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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. Carver

    Not if the law is upheld as written.

    April 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  2. Dean

    The writer of this article is completely wrong. It does not give a license to kill. If someone wants to kill and you want to defend yourself then you should not have to second guess your actions when you have only seconds to react. Once the suspect turn and runs away and you chase the person then the boundaries of that law ends. If evidence proves that Zimmerman did that that he'll be found guilty. If not, then he will not be charged. That's the job of the detectives and prosecutor. To assure Zimmerman followed the law. There's nothing wrong with the law only the competency of the law enforcement.

    April 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Frank Rizzo

    It goes to show you how idiotic this writers and other are when it comes to the Florida Stand Your Ground Law. The law does not anyone to engage in pursuit or be at the aggressor, It's called Stand Your Ground based on the Castle Law. I fully support the law, not the idiots who try to shield themselves thinking that they could get away by committing murder of innocent people.

    Zimmer will be found guilty by his fellow floridians, one of the many things Floridians not like is People messing with their Gun Laws, or how and when they could defend themselves during a crime in progress.

    April 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Kingofthenet

    Sad fact is people SUPPORT 'Stand your Ground' because they WANT to be able to Hunt Down and Kill someone, for JUST breaking and Entering, for just stealing their lawnmower. They not only want to be able to shoot them to protect themselves, but to shoot FLEEING suspects in the back. They want a Blank Check.

    April 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Frank Rizzo

      Maybe you'll change your position if you were ever a victim of a home evasion while you sleeping, or being car jack at red night.

      Or maybe just standing inline at 711 store minding your own business, when all of sudden a person comes in and starts robbing the place and then all sudden that person turns and wants to shot you all because you can identify him or her to police, The Floridan Law is a good law and believe it will continue to stand no what anyone saids.

      April 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Kingofthenet

      I support your right to protect yourself in a 'Home Invasion' or Carjacking, but you can do that without 'Stand your ground', you really just don't want the Perp to get away, some kid stealing some of your tools from your shed is doing wrong, he SHOULD go to jail, but he doesn't need to wind up dead for a few bucks worth of Craftsman.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  5. A Canadian perspective

    Hmm.. My understanding of the "stand your ground" laws are that, if accosted by someone, one now has a lethal right to defend oneself. If Zimmerman (armed) confronted Martin, that would make Zimmerman the aggressor, and Martin in the position of trying to defend himself. With any unarmed defense that Martin could muster, Zimmerman then becomes justified in "standing his ground" and lethally attacks his aggressor. Only the survivor can tell the whole story. Certainly, as the article states – a poorly conceived law.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  6. airforce1990

    Stand your ground laws are not an invitation to kill. Murderous thieves that back me into a corner and threaten to kill me and take my wallet are inviting me to kill them. Don't blame the laws, blame the criminals. What am I supposed to do if I can't flee an attacker?? Stand my ground and be killed? Not this guy. If someone comes up to you and tries to rob or kill you, you can try to hug him and sing camp fire songs if you want, but I'm gonna give him some lead.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Brian

      If someone corners you, you *already* have a right of self-defense. You don't need Stand Your Ground for that. Stand Your Ground eliminates the requirement that you be unable to flee. It basically says, if someone looks at you wrong, you can shoot them, and the onus is on the government to prove it *wasn't* self-defense.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • A Canadian perspective

      And if a uniformed policeman asks for your wallet for ID, you would probably comply. But what would you do if an ununiformed, armed person who says he's from the neighbourhood watch asks for your wallet? Become aggressive and justify his "standing his ground"?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Carla Burney

    It's a shame to lose your Son over a stranger dumb fear of a black young person with no weapon or reason to be follow by anyone to be shot down, and even worst to have a system to protect this Murder without a Doubt by shallow laws. Bottom line a crime/Murder/Felony was committed and an arrest needs to be made immediately, Zimmerman is a threat to society.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Steve

      I'd say it's perfectly legitimate to be afraid of an "unarmed" person who knocked you down and started pounding your head repeatedly against the pavement. Deadly force may be needed to prevent yourself from being killed by head trauma.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • TheRegulator

      You obviously have no idea what happened. You only know what the media wanted you to know. They needed a story and what's better for them than a hate crime? The truth here is that during the 911 call, Zimmerman stopped following [not chasing] Trayvon. Upon returning to his vehicle, Zimmerman found himself confronted by Trayvon. Trayvon then proceeded to punch Zimmerman in the face, breaking his nose. A fight ensued and the two were brawling about on the ground. An eye witness account stated that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman pounding his head into the concrete. Zimmerman was yelling for help. When the witness went inside to call 911, he heard a gunshot. Upon looking out the window he say Trayvon lying dead in the grass. - My point here...if you are going to say things like "a murder was committed...', you should at least know the facts.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  8. linda patterson

    Zimmerman's defence and those family and friends who support him, despite the fact that videos show no sign of altercation on him nor his body, reminds me of the emperor who paraded himself in glorious new clothes and was supported by his closest advisors and friends , because they were afraid of the emperor's wrath if they "told the truth" : that he was naked and wearing no clothes. however the public jeered and laughed and would not be swayed by his buffooning.
    (story of " the emperor's new clothes")

    April 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • TheRegulator

      What's the latest on the video? ABC released a new story showing the head trauma...once again..you only know what the "too fast to judge" media want you to know. They put the opinions in your head. The only reason I come to this liberal website is to try and set the facts straight.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Steve

      Linda, you are an idiot. The Police saw his wounds and cleaned him up, thus making them impossible to see on a distant, low-res video. A doctor's examination confirms that he was beaten.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things..

    April 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Jesus

      More lies. No it doesn't. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!
      April 2, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |

      April 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      More Truth
      yes it do

      April 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  10. 1st

    Would not the best thing to do, if you were going to continue following Trayvon, would be to follow him to the place of his destination and inform Law Enforcement on his location, and wait for their arrival (Cop's do it all the time for back up). How did Trayvon get found face down on the ground if he were shot in the chest, was the encounter one that was face to face? Did Zimmerman turn Trayvon around and why? If someone's reaching for a cell phone, after following an individual, would not the individual mistake the person following them for reaching for something other than a cell phone? Ex: N.Y.P.D shooting of unarmed teen in his home when adjusting his belt in the street and police thought he was carrying a weapon. Zimeerman called the non-emergency number at 7pm, at 7:30pm Trayvon Martin is pronounced dead. Zimmerman entered the Sanford police Department at 7:52pm, so in the process of twenty-two minutes, Zimmerman was Ajax clean in video footage of his entering the Police Department. The question now is 1) What's the distance from the gated community to the Police Department? and 2) How bad could the wounds Zimmerman suffered had been, to be cleaned and at the Police Department in that twenty-two minute time frame. Explain how long was the treatment and transportation time, that's the question.

    April 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Don

      the stand your ground law is dangerous, yes but; is it needed in Florida?

      The stand your ground law means every man for himself. the police can not protect the public.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  11. J.W

    So what happened was Zimmerman chased Martin until Martin was out of sight, then before Zimmerman could get back to his car, Martin caught up with him and started beating him up. Martin slammed Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk repeated, yet Zimmerman was still conscious enough to get out his gun and shoot Martin. Does that make any sense?

    April 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Brian

      No. No, it does not.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Rundvelt

    > 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.

    Edward here should do a bit of research before he claims he knows what the law is.

    Let's say I'm in a liquor store and I'm buying a bottle. A thief comes in and demands money from the clerk. He doesn't notice me and I have a pistol. He then says "There's not enough cash, get on your stomach m'er f'er. He then stands over the clerk."

    Do I know if the clerk is going to be killed for sure? No. He may be grabbing his wallet for all I know.

    And let's say that I could in fact run out the back door (Let's say it's a large store and he couldn't hear me). I now have a situation where I don't know if there will be deadly force and I do in fact have a safe exit point.

    The fact is that this happens occasionally and the person is not charged with murder. In fact, they're not charged with anything. Stand your ground is a clarification to the fact that in the united states of america, no one, not a single person, should ever be made to feel like they "have to be the victim" when a crime is being committed.

    You should know the depth and history of the law before you comment on it.

    Sorry

    April 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • walter

      The law has no other "depth" than to kill and to justify the abuse of fire arms. I will never again return to my usual winter holiday in Florida. The Republicans should not hold their convention there or any other state that justifies wanton murder.

      April 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Brian

      That's a different situation because you're acting in defense of another person. That's always been justifiable self-defense.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  13. reasoable doubt

    I'm sorry anyone had to die by violence. If the young man did indeed attack and started hitting Zimmermin then Z had every right to defend himself with deadly force. Trevon was a healthy young football player that must have been in excellent pysical condition. If the only reaction to a threat of violence is to run and hid then the way of life that we have enjoyed is doomed. I'm sure that Hitler and all the other mass murderers would agree that we have no right to defend ourselves. The authorites can not protect us all the time. If we had to wait for the police every time then how many more lives would be lost. Every police state in history started out as only the govorment can defend us. It is even a worse tragady now that the politicians and the lime-light seekers are using it to their advantage. What is happening now is mob rule and has nothing to do with justice. It's really sad to see mobs convicting instead of our court system. I have yet to hear that the authorities are not going to arrest Zimmerman, just that they are reviewing the evidence. Where were all these mobs at when a young man was beatten to death by his own band members? Is there ever going to be justice for him or is it ok to kill your own race?

    April 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • smithk_80

      There was plenty of outrage from us, including me as a former member. That's beside the point. Zimmerman was NOt defending himself, he was following a Black youth that he felt didn't belong in "his" neighborhood. He followed the kid (his words) against advice of the 911 operator. He made several twist and turns following Martin until Treyvon was 70 yards from his dad's house. He claims his head was banged into the sidewalk right before he shot the boy, yet Treyvon was found face-down on the grass w/his feet pointing towards the walk. Why would MArtin get so close to home before suposedly turning on Zimmerman? When your kids tell you they don't know how the cookie jar got broke with crumbs in their hands and chocolate on their face, you don't believe them, either. BTW, Hitler doesn't have anything to do with this. The facts are the facts. Reasonable doubt my a@$...

      April 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      @smithk_80: Your point of view is slanted and not based on any evidence. In fact, Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and tried to return to his vehicle. In the process of returning to his vehicle, Zimmerman was confronted by Martin from behind. He turned around and Martin asked him if he had a problem, to which he responded no. Martin then told him he does now, and hit him in the face hard enough to knock him down. Martin then got on top of him and started smacking the back of Zimmerman's head into the ground (injuries are consistent with the actual police report partially leaked), at which time Zimmerman attempted to get Martin off of him. Now, from what I understand, although I don't state this as fact, the firearm was originally attempted to be pulled by Martin, and they fought over the gun. Zimmerman won, and Martin kept attacking, thus getting shot by Zimmerman. Even if Zimmerman just pulled his firearm and fired, however, he would still be in the right, because he was in deadly peril from the attack.

      April 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Brian

      @Urafkntool:

      You're taking Zimmerman's account of events at face value. That's not wise, considering Zimmerman's account makes no sense. I don't doubt that there was a fight, and that Zimmerman was injured. But the problem is, the audio evidence and the appearance of Zimmerman's clothing after the incident are not consistent with Zimmerman shooting Martin after a struggle for the gun. For Zimmerman to have no blood on him other than his head, he couldn't have been that close to Martin when he shot him. Additionally, if you listen to the 911 tape, there's a voice screaming/pleading, and then a shot. Zimmerman *couldn't* have been the one pleading, because he had the situation in hand by the time he shot Martin. Martin was obviously scared for his life before he was shot.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • tehheh

      Zimmerman would have appeared dangerous to Martin if we wasn't wearing a uniform. In that video that has surfaced of Zimmerman being brought in to the police department for processing, Zimmerman isn't wearing anything that could be considered a uniform. Anyway, Neighborhood Watch volunteers aren't supposed to be armed. They aren't cops. Zimmerman should have been following Neighborhood Watch rules and should have done what the emergency dispatcher told him to do—not pursue Martin.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  14. Henry

    Trayvon was expelled from school and was smoking weed. Where did he get money for that? Probably selling weed or stealing. He was in that gated community to steal money.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • just sayin

      Which hand would he be stealing with, the one holding the skittles or the one holding the iced tea?

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • smithk_80

      So, despite the FACTS that Martin's father and his finacee' LIVED in this gated community, and that all Martin was doing was going to the store, you somehow think he was there to just smoke/sell weed and steal. You probably have never done anything wrong in your life, and think your kids are perfect saints. Almost every kid gets into some type of trouble in their youth, and drive their parents up the way. The simple FACT is is that everytime Zimmerman saw a Black youth in "his" neighborhood, he called the police, and his own admission on the 911 tape PROVES he persued this child, not the other way around. Get your racist head outta the sand.

      April 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > So, despite the FACTS that Martin's father and his finacee' LIVED in this gated community, and that all Martin was doing was going to the store, you somehow think he was there to just smoke/sell weed and steal.

      I agree. He could be doing anything. Good or bad. We simply do not know.

      > You probably have never done anything wrong in your life, and think your kids are perfect saints. Almost every kid gets into some type of trouble in their youth, and drive their parents up the way.

      I have no idea what you're rambling about. Not almost every kid gets into trouble. In fact, out of my entire circle of friends, I can think of one person who went to court (it was dismissed).

      > The simple FACT is is that everytime Zimmerman saw a Black youth in "his" neighborhood, he called the police, and his own admission on the 911 tape PROVES he persued this child, not the other way around.

      He's allowed to pursue people. He's allowed to follow someone. He's allowed to defend himself, even if he was doing the pursuing. For example. I can pursue a man that I saw touch a little girl. I can follow him over hells half acres if I want to. If he turns and hits me, I have a right to defend myself.

      The fact is that we do not have the entire story as of yet, so we cannot say who was in the right and who was in the wrong.

      > Get your racist head outta the sand.

      Depends on the scope of his discussion. If he's transposing the child's actions based on previous history, then he's not racist. If he's doing so because the child was black, then he is racist.

      April 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      @just sayin: how about the one he used the screwdriver police found to remove locks and open doors, or maybe the one he used to steal women's jewelry that police found in his backpack and he admitted didn't belong to him? Maybe the one he dealt/smoked pot with.

      @Smithk_80: Wow, do you have your head in the sand....

      April 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • tehheh

      What Martin did at school is totally irrelevant to his being shot and killed. You now that and are simply trying to make a dead person look bad. You disgust me!

      April 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • REALITY

      Dear Friends,
      As a WHITE American living in America, my fear and hatred of BLACK Americans is so paramount, that I must embrace every opportunity to inject my venom of stupidity and ignorance, regarding the reality of RACIAL PROFILING in America. As a coward, I hide anonymously in my home, concealing my face behind my computer, that I may impart my innermost darkness and evil of RACISM upon society. Sometimes when hanging out with the boys...the KKK that is, I feel somewhat empowered as we hide underneath our HOODIES....oops, I mean HOODS. Even while wearing my costume, I still find it hard to escape the cowardly person that I am. What a miserable life I have, never really having understood who I am, or my worth. You see, my parents raise me to believe that I was superior then people of color. But DANG BLASTED @#%...the more I live, the more I realized that people of color are not only my equal, but in most cases, more educated, innovative, talented and skilled than I. Please understand that my ignorance of hate towards people of color was handed down from my parents. Hopefully I will not spend the rest of my life in gross darkness and ignorance. Maybe one day I will face my fears of black people, enabling me to embrace justice for all people, that I may live in peace, harmony and REALITY with all of humanity.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 2, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Jesus

      Still spreading your lies. No it doesn't. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      April 2, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • just sayin

      Yes it do

      April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  16. Kacy

    What about Trayvon's "Right to stand"...by the 911 calls etc, it is obvious that he feared for his life, because some guy was following him around the neighborhood. Why couldn't he claim self-defense...wait. oh yeah, some guy shot him for wearing a hood on his head in the rain....

    April 2, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  17. carters4Christ

    1. Does anyone else find it odd that an "ethics expert" has no problem taking shots at legislators who were ethically responding to a public out cry for action at the time that these "stand your ground" laws were passed?
    2. Is it ethical to utilize the death of another as a way of promoting ones own ethical views?

    The Laws don't "invite people to kill" as stated by Mr. Queen. The temptation to kill is part of the sin nature of mankind and goes back roughly 6,000 years to Cain and Abel (Gen 4:8). Simply put, in Florida there is a man who made the choice to pull the trigger and kill another person.

    I am glad in the United States of America, we are still sensitive to death and want something done when a crime has been committed. It does sadden me though to see those in the media use their voices to convict rather than allowing the legal system in place to function the way it was designed too.

    I for one have enough faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to believe Christ will make sure justice is done no matter what laws man has set up.

    April 2, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • RdWhtNBlu

      Nice point except for the last sentence, it makes you seem like a 'wacko'.

      April 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • carters4Christ

      For RdWhtNBlu – I understand what your saying and in fact would have made the same statement prior to finding the Lord Jesus Christ and giving Him my life. The fact is you can think of me what every you want. I'm ok with that and have no right to even argue with you with regards to how it sounds to you.....I'm attaching a scripture reference simply to show you what I'm referring too. Have a great day!
      John 5:26 – 30
      For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

      April 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  18. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:––>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The security-camera-hiding hoodie as the new sign of crime?

    From today's local newspaper: "Mayor decries killing of Fla. teen"

    25 lines down another headline: "Man Shot Dead at Apartments"

    "The man was shot with a handgun at close range by a man in a gray hoodie".

    Couple this with almost daily news' accounts and photos of robberies of convenience stores and small grocercies by teens and young adults dressed in hoodies and no wonder the country is sensitized by the head-hiding hoodie. And then there are all the TV cop shows with almost daily stories depicting the same scenario.

    Note: Some banks now ban the wearing of head-hiding hoodies in their facilities.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • carters4Christ

      with regards to your note: As one who was in law enforcement and worked within many banks as an officer, it is against the law to wear a hood (on your head not simply a hoodie) inside a bank.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Jolly Roger

      Yeah, another example for stupid rules. I guess all bankrobbers will obey to this rule and now wear a R. Reagan mask instead of hoodies. I'm lucky i live in germany where i can knock at my neighbours door asking for some sugar without the danger of being shot through my head.

      April 2, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Reality

      Anyone wearing a R. Reagan mask into a bank would hopefully not be shot but definitily takes that risk as he/she is being apprehended by the authorities. And no doubt this would be a global situation.

      April 2, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • smithk_80

      Sagging pants banned in a lot of schools and cities. Oversized shirts banned. Hoodies banned. Reason...safety, crime, whatever. But when kids/people wearing black trench coats (in summer/dry weather), combat boots, all black dress, gothic clothes, etc. go shooting up schools, malls, dorms, I don't see anyone blaming the style of dress and banning it. I wonder why. I remember my freshman year in high school (94) where all guys where required to wear belts, tuck shirts in, couldn't wear pants backwards or oversized (KrissKross was out) or hats backwards. What were the actual threats at the school doing those days; white kids bringing and selling guns in the parking lot, and certain kids getting tongue rings and spending the majority of the year out with infections. Just saying, let's be real...

      April 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • tehheh

      People keep making excuses for Zimmerman. He did what he wasn't supposed to do and, as a result, ended up killing an unarmed teenager. A trained, sworn, uniformed police officer—which Zimmerman wasn't—probably wouldn't have asked questions and let Martin continue walking home.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  19. rikersislandslim

    Reguardless of how old his photographs his parents had and showed to the world, on January 1 2012 he was a living person 17 years old expecting to live a full life, he may have had problems at his age but how many of us didn't as a teen experimented with forbidden fruit and turn out to become productive citizens. There is a problem with most of these blogs thye people who wrote them are and have been and continue to be racist and are dues paying members of the right wing conservative party and the NRA.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  20. rikersislandslim

    I live in New York City in a 99% black area called Harlem, now let me get this right if a white man comes into my neighborhood and makes a threatening remark to me then I'm justified in pulling my 9mm and shooting him 9 times to remove the threat from him harming me, and the NYPD can't arrest me for killing that caucasen man.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • carters4Christ

      Your comment is proof of exactly what is taking place with this case. People are jumping to conclusions based on emotions and their own perceptions rather than actually using the brain God has given them and considering all of the presented facts.
      1. Why is it your using a white man in your attempt at a Parallelism? (Neither one of them were white)
      2. ? If ? you indeed do live in Harlem, then you know 99% of the white men hanging out in the area are up to no good.
      3. I was told of a Pastor who was giving out the gospel in Harlem and was shot 7 times because he reached into his coat to get out his New Testament Bible and there were no arrests made. The shooter made the following statement, "When I opened the door the guy suddenly reached into his jacket. I thought he came to my door to do me harm and was reaching for a piece and so I slammed the door, pulled out my gat and shot through the door, cause my wife and kids were home."

      April 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • billybob

      He has to physically assault you and you have to defend yourself. Much like Zimmerman did, but no white person would do that unless he was crazy. That is why all white people that shoot up houses/schools/work places are mentally ill. Black people do it for money or street cred.

      April 2, 2012 at 3:20 am |
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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.