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Letter: ‘Stand your ground’ encourages deadly force

George Zimmerman was a suburban cowboy, wannabe cop, with an inflated ego and reckless disposition. His behavior resulted in the death of a 17-year-old who had his whole life in front of him.

When Zimmerman insisted on pursuing Trayvon Martin that night, he unnecessarily, and with exceedingly poor judgement, put both of their lives in danger. After being presented with the facts, a Florida jury decided that Zimmerman’s actions did not rise to the level of a crime. Although this outcome may seem unjust and disappointing, we must accept the judgement of this jury. It is the best that we have.

This was a difficult case from the beginning, as the only eyewitness to the incident was the defendant himself, and much of the remaining evidence was murky or in dispute. The lesson here is that when a deadly weapon is introduced into an emotional confrontation, what otherwise might have been a street brawl with scraped skin and bruised egos can have unintended tragic consequences.

Unfortunately “stand your ground” laws encourage the introduction of deadly force in situations where it would have otherwise been avoided.

Human life, especially that of an innocent teenager, is far too precious to be put in jeopardy by laws that encourage the use of deadly force by untrained and unstable characters such as Zimmerman.

So, was the acquittal of George Zimmerman unjust? Quite possibly. Was the homicide of Trayvon Martin unjust? Beyond a shadow of a doubt.



Legacy Comments4

I find it quite amazing, and very troubling, how easily we make statements of opinion as if they were fact. For example, "...George Zimmerman was a suburban cowboy, wannabe cop, with an inflated ego and reckless disposition." This statement, according to testimony during the trial, is clearly false. But, don't take my word for it, review the video presented by CNN.

Jeff, As well as good -there is evil in this world. I hear your sympathy for sweet innocent TM but what happens when confronted with an assailant? Should we just run? The old & disabled can't do that (and predators tend to fast runners). Just give them whatever, they say, they want? What if that is your health or life or that of your children? Are you willing to face your wife and say "He took our daughter but I had no choice - I didn't want to hurt him".? ,Are you saying no citizen, (forced into a situation they want no part of) should defend themselves/family for fear a criminal might get hurt? Do you live in a magical world where these issues don't exist? Who is deserving of more protection; law-abiding citizens/families or assailants, rapists and murderers?

No. The jury decided the evidence presented wasn't convincing. You don't even understand our judicial system, and what beyond reasonable doubt means. The fault here, if there is one, is not the Florida law, it lies at the feet of the prosecution. What they should have emphasized is that when Zimmerman and Martin separated, thus rendering Zimmerman safe from harm, instead of halting his actions he actually persued Martin, even though there was no evidence Martin had done anything illegal. Terribly poor legal arguments were made instead, with witnesses who lacked credibility. Nobody has died in NH as a result of our SYG law, the bloodbath predicted has never materialized. This is because most of us who carry have far more smarts and common sense than the anti-gun crowd gives us credit for. Frankly I don't care what they do; the old law did not require retreat, only that an attempt at retreat had to be made if at all possible. Splitting hairs really.

The homicide???? Homicide is a crime. The jury decided it was NOT a crime of homicide. I will agree that this case was a stretch of the "stand your ground" concept. Standing your ground means you don't have to submit to another's threatening actions, and possibly be murdered, if you have the means to defend yourself. I think people who have been in that situation understand the concept best.

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