Monday, July 15, 2013

Meditations on Self-Defense...

In the wake of the surprising Zimmerman acquittal, there are many lessons to be learned by this whole sad story. What I'd like to focus on is a trope I've seen floating around some of the left-leaning sites, it goes something like this:
If George Zimmerman had stayed in his car, Trayvon Martin would still be alive.
The correct response to this, of course, is a simple "and if Trayvon hadn't responded to someone following him by bashing their skull off the pavement, he would still be alive".

But it does bring up a larger issue. This whole case illustrates, among many other things, just how things can escalate in ways you never intended. I'm certain that Zimmerman never thought he'd wind up having to use his firearm in self defense when he got out of his car. He saw something that didn't fit in with the neighborhood - a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt on a hot Florida night. Since he was a "watch captain", and there had been recent break-ins, it stands to reason he'd want to check things out.

I don't know how the hierarchy goes for assessing 911 calls, but I would imagine "suspicious person in area" is somewhere around "cat in tree" level. Sure, if there were a patrol car in the immediate vicinity *and* there were no other calls at the time, a police officer *might* have made it to the scene in less than an hour. From the sounds of things, though, it didn't look that like that was going to happen.


It's at this point that Zimmerman might have been better off just staying in his car and keeping an eye on Martin. If we're going to get into hypotheticals, though, maybe Martin would have had his illegal gun with him and decided to carjack the "crazy-ass cracker" sitting in the pickup truck. Maybe a meteor would have crashed and killed them both. The point is, we don't know what might have happened.

Every single person that carries a firearm for self-defense should be paying great attention to this entire sordid fiasco. Think about what you've posted online - ever - and think about how that might appear in court from an overzealous DA. Filled out an application to become a police officer? Taken a CCW course? All of this could very easily be used against you - hell, I fully expect that this blog and everything I've written online would be used against me.

I believe - and a jury agreed with me - that George Zimmerman legitimately feared for his life when he pulled the trigger of his Kel-Tec. It's the events that led up to that trigger being pulled that there has been disagreement over - and the area that we ourselves have control over. You could wind up in that same position over a "road rage" incident, a sporting fracas, or a hundred other ways you'd never expect to wind up on the ground fighting for your life.

The trick, of course, is to stay out of situations where you'd *be* on the ground...

That is all.


LCB said...

Count me in the group who think's George should have stayed in his car. When I'm carrying I always try to atticipate situations: dark, rainy night...strange person wondering around, looks like he's casing stuff...yeah...potential for trouble.

George had called to PoPo...he had done his duty.

BUT...I also think he was defending himself and the shooting was legit. The witness that saw Martin on top of him...flailing away in MMA style...I'd have done the same thing. I just hope I would have been smart enough not to have gotten to that point.

Jay G said...

Precisely. It's a good shoot, but it didn't have to happen the way it did. I can understand why Zimmerman may have wanted to check things out further, and he certainly didn't expect things to play out the way they did, but he certainly should have been prepared for the worst.

And that most certainly does NOT absolve Martin of any blame. While I might understand him being upset at allegedly being "profiled", the proper response is NOT to attack the person following you. He had many options available to him - he could have ignored Zimmerman; he could have called 911 on his phone; he could done any number of things that did not involve deadly force - and that's what he was using.

There are no winners here.

What we can do, though, is learn from this sad episode so that none of us become the next George Zimmerman.

Bubblehead Les. said...

From my reading of the Transcripts and Court Documents, to keep eyes on Martin, Zimmerman HAD to leave the car, because he ran out of road.

And for Zimmerman to do his Job as Watch Captain, keeping an eye on Possible Trouble meant keeping his eye ON Possible Trouble.

It was proven that Zimmerman was following, and was reporting to "Higher Authority" via cell phone the situation the whole time when Martin turned at came at him.

And Zimmerman did not pull his Pistol until he was ALREADY on the ground, getting his Skull bashed against the curb.

Zimmerman DID NOT have his Pistol PULLED and yelled "Freeze" when he came upon Martin.

Having discussed this in great detail with My Buddy the Cop (Military Police Veteran, Civilian Police Veteran, Private Security Guard Veteran), he felt that Zimmerman probably thought he was still in Condition Yellow, when he should have been in Condition Orange.

Which is why, when the Dust settled, the local Cops did NOT charge him, because there was No Crime to Charge him with under Florida Law.

And 18 months later after the Professional Racists tried to have him Tarred and Feathered, the Jury found that there was No Crime to Charge him with either.

But if one is worried about what one might have said/wrote/posted in the past that might be used against you in Court, well, I recall when I shot at my "17 Year-old Troubled Youth" back in '83.

Because no matter what you did in the past, if they can dig it out, then it will be used against you. And you DON'T have a Time Machine to go back and erase it. So make sure your Lawyer knows all about it.

But it's still better to be Tried by 12 rather than be Buried by 6.

I pulled the Trigger back in '83, and 30 years later, if I have to, I'll do it again.

And to Hell with the MSM.

Geodkyt said...

Yeah, I think Zimmerman should have stayed in his truck.

However, one thing overlooked by most commentators is that Zimmerman only got out of his truck AFTER the dispatcher asked him where the suspect was and what he was doing. . . right after Zimmerman just told the dispatcher the suspect had run off.

Even the dispatcher stated on the witness stand that that could have easily been interpreted as an request for Zimmerman to go get eyes on the suspect again -- requiring him to get out of the truck. . .

LCB said...

I've been following the trial closely...and you make good points. So does Geodkyt.

But I'm speaking for myself here. The situation as reported screams danger to me. Dark rainy night...suspicious character...there's already been robberies and 1 home invasion...and I'm armed. The potential for needing my weapon seems to be very high.

Since I've already called and reported the suspicious character as neighborhood watch, I've done what I'm supposed to do...getting out of the car to see where the suspicious character went is not in the cards for me when I haven't actually seen a crime being committed...and maybe not even then. In this case I think it should have been left to the professionals.

Gary said...

"Exhibit A" would be a good name for a blog, no?

Ed said...

Regardless of where you are and what you were doing, when you are sucker punched, breaking your nose, the assaulter is now on top of you pounding away, is physically stronger, and the outcome does not look too good for you in the very near future, what do you do?
Do you take the beating and hope that you do not lose vision permanently, become maimed, brain damaged or dead?
What do you do when you perceive that the person straddling you has detected with his inner thigh (a point not brought up by either the prosecutor or the defense) the weapon you carry IWB and may be attempting to get the weapon to use on you?
What do you do?

Have you ever tried to tell a teenage boy that fistfights can unexpectedly lead to permanent injury or death, or is that just a another Kobiyashi Maru scenario?