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.