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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. John Deatherage

    "No Duty to Retreat" laws are recognition that the police can't & don't protect you or me. They investigate after the fact.

    Individuals have ceded power to the state in the mistaken belief that the state could protect us. We are now realizing the folly of that logic.

    You are your best protection. If criminals think that you have the capacity to defend yourself, that is the greatest deterrent available.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  2. JOSE0311USMC

    PATTY, IF A 6-3 180 POUND GUY IS BEATING YOU AND YOU HAVE A GUN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO ?? LET THE BIG GUY CONTINUE BEATING YOU ?? OR USE THE GUN THAT YOU HAVE ?

    March 29, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • JohnQuest

      JOSE0311USMC, I read that Mr. Martin was about 140lbs and Mr. Zimmerman is 250lbs. If this is true, No I don't think Mr. Zimmerman needed to use a weapon.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  3. bill

    the stand your ground law is a good thing, have you read the law? and if you haven't read it, then read it
    the reporter should read it also before making his own decision about the law

    March 29, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Blahma

      Exactly. And make sure you read down about 5 more paragraphs, too. That's where it covers such things as not allowing someone who goes on the offensive first (for being followed,for example) to be covered under it. Actually, the law is very specific.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Ralph M

      if reporters read before they reported, there would not be any fanning the flames of racism in this case. their irresponsible reporting is part of why there is so much hate. but all they want is ratings. just listen to those two nutty women {nancy and jane} for a few minutes and it becomes clear.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  4. William Demuth

    Providing emotionaly incapable individuals with weapons is the root of the problem.

    Those who aspire to being police should not be allowed to be them.

    Those who choose to pretend to themselves that they are need to be removed from society.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      WILLIAMS, MANY SOUTHERNS CARRY M-14 AND M-15 AR WEAPONS AND DRESS LIKE SOLDIERS IN COMO,, WANNABE SOLDIERS ?? THAT IS ABOUT ALL THE SOUTH..SHOULD SOUTHERN PEOPLE NOT BE ALLOW TO HAVE WEAPONS ??? SOUTHERN PEOPLE RUNNING IN THE WOODS ARMED TO THE TEETH ARE THE PEOPLE THAT I WORRY ABOUT THE MOST....

      March 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  5. lastofall

    This law is just another petty manipulation for the love of money, which is another way to save money. Instead of providing a sufficient police force to serve and protect, the concept of this law allows local and state governments to Save Money, and that is its only purpose. Unfortunately it also creates a mind set of a gladiator in a most pathetic fashion.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      POLICE CAN'T PROTECT YOU, WE ALL KNOW THAT....EVEN IF THEY DOUBLE THE POLICE FORCE, THEY STILL WON'T BE ABLE TO PROTECT YOU....POLICE IS ALWAYS AT THE CRIME SCENE AFTER THE CRIME BEEN COMMITTED ...STAND YOUR GROUND LAW SEND THOSE BLACK GUYS WHO LOVE TO BREAK IN PEOPLE'S HOME A MESSAGE--DON'T DO IT, WE ARE WATCHING YOU.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • sam stone

      gee, jose, got a burr jammed up there about black guys?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Ralph M

      a statement like this with nothing to back it up is just irresponsible. the law was created to curtail violence against innocents. it clearly does not apply to this case. if the media would concentrate on the facts, instead of rumours, the world would be better off.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  6. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    March 29, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Jesus

      Lying is a sin, you've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. 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.!

      March 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      PRAYERS–GOD ....HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT NO ONE EVER SEEN ?????GOD–JESUS-WHERE ARE THEY ?? I WANT TO MEET THEM SO I CAN ALSO BELIEVE....I CAN'T BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THAT NO ONE EVER SEEN....HAVE ANYONE WHO CLAIM TO RELIGIOUS EVER SEEN JESUS IN PERSON ????????DUH.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • just sayin

      Jesus was seen and testified to by millions of people over thousands of years. God has been seen and testified to throughout the Bible. You are sadly mistaken

      March 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      WHERE CAN MEET IN PERSON WITH GOD ???????????

      March 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Really?

      "Jesus was seen and testified to by millions of people over thousands of years."

      LOL! No he hasn't, he's been dead too long. It's why you need statues of him cause he hasn't been "seen."

      March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Keith

      JOSE0311USMC, You'll meet Him at either one of two judgements. Hopefully, for your sake, it is the Judgement Seat of Christ and not the Great White Throne. Until then, you can meet Him by praying to Him and asking Him to reveal Himself to you-but don't try to put Him into a box by it being an "in person" meeting-you would probably need a change underwear if that were to happen, anyway. If you're serious about knowing God ask Him into your life.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Really?

      "If you're serious about knowing God ask Him into your life."

      Don't bother it's a waste of time their god doesn't exist.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  7. Saber

    This situation has gone completely overboard. There are many factors involved here, and the Media, (as usual), is only showing enough to stir up more anti-second amendment hype. Additionally, the Media, (as usual), is getting out all of the "racist" cards and playing them against everyone. So here it is. I have been a Security Firearm Instructor for the better part of 15 years, plus doing Armed Security work for near 8 years before. Here is what I have observed on a personal basis, (non-biased). For those teens who are here looking over this site, I am going to tell you the same thing I told my nephew(s). If you want to dress like a street thug, and wear your baggy pant, hoodies, dark shades, hang out with other youths whom subscribe to the same image, then you can plan on being treated accrodingly. Law Enforcement will show you no quarter, armed security personnel whom are doing their jobs will do the same. Other types of Law Enforcement Professionals will do exactly the same. Unfortunately for this young man, its my opinion that he was, 1). In the wong place at the wrong time. 2). Was encountered by a person who was itching for a fight. 3). Zimmerman obviously had little or no training on doing a proper OBSERVE AND REPORT type of job. 4). Trayvon,(if this aspect is true), should have headed directly home, and ignored Zimmerman, or got onto his Cell Phone if he had one and called the police the moment Zimmerman started following him. Now on to you anti-second amendment folks making comment here. This is not about race, guns, or laws that allow you to defend yourself. This is about a seriously tragic situation which deteriorated into a media anti-second amendment campaign against all Americans who have the RIGHT to defend their homes, families and property against criminals. FYI: Criminal- An individual of any given society which believes the social laws governing that society does not apply to them; or these individuals are willing to defy these laws regardless of consequense or outcome. Nuff Said!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • Rattler

      Law enforcement officer – a person who believes the social laws governing that society does not apply to them and gets to break them with impunity; or these individuals are willing to arrest those defying these laws and then defying them himself, with impunity.

      "I know the police cause you trouble
      They cause trouble everywhere
      But when you die and go to heaven
      You won't find no policemen there"

      Woody Guthrie

      March 29, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • donn edmunds

      I agree the purpose of a good security officer is to observe and report then if it meits let law enforcement handle the situation
      I as a serity professinal depise these watch grounps they never have any training almost always are want to be cops who cant make it. They have an inflated sense of power. every time I have had to deal with them i have had to call law enforcement had guns pulled on me threathened and even assaulted
      they are idiots
      my goup would have observed the youth contacted the police and allowed them to contact him not my job to contact him or even have anything to do with him
      I truely feel zimmerman way over stepped his bounds and needs to be held accountable for his actions
      the media has blown this tragic incident way out of proportion Zimmerman will be tried and convicted

      March 29, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Saber, I don't think the way someone dresses (express themselves) should give anyone the right to attack them, consider the following:

      Is it okay (Moral and or legal) for someone to attack a female because she wears a short skirt (Bikini, tight pants.....)?

      I think a rational person would say no, It is not okay to attack someone because of how they dress.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  8. tallulah13

    Guns don't kill people. Immature jerks with a Dirty Harry complex kill people. Martin was the one who "stood his ground" after Zimmerman followed him (against police advice). Zimmerman was the aggressor here. He was begging for trouble, and when he found it, he couldn't handle it, so he shot an unarmed kid. How is this even remotely excusable?

    If the law protects Zimmerman, the aggressor, then it is indeed an invitation to kill.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • People are strange

      I actually knew a guy who believed Dirty Harry was a great American. He would say it all the time. It did not seem to matter to him that Dirty Harry is fictional.

      Doesn't take much imagination to know how old Bob voted, or who he listened to on the radio.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Keith

      Wow! t13 has all the facts in this case! Well, certainly the authorities can interview t13(who must have been an eye-witness) and justice can be served. You must've talked with Maxine Waters, too, as she determined this to be a "hate crime". Way to go t13, so glad you were there to witness the entire event.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      TELL THAT TO THOSE 8 HOME OWNERS WHO HOME WAS BROKEN IN BY 8 BLACK MEN...WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE ZIMMERMAN...HE HAD THE GUTS TO VOLUNTEER AND DO A JOB THAT NO ONE ELSE WANTED TO DO........MARTIN? WAS STUPID FOR RUNNING..HE WAS PROBABLY SMOKING POT THAT DAY....I WOULD STOP AND ANSWER ZIMMERMAN QUESTION, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO ??MARTIN, I LIVE DOWN THE STREET...THAT WAS MARTIN HAD TO DO...

      March 29, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Blahma

      Ugh... once again, someone who doesn't know the facts. Zimmerman never followed, and claims he never confronted. Did he have the right to shoot? It's looking more and more like "no" to me, but I don't have the facts in front of me. Neither do you, and worse, you have bought into the sheep hype manifestation.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      MARTIN WAS PROBABLY SMOKING POT...WHY HE RAN ? RUNNING KILLED HIM...IF HE ANSWERED ONE QUESTION , HE WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY...ALL ZIMMERMAN WANTED WAS TO ASK HIM , WHAT ARE YOU UP TO ? THEY HAD 8 ROBBERIES IN PREVIOUS MONTH'S IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD BY 8 BLACK MEN...RACIAL PROFILING ?? NO...COMMON SENSE, YES.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  9. HEAVENBENT

    All of you idiots jumping on the bandwagon should step back for a minute and think instead of being a bunch of overly emotional mind cripples. Unless you saw what happened with your own eyes, shut the fuck up. Otherwise, all you're doing is speculating. Bunch of wannabe CSI lawyer assholes.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      I AGREE...THEY ACCUSE ZIMMERMAN OF A WANNABE COP...THEY THINK THAT THEY ARE LAYERS

      March 29, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      LAWYERS

      March 29, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  10. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWBIES:

    The 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 hoodie. And then there are all the TV cop shows with almost daily stories depicting the same scenario.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • err

      Just watch the TV reality series another 48. Just about every one of the guys that get caught on camera is in a hoodie gunning someone down.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Mr. Creosote

      You get strangely prudish at times. Try noticing how many jackets have hoods on them when you walk around. Hoodies are so common that you may as well blame crime on the fact that the gunman wore shoes at thetime of the murder.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Reality

      Many banks now ban hoodies.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      ALL GANGS MEMBERS WEAR HOODIES.....

      March 29, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  11. Davild Crandall

    The stand your ground law is an invitation for you not to be killed.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Patty

      This case has proven that to be wrong, Trayvon met force with force and lost his life, the law killed him ..

      March 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • TING

      So if two people decide that pistols at dawn is the best way to settle their differences, then as long as the survivor uses the "stand your ground" defense, everything is a okay.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • rokon

      This law forces people to carry weapons and that is why it is evil. Same goes with the people who created it and supported it.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • err

      People are born with the ability to make choices. Both people in this case made bad choices and are paying for it or have paid for it. Zimmer had no reason to follow tray and tray made a bad decision to confront and apperently beat Zimmer. Every choice you make has a consequence. Tray paid with his life for his choice and Zimmer may pay with his freedom. Choose your choices wisely.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Why Not

      People are already carrying weapons.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • err

      Rokon, nobody can force you to carry a weapon. The stand your ground law simply states that if Attacked you have the right to defend yourself and not flee and call the police. Problem with this case is both men stood thier ground and one dummy brought a bag of skittles to a gun fight.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Bang Bang you're dead

      Quite the opposite, Davild. It shows clearly that anyone with a gun can walk up out of the blue, provoke a fight, kill you, and walk away without charges. All they have to do is make sure there are no witnesses or cameras.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • err

      Which is unlikely and more likely someone will walk up to you shoot you dead for the 20 dollars in your pocket with an illegal unregistered gun. Lets put a 6 ft black teen in a hoodiee on top of you pounding your head into the ground, put a gun in your hand and see what you do. I guess being the bleeding heart types you jack asses would just lay there and get killed? Its survival of the strongest, kill or be killed. If your going to be dumb you better be tough.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • err

      Also if there are no witnesses or cameras why would they need to provoke a fight why not just walk up and shoot you. Might need to rethink your defence of being a victim.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Bang Bang you're dead

      "Unregistered gun"? There are no gun registration laws in either Florida or where I live. And that is totally irrelevant to the matter at hand.

      "Lets put a 6 ft black teen in a hoodiee on top of you pounding your head into the ground" – uh, well, if I provoked the fight, then that kid would be practicing self defense as allowed in the "stand your ground" law. Also, the limited film footage afterwards does not support the assertion that Zimmerman had bloody injuries to his skull, nor the bloody broken nose. He looks fine.

      "I guess being the bleeding heart types you jack asses would just lay there and get killed?" I would not have put myself into that situation in the first place. Zimmerman was specifically told NOT to approach by the police dispatcher – he defied police orders. He put himself directly into that situation unnecessarily. This is not about self defense. Zimmerman could have avoided that situation easily – he had already called 911 – but he went in and confronted Martin. That's not self defense.

      Oh, if I am getting pounded, does the hoodie the assailant is wearing make it worse somehow? That was a weird point.

      Of course they can just walk up and shoot you and claim self-defense – that is the point! The law gives untrained people the legal advantage in situations like this, and innocent people will die and their killers will walk free.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      PATTY–THOSE 8 BLACK MEN THAT ROBBED THOSE 8 HOMES KILLED MARTIN.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  12. Urafkntool

    Anyway, according to witnesses to the event, Martin had Zimmerman on the ground and was slamming his head into the concrete. that's why Zimmerman defended himself. I've been trying to post a much longer post about i.t, but it keeps hitting the filter.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • TourTen

      Hmmmn, perhaps you can know put on your hat of reason and watch the clip below. Tell me if you can spot any evidence in the clip that supports this fantasy theory you cling to:

      http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c1#/video/crime/2012/03/28/ac-zimmerman-handcuffs.abcnews-com

      March 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Buenaventura Durruti

      Ah, but what caused the conflict? Was Zimmerman overly aggressive? It would seem so. He defied instructions to not make contact and instead await the police, and was carrying a gun despite that being against the rules of his neighborhood watch. And Martin easily could have perceived Zimmerman to be committing a crime, in which case Martin was defending himself. Realistically, both probably overreacted and a fight occured – pretty common stuff – but there is just no doubt that Zimmerman precipitated a conflict unnecessarily and ended it excessively.

      That gun changed the dynamics for the worse – it made Zimmerman not wait for the police but instead charge in and play tough. It gave him the "courage" to confront when wisdom should have told him to watch and wait (remember: it's "neighborhood WATCH" not "neighborhood kill"). And it caused him to shoot when his adreneline was pumping – the most common time for atrocities in war is just after the fighting has stopped.

      Zimmerman's racist comment to 911, and his earlier obsession with blacks in the neighborhood, do not help his respectability much.

      The gun and his minimal law enforcement training led him to go too far – he should never be hired as any form of law enforcement or even security guard – his judgement stinks.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Red Rum!!!!!!!!!!

      Interesting film, TenTour. No sign of the broken nose, head injuries, or grass stains that are claimed.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Why Not

      The CNN video link from Tour Ten is meaningless. It shows nothing, one way or the other. Even Cooper admits that the lighting and angles are poor. It's nothing more than sensationalism from CNN. "Lets slow it down even more" and it's still worthless.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Buenaventura Durruti

      @Why Not – the "evidence" against Martin was that he broke Zimmerman's nose and was smashing his head into the pavement, with blood on both places. Those would have been obvious in that video. He does not look bashed at all. If it had happened, the severity of it was much less than claimed.

      The video also shows that Zimmerman was dressed such that he easily could have been mistaken for a thug, especially if he was aggressive as he approached, meaning that the self defense in the scuffle could well have been on Martin's side. The very fact that he was carrying a gun and his refusal to obey the instructions of the police dispatcher strongly implies aggressive behavior.

      Based on what has been revealed so far, Zimmerman seems to have committed manslaughter, though I doubt he will be convicted. New evidence could change matters, though.

      One thing is for certain – the local police did a thoroughly rotten job of investigation.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      THAT IS HOW POLICE SAID IT HAPPENED...ALL MARTIN HAD TO DO WAS ANSWER ONE QUESTION, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO ?? I LIVE DOWN THE STREET-OR-I CAME TO VISIT MY DAD...IF HE DONE THAT ? MARTIN WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY...HE WAS PROBABLY ON POT...I'M SURE IT WILL COME UP IN COURT IF HE WAS...RUNNING WAS STUPID THING TO DO...WHEN YOU RUN, YOU ARE SAYING I HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE..

      March 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  13. Urafkntool

    hmm I'm hitting the filter again.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Buenaventura Durruti

      Well don't say fuck or shit or anything like that.

      Or maybe you figured out how so get the word "Scunthorpe" into a sentence?

      March 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  14. John

    Before any details about the shooting were released, they were saying it was over race. The only people the bring up race, are the blacks, when they have no other defense. There is only racist beacuse the african americans want there to be.

    As far as the stand your ground law, it works. No matter what law is in place, there will be someone who will abuse it.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • TourTen

      Really? In this case, stand your ground applies? Try identifying the justification for self defence in this new clip! Zimmerman does not appear to have been in this fanciful bloody altercation you would like to believe. And no, it's not just Blacks who are appropriately identifying this as a race issue. All of America is!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • TourTen

      http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c1#/video/crime/2012/03/28/ac-zimmerman-handcuffs.abcnews-com

      March 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Patty

      @ john I'm curious to know what you think Zimmerman remarks on the 911 perceived? What does your term "the blacks" perceive? So if "the blacks" are falling back on race, at the of the day, that is what it is, perception is something isn't it?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • FactFinder

      You are right I believe. When the actual facts come out, they will show that Zimmerman DID obey the 911 operator and stopped following Trayvon. Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle when Trayvon attacked HIM. The voice analyzed on the 911 tape will be ZIMMERMAN yelling for help because he is being beaten by Trayvon. Zimmerman fires his gun because this taller and heavier KID is pounding his head on the cement. The law says if someone is harming you –you can defend yourself. Period. If you beat someone–prepare to be stopped.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • The Ghost of Lt. Calley

      Even if he gets off scott-free, Zimmerman has ruined his life.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      JOHN----–MEXICANS DO THE SAME THING.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  15. LOL!

    "I think we should have eugenics and erase people who are stupid, violent, or stupid and violent from our planet."

    Actually I'm not sure with regards to "violent" BUT..wnhen it comes to "stupid", definitely you're the first one to vanish.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • LOL!

      Reply button, missed!

      March 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  16. Dagobert II

    As more and more facts begin leaking out it appears as of this moment that the law in Florida worked just fine in this case. I'm sure that if the Obamunist DOJ can figure a way to pull it off though, the law will be perverted to satisfy the political desires of Al, Jessie, the Black Panthers and the rest of Obama's base.

    March 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Ben

      As pathetic as that 'base' might be, it is a lot better than e.g. Santorum's frothy base of evangelicals.

      http://santorum.com actually reveals a lot about that.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • A bit of critical thinking would held you a lot

      That's wishful thinking. Had Zimmerman not been carrying a gun as his neighborhood watch rules stated, the 911 call would have effectively handled the situation, and nobody would have gotten hurt. Had Zimmerman obeyed the 911 operator's direct instructions to not pursue Martin, the police would have handled the situation correctly and nobody would have gotten hurt.

      The "stand your ground" law ceases to apply if someone pursues the suspect, as Zimmerman did. However, it WOULD apply to Martin if he felt that the person following him intended to rob or assault him.

      The available evidence shows that Zimmerman made a series of very poor choices, carrying a gun against neighborhood watch policies, provoking a confrontation when waiting for the police was the correct action, and ultimately shooting a man armed only with skittles. It is highly probably that Zimmerman was also way too aggressive in confronting Martin, causing the fight that resulted in thehis beating. In Zimmerman's defense, it seems likely that Martin overreacted with his aggression as well.

      Zimmerman won't be convicted, but that's really only because he killed the only witness, so his is the only word that can be heard, and unless he says something stupid, there isn't enough evidence for a conviction.

      The behavior of the Black Panthers et al is pretty repugnant. Not gonna defend them.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • momoya

      @ a bit of critical....

      You summed that up rather well, given the available information in this case.. I wish there was less sensationalizing and more honest critique of the multiple factors and the social dynamics surrounding..

      But wow, I really wish there was more "news" on this story!! What are the freaking facts?!?

      March 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Patty

      On the contrary, we have the same type of people trying to cover up a bad decision I would love to see how much "new" evidence would appear to justify Trayvon had he killed instead, I'll take flight with wings the day we change the predictible responses,

      March 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  17. LinCA

    In the article, the author says: "In promoting “stand your ground” laws, self-proclaimed conservatives become grossly irresponsible radicals, [...]".

    I strongly disagree that it caused them to become radicals, grossly irresponsible or otherwise. It merely shows that they are. Promoting and enacting these laws aren't causes, they are effects. The are effects of acting while under the influence of a thoroughly deluded mind.

    March 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      I always have trouble with the word "radical" applied to conservativism. "Radical" properly applies to the far end of the left. The correct word for anything extremely conservative would be "reactionary", but I guess that word was too politically incorrect for them.

      Oh well, "gay" doesn't mean what it used to either.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Patty

      Leadership with low standards is dangerous, Florida leadership has a history of questionable behavior, decisions, etc

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  18. Keith

    How many here remember that Korean-American shop owner standing on his roof firing round after round from his shotgun during the LA riots? How many remember the LA riots? Reginald Denny? Rodney King? Is this what these gov't officials want? A replay of that? Maybe they do. Then they would have an excuse to try to take more of our freedoms from us.

    March 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • AGuest9

      This is a possibility in a place where people believe that having a weapon is a "right".

      March 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Keith

      It is a right. And I for one am willing to fight and die, if necessary, to keep it. The question is this: are you willing to do the same to take it from me?

      March 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • sam

      @Keith – yes, if you're being an irresponsible, dangerous douche with it, someone will go ahead and take it from you right after they've put a round in your head.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Keith

      sam, okay toughguy. If I'm breaking no law, then I guess I don't have to worry then, do I? I just want to know if you're going to be the one with the guts to try to disarm me and other law-abiding citizens or are you going to be a candy-ass and delegate it to someone else? And you better wear some gloves...because the barrel is going to be hot.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • sam

      Keith, you're such a cute little patriot. With your 'hot' phallic symbols.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Keith

      In other words, you'll be a candyass. Thought so.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Keith,

      I'm pro gun rights, but evidently I need to quit being surprised when most gun advocates turn aggressive bully in about .02 seconds.. Or, maybe the atti.tude of gun rights advocates will one day make me regret and change my stance on the 2nd amendment.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Patty

      The weapon is not the problem, foolish individuals cause weapons to cause problems, the reality is this : there is a high percentage of gun owners who lack the proper knowledge, emotional strength, and the good judgement needed to own one in quietness and confidence

      March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Keith

      momoya, You know something? My atti-tude or yours has absolutely zero bearing on the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms. I don't give a crap if you change your mind about the issue. What kind of a wishy/washy individual are you that your convictions can be swayed by a stranger's atti-tude? Talk about weak-minded. Sheesh.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • A bit more thoughtfulness would help

      @ Keith – You want to know the real problem with the Second Amendment, and why the Supreme Court does not take it on directly? It's the word "arms". The Second Amendment as conceived was not limited to firearms. The Founding Fathers intent was that it was okay for you to have a cannon if you wanted, or a ship with 20 cannons. That was fine then, but technology changed.

      Machine guns are arms. Shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles are arms. Nuclear briefcase bombs are arms. 20mm Vulcan cannons ripping out 100 rounds a second are arms. Suicide bomb vests are arms. All should be legal and uninfringed under the Second Amendment.

      So what do you think about a Muslim-American's uninfringed right to bear a bomb vest on your next plane flight? Getting a bit wishy-washy?

      I would be interested to know how people like Jefferson, who was quite eloquent in his defense of the Second Amendment, would dealt with this problem. They could not have imagined how deadly weapons would become when they wrote that.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • AreWeTherYet

      @ A Bit More Thoughtfulness Would Help..... Look closely at your screen name. Now live up to your name.

      "The Founding Fathers intent was that it was okay for you to have a cannon if you wanted, or a ship with 20 cannons. That was fine then, but technology changed."

      They didn't mean firearms of any sort, huh? Just artillery and naval weapons platforms? Please cite your source.

      "Machine guns are arms. Shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles are arms. Nuclear briefcase bombs are arms. 20mm Vulcan cannons ripping out 100 rounds a second are arms. Suicide bomb vests are arms. All should be legal and uninfringed under the Second Amendment."

      Machine guns are perfectly legal, as are vulcan miniguns (NOT cannons). All you need to do is properly register these weapons, undergo a fingerprint and background check, and shell out a WHOLE lot of cash just to get the permit to purchase one. Its called the National Firearms Act. Maybe you should do a little research on things like this before you spout off such ridiculous nonsense. As for bomb vests and nuclear bombs... Well, that's so through the looking glass I won't even address it.

      "So what do you think about a Muslim-American's uninfringed right to bear a bomb vest on your next plane flight? Getting a bit wishy-washy?"

      Why a Muslim? are they the only ones who use explosives? Sounds like someone's stereotyping... All that aside, can white Christians carry "Arms" on planes? No. Are "Arms" legal? Yes. Hmm... sounds like there are..... LAWS... in place to govern the type of arm, screen owners, and prohibit arms in certain places. Are you following me?

      "I would be interested to know how people like Jefferson, who was quite eloquent in his defense of the Second Amendment, would dealt with this problem. They could not have imagined how deadly weapons would become when they wrote that."

      Jefferson couldn't imagine how deadly wepons could become. Really. Do you know much about history? I'm just curious, as Jefferson was around for a minor conflict that definitely injured a few people. Arms were used.

      Drop the hype and ridiculous examples. Use facts and reality, and the WHOLE truth. Otherwise you just look like a left wing nut job.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • James Foley

      Prayer changeds nothign except for the person praying. It has no outwardly effect except to express good will and that doesn't work unless the person you're wishing well hears you.

      March 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Patty

      @john, who told you prayer was that?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • God

      Stop. You're embarrassing me.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  20. lol

    I think we should have eugenics and erase people who are stupid, violent, or stupid and violent from our planet.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • fred

      Momma said life is like a box of choolates ya never know what you're gonna get.
      In short we need some nuts now and then

      March 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • He's Dead, Jim. Well, Almost. He Will Be Pretty Soon If I Have Any Say About It.

      hey, lol. Step right this way into the suicide chamber. We'll play some nice light classical music for you while the movie's running. Pretty flowers. and such a beautiful sky.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Which is true. The view would stand that everyone in society or the entire planet were in agreement of what is stupid and violent.

      Remember, for violence .... few places on this planet are as violent as here in America. After all we are the only country in history to use a nuclear weapon.

      March 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • hippypoet

      mark, there have been many nations around the globe who have used a nuke but we are the only ones who have used it in war! big difference....sry, i had to....it was nagging me inside. 🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Why Not

      Aggh. It's the brainless mutterings of the hippypoet. Our evening wouldn't be complete without him.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • LOL!

      "I think we should have eugenics and erase people who are stupid, violent, or stupid and violent from our planet."

      Actually I'm not sure with regards to "violent" BUT...wnhen it comes to "stupid", definitely you're the first one to vanish.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
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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.