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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

ZIMMERMAN VERDICT, PART 2: THE “UNARMED TEEN”

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

It seems that the verdict of a sworn jury in our criminal justice system means little to the haters, who are still screaming that George Zimmerman killed “an unarmed seventeen-year-old.”  Given that seventeen is old enough to enlist in the Marine Corps and to be tried as an adult – the Gainesville Sun recently headlined that a “sixteen-year-old man” was to be charged with murder in the selfsame Florida criminal justice system – the age issue doesn’t hold a lot of water when seen through a clear glass.

“Unarmed?” Actually, NO.  The history of adjudicating deadly force actions shows that Trayvon Martin was “armed” two or three times over.

First, the haters (like the prosecution) assiduously ignored George Zimmerman’s statement that while Martin was “ground-and-pounding” him, Martin saw Zimmerman’s gun in its now exposed holster, told Zimmerman that he was going to die tonight, and reached for his victim’s pistol.

If I’m your criminal attacker, you don’t have to wait for me to shoot you before you can shoot me to defend your life, and you don’t even need to wait until the gun is in my hand. If I announce my intent to murder you and reach for a gun, I’m bought and paid for right there.  And it doesn’t matter whether the gun I’m reaching for is in my holster, or yours. That’s why every year in America, when thugs try to grab a policeman’s gun and are shot, the shootings are ruled justifiable.

Even before Martin’s reach for Zimmerman’s still-holstered pistol, the circumstances that were proven to the satisfaction of the jury showed that Zimmerman was justified in shooting his attacker.  Remember when defense attorney Don West said in the defense’s opening statement that Martin was armed with the sidewalk?  That sounded ludicrous to lay people, and I would have phrased it differently myself, but professionals understood exactly what he was talking about.

The operative principle at law is called “disparity of force.” It means that while your opponent(s) may not be armed with a deadly weapon per se, their physical advantage over you is so great that if their ostensibly unarmed assault continues, you are likely to die or suffer grave bodily harm. That disparity of force may take the form of a much larger and stronger assailant, a male attacking a female, force of numbers, able-bodied attacking the handicapped, skilled fighter attacking the unskilled, or – in this case – position of disadvantage.

Position of disadvantage means that the opponent has full range and freedom of movement, and you don’t.  You’re seat-belted behind your steering wheel while he rains punches onto your skull through the open window…or you are down and helpless in a martial arts “mount” while your opponent pounds you at will.

Finally, we have the clearly proven element of Martin smashing Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk. If I picked up a chunk of concrete or cement and tried to smash your skull with it, you would certainly realize that you were about to die or be horribly brain-damaged if you didn’t stop me. It would be what the statutes call “a deadly weapon, to wit a bludgeon.” There just isn’t a whole hell of a lot of difference between cement being smashed into head, and head being smashed into cement.

Clearly, Trayvon Martin possessed the power to kill or cripple Zimmerman. That is why, under law, Zimmerman was justified in defending himself with a per se deadly weapon.

The jury got it. Too bad the haters didn’t understand…or didn’t want to understand.

104 Responses to “ZIMMERMAN VERDICT, PART 2: THE “UNARMED TEEN””

  1. Vince Says:

    Mas,

    It does not serve the haters’ purpose to look at this objectively.

    Only through the ferment of discord can they justify their reason for being.

    Vince

  2. Fruitbat44 Says:

    Mas – Thank you for sharing your info on this case. Particularly as it comes from the perspective of a subject matter expert.

    One of the things about this case was that there was only one persons word for what happened on that night. I am interested to hear what “hard” evidence supported Mr. Zimmerman.

  3. Randy Says:

    As usual Mas, you have succinctly with few words, got to the crux of the discussion. The only thing left is, did Zimmerman provoke Martin by following him after leaving his vehicle.

    It seems to me that the tape between Zimmerman and the non-emergency dispatcher has not been played in its entirety or transcribed in its entirety. Each talking head on the news only plays what they want you to hear. Many people have pointed to the dispatchers words that the Police don’t need Zimmerman to follow Martin. However, in the defense’s closing arguments O’Mara showed a time line of the dispatchers and Zimmerman’s words. I believe that after the dispatcher had said that Zimmerman ,””need not do that” then 15 seconds or so later asked Zimmerman, “what is he, the suspect, doing now”. That would lead a person to believe that they needed Zimmerman to keep them informed.

    It has been amazing how much of this case was directly covered in our Mag-40 class. I am glad I took it.

  4. TWW Says:

    “Martin saw Zimmerman’s gun in its now exposed holster” means there must have been enough light out to see a gun. Do we know for sure there was that much light on a dark, rainy night? (I am not saying the outcome of the trial was not correct by the way.). I also remember mention of Zimmerman having a flashlight. Anyone know?

  5. Sam Summey Says:

    Mas, the “Haters” are beyond comprehension. They are being aided and abetted by the current administration.

  6. guntotin-mama Says:

    There is so much discussion – still – about this case. So much of it inflammatory. I wish this simple description and explanation could go viral immediately, to get people to just say: Oh.

    And finally move on.

  7. Zengunfighter Says:

    The biggest thing I can hit you with is the Earth.

  8. Charles Says:

    Thanks for the straight dope on this, it will be very helpful when talking to friends and family.

    More to come?

  9. Mark Robisson Says:

    Hi Mas:

    Glad you’re discussing this one. I have a feeling that your analysis is going to provide one heck of a refresher to those of us who sat through LFI in your classroom.

    One question. In Truth about Self Protection, you told the story of a police officer who went into a bar for a drink, and came across a group of people who were known to him from his police responsibilities. They started to verbally abuse him. You advised tossing them a $20 (wrapped around a matchbook) while suggesting that they buy themselves a round of beers on you. You’d then depart the scene, and deal with the issue later when the odds were much more in your favor.

    Instead, the cop told the group off, and found himself getting stomped by four pair of engineers boots. The copy fired to stop the assault. He killed at least one of the perps.

    The cop was found guilty, fired from his job, and spent time in prison.

    Wasn’t Zimmerman guilty of escalating the conflict, and not walking away when he had the chance?

  10. Ryan Says:

    Excellent points, all. I have many friends who are appalled by the verdict, whom I’ve been gently trying to steer toward the facts of the case. Unfortunately I can’t show them this article, because I think they’ll stop listening after the word “haters”. Even though they don’t understand the issue, my friends are some of the most compassionate people. Certainly there are people on that side of the issue who are genuine haters, but I don’t think of my friends that way. That word is really not conducive to understanding. I hope you will consider a gentler mode of persuasion in the future, because apart from that critique, your reasoning is excellent and easy to follow. Thank you for writing about this!

  11. lissa Says:

    I found this piece through The Cornered Cat on Facebook, and am very glad I did! Thank you for your insight!

    I watched the trial, but even before that, have been standing for 2nd Amendment rights with my American neighbors (I am Canadian).

    The haters were ready to accept the jury’s verdict – as long as it went their way. They are fed by an overzealous prosecution team who missed the entire point of self-defense tenets, as well as media who are deeply in the pockets of the current administration ready to tighten gun laws to the point of unconstitutionality.

    I wish there were more people who *got* it – who could see the truth and understand that is how justice works. But it’s good to find more like yourself, willing to stand up and speak out for true justice and the rights of citizens to bear arms, and use those arms if in fear for their lives.

  12. Jim March Says:

    I’ve been using an analogy that seems to help.

    In a typical “MMA” fight the ref pulls the winner off before the loser can take severe damage. At that point it’s clear who won the fight. Even in matches where the loser was no longer able to defend himself when the ref stopped it, he usually goes home instead of to a hospital.

    That’s as it should be.

    On the street there’s no ref. Martin, according to witnesses, kept on pounding once Zimmerman was down. Had a ref been there he’d have stopped the fight because without such a stoppage Zimmerman could have died.

    Zimmerman’s gun had to do the ref’s job.

    If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that nobody has the right to get so violently angry that they put somebody in fear of dying.

  13. RabidAlien Says:

    Methinks that the lessons learned (and those lessons/facts conveniently ignored by MSM/Prosecution/Race-baiters) could fill a book. Looking forward to reading more, and will pass this post along via FB.

  14. Charlie Kilo Says:

    Randy, leaving a vehicle or following someone is not a provocation. Shouting to them or threatening use of force or actually using force, is a provocation. It is not unlawful or threatening to exit a vehicle (sans a freeway) or unlawful or threatening to follow and observe someone. As much as the media and Martin supporters are apt to point out that Martin was followed by Zimmerman, that by itself does not warrant or justify assault. Instructions from non-emergency dispatch, equally, are not lawfully binding. You are a free citizen, to do as you please. Are there moral or safety issues at play when discussing leaving the vehicle or following? Certainly, but those issues are more subjective and less objective. The morally right thing to do can be illegal, but it can also be justified (i.e. self-defense). It’s still illegal to kill someone, but justifiable if done to prevent great injury or death.

  15. Johnm Says:

    As we learned in Mas’s class, these situations are fluid — disparity of force is not determined at the onset of the encounter, it evolves throughout and must be constantly reevaluated, even in mutual combat (which it appears GZ/TM was NOT).

    Recall the discussion of a gang of assailants attacked a lone armed man: the dynamics must dictate exactly when the lawful use of deadly force is no longer justified, which probably falls somewhere after the time the next-to-last assailant falls, and before the last one turns to run away.

  16. Dave Says:

    The idea that the police dispatcher asked GZ “what is he doing now” after telling him not to follow TM is a myth introduced into the trial by defense counsel. The entire dispatch call is available both in transcript form and in audio form at several places on the Internet and no such question or other inquiry about what TM was doing was posed by the dispatcher after the dispatcher asked GZ whether or not he was following TZ and when GZ said he was then said “Ok we don’t need you to do that”. It is, however, a myth which some jurors apparently believed, and which is now being repeated in the media.

  17. Randy Offutt Says:

    I remain confused…I don’t understand WHY it matters so much HOW the fight started. Zimmerman could have started it and still been justified in using deadly force after the verbal threat followed by a violent physical attack during which he could suffer permanent injury or death. Am I way off base on this?

  18. Linda Says:

    Another great article Mas. Appreciate your insight.

  19. Jeremy Says:

    I think it’s interesting how soon America forgot about Brian Stow. Yes, this was a man who was beaten with fists in a parking lot, and his head hit the ground. He was essentially killed when you compare what his life was like before, and what it will be for the remainder of it. There were no guns involved at all in that beating, just fists and pavement, and the loser lost all quality of life from here until death. Frankly I would have wished for death if what happened to Stow happened to me.

  20. Jess Says:

    Self-defense used to be an affirmative defense (that’s certainly what we learned in my CCW class, but that’s been a few years). Cowardly Zimmerman didn’t even dare to testify to the proposition that his life was in danger. (Which of course was a joke: he had a busted nose, some cuts, and NO CONCUSSION.) With a jury of six middle-aged white ladies, all it took was innuendo to “prove” that proposition. Fistfights are scary! All of them should be stopped with gunfire!

    Everyone who “identifies” with the cowardly, stupid, culpable actions of this defendant and “celebrates” this verdict should look forward as happily to the inevitable backlash against their gun rights. Once power-tripping losers realize they can fight with unarmed kids and then kill those kids with impunity, they’ll do it a great deal more often. (I don’t expect many *grown* men will be victims of this phenomenon, because even Zimms would stay in the car when there’s an actual criminal on the prowl.) Eventually, the stench will reach DC, and this folly will be reigned in. But hey, in the meantime, it’s open season!

  21. Steve Says:

    The ignorance of “haters” I can understand, but the sickening bias and negligence throughout the media is beyond belief.

    Phrases like “Martin’s killer was acquitted” and “the man who killed 17 year old Martin” are invariably the introduction to every news story. The phrase “self-defense” is never mentioned, and the stories now jump to how a civil rights lawsuit can be crafted and the opportunity for a civil suit.

    Facts and evidence appear to be irrelevant. It’s a media lynching.

  22. SAS 2008 Says:

    Mas, after taking MAG 40 from you I thought of exactly what you said in this post before and during the trial. With a little knowlege of the law and legal precedents the outcome seemed obvious. It amazes and troubles me how many people have a strong opionon of this case born out of ignorance or bias. Thanks for spreading the word and educating those willing to listen and understand.

  23. Ralph Says:

    The jury got it. Too bad the haters didn’t understand…or didn’t want to understand.

    The forces that profit from race baiting can not afford for inconvenient truths to get in the way of the approved story. Sadly many otherwise intelligent Americans appear to be buying into the lies.

  24. joshuaism Says:

    I see you have accepted Zimmerman’s testimony and reenactment to the cops as undisputed fact right from the get go. If I have to rely on his word to decide this was self defense then the argument fails.

  25. W Klink Says:

    I’m curious what you would have thought if Martin had killed Zimmerman. Would he have been able to succesfully convince a jury that the man carrying a gun was obviously stalking him and that he had a right to stand HIS ground and defend HIMSELF?

    My understanding of self-defense law (and I’m no lawyer, so I really am interested in answers and not just arguments) is that you can’t start a fight and then claim self defense. You can’t, for example, walk into a bar and punch a biker in the face and then shoot him when he starts to fight back. But where is the line? I never understood why the prosecution was so focused on the fight itself and not everything that led up to the confrontation. If Zimmerman provoked the attack, why does he get to pull a gun when he’s about to lose? Why should it matter if Martin was on top if Zimmerman started the fight?

  26. Unistat76 Says:

    “You’re seat-belted behind your steering wheel while he rains punches onto your skull through the open window…”

    No too long after the Zimmerman-Martin shooting this exact scenario happened in Taylor, Michigan. The shooter was arrested and spent two or three nights in jail. He retained counsel and ultimately was not charged.

    I believe the arrest happened because of the temporal proximity to Zimmerman-Martin. I think the Taylor PD Chief did not want to be second guessed in the media.

  27. CrimsonAvenger Says:

    @Fruitbat44:

    Doesn’t actually matter what “hard” evidence supported Zimmerman – you are NOT required to prove your innocence in court.

    Rather, the prosecution has the requirement to prove your guilt.

    Which it clearly failed to do.

  28. Justin Says:

    Mas,
    Clearly based on what you have been teaching and what I know from other experts, the case law supports your assertion that there was a disparity of force at the time the Zimmerman drew his weapon. I’d like to hear your opinion, however, on how Zimmerman’s actions prior to this final confrontation – his initial pursuit/search of Martin, initial confrontation (if there was one) – affect his responsibility for the final outcome.

    What I’ve always understood based on my training is that the there is a good amount of case law that supports the assertion that if you can be criminally liable if your actions contribute directly to the circumstances that necessitate the use of deadly force, e.g, you start or escalate a conflict. I’ve always been told that as an armed citizen, to avoid confrontations and to certainly not pursue people if I want to avoid any potential liability. That why we have armed officers of the court a phone call away. It seems Zimmerman’s actions in the beginning went completely in the face of this advice. It’s important to state that Zimmerman’s actions in no way reduce Martins responsibility in escalating the situation. Clearly his actions lead directly to his death, but my understanding is that both people can be at fault or contribute to the outcome from a legal perspective.

    From your position as an expert and based on your specific knowledge of the case, I’d like to get your opinion on Zimmerman’s earlier actions and how they affect of don’t affect the final outcome, and how this may be interpreted by CCW carriers? Maybe in part 3?

    I have for years found myself having conversations with other gun carriers who love to quote the statutes, but have zero awareness of precedent. Most people don’t seem to understand that this is in part a common law country where precedent is law, and the vaguely defined statutes are open to interpretation. In general, I have found that people have a much more liberal understanding of the situations under which they can legitimately use deadly force, e.g. defending property, brandishing, etc. Although I strongly believe in the basic right to carry for self defense, the understanding of use of force of many of my fellow gun owners often gives me pause. In fact I often direct them to your videos and articles for education. Regardless of Zimmerman’s guilt, I still feel that his actions were not those of a prudent CCW holder.

    I have one further question. Most states, including my state of Virginia, already accept the principle of “Stand Your Ground,” without the need for a specific statute. The common law simply supports it. I have read from some unbiased sources that the flurry of SYG statutes that have been passed in various states have actually led to confusion amongst law enforcement and prosecutors. I reject the opinion, as you do, that this case has anything to do with SYG laws as asserted by commentators and parroted by mainstream media, but I’m curious as to your opinion of these laws, there necessity or lack there of given current precedent, and whether you have seen them become an issue in the cases you see?
    Thank You

  29. Gary Griffiths Says:

    Excellent points, Mas, as usual. One thing I noted is the disparity in viewpoints between whites and blacks. I remember very distinctly two black ladies discussing the shooting shortly after it happened. They were commenting on why that man shot that baby. Over and over I heard them referring to Trayvon Martin as a “baby.” I don’t think this attitude is exclusive to this incident, either. Rather, I believe it reflects a protective attitude on the part of black women over youngsters, and thus a failure to conceive of older teens, even gangbangers, as dangerous.

  30. Paul Edwards Says:

    Wonder whether these new protests, and near riots, are being aggitated, and caused, by the same Dept. of Justice, Communityn Relations Service (CRS) employess that were sent to Stanford, FL, in order to insure that Zimmerman would be tried for murder, to pay for his crime of killing someone Obama viewed as “Being just like the Son Obama would Like to have Had”.

    This is just further persecution of a guy that happened to approach a young Black man, intent on making a “Free Living”, with other peoples Stuff, that escalated from a “Mole Hill”, into a “Mt. Everest” sized mountain.

  31. Ladywest Says:

    As always, your expert discussion helps us understand real law
    and self-defense in real circumstances. I wish all had access to
    it. The link at the end of your first column on the subject was
    a great resource which I have already supported and will continue
    to follow.

    And let us remember where hate comes from. From fear and hurt.
    Individually and collectively. Those who exploit this are the real
    problem makers.

    The jury was split 3-3 in the beginning. Mr. Zimmerman is very
    lucky someone convinced the others to apply real legal standards
    in this case. Very few others did including the prosecution. As
    always, it’s the mothers who suffer most in these situations and
    we could say some prayers for both of them.

  32. TX Dave Says:

    Motive?
    Rachel Jeantel tells Piers Morgan she and Trayvon feared Zimmerman might be gay rapist… It was on you tube last night & the google today

  33. Justin Opinion Says:

    Funny, I was tempted to ask you if you were approached in this case, and I decided that because it was an ongoing case, either you wouldn’t or couldn’t answer anyway.

    It’s a deep and dreadful shame that our elected “leaders”, who either know or should know the facts are using this volatile topic to stir their pot.

    Thanks for presenting the simple facts!

  34. Mark Says:

    So post-acquittal, Zimmerman is free to flee with Eric Snowden since he can’t live or work in the states anymore?

  35. Dennis Says:

    TWW- No flashlight mentioned that I know of, if so, a flashlight could have possibly prevented this incident. Martin may have not felt as if he was being stalked and believed Zimmerman was in fact a concerned citizen or even a police officer. If in fact he was up to no good, most burglars, vandals, etc. don’t like light and their first inclination is to flee. Having said that, in most apartment complexes it is never complete darkness, but varying degrees of ambient light. Not enough to make out all details at distance but usually enough to see objects such as a gun at arms length. In my opinion a good light is a necessary companion to a firearm whether day or night. If you are a civilian who chooses to get involved, good verbal communication is a plus also.

  36. Neal Williams Says:

    Did Zimmerman violate the rules of engagement while carrying a firearm for Self-Defense?

    Or a better question, Did Zimmerman deliberately put himself in a situation when better judgement would have served all affected parties?

  37. Mad Jack Says:

    The ‘haters’ do not understand and don’t want to understand. They’re closed minded.

    I have never seen anything to equal the disparate reactions to this case. People who are otherwise reasonable, logical and rational have turned into raving moonbats. I just do not understand why they are having this absolute blind spot to the accepted facts of the case and the verdict.

  38. Max Stratton Says:

    Mas – The most compelling evidence that confirms, in my mind, that Treyvon Martin (TM) attacked George Zimmerman (GZ)with malice was never given to the jury. This evidence comes from his cell phone and strongly suggests that Treyvon Martin belonged to a “fighting” culture.
    It includes a video of two homeless men fighting with someone commenting, and a video of two kids fighting with others looking on. There were also close up pictures of a semi-automatic pistol (Mass, what is it?), two people getting ready to fight, and some women’s jewelry on a bed. Lastly, there are text messages about TM fighting in general and a specific fight of which he wanted a rematch so he could make the other person “breed” (bleed?) more. In some of his texts he discusses the buy and selling of a handgun. TM seemed to be heading in the direction of being a “thug”, if he was not already one.
    Thank God GZ had a concealed carry permit and ACTUALLY carried his handgun. This case represents exactly why law abiding citizens should have the right to carry. All of us who believe in the right to carry should be strongly defending Zimmerman and his actions instead blaming him for not being perfect. Remember, TM had four minutes to get to his home, less than 130 yards away, but decided not to.
    I feel sorry for TM’s parents and believe they are good people, but they knew their son was going in the wrong direction. In one of the texts TM talks about his mother kicking him out of her house and sending him up to his father.
    The Obama administration has already begun to use this case to try to change the stand your ground laws and get more gun control laws passed. Instead of being on the defense we need to start an offence using this case to justify our right to carry.

  39. Z Says:

    Fruitbat44, hard evidence in Zimmerman’s favor included but was not limited to:

    The full recording of the 311 call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNCvr9V2pig

    The timeline of events as indicated by Martin’s calls to his girlfriend and Zimmerman’s 311 call before the incident, the first 911 call from a witness during the incident, and the gunshot heard 44 seconds into that call. Also the location of the incident in relation to the timeline fit Zimmerman’s account.

    Photos taken of Zimmerman’s wounds before paramedics cleaned him up and expert analysis of the wounds he received: http://i.imgur.com/u0iXcJ5.jpg

    Martin’s autopsy:http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/05/17/trayvon.martin.autopsy.pdf

    Martin’s clothes and expert analysis thereof.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement report: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/07/12/zimmerman.fdle.lab.reports.pdf

    The FBI report: http://lawofselfdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/FBI-interview-of-Chris-Serino.pdf

    Other than that, a witness saw Martin mounting Zimmerman and beating him. Police testified as to Zimmerman’s condition and grass on his back before paramedics arrived.

  40. Patrick Says:

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday strongly criticized stand-your-ground laws that allow a person who believes he is in danger to use deadly force in self-defense.

    Holder said he was concerned about the case of Trayvon Martin, in which George Zimmermann was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, and said the Justice Department has an open investigation into what happened.

    But he added: “Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”

    In an address to an NAACP convention, Holder said it’s time to question laws that “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense.”

    The attorney general said the country must take a hard look at laws that contribute to “more violence than they prevent.”

    Such laws “try to fix something that was never broken,” he said.

    Florida is among the states that have stand-your-ground laws, and the issue played a role in the prosecution of Zimmerman, whose acquittal has spurred calls for the U.S. Justice Department to file criminal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch volunteer.

    Legal experts say a federal case would be a difficult challenge, with prosecutors having to prove that Zimmerman was motivated by racial animosity to kill Martin, who was 17 when he was shot during the fight with Zimmerman in February 2012.

    On Monday, Holder had called the killing a “tragic, unnecessary shooting death” and urged the nation to speak honestly about complicated and emotionally charged issues.

    On Tuesday, Holder seemed to be shifting away from the Martin case to one of those issues — the debate over the stand-your-ground laws.

    “There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if — and the ‘if’ is important — no safe retreat is available,” Holder told the NAACP.

    “But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely,” he said.

    In his comments referencing the Zimmerman case, Holder offered a story from his own personal experience — describing how when he was a young black man his father had told him how to interact with the police, what to say and how to conduct himself if he was ever stopped or confronted in a way he thought was unwarranted.

    “I’m sure my father felt certain — at the time — that my parents’ generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children,” Holder told the NAACP convention. “Trayvon’s death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down.”

  41. RC cryor Says:

    But didn’t Zimmerman lose his self-defense when he chose to follow Martin? I’m a strong supporter of the right to self-defense, but at that point, it seems he (Zimmerman), escaleted the situation. He was note in imminent danger at that point.

  42. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Thank you, Mr. Ayoob!

    I do wish the haters could see the situation reversed – and similarly see what they advocate from the other side.

    Imagine an honest, law-abiding black man – short, a little pudgy perhaps, but trying to do his part for his family and his community. He joins the neighborhood watch program because he’s sick of the recent rash of burglaries. He sees a suspicious character one night – walking around in the dark, peering into people’s houses, not trying to get out of the rain. He calls 911, summarizes the situation, hangs up – and suddenly a thin, well-muscled six-footer of a Hispanic teen is in his face, knocking him to the ground with a single blow that breaks his nose, sitting astride him, pounding his skull repeatedly into the sidewalk, and saying “you’re gonna die tonight, m****r-f****r”.

    Explain to me, please, why this pudgy, law-abiding black man should be deprived of the right of self-defense? Or why the age of his would-be murderer should matter, or what brand of candy he has in his pocket?

    For extra credit, make his attacker a “white Hispanic”… whatever that means in this context. (Perhaps that would make his getting shot more palatable, or something.)

  43. Brian Says:

    I’d be totally satisfied with this if Zimmerman had been the one walking down the street and Martin ran up and grabbed him. Since it’s the inverse, though, I still don’t see it.

    Someone with a gun attacks you. You die defending yourself. No one did anything wrong.

    Certainly the perpetrator of a crime is the entirety of Florida voters who elected people who wrote laws to make this exactly right.

  44. Old NFO Says:

    Well said, and no they DO NOT want to understand. Period.

  45. Jeff Says:

    In my mind, the only way he could have been found guilty is if they could have PROOVED Zimmerman threw the first punch. Failing that, it was self defense.

  46. Uncle Dave Says:

    It’s not about people “getting it.” They don’t want to get it. It does not fit what they want to have happen. People do not wish to make the paradigm shift from denial to people in power who are hostile to thier way of life because then they feel they should move from thier comfort zone into some form of action against an illrational force.

    The struggle of Good and Evil is on going and the stakes get higher everyday. The choices will get clearer and the cost of doing the right thing will be greater. It’s the best answer I can give you.

    Those promoting this get fame, power and money. Take the money out of racism and it would disapear.

  47. Darrin Says:

    Tthank god some have sense. Thanks Mas.

  48. Patrick Says:

    SharptonShooting of Trayvon Martin

    Estefania Jalvis, from Jacksonville, Fla., wears a hoodie as she holds a sign Tuesday, July 16, 2013, …
    .
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Tuesday that he will lead a national “Justice for Trayvon” day in 100 cities this weekend to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

    Zimmerman’s acquittal over the weekend in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has touched off protests around the country. The Justice Department is investigating whether Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a February 2012 confrontation in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman said he fired his gun in self-defense.

    “People all across the country will gather to show that we are not having a two- or three-day anger fit. This is a social movement for justice,” Sharpton said as he announced the plan outside the Justice Department with several ministers.

    The rallies and vigils will occur in front of federal court buildings at noon Saturday in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

    Sharpton admits there are possible legal hurdles, but says “there is also a blatant civil rights question of does Trayvon Martin and the Trayvon Martins of this country have the civil right to go home.”

    Sharpton says vigils will be followed by a conference next week in Miami to develop a plan to address Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. The law gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

    A six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

  49. Retarius Says:

    Great analysis, Mas – and right in your wheelhouse. As a concealed carrier, I would be very, very interested if you would give any different advice than normal based on this case, what preceded it, and what comes after it. My concern is if this in any way alters the recommended actions of those who carry.

  50. Steve Says:

    Interesting data, Mas, still not clear to me that Zimmerman was correct in leaving his car, essentially laying the ground work for him to have to kill someone. As noted, being judged not guilty is not the same as being innocent.

    Zimmerman will lose big time in civil court for damages, IMO.

  51. Mel Kizadek Says:

    Thanks, Mas. No one else told me that Trayvon was going for George’s gun. Obviously the government-media complex wants to divide us, and conquer us. Maybe stir up some riots so they can declare martial law. Readers, keep in mind that while America is fixated on this story, other things are going on. I heard Russia is going on alert because Israel did something. The media wants us distracted so we don’t see what the government is doing to us.

  52. Steve Says:

    Mas, Thank You for this post.

    How do you respond to the allegation that Martin being on top of Zimmerman prevented Zimmerman from accessing his gun?

  53. Lew Says:

    As soon as the news broke that the obama Administration’s ‘Justice’ Department was going to investigate possible civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman I shot off letters to my Congressman and both Senators telling them that if the ‘Justice’ Department takes Mr. Zimmerman to trial I fully expect the House of Representatives to introduce articles of impeachment against obama for bringing the full weight of the United States Government down on an innocent man.
    Yes, I know that the Senate can only stand by and wait their turn after the House but they still have a powerful voice.

  54. Racer Says:

    Mas, I have been singing this same song to the uninitiated in my daily circle of acquaintances, who simply refuse to acknowledge that they have no clue about what they are talking about. I got accused of being able to quote the law and legal justification of the use of deadly force, but not actually understanding what it means. Thanks to you (MAG40), and many other factual sources over many years, I know I’m dead nuts right on. Simply astounding that folks are so clueless over the legal justifications which have brought welcome justice (for a change!) in this case. I hope the politicization of this misguided attempt at social engineering continues to fail miserably. It’s clearly driven by an agenda of more of the same progressive hogwash. I wish I could think of a way to seize the moment and make it teachable for the thousands of ignorant sheeples out there. We all need to keep beating the drum and hold the line on truth and law.

  55. glenbo Says:

    On another website, I saw that the drink martin had, Arizona Iced Tea Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail, when mixed with skittles and cough syrup that contains dextromethorphan, or codeine, creates “lean” or “purple lean”, a concocted high that causes psychosis and aggression. Martin’s liver at autopsy showed damage that is consistent with DM, or dextromethorphan, use. If he was already drinking that mix when he left the convenience store, his aggression would be easily explained. Not that the prosecution, or the race baiters would ever mention that. I wonder why the defense did not, or if they did, why it was never mentioned online in any news report I read. I have since read the same thing about Skittles and the DM mixed with the Az. Iced tea cocktail. I have to wonder why the police didn’t bring it up. Any ideas on this, Mas?

  56. LtheC Says:

    I’ll start by saying that your, and GZ’s version of events may be exactly how it happened. I don’t know because we have only heard one side, but as I read your position I noticed that most of your arguments could be used by either side as justification.

    You wrote, “If I’m your criminal attacker, you don’t have to wait for me to shoot you before you can shoot me to defend your life, and you don’t even need to wait until the gun is in my hand.”

    It could just as easily be said that TM was being stalked by a man armed two or three times over. GZ was older (and training as a fighter), larger (by 60 lbs?), and had a side arm. At the onset of the altercation, I would call this “disparity of force” in GZ’s favor. TM did not need to wait for GZ to draw his weapon in order to defend himself.

    Even after arming himself with the sidewalk and creating a position of disadvantage for his opponent, the disparity of force was still on GZ’s side, as is evidenced by the fact that TM lost his life, and GZ walked away.

    To paraphrase your own words; Clearly GZ possessed the power to kill TM. That is why, under law, TM was justified in attempting to defend himself with a per se deadly sidewalk.

    I’m not saying that is what happened. I’m saying that your arguments work both ways. We don’t know what happened between the time GZ was following TM, and the time later when GZ’s head was hitting the sidewalk. We don’t know who got physical first, who said what, or who felt most threatened.

    Given that we have only heard one side of the “story”, that of a defendant on trial for murder, maybe your position should be presented as such, using your expertise to shed light on both sides of the equation?

  57. Andrew Says:

    Martin “told Zimmerman that he was going to die tonight”. The only evidence we have for this is Zimmerman’s testimony. This doesn’t mean that he was necessarily lying, but this is a very weak point to make. The following observations are good though, and I think that the verdict sounds as though it was inevitable. However, if Zimmerman created the situation where Martin lost his temper, which it seems that he did, then I think he bears some blame for the outcome. He shouldn’t have been prowling round looking for trouble with a loaded weapon, or at least he should not have approached close enough to be grabbed. This acquital should not be the end.

  58. Colonialgirl Says:

    I never cease to be amazed and wonder about the intelligence of those that STILL want to make Zimmerman guilty for killing the large teenage THUG that was attacking him. martin was a KNOWN user of a drug made with the “watermelon” drink Skittles and Robitussin cough syrup that damages the liver AND the brain and can cause psychotic episodes of violence.
    The thug was at the place he was staying, why didn’t he just go in and lock the door. Why call his “girl friend” that suggested that Zimmerman was a child molester. Why didn’t the 17 year old thug call 911 IF he was afraid?
    Trayvon got what he deserved.

  59. JFM Says:

    Is there any question that Martin was shot while on top of Zimmerman? Aside from the single gun shot wound did Martin have any injuries? Does anybody think that Zimmerman was thinking about anything other than survival while he was getting his head pounded against the sidewalk? Put yourself on the ground after receiving blows to the head with someone kneeling on your chest hitting you and then tell me what’s going through YOUR mind.

    Oh! I shouldn’t have gotten out of the car! I deserve to die! This is what so many seem to think Zimmerman should have done.

  60. Tim Says:

    The verdict was the correct one, but ‘Z’ never should have gotten out of his vehicle. The first lesson I was taught in every self-defense class was conflict avoidance. This is Self Defense 101 and is taught at every level, armed and unarmed.

    Z now gets to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. He has to come to terms with the fact that he ended a human life. He may lose the pending civil suit and have a bankruptcy-proof judgment entered against him.

    I’d bet money Z goes to bed every night wishing he had listened to the 911 dispatcher.

  61. Lew Says:

    A large percentage of Americans are in sympathy or are outright defending Martin, the rosy checked little boy gunned down by the huge, cage fighter and cannon carrying ogre.
    To defend the actions of a young man who it was proven attacked Mr. Zimmerman is to accept the insanity that is the political left in our country.
    If a defender of Martin needs clarification they need to be given a toy gun, lay on the sidewalk, have a teenager sit on their chest and pound the puddin’ out of them. When they believe Mr. Zimmerman may have had the right to preserve his life they could take the toy gun out and say “bang”, MAYBE the teenager will stop the beating, maybe.
    In a fight the person on the bottom usually has lost the fight (personal experience, ouch!)

  62. .45StayAlive Says:

    Mas, I have never been more concerned or frightened about society than I am now. The incredible reaction and mob mentality calling for “justice for Trayvon” is astounding. Far-fetched claims comparing him to true victims of past racism insult the memories of those real victims such as Emmett Till.

    Thank goodness the jury was so courageous. Can you imagine the fear they must feel for themselves now?!?!

    And to top it all off, we now have the country’s “top cop”, the Attorney General of the United States claiming we should “reexamine” our nations attitude toward Self Defense and in particular to the concept of the Stand Your Ground law. He is either evil or stupid. It could be both. It must be at least one.

    Sincerely,

    .45StayAlive

  63. Rick Says:

    When a wannabe cop and a wannabe gangster collide, bad things are bound to happen. There were any number of opportunities for either party to de-escalate, but neither one chose that course. Both paid a high price, and George will continue to pay for years to come. Situations unfold quickly, but if you carry concealed, you have to consider what is worth ruining your life over. Some are obvious, and some (like the Zimmerman story) are not. The collision, in this case, was avoidable.

  64. Linda Says:

    As tragic as this situation is nobody seems to mention that when confronted by George Zimmerman, what if TM had just turned around and walked or ran away instead of being a bad ass and fighting with GZ and ultimately losing his life in the confrontation.

    If he had walked or ran away most likely he would be alive today and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. If he had ran and GZ shot him in the back then GZ would have been guilty of murder and rightly so.

    So tired of race being an excuse for bad behavior. People need to be responsible for their actions and stop blaming others.

    All the TM supporters, where were you when he was doing his best to get kicked out of school for drugs, or kicked out of his Mothers house because she couldn’t handle his behavior anymore and working at being a bad ass gang banger headed down a dead end path? Oh yea. That just doesn’t sell, his bad behavior got him killed and that’s on one person and one person only. Trayvon Martin. He made the choice and the choice was final and fatal.

    Based on the evidence, GZ was rightly acquitted. People need to move on.

  65. Sean T Says:

    LtheC,

    What you say is true; we don’t really know exactly what happened on that night. However, what you fail to realize is that if we don’t know what happened, the correct verdict is for acquittal. It is up to the prosecution to prove that their story is correct. The defense need not offer any proof of their version of events. All the defense needs to do is offer a story of events that is not contradicted by the evidence of the case. I’m sure you agree that, not knowing what happened, GZ’s account of the events is a reasonable one that is not contradicted by the evidence.

    In short: it might have been GZ’s fault, it might not have been. Given that, there’s no choice but to acquit him of any criminal charges. We don’t convict based on “might haves”.

  66. Matt, another Says:

    Just think,

    If TMs father had driven him to the store this could not of happened. If TM had continued to walk to his fathers house, this could not of happened. If TM had continued to evade GZ this could not of happened. If the Sanford PD had any interest in policing these gated communities this might not of happened. Yeah, it is all George Zimmermans fault.

    The horrible irony of this is the fact that TMs father lived in a gated community with an active neighborhood watch sponsored by the HOA (TMs father was a member of the HOA) to protect his property from thugs and burglary.

  67. Z Says:

    To everyone using “stalking” rhetoric, please study the map of the area, including GZ’s truck, TM’s destination, and the location of the incident. Note the location of the incident vs. TM’s destination, and the scale of the map. Note how long GZ stayed on the phone with the dispatcher after losing sight of TM.

    Human walking speed is about 256 feet per minute. With that in mind and the scale of the map, could TM have reached his destination by merely walking from the time GZ lost sight of him and before GZ got off the phone with the dispatcher? How much time elapsed between the time GZ’s 311 call ended and the first 911 call from witnesses?

    Also cross-reference Zimmerman’s full 311 call recording with the map and timeline, note the two questions the dispatcher asks Zimmerman immediately before the heavily quoted “OK we don’t need you to do that” line. Note the ambient noise following those two questions, and following the “OK we don’t need you to do that” contrasted with the ambient noise in the remainder of the call.

    This may help:
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/george-zimmermans-911-call-played-in-court-19473559
    http://www.miamiherald.com/trayvon/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_shooting_of_Trayvon_Martin#February_26

  68. Long Island Mike Says:

    “Zman shouldn’t have got out of his vehicle”

    Well what would have happened if this THUG WANNA BE came up to the car, broke the window and dragged Zman out of it? Then gave him a beating?

    What if Zman drove away and the THUG WANNA BE trailed him to his house? Later to break in and rape his wife? Or invite his THUG FRIENDS over for an ass whooping party on Zman while he slept?

    What if Zman drove away, and the THUG WANNA BE handled his pent up rage at being LOOKED AT by a CRACKA, by finding some old lady to rape and beat?

    You can fill the world with “what if’s”. We can all speculate what if Reno had come to Custers assistance. It doesn’t change the reality of the world one bit. THE THUG WANNA BE attacked Zman and gave him a savage beating as his final act on this planet. What a miserable way to be remembered.

  69. Scott Parsons Says:

    Do you take requests? After the verdict and aftermath, which we apparently ain’t after yet, I started looking at mob violence. Can you write an article on surviving if you happen to be in Mall of America the next time the mob descends? and share this link for top 100 mob violence videos? Sobering stuff. Thanks Mas! http://whitegirlbleedalot.com/top-100-black-mob-violence-videos/

  70. gun-totin mama Says:

    SIGH. What happens, when the rule of law works as intended, and because some people don’t like the result, the govt begins looking for ways to punish the acquitted, anyway?

    A mob in the mall of America may be the least of our problems.

  71. John Dsonice Says:

    I have nothing against Zimmerman. I agree with the right to defend myself and my family.

    n this case everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Zimmerman was asked by the cops not to follow Trayvon but chose to ignore that, He created the situation that escalated to a murder.

    I think the gun owners think that Zimmerman’s acquittal was a win for us – No – this is only going to make things harder for legitimate gun owners.

  72. z Says:

    We don’t actually know that TM saw GZ’s gun or told him that he was going to die. We know only that GZ SAID that TM saw his gun and told him that he was going to die.

  73. Tony Says:

    Mas, I agree that the jury got the verdict right. But I also think Mr. Zimmerman was foolish to get out of his vehicle & follow Mr. Martin. Had he stayed in his vehicle & let the police handle it, there wouldn’t have been a homicide.

  74. Z Says:

    “n this case everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Zimmerman was asked by the cops not to follow Trayvon but chose to ignore that, He created the situation that escalated to a murder. ”

    Please listen to the full recording of Zimmerman’s 311 call: http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/george-zimmermans-911-call-played-in-court-19473559

    Note the two questions the dispatcher asks Zimmerman immediately before the heavily quoted “OK we don’t need you to do that” line. Note the ambient noise following those two questions, and the ambient noise following the “OK we don’t need you to do that”. Compare with the ambient noise in the remainder of the call.

    If you need even more clarification, listen to the dispatcher give his own testimony in the trial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKeP9xFT7eU

  75. Fruitbat44 Says:

    CrimsonAvenger – Good point and perfectly correct. Hmmm . . . perhaps better to say: what “hard” evidence supported Zimmerman’s ( the defence’s ) version of events and refuted the prosecution’s case.

    Z – Thank you for the links.

  76. wg Says:

    I see several points reiterated again and again in the comments above. What the dispatcher told Zimmerman, following Martin provoked the fight, Zimmerman was foolish, etc. What you need to bear in mind is what are the legally relevant facts–that is why the objection exists on relevance–irrelevant facts muddy the water and make resolution of the legal matter more difficult.

    First, what the dispatched told or did not tell Zimmerman to do is NOT A LEGAL ORDER that Zimmerman had to obey. In other words, it is not relevant to self defense. Zimmerman was committing no crime as at this point neither was Martin. 311 Dispatchers and well as 911 dispatchers are not present at the scene and have often given foolish or even wrong information to callers. For example, see Chris Bird’s Book for a controversy in Arizona where an elderly grandmother was holding a suspect breaking into her house at gun point until the police arrived. They advised her to put the gun down right then. The dispatching office then denied that they said it. This is of the lines that police routinely say citizens do not need to handle catching criminals and that is a job for the police. These comments are advisory. Now, I have not taken the time to go through 50 states of caselaw but in Florida the 311 dispatcher’s advice is not legally binding on anyone. Thus, it is not a legally relevant fact except as goes to Zimmerman’s actions and motive.

    Second, provoking someone is not a crime. If I call you a nasty name and you hit me, guess what you have committed battery and you will go to jail. Depending on the circumstances, I may even be able to kill you if you cut off my retreat and cause what a reasonable person would believe as a threat to severe bodily harm and/or death. What is more critical is who threw the first punch or engaged in assault (threatening injury such as I am going to kick your butt) followed by a reasonable belief that would occur at that moment. That person is the aggressor. Other than Zimmerman, no one else could testify about who did that in this case. Forensics indicated at the very least that Martin had wounds consistent with offensive action against Zimmerman and Zimmerman suffered several injuries. Furthermore, it appears that Zimmerman was unable to retreat as Martin was on top according to an eyewitness and most forensic evidence such as the clothes of Martin and the angle of the gunshot entering Martin’s body indicate at least at the time of shooting, the evidence is solidly consistent with Martin cutting off Zimmerman’s retreat. At that point, Martin would be the aggressor unless evidence existed that Zimmerman had pulled a gun (brandishing) at Martin and/or otherwise assaulted him. Thus, Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was judged by the self defense laws of Florida which require the prosecution to disprove Zimmerman’s affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence. The state failed to provide this evidence to jurors in the minds of many good criminal lawyers, Andrew Branca, Ken White, Larry Handfield, Jeff Weiner (last two are Florida criminal defense lawyers), etc.
    If the state has given evidence that Zimmerman had brandished the gun, tried to prevent Martin from getting to a place of safety by holding a gun on him or trying to physically restrain him, then I would bet that the jury would have found Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter (2nd Degree Murder was never in the cards with any evidence that I have seen in this case–I believe it was used solely to get Zimmerman to plead guilty to a lesser charge and/or give the state a fallback compromise verdict at trial that had basically the same penalty. )

    Regarding the last point, I personally believe that Zimmerman was foolish in not waiting for the police. Chris Serino said Zimmerman had a bit of a hero complex. I agree and think that Zimmerman was tactically foolish for not waiting for backup. He was not a sworn law enforcement officer, did not have backup, and had lost where Martin was. Tactically, playing hide and seek with a possibly violent person is not wise. However, it is not legally relevant whether Zimmerman’s actions were foolish, merely whether they were illegal. Following someone in public, not illegal, asking what someone is doing on the property which was a gated community, not illegal, being in a neighborhood watch, not illegal, getting out of the car to check out someone, not illegal, even verbally confronting someone like saying What the heck do you think that you are doing here? (not using fighting words–breach of the peace charges and all)-not illegal. Being tactically foolish when no one’s life or liberty was at issue, I feel that Zimmerman should have simply been a good witness for when police arrived ( I can see his frustration given the high number of burglaries, a nasty home invasion, etc. in the complex about the punks getting away) but if it is only property involved–let the police handle it. Nevertheless, none of these instances justifies Martin (unless new evidence appears that Zimmerman started the fight (not provoked) ) of apparently assaulting and battering George Zimmerman. IMHO the jury’s verdict was justified with the evidence presented at the trial by the prosecution and defense. My suspicion is that the additional evidence from T. Martin’s phone which was not presented at the trial, nor the apparently burglary of a home nearby in Miami area, supports the trial evidence that Martin was not scared of physical confrontations and had considerable experience in fighting. Corey’s IT director who was fired, noted that Corey had hid possibly exculpatory evidence from the defense team regarding Martin.

    One thing to take away from this is that everyone carrying for self defense should know the statutory and caselaw of their state regarding firearms and their use. Most reports in the media of such laws are dangerously inaccurate and not to be relied upon.

  77. Dale Says:

    Mas:
    Thanks for stating clearly what I have been saying all along in regard to this case. As a former Use of Force instructor in the private security industry I am well familiar with the plethora of ways in which it is possible to cause someone “grievous bodily harm” as defined by law. There is no question in my mind that Zimmerman’s life was in danger at the moment he used he weapon, or that he had every right to use it. Throughout my security career, I found myself many times in a position similar to that of Zimmerman that night, following a potentially dangerous suspect on foot, often in contravention of the advice of a Police dispatcher. I could easily have found myself in his situation… except for one little detail: being Canadian, there is a very high probability that it would have been the bad guy who was on trial for murder, rather than me. Because up here, we don’t HAVE the right to armed self-defense. Only the cops and the criminals have guns. And when seconds count, the police are only minutes away………
    D.

  78. Rob Crawford Says:

    “The verdict was the correct one, but ‘Z’ never should have gotten out of his vehicle.”

    I keep hearing this. Apparently we’re supposed to live in our cars now.

  79. Rob Crawford Says:

    “Had he stayed in his vehicle & let the police handle it, there wouldn’t have been a homicide.”

    Had Trayvon not committed felony assault, there wouldn’t have been a homicide.

    Getting out of your car is not a crime. Following someone is not a crime. Asking someone what they’re doing is not a crime.

    Cold-cocking someone, jumping on them, and pummeling them so their head slams into concrete is a crime.

    So… who was responsible?

  80. Freeport56 Says:

    It is very funny to me how even after our National Expert on Lethal Force explains the pin-point aspects of Zimmerman’s acquittal, they still do not get it. Well done Mr. Ayoob !

  81. Ken Says:

    Jess – you are right about one thing. Zimmerman is a wimp. This is how I know that he was jumped by TM because there is no way a supposed threat would have gotten close enough and the gun be still in the holster.

    And let me bang your head off the concrete twice – hard enough to cut, I’m still on top of you – not knowing how you were going to STOP the attack. Zimmerman wasn’t hurt worse because he decided to not get hurt worse.

    If this is how you really think – you should turn in your conceal permit as you are not thinking critically enough to possess the responsibility.

  82. j.young Says:

    Another thing too, and it’s very obvious, is that Zimmerman didn’t know Martin personally (like the media spins it) and Zimmerman didn’t know the age of Martin (not like it matters), but Zimmerman also didn’t know if Martin was or wasn’t armed with a weapon. Of course fists and being in a dominant position and the use of concrete were indeed weapons utilized by Martin, how was Zimmerman to know that this person attacking him wasn’t about to pull out a knife and stick him? Or if his aggressor was about to pull out a gun and shoot him after beating him?

    The govt. (DOJ) was caught red handed setting up these protests as well as funding them and even busing in protestors. Now the govt. with the help of the media and scumbags like Sharpton and Jackson are trying to make this into a gun rights and self defense rights issue. Remember what they told us, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

  83. wri7913 Says:

    ” be ignoring the fact that Zimmerman was asked by the cops not to follow Trayvon but chose to ignore that”

    Or we could be following the evidence which showed the 911 operator [not the cops] told Zimmerman “you don’t need to do that”.

    If you are going to talk about something, at least get your facts right.

  84. wri7913 Says:

    I’m disgusted and not all that surprised at the level of misinformation going on out there about this case. At my job, one of the other managers believed Zimmerman initiated the fight. He was surprised by this fact alone and mentioned that it forced him to re-evaluate what he believed had happened in this case. In light of that revelation he admitted he could see how things would go as they did resulting in an affirmative self defense acquittal.

    I sincerely hope GZ wins his cases against NBC, CNN and Sharpton / Jackson.

  85. Tim Says:

    Rob:

    You misunderstand the point I was trying to make. Did Z have the right to get out of his car? Yep. Did he have the right to follow M? Yep. Was it a good choice? Absolutely not!

    Talk to someone who has ended a human life to save their own. Ask them what it did to them emotionally and spiritually. Then ask yourself if you truly want to experience that and carry it around with you for the rest of your days.

    In that moment Z had no choice, it was kill or be killed. The point is simply that he didn’t have to be in that moment if he had remained in his automobile. Nobody was in immediate danger. What was to be gained by leaving the comparative safety of his automobile?

    I carry a firearm everywhere it is legal to do so. I still practice conflict avoidance. It beats the hell out of the massive legal bills, emotional trauma, and public notoriety that Z gets to look forward to for the rest of his life.

  86. David Oakes Says:

    So, an Expert with a vested commercial interest in selling Personal Defense, in a magazine selling Personal Reliance, comes to the TERRIFYING conclusion that every teenaged male can rightfully be viewed to be armed with a deadly weapon because they have ground beneath their feet.

    Clutch the pearls!

    I fully agree “unarmed” does not mean “impotent”. But I find the irony a little hard to swallow.

    I think that Tim is the only person here talking any sense.

  87. Mas Says:

    David Oakes, are you seriously unable to tell the difference between “ground beneath their feet” and pounding a man’s head into the sidewalk?

  88. Maczart Says:

    The people who hang their hat on the fact that Zimmerman left his vehicle as evidence that Z was somehow responsible for this tragedy are totally missing the point. The post by wg summarizes the relevant facts very well. I would just add that the dispatcher (a civilian, btw) said during his testimony on the witness stand that their department policy requires that dispatchers never give a direct order to callers because that would make to police department legally liable for any actions resulting from the caller following their orders. They are told to make ‘suggestions’ to callers instead.

    I agree that, in hindsight, Z was foolish to leave his vehicle but to say that this would never have happened if Z stayed in his truck is just pure speculation. We can’t know that to a certainty. We don’t know that Trayvon wouldn’t have come back to confront Z in his truck.

    There were many opportunities on both sides to avoid the confrontation but what might have been doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what ACTUALLY occurred. Up to the point that Trayvon struck Z, (and there is overwhelming evidence that he did), neither party was doing anything illegal and both had a right to be there. As soon as Trayvon swung on Z, the whole situation changed from a legal perspective.

    Trayvon was committing an assault on Z and that gave Z the right to defend himself. While some people may not like it, that’s the law. What a person thinks the law should be doesn’t mean squat, it’s what the law says that matters.

  89. Kriterian Says:

    Mas,
    One of the things I try to bring up to people who bring race into the argument is the Roderick Scott case. For those not familiar with the case, Scott was a black man that heard noises outside his house one night. He looked outside and saw three men breaking into a neighbors car. Scott grabbed his gun and went to confront them while his girlfriend called 911. 17 year old Christopher Cervini, charged at Scott, whom shot him twice and killed. This happened in Greece, New York, whose gun laws are way more stringent than Florida. Scott was immediately charged with murder, which was later reduced to manslaughter by a Grand Jury. He was found not-guilty, justified as self defense.

    Any time I try to bring this case up as an example to the Martin supporters I get “it’s okay for Scott to shoot because he saw them committing a crime, Martin was just walking home!”

    I should learn not to argue with these illogical idiots in comments sections, but it grinds my goat.

  90. Thumper Says:

    “Martin saw Zimmerman’s gun in its now exposed holster” means there must have been enough light out to see a gun. Do we know for sure there was that much light on a dark, rainy night? (I am not saying the outcome of the trial was not correct by the way.). I also remember mention of Zimmerman having a flashlight. Anyone know?”

    Gated community, good quality lighting on the street, only an hour after sunset.

  91. Thumper Says:

    Err. My bad, a few minutes after sunset. Sunset on the 27th was just before 7pm He shot him at 7:16

  92. Aaron Says:

    7 months after Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin, another “unarmed” 17 year old got into a confrontation. This one killed a police officer. How? He sucker punched him, knocked him to the ground, mounted him, and punched him in the face while his head bounced off of the concrete. He broke the police officer’s skull.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/tablehome/ci_21843760/teen-accused-el-paso-officers-fatal-beating-indicted

    This is exactly what Zimmerman says was happening, and what Mr. Ayoob has said about the superior position.

  93. Aaron Says:

    BTW, how crazy is this? The police officer was off duty, observed the teen keying his car, then followed the teen in his car, and got out of his car to confront him before being assaulted and killed.

    It’s EXACTLY what was happening with Zimmerman, 7 months later.

  94. quentin Says:

    You are a very sorry group of people to be able to find a man justified in stalking and killing a 17 year old kid. You sorry people find it very easy to selectively disconnect your feelings of empathy for a family and a dead boy. This case is blatantly infested with prejudice and biases against a young black teen. Neither of those two people involved in the encounter were angels or saints but nobody deserved to lose life that night. We so called haters find it disturbing that the true perpetrator is not being held in any way accountable for anything he did wrong in what lead to the slaughtering of a innocent young man. The fact that the jurors (and you guys) can dehumanize a person to find justification in the wrongful killing of another person is sick to me. I know full well that if the races were reversed, the entire handling of this case would be polar opposite.

  95. Jack Spirko Says:

    Well it was the last line that really says it all,

    “didn’t want to understand.”

  96. Mitchell Says:

    The haters are beyond control here. This is why us gun-carriers need to be vigilant and aware.

  97. Felix Says:

    Dear Mr. Ayoob,

    I always read your articles with interest and attention. But this one dissapoints me. The Zimmerman/Martin-Case is complex and so, naturally, people have different oppinions about it. Not everybody is seeing black or white, but some people see the different shades of grey – there was not one good and one bad guy, but two people with good and bad sides, that made some good and some bad decisions.

    You took a position and everybody who isn’t sharing it, is a “hater”.
    On the other hand you state the things martin did and said during the brawl as facts. They are not. Since only one guy survived the situation they are not more then the testimonies of the survior.

    This is nothing more than a biased, one-sided article. You have done better.

  98. Mas Says:

    Felix, the position I took is on the side of what evidence and testimony show. If it doesn’t favor the side you favor, well, I can’t help that.

  99. James Says:

    Daniel in Brooklyn pointed out the problem that is really simmering underneath this case, though he was trying to make the opposite point. Actually, I thoroughly believe that if Zimmerman had been black and Martin white then Zimmerman would be in jail for the rest of his life right now, and actually he would have already been in jail for six months. To think otherwise is to ignore statistics.

    I’m not arguing that the verdict was wrong. The jurors made their decision based on the evidence in front of them. But jurors make decisions all the time, and when it comes to self defence they are much more likely to decide a non-black person had to defend themselves from a black person than they are to decide that a black person had to defend themselves from a non-black person.

    I am not questioning the objectivity of the opinion given here. I don’t doubt that if the races were reversed then the same piece would be here saying that it was self defence. What I doubt is that it would be a piece saying the jury got it right – I think it would instead be a piece about how the jury got it wrong. The statistics that demonstrate this point are what are lying beneath the anger, even if most people can’t articulate that (and even if vilifying Zimmerman is wrong).

  100. Mas Says:

    James, I hear ya — spent two and a half hours today discussing the matter on Tracy and Friends, a radio show out of Ohio with an African-American host and a largely African-American audience. I understand the perceptions and concerns there.

    At the same time, I have to respectfully disagree with one of your conclusions. Study of Stand Your Ground outcomes in Florida by the Tampa Bay Times showed a slightly greater advantage to black defendants than white: 55% of black people who claimed self-defense exonerated, against 53% of whites. There is a case from a few years ago in Rochester NY which mirrors the one under discussion here, black defendant shot unarmed white 17 year old attacking him, and was acquitted by the jury.

    Every black defendant I’ve spoken for in court who shot a white attacker in self-defense has prevailed in the criminal justice system. When race-baiting politicians and such don’t turn things into a show-trial circus, the system works.

  101. Bruce Tiller Says:

    Technically, one cannot pick up a chunk of Cement. Cement is the soft, sticky substances that dries into Concrete. I suppose Cement could be used as a deadly weapon if a victim’s head is held in it for a period of time.

  102. Jay Says:

    Bottom line: one less thug to worry about.

  103. Kerry Grissett Says:

    Thank you Mas for your, as usual, logical and correct assessment of this case.

    It is sad that anyone died, but at least the outcome was just.

    And I especially thank you for calling the real haters out. I am so tired of hearing that term used by the ones who perpetrate it.

    Thanks again!

  104. Don Russell Says:

    George made some severe tactical errors, but was within his right to do so. You strike people at the risk of your life, reqardless of what they said or (legally) wer e doing. If you can’t control yourself to even that amount, you need to be shot.

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