The death of Trayvon Martin.

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I don't think this is political, but if so, just move it.

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida. The killer claims he shot in self defense, but evidence has come out that puts his claim in serious doubt. What interested me about the case was the fact that the local police did not do a thorough investigation. Their interpretation of the law is that if a killer claims self defense, then the claim acts as an abra-cadabra preventing any further investigation. What's more, several of the news stories opined that they were correct in this. That the killer could not be convicted because of the Florida "stand your ground" law. I was floored by this insanity. Take out an insurance policy on your business partner, go to Florida, kill them, claim self defense and call it a day. I was gratified today to learn that this nonsensical interpretation of the law is incorrect.
Reason prevails.
 

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  • #2
Evo
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I was floored when I first read about the cold blooded murder of this poor innocent kid. He had skittles and an Arizona iced tea that he got at 711, he was walking back home to his father's house. The police did nothing to the shooter, which had been told to stay away from the boy by police. The family had to fight for weeks trying to get attention to have an investigation into the shooting death of their son, the police weren't willing.
 
  • #3
Gokul43201
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I don't think it's that the police aren't willing (at least not anymore, given the attention that has been drawn to the case). Nevertheless, I think they will be severely restricted by the "stand your ground" law.
 
  • #4
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So the killer was following a kid walking home after buying his little brother candy. The police told the killer to stop following the kid (have you listened to the 911 tapes?) It appears the kid was confronted by the killer who was carrying a gun and in violation of community watch rules and disregarding police instructions to stop.

What, was the skinny kid going to throw skittles at the killer with the gun? I'm sure the poor kid might have struggled for his life since it seems the killer got out of his car and threatened the kid, most likely with the gun. I've been reading about this for a month. Have you seen the size of the killer?
 
  • #5
Gokul43201
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... the killer could not be convicted because of the Florida "stand your ground" law. I was floored by this insanity. Take out an insurance policy on your business partner, go to Florida, kill them, claim self defense and call it a day. I was gratified today to learn that this nonsensical interpretation of the law is incorrect.
Reason prevails.
I think you'd get away with it if you don't take out the insurance on your business partner.

What's going to be the weakness in Zimmerman's case is all of the new evidence (911 call transcript, cell phone call transcript) that's coming out. If not for those two things, I think he'd have had less trouble shooting someone dead and being protected by "stand your ground". The crux of the issue is what constitutes a reasonable belief that there was a danger of being attacked with deadly force?

I think you could walk into a bar in Florida and feel up someone's girlfriend, then after he lands a right hook to your temple you first put a slug in his chest before ordering your booze. You probably wouldn't escape the harassment charges though.
 
  • #6
Borg
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I've been seeing this in the news a lot and was wondering if someone was going to start a thread about it. Today, the author of the "Stand your ground" bill said that this case doesn't meet the necessary criteria to be covered by the law. I really hope that common sense and justice will prevail.
 
  • #7
Gokul43201
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So the killer was following a kid walking home after buying his little brother candy. The police told the killer to stop following the kid (have you listened to the 911 tapes?) It appears the kid was confronted by the killer who was carrying a gun and in violation of community watch rules and disregarding police instructions to stop.
I've read that a warning from dispatch does not carry the weight of the law. If an officer at the scene told Zimmerman to stop, and he (Zimm) didn't, then the police could arrest Zimm for interfering. No such luck with disregarding the warnings of the 911 dispatch person, I'm told.

What, was the skinny kid going to throw skittles at the killer with the gun? I'm sure the poor kid might have struggled for his life since it seems the killer got out of his car and threatened the kid, most likely with the gun. I've been reading about this for a month. Have you seen the size of the killer?
I think eventually, Zimmerman will be tried and probably (hopefully) found guilty of at least manslaughter. I think the "stand your ground" law will make the whole thing harder for the prosecution though.

PS: Not excusing the police's initial response to the situation.
 
  • #8
Danger
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Not only should he be prosecuted, it should also be classified as a "hate crime" with its attendant steeper penalty. He's obviously a racist.
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking
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So the killer was following a kid walking home after buying his little brother candy. The police told the killer to stop following the kid (have you listened to the 911 tapes?) It appears the kid was confronted by the killer who was carrying a gun and in violation of community watch rules and disregarding police instructions to stop.

What, was the skinny kid going to throw skittles at the killer with the gun? I'm sure the poor kid might have struggled for his life since it seems the killer got out of his car and threatened the kid, most likely with the gun. I've been reading about this for a month. Have you seen the size of the killer?
Yes, by all appearances this is nuts. Since when does an armed citizen have the right to randomly approach and interrogate someone? To me it seems highly likely that Zimmerman was the aggressor or at least the antagonist. Even the police have to have cause to stop and question a person, and for good reason. This incident smacks more of vigilantism than neighborhood watch, and perhaps with the police turning a blind eye to someone acting out of bounds.

I don't see how any law could allow the shooter to be the one who initiates hostilities when there is no obvious crime in progress, esp when he's the only one who's armed, and call it self defense! That is just crazy.
 
  • #10
mathwonk
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I marched in Montgomery with MLK Jr, was beaten and sent to hospital by plainclothes cops and have made some other gestures in defense of helpless and oppressed people. I have here however a somewhat unpopular view to express.

In spite of the bad smell this case exudes, we do not know all the facts, or at least I do not (the police who perhaps earlier said they advised the shooter to back off, have recently stated that they believed the young man attacked the shooter in his car, unlikely as this sounds), hence we do not know the guilt of this apparently odious man as yet. I admit the mere photograph of this extremely innocent looking kid cries out to me for a judgment against this shooter, but I do not actually know the case that well.

I am motivated of late by the following experiences: many times when we hear of a case like this, we are led to rush to judgment, perhaps quite correctly, by the history of so, so many other heinous crimes against minorities. However, even if 99% of all previous such cases have been indeed heinous hate crimes, that does not absolve us of the responsibility to investigate this one carefully before assigning blame.

All too often I have read stories in which the author, even someone greatly respected by me, said more or less: "you think this was not a hate crime, well let me tell you what happened to me as a child." then he recites some truthful, but entirely irrelevant history, of what happened to him, and which makes him unable to view the current case objectively.

The reasoning is essentially to claim that if so many cases of brutality have occurred in the past, then we must assume that is the case in every current situation. That is not justice. The past forces us to investigate carefully, more carefully if anything, all such cases, but not to prejudge them.

I guess I am in the same boat. After living through Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, Iran / Contra, Bernie Madoff, and many current and recent politicos here in georgia, I have great trouble granting any credence to the possibility of innocence of anyone at all. I am sure many people feel that way about apparent bigots who shoot innocent looking children.

One serious fault in this situation is the failure of the police to really investigate. that is what we should insist upon, but not the entire guilt of the shooter until more evidence appears.

At least in my opinion.

So i would say that to me it appears 90-99% likely that this was a completely unjustified shooting, but i cannot be sure, and would not be prepared to decide on the fate of the shooter, until it is investigated.

If anything I am more frustrated with the people who favor such wild west gun laws than with one nut case who acts within their purview. No one with this man's limited training and objectivity should be armed in public. I.e. as long as we allow such people to be armed how can we expect anything else as a result?

Here in georgia we are awaiting possible changes to the gun laws which would literally arm the students in our class rooms in university. even a parking dispute or a grade dispute, could then well lead to a shooting, and then what is the point of arguing over who was right about the parking space or the test score? They need to look very closely at this case and serve justice, but it will not bring back the child who is dead. The long term problem in florida is not that this one apparently stupid and possibly hate filled guy shot this poor victim, but that their laws allow and even encourage this.
 
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  • #11
Evo
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The facts are that the killer was safely inside his car and was following a skinny unarmed kid walking back to his father's house with some skittles and a can of iced tea.

Why did the killer get out of his car? The kid was not a threat.

Why would he get out out of the safety of his car and confront the kid with his gun? He was following the kid, the kid was not following him. The kid was minding his own business and was unarmed. The kid told his girlfriend that he was afraid because he was being followed.
 
  • #12
Danger
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Mathwonk, I tip my hat to you for the march. Had I been old enough and in the proper country, I would have gone with you.
You make very good points. I will say in defense of my previous post, however, (which I assume that you refer to since I'm the only one who mentioned a "hate crime") that I urge only prosecution as opposed to conviction. To me, this is something to be decided by the courts. If there is no prosecution, that option is not available.
Bye the way, I am adamantly opposed to capital punishment because wrongful convictions happen a lot more frequently than Republicans will ever admit to. If I personally caught someone doing something like this guy might have done, or raping someone, I would kill him myself. I'm not willing to accept anyone else's word that s/he is guilty.
 
  • #13
Evo
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I am sad for the child's family. This poor kid's life was taken away because of some paranoid person unfit for the position he took on. He's supposed to report suspicious behavior and crimes, not kill kids just walking home alone.
 
  • #14
mathwonk
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Maybe I made a poor argument here. I am just saying we need to be careful about allowing evidence of wrongdoing in a previous case to prejudice our judgment in a current case. Probably you guys did not actually do that. I was referring to an editorial a year or so ago in which a guy i respect a lot related a tale of brutality and humiliation he had suffered as a teenager, and apparently expected me to conclude that it meant that a current, but as yet unsettled, case must be also prejudice just because his had been. that isn't logical. it is statistical evidence, but not judicially conclusive.

do i sound like spock? forgive me.
 
  • #15
Astronuc
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Seems like a case of murder to me.
 
  • #16
mathwonk
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I am sad too evo. To prevent more such children dying can we work for better gun laws? so that such people are not armed? or am i out on a limb here?
 
  • #17
mathwonk
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it "seems like it" to me too. but how sure are you astronuc? 99%? 100%? 75%? would you vote for the death penalty for this guy based on what you know now?
 
  • #18
Evo
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it "seems like it" to me too. but how sure are you astronuc? 99%? 100%? 75%? would you vote for the death penalty for this guy based on what you know now?
I don't see Astro calling for the death penalty, he just said it sounds like murder, as it does to me.

According to the tapes, the killer was stalking the kid for no apparent reason, got out of his car and confronted the kid with a gun, then shot the kid when he naturally fought for his life.
 
  • #19
Astronuc
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it "seems like it" to me too. but how sure are you astronuc? 99%? 100%? 75%? would you vote for the death penalty for this guy based on what you know now?
I don't believe in the death penalty. I'm only indicating that based on what I know about the case, it appears to be an act of murder.

I don't know the circumstances or motives behind the confrontation, but an innocent young man was gunned down without an apparent legitimate cause, such as self-defense. The person doing the shooting apparently wasn't at risk of life or limb, because the young man was without a weapon. Rather it appears the shooter pursued the young man.
 
  • #20
mathwonk
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I think you guys are right here and I am off base on this one. I was reacting to a phenomenon I have noticed of people assuming that a history of behavior of a certain type implies a likelihood of that behavior occurring in current cases. But no one here has argued that. Everyone seems to have been reacting to actual data that applies to this case. My overreaching.

But no one has commented yet on my opinion that the laws which permit this behavior are more to be feared here than the individuals. I.e. I argue that although we may be right about this guy, it does not really matter beyond determining punishment. If the laws are not changed we are going to be back here arguing the same cases again about future victims. If you want to save lives we will not do it by proving this guy acted wrongly.

But maybe I am diverting the topic of the thread to something more general. If so, please ignore.
 
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  • #21
AlephZero
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  • #22
Danger
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While I like the basic principle of the law, it is so incredibly subject to misinterpretation as to be an automatic "pass" for homicide. Yank laws never cease to amaze me, even as to how Bush stole his first election because of a relative's misrepresentation of the electoral process. It seems to me that anyone who doesn't have a law degree isn't qualified to serve on a jury just because of the "legalese" with which the opposing teams bombard them. What ever happened to the "spirit of the law" superseding the "letter of the law"?
Still, I have no right to criticize US law because I'm not a citizen of that nation. I can lambaste them for only policies which affect me, and this isn't one of them.
 
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  • #23
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Not only should he be prosecuted,
it should also be classified as a "hate crime" with its attendant
steeper penalty. He's obviously a racist.
But there shouldn't be a designation of "hate crimes" to begin with,
as if a person's supposed motivation for a crime could lessen
a penalty. It's hinged upon mind-reading.

And you're presumptuous about this Zimmerman being a racist.
You're trying to read his mind.

Here is a worn-out cliche':

The victim is just as dead.


It shouldn't matter if someone is a supposed racist when it
comes to the crimes. It should matter with the killing being
deliberate, accidental, justified, not justified, the intensity, etc.

There are American voters who have said that they would
never vote for Barack Obama to be President again. And
many of them of them have been called racists
for that very fact alone.

The boy isn't dead because the shooter is a (supposed)
racist. He's dead because the shooter is overzealous and
relatively mentally unstable.

There are numbers of self-admitted racists who would go out
of their way to not be in the vicinity of people of races they
hate.

And on a related note, why should appearing to have remorse
and/or being apologetic by a person convicted of murder, etc,
be used to try to reduce the sentence given for a penalty?
 
  • #24
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It's hinged upon mind-reading.
The difference between manslaughter and murder is premeditation. How's that for mind reading?
 
  • #25
Gokul43201
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But there shouldn't be a designation of "hate crimes" to begin with,
as if a person's supposed motivation for a crime could lessen
a penalty. It's hinged upon mind-reading.
No, it's not. Criminal code always places a significance on the motivation of the accused. Killing someone with the motivation of saving yourself clearly results in a different penalty than killing someone out of spite.

And you're presumptuous about this Zimmerman being a racist.
You're trying to read his mind.
Actually, I think Danger's just reading the 911 call transcript, where Zimmerman mutters "fu**ing coons" as he chases after Martin.

Here is a worn-out cliche':

The victim is just as dead.
I suppose in that case, that axe-murderers should get the same penalty for making a person dead as a rape survivor acting in self-defense, a policeman stopping a crime or a soldier in a field of battle.


It shouldn't matter if someone is a supposed racist when it
comes to the crimes. It should matter with the killing being
deliberate, accidental, justified, not justified, the intensity, etc.
But why should any of that matter if the victim is just as dead?

The boy isn't dead because the shooter is a (supposed)
racist. He's dead because the shooter is overzealous and
relatively mentally unstable.
Look who suddenly became the expert in reading minds!
 

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