home
RSS
My Ethics: 'Stand your ground' laws are invitation to kill
The author says Florida legislators who supported the state's "stand your ground" law are responsible for Trayvon Martin's killing.
March 28th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

My Ethics: 'Stand your ground' laws are invitation to kill

Editor’s note: Edward L. Queen II directs the D. Abbot Turner Program in Ethics and Servant Leadership at Emory University’s Center for Ethics.

By Edward L. Queen II, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The true architects of the Trayvon Martin killing not only will not go unpunished, they also will go unnamed.

Those who created the conditions for Martin’s killing - those who, one might say, invited it - were the Florida legislators who voted for a law that undid not only decades of positive law regarding self-defense but also centuries of legal tradition.

In promoting “stand your ground” laws, self-proclaimed conservatives become grossly irresponsible radicals, drastically and dramatically undoing centuries of accumulated wisdom in their evisceration of the traditional formulation of self-defense.

They rip apart the traditional understanding of the legitimate use of deadly force in self-defense and invite people to kill.

Traditionally, the law understood deadly force to be justified in self-protection only when an individual reasonably believed that its use was necessary to prevent imminent and unlawful use of deadly force by the aggressor. Much of the tradition also argued that deadly force, outside of one’s immediate home, was not justified if a nondeadly response, such as retreating to a safe place, would suffice.

In adopting its "stand your ground" law in 2005 (officially Title XLVI, Chapter 776.013) the Florida Legislature, along with 20 other states with similar laws, both expanded the understanding of when deadly force is acceptable and eliminated the duty to retreat.

Florida’s law in particular remade the very nature of self-defense, turning what had been an “affirmative defense” into a presumption of innocence.

Before the passage of these “stand your ground laws,” most jurisdictions in the United States required one to demonstrate that one was acting in self-defense, that one had been attacked, that one reasonably feared for one’s life and that it was reasonable to use deadly force to protect oneself.

Unfortunately, Florida’s law expressly presumes that the individual using deadly force in self-defense had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. It also immunizes the individual from arrest or even being detained in custody, hence the failure of the police to arrest George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has acknowledged shooting Martin.

One can only be shocked at this law’s idiocy. It is, simply, an invitation to kill.

Under the “stand your ground” law, any liar who kills someone and can concoct a reasonably plausible story cannot be arrested by the police or even taken in for questioning. Lest one think the Martin case is exceptional, justifiable homicide/self-defense claims have tripled since the law’s adoption, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The law also places police officers in a difficult situation; the killer’s story often cannot be contradicted because the person in the best position to challenge it is in no position to do so. That individual is dead - silent and cold.

That many people, including the legislators who authored the Florida legislation, have said the facts, as they emerged later, suggest that Zimmerman may not have acted in self-defense changes nothing.

The problem with the law is that, absent the outcry that followed, the facts would not have emerged. Unable to arrest and question the killer and to pursue the case, police find themselves in a situation where they are prevented from gathering the facts.

This structural limitation is exacerbated by the biases and prejudices that the officers bring with them regarding race, age, gender and criminality, to name just a few.

In their thoughtless attempts to undo the wisdom of centuries, extremists in the Florida Legislature went out of their way, if not to legalize murder, at least to decriminalize it. Each legislator who supported the law had a hand in Trayvon Martin’s killing and perhaps others.

With its craven attempt to garner votes by purportedly expanding individuals’ abilities to protect themselves, the Florida Legislature has made all of us targets and each of us a potential victim.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward L. Queen II.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Crime • Florida • Opinion • Race

soundoff (870 Responses)
  1. Fringus

    This article is pure claptrap. George Zimmerman was using deadly force to save his own life. He was knocked to the ground by Trayvon Martin who was slamming his head into the concrete. If he had not shot him when he did, he could very well have passed out and been killed by the up-and-coming thug. The only witness who saw the fight while it happened and the police report of Zimmerman's injuries confirm this.
    It now transpires that the "little" (6'-3") Trayvon was in possession of likely stolen women's jewelry and a burglary tool. He was an unconvicted felon.
    Face it folks, the wheels are coming off your little racial morality play. You need to pick a better, more sympathetic character if you want to get anywhere. Trayvon's golden "grillz" are the only valuable part of his worthless carcass.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Yeah

      "In posession of likely stolen women's jewelry and a burglary tool." Uh, so you think a bit of jewelry and a screwdriver at school is a felony? Shoot the bastard!

      Seen the video of Zimmerman afterwards? No visible head wounds or broken nose or blood or grass stains on the jacket. This "head slamming" is getting pretty unbelievable.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • smithk_80

      You are the type of person that we're afraid of having a gun. Shoot first, ask questions later. Ask yourself this question: why would Treyvon attack Zimmerman in the first place? He's walking home from the store. The cashier, his purchases, and his reciept prove this this. He's talking to his g.f., probably about the same thing most 17 y.o. are talking about. He's got some guy following him and he's 70 yards from his house. What's his reason for attacking a man 100 lbs heavier than he is? NONE!!! He was found face down ON THE GRASS, with his feet towards the sidewalk. Zimmerman says Treyvon was following him, but the FACTS don't back him up. You, who probably never did anything wrong in your entire life and casued your mother no pain during labor can't be the pot calling the kettle black. Zimmerman is 1/2 white, and his father was a judge, and based off the public records, everytime he saw any Blacks walking around, he called the cops. If he had did what he was asked to do and stop following the boy, this wouldn't be a national story and Zimmerman would just be another racist with egg on his face.

      April 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • TDiddyiskkk

      Fringus you are an unadulterated idiot.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • conrad

      Fringus,
      Your biases have you blinded. Beyond that your thinking lacks depth and rigor. It is this kind of knee-jerk radical conservatism expecting the worst from everyone that resulted in this horrible law in the first place.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  2. Chris

    The fundamental problem with the "Stand Your Ground" law is that it sanctions the use of deadly force as a first response, rather than as a last resort.

    Take another actual case that happened here in Florida. Witnesses saw two men arguing outside a club, though they couldn't hear what was being said. Suddenly, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other man. When police arrived, the shooter said the deceased had threatened his life – so he shot him in self-defense. When police searched the corpse they didn't find any weapons. And he never even laid a finger on the shooter.

    Even if we accept that the dead man had really made a verbal threat against's the shooter's life, the fact remains there was never any struggle, he was completely unarmed, and once the man had the gun drawn on him, the situation was effectively contained. But the shooter didn't make the slightest attempt to hold the man – he pulled out his gun and immediately shot the man point blank without a word.

    What the "Stand Your Ground" Law does is encourage people that at the first sign of trouble they should get just whip out their guns and start blasting. I would say this effectively makes Florida into the Wild West – but never evenback during those days was such recklessness accepted.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      Can't say I totally believe that story. So your telling me the shooter didn't get charged with anything? You got to prove that. I can give you other unconfirmed stories that I can make look like anything.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Ddotherightthing

    Since these laws "stand your ground" "ccw" "castle law" have recently been introduced, has violent crimes gone up, down, stayed the same (in the states where we have these laws)? One incidence and now we are suppose to let someone beat us down, rob us, break into our homes. Sorry for this kid, but this is the problem with this country, we have 325million people in the US, do the math, what is the percentage of people that are wronged by these laws, and what percentage have used them correctly. TOTAL IDIOT ambulance chasing writer. Go away.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Lorelord

      You are right on. I dont care what the statistics are..NO ONE has the right to tell me that I cannot defend my own darn life or the life of my family. NO ONE.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Sal

      You completely missed the point. The point he was making is that if I wanted to kill you, all I have to do is pick a fight with you when no one is around. When you try to defend yourself I can shoot to kill you and then claim self defense. As long as no one saw me pick the fight with you, I will get off completely free because the police will have to assume that I am telling the truth.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • haha

      You can't chase someone down, start a fight with them, then shoot them. I could do that to you and based on what you are saying I would be free to go.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      Sal, how is that any different than 50 years ago. You always have a right to self defense, if you want to stage a self defense killing, you always could. Granted, it probably wouldn't be as hard to do now, but it was always there. You would just have to be in an enclosed area with no where to retreat. But, I will agree it is easier. With that being said, how often does this happen. Also, an easy fix for this, the victim just needs to be carrying themselves, GAME ON!!!

      March 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Chris

      Actually, there was an article in the paper the other day about this. While it is true that violent crime in Florida has gone down since this law was enacted -it also had gone down in the same period before the law was ever in place. Also, there has been a nationwide trend of decrease in violent crime in states that have no such law. So to look at the decrease and credit it specifically to "Stand Your Ground" law is misleading. Actually, if you factor in that a portion of the "justifable homicides" that have happened since the law was put in place were in reality murders or abuses of the law, then the violent crime rate has increased.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      "Actually, if you factor in that a portion of the "justifable homicides" that have happened since the law was put in place were in reality murders or abuses of the law, then the violent crime rate has increased." Wow, that is quite an assumption. Your stats are not correct entirely, but we are not going go on about that. Ask yourself who has the strictest gun laws, and no ccw laws or stand your ground, and you will see they are war zones, wonder why? Better yet, go live in chicago or d.c., you don't have to worry about armed citizens, YOU'LL LOOOOOOOVE IT!!!!

      March 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • smithk_80

      You do not have the right to pick a fight and shoot someone and claim self defense. Go to http://www.sptimes.com/2002/11/20/TampaBay/Dentist_convicted_of_.shtml, and read about Randy Puryear, the dentist in Fl. that shot an unarmed Black man after a fight between some kids. One of the kid's mom called Puryear (her b.f.) 'cause she didn't like a Black man touching her child and "back-talking" her, so this guy shows up, gets in a fight with 39-year-old Jemale Wells, loses, then goes back to his car for a gun. How's this self-defense when there was no adult confrontation and you came racing across town and started a fight out of nothing? The community had to pressure the D.A. to upgrade the charges to 2nd degree murder from manslaughter. There are numerous REAL cases of people grossly overstepping "s.y.g." laws (the guy in Texas that killed two robbers of a house next door while he was on the phone with 911 telling the operator he was going to go kill them; the guy in Fl. that stabbed a car radio theft, hide the knife and sold two of the stolen radios...neither were charged). We can argue the merits of those cases, but the Zimmerman case is clear cut. HE NEEDS TO BE IN JAIL!!!

      April 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  4. Sakura

    This author is so smart he's able to form opinions about the law without even reading it.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • TheRegulator

      Agreed.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  5. SaskShark

    I live in Saskatchewan Canada. Maybe you can say I am from the outside looking in and I have been watching this story carefully.
    To me it seems just like the days of segregation!!!
    This is beyond rude.....This is a bloody insult.!!!!
    Those cops involved and the Chief of Police should be put on trial along with Zimerman also..
    If I was Obama I belive I would be very upset. Man I am upset anyway.....
    I can see the Feds taking over on this case. Hopefully....
    I would be shocked if Zimerman got away with this....

    March 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Lorelord

      You need to get facts before you provide opinion. This is the problem now within this country. Thousands of people are murdered every year and this draws attention why? Because of Color...nothing more. Also, John, the eye witness to the case is a friend of Zimmermann and guess what....he's black. Also, the audio files have been investigated and found that it is indeed Zimmermann crying for help on the audio tape, not the other way around. People like you are pathetic and the main problem with the world today. You Judge before you know anything because you have already made up your minds. People like you suck and make the world suck.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      Sask, I do agree with you that the police mishandled the investigation at some points. Toxicology test on Zimmerman should have been done. But, if you have been following this like you claim, then you know the race card is being abused here. Also Martin was not an innocent boy, at the very least, he was a part of the violence that took place. Zimmerman is an idiot, but who took this confrontation to a violent level, seems to be Martin. Come on Sask, stay in the game.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Sal

      @lorelord – "Thousands of people are murdered every year and this draws attention why?"

      So are you admitting that this was murder then?

      March 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • memcats

      I was wondering how the outside world was viewing this case. Good to see that your reason is sound and sensible. I was thinking about how we the United Stated like to dictate to the rest of the world how to treat their citizens, when we fail to treat some of our citizens equally when it comes to the law. I get the feeling that some of those on the right would like to see this country retreat back to the days of segregation.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • tunaman

      With Canada's history on the abuse of its native people maybe you should stay out of this discussion.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • TheRegulator

      Is this...
      How Canadians...
      End their...
      Sentences...
      ?...

      April 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • TDiddyiskkk

      @ LORELORD you seem to be confused at what the meaning of facts is. Get a clue please, you are embarrassing yourself.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  6. Ddotherightthing

    This writer is a total idiot. Even his argument is plain idiotic on this particular shooting. Claiming "Much of the tradition also argued that deadly force, outside of one’s immediate home, was not justified if a nondeadly response, such as retreating to a safe place, would suffice." Well thats pretty hard to do when someone is on top of you slamming your head into concrete. Florida passed this law in 2005, and its 2012, and this is the shooting liberals are hanging their hat on to revoke the law. Really? This shooting is not even clear cut, Zimmerman was probably justified. So after 7 years this is all you got to complain about stand your ground, well I think that speaks for itself.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • James Foley

      Actually, there is no coroberation on the notion that Martin was slamming Zimmerman's head into the ground,. That is only Zimmerman's claim. SYG is a good law I think, but it is being misapplied to Zimmerman.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      James, Zimmerman had wounds to the back of his head, grass stains on his back, and a witness stating Martin was on top of him, I guess I don't understand what your saying. The evidence is clearly there.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • James Foley

      Ddotherightthing have you considered otehr ways in which Zimmerman might have acquired his injuries? Self inflicted perhaps? And I'm not talking abotu the notion that Zimmerman punched himself in the face, but that, as Trayvon Martin was standing his groudn and defending his life that Zimmerman got hit by flailing arms holding a Arizona Ice Tea can, stumbled, fell himself onto the wet grass and then hit his own head on the sidewalk going down? What was the angle of the shot that entered Trayvon's body? Have you got that information?
      That a witness saw Martin on top of Zimmerman may turn out to be suspect, but that does present a problem for Martin's Family.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ddotherightthing

      James, of course that is possible, but highly unlikely all that transpires without someone seeing it. There would have been too much time of the two guys dancing around swinging at each other. Its possible, but slightly.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • James Foley

      How is it highly unlikely? How much time do you think it takes to be fighting and arguiong with someone? How much time do you think occured durign thier altercation? How much time passed during the 911 calls?

      March 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Jmes

    $100 laptop for the developing countries.
    $100 gun for the developed countries.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • duderino

      I want to konw where I can legally buy a $100 gun

      March 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mike

      Legally you can't, but you can get a gun in Chicago for $40.00. Plus with no concealed carry laws you don't have to worry when you hold up a law abiding citizen. I am moving to Florida.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • James Foley

      prayer changes nothing except for the person praying

      March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • bananaspy

      I don't see how praying is any different than simply saying, "I hope things get better." If all you're going to do is pray for someone, you may as well just do nothing and exert your efforts towards something productive. Given the number of unanswered prayers versus answered ones, it's insulting you would even try to suggest this as some kind of solution, and embarrassing that you actually think it works.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • CC

      For the love of your stupid god. Stop posting this your troll.

      March 29, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  9. Harvey Minkalinkalink

    "Unable to arrest and question the killer and to pursue the case, police find themselves in a situation where they are prevented from gathering the facts."

    Really? The police aren't investigating the case? They are unable to talk to witnesses or gather facts? I don't think that's correct. I think you are painting a strawman, and it appears it's for partison purposes, as the basis of your article is to call out the "extremist conservatives" behind the law.

    It's truly sad that this incident has become an excuse for partisan sniping on both sides, instead of a rational discussion of race, and laws.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Mike

      This is the media dream. It does not matter how it ends, but every knucklehead with a keyboard can stream their irrational thoughts until they whip the whole country into a frenzy and the rioting begins. Then we can see the images of rioting and force to put down the riots and we can repeat the cycle. No one ever notices in the media when racial harmony is achieved or when people help eachother.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  10. straitsight

    Why do I have a "duty" to retreat if someone is threatening me or anyone for that matter? The judical system we have will only release them to harm or kill someone else. If a person can not defend themselves or anyone else for that matter we set ourselves up to be nothing but victims and we revert back to survival of the meanest. The Zimmerman/Martin incident was tragic and rife with stupidity and could have been avoided with a little conversation. Both Zimmerman and Martin were obviously threatend by each other and lack of communication made for a disaster. Until the evidence is all in it is racist or stupid to pass judgement on either party and the only ones who know what happened are the ones who saw it. The rest is irrational assumption and no one knows the thoughts of Zimmerman or Martin other than themselves.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Mike

      That is the most insightfull comment I have ever read on a CNN post. Cheers.
      In Illinois, you do have a duty to retreat, unless you are in your home. Zimmerman would have been arrested on the spot in Illinois because we only allow our criminals to carry guns, no concealed carry law here. Only state in the union. How is that working for us you ask....not too well. Every morning we read about 12-15 shootings, mostly gang related. We really need to give them target practice because they never seem to shoot eachother, only six year old little girls.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • sloan

      Citizens have the right to defend themselves,however i question a law that can allow anyone to cry self defence and take that person word for it after they shoot and kill someone. Obviously the victim is not going to be able to tell his or her side of the story. Obviously if this society was full of honest people who would not abuse this Law that protects the right to defend,this law would not be scrutinize. I truly believe as a white person myself,despite the polar opinions between whites blacks,or hispanics.-I do not deny that racism do not play a part on this issue,not saying for Ziimmerman himself,but the fact that he was not arrested. As I say a law that can allow anyone to cry self defence while standing next to a body,that is foul. A friend of mine had altercations with a black officer in New Orleans,he was defending a black clerk who was very rude to my friend and it escalated into something that it shouldnt,imagine the clerk and police officer used the Stand Your ground law to harm my friend and get away with it. Racism exist and anyone can use that Law to justify their own agenda,and to me that is wrong.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  11. MsrMersault

    The history of self defense law does not require an individual to have "reasonably" believed that he was in peril of a forcible felony. The belief that one is in peril has always been subjectively tested, not objectively. This is probably a good thing, if you have time to be objectively reasonable, you are probably not actually in fear for your life. If someone approaches you in a dark alley and says, "give me your money," should you inquire as to whether he intended to cap his take at the misdemeanor level? Does he intend to enforce his demand with violence, and if so, with a gun or a knife? How skilled is he with that knife? If he just intends to beat you, how badly? These are not reasonable considerations, so the law has always recognized that the question for the jury is not whether the fear was reasonable, but simply, was the person actually in fear.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  12. reality

    No Castle law is not problem, problem is lack of guns , government should provide guns every citizen so they could people if they are stalking .

    March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sloan

      as I say anyone can claim they are stalked,in danger and a Law that takes one person word for another especially if the other person is not there to tell his or her side of the story is a law that needs to be scrutinized if best changed. Pretty soon drug dealers and gang members can use this law to justify shootings-i bet they already have.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  13. Nah

    Tripe, tripe and more tripe.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  14. Jay

    I'm still trying to determine why any security guard in the area would have a sidearm and be willing to discharge it so quickly? Why are we putting firearms in the hands of individuals who are neither capable of dealing with the responsibility or thoroughly trained?

    March 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Nah

      I'm still wondering why mor0ns make assumptions about facts and draw unjustifiable conclusions about them.

      What's your excuse?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • James Foley

      No Nah, what about YOU?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • mister

      Didn't one eye witness say the man was getting his head slammed into the ground. If i'm not mistaken and I could be, It does not take that much force to cause a serious or life threatening head trauma. If this is in fact the truth would that not be considered defending ones life. I think we might be responding with emotion without knowing the truth.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • redone

      I agree. He should not have been armed with a gun. He was not defending his own home. He had been told when he called the police that it was not necessary to confront the person he saw. All these questions need to be addressed in a hearing in a court of law, not on line. This has gone too far in the media to go to an unbiased jury. All should have been decided by our justice system, not the police dept.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • James Foley

      No mister, that is Zimmerman's claim of the event. It has yet to be substantiated. There was one eye witness who claimed that Martin, he assumed, was sitting on top of Zimmerman.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  15. Mike

    Sounds like people should think twice before they assault someone in Florida. Bet it would bring down the assault rate in Chicago too. I think if you get your nose broken and assaulted you have a right to defend yourself. Our violent world seems to only be incredulous when it is white on black. 107 murders so far this year in Chicago, of course I did not see last nights tally. I think something might be wrong.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • James Foley

      Actually Mike, Zimmerman's nose was broken as Martin was attempting to defend himself. Zimmerman brought his injuries onto himself. Not true in MArtin's case. Zimmerman's CLAIMS aside.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Nah

      james: "Actually Mike, Zimmerman's nose was broken as Martin was attempting to defend himself. Zimmerman brought his injuries onto himself. Not true in MArtin's case. Zimmerman's CLAIMS aside."

      And you know this how? Because you've come to a conclusion (based on race, of course) without knowing any of the facts and without having been there or witnessed the shooting in the first place?

      You're smart.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • James Foley

      Actually Nah, it's based on a careful consideration of teh facts that are available and havign the conscience to consider both men are good people rather than one or the otehr is a deviant. I am smart, thank you for noticing, but it doesn't take a genius to be able to read and listen and follow along.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • reality

      No people should not just punch some one for following , they should just shoot them in the name of self defense.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • James Foley

      And nothing I have typed has anythign to do with race. That's YOU inserting it.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • James Foley

      Actually reality Martin didn't punch Zimmerman simply for following him, he was attempting to get away from a guy with a gun who was intent on provoking him.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mike

      Apparently the ones with the actual facts in the case, having performed an investigation, then having everyone thoroughly re-examine the case and perform further investigations have not figured out a way to charge Zimmerman. Therefore, in my humble opinion, there must not be a reason to charge him with anything. He must have been defending himself.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • James Foley

      "facts" in this case Mike, seem to be coming back to subjective observations withotu serious investigative work being done. Self defense in regards to Zimmerman does not seem to apply, as is evidenced by the timeline and the 911 calls.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bob

      You didn't consider all the facts or statements there James...a witness said that Zimmerman was walking back to his car when he was confronted by Martin...which plays into the fact that Zimmerman said he lost sight of the kid and was punched in the nose and knocked to the ground...so what is the real story since you know everything?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Foley you are trying to play amateur detective and you are contradicting your self every time you write more....the investigation is ongoing and no determination of self defense on the part of Zimmerman has been made...!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • James Foley

      Ya, and that "witness" was Zimmerman. He was giving his own account.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Wait, he lost sight of the kid, and then got punched in the face? What were his eyes closed? How do you get punched in the face, in the open, and not see the person punching you in the face? Doesn't really make sense. Was the kid behind him and had the most epic right hook ever, so that he could hit the other side of a persons head with it?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • James Foley

      No Official determination has been made, that's correct, but there are those who continue to talk about this that claim Zimmerman was acting in self defense, as is evidenced in this comments section. I have in no way contradicted myself. I am not playing amateur detective. Merely making observations that otehrs decline to consider in their own speculation.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • James Foley

      HawaiiGuest if that is the case, Zimmerman may have been caught off guard. It's possible to not see it coming. Following a path you think someone is taking and actually following them are two different things.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Mike

      It seems to me that the determination has been made. Otherwise, Zimmerman would have been arrested. I mean I am no Kojak or anything but are people really that stupid?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • James Foley

      Actually, the determination hasn't been made. This is still an ongoign investigation.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • James Foley

      And your logic is flawed a bit... your determination that had things been otherwise Zimmerman would be arrested is weak. The fact is, one of the officers determined Zimmerman shoudl be arrested for negligent homicide, but the states attorney general determined there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute so denied the warrant.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • FU9L

      He was not defending his own home YOU DONT HAVE TO BY IN MOST STATES WITH THE EXECPTION OF THE WEINNIE STATES IE: THE NORTH EAST AND CALIFORINA IN TEXAS YOU CAN KILL FOR LIFE LIMB AND PROPERTY WHICH HOW THE LAW WAS IN ALL 50 STATES AND SHOULD BE AGAIN

      March 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • James Foley

      In fact, it is precisely BECAUSE Zimmerman hasn't been arrested, though he should have been, that we are debating the subject now.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • CC

      James you are a genius. I'm smart too, I make stuff up!!!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  16. James Foley

    The law itself isn't actually a license to kill. It's a license to meet force with force reasonable to the situation. Emphasis on the Reasonable. Here we have a clear cut case of excessive and unnecesary use of force by a self appointed watchman. This is also a case best represented by a child's tongue twister... The skunk thunk the stump stunk; the stump thunk the skunk stunk. ... Clearly both men had the impression the otehr was up to no good. We grant no quartert to Zimmerman because of the two, it was he who had the greatest power and authority to act responsibley. This is a case of misfeasance and nonfeasance. Malfeasance in this case is questionable, but certainly possible. In any case, Zimmerman should have been put in protective custody immediately.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • James Foley

      The Stand Yoru Ground law is also beneficial to many who feel law enforcement never seems to be therer when you need them. As the line of the hip hop song goes... "Get up a git git git down, 9-1-1 is a joke in your town" and Stand Your Ground laws like this one are merely a reflection and reaction to that base reality.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mike

      WOW, a "quote" from a hip hop song. Hip hop I hear talks about shooting all the time, I don't let my kids listen.....they use the N word.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • James Foley

      The quote Mike, was to emphasizwe the reality of life in many neighborhoods. Cops simply can't be in all places at all times. SYG laws are meant to present honest citizens with an option other than retreating.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Mike

      James,
      I am all for it, just poking fun at the hip hop quote. I think we see eye to eye and are on the same page with SYG.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Joe

      I disagree and we all need to wait for the evidence. If Travon punched Zimmerman and broke his nose and jumped on him while bashing his head in the ground, it was SELF DEFENSE.

      While I agree Zimmermann had no business following Travon, the facts need to be looked at and an autopsy of the body should be easy to determine if Travon punched Zimmerman.

      If no evidence is found og Travons knuckles of blunt trama, it was MURDER.

      The media has Zimmermann convicted before we even know the evidence.

      Bottom line, this is bad decisions on both parties if it plays out that Travon punched Zimmermann.

      Bad decision on Zimmermann for playing Neighborhood savior and Bad decision on Travon to resort to violence when confronted.

      If no evidence that Travon punched Zimmermann from the autopsy, Zimmermann should pay for murder.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  17. ANDRE HIMES

    A old demonic BLACK AMERICA has arisen from both the antebellum and hiphop nation and is based stereotypical images of low class , poverty stricken and criminally prone blacks(HOOTIE) ,and has replace the black human population who were sacrifice during the black holocaust 1968-1993. U nder racial profiling many black americans were arrested and either martyred within the prison system or were deported to AFRICA, where many of them were martyred there and were buried in mass graves in both the SUDAN and in the CONGO, and it was this act as well as the rise of the hiphop nation which had been summon against black america by the white feminists (WITCHES) is what has contribute to the black holocaust

    March 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Dennis

      Go seek help.You are a racist nut!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  18. Enough os American Whacko Extremist Politics!

    All this new wave gun toting is an overreaction by the NRA to the old trend of anti-gun legislation. I'm fine with gun ownership, but this crap about showing up at Obama rallies carrying assault rifles is just looney. The number of people getting concealed carry permits is wildly out of proportion to any need.

    The NRA upheld a right, and I give them credit for that. But they also turned their members into paranoid zealots through an onslaught of constant fear-mongering, and now we are at the illogical extreme of "stand your ground" and concealed carry by people who really don't need it.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nah

      *yawn*

      Talk about whacko extremism.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • straitsight

      The fact that the left is trying to take away gun ownership rights is what caused the zealots.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  19. Payers change things

    Payers change things. Prayer does nothing other than waste time.
    Proven.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  20. JohnQuest

    A concealed carry license is Fl is a License to Kill.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • BlueTemplar

      Oh please, it's a proven fact violent crime and murder stats went DOWN in Florida after CCW's were approved. FL has been under the national average of states without CCW ever since. Source, DoJ.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And how much has the "justified killings" stats gone up in FL since the law?

      March 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • BlueTemplar

      Can you prove they are not justifiable homicide? You can? Congrats, you're now an accessory to murder for not reporting your proof.

      All firearms related homicides, are just that, homicide. They are investigated and proceed to move into either Murder or Justifiable Homicide. Why has the number gone up? Simple, victims were finally allowed to defend themselves! It's a law that keeps offenders from playing the victim.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Did I say anything about them not being justified under the law? Kneejerk reactions won't get you anywhere. Sarcasm and idiotic assertions make you look like a defensive ass. Either way, under the justice system, the one who did the justified killing is the one who must prove self-defense. Why do you think prosecutors are always trying to prove their assertions, and defense attorneys only need to cast reasonable doubt on the assertion of guilt? In essence you are the one that must prove that each of them were justifiable, not the other way around.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Mark from AL

      I actually was curious about this myself and did a little digging. Sorry that I don't have a link to the data I found, but if you just google "Florida violent crime rates", you can find information very easily. Here's what I saw looking at crime rates for murder, robbery, burglary, foricible r@pe, and aggravated assault (compared against the population of Florida):
      Across the board, everything actually is at the lowest levels seen since the 1970's. However, it's a little more inconclusive to say that this has anything to do with the "stand your ground" law (implemented in 2005). Crime rates across the board have been decreasing since the early to mid 90's. The graph showing instances of r@pe, for example, has been declining in a nearly straight line from 2001-2010.

      Burlary, robbery, and murder are a little more interesting. From 2005 to about 2007/2008, these statistics jumped sharply, only to be followed by a strong decline in the years that followed. I'm not an expert, I'm barely an amateur, but my opinion is it looks like around 2007, efforts from law enforcement resulted in an improvement in spite of the law. At very least, the argument cannot be made that it improved the situation.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Dennis

      A concealed weapons permit takes away a criminal's right to mug.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.