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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Minutes ago as I write this, justice has triumphed in a courtroom in Sanford, Florida. I wish to congratulate six brave, honest, intelligent jurors.  And two fine defense lawyers. And the honest cops and witnesses who testified, and the many who contributed to the defense fund for a wrongfully accused armed citizen.

Several blog followers have asked me why I haven’t written here (or spoken anywhere) on this, the most important armed citizen case of our time. The answer is this:

I did write on it once, on Friday, March 23, 2012.  The following day, I received a phone call from Craig Sonner, George Zimmerman’s original legal counsel, to retain me on the case as an expert witness for the defense.

The weeks wore on.  Attorney and client parted ways.  I was subsequently contacted by Mark O’Mara, the new defense lawyer. Late in May of 2012, I met with him in his office, along with his co-counsel Don West.  I also attended the bail hearing in which Zimmerman’s bond was revoked. During the hearing, TV cameras swept the courtroom. Some folks saw that, recognized me, and apparently assumed I was involved with the case.

In fact, I don’t take expert witness cases until I’ve seen all the evidence, and the prosecution was extremely slow in providing that.  I wound up not being involved. However, having been retained by one of the defendant’s lawyers and consulted with another, I felt bound by confidentiality and did not think it would be professional to comment directly on the matter from then on.

I’ve been biting my tongue ever since, because there was much that I wanted to say.

The verdict is now in, and I’m gonna smooth those teethmarks off my tongue, and in the next few entries here will discuss some elements of the Zimmerman case which have been widely and profoundly misunderstood.

In the meantime, to get the commentary and analysis of the case that most of the mainstream media denied you, go to the excellent day by day writing of Andrew Branca, an attorney who specializes in this sort of case, at

Your commentary is more than welcome here.


  1. Vince Says:

    Once again a Florida jury has seen through the smoke and mirrors of what I can only assume to be dishonest prosecution done in the interest of politics over justice and rendered a “Not Guilty” verdict.

    Florida has a habit of getting it right, thankfully.

  2. HarryL Says:

    Mas, I had a feeling you might have been consulted or involved in this case since we have heard little from you about it. I was surprised tonight to hear the verdict, but pleased our jury system worked. I do fear this verdict, however may give license and cover for some to commit crimes because they didn’t get what they wanted in a verdict.

    From my classes in LFI years ago and later MAG40 and in your book In The Gravest Extreme which I have passed out many copies of to shooting friends and new gun owners over the years I have heard echos of things from the Zimmerman trial you have said we would experience if, as an armed citizen here in the US I ever had to defend my life and/or that of my wife. I thank you for standing up to help any and all armed citizens who would listen and learn when and more importantly when not to use deadly force unless in the gravest extreme, as you aptly put it.

    My wife and I look forward to completing the shooting part of your MAG40 class we took in SC last fall and hopefully will be able to pick your brain more when we see you next in class re. the Zimmerman trial and its outcome. We are in prayer for
    cool heads to prevail in the aftermath of this case. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Martin family, but also to the LEOs out there who are keeping watch tonight in case of trouble.

    We look forward to reading your subsequent columns on Zimmerman. Best HL in NC 7/13

  3. Stu Strickler Says:

    Under Florida law, he should never have been charged!

  4. John in Maine Says:

    I really thought that the deck was stacked against Mr. Zimmerman, even though the evidence seemed to lean toward self defense. Yes, there are perhaps many things George could have done differently, but I firmly believe that young Mr. Martin would be alive today if he had not confronted Mr. Zimmerman.

    The way the media and the government have worked this thing up into a frenzy, I’m not sure Mr. Zimmerman will be safe anywhere in the country.

    MAS, this would be another good addition to your book “In The Gravest Extreme” of what one can expect if and when you have to use a firearm in self defense.

  5. KryptosXLayer2 Says:

    Well….. I wouldn’t say that, Vince, I don’t agree with the verdict on the Casey Anthony case and not many of us here in FL do, but we believe in the justice system and the verdict is what it is. That being said, as a resident of Sanford, an NRA firearms instructor, and someone who respects Mr. Ayoob very much, I’m looking forward to his inside information!

  6. Timothy Says:

    I am looking forward to hearing more about this… based on what little I did know, I was glad that they got this one right.

  7. Rikkisan Says:

    As Mr. West so aptly stated the jury prevented a tragedy from turning into a travesty.

  8. Brent Smith Says:

    Looking forward to some interesting reading.

  9. RabidAlien Says:

    Good to hear! Lots of mistakes were made that night, by both parties. Looking forward to reading your following posts!

  10. Gary Trezza Says:

    Florida DID get it right this time, Thank God.
    But Casey Anthony?…….
    Anyway, Justice was done here, great victory for evidence over emotion, as well as our second amendment.

  11. Jack Finch Says:

    Mas, thank you for the explanation as to your earlier brief involvement and promise to now speak further on this wrongful prosecution. I await the DOJ decision on whether there will be a civil rights violation case and what action may be taken against Corey et al. on their questionable actions to date. It ought to get interesting as we wait to see what may or may not happen form those who may seek violence. Your comments are eagerly anticipated and I hope they bring clarification and serve to prevent further legal complications on this self defense incident. Your advice over our years of training at LFI have served me well in avoiding the type of situation we have seen unfold the last nearly 18 months. Be safe…

  12. Doc Adams Says:

    I had to explain to my wife what this means. Nobody won in this case. I listened to Zimmerman’s brother talk to about the case. He made a very good point and I thought I heard your voice in his answers to questions. Of coarse the race card is still being said…I don’t get it. I hope I NEVER have to use your skills. But ifr I do…I will prevail. THANK YOU for teaching what you know.
    Doc Adams

  13. Frank Says:

    Having recently taken your mag-40 class, I watched the Zimmerman trial very carefully paying close attention to all of the facts presented. My conclusion was that if Mr. Zimmerman did not start the altercation and was pinned to the ground with Mr. Martin pounding his head into the concrete pavement, then Mr. Zimmerman was in a situation of immediate and unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm justifying his use of lethal force. Even if the “stand your ground” law did not exist in Florida, Mr. Zimmerman would not have been able to retreat once he was pinned to the ground, so I don’t see how that law really applies in this case. I must also note, however, that if he had simply not followed Mr. Martin after calling the police, the whole tragedy would have been averted and he would have avoided the attendant loss of freedom, anonymity, and financial resources in addition to the negative psychosocial consequences the incident has certainly generated.

  14. Reno Sepulveda Says:

    Mr. Ayoob,

    As an armed citezen, I’d be very interested in your thoughts on other charges the prosecution could or should have sought. For example how do you think a charge of “reckless endangerment” have played out in this specific case?

  15. Long Island Mike Says:

    Just heard Zimmermans brother on Piers Morgan. Articulate and calm he laid out the truth of the case. In the end in response to a question from Don Lemon he spoke the truth. The sad truth. Treyvon was a young punk who was involved with drugs, guns, and criminal activity. He made a decision that nite to lay in wait for Zimmerman and then beat him savagely. He reaped what he sowed.

  16. Dan Southard Says:

    i look forward to your detailed review of the shooting. I am so proud to be sponsoring you again and we will try hard to have another filled class in Tucson.

  17. John in Maine Says:

    Frank, there is another element that you are ignoring, you can’t put it all on Zimmerman. Even if Zimmerman followed Martin, had Martin not attacked Zimmerman, he would still be alive.

  18. Craig Wisnom Says:

    We look forward to hearing your insight Mas. As yet another of your students, I kept thinking that, in addition to what we learned technically about the law, and shooting, and everything else, that one of the most important things you taught us was the responsibility of being armed and avoiding putting yourself in situations where you have to use the gun if you have any other options. Even though the right legal result was reached, I’m sure GZ understands how clearly, as do we all, how much better off he would have been if there was any other options made earlier which would allow him to have avoided this entire confrontation.

  19. Vince Says:

    “KryptosXLayer2 Says:
    July 13th, 2013
    Well….. I wouldn’t say that, Vince, I don’t agree with the verdict on the Casey Anthony case and not many of us here in FL do, but we believe in the justice system and the verdict is what it is. That being said, as a resident of Sanford, an NRA firearms instructor, and someone who respects Mr. Ayoob very much, I’m looking forward to his inside information!”

    I had the Alvarez / Johnson shooting in mind when I typed my reply. I have no opinion on the Casey Anthony case.

    I too look forward to the information he can share regarding this case.


  20. Matt Says:

    Interested in hearing your comments as this seems like a really good example of how NOT to go about your concealed carry lives.

    (In the end, presumably the innocent man is free, however his life will definitely be ruined.)

  21. Jamie Robertson Says:

    Mas, do you think there is sufficient evidence for a wrongful prosecution lawsuit to be brought against the Florida DA’s office. The trial & the state’s own witnesses demonstrated that there never was any validity to the charges, and the withholding of evidence about the extent of Zimmerman’s injuries as well when they sought to bring charges I think demonstrate that they knew then that they had no ethical or legal basis to bring forth a 2nd degree murder charge.

    Am I off base here? B/c I think that for there to truly be closure, the crime of maliciously prosecuting a man the state knew it had no legal probable cause to charge needs to be addressed, and those guilty of pursuing a political prosecution punished.

    The FL special prosecutor said she was “going to get justice for Trayvon”… Well Miss Tyrant, I think law abiding armed citizens deserve to see justice for George’s prosecution.

  22. William Says:


    I feel nearly everything Mr. Zimmerman did that night, after his first call to the police from the community club house, was reckless and irresponsible. He probably did more damage to the cause of civilian firearm ownership and the future of concealed carry laws in this country, since the last mass shooting. No one but he will ever know what really happened that night, and luckily he was acquitted. Quite possibly, on a different week, with a different jury and the same evidence, he might have been convicted.

    I will not cry for Zimmerman because although acquitted, and possibly even innocent, he needlessly started a progression that evening that ended with the death of a young man just trying to go home unmolested.

    Mas, I know the following sentiment is your forte, so don’t be to hard on me if I don’t say it right.

    Most of us that follow your philosophy know to do everything possible, especially when carrying a deadly weapon, to avoid potentially dangerous, escalation prone situations as happened that evening.
    We learn to just walk away if someone insults are best girl.
    We say “excuse me” even when it was the other guy that bumps into us.
    Usually, this way everyone carries on, alive, no extra holes, without handcuffs, and without a huge legal bill to pay even if we used justifiable force in a situation.

    I’m not saying there will never be a time for deadly self-defense, and when that time comes to act decisively, but we can make it much more of a rarity.

    I’m confident you are going to hit on that theme strongly, a thousand times better than I said it. If we can use this tragedy, as a lessons learned, to spread the word of situational avoidance, to the millions of casual firearms owners and bearers, something positive can come from this tragedy.

    God bless Trayvon and the Martins, and good luck to George and the Zimmermans.

  23. Kevin Moritz Says:

    Looking forward to reading more about your views on this. Personally, I am glad for Zimmerman. (By the way, I never met you, Massad, but I remember your name very clearly as one of the big-name gun experts and a recognized firearms authority, having been the copy editor for Guns & Ammo, HANDGUNS, RifleShooter, and HUNTING magazines [moving around occasionally, but mostly with G&A] from July ’89 to January ’98. I honestly miss my days there.)

  24. y0te Says:

    All of that being said; Zimmerman still pulled a stupid by following him.

  25. Geoff A Well Known Skeptic Says:

    The trial of Zimmerman turned into an attack on concealed carry here in FL. If Zimmerman had been convicted I would have been down at the County Commission meeting. I would have been DEMANDING that all LEO in the county carry the issued Glocks with empty chambers. This would be necessary because the Zimmerman case proved a loaded chamber is indicative of intent to kill. Geoff Who thinks LEOs should have more options in Florida.

  26. paul hicks Says:


    I wondered why you were silent on the case; I thought it was because you were waiting for FACTS and also didn’t want to possibly cause any confusion for the defense or prosecution.

    Recent statements by the former Sanford Police Chief and the IT Director who was fired Thursday, paint an interesting picture of the state’s handling of the case.

    I think Mr. Zimmerman’s legal counsel must investigate whether his Civil Rights were violated by the state’s conduct.m

    The 6 jurors deserve a round of applause for focusing on the facts and not allowing the ‘circus’ to sway their verdict.

  27. K Malory Says:

    What a great victory for the American Justice system! The unfortunate part is that it should never have gotten as far as it did. Both parties did things wrong and as all CCW holders need to realize, avoiding confrontation is one of the first rules. With that said, if I were on Community Watch and saw someone slinking along next to windows close to houses where they did not belong, I would be keeping an eye on him too. If he was up to no good then I would expect some confrontation and aggressive behavior, which is what appears to have happened. Martin may have been totally innocent, but he might have also been looking for an opportunity or “casing” the area. Zimmerman is certainly not “Free”. He will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder and concerned about his family because there is a faction that wants revenge. There really is no “Good” ending for those directly involved. The only good in this case is that our justice system worked when it was allowed to, despite total politicization from the highest levels.

  28. Mary jane levasseur Says:

    I think I am in the minority here but I think Zimmerman got away with negligent
    homicide. He had no plan, no back up, no escape route. If he had stayed in his car and waited for a real cop to show up the other guy would still be alive. He followed the guy way too closely! Everything he did escalated the situation. Not the behavior of a responsible adult gun owner. (I have a very strong gut feeling that he probably showed the gun and then the kid went ballastic.)

    I have had a bit of training re;use of force and deadly force. Just a bit. If Zimmerman had any training he chose to ignore it. You use your head first! It’s like the old joke;when all you have is a hammer,everything starts to look like a nail!

    All this case will do is make it harder for people like me to get a carry permit.

    I agree with others here that the prosecution did a bad job. Zimmerman had the better lawyers. he got lucky. In my state, I do think the outcome would have been different.

    Mr. Ayoob, I was also wondering why you had not said anything about the case.
    I do hope all the facts come to light now. I have your books and I watch your videos on you tube etc.

    I hope you can now speak freely about this case.

  29. Law of Self Defense Says:

    Hey Mas!

    Long time no see, probably last at one of the IDPA regional matches run by Mike Briggs up at Pioneer.

    Thanks for the kind reference to my posts about the Zimmerman trial at Legal Insurrection. It’s been a great run, and an exultant win last night. Although, of course, any “win” in such a scenario must be tempered by the realization that the battle won need never have been fought.

    In any case, I was hoping to get a mailing address to which I could send you a copy of the just released “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” with my compliments. The LFI-I course I took in 1997 very much inspired the 1st edition of the book, back in 1998, and that of carries over to this edition as well.

    I don’t want to leave an email address here, but there’s a contract form on my own blog that can be used to reach me in confidence.

    (If anybody here knows how to contact Mas more directly, assistance would be much appreciated.)


    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  30. Jimmy Black Says:


    I wanted to ask you about this case in your mag-20 class in Memphis recently, but I figured you had a good reason for not talking about it.

    In the beginning my own feeling was that it appeared Zimmerman could have been the initial aggressor which could have disallowed his plea of self-defense even through, in the end, his use of force might have been justifiable.

    I look forward to your comments.

  31. Law of Self Defense Says:

    Ah, I found a P.O. Box for Mas over at the MAG web site. Book is on the way!

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  32. Randy Says:

    I too am looking forward to Mas’ further comments. I had kind of guessed that something was afoot with Mas’ silence.

    However, the expert witness from TX, a retired medical examiner, I believe, did a good job. His testimony about the singed hole in Marvin’s hoody being ringed in carbon showed that the gun muzzle was in contact with the hoody but with the peppering of the powder granules on the body being approximately 2×2 in. showed that the muzzle was about 2-4 in. away from the body. In other words there was a 2-4 in gap between the hoody and Martin’s body. The only conclusion could be was that Martin was bending over, allowing the hoody to fall away from his body. Just as Zimmerman had stated in his police interrogation. Also he was able to show the jury that when shot in the heart, the heart will keep on beating until it runs out of blood through leakage of the bullet hole through and through. Thus Martin could have lived for 15 seconds to 2 minutes before expiring and had time to pull his arms back underneath himself just as shown in the photos. I believe we covered that in our Mag 40 class. If you need to immediately cause the attacker to be incapacitated a lower brain shot is what is called for. See Mas I wasn’t really sleeping.

    The other point that was interesting and that also irritated me was towards the end of the trial when Judge Nelson asked Zimmerman if he was going to testify in his own defense. West kept objecting and the Judge kept overruling and continued to ask Zimmerman. Zimmerman was obviously confused. I would have asked the Judge if she was revoking my right to consult with counsel.

    I believe the Judge was biased against Zimmerman, maybe because he had apparently tried hiding his assets from the court for purposes to keep the bail set low.

  33. Old NFO Says:

    Heh, now it all makes sense, along with your comment (or lack of comment) from Houston. Looking forward to the ‘rest of the story’…

  34. Lance Says:

    The Casey Anthony jury got it right, too, Gary.

    Had that whiny Orange County deputy actually gone into the woods and checked out the bag six or so months prior instead of berating Roy Kronk for his own clumsiness in falling in the mud, perhaps there would have been some forensic evidence.

    I listened to the whole trial, being unemployed at the time, thanks to the intelligence of the electorate in putting democrats in charge, and the State proved nothing.

    My opinion? A stupid young mother who got careless with some homemade chloroform. Probably worked once or twice and the last time it killed her.

    Negligent homicide? Yep But there was no criminal intent as you cannot convince me she purposely intended for her kid to die. The State went overboard in charging her.

  35. Dave Says:

    I would specifically like to see you address the issue of mandatory minimum enhancements associated with gun carry/gun use in many jurisdictions. If I recall correctly the FL statute enhanced assault something like a 10 year minimum with no parole if firearm carried in an assault, and 20 year minimum no parole if gun fired.

    These mandatory minimums were enacted to punish career criminals using firearms, but now have the perverse impact of placing a valid HCP defendant in a situation where any use of the gun risks something like 20 year mandatory minimum no parole enhancements.

    Do you think these enhancements have changed the landscape and risk for HCP civilians to the point that either way your life is ruined? When the judge has no discretion in sentencing between a career criminal and an unfortunate civilian with no criminal history?

    Either you die or are broken at the hands of your assailant, or you use your gun and the state prosecutes due to the wide range of political pressure and civil rights issues often involved.

  36. kragluver Says:

    I too look forward to reading what you have to say about this case. From what I’ve read in the press and on various forums, I felt like GZ was being railroaded from the beginning for political reasons.

  37. Patrick Says:

    DOJ urged to press civil rights charges against Zimmerman

    The NAACP, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights activists are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney Gen. Eric Holder to press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watchman who was acquitted by a Sanford, Fla., jury Saturday in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    “The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin,” NAACP President Ben Jealous wrote in a letter to Holder shortly after the verdict was announced. “We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation. Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”

    “This verdict represents a tragic miscarriage of justice,” Barbara Arnwine, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. “Yet, there is still the potential for justice to be served through a civil suit brought about by Trayvon Martin’s surviving family members, and also through civil rights charges being brought against Mr. Zimmerman by the Department of Justice.”

    The Justice Dept. launched a probe of the Zimmerman case last year, but has yet to comment on Zimmerman’s acquittal.

    “If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action,” Holder said in 2012 during a keynote speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention. “And at every step, the facts and law will guide us forward.”

    But Holder, the nation’s first African-American attorney general, cautioned in subsequent comments that there is a “very high barrier” when seeking to bring federal criminal charges in such cases, noted.

    A Justice Department official told CNN late Saturday night that it “continues to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial.”

    On Sunday, Jackson called on the Justice Department to “intervene” and “take this to another level.”

    “I remain stunned at the decision,” Jackson said on CNN’s “New Day.” “That the grown man, armed, murdered the unarmed boy going home.”

    “I think that we clearly must move on to the next step in terms of the federal government and in terms of the civil courts,” Sharpton said on MSNBC Saturday. “Clearly, we want people to be disciplined, strategic. This is a slap in the face to those that believe in justice in this country.”

  38. Jacob Morgan Says:

    The prosecution (and the media, to whatever extent people could tell them apart) did everything it could to claim that Zimmerman should not have gotten out of his car, etc. But whatever hyperventilations it had regarding that, it ignored the simple fact that Zimmerman ended up on the ground and was being pounded. 2nd degree murder was a joke.

    Sorry folks, if a police man had a fleeing felon on the ground and then proceded to club the guy to death with a billy club, the guy on the ground could take measures to defend himself, up to deadly force if that was what it took. What happened right before that is really not the point.

    And please spare the “he was a child” crap. At 17 years of age one can join the Marines. I graduated high school at 17, and went to work in a steel fabrication shop the next day. How many 17 years olds in this country are tried for murder as adults every week? Showing a picture of a 14 year old was missleading in the least. The news media tried to show Martin as a 14 year old character off the Cosby Show, then later on he turned out to be a violent pot head. Not saying that violent pot heads ought to be, or deserve to be, shot for no reason, and no doubt a lot of such troubled young men grow out of it, but this was media manipulation plain and simple.

    The news media was looking to go after the stand your ground laws, and this case (just like the White Rhino hoax, the Duke rape case, etc.) was just too good not to be true–even though the stand your ground law had no application. Then it turned into a good old racism story, even though in required an entirely new race, the “white hispanic” to be invented. Then the selective editing of 911 tapes to try to prove racial profiling, etc. The only one proven to be doing any racial profiling that night was Martin. If the media had been concerned about wanton murder of minorities with lots of gory details then where were they in the Kermit Gosnell trial? Simple: they approved the politics of this case while the Gosnell trial was toxic to their politics. The media people in this country are parasites on society, they live off of it while mindlessly pursuing its destruction. In fact I can think of no bigger threat to liberty than the media as we know it.

    Was Zimmerman as smart as he could be that night? Probably not. And he may well pay for it in a civil trial. But murder, give me a break. May as well charge him for sinking the Lusitania.

  39. Roger in NC Says:

    And already, our President has shamelessly exploited this incident to further his gun control agenda. I would have expected this if Zimmerman had been convicted but I am amazed that the response is the same even though six jurors returned the only possible verdict and exonerated the defendant. And now the DOJ is being asked to step in by the NAACP because Zimmerman deprived Martin of “the most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life”. How can we combat such insanity?

  40. unit1069 Says:

    Hi Mas,

    Thanks for your observation and opinion on the Zimmerman-Martin case. I’m not a lifetime member of the Glock Talk site so don’t have posting privileges on the GATE forums, but your Self-Defense blog is always the first stop I make whenever I sign on.

    Thank you so much for being a clarion voice for individual constitutional rights as well as for simple common sense on so many topics. We look forward to reading your take on the trial and the events leading up to it as well as the other myriad questions put to you on GATE.

    Best Wishes,

  41. Mitch Gurowitz Says:

    My biggest question for Mas is, should George have been arrested immediately? What is the normal procedure?

    Would most people in that same situation be arrested?

    It was the lack of the arrest that made me suspicious of the entire case, I felt I was being handed a lot of half thoughts and leading arguments. From the beginning it didn’t seem like a “shoot/no shoot case” it seemed as if something was rotten in Denmark.

    But I regress, I have met Mas and have a world of respect for him and very little for the conservative AND liberal media that were both reporting on the case.

  42. SouthofI10LSU Says:

    Well, Mas…You may want to wait before you comment. The Danzinger 7 in N.O. thought they were good to go also. Zimm may need you for the “civil rights” trial. I still hear the drums…..

  43. Marc-Wi Says:

    The railroad went thru Sanford but failed to pick anyone up. It did make a mess of the place.
    Indeed The jurors were brave and intelligent.
    I read last night that an employee with the prosecutors office was fired for leaking that evidence was being withheld.
    I also read several times this last week that the DA that decided to charge Zimmerman has been indicted by a grand jury for using falsehoods and lies to bring the case to trial.
    Perhaps you can shed some light on the validity of those statements.
    I watched the interviews of the prosecutors and the defense team after the verdict.It was disgusting how the press kept returning to the “stand your ground” law after being told repeatedly by both teams the law was not a factor and did not apply in the case.
    I’m so very glad Zimmerman “won” but we know there are really no winners in this, only survivors.
    As an aside, Doc’s class is really great. took it yesterday.

  44. wg Says:

    One thing that I am curious about. The state took great pains to produce evidence show that the gun was loaded to capacity and that Zimmerman intentionally pulled the trigger. In part, they had to show that Zimmerman intentionally shot Martin for the 2nd Degree Murder Charge. It is an element of the charge in Florida and most other places.

    I am wondering if the this strategy undercut the lesser charge of manslaughter. If both sides agreed that Zimmerman pulled the trigger intentionally, then the jury had to believe that he state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not exercise his right to self defense. This took away a potential manslaughter jury verdict that the gun went off accidentally in the struggle which would have been easier for the state to reach. This would have negated Zimmerman’s self defense claims for the jury and left the jury more open to consider a compromise verdict of manslaughter where it was both of their faults. In essence, I wonder if the second degree murder charge was so unsupported that coupled with FL self defense statutory protections, left no room for the compromise feel good verdict.

  45. Steve Harris Says:

    Although the prosecutor in his good rebuttal close and the dopey, incompetent State Attorney in her atrocious post loss interview did not attribute it, it was Voltaire who said: “To the living we owe respect. To the dead we owe the truth.” Voltaire said something else which is quite fitting: “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” A jury of six knew better. And the truth is owed to all Ms Corey, without an unnecessary trial.

    Georgie, you go hence without day. Not many people win the battle of mortal combat and courtroom too.

  46. Paul Edwards Says:

    Sorta like Randy Weaver, when they tried him, after killing his wife, son, and pet dog, and wounding Weaver, and his maile companion.

    They just had to find some way to lock him up, on any pretext, just to show the might and power of the Federal Gestapo.

    Same thing for the suvivors of the mass murder in Waco too.

    Hope some great anti-government law firm decides to reprsent Zimmerman, cus he’ll need it, for sure.

  47. Uncle Dave Says:

    If the DOJ had anything they could really use. I think they would have tipped thier hand and played the card. Civil Rights action? Where’s the money?

    This guy will not have anything close to a regular life even if he gets plastic surgery and changes his name. The best thing he can do is sue the pants off of everybody he can for defimation and hope that helps chase away the vultures.

  48. Rick in Carolina Says:

    The news media is just a player in the progressive movement that is tearing at the core of this country. It will not be long off that the conservatives will be outbreed and then out voted in the coming elections. It’s just a matter of time before the movement will have their agenda in place. Then their political power will change all the laws and our rights. It’s happening right before our eyes.

  49. Jack Says:

    Mas, I was thinking of you all along when I saw some of the people testifying why they did not call you I even mentioned that to my wife. Your are a credit to the profession of law enforcement and an asset to all lawful gun owners and I thank you so much for assisting not only in this case but in all the cases you have testified on behalf of the people using their firearms in lawful manner in defense of themselves.

    Yes! I feel so terrible that a human life was lost, it is sad to see a young man loose his life. I feel for the family as well.

    Zimmerman biggest mistake was cooperating with the police he trusted so much and not having an attorney present from the start. That is a lesson all lawful gun holders should learn out of this, it was used against him over and over through out the trial. Even when you lawfully use your firearm this is an important matter and you should have counsel present before giving very detailed accounts for your best interest.

  50. Steve Says:

    Only two people know the truth here and one is dead. I don’t believe that Zimmerman acted with good judgement in getting out of the car. FL neighborhood watch programs with which I am familiar do not let their volunteers either carry a weapon or confront intruders directly.

    A Federal civil right case is not appropriate here but my guess is that, if they pursue it, the Martin family will win a civil suit, which has a much lower standard of evidence required.

  51. paul brown Says:

    Well said Sir, glad to see your opinion on this, by the way, I work 1/2 mile from where the shooting took place…..I am wondering what the commotion on Monday will be heading to work, Best Regards,Paul ‘BrownBess’ Brown [Red Hat]

  52. Scott Parsons Says:

    Whether George should have gotten out of the car is debatable but whether he was justified in using deadly force was undeniable based on the evidence I carefully watched. It was absolutely fascinating to watch all the things I learned from you in LFI 1 2 & 3 play out in court. One valuable lesson you stressed was be polite and cooperative but SHUT UP until you have a lawyer.

  53. Mas Says:

    Marc: The “citizens’ grand jury” thing is unofficial, symbolic, and carries no weight.

    Unit 1069: The way GATE is set up on Glock Talk, any member can post a question, but only that member and the moderator can continue the thread. It’s geared for straight Q&A as opposed to general discussion.

    Mitch: The Sanford PD investigated the case swiftly and professionally, and did not find the necessary probable cause to arrest. While the public didn’t understand that, the cops did the right thing.

  54. The NUGUN Blog Says:

    “I feel nearly everything Mr. Zimmerman did that night, after his first call to the police from the community club house, was reckless and irresponsible.”

    – Williams


    Why …

    “Most of us that follow your philosophy know to do everything possible, especially when carrying a deadly weapon, to avoid potentially dangerous, escalation prone situations as happened that evening.”

    That is for most people. Especially when out and about. But let me add a few counters. Do you live in a neighborhood that is becoming rampant with crime? Do the police respond to your calls?

    I lived in New Haven, CT. And it was a nicer neighborhood on the border of one of the worst neighborhoods. The result, depending on who was the CO of the area in a given year. We would often find our calls went unresponded to.

    In fact, I once made a call after a man began making death threats to a cashier at a gas station and the response was “It’s New Haven, whad’ya want us to do about it.” (Nice,…)

    The problem, a nice neighborhood is prey/food for criminals. But the murders, and heavy crime happens blocks away. The cops focus on that area, and the good neighborhood starts to go downhill. And it’s shocking, when homes are being broken into, people robbed…in what was a nicer neighborhood.

    That’s fairly similar to what’s happening in many neighborhoods similar to Mr. Zimmerman’s. Especially with the housing crisis, foreclosures, empty homes, squatters, etc.

    In fact, Mr. Zimmerman’s neighborhood had a recent breakin into a house of a mother alone with her child. And if you think that’s not a big deal, watch the video circulating Facebook of the armed house robbery where the mother is repeatedly beaten by the home invader, seemingly for sport. This is becoming more common.

    And the truth is, citizens are going to start taking up the defense of their own homes and their own neighborhoods. Because the know, if their neighbors are terrorized and no one responds. They’ll move away and the neighbhorhood will become worse. And then it’ll be hard for those who didn’t move, to move away due to home values declining. Or worse, they might be the next victim.


    “Ok, we don’t need you to do that.”

    “that’s my truck” (past club house and past mailboxes)

    The 911 transcripts not that they ask if Mr. Zimmerman was following, and state they didn’t need him to do that. From the context, it seems like he was already out of his vehicle at that point. The incident took place a very short distance from Mr. Zimmerman’s vehicle – in other words, he quit pursuing and remained basically where he was. He probably did walk across to the other road expecting to see the man fleeing out the back exit. But that’s not following, that’s merely observing.

    Many talk about about Mr. Martin’s right to simply walk in the neighborhood. But doesn’t Mr. Zimmerman have that same right in his own neighborhood?

    The truth is, that if we ignore our neighbors in need, we do so to our own peril. The harder truth is, that our present society does not except such, and if an incident like the GZ/TM case occurs, it will be hell. And your life will likely be ruined.

    Every man needs to make a decision of when, and why they’re willing to act. And realize, there will be consequences. I’ll remind you of Spider-Man, the origin story where he ignores a petty criminal escaping. The result is that same criminal would bump into his uncle, and shoot him. Now it’s fictional. But it makes a point. In many ways, it is ALL of society’s responsibility to deal with criminal eliments.

    And no, that is not the accepted philosophy today, because we’re told to let the “State” handle everything for us.

    But what do you do when you call 911 a dozen times, and have zero responses? It’s why many choose to call S&W, and then only have 911 file the paperwork.

    Yes, this was a messy case. But the truth of the matter is that TM was a habitual user of mind-altering drugs, a thug, and one with a habit of starting fights.

    Perhaps he should have ignored him. And who’s to say it wouldn’t have been his own house broken into by TM, and his own family gunned down with the .380 that TM was attempting to acquire.

    We don’t know….and yes, ignoring has lesser immediate consequences.

  55. William Says:

    Mas, The police didn’t have probable cause for an immediate arrest the night of the incident or shortly there after.
    However, I have seen documents, appearing to be official, posted on various websites that state:
    On March 13, 2012, Sanford PD Lead Investigator Chris Serino wrote in his final report to the Florida State Attorney, “I believe there exists probable cause for issuance of a capias charging George Michael Zimmerman with manslaughter.”
    Am I being Hoaxed.

  56. John Says:

    It will be interesting to read your thoughts and whatever you can share with us. It has definitely seemed that a lot of improper things were, and perhaps still are, occurring in this case. Having the Federal Gov’t come after you is a scary thought, and a life changing event.

  57. Mad Saint Jack Says:

    Is Zimmerman Immune to a civil suit under FL law? Or does that only apply to Castle/SYG cases?

    “Florida law provides for immunity from criminal prosecution and from civil suit for someone who uses force in justified self defense. See 776.032:”

  58. Dennis Says:

    When A.G. Holder laments the high standards that must be met to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, he is truthfully saying it’s next to impossible to make a case out of thin air as was attempted in the state case. By the way, stand your ground was never argued or mentioned in the trial. The defense was self defense pure and simple, the media were the only ones that mentioned stand your ground. The defense will now ask for a stand your ground hearing, which if won, will make Zimmerman exempt from all civil suits resulting from the shooting.

  59. Patrick Says:

    BREAKING: US AG Calls Trayvon Martin Shooting “Unnecessary”

    Posted on July 15, 2013 by Robert Farago

    “Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called the death of Trayvon Martin ‘unnecessary’ and vowed to proceed with a civil rights inquiry following the acquittal of George Zimmerman,” reports. The US AG made no secret of his loyalties in the case. “We are committed to standing with the people of Sanford, with the individuals and families affected by this incident, and with our state and local partners in order to alleviate tensions, address community concerns, and promote healing… And we will never stop working to ensure that – in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community – justice must be done.” Implying the justice wasn’t done. Counterintuitively, Holder’s statement has pleased more than a few People of the Gun . . .

    Their thinking: if the Justice Department pursues Zimmerman in court the move will highlight the Obama administration’s Big Government bully boy gestalt. Add that to Obama’s forthcoming signature on the U.S. Arms Trade Treaty and the pro-gun voting base will come out in force in the 2014 elections—slowing if not stopping the progressives anti-gun agenda.

    I bet Dan a steak dinner the DOJ will rattle its sword but ultimately leave Zimmerman be. We shall see.

    You may also like –

  60. Mike Rentfrow Says:

    Mr. Ayoob
    Thank you for biting your tongue in such a professional manner. Unfortunately, you may be one of the few so wise. I am referring to the obviously politically motivated prosecutor and others. Your take on the legalities of this case are very interesting to me as a long time reader of your words and as one who had every word I had read of yours echo in my head one night as a SIG 220 came to bear on an intruder in my home. Well maybe it wavered in the direction of the intruder. I really do not know why I did not fire because somehow I just did not get comfortable with the shot prior to the man turning placing his hand on my second story patio railing and and vaulting over it to the ground 20 feet or so below. I had opened the sliding door to put out my dog as an expedient potty outing in the rain versus my carpet but came face to face with the intruder as he tried to enter through the same door. I reached behind me and brought the weapon to bear from the counter. In the next second or so which seemed longer than the “until death till you” part at the alter no further threat occurred so lethality did just not seem prudent. I have often wondered how many others that man burglarized and how many may have even had assaults as a result of my inaction. I am certain I did what was right at the moment but the man in a black hoodie on my patio brings me pause as I compare the possibility of what may have been if I were Zimmerman. I suspect that if there was a continued threat the outcome for me would have paralleled the Florida case.

  61. kelley in charlotte Says:

    A tragedy above all, but I am concerned with the volume of mis information that is being accepted as fact by both the press and the citizenry. I am not sure that Stand your ground even applied to this case but the press and the most of the country are blaming SYG as the reason that this event happend and the reason that GZ was not convicted. That is only one of the areas of misinformation among many. Mas, did SYG even play a part up to this point in this case? If I understand correctly there was not even a SYG hearing. Is this something that you will elaborate on further in this blog, or can you help me understand how SYG has had an affect on this case up to this point? If this had happened in , oh I don’t know Indiana, or Colorado would the case have been any different? Could SYG protect GZ from from civil lawsuits/wrongful death in the future? Lots of questions Mas, looking forward to a lot of enlightening review from you. This blog is great we can get your perspectives. Thanks Mas.

  62. William Says:

    Just read, juror B37, of the Zimmerman Trial told Anderson Cooper she was influenced by the fact that Lead Investigator Serino testified that he believed Zimmerman.
    Didn’t the judge order the jury to disregard Serino’s statement during cross That He Believed Zimmerman?
    Had Zimmerman been convicted, would this be grounds for appeal?

  63. Mas Says:

    Kelly, William, and Mad Saint Jack, I hope to be touching on those issues in these pages shortly.

  64. William Says:

    I want to thank the Ayoob Fan Community for their maturity and civility. I have made three posts on this topic with numerous spelling, punctuation and word usage mistakes, and not one poster on this site has posted anything to demean, or should I say, flame me. On most other websites, I would have been like a lamb who is lead to slaughter. I am proud to be among you.
    I guess it’s a good thing “I’m a lover, not a writer”.

  65. Roger Says:

    Of course, Martin could have been trying to “stand his ground” after a creepy person in a truck followed and harassed him. He may have felt threatened.

    I don’t see how Zimmerman could possibly feel threatened by a pedestrian from his vantage point of being in a truck with a gun and a phone.

    Shall we all go pick fights with people, then “defend myself” when they react?

  66. Vegas_Don Says:

    Mr Ayoob, I am compelled to strongly disagree with your opinion. Until now I considered you a literary mentor based on your knowledge and expertise. Perhaps the murder of young Trayvon Martin was unintentional, but to allow a moron like Zimmerman to keep his gun bearing privileges (not rights) is a mistake. In my opinion, Florida has the weakest gun laws in the nation. How is it possible to be involved in a domestic violence & assault a peace officer and continue to legally carry a firearm. In the state of Nevada that is not possible. So to all who feel that justice was fair in this case… We can agree to disagree. Guns belong in the hands of responsible citizens, unfortunately Mr. Zimmerman is not one of them. I am afraid he is going to make the headlines again, hopefully not at the cost of another life.

  67. Publius Says:

    There is so much wrong with whole thing it would take me a day or two to say it and point it all out. One they bypassed the Grand Jury thats constitutionally required with the imposed penalties. In a case like this the prosecutor is to present any and all evidence, but instead withheld it and even tried to destroyed some of it that could show innocents. Almost from the start Eric Holder payed a hand in promoting the protests that lead up to the arrest of Zimmerman and the firing of the chief of police that did the investigation and declared it self defense as it meet the requirements under the law and it also meet the same requirements for a police officer. I could really go into detail, but like I stated it will take to long.

  68. JFM Says:

    I have lightly followed this event with NPR as my primary source and since the verdict web articles and their comments. What strikes me, as hard as a baseball bat to the face, is the overwhelming lack of critical thinking on the part of the majority of people who comment. “Zimmerman shouldn’t have gotten out of his car”, “Zimmerman was a vigilante” “Zimmerman stalked Trayvon ” “See what Stand Your Ground Laws do”.

    How about this, “Trayvon Martin shouldn’t have starting hitting ANYBODY”. Because that’s what it comes down to, one man was beating another man to the point deadly force was used to stop the beating.

    What hasn’t been addressed anywhere I’ve seen is that parts of American culture thinks it’s right and proper to start pounding on people for whatever reason. The people who think that way are upset that the person who was being beaten killed his attacker. What if Zimmerman didn’t have a gun? What if he was able to hit Martin with a rock-once! and killed him? Martin was unlucky in that the un aimed shot fired by the man beneath him went into his heart. A few inches lower and Martin might have been the one in court.

  69. William Says:

    JFM, There has been zero evidence that Trayvon started the fight, other than George Zimmerman’s self-serving statements, although there is evidence that Trayvon landed at least one punch. As I understand the court’s instructions, when there is no direct evidence to support the fact of, for example, who initiated the physical altercation, the benefit of the doubt must go to the defendant.
    This by no means, however makes it as fact that Trayvon started the fight.
    On a different point, however, I was deeply disturbed when the Government,s case tried to make Zimmerman look so evil in that he carried a round in the chamber of his semiautomatic pistol, “ready to fire”, when that is the way they are designed to be used. Just ask any police officer in the country if they have one in the chamber.

  70. L1A1Rocker Says:

    I’ve said several times that Zimmerman should have two people in his corner. Massad Ayoob, and Alan Dershowitz. I was VERY upset to read this from Mas: “I don’t take expert witness cases until I’ve seen all the evidence, and the prosecution was extremely slow in providing that. I wound up not being involved.” So if the prosecution wants to insure that Mas is not a witness for the defense, slow walk the disclosure process. SHAME ON YOU MASSAD AYOOB, you should have been there for Zimmerman!

  71. chasseur160 Says:

    Concealed carry, a privilege exchanged for a right.

    The Bill of Rights states “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    Simple and plain language. All gun laws that infringe are Unconstitutional.

    We the People set that up in the beginning. Demand your rights

    See US v. John Bad Elk Time to get the grand jury started up again to prosecute a**hole prosecutors who major in professional misconduct.

  72. Cap'n Dave Says:

    As this story went national, I took the initiative and left a message with Sonner’s office to “please contact me.” As a long-time Ayoob reader, fan-boy and (Feb. 2013) grad of a Live Oak Mag-40, I just wanted to whisper in the Attorney’s ear that, “should he desire to slam-dunk-WIN this ultra-high-profile case; he should contact a feller named Massad Ayoob.” Never got a call back from him, but apparently those gears were already turning, and it’s nice –reading above– to see my instincts were on the right track. When we learned than O’mara was the new attorney, rinse, lather repeat. No doubt his office was unbelievably swamped with nutjobs and opinon weasels, but still we had to try; knowing that if ANYBODY could pull the legal chestnuts out of the fire before they over-roast…
    Mas, it was a pleasure and honor to learn from you, and I cannot recommend enough to the readers of this column: “Hock you car; attend a Mag-40!”
    Thank you for your tireless efforts against ignorance. I know you love scifi, so: “The two most common elements in the Universe; Hydrogen and Stupidity. (from Harlan Ellison.)

  73. Charla Says:

    Trayvon’s friend Rachel Jeantel gave a lot of insight as to why Trayvon attacked Zimmerman. It was NOT racial. It was homophobia. She told Trayvon that Zimmerman could be a sexual predator. Then she went on to say that Trayvon what going to give Zimmerman some ‘whoop ass.’ This was on the Piers Margan whow where she was a guest. She indicated, from being on the phone with Martin up until the last minute, that it was MARTIN that attacked Zimmerman, and this is what the jury found. If there is a civil case against Zimmerman, these things will be brought out along with Trayvon’s use of drugs including Lean as shown on his Facebook page that someone was smart enough to save. Lean makes one paranoid and aggressive. Where is the extreme outrage when blacks kill each other every day in Chicago and other major cities? Or is that reserved when someone is made out to be white?

  74. Marrilynn Gaupel Says:

    I wasn’t there to witness anything. Supposedly Mr. Zimmerman was told not
    to follow Trayvon or approach him. He did just that. I don’t understand where
    are all the so called witnesses that could have possibly put a stop to this, but didn’t because they were afraid of altercations. A young boys life was wasted because once again, people are too afraid to care and to do something about it. I feel sorry for the parents because they have lost their son, and it should never have happened. My children never went out on the streets after dark, and didn’t go many places without someone with them, but things like this happen in a bat of an eye. Zimmerman is free, and found not guilty, but he did violate Trayvon’s civil rights. I could not live with myself if I ever took someone’s life whether it be in self defense or otherwise. I hope Mr. Zimmerman can live with himself. I truly feel this all could have been avoided.
    Whites and blacks alike are killed everyday by drive by shootings and other ways. Do people really think that things will get better? You don’t have to be on the streets, doing drugs, or being unlawful to get killed. Sometimes you are minding your own business and someone walks up and kills you because they didn’t like your face or some other crazy excuse they can use to kill.

  75. Steve S. Says:

    Martin’s life was “wasted” because he attacked someone and began pounding his head against concrete while atop him. How can someone claim Zimmerman violated a person’s civil rights by stopping such a vicious attack in self defense? It’s very likely that Zimmerman’s action saved his life or at least kept him from a serious concussion or brain damage — which would not have been the case had he not been armed.

  76. Martin Says:

    Massad Ayoob. I used to read your articles in the gun magazines but won’t anymore. For you to justify the shooting of an unarmed teen makes you just another vigilante racist like George Zimmerman. Guys like you are always looking for the smallest excuse to draw their weapon and take somebodies life. George Zimmerman was not a law enforcement officer or even a security guard for the property. If he felt something was not right then he should have used his cell phone to call the police and not intervene and escalate the situation resulting in a young mans death. For people like you black boys are not young men they are perps or gangstas or thugs because you don’t approve of the clothes they wear. I’m really disappointed in your assessment of the whole situation but I’m glad you have shown your true colors so I. No longer have to waste my time reading anymore of your articles. I wonder what you think of Zimmerman now that he has been accused of assaulting his girlfriend and brandishing a firearm at her. Is he still your poster boy for gun rights? Zimmerman is a headcase and was one when he shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin.

  77. Ron Sparks Says:

    Hello Mas: Once again your writings illuminate a muddied picture of misinformation and lack of the right to defend oneself from the physically violent attacker. No one is obligated to be a victim, irrespective of anyone, for any reason. (LFI I,II,III grad., 1990)

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