« Fortnight For Freedom | Main | Is there a literary renaissance under way in South Dakota? »

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Ken Laster

Oh, I get it. Zimmerman had a right to kill an unarmed teen in self defense, but Trayvon doesn't have a right to defend himself against a man pursuing him with a loaded pistol when he feels his life is being threatened. Sounds like a double standard.


Zimmerman was not pursuing Martin. He was watching and according to his account returning to his car. I am curious as to what you would do. You have a person who is in much better shape than you pounding your head into the pavement and telling you that you are about to die. You have a loaded gun. Would you leave the gun in its holster and let him kill you? Your statement is illogical.
I do not understand how you can be criminally responsible for protecting yourself when you are doing nothing illegal. Martin had no reason for attacking Zimmerman. Zimmerman was not chasing him in any way. It is not illegal to watch someone.

Ken Blanchard

Ken: I did not say that GZ had a right to kill TM. I said I didn't know whether it was justified and I meant by that "legally justified".

If GZ had pulled his weapon first or otherwise threatened TM with bodily harm, then of course TM would have been justified in defending himself with deadly force. There is no double standard here that I can see.

Mark Anderson

If Martin had gotten Zimmerman's gun and shot him, he could have claimed self defense and gotten off under Florida law. The law is so open, you don't want to get into any fight. All the other person has to say is he felt threatened and can kill you. In fact, you can chase the other person and shoot him in the back, it's a poorly written law.

Ken Blanchard

Mark: I think you are right that either could have made a self-defense case but I think that this is feature of self-defense rules generally and not just Florida's law specifically.

I would be very skeptical about "shooting someone in the back" unless there is case law to support that interpretation.

Mark Anderson

Here's couple of cases, Timothy McTigue shot Michael Palmer apparently in the back of the head, Oscar Delbono shot Shane Huse in the back of his neck and shoulder. This is Florida stand your ground law, which did play a role in the Zimmerman case, according to a juror. "A reasonable fear of imminent peril of death, or great bodily harm to himself or herself", is the writing in the law. I don't know what would work better, but reasonable fear apparently is too open.

The comments to this entry are closed.