He was 17. He had recently purchased iced tea and Skittles at a local convenience store.Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt while walking back to his father’s fiance’s residence to finish watching a basketball game. He is now dead, shot at the hands of George Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch for the subdivision in which Martin was visiting.
Those facts, in addition to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson showing up to Sanford, Fla. for a rally calling for the head of Zimmerman are all we know at this point. That’s it.
As of March 28 nothing else conclusive is known... This is my blog and so I’ll write it from my perspective. Did Zimmerman have the right to shoot Martin? No one knows at this point. Is it a tragedy that a young man is dead? Absolutely. Do I believe in the stand your ground law we have here in Florida? You’re darn right I do. Do I believe in the right of a civilian to be armed and further to carry a concealed weapon? Yes. I am a middle of the pack voter, feeling extremity at either end of the spectrum will do nothing but divide society and political issues even further apart than they already are. I am not a card carrying member of the NRA, nor do I cry for trees and drive a car with a hamster shelling out as much horsepower as his fat little legs can chug out. With that being said, hopefully I can give a neutral perspective on this issue, aside from the liberal media, reverends jockeying to get facetime on TV, and conservative gun rights zealots screaming that Martin deserved it.
In April 2005 Florida Statute 776.012 and 776.013 were passed, thereby extinguishing the necessity of an individual to make an effort to flee from harm. Florida Statute 776.012 is the applicable statute for Trayvon’s case and the language of the statute is as follows:
Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.This statute is self explanatory in that an individual that reasonably believes their use of deadly force is necessary to prevent getting killed or coming close, can fire away.
No need to run, no need to hide. As applied to Trayvon, many questions exist. Who attacked who? If Zimmerman attacked Trayvon and Trayvon got the upper hand, Zimmerman could not just pop Trayvon as Trayvon would not have been using “unlawful force” against Zimmerman. Under this scenario, Trayvon had the right, under the same statute, to defend himself. Zimmerman should be prosecuted under this scenario.
Conversely, if Zimmerman ran his mouth to Trayvon and Trayvon proceeded to beat Zimmerman to a pulp and Zimmerman reasonably believed he had to shoot in order to avoid his brains from getting bashed in, Zimmerman likely would enjoy the right to use deadly force and Trayvon would have then been using “unlawful force” in his attack. As any 2nd year law student knows, sticks and stones may break bones, but words don’t warrant beat downs.
Contrary to the latest wave of press justifying Zimmerman’s actions via an independent witness attesting that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman and that Zimmerman received a broken nose and had injuries to the back of his head, this in and of itself is not conclusive. What in total, did the witness see? Going the preceding paragraph, if Zimmerman was playing super cop and attacked Trayvon, I argue Trayvon has a right to fight back. What about Zimmerman’s alleged broken nose and skidmarked head? Again, this proves nothing as there is no conclusive evidence as to the aggressor. Alas, there is supposedly a police video that shows no conclusive video of injury to Zimmerman.
Unfortunately, I have my doubts this case will ever be resolved conclusively and to the satisfaction of all parties. My gut tells me the special prosecutor won’t have enough to convict on a charge against Zimmerman. I don’t agree that this is race issue, though I respect the right of those who do to voice their opinions just as I respect the right of gun owners to bear arms. I know this is a very tough case for a prosecuting body based on the facts or lack thereof. No law is perfect and the aforementioned statutes aren’t meant to justify the use of negligent deadly force, but rather to add a layer of protection to the law abiding citizen who fears for his life at the hands of an assaulter with criminal intentions. Whether or not the law did its job in this case is yet to be known. Aside from the legal mumbo jumbo, posturing, and talking heads yapping, it’s a tragedy that a young man died before his time and my heart goes out to the Martin family.