There are lots of questions in this case. And the more information that is released the more murky it gets. A claim on the part of Zimmerman that he got out of his vehicle to read a street sign. Seriously, is Zimmerman the worst neighborhood patrolman ever? Does he really not know where he is in his neighborhood? Oh wait, he reported his location earlier to police – that’s odd! Zimmerman very well has put his entire testimony in doubt with that comment.
The admission that Martin was out-of-school due to a suspension. We keep seeing these very young photos of Martin. Many question whether we’re seeing current photos of the 17 year old Martin or a younger Martin from earlier photos. Suspensions do not necessarily equate to bad kids, wearing an Optimus Prime T-shirt can get a kid suspended today. But it does point to the possibility that Martin had some character issues.
I theorize one of two scenarios occurred:
Scenario 1: Zimmerman foolishly and against guidelines of the Neighborhood Watch Program and verbal directives of the local police pursued Martin resulting in a confrontation where Martin acted out in his perceived self-defense and Martin than shot him in retaliatory self-defense.
Scenario 2: Zimmerman in addressing Martin made an inflammatory comment and Martin responded physically resulting in Zimmerman’s defense of his self.
I believe scenario one would likely lead to a manslaughter conviction. In it Zimmerman has engaged in an illegal pursuit as no crime had been witnessed. A strong argument can be made that Zimmerman acted negligently in regards to his neighborhood patrol. And such negligence led to the resulting incident.
With regards to the second scenario, the waters get a bit murkier. Zimmerman is still a fool acting negligently and foolishly, but there could be a valid self-defense claim there. However, I believe this claim is easily proven or disproven, where was Martin shot? Based on Zimmerman’s claim Martin’s body should have lied near Zimmerman’s SUV. If this is not the case, then I believe Zimmerman’s self-defense claim in undefensible.
Now, I am not a lawyer, nor is this a trial. I have read lots of comments in the blogosphere regarding “Throwing Zimmerman under the bus” and “convicting and hanging the guy”.
While we might express our feelings and interpretations based on the facts, we’re not a convicting authority. What I believe we are expressing is that there is clearly enough question in this case as to whether a reasonable self-defense claim can be made or not. Many feel the police department needed to pursue a more thorough investigation. And at this point there are quite a few of us who feel that there is enough to warrant inquiry into charges being made. We’re not calling for him to immediately be convicted and thrown in jail – just that this needs to be made a case and go through due process to make a determination.
Now realize this is hard for many gun owners, who often when totally in the right, face an interminable experience of defending themselves. In many cases which are clean-cut self-defense gun owners have found themselves rotting in jail cells waiting to prove their self-defense claim. This is in part one of the purposes of Castle Doctrine laws. To restore the presumption of innocence. In the Zimmerman/Martin case, I personally believe enough evidence has been raised to question that presumption.
Nor do I feel it is wrong to throw an gun owner under the bus when they have acting foolishly, negligently, and likely taken a life needlessly – doing such hurts our community, our reputation, and puts our liberties in jeopardy. This fool, and that’s what he is, has handed the anti-gunners a silver platter. And frankly, if scenario 1 is born out to be true, then yes, as a community we need to throw this man under the bus, and hope he is not protected by the castle doctrine – because this is not the purpose of that law.
In the case of Jerome Earsland, a convenience store worker in Oklahoma who was a victim of a robbery, and shot and killed one of the criminals and pursued the other down the street. Many threw Jerome under the proverbial bus because he had pursued outside his store, and also grabbed a second firearm and seemingly ensured that the other was dead.
I actually opposed throwing Earsland under-the-bus, in that scenario Earsland may or may not have over-reacted, but according to the verdict he was deemed to have exceeded the acceptable bounds stipulated by our laws. My personal view was that Earlands scenario was of no fault of his own, and responsibility lied wholly on the criminal elements. Earlands was convicted of life imprison for over-reacting when his life had just been threatened without cause. I would not have convicted him of murder. He was pressed into a situation where he had to defend himself, but he was no threat to society – just criminals. Had criminals left him alone, the case would never have happened. [Sadly, Jerome Earsland received a sentence far stiffer than the armed convenience store robbers likely would have received.]
Now let’s return to the Martin/Zimmerman case. Who was the aggravating agent in this scenario? If Zimmerman had not acted then there would have been no threat requiring self-defense. It’s not as if Martin jumped into his car and started beating him. No, Martin was pursued, and confronted. The action of responsibility falls on the Zimmerman. And that is why I am willing to throw him under the bus.
YOU DON’T GO PICK A FIGHT THAN CLAIM SELF-DEFENSE
All that said, if you want to understand why the gun community is so leery of ever tossing one of it’s members, even one as foolish and negligent as Zimmerman, under the bus. You need look no further than Jerome Earsland, who was simply minding his own business while working and faced death at the hands of a criminal. And because he came out the victor, and with perhaps a little less self-control than society would like to see when someone is shooting at you, he is now spending the rest of his life in prison.
That is why we need Castle Doctrine laws….
I also hope I’ve made my case as to why I do not feel that Zimmerman’s case has fallen within the automatic blanket of castle doctrine. I’m not saying to toss the guy in jail. I’m simply saying he’s needs a trial.