The view from my perch on the mountain

I need to vent a little

CBS – Outrage over Trayvon Martin shooting spreads

MSNBC- Trayvon Martin case: Is young, black and wearing a hoodie a recipe for disaster?

USAToday – In wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, America is soul-searching

The grio – George Zimmerman: Was Trayvon Martin shooter a good neighbor or a vigilante?

Los Angeles times -  Trayvon Martin case: Sanford police chief temporarily steps aside

Christian Science Monitor -  Will Trayvon Martin case spur rethinking of Stand Your Ground laws?

By now you have no doubt heard about Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old boy shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, variously described as nice guy, one man neighborhood watch, vigilante or wannabe police officer claims the shooting was self defense under Florida’s “stand your ground law”.

I’m not buying it. 911 tapes reveal a dispatcher telling Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon. Minutes later 911 tapes of neighbors reporting a voice pleading for mercy clearly record a gunshot, apparently the shot that ended this young man’s life.

My family owns and uses firearms. My wife and I have held concealed handgun permits for the past 11 years and I have extensive military training and experience with firearms dating back to the late ‘70s. We live in and our permits were issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the 24 so called “stand your ground” states. The following excerpt from Virginia Common Law covering the use of deadly force by non-law enforcement personnel was included in an e-mail reminder to members from the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League.

“Self-defense in Virginia’s common law goes back over 400 YEARS. If attacked, Common law allows an innocent citizen to be able to defend himself wherever he may be. Deadly force can be used in such a case if the victim REASONABLY feels that he is in IMMEDIATE danger of death or GRIEVOUS bodily injury. If you REASONABLY believe that a person who is attacking you is armed, then you can use deadly force even if, in the end, he was unarmed. Or, if you REASONABLY feel that an unarmed person, who is more powerful than you, is going to kill you with his bare hands and/or feet, you can use deadly force to stop that attack.

The key in Virginia’s Stand-Your-Ground common law is that you are not somehow an instigator of the violence so as to use that violence as an excuse to kill the other person. If, for example, you are closely following a suspect, or are confronting a suspect in some way, (both of which Zimmerman *appears* to have done) you may suddenly find yourself on very thin legal ice if attacked. This is where the extraordinary powers we give police come in handy for them. You and I lack many of those legal protections.

If you do find that you goofed up and are "part of the problem, " then you need to retreat as far as you can, indicate you have given up the fight, and only if cornered and the person persists in what you REASONABLY believe is a deadly attack, may you then use deadly force to protect yourself. You will certainly have a lot of explaining to do to the authorities if you find yourself in this kind of situation.”

In the United States a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I readily admit that I do not have all the facts in this matter but from what I’ve read, heard and seen in the media when Zimmerman started following Mr. Martin he was no longer standing his ground. When he continued following Mr. Martin after being told to stop by the 911 dispatcher he was no longer standing his ground. By continuing to do so he became an instigator and, at least under our definition of Stand-Your-Ground, committed at the least manslaughter if not premeditated murder when he pulled the trigger.

Zimmerman’s continuing to follow Mr. Martin, in my opinion, constituted legal justification for Mr. Martin to defend himself, not the other way around. I for one think Zimmermen should be charged and made to answer for his actions in a court of law. 

The police report for this incident, heavily redacted, has already been posted online and can be read by clicking the this link.


12 responses

  1. There are some people, Chip that go beyond the limits of CHP, such as demonstrated in the actions of Zimmerman. It seems that he went beyond the limits. But can we believe the media to report this accurately? Most media is biased to the left.

    I love the VCDL and have been a member since the crappy Roanoke Times incident. I know that Phillip just sent out an alert about his thoughts on the thing with Zimmerman. All the libtards are ratteling their sabers over this, and this isn’t good for the honest law abiding gun owner. Doomberg is at it in NYC with demonstrations.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM

  2. The gun control nuts always scream for stricter gun laws every time some dufus does something stupid with a gun. They just can’t get it through their heads that law abiding citizens already obey the laws and it;s idiots, nut jobs or criminals doing the stupid things. They aren’t obeying the laws we already have in place so what’s to say they’ll follow stricter regulations.

    As for the press, i wholeheartedly agree but i heard the 911 tape with my own ears. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following the kid and when he said he was the dispatcher told him to stop. Zimmerman was in the wrong when he started following the kid and doubly wrong to continue. That makes HIM the aggressor. If he started following me I would have no problem standing my ground, telling him to leave me alone and, when he didn’t, put two in his chest and one in the head. That’s the way I was trained to shoot and the way I trained the girls.

    You don’t hold someone at gunpoint. You don’t fire a warning shot because that bullet has to come down somewhere and it’s liable to injure or kill someone else. You don’t shoot to wound or disable your assailant. You don’t pull on anyone unless you have to and when you do, kill him! If you aren’t prepared to do that you have no business carrying gun.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:46 PM

  3. I have not heard the 911 tapes. To me it sounds like Zimmerman is a stalker and not only went beyond the limits of CHP but also that new Fla. law.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:12 PM

  4. We have not heard anything about this here Chip,
    But it sound like this young man was in the right, the other should have stop when he was told
    Hope you are feeling better

    March 22, 2012 at 9:40 PM

  5. Couldn’t agree more Chip. It’s clear as day from what’s been reported and the records that have been released both audio and written.

    March 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM

  6. Pingback: Stand Your Ground? Yes or No. | That Joe Guy

  7. I do not live in the USA and I am happy that I don’t. I know there are idiots everywhere and killings everywhere, but too many “accidents” happen with children because of carelessness, too many “nice” guys get depressed, or outraged at their family or a co-worker and end up shooting someone.. or.. “think” they are being attacked.
    In a country with so much racial discrimination, I think guns are just plain stupid and asking for trouble. I have lived for over 60 years and never had to defend myself, nor has anyone I know.. so why would I think I need a gun?
    If you think you need a gun, perhaps you are hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    • Thanks for your input, Maggie. One of the reasons we moved from a major East Coast metropolitan area to the rural are where we now live was because of the drug problem in my daughter’s middle school. We initially secured our concealed weapons permits because of the skyrocketing drug problem and the rash of winners being followed home from the bingo games my wife loved to play and robbed or worse in their own homes.

      It was only after we settled here that we discovered there is also a major drug problem here, only with methamphetamine and Oxycontin. I frequently roam deserted back roads when I’m shooting landscape or wildlife photos. In these mountains a cell signal is pretty much non-existent and even if I had a signal the last thing I would want to do is sit and wait for the nearest deputy sheriff to find me after accidentally stumbling across a meth lab or marijuana grow.

      Law abiding citizens in the U.S. use their weapons to defend themselves 2.5 million times a year on average or about 6,850 time per day!This means that each year firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens, rather than to take innocent lives. Concealed carry laws have reduced murder rates an average of 8.5% in states that have enacted them. I’ll give up my Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms when the street gangs, thugs and druggies give up theirs.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM

  8. caroldee

    I had not heard about neighbors hearing him pleading for his life. I did hear the 911 tapes and I consider that when the dispatcher kept saying “Sir, do NOT do something” well he really went beyond right there. Hearing that his girlfriend heard things over the phone and the calls are legitimate..well this case really needs to go to a jury to decide. A jury that has ALL the facts it can and let them and the judge decide. Such a sad case for sure..

    March 23, 2012 at 8:34 AM

  9. Not living in the UK and not being privy to the case, I don’t feel it my place to make comment Chip, We in UK are trying very hard to keep guns out of the common man’s possession, and long may it continue, as IMHO once you go down that road, it is a roller coaster with no brakes. In whatever way this case goes I hope the right solution and verdict is found.

    March 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

  10. When the Florida legislature passed the stand your ground law the statute was the same as in Virginia, stand your ground “if you are in emminent danger of harm or death AND you are not the instigator of the situation” The lawmakers that opposed this law had concerns that situations that appear to be what happened to Trayvon Martin would happen and, has happened in Florida since the law was instituted.

    Agreed in this land guilt has to be proven and at this point of this case the facts are known completely to investigators or the public. As of today a new prosecutor has been named by the govenor and the Florida Police Enforcement agency and another agency (the name slips my mind at the moment) are all independently working this case, plus a state task force is being assembled to oversee each level of investigation of this tragedy.

    Living in Florida I have viewed news reports from coast to coast it is difficult to make a judgement at this time because the media is not always on the side of justice. Journalists do have their own personal spin in their reports. I am NOT defending or justifying the actions of George Zimmerman.
    We have to wait for facts to be revealed and our judicial system to work . I pray that the families involved in this terrible situation can find the strength they will need to face the days ahead.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM

  11. Pingback: Indiana Governor Signs Bill Allowing Citizens To Use Deadly Force Against Police Officers Into Law « News Worldwide

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