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   Here in Central Texas, on a military post, I didn't expect to find a lot of agreement with my views on the Trayvon Martin case.  So far I haven't really been surprised.  What has knocked me off a balance is how little attention is paid to the events that led up to the shooting, and George Zimmerman's accountability for them.  That George Zimmerman was perfectly within his rights is all over talk radio, and spilling out of the mouths of my colleagues at work.  Self defense has become the knee jerk catchphrase when this topic comes up.  There are issues of race, gun rights, the role of citizen watch groups, and a host of other matters that need to be discussed in the context of this tragedy.  To say the least, we're a country have some figuring out to do.
    That's not why I'm writing this diary today.  You see, here in conservative country there's another knee jerk word that gets tossed around: responsibility.  If a your car breaks down, you didn't check the oil.  If you're poor, you didn't make the right educational choices.  If you're overweight, you didn't watch what you ate.  The crux of the responsibility argument is that the vast majority of circumstances that individuals finds themselves in result from choices that were made by that individual.  
    Personal responsibility is a flagship ideal of the right, so why is it so conspicuously missing in Florida?  An adult, who chose to own a handgun, chose to participate in the neighborhood watch, and who chose to pursue someone he found "suspicious" gets into a scuffle and kills a 17 year old kid coming back from the corner store.  All anyone can do is talk about how he was within his rights according to Florida's stand your ground law.  I haven't heard a Zimmerman defender who was willing to assert that Zimmerman's overall conduct was moral or right, only that in the seconds when Trayvon Martin was killed, he was within his right to self defense.  
    To my mind, this is a pretty simple matter.  If you create a situation and it goes haywire, that's on you buddy.  There was nothing inevitable about this, I think it's a safe bet that Trayvon Martin was not on his way to or from committing some crime.  George Zimmerman brought this whole catastrophe into being through his choices and actions.  Maybe he didn't set out to kill Trayvon Martin. Maybe he was just a guy who bought a gun and the Deathwish boxed set and got in way over his head.  The bottom line here, and what gets to me the most, is that a dumb ass with a gun made choices that resulted in an innocent kid paying for them with his life.
    Even if George Zimmerman isn't convicted of anything, to absolve him of any and all responsibility in this is repulsive.  Worse, to even imply that the man is some kind of hero or victim is beyond words.  This isn't about guilt, or blame, this is about being held accountable for the effects of what a person's done.  This is about not being able to shrug off the death of a child with an "oops, my bad".        
     

Originally posted to TotalitariDan on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (122+ / 0-)
  •  Well George Zimmerman would certainly (11+ / 0-)

    disagree with you here

    I think it's a safe bet that Trayvon Martin was not on his way to or from committing some crime.
    In fact, he was quite certain that Martin was in the middle of committing a crime, thereby fully justifying his suspicions and actions. And everyone who makes the 'within his rights' argument, has jumped to the same conclusion.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:04:01 PM PDT

    •  And why is that? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogerdaddy

      Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

      by Back In Blue on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He jumped out of his car and followed him (12+ / 0-)

        because he wanted have a friendly chat with him, right?
        He said, on the 911 call 'these guys' always get away. What do you supposed he meant by that?

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:48:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well that, black men walking around are always (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          out looking to commit a crime and always get away.

          What else would a paranoid bigot mean by it?

          But what it suggests to me is that he was/is a paranoid bigot and that he wanted a confrontation.

          Manslaughter. Case closed.

          Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

          by Pescadero Bill on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:24:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  zimmerman should have shot with a camera (6+ / 0-)

          and not a gun.

          If he was looking to curb crime, a camera would have been a better choice in this case. That would have created a piece of evidence. A picture of a person, their vehicle, their buddies, a license plate number, etc.,

          Then you turn it over to the police with a formal complaint.

          BUT

          Following a someone he considered suspect didn't make it self defense. At that point, Martin would have been eligible to claim self defense when he felt followed, cornered or trapped.

          Martin didn't have a hostage. He wasn't armed, and posing an eminent threat to anyone.

          So armed pursuit by a civilian was uncalled for.

          Even if Martin were theoretically a punk loitering, that still doesn't justify armed pursuit by a civilian.

          When you use a gun for self defense, that means that someone else is offering you an immediate threat, and that threat is communicated in such a way that you feel you could loose life or limb.

          If Martin had been breaking into Zimmerman's house, that would have been different. Or trying to get into his car or truck, that would have been different.

          But thus far, the evidence provided does not justify the use of deadly force.

          Sometimes bad people get away with crimes, because our laws are such, that certain circumstances have to transpire before action can be lawfully taken. That is the price of living in a free society.

          That is why most of us feel that we can walk down the street in a neighborhood without fear of being shot.

          Because we all imagine, that ideally, deadly force is reserved for the absolute worst case scenarios:
          Home Invasion
          Car Jacking
          Kidnapping,
          Murder attempts
          armed robbery

          and not
          Walking down the street
          Being an annoying teenager
          or
          the wrong race

          If more evidence comes to the surface that shows Martin was in the act of committing a violent crime, I will take my lumps.

          Til then, right now, it looks bad for Zimmerman.

    •  Yet Z was not a NOT a deputy who's job it was (39+ / 0-)

      to stop a known armed and dangerous criminal.

      He was a self-appointed vigilante with a gun who stalked, threatened (by his presence even if not in so many words), and summarily shot a person he knew nothing about.

      Methinks he said too much in his "apology."

      Z didn't know how old he was, Z didn't even know if he was armed or not...gee that's too bad. What the hell did Z think was worth shooting someone over? Did his "security" training (yeah, right) teach him anything about warning shots?

      And if Z was any kind of official on watch, when did he ever say-
      "Hey kid, I'm Z from neighborhood security- who are you?"
      Where was his "official" hat ?  How about a flashlight?

      With none of that apparent, Z's the strange dude acting suspicious in the neighborhood.

      Yet what reaction would the cops have had if Trayvon showed up at home bursting through the door yelling "There's a strange dude following me!" and Trayvon's family had called them?

      •  Or just say, "I have a gun" (9+ / 0-)

        We know from Mr Martin's girlfriend that the encounter started with an exchange of words. It did not begin with Mr Zimmerman being attacked or ambushed. Therefore we know the two were in sight of the other and were speaking to each other. If Mr Martin tried to attack Mr Zimmerman from this point in time on, all Mr Zimmerman would have had to do was say, "Back off I have a gun."

        Words and bullets are faster than running. Can you imagine that these two did not say anything until Mr Zimmerman had approached to within two feet of Mr Martin? Trayvon Martin asked, "Why are you following me?" Mr Zimmerman did not identify himself as a resident or a watch member or inform Trayvon Martin that he was armed.

        Mr Zimmerman had all the opportunity in the world to do these things.

        Personal responsibility? You bet. Perfect way to summarize the whole thing.

  •  If you carry a gun outside of your house (13+ / 0-)

    Do you really think you're qualified to use it in public? I'm sure most people are not .

    •  Very few have the training and (2+ / 0-)

      practice to be able to handle the whole situation. G2Geek has written extensively on this in one of the other TM diaries.
      The problem is you are dealing with much more than aim, fire and hit your target. Target practice is definitely essential, it is just far short of the whole compliment of skills you need to manage a situation effectively.

      To use a medical analogy, if you have watched a code on a medical show when the person ultimately has to be shocked with the paddles, think of how much other stuff was going on before the paddles are used. Most importantly, you have to really know it is appropriate to deliver that shock.  

      In this case, Zimmerman did nothing to approach Trayvon verbally, in a friendly manner. He could have done it from his vehicle without getting close enough for Trayvon to be uncomfortable or successful at doing anything to Zimmerman.

      Being able to talk to a person who is threatening you or others is a skill, as are anticipating moves, knowing your firearm Really well, so when you do have to use it, you don't fumble.

      As G2Geek pointed out, this is not a skill set you learn and just wait til you need it. To be able to participate and/or run a code, you have to go through an initial certification class of 2 days. You go over the material, then practice doing mock codes. Recertification is now every 2 years which I think is too long. It's a full day. Brief review of algorithms, meds, changes in the protocols, then practice. Everyone leads a code, and is part of the team when others are the code leader.

      The initial training for using a gun in self defense should be repeated periodically. Not sure if there is an established time, I would go with whenever the individual has the sense they are not up to speed.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:19:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  people were jumping to politicize this case since (10+ / 0-)

    day one, here Zimmerman has been compared to the klan and the slave patrol in numerous reclisted diaries.  It's only natural that some conservatives err too far to the other side and start acting like he was completely justified in everything he did.

    TotalitariDan, I agree with your assessment completely.

    When Martin asked, why are you following me, Zimmerman should have disarmed the situation by identifying himself, not escalated the situation.  Both young men chose to escalate the situation, but only one of them brought the gun to the fight.

    •  we don't know that both chose to (46+ / 0-)

      escalate the situation.  we just simply don't.

      we have only zimmerman's constantly shifting word on that.

      but the girlfriend's testimony contradicts that sense as she speaks of trayvon's worry and concern, if not exactly fear.

      and we have a phone conversation that was suddenly halted.  

      just where was that phone found?  and why did the phone call end?

      i find it all too easy to postulate that zimmerman impeded trayvon from getting away from him, either by grabbing his shirt, or arm or some such.
       perhaps he knock the phone from trayvon.

      and we have a 41 second wail of help on a 911 call the voice of which is not zimmerman.

      41 seconds is a helluva long time to scream for your life.  

      time it.  41 seconds when trayvon was definitely not - let me say it again DEFINITELY NOT escalating one single thing.

      Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson.

      by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 11:14:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw some photos (0+ / 0-)

        last week of the blood dripping off the back of Zimmermans head - I don't claim to know what happend to escalate the situation to that level but unless ABC photoshopped the pics - there's no denying blood out of the back of Z's head.

        Still doesn't justify killing the kid or stalking him.

        I think the only chance the State has is that they have to present the case that Martin was Standing his ground.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:17:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most probably fake photo or self inflicted injury (7+ / 0-)

          A photo that was supposedly taken 3 minutes after murdering Trayvon by an unidentified person

          which look highly suspicious and certainly not consistent with having your head banged on the pavement

          why are their perfectly formed drips of blood yet no smearing or smudging of blood?

          there would be smearing and smudging if the "injuries" were truly the result of a fight

          everything that Zimmerman has contended is undermined by logic

          Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

          by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:36:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it looks to me as if the head injury could (2+ / 0-)

            be consistent with having banged his head on the edge of a concrete sidewalk.  

            it is the same injury, cleaned up, that we see in the police footage.

            but he didn't fire in self-defense: for 41 seconds trayvon was screaming in terror.  the aggressive force towards dominance needed to continue  beating on your opponent is not compatible with the recessive state of that 41 second wail.

            iow, zimmerman had 41 seconds in which he was the dominant force on that lawn.  he had all the power, and he had time to think, to consider, to use his advantage in a way that would end the confrontation.  

            murder2 all the way.

            Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson.

            by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:00:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (2+ / 0-)

              Trayvon would not have been screaming for help for probably more than a minute if he were attacking GZ in any way.

              However, I do not agree regarding the "injuries"

              The blood would be smeared around GZ head.  Take a look at the picture again.  

              It looks like either photoshop or the result of some small self-inflicted razor cuts.

              At minimum, one would except that in a scuffle blood got displaced and smeared and streaked around his head, on his neck, on his hands.  Not NEATLY streaming down his head.

              This is not even to mention the truly bizarre idea that GZ was pozing for this picture 3 minutes after killing this boy.  

              Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

              by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:32:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i'm not too fussed about the way the blood (0+ / 0-)

                is flowing from that horizintal wound, now that i'm able to explain the horizontality itself.  

                and if zimmerman was posing for the picture, in order presumably, to build his case, why did he refuse the ambulance?

                i don't think it was posed so much as his friend had presence of mind to snap the picture.  

                and as an aside: a few days ago, while reaching up to replace a basket on it's hook, around 7-8 feet above me, i dislodged another basket which fell straight down and whacked me on the bridge of my nose.  it hurt like billy-o because it hit me just right.  but the thing weighed less than 3 lbs, for heavens sake, so i didn't think much more about it.

                within a few hours my nose and cheeks were swollen, there was a small dribbled of blood running down my cheek, and the next day one eye was red  where it should be white. it was a huge effect from something very minor. i looked like i had been beaten up.    i just thought it was interesting to have that happen.

                Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson.

                by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:59:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I suspect (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  amsterdam

                  that his "friend" really didn't take a picture within 3 minutes of him killing the boy because it doesn't mesh with the police's timeline.

                  The police would have already been on the scene at that time.

                  Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

                  by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:15:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you're right: there's something screwy about (2+ / 0-)

                    a police report that doesn't mention the presence of a third party bystander at a murder scene.

                    but the time stamp is fixed by the telephone network the guy used, right?  he couldn't really change that very easily, could he?  i plead ignorance to understanding how that works.

                    no, the problem is with officer smith's police report.  at best it is sloppy.

                    Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson.

                    by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:29:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Did you see the video of the neighbor who (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yellow is my favorite color

          called 911.  She said she watched the whole thing and the whole time they were on the grass -- not on the sidewalk for head bashing.

        •  have you read re: the pattern of behavior (3+ / 0-)

          needed to establish murder2?

          in those 41 seconds of trayvon's screaming is the reckless depravity short of premeditation and wanton disregard for human life that is needed to convict.

          people need to let go of SYG around here: it won't play a large role in this case, imo.

          i don't think the prosecution will seek to defend martin so much as they will prosecute zimmerman.  

          Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson.

          by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:51:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Responsibility? Zimmerman could have/should have (21+ / 0-)

      simply waited for the Sanford PD to arrive as advised by the dispatcher who answered his 911 call. Zimmerman never had any valid reason to chase or even approach Trayvon Martin, especially once he knew he had successfully "made the call" and the police (not him) were on their way.

      Whatever confrontation followed between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, it came about exactly because Zimmerman wanted to make something happen.

      It did.

      Accountability?

      We can only hope for an eventual guilty verdict and a very long sentence.

      I have my doubts, given the jurisdiction (and related original reluctance to charge or indict).

      Regardless of how the (media circus) trial eventually plays out, let us hope to at least counter these insane SYG statutes and do something to salvage something positive from the tragic sacrifice of Trayvon's short life.

      Least we can do. No "Do-over" for Zimmerman, or us.

    •  Interesting... (14+ / 0-)
      Both young men chose to escalate the situation
      What did Martin do to "escalate the situation"? I suppose "walking while black" is the crime here. "Wearing a hoodie while black" would count as an aggravated offense. And "entering a gated community while wearing a hoodie while walking while black" is just the sort of "escalation" that gets people killed?

      On one hand we have "shooting a child". On the other we have Martin's "offense". Obviously we have two entirely comparable "escalations". Talking about fucking false equivalence, victim blaming, all that rightwing bullshit.

    •  Everything is political (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund

      All the choices we make, every single day, have political implications.

      It is impossible not to interpret this through a political lens.

      It goes back to the kinds of schools we send our kids to (created by political choices, whether ours or those of others), the kinds of "entertainment" we are exposed to (for instance, stuff that glorifies the military and war), the food we eat (we take over land to grow what we want to eat from people who live off what the land offers, without diminishing it), etc.,etc.,etc.

      The choice made by a person to have a gun in the first place is fraught with political implications in this country.

      Even the choice to go to the store and buy candy and a can of iced tea has political implications.

      We are surrounded by choices on a daily basis, and part of what we are doing here on dKos is discussing how to make those choices consistent with what we say we believe.

      I must be dreaming...

      by murphy on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:03:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fail. BOTH people did not "choose" any damn thing (10+ / 0-)
      When Martin asked, why are you following me, Zimmerman should have disarmed the situation by identifying himself, not escalated the situation.  Both young men chose to escalate the situation, but only one of them brought the gun to the fight.
      The bolded part is mushmouthed false equivalency. What benefit do you feel in accrued by this sort of insistence that Trayvon Martin was in the slighest fault for being afraid of his stalker?
  •  Well, they don't think he is personally.... (4+ / 0-)

    ...responsible for what happened.

    Of course, what they think doesn't matter. What 12 people on a jury think does matter. I am very glad that Zimmerman has been charged, albeit by a prosecutor whose heart is not in it. There is a chance he will be convicted. I regard it as a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.

  •  Well said (9+ / 0-)

    I wonder the same thing re the right wing's responsibility mantra. It appears that is thrown out the window whenever they choose.

  •  And, because he created the confrontation, (21+ / 0-)

    he was not within his right to use force.

    We hear a lot of talk of how justified use of force law in Florida (of which "stand your ground" is a subset) permits you to use force if you "feel" threatened, though the actual language is more specific, namely a reasonable belief that force is necessary to prevent injury or death to oneself or another, or to prevent a forcible crime.

    What is conveniently left out is that this provision only applies if you're acting lawfully.

    Furthermore, the law, as written, only allows you to meet force with force. In other words, you can't initiate the force - you have to be responding to someone else's initiation of force.

    If you go out, and stalk or assault someone, much less batter them, you have nominally lost the protection of the justifiable use of force laws. From all available evidence, this is precisely what Zimmerman did.

    So, no, he didn't have the right to stand his ground and meet force with force. He would have only had such right if Trayvon had come after him, which we know from the 911 call was not the case.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:58:03 AM PDT

    •  I have posted this very same thing (11+ / 0-)

      here multiple times and one certain poster has followed me contending that I am wrong.  I totally agree with you.

      If you go out, and stalk or assault someone, much less batter them, you have nominally lost the protection of the justifiable use of force laws. From all available evidence, this is precisely what Zimmerman did.

      So, no, he didn't have the right to stand his ground and meet force with force. He would have only had such right if Trayvon had come after him, which we know from the 911 call was not the case.

      It will be interesting to see if said poster shows up again.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:30:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now, that said, just because you clearly haven't (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya, solliges, sockpuppet, Tonedevil

        followed the law doesn't mean an idiot judge won't declare that you have and throw the case out. You often see a case of a man who saw his car being robbed, and chased the thief down and knifed him, and the force being ruled justified, despite it clearly not meeting the criteria set down in the law.

        But that's not a problem with the law - it's a problem with the judge. There's no law protecting people from prosecution that can't be ignored by cops or prosecutors, and no law meant to go after actual crimes that can't be nullified by juries and judges.

        We can't fix all the problems in our society with more, stricter laws; but instead have to change the culture that thinks it's acceptable to apply them selectively.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:35:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In light of Adam B's clarifications regarding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, Tonedevil

        the more limited rights of self defense of aggressors, it makes me wonder how many of the cases where someone, according to the media, gets off on a "SYG" claim got nothing of the sort, but got off - appropriately or inappropriately - a "Use of force by aggressor" claim, like the above-mentioned guy who chased down, confronted, and eventually knifed someone stealing his car radio.

        If so, the judge would deserve an apology for me calling him an idiot.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:00:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We've been over this before. You're not right. (6+ / 0-)

      1. There was nothing unlawful about Zimmerman's actions.
      2. Even if Zimmerman had provoked or initiated the physical confrontation -- and he certainly may have -- Florida law explicitly protects his right to use deadly force if "such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;" or if the provoker clearly backs off first.

      •  Is assault lawful? (7+ / 0-)

        The FL Justified use of force law also requires that the person claiming it has to be acting lawfully.

        If Zimmerman can be reasonably shown to have picked the fight, how does assault not apply?

        You keep citing reasonable belief provision of the statute. Go a couple lines up.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:38:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure. (9+ / 0-)

          Here's the statutes for everyone to see.  Tell me exactly which use of "lawful" you're citing.

          As you know, I'm focusing on section 776.041 - use of force by aggressor - and what I'm telling you is that the statute protects Zimmerman unless, I guess, you're arguing that his very confrontation with Martin constitutes a "forcible felony" in the first place, which doesn't seem to be accurate.

          •  See below, I misread which part you were citing (7+ / 0-)

            Nonetheless, once you have started the fight, you do have a duty to retreat once again, which makes the SYG discussion moot.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:50:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  IF he was on the ground (0+ / 0-)

              With Trayvon on top of him, he had no opportunity to "retreat". IF it was Zimmerman who was yelling for help - as he immediately afterwards claimed it was - then he clearly couldn't get away on his own.

              •  If, and if. Neither seem to be in evidence, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amsterdam, MadRuth

                except as one of Zimmerman's multiple, contradictory, public claims.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:09:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, that is NOT true (0+ / 0-)

                  It does appear, from EVERY piece of evidence we have, that Zimmerman was the guy on the bottom - the grass on his back and the injuries on the back of his head.

                  Secondly, we KNOW that the two of them were involved in a scuffle on the ground. Regardless of where he was in that scuffle, it was NOT easy to retreat.

                  Third, you only have a duty to retreat IF YOU CAN.

                  Lastly, I haven't seen ANY contradictory claims from Zimmerman regarding that physical confrontation. None. Zero. Zilch.

                  It's baffling to me that, once you're proven wrong, you can't simply acknowledge it and move on.

          •  Doesn't the "Use of force by aggressor" (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            whaddaya, JVolvo, sockpuppet, doroma, Tonedevil

            provision shift the burden back on the defendant, if the prosecutor can show that he started the fight, to prove that he either tried to exhaust every means of escape, or good-faith retreated and was pursued; and not on the prosecutor to prove that he didn't?

            Thanks for helping clarify this for me.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:55:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think so. (6+ / 0-)

              Because, after all, it's a defense being offered by the defendant as to an otherwise-applicable homicide charge.

            •  The actual Statute says (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DollyMadison, Tonedevil
              776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
              (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

              (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
              (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

              (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

              I think that whether Zimmerman was acting "lawfully" turns on the question of whose viewpoint you are adopting.   I can tell you that if I was being pursued by a stranger in the dark who closed within a few feet of me (Zimmerman's version), I would treat that as an assault, and feel compelled to turn and defend myself.  If I have the immediate ability to attack, then so does he.  Of course, it's not an assault if you are a "neighborhood watch captain" and all you are doing is attempting to question a strange person in your neighborhood, especially if that strange person knows perfectly well he doesn't belong there, you know, lurking around in a hoodie.  

              The SYG law wan't intended to be viewpoint neutral, and we damn well know it.  It wasn't intended to be used by young black men in hoodies. It was tailor made to pander to certain peoples' prejudices.  Now the courts have to find a way to interpret it as though it was viewpoint neutral, and they are going to be tying themselves in knots doing it!

              A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

              by legalarray on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:22:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Since we're not talking about SYG anymore, (0+ / 0-)

                since it clearly doesn't apply, this:

                The SYG law wan't intended to be viewpoint neutral
                would seem to be little more than inflammatory speculation.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:13:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's right, I can't prove it because (0+ / 0-)

                  I didn't actually see the bullet come out of the gun.

                  Merely inflammatory?  I don't know what's "mere" about it.  The more people I can get inflamed about certain racist policies in this country the better.

                  My earliest encounter with the "stand your ground" pholosophy was in my youth.  I was talking to a fellow Marine who was a good 'ol boy from East Texas about racial attitudes. He explained that he had absolutely nothing aginst black people, why, if a black man passed him on the sidewalk, he's say "howdy," as long as the black man stepped aside for him.  This "Stand Your Ground" stuff is a direct descendant of that culture.  

                  A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

                  by legalarray on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:26:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Burden of proof? (7+ / 0-)

            776.401 seems to put the burden of proof on Zimmerman, doesn't it? It says that the law doesn't apply to someone who initially provokes the use of force unless they meet certain conditions. And 2(b) obviously doesn't apply, since Zimmerman was seen standing over Martin's body. So wouldn't Zimmerman need to prove that he reasonably believe[d] that he or she [was] in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm?

            And why doesn't threatening an unarmed child with a gun count as a "forcible felony" anyway? Aren't there laws concerning things like menacing and child endangerment?

            •  He was seen in that position after the attack. (4+ / 0-)

              As far as I know.  Z's former attorneys have said that M was atop Z when M was shot, then M fell forward in Z's direction, then Z got up.

              •  On the other hand, the evidence will likely (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Adam B

                show that someone other than Zimmerman was screaming for help for some time, casting serious doubt on Zimmerman's claim that he did everything he could to retreat (which, being the aggressor, he did have a duty to do).

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:14:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You have no reason to believe that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Be Skeptical

                  And, immediately after the event, within minutes, Zimmerman was stating that it was he himself who had been yelling for help. Unless he had the presence of mind to realize that there might be a question of who it was who was yelling for help, he wouldn't have said that UNLESS it truly WAS he himself who was yelling for help.

                  And again, IF he was on the ground under Trayvon, as the evidence we have shows he was - grass on his back, injuries, including welts, bruises and blood seen immediately afterwards - then he didn't have the opportunity to retreat.

                  And while Z WAS, undeniably, the initial aggressor, IF Trayvon threw the first punch, then Trayvon became the second aggressor, and as AdamB pointed out above, following Travyon, while 'aggressive', isn't illegal.

                  •  In fact, such publicly released evidence as (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    amsterdam

                    we have indicates that it's not Zimmerman crying for help.

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:11:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  except (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    amsterdam, Tonedevil

                    we don't see any grass, welts or bruises

                    and even if we did

                    The only person justified in exerting self defense was Trayvon.

                    That anyone other than Zimmerman's paid attorney or family members would contend otherwise is a truly sad indication of just how deeply and pathologically racist many US citizens are.

                    So now in Dolly's world it is okay to profile, stalk and harrass and then kill an unarmed CHILD

                    Wow.  Some sick racist BS.

                    Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

                    by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:19:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sick racist BS (0+ / 0-)

                      I believe that characterizes your comment.

                    •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Be Skeptical, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                      except we don't see any grass, welts or bruises

                      >>> So what? I haven't seen Obama's birth certificate, yet I believe that OTHERS have seen it and we can trust their words. Lawyers, sworn to tell the truth, have stated that there were welts, bruises and cuts on his head. They've almost certainly seen hospital reports that back up those injuries. Running with the conclusion that he wasn't actually injuried is ignorant and offensive - how like you!

                      and even if we did

                      The only person justified in exerting self defense was Trayvon.

                      >>> Again, totally untrue. As I have REPEATEDLY said,  yeah, Trayvon likely COULD HAVE raised a self-defense claim, as Zimmerman could have made him feel scared. So what? That doesn't give him carte blanche to turn a fear into a physical altercation, NOR does it then deny George Zimmerman the right to defend himself once that altercation is begun by Trayvon! So, you're wrong that ONLY one person in a fight can ever claim self-defense. Totally, unsupportably wrong.

                      That anyone other than Zimmerman's paid attorney or family members would contend otherwise is a truly sad indication of just how deeply and pathologically racist many US citizens are.

                      >>> That so many here at DK would run with unsupportable conclusions IS a sad state of affairs. So many have kneejerk reactions to REAL racism in our nation that when something happens that might not be racist, they see it anyway.

                      So now in Dolly's world it is okay to profile, stalk and harrass and then kill an unarmed CHILD

                      >>> The prosecution admitted in the bail hearing that they had NO BASIS upon which to claim it was profiling. I have never said that I supported profiling, but EVEN IF ZImmerman WAS profiling Trayvon, that STILL gives him the right to use lethal force to defend himself if he thinks his life is in danger and he can't retreat. THIS IS THE LAW. In Florida, one CAN carry a gun as he did. I HATE GUNS, but that doesn't mean that I can deny the law exists that allows one to use lethal force to defend oneself.

                      And just because Trayvon was unarmed doesn't mean that he was harmless and that  Zimmerman couldn't defend himself with lethal force.

                      Again, it's the LAW in almost every state in our union. Your ignorance is YOUR shortcoming, not mine.

                      Wow.  Some sick racist BS.

                      >>> Wow, some ignorant bullshit from you.

                •  Robo (0+ / 0-)

                  Do you still not see anyone here supporting Zimmerman?

                  Can you say that with a straight face?

                  If the victim was a white woman or a white kid, we wouldn't even be having this absurd discussion as the murderer would have been arrested long ago, jailed without bond, and awaiting 1st degree murder conviction.

                  There wouldn't be absurd post after post attempting to explain away what is obvious and true

                  just as there always is when the victim is black...even here on dailykos ...the same folks with the same excuses here and regarding Oscar Grant and on and on

                  Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

                  by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:23:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Why don't you KNOW this? (0+ / 0-)

              Why don't you know that it was only after the shot that Zimmerman was seen standing over Trayvon?

        •  But it Zimmerman confronted and stalked Martin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yellow is my favorite color

          and Martin were a legally armed adult and shot Zimmerman, then whose SYG laws would trump?

          The Aggressor [Zimmerman]
          or Martin [the theoretical defender]?

          It seems to me the only reason SYG laws are invoked at all here, is because of the presence of a gun.

          If Zimmerman had chased Martin down the street with a baseball bat, would the fringe right be so quick to defend his right to use deadly force?

          •  SYG, as part of the Justifiable Use of Force (0+ / 0-)

            statute, applies regardless of the weapon, as long as the other criteria are met, specifically:

            A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
            If you're in your home, or start the fight, then other provisions of the law other than SYG apply.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:26:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It has not been established that Martin was (2+ / 0-)

              acting in an unlawful manner.

              So the question still stands. Had the table been turned, who's rights would take precedence?

              •  No one said he was. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Adam B, DollyMadison

                Had the tables been turned, and assuming Trayvon didn't attack first (which seems unlikely), Trayvon would fallen under all the protections of the Stand Your Ground provision; that is, he would not have had a legal duty to retreat before defending himself, would be immune to arrest, prosecution, or lawsuit pending a showing of probable cause that he acted unlawfully, and would have been able to claim damages had he been arrested or prosecuted without a showing of probable cause.

                In theory. I think we are all aware that the protections of the law are imperfectly applied, depending on who you are. That's not a problem with the law, but with the people charged to uphold it.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:17:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The evidence doesn't add up that Trayvon attacked (2+ / 0-)

                  first.

                  •  Which is why I added the parenthetical (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GreenMother

                    "which seems unlikely".

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:26:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  True, no evidence, but common sense? (3+ / 0-)

                    If there was a physical altercation, then why would Zimmerman start a fist fight if he was carrying a gun?  Bad idea...
                    If Zimmerman brandished his gun when confronting Martin about his "suspicious" behavior, why would Martin attack him under those circumstances?  Real bad idea...
                    Again, if there was some kind of fight, the only scenario that makes sense to me is one in which Zimmerman confronted Martin without showing a gun, and Martin initiated some kind of physical contact (whether a punch, wrestle, etc.)

                    Please recognize this is pure speculation and does not indicate I am a Zimmerman "supporter."

                    •  Hey I am with you on pure speculation, which is (3+ / 0-)

                      why I am waiting for more information to emerge.

                      It all looks hinky to me.

                    •  It's clearly much more logical (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil

                      to believe that a kid with no history of violence

                      initiated a physical altercation with a stranger who outweighed him by 100 pounds whom he was trying to run away from

                      rather than believe that this man with a history of violence and vigilante behavior (who moments later shoots and kills the unarmed boy who was screaming for help for at least 41 seconds) was the aggressor

                      If there was a physical altercation, then why would Zimmerman start a fist fight if he was carrying a gun?  Bad idea...

                      It was a bad idea to racially profile and innocent kid and call the police on him

                      it was a bad idea to follow the unarmed kid after being told not to

                      it was a bad idea to bring a gun with you when pursuing this boy

                      it was a bad idea to attack an ATF agent

                      it's a bad idea to be a grown man without a career

                      it's a bad idea to start a web page asking for money after you kill an innocent unarmed kid

                      it's a bad idea to post pictures of racist graffiti on your website

                      it's a bad idea wto beat up your ex-girlfriend

                      and on and on and on and on

                      George Zimmerman is clearly not a person who makes good decisions.  The question becomes why so many of us feel compelled to go through all manner of mental gymnastics to pretend otherwise

                      Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

                      by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:49:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  One question (0+ / 0-)

                        Why would Zimmerman initiate a physical confrontation when he was carrying a loaded weapon?

                        Where is the common sense in that?  

                        •  why would zimmerman do any of the things (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          amsterdam

                          he did?

                          Where is the common sense in any of it?

                          Where is the common sense in shooting a kid who is screaming for help?

                          Where is the common sense in disobeying the 911 operator?

                          Where is the common sense in attacking an ATF agent?

                          Where is the common sense in starting a bizarre website asking for donations after you killed a some innocent kid?

                          and all of the other nutty things that we know Zimmerman has done in his life.

                          It is pretty clear that Zimmerman doesn't operate from a common sense perspective.

                          Zimmerman is a coward and without the gun, he would have stayed in his vehicle and waited for the police.

                          He felt comfortable chasing after this kid because he knew his gun would finish any fights that he started.

                          Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

                          by yellow is my favorite color on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 10:37:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You didn't answer my question (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DollyMadison

                            other than to claim Zimmerman doesn't have any common sense (though few of the points you raise speak to that).

                            And it is really an essential question that will be at the center of the trial.  

                            A realistic scenario that does not address this is not very plausible.  People with loaded weapons do not initiate physical brawls.  Why should they?  It's a good way to get killed.  At a minimum you give away your advantage.  

                            And why would an unarmed man start a brawl with someone who is brandishing a weapon?  Truly why?  

                            I will say it again.  By far the most plausible scenario is for Zimmerman to have pursued Martin with his gun still tucked away, then Z verbally confronted M, M then slugged or grabbed or wrestled Z, then Z shot M (what happened specifically here is unknown).  

                            Speculative, but plausible.  Most of the others I have heard are not.

                      •  Oh, I swear (0+ / 0-)

                        The facts?

                        Zimmerman weighed 180 when he was first arrested.
                        Trayvon weighed 170.

                        Zimmerman HAD BEEN heavier.
                        Trayvon, earlier in his life, HAD BEEN lighter.

                        So, Trayvon had multiple inches in height over Zimmerman, and he also had youth, and they weighed about the same.

                        And again, we don't KNOW who was yelling, but the evidence we have is that it was Zimmerman who was yelling.

            •  The "has a right to be" (0+ / 0-)

              how is that interpreted?

      •  And if the law said that Jews were not considered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Plantsmantx

        human and therefore had no rights, then you'd be supporting that "law" too, right? Jesus Christ .. when madmen enact insane laws that doesn't mean they're "legal". Florida and the whole South is an insidious snakepit of enacted and "unspoken" laws whose whole purpose is to promulgate the slave-master mentality that's been a part of the culture since 1640. You want to change that? Displace the entire Southern population (like they did the native Amrericans) and bring in a whole new batch of people. Otherwise just wash  your hands of the whole mess.

        The people demand the fall of this regime ...

        by fourthcornerman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:43:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have no idea what you mean by this. (5+ / 0-)

          These same laws protected Martin's use of force had he been the one who survived the fight.

          •  This makes me laugh (3+ / 0-)
            These same laws protected Martin's use of force had he been the one who survived the fight.
            Let's see...in that scenario:  All given facts in the case up to the moment when Trayvon's phone goes dead on the call with his girlfriend...okay.

            Then the witnesses hear the 41 seconds of screams for help.   And a gun shot.  

            Police arrive on the scene and find Trayvon standing over Zimmerman's dead body, with a gun in his hand.   Trayvon says to them, "I had to protect myself.  He attacked me."

            How fast do you think the SPD would've had Trayvon in handcuffs and booked for murder at the police station?   Do we really believe that the SPD would've just taken Trayvon at this SYG word and let him walk, like they did Zimmie?  Do we really believe that law enforcement would've let Trayvon just hang out after Zimmerman's death free to walk around for six weeks afterward?

            And in front of a jury:  Do we really believe that the case would be focused on Trayvon's right to defend himself against Zimmerman coming after him with a loaded gun?  Or would the slant be that Trayvon had the opportunity to retreat but instead escalated the confrontation, got the gun and murdered Zimmerman?  Y'think?

            Yeah right.   The "law" would've "protected" Trayvon Martin in this scenario.  Fail.

            •  I think (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Robobagpiper, Adam B, sockpuppet, Pager

              I can't speak for Adam, but what I think he meant that the law as it is written would be applicable to Trayvon if the roles were reversed. Whether it would have actually worked out that way is another story.

              •  The law would also provide for punitive damages (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, sockpuppet, doroma

                to be paid to Martin if Martin had successfully defended himself, but was nonetheless arrested and prosecuted without probable cause, as sockpuppet's scenario posits.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:31:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yikes. (0+ / 0-)

                  Do you think that Zimmerman will be able to sue for "punitive damages" if the SYG court dismisses the prosecutor's case?   That would be beyond insult-to-injury, imv.

                  •  No, because the law only provides for damages (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Adam B, Pozzo, doroma, sockpuppet

                    in the event that arrest or prosecution occurs absent probable cause that the act of self-defense was unlawful.

                    There seems to be plenty of probable cause in Zimmerman's case that he acted unlawfully; even if he were to be acquitted because or reasonable doubt.

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:55:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Furthermore, if there's probable cause that (0+ / 0-)

                    Zimmerman acted unlawfully, his immunity from a wrongful death lawsuit by Trayvon's parents evaporates.

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:03:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Trayvon, being the attacked party, had no duty (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adam B, sockpuppet, DollyMadison

              to retreat under Florida law. That's what Stand Your Ground means. And if he had been arrested or prosecuted without probable cause, as decided later by a judge, the state of FL would be writing him a check.

              Only the aggressor has the obligation to retreat before they can use force, and as Adam B points out, only if the aggression doesn't rise to the level of a forcible felony can he even claim self-defense even in the fact of retreat.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Specifically, provision (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, sockpuppet

        776.041(2) specifically denies the aggressor the self-defense claim, unless he exhausts all means of escape, or retreats and is pursued.

        776.041  Use of force by aggressor.--The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
        (1)  Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
        (2)  Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
        (a)  Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
        (b)  In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
        776.013(3), the "Stand Your Ground" provision, in full, says:
        A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
        Again, how is assaulting someone not unlawful activity?

        Certainly Zimmerman will try to claim all these things, and it will be on the prosecutor to prove he didn't, but your assertion that he simply needed to reasonably believe that he was in peril is not consistent with the text quoted above.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:44:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My mistake, you *are* quoting 776.041 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:47:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No? (4+ / 0-)
        There was nothing unlawful about Zimmerman's actions
        Is "menacing" not a crime in Florida?
        he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape
        Zimmerman had a reasonable means of escape, didn't he? What forced him to get out of his car and chase Martin down?
        or if the provoker clearly backs off first
        While calling the victim the "provoker" is more than a little obscene, Martin was clearly trying to escape from Zimmerman. How is "running away" not "backing down"?
      •  Nope, you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Of course stalking and harrassing a child are illegal.

        But that's not really the complete issue.  

        Here's the statute:

        776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

        (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

        (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself:

        Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

        by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:46:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, you have to wonder about the intentions here (0+ / 0-)

        This has been explained, ad nauseum, that following someone is NOT equivalent to "stalking", a prohibited action.

        Add to that the fact that what's relevant here is who started the physical confrontation, and, as you wrote, how Zimmerman felt IF Trayvon not only began the physical altercation AND had Zimmerman on the ground, with Zimmerman feeling seriously threatened.

        People here, as we so often see, can't abide the fact that, per Florida law, one has the right to kill someone else if one feels threatened, even if one put themselves into a place where that threatening behavior could happen, and where it wouldn't have happened had they behaved differently!

        I hate guns. I hate the SYG law - I don't think that people SHOULD be able to insert themselves into those kinds of situations and then choose to not retreat, if possible. I wish that Zimmerman HAD handled it differently. But given that he didn't, the law allows him to defend himself with lethal force. UNLESS the state can prove that Zimmerman used a blatant disregard for life in his behavior that night in "profiling" Trayvon and then initiating a physical altercation, they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning a verdict if the jury follows the law. There's a good chance that this charge won't even survive an immunity hearing that'll be coming up soon.

      •  Wow...Sorry I missed this discussion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DollyMadison

        Thanks for going over the law, even if it's not exactly popular around here.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:00:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well said. Great diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet
  •  Zimmerman fucked up when he got out and followed (13+ / 0-)

    I've said it multiple times, but I think it should be repeated.  Reasonable people do not chase after people they believe to be suspicious or criminals, especially at night.

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:01:36 AM PDT

  •  Would you feel the same way (16+ / 0-)

    I'm not spending my days with assholes anymore, so I don't have to hear "that George Zimmerman was perfectly within his rights ... spilling out of the mouths of my colleagues at work."  But if I hadn't left that job, I'd be hearing it every damn day.

    And I wouldn't argue.  I wouldn't talk black and white.  I'd just say:

    "Would you feel the same way if someone shot your kid?"

    Because that's where it breaks down.  These right-wing clods are suffering from a lack of empathy.  They imagine themselves in the role of the shooter, not the shot.  And not the parents, either, because they think they are better than them.  By and large, they probably don't recognize that black people are human equal to themselves (don't bring that up or you're in a whole big shitstorm of denial).  

    But if you have a kid, your kid has probably gone for a walk by himself at some point.  So point to the picture of your colleague's kid and ask "How about him?  How would you feel if he was shot dead coming back from the corner store with a bag of Skittles?  Would you want his killer free walking around?"

    Probably if someone shot their kid they'd be screaming to high heaven if not arming up themselves to go get some private justice.

  •  "Personal responsibility" as used by cons (7+ / 0-)

    does not mean what you seem to think it means. In their lingo, it means the same thing as "it's his own fault" and the unspoken opinion, "I wouldn't be as stupid as that."  In a way, it's the public or observer washing his/her hands of anything untoward that happens to anyone, along with a rejection of the notion that it could happen to them.  The victim has to be blamed to insulate the spectator from fear.

    On the other hand, "responsible" also means that the person is able to respond to some prompt and that prompt is then defined as the origin of the act. So, in the case of Zimmerman, he was prompted to be afraid by a kid walking in a neighborhood where almost everyone drives and that fear prompted him to shoot. Where Zimmerman went wrong was in calling 911 and then not doing what he was told -- i.e. sit and wait for the cops.
    I would not be surprised if Zimmerman were subjected to some psychological and IQ testing and it turns out he's not very bright.  Which would explain why he can't hold a job even though his verbal skills are such that his deficits are pretty well covered up.
    We have a lot of people with mental deficits.  What's sad is they many are not aware and have a particularly harsh attitude towards people whose deficits have been identified. We are inclined to assume that people with deficits will be generous to their own kind.  There's little evidence of that.  We all set higher standards for others than we set for ourselves.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:12:48 AM PDT

    •  Bright or not (5+ / 0-)

      Zimmerman is clearly a guy with serious issuesand was on a course that was going to lead to tragedy

      The story about him chasing down a fellow motorist and all of his other vigilante type activities make me think he was a ticking time bomb waiting to explodr.

      Poor Trayvon encountered this nutjob

      Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

      by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:52:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Responsibility. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet

    We hear a lot of argument about what shapes people. Nature or nurture? But we don't hear about any third option, do we?

    That's because there is none, is there? Our DNA and our upbringing. That is all. that. we. are.

    But here's the thing: we didn't have any choice about either one. Your genes, your experience, both are pure dumb luck.

    That means no one is responsible for anything, doesn't it?

    People say "Oh, but I made choices". Sure you did. You made the choices one with your genes and your experience would make.

    If you had been born Zimmerman, you would be Zimmerman. How do you condemn someone who was less fortunate than you?

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:24:03 AM PDT

  •  The depressing and consistent response the right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gatorcog, sockpuppet

    and conservatives use is that the way to solve anything is with a gun. Don't like oil prices, start a war. Don't like immigrants, shoot them as they  try to enter the country. Your wife pisses you off, pistol-whip her. Mad at minorities because the power structure tells you to blame  them things are bad for you, shoot the black guy walking past your house. To combat crime they want more SWAT teams and prisons.  They froth at the mouth about the Second Amendment but ignore all the rest. Guns guns guns, their answer for everything. Guns made America great. Guns keep America safe. Guns prove you're a real man. Sick propaganda filling twisted minds. Its a sad and sick philosophy, and the right is consumed by it.

    The people demand the fall of this regime ...

    by fourthcornerman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:33:50 AM PDT

    •  hmmmm.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, WakeUpNeo

      I hate guns.  They scare the sh*t outta me.
      I don't even pretend to understand America's 'love affair' with guns.
      Time for us to realize the good ol' days of the wild west is long gone.  We've got to find a much, much better way of handling our differences.
      Guns aren't the answer.  War isn't the answer.  Bully bravado isn't the answer.  Violence isn't the answer.
      Having bigger, more powerful weapons isn't the answer...the worst terrorist attack in this Country's history was initially perpetrated with box cutters.
      Granted, coming to a gun fight with a piece of paper is stupid, but why should it even come to a gun fight?  
      We've all been given the gifts of thought and reason, perhaps it's time we started using these gifts instead of bully tactics.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:09:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP 'responsibility' is never belongs to them. (2+ / 0-)

    It is always fault of others.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:45:40 AM PDT

  •  Who carries guns outside the house? Think about it (5+ / 0-)

    Seriously, how many people do you know who strap on a gun and carry it on their hip?  Would you?  Even in Texas, how many?  Who are these people and what is their mental state?  Do you want these folks walking up and down YOUR street, in the malls you shop at, driving around your town getting angry?  I think if more voters thought about this question, we would have gun control laws passed in short order.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:16:02 AM PDT

    •  I think you are taking a leap off of conclusion (0+ / 0-)

      cliff here.

      What kind of people carry a gun on the hip?

      People who work ranches and farms, who are stringing fence or doing other forms of maintenance in isolated and potentially dangerous areas.

      There legitimate reasons to carry a sidearm, however our background checks cannot necessarily weed out belligerent assholes.

      Making the assumption that anyone who does this, must be mentally ill, is a slippery slope.

      What are other signs of "mental illness" and who determines those?

      Go to the right church?
      Eat Meat?
      Vote for the correct party?

      All sorts of hyperbolic statements are made that couple specific preferences with "mental illness" that are at best accusations that "THAT person over there doesn't life their life the way I do--therefore they are crazy!"

      And what happens when someone who holds views that are in direct opposition to yours attains power and makes similar pronouncements?

  •  Those gashes on GZ's head look like a curb stomp. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, sockpuppet

    But I tend to agree with Bill Cosby. Zimmerman felt empowered because he had the gun.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:39:49 AM PDT

    •  You don't walk away from a curb stomp (6+ / 0-)

      ..let alone have a little spring in your step, like Zimmerman did in the police video.

      It was not Zimmerman screaming for his life for 41 seconds before the gun went off.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw a kid walk away from a curb stomping. (0+ / 0-)

        He had two long cuts on his head and was a little woozy, but he walked away. Actually, the fact that GZ walked into the police station with a spring in his step, as you say, is more indicative of a curb stomping than a smashing in which the brain gets jarred.

        Perhaps GZ shot Trayvon AFTER getting curb stomped. Maybe that's why prosecutors are seeking a Murder Two conviction instead of manslaughter.

        Who knows... But those wounds look like a curb stomp.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:25:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  your supposition is unsuported and offensive (3+ / 0-)

          A "curb stomp" is SUPPOSEDLY a means of execution used against unconscious people by hate mongers to cold bloodedly murder someone who has been incapacitated by a mob beating them senseless.  It's a "coup de grace" move where someone's MOUTH is placed on a raised sidewalk curb while their neck remains in the gutter.  Then, a boot smashes down on the NECK breaking the vertebrae thus ending the life of the VICTIM.  

          One, there was no curb where this alleged fight took place.   Nor does the seld-admitted killer George Zimmerman claim such and activity took place, even in his highly exculpatory and not-proven alibi, the one in which the state claims it has evidence and witnesses to prove is false.  

          Two, you are linking the death of an unarmed, innocent teenager a the hands of an overzealous armed vigilante to that of a (typically claimed to be) white supremacist murder tactic.  

          Three, curb stomping is mostly an urban myth started by a film about White Supremacists called AMERICAN MOVIE X and the activity shown was fiction, and not based on any known incident.  

          I for one am highly offended, disgusted and outraged by your comment.  You sir are wrong and a "true man" like your handle says would admit it.  

          •  It doesn't have to be with the mouth. (0+ / 0-)

            That's the urban myth. Wedging a person's head between a curb and the road and stomping/grinding is also a curb stomp. Sadly, I've seen it happen.

            Also I avoided the hyperbole, unlike you. I mean seriously, you're trying to call me a white supremacist  for saying his wounds look like a curb stomp. Dial it down a notch if you want people to stop rolling their eyes at you.

            If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

            by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:29:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  further supposition is unsupported and offensive 2 (2+ / 0-)

              Yes, that's the urban myth.  And ignorant people do all sorts of things in a fight.  And I'm willing to accept that you have been around many ignorant people doing ignorant things, as you claim.  

              I was not however trying to call you a hate monger, just an irresponsible and highly mistaken person who said unsupported and offensive things about a dead, innocent teenager who is unable to defend himself against the things you, and no one else are insinuating.  Please take some responsibility for what you are saying.  

              •  I witnessed the curb stomping incident in 1990. (0+ / 0-)

                It happened between classes on the street between the school's two buildings. Many students saw it and spoke of the incident afterwards. I believe the term we used to describe the attack was a curb check. It was common vernacular in my neighborhood. The victim had two long scrapes/cuts on the back of his head: one from the curb and one from the road. It's not an urban myth; It happens in real life.

                Perhaps you see this as me hurling accusations, but I was just saying that the injuries look familiar.

                If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

                by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:30:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  No curbs (2+ / 0-)

      IIRC the encounter took place in the common backyard area of two flanking condo buildings. The streets were on the front yard side of the buildings. So... sidewalks, grass yes - curbs no.  

    •  except that they don't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plantsmantx, amsterdam

      look anything like a "curb stomp"

      except that Trayvon's body was nowhere near a curb

      except that GZ's "injuries" were so minor and superficial that the EMTs didn't even put a bandaid on them

      except that this photo is highly suspect due to it's timing and circumstances not to mention looks highly questionable due to location of supposed injuries, amount of blood, lack of smearing, etc

      Other than that those things and a hundred more inconsistencies, you've made a great point

      Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

      by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:56:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The photo that you decry as fake... (0+ / 0-)

        will probably create enough reasonable doubt to acquit GZ. But who knows... prosecutors did not include the photo in their affidavit, causing Alan Dershowitz to question their ethics. I wonder why they would omit such a photo if the injuries were just "superficial" as you say.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:39:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No bandage (2+ / 0-)

          Would indicate to me that it was superficial. And if the defence believes the photo is legitimate, I'm sure they will present it at the trial. Probably means Zimmerman's shadowy friend, will have to take the stand. Can't wait to hear why he ran outside, after hearing a gun shot, took a picture of Z's head while a kid was dying at his feet, and then ran back into the house again.

          •  He had bandages on his head and nose... (0+ / 0-)

            the following day per his neighbors. And he was treated at the scene by paramedics and by a doctor the next day. We will learn the truth about the extent of his injuries at the trial... if the judge doesn't dismiss the case. But we can assume that GZ was, in fact, injured by Trayvon. Right?

            If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

            by HairyTrueMan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:36:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He was seen by paramedics (2+ / 0-)

              On the scene, who didn't think it was necessary to put bandage on his head. That the neighbors saw him with a bandage the next day, doesn't mean anything. Anybody can stick a bandage on himself. And why doesn't Z. release the medical report of his visit.

              Whether he was injured by Trayvon, I do not know. All the witnesses seem to agree they wrestled on the ground.

              I think whether Zimmerman got injured or not, is going to be immaterial in this case. I think the prosecutor will be able to proof, that Zimmerman followed Trayvon on 3 different occasions. That Trayvon walked away the first time, ran away the second time, and asked Zimmerman why he was following him the third time.

        •  Dershowitz (0+ / 0-)

          the proven plagarist and bigot is the last person who should be commeting on questions of ethics

          But I understand that you hope GZ will be acquitted.

          And he very well may be by 12 racist white jurors or one racist white judge

          Tim Wise On Israel: "The right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud."

          by yellow is my favorite color on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yellow is my favorite color

        The wound on the left side of his head looks remarkably straight and cleanly-cut.

  •  Ah yes- (4+ / 0-)

    Personal responsibility, this diary could be reworded to cover the health care debate also.

    it's the patients fault for getting kicked off their insurance and not having six figures in the bank to cover cancer treatment.

    If TM just hadn't been walking right there at that time carrying those skittles this never would have happened.

    "Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure." Emma 1816 Check out my blog http://uninsuredinca.blogspot.com

    by ArtemisBSG on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:45:29 AM PDT

  •  If you saw the bail hearing (5+ / 0-)

    ..the prosecution didn't even try. Not even a little. It gave me the sickest, most sinking feeling. I could have done a better job. They have no real intention of prosecuting Zimmerman. It's a show. Now I will be surprised if this thing actually makes it to trial.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:54:19 AM PDT

    •  Special Prosecutor Angela Corey (2+ / 0-)

      I have it on good authority from someone in a position to know in the legal community in Jacksonville that Angela Corey is "a rabid Republican!!".  [Emphasis in the original!]

      I've often tried to reconcile this information with her in a position as "special prosecutor" in this case.   I applauded when she came forth with the "2nd-degree murder" charge.   But what if she knew the SYG court was gonna just throw the whole thing out before it ever got to trial?  Wouldn't that just cover the whole public gamut of issues?  "We went after murder-2, but SYG is the law."  

       I hope Prosecutor Corey will "follow the law" to the nth degree.   If the SYG court dismisses the case, I hope to see Corey aggressively appeal that ruling.

      These questions trouble me, like this whole damn case and the tragedy of Trayvon's death.  

    •  State has a great case and Z is a poor liar. (6+ / 0-)

      I saw the whole hearing.  The rules of a bail hearing in Florida are such that in order to deny bond the state would have had to basically prove it's whole case, and they don't want to do that at this time.  Be patient.  Zimmerman will get "his day in court" at trial.  

      Meanwhile, he's free to put his foot in his mouth some more, and call Sean Hannity, etc.  He's a fool and stupid is as stupid does.  Anything is possible with this nut-job.  He may star in an infomercial next week for OJ Simpson's investigation into the "real killers" of his wife.  

      As for the hearing itself, Mark O'Meara put on a good show for TV audiences but it's all downhill from here for them.  What was your opinion of George Zimmerman on the witness stand under cross-examination?  He is a poor liar in my book, and after the performance he gave I'm not sure that his attorney will file for a SYG hearing at all, since he would likely have to testify there.   I note that he has not filed for this hearing yet, nor did he ask for one at the bail hearing.

      In the full trial, it's likely Zimmerman would ever take the stand and face a cross examination on his unlikely story directly.  Instead O'meara will have to present the portions of an evolving alibi, told hodge-podge as the only truth in spite of much proof besides GZ's own worthless, self-serving word.  

      Zimmerman said under oath in his "apology" stunt that he thought Trayvon was "a little younger than he was" which made me laugh out loud.  IIRC, when he wasn't calling him expletives on his police tape, he called him a "kid" more than once and said directly that he was in his "late teens."  He's shown right there that he is willing to perjure himself at the drop of a hat, and for questionable reasons. The guy is a danger to himself every time he opens his mouth.  

      Then GZ was open to a very limited cross examination where the state prosecutor was allowed to question him on the slim statement he made regarding his "apology."  Zimmerman looked like a fool when he couldn't recall what he was asked, (to whom did he relate his regret over the shooting to) and had to say "I don't remember" right after saying he had done something, and then he looked like a liar when he said he didn't think his story changed over the five times in a 24 hour period that he told it and retold it to investigators. The state has recordings of every version he gave and the prosecutor seemed to say that they were filled with inconsistencies, contradictions and an ever-evolving amount of exculpatory detail for which they have evidence to refute.  Did you catch that part?  It seemed important to me.

      Corey is politically motivated to seek a conviction, the judge has a good reputation as fair and despite playing their cards close to the vest to shield their trial strategy from the defense, we learned that there is a witness who saw a TWO PERSON foot chase prior to the struggle on the ground.  Zimmerman's story fails to include this part, which is yet another of many details that paint him as a liar.  His account of how the fight happened simply isn't true and the jury will agree once they hear the testimony and see the evidence.  

      Meanwhile, the real outrage goes virtually unnoticed. Norm Wolfinger quietly announced on Friday that he won't be running for re-election and no one is actively investigating his behavior that allowed Zimmerman to go free the first time around.  

  •  Consistency of thought is not their hallmark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet

    The principles the haters say mean more to them than life itself are utterly forgotten one paragraph later in the same conversation. Such are the minds of those who define their life's worth by the people they hate.

    Climate change would seem to be evolution's Plan A to reduce this characteristic from the human condition - by the mechanism of obsoleting homo sapiens sapiens.

  •  You have articulated the fallback position for the (3+ / 0-)

    accused Mr. Zimmerman.

    If (when) things go badly enough for him his lawyer will trot out the

    That George Zimmerman was perfectly within his rights is all over talk radio, and spilling out of the mouths of my colleagues at work.  Self defense has become the knee jerk catchphrase when this topic comes up.  
    meme.
  •  When paranoid, racist, deranged, unstable (3+ / 0-)

    people can carry, we are fucked.

    "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

    by hester on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:48:31 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this concise summation (2+ / 0-)

    of the moral issue in this tragic case.

    This isn't about guilt, or blame, this is about being held accountable for the effects of what a person's done.  This is about not being able to shrug off the death of a child with an "oops, my bad".
    I'm gonna use this when I have to travel to Floriduh this Spring, pretty much into the "heartland" of this horrific incident.   What you've summarized with this pithy assessment is so laser-pinpointed truth, I'll be interested to see who in my Klan there (and associated neighbors, etc) will try to argue with it.  I'll just keep repeating it in the face of all specious assertions that Zimmerman was just "standing his ground", yadda yadda.

    Thanks.  Well said.

           

  •  This is part and parcel ... (2+ / 0-)

    ... of the authoritarian personality.

    The crux of the responsibility argument is that the vast majority of circumstances that individuals finds themselves in result from choices that were made by that individual.  
    One of the ways they protect themselves while nurturing their sociopathic tendencies is to create separation between themselves and those they consider to be inferior. This way of dividing up their world is very important to them and people can get hurt when they find themselves inadvertently caught between the sociopath and his ideal.
  •  Personal responsibility (4+ / 0-)

    isn't really an "argument" used by the right.  

    It's just a talking point they use to justify policies that hurt the ones who really need help.

    Notice you never hear about "personal responsibility" when it comes to bailing out banks, or tax breaks for the wealthy.  

    In GOP politics, "personal responsiblity" means I got mine, so screw everyone else.

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" -- Von Goethe

    by Lawguy101 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:05:49 AM PDT

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