SEC=UGA

Can't believe this dude isn't in jail....

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This is messed up.

 

(CBS) - Around 7 p.m. on February 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin walked out of the gated community near Orlando where he was visiting his father to go get some Skittles at a neighborhood convenience store. On his way home, Martin somehow aroused the suspicions of neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman, who called 911 to report the boy.

When police arrived, Martin was dead, shot by a bullet from Zimmerman's 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

Zimmerman, 28, who was bleeding from the nose and back of his head when police found him, claimed the two got in a scuffle and that he shot the boy in self-defense. Thus far, no charges have been filed against him.

Martin's family, not surprisingly, is outraged, and calling for Zimmerman's arrest.

"What gave him the right to think he was judge, jury and executioner?" asks Martin's uncle, Ronald Fulton.

The answer to his question may be simple: the state of Florida, which in 2005 enacted one of the nation's strongest so-called "stand your ground" self-defense laws. According to the statute, a person in Florida is justified in using deadly force against another if he or she "reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Was Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, posing a threat to Zimmerman's life? We may never know for sure, but in Florida - and a growing number of states - what matters isn't whether or not Martin was actually a threat, only that Zimmerman "reasonably" believed he was.

But what is reasonable? Ekow Yankah, an associate professor of criminal law at Cardozo School of Law in New York, says that to some people, it is reasonable to be suspicious of a young black man walking alone in the dark.

"We have to decide what counts as 'reasonable' to be afraid of, and nobody should pretend that that isn't socially and culturally loaded," says Yankah.

Gregory O'Meara, an associate professor of law at Marquette University School of Law, agrees.

"These 'stand your ground' laws license pistol-packing urban cowboys and paranoid people," says O'Meara, who fought the passage of a similar law in Wisconsin. "We've all been trained to be afraid of black men, and if you're afraid enough that justifies everything."

But Allen County Indiana prosecutor Karen Richards, who has prosecuted cases involving claims of self-defense, says that the new laws simply "solidify what juries were feeling anyway. If you're in a place where you have a right to be and you have a reasonable belief you need to use deadly force, juries don't think you need to retreat."

Of course, that's assuming the case gets to a jury. So far, Zimmerman hasn't even been charged with a crime. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee did not return Crimesider's call for comment on the case, but at a press conference on Monday he said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman.

"In this case Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense," Lee said. "Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him."

According to the National Rifle Association - which has lobbied for and in some cases assisting in writing laws expanding self-defense statutes - since 2006, at least 29 states have passed amended self-defense laws that the gun rights advocacy group supports, including four last year. Although each state's statute is slightly different, generally, this new crop of laws allows citizens to use deadly force on someone they reasonably believe is a threat to their life. Instead of having a so-called "duty to retreat" from perceived danger, a citizen can "stand their ground" and meet force with force. Some laws also create immunity from civil lawsuits for those found to have reasonably used deadly force.

"We want to make sure if a crime victim acts to save his life they can't be penalized or prosecuted for doing so," says NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam.

Currently, legislatures in Iowa, Nebraska and Alaska are considering bills that would similarly expand where, when and how a citizen can kill someone they perceive as trying to harm them. Bucking the trend, on March 5 Minnesota's governor vetoed a bill that would have expanded the places in which a citizen could use deadly force.

In Oklahoma, which passed a "stand your ground" law in 2006, the new language made it easy for a law enforcement to clear 19-year-old Sarah McKinley, who shot and killed a man trying to break into her Oklahoma home on New Year's Eve. McKinley was immediately hailed as a hero. The situation was less clear cut when pharmacist Jerome Ersland shot one of the young men who tried to rob the Oklahoma City drugstore where he worked in 2009. Ersland shot 16-year-old Antwun Parker in the head, chased his accomplice out, then returned and shot Parker five more times as the teen lay on the floor. Ersland pleaded self-defense, but was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He is appealing the conviction.

Thus far, there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was in the commission of any sort of crime when he was approached by Zimmerman, who was reportedly driving an SUV. Still, judging by the fact that he has not been arrested and the case has been referred to the state's attorney, law enforcement seems to be struggling to determine whether Zimmerman's actions fall within the scope of the Florida law.

"The law has made things confusing for law enforcement," says Zachary Weaver, a Florida defense attorney who in 2008 wrote an article on the state's "stand your ground" law for the University of Miami Law Review.

In fact, in several of the states considering "stand your ground" laws, law enforcement has spoken out against expanding the ways and means for a citizen to use deadly force against another.

Dennis Flaherty, the executive director of the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association, told Crimesider he believes such a law "will increase the situations where deadly force is used unnecessarily." Flaherty, who has been in law enforcement for nearly two decades, says he can't think of a single case where a Minnesotan has been prosecuted for killing someone in self defense.

"It's a solution to a non-existent problem," he says.

 

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We should definitely ban skittles over this. :smash:

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We should definitely ban skittles over this. :smash:

 

 

{Marshawn Lynch] :nono: [/Marshawn Lynch]

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Shheeeeat

 

Perch has drawn down and kilt hisself four "trespassers" so far this year, and it ain't even Easter yet. (spits tobacco juice towards spittoon)

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Great, now every black dude with a gun can be reasonably fearful of me.

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the more I learn of this story, the more messed up I find it

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the more I learn of this story, the more messed up I find it

 

+1

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the more I learn of this story, the more messed up I find it

 

 

I read an article this morning regarding this incident (murder). Evidently this Zimmerman dude was in his car following the kid, called the police who told him to do nothing because they were dispatching an officer, Zimmerman gets out of his car and begins following the kid verbally harassing him, Zimmerman then evidently confronts the kid, they get into a physical altercation, Zimmerman shoots the kid.

 

When you instigate the interaction in any conflict that results in a physical confrontation it should render the whole "Self Defense" claim moot.

Edited by SEC=UGA

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Honestly, it's stories like this that remind me that we don't need to loosen gun control. I firmly believe that anyone should have the right to arm and defend themselves and I'm not going to get into a pissing match over what sorts of guns should and shouldn't be allowed. I don't know enough about the subject to speak on that. What I do know is that people should not be empowered to act like this guy did. I don't have enough faith in my fellow man to want to walk streets where some dude can legally gun someone else down in a situation like this.

 

You go into someone's house and their armed, you're on your own. I'd like to think that lethal force won't be used to save a flat-screen TV, but I'm not going to be too pissed about what happens to someone once they've broken into someone's home. It's this judge and jury bit that freaks me out in a big, big way.

 

I recognize that laws will not stop people from getting shot when they don't deserve it. But there needs to be consequences for that.

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Honestly, it's stories like this that remind me that we don't need to loosen gun control. I firmly believe that anyone should have the right to arm and defend themselves and I'm not going to get into a pissing match over what sorts of guns should and shouldn't be allowed. I don't know enough about the subject to speak on that. What I do know is that people should not be empowered to act like this guy did. I don't have enough faith in my fellow man to want to walk streets where some dude can legally gun someone else down in a situation like this.

 

You go into someone's house and their armed, you're on your own. I'd like to think that lethal force won't be used to save a flat-screen TV, but I'm not going to be too pissed about what happens to someone once they've broken into someone's home. It's this judge and jury bit that freaks me out in a big, big way.

 

I recognize that laws will not stop people from getting shot when they don't deserve it. But there needs to be consequences for that.

 

 

And the consequences should be SEVERE. This Zimmerman dude was told by the police not to intervene, then went looking for a confrontation, was the aggressor and ultimately shot an unarmed kid with whom he chose to engage. This is not self defense on Zimmerman's part, this was murder and Zimmerman should be sent to prison for the duration of his natural life or executed (I'm for execution at this point.)

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And the consequences should be SEVERE. This Zimmerman dude was told by the police not to intervene, then went looking for a confrontation, was the aggressor and ultimately shot an unarmed kid with whom he chose to engage. This is not self defense on Zimmerman's part, this was murder and Zimmerman should be sent to prison for the duration of his natural life or executed (I'm for execution at this point.)

 

Exactly, but if the kid he shot so much as has a petty theft on his record, you're going to hear people clammoring that there's "one less thug on our streets". Well, and apparently one Charles Bronson wanna be with a gun.

 

That a law as loosely worded as this one seems to be managed to get on the books is frightening to be sure. That, as much as anything, freaks me out. "Hey, I feared for my safety." "Was that before or after you confronted a kid walking through the neighborhood?"

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Exactly, but if the kid he shot so much as has a petty theft on his record, you're going to hear people clammoring that there's "one less thug on our streets". Well, and apparently one Charles Bronson wanna be with a gun.

 

 

I really don't think you are going to find too many people defending this murderer, or celebrating the boys death. But I could be wrong... it's happened before.

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I really don't think you are going to find too many people defending this murderer, or celebrating the boys death. But I could be wrong... it's happened before.

 

There was quite a debate around here about what should be done with a guy who shot two guys in the back, fleeing from a crime they committed next door to him after a 911 responder specifically told him not to shoot. Now, sure, these guys were actually committing a crime and this kid, it seems, wasn't. However, the self-defense argument is even more thin when you shoot a guy who is actually running away from you.

 

Yet, at least around here, and plenty of other places, people were quick to remind us that we were trying to punish a guy for cleaning up our streets.

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Just left that area, noticed an Al Sharpton type on the local news wailing away about justice. I guess this is what he was talking about. Horrible story and I also hope the guy is brought to justice (imprisoned for murder)...but don't forget, it's the same place where they acquitted Casey Anthony.

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And the consequences should be SEVERE. This Zimmerman dude was told by the police not to intervene, then went looking for a confrontation, was the aggressor and ultimately shot an unarmed kid with whom he chose to engage. This is not self defense on Zimmerman's part, this was murder and Zimmerman should be sent to prison for the duration of his natural life or executed (I'm for execution at this point.)

 

 

I do think that Zimmerman broke the law and should do some time, but I don't think that natural life or execution should be the sentence.

Edited by SayItAintSoJoe

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I do think that Zimmerman broke the law and should do some time, but I don't that natural life or execution should be the sentence.

 

 

Just kind of curious, what do you think the penalty should be for someone who starts a confrontation with another person and then shoots them?

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I guess I'd have to hear all the facts of the case before deciding what to do with the guy. I'm thinking that without premeditation the harshest penalty would be life, with the possibility of parole.

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As much as I'll always support the right of citizens to arm themselves, this just highlights why that right has to balanced with the harshest penalties possible (within reason) for those who use them in an irresponsible or unnecessary manner.

 

I would say that the perpetrator actually having a gun or weapon and using it in action against you, would seem to be the bare minimum to be able to justify "standing your ground" and capping someone.

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I guess I'd have to hear all the facts of the case before deciding what to do with the guy. I'm thinking that without premeditation the harshest penalty would be life, with the possibility of parole.

 

 

Here are the "facts" as reported in the papers:

 

Zimmerman saw this kid walking in his community (Zimmerman is a neighborhood watch patrol)

Zimmerman called the police dispatch number and told them he is following a suspicious person in his neighborhood.

Zimmerman was told by dispatch that they were going to send patrols out and not to confront the person.

Zimmerman gets out of his car and begins to follow the person on foot.

Zimmerman follows this person on foot past a few of the town homes calling to the person.

Zimmerman catches up to the person and a fight ensues.

Zimmerman shoots the person whom he pursued.

A number of phone calls come in to the PD while this altercation was on going.

People claimed they heard the kid who was shot calling for help.

Kid was shot while he was on the ground with Zimmerman standing over him.

Zimmerman has a busted lip and is bleeding from the back of his head when police arrive.

A drug unit investigator interviewed Zimmerman and asked leading questions and determined that Zimmerman acted in self defense.

 

These are the "facts" as laid out by the articles I have read.

 

This was very close to a premeditated action. Zimmerman stalked the kid, Zimmerman willfully engaged the kid, Zimmerman had the foresight, or whatever you want to call it, to bring his pistola with him while instigating a confrontation, it was Zimmerman's intent to start a physical altercation with the kid and then he just followed that up by shooting him.

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based on the facts, should be murder 2 at the very least IMO.

 

dumb to make this about gun control, but you can pretty much count on the usual suspects to try and do so any time someone gets shot.

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dumb to make this about gun control

 

 

What is it about?

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a racist wanna-be cop killing a kid? :shrug:

 

 

Why didn't the kid return fire?

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