he tried to act in the capacity of a law enfocement official, even after he was asked not to. He persued an innocent person, who he only suspected of trespassing, and his actions resulted in the death of someone who committed no crime.

  • Dennis B.

    Sadly we'll only hear one side of this story,we don't know what Zimmerman did or said to Martin to make him beat up Zimmerman. Was Martin provoked to fight, we don't know and never will. If he was provoked by Zimmerman he did not have the right to use his weapon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dwight.hill.7121 Dwight Hill

    It's funny how the person who wrote this article, only brings up what Martin did , without even saying a thing about Zimmerman . Like , how he was calling 9-1-1 over 5 times a day . Or , how his wife and him were trying to take the money that people sent to him , on the computer , and lied to the court by saying they " were broke " , and , he had two passports . Or , how he attacked a policeman back in 1992 . Or , how his ex-girlfriend got a the court to make him stay away from her , as he pulled the gun on her at least twice . But no . If course not . That then makes no sense , as they are trying to show that George Zimmerman is a stand up guy , right ?
    Having showing that , he wasn't what they are trying to show you , and , why haven't they showed , or even tried to say that Martin's girlfriend had taped the call that Martin made to her , the night he was shot . In that tape , it says that Martin saw the gun , either Zimmerman was pointing at him or was letting him know that he was armed . Any way , he knew that Zimmerman was coming , and then you can hear Zimmerman ask him what are you doing here , then a scuffle , and a shot . Ol' George didn't tell the police about that , now did he ?
    This is what I can't understand , Martin knew Zimmerman had a gun . Zimmerman won't say " I let him know that I was armed " , that would mean he was lying again . And , why it took so long before the police asked his girlfriend , some two weeks later . I really don't think they want to try the case . And that's what's wrong with our so-called government .

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