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I'm sure most here can feel their stomach turn over the not guilty verdict returned in the George Zimmerman trial.  There are so many things disturbing about this incident, but try to focus on the real culprit here.

Zimmerman is innocent according to Florida law.  This was apparent, before the case even went to the defense.  The law gives a person the right to engage another person, then shoot them if things get out of control.

Stand Your Ground is a absurd concept, which has been pushed by extremist, who have sought to make vigilantes legal.

In most states there is what is called an obligation to retreat, which says that before self defense can be claimed, the shooter must have tried to leave the situation.  There has long been an exception called a castle rule, which states that you are allowed to defend your home or vehicle without an obligation to retreat.

Stand your ground extends this castle concept to literally anywhere in public.  The notion is that if you are in a public place, it is the same as if someone breaks into your house and threatens you.

This is fundamentally dangerous for reason all too clear tonight.  This places the burden on the prosecution to show intent to overcome a claim of self defense.  Intent is nearly impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prior to the stand your ground law, Zimmerman would have vacated his self defense rights by engaging Trayvon Martin.  The sane notion of an obligation to retreat would have destroyed Zimmerman's claim that he was simply defending himself from an attacker.

This isn't a second amendment thing.  It isn't about guns.  It is simply a discussion on the expectations on a citizen, who takes the life of another citizen.  The justification for depriving someone of the most fundamental of liberties should have a far higher bar, than we have seen set in many states.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Perhaps a national repeal of all such laws. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    Make it Federal.

    And make it racial to force the House to either be openly racist or comply.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 07:35:36 PM PDT

    •  That would be tough to achieve (0+ / 0-)

      It could be possible to sue Florida on behalf of Trayvon Martin, claiming that their law violated his constitutional rights.

      If the application of stand your ground violates federal law, then it could challenged.

      •  Write legislation which prohibits SYG. Not by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth

        name, but by design. Rewrite the law.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 07:52:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Under what power (0+ / 0-)

          When the federal government writes a law which overrides a state, it must be in context of an existing power.

          The supreme court can, however, say when a state law violates a person's constitutional rights.

  •  IF what this means is that the Floridians thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, yet another liberal

    Z's acts were "reasonable," then that is probably the worst part.I will not look at Floridians again, they who are true racist southerners hiding beind the notion of palm trees and beaches.  I do not think he was innocent under FLA law.

    •  It isn't just Florida (2+ / 0-)

      There has been a cultural shift to liberalize the self defense laws all across the country.  It isn't just the right to carry, but it is the right to use your firearm that is being promoted.

      This is all tied to the insane libertarian notion of a self regulating society.

      This is just what a self regulating society looks like in practice.  It is one where prejudice is manifest, and life is devalued.

  •  IMO any changes to these laws (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    would have to come at the state level, and as such I believe this is where we have to focus our energies. Without these ridiculous laws I think Zimmerman would have been on much thinner legal ice.

    My overarching fear all along with this case is that an acquittal will essentially codify vigilante justice in this country. This verdict opens up the door for people to be able to make specious claims of self-defense, particularly if there are no other witnesses around to refute the story of the shooter.

    I do believe there is a due process and equal protection case to be made under the 14th Amendment regarding these SYG laws. This was used in Garner v. Tennessee (1985) when the Memphis Police shot and killed an unarmed 17 year old using the fleeing felon laws. The Supreme Court ruled the state's arbitrary use of the fleeing felon law violated due process. It seems to me these SYG laws essentially have the same effect.

    Unless we can get these stupid laws repealed or invalidated, all of us, regardless of our social or economic station, or our ethnicity, may well find our safety at the mercy of yahoos with guns. I pray I am wrong.


    Guns are never the principle in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:50:10 PM PDT

  •  The law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    The death of Trayvon Martin maintains primacy as the main outcome of this event.

    But speaking generally, aside from the racist component of society in general in which black males are not allowed to exist doing fairly routine things without suspicion potentially leading to their death, these laws are the main villain in this story.

    Zimmerman was legally not guilty in this case. That's the problem in itself. The verdict isn't the problem, the law is. Our laws can't be so out of touch with obvious realities and obvious outcomes that they allow a person with a gun to pursue an innocent citizen based on their own biases, find them, get into a scuffle, and kill them without any legal consequence whatsoever.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:19:37 PM PDT

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