Stand Your Ground

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 10 years ago

    "In the United States of America, stand-your-ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first."

    So, let's recall the agreed upon details about the night that Trayvon Martin died.  Martin was coming home from a convenience store, and noticed Zimmerman was following him.  Zimmerman had called 911 to report someone "acting suspiciously."  The 911 dispatcher ordered Zimmerman to stop following Martin, which, unfortunately, he didn't do.

    Eventually, Zimmerman confronted Martin.  At this point, the details are what the trial is designed to figure out.

    Has anyone considered that the stand your ground law could be used as a defense for Trayvon Martin?  One can use deadly force and not retreat if there is a "reasonable belief of an unlawful threat."  Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend and said he was afraid someone was following him.  That immediately establishes that Martin was, in fact, feeling threatened, and I think reasonably so.  Imagine an unmarked car is following someone down the street.  There is no question it would cause one to wonder about the intentions of the person behind the vehicle.

    Furthermore, Zimmerman then gets out of his vehicle and confronts Martin.  Martin is already suspicious of Zimmerman to begin with, due to his stalking Martin before the encounter.  Zimmerman was also armed, and I doubt that he would've kept that threat concealed, because he was suspicious of Martin!

    So Martin now sees a man with a gun aggressively asking him what he was doing in the neighborhood.  By the conditions of stand your ground, Martin was well within his rights to use deadly force against Zimmerman.  Therefore, Zimmerman was the aggressor in the confrontation, and would thus be guilty of Martin's murder.  What degree of murder though, is a tricky question.

    What if the person who perceived you as a threat was wrong, and then attacks you with the intent to kill, and you use deadly force to defend yourself?  If they were reasonable, given the information they had about the situation, the aggressor will bear some responsibility for the altercation.  I just don't know how much.

    What say you?

    1. Credence2 profile image78
      Credence2posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      While the right to self defense is enshrined in american law, we have to be careful with intepretation of "Stand Your Ground", things like provocation, harrassment can change an assualt using this STG into a murder charge.

      What constitutes an immenent threat to life and limb?
      As a black man, if I say boo to someone is that a threat that rises to the level of application of lethal force?
      When people carry, they will, or certain unsavory types would, be emboldened to crosss a line they would otherwise not cross. I still say that Zimmerman should have followed the advice of authorities on the phone and waited for professionals to handle Martin if need be. If we had, perhaps Martin would still be alive today.

      Remember the case in Texas about 5 years ago where an  old grandfatherly type confronted two hispanic robbers of his next door neighbor and shot and killed both with a shotgun in the back? The neighbor was on vacation. I have a problem with the cavalier use lethal force when there is no life and death issue at stake. In my opinion, property crimes do not rise to this level. This old guy was told by law enforcement over the phone to stay in his home, but he just had to test out his weapon on real flesh and blood. 
      He was acquitted, but again that is Texas for you and I don't live there.
      I want these "Stand your ground" sorts of provisions circumscribed much more closely with many more caveats and restrictions than would be comfortable for the right wing crowd.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I agree!  Stand your ground is an absurd law, but, I think it's very possible to use it AGAINST Zimmerman in this case.  It should ultimately be repealed though.

    2. Superkev profile image61
      Superkevposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      By the way, your hub makes an awful lot of assumptions that have no facts in evidence.

    3. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I look at the whole situation as a case of Zimmerman trying to find a way out of a mess that could have been avoided. According to reports, Zimmerman was known for calling the police on "suspicious" individuals that coincidentally (yeah right) just happen to be minorities. He saw a young african american male walking with a hoodie up (due to the fact that it was raining) and decided to follow the young man while calling the cops. He was told not to follow, but he did it anyway. He got out of the car (going against orders and followed him on foot. Details here are sketchy at best as to what happened next, but shots ring out, Martin is dead and Zimmerman is claiming stand your ground even though he defied advice not to accost Martin. Zimmerman is guilty. I'm not going to say it was premeditated (first degree). I'd say it was more second degree (heat of the moment) or manslaughter..

      Now my take on the scenario..

      Zimmerman saw a suspicious African American male walking with a hood up. He fancied himself a hero and thought he was stopping a potential crime. He confronted the person, but unfortunately, things didn't work out like he thought it would in his mind. He thought he could get a handle on things, was getting his butt kicked and panicked.. bang bang..

      Whether or not Zimmerman was aggressive in his posture when he faced Martin, As a neighborhood watch volunteer, it was not his place to accost Martin. Neighborhood watch rules state that volunteers are not supposed to try to confront suspicious people, just call the police.. Now what would have happened if Martin actually did have a gun of his own? then Zimmerman could possibly have died. Unfortunately, African Americans get just as nervous when we see that we are being followed by whites.. A history of slavery, hangings, etc would do that to anyone

      1. Credence2 profile image78
        Credence2posted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Great comment, I tend to see things the same way.....

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Thank you.. I mean, if I'm walking and I see anyone following me, I'd be trying to get away as well once I realize for sure that I'm being followed. And if the person gets out of their car to come after me, I'd be in defense mode as well because I don't know that person's intentions. He is claiming self defense in shooting a kid that was defending himself

  2. SomewayOuttaHere profile image61
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 10 years ago 2 cents...."the murder of young Martin" was probably racially motivated....the stand your ground thing doesn't mean much in a case like this......young Martin is dead and can't speak for himself/represent himself...the rest is hearsay e.g. his conversation with his g/f.......the fact that Zimmerman had a gun on him in the first place tells me a lot about who Zimmerman is......if Zimmerman actually thought someone was acting suspiciously, he should have left it to the police to deal with.....but he didn't.....rather he pulled out a gun....a**hole!...and now young Martin is dead...probably ....only because he was black

    I bet young Martin would not have carried a weapon....he was a kid...and probably just enjoying life until Zimmerman arrived in his life...and proceeded to end it...

    ....Peace to you Trayvon Martin.....

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know if it was racially motivated.  Hard to say on that one.

      I do agree that Zimmerman acted stupidly, and if he had listened to the 911 dispatcher, Martin would likely be alive today.

  3. Mighty Mom profile image78
    Mighty Momposted 10 years ago

    I'm no legal scholar, but wouldn't a reasonable person agree: stand your ground would imply stand up for yourself against someone coming TOWARD you, not someone going AWAY from you that YOU are FOLLOWING.
    Especially after having been explicitly told by 9-11 (technically law enforcement, right?) to "stand down."

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well, Zimmerman is likely to argue he had a right to walk down the street of his neighborhood as much as he wished, and he will probably claim he didn't appear threatening to Martin at all, and that Martin overreacted to his "gentle questioning."

      I think the crucial point of the trial is going to center around what happened in those 5 minutes when Zimmerman confronted Martin, and then eventually killed him.

      The most you could probably say about Zimmerman confronting Martin was that he was being overzealous and reckless.

  4. Zelkiiro profile image87
    Zelkiiroposted 10 years ago

    People still think Trayvon Martin initiated the assault? Really?!

    It amazes me how stupid and how racist people can be. Still. In 2013.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's the point of contention.

    2. profile image50
      Lie Detectorposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      How does believing Martin initiated the assault make someone racist?

      Do you get paid each time you use the word racist?

      1. profile image0
        Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        The assault and shooting would never had occurred had Zimmerman heeded the 911 operator's advice to stay in his car and not follow Martin

        Although, there are some hearsay things that would pull race into it.. This is not a racial issue for me. Zimmerman got out of his car to confront Martin  who at this point might have jumped him out of fear for himself

  5. SomewayOuttaHere profile image61
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 10 years ago

    yeah...Zimmerman was protecting his 'gated community'....from a young black guy heading to his father's fiancee's house within that gated community....Zimmerman didn't listen to the cops...they have his comments from that night taped...."These a------s, they always get away,"....he already had his mind made up about who Martin was......

    the problem is Martin cannot speak for himself in this case....he's Zimmerman can lie all he wants....not sure if witnesses actually saw much...the rest is hearsay...

    Zimmerman feared for his life from a 17 year old toting his candies as he walked to his father's fiancee's house.......

    i figure T. Martin's parents definitely know if it was their son crying for help or not....experts will determine it...but Martin's parents know their son's cries....a parent knows...................................................

  6. wilderness profile image94
    wildernessposted 10 years ago

    It gets worse.  A recent article in my local paper mentioned the "fact" that Zimmerman was returning to his car when Martin confronted him!  That was news to me, and I have no idea if that was true, or even if the claim has actually been made, but if it has it will likely be used as a defense as well.  Throwing more monkey wrenches at the jury.  I'm glad I'm not on that jury - with all the information and misinformation already published it would be extremely difficult to be objective.  Plus, it's likely to raise a few real cans of worms.

    The stand your ground law, what little I understand of it, seems reasonable on the surface but can (and perhaps did) give rise to some tremendous loopholes in giving an attacker legal reason to attack.  While I find a legal requirement to run away abhorrent, it seems from what I've read that this law is not the answer.

    1. peoplepower73 profile image90
      peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Dead men don't talk!

    2. peoplepower73 profile image90
      peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Dead men don't talk!

      1. wilderness profile image94
        wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this


    3. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If that's the case, then this story became a lot more complicated very quickly.  Do you remember the link to the article?

      1. wilderness profile image94
        wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        It was in my local newspaper, although I seem to remember it was an AP article.  I'll see if I can find it.

        Got it: … range.html

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 10 years agoin reply to this

          "Interviews with legal experts and a review of disclosed legal documents reveal a sequence of events that remains hazy in one critical aspect: It is still unclear who physically confronted whom in the path behind the row of town houses at the Retreat at Twin Lakes and how Martin wound up on top of Zimmerman.

          "What happened?" asked Michael R. Band, a Miami defense lawyer and a former chief assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade County who has prosecuted high-profile criminal cases. "Who knows? The evidence is reasonably clear that we really don't know."

          Well, that part of the case could be settled, I think, by listening to the phone call leading up to the confrontation.  If Martin appears surprised or scared that Zimmerman is asking him questions, that will be evidence for the prosecution. 

          What could be even more interesting is if there is a lull in the confrontation, and then all of the sudden yelling ensues. 

          What's indisputable is Zimmerman did leave his vehicle.  Martin couldn't have gotten into an altercation with him if he had not.   Zimmerman leaving his vehicle would lead one to think that the initial confrontation was initiated by Zimmerman.

          But again, simply asking someone what they are doing in a neighborhood isn't necessarily grounds for attacking the questioner.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            That's about it, all right.  We know Zimmerman left his car and that Martin died by gunshot wound.  And that's nearly all.

            Asking someone what they're doing in the neighborhood...  No it certainly is not grounds for anything.  Happened to me, taking an evening walk.  Some bozo accosted me, wanting my name, where I lived and why I was walking on a city (not private) sidewalk.  Very belligerent, new to the neighborhood, he said I was "scaring his 'womenfolk' walking around like that".  I didn't give him the information, except that I lived "down the street", but didn't attack him either.

  7. Superkev profile image61
    Superkevposted 10 years ago

    I'm curious as to how Trayvon Martin knew that Zimmerman had a CONCEALED weapon on him.

  8. psycheskinner profile image84
    psycheskinnerposted 10 years ago

    Indeed.  Regardless of what you think of "stand you ground", it just does not apply in this case.


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