Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Florida’s Wrongful Shooting.

The wrongful death of a teenager may not have been motivated  by race , but justice is vary blind.

Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law, which says a citizen doesn’t have to retreat before using deadly force against an attacker, could throw a legal wrinkle into the case of a neighborhood watch captain who shot to death an unarmed black teenager.Police in the central Florida town of Sanford have said that 28-year-old George Zimmerman claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community. Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic and not racistIf indicted, Zimmerman can raise the Stand Your Ground defense under the 2005 law signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. That legislation, derisively called the “Shoot First” law by its critics, gives Floridians the right to use deadly force to defend themselves in public places without first trying to escape. The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the bill, saying it would allow citizens to better protect themselves from violent crime -- A girl who overheard part of an incident involving Florida teenager Trayvon Martin can help prove he was killed "in cold blood," an attorney for Martin's family said Tuesday.The girl, who was dating the 17-year-old, "completely blows (George) Zimmerman's absurd self-defense claim out of the water," Benjamin Crump told reporters.He said the girl -- who he said does not wish to be identified -- "connects the dots" to describe what happened that day when she lays out what she overheard while on the phone with himIn an affidavit, the girlfriend, who is 16, said that Trayvon expressed concern to her that someone was following him, according to Mr. Crump. He said the girlfriend urged Trayvon to run home. In response, he said Trayvon replied, “I think I lost him” and then moments later told her, “He is right behind me again. I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk fast.”.

The key section of the law states:
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."


Race will now  really matter in this case. Thanks to a nutcase with a gun. A grown man targeted a teen for whatever reason and killed him. It appears the teen was innocent and that the adult used extremely poor judgement in his handling of the situation. The facts will all come out but if I'm leaning in one direction it is that the adult acted improperly.This needs more than just investigation. The Florida law which allows a (possibly slightly wacko) guy to run around a neighborhood carrying a gun, thinking he is protecting people, looking very like a vigilante, needs to be changed.Zimmerman clearly has some mental issues, he called 911 several times previously to this event, also over non-emergencies. This isn't a race issue, it's a crazy issue. Granted, it's impossible to know if he had any ulterior motives, but the way he followed and shot the boy makes it sound like he was simply a deranged person with extreme paranoia. I hope the Martins find peace when Zimmerman is brought to justice and I hope this tragedy, along with other recent preventable tragedies, signals the need for more intensive psychiatric screening when purchasing a deadly weapon. The amount of grief and lives unnecessarily stolen should be taken with the utmost seriousness in this country, where so many other trivial matters are scrutinized to no end.

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