What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it?

The shooting death last month of an unarmed black teen-ager in Florida has sparked conversations about racial profiling, neighborhood watch groups, gated communities and equal justice. Today’s Question: What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it?

  • C Lee

    We don’t know all the facts, and may never… That said, here is what I think so far.

    I’m not from the south and I don’t have personal experience with southern race relations but from the news accounts it sounds like an updated version of an old fashioned lynching to me. I will never understand one person’s belief that they are somehow “better” or more deserving than any other person. Where does that come from? Especially to the extent that they are willing to take another’s life. My heart aches for Trayvon’s family.

  • Kurt

    I have friends who have a weapons permit and to a man they all say that you never want to use it and that certainly you don’t go looking for trouble as did the individual who apparently followed and then shot this youth. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances but I can’t imagine what those would be and am surprised that the shooter has not been taken into custody.

  • reggie

    There’s no way to know all of the facts until the shooting is investigated, the shooter appropriately charged, and a trial conducted. Why the police have failed in the basics of investigation is less tragic than the loss of a young man’s life, but perhaps the bigger issue in that community.

    Based on what has been reported thus far, I don’t see how anyone can argue this shooting was in self defense when the victim was unarmed and walking or running away from the shooter. The short audio clip of the shooter included in a news report yesterday clearly indicates that he was following the kid. That sounds like stalking, not self defense.

    There are two problems with hand guns: the hand and the gun. I support very tight restrictions on hand gun ownership, precisely because of this kind of situation. An idiot is more dangerous with a hand gun. Since the second amendment doesn’t offer any protection from idiots, the best way to minimize that danger is to keep guns out of their hands.

  • Aegis

    It’s horrifying not only that it happened, but that the perpetrator to this crime is sitting at home, free as a bird, with the police stating they will do nothing. It’s very hard not to descend into hyperbole with this case, so I’ll just end this post here.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Several things:

    — The NRA overreached in pushing Florida’s stand-your-ground law. I’m glad we have a governor with the guts to stand up them and veto such things.

    — If you’re claiming self-defense, you should have to give evidence that it was; the state shouldn’t have to prove it wasn’t.

    — Racism still exists. Anyone surprised?

    — Self-appointed vigilantes are a menace.

  • Aleksandra

    What was the neighborhood watch group policy? Do they have rights to carry on weapons? Racial profiling could create more stereotypes for the members of various ethnic communities

  • Tim Zweber

    I just wonder why the shooter has never publicly apologized for shooting an unarmed minor. Whether he felt threatened or not is of little interest to me. No matter what the circumstances if you use deadly force and then find out you improperly assessed the danger you owe a lot of apologies and much, much more.

  • It looks like an open and shut case to me. The kid was obviously guilty of WWB; I mean, what else could the other guy do than shoot him dead? Besides, skittles and ice tea in a can? The kid’d be dead in seventy or eighty years anyway, so what difference could it possibly make if he got taken out a bit early?

    My heart goes out to the family of the shooter. I mean, it must be terrible to have to live with so much press, when hardly anyone has asked him to their talk show to help celebrate his 15 minutes of fame. Life just isn’t fair.

  • Emery

    There are reasons why Stand Your Ground laws are condemned. There is a good reason police chiefs, county attorneys and police officers have criticized this type of legislation.

    Didn’t Governor Dayton recently veto similar legislation?

  • Anna Cook

    I see this as another example of standard American lack of humanity. Sadly, i see a variety of ongoing assaults being justified and imposed upon us by leadership rite at our own MN State Capitol. Legislation that victimizes others in the future. It’s MN nice to contaminate the Water for the sake of a desperate hunger to possess and consume. It is no different then hunting an innocent creature or child down and killing them in cold blood.

  • Mark in Freeborn

    I’ve heard more about the CONTROVERSY than about the actual FACTS of the case. I haven’t heard answers to many of the questions I’ve had: Was Trayvon within the confines of the gated community? Is he a resident there? Was the shooter a resident of the gated community? Was the shooter licensed, or does he need a license, to carry a weapon? Was he empowered, hired, or sanctioned, to act in this case? What are the regulations of that gated community? What do Sanford’s city’s ordinances say about those regulations? Are there curfew laws or ordinance violations involved? What are the state laws? Was Trayvon carrying any sort of weapon himself? Was he threatening anyone, other than perhaps the shooter himself? Was Trayvon suspected in any related crimes that evening? All these questions seem to be taking a back-seat to the fact that an unarmed teenager was shot to death by a private citizen, and the hype seems to be more newsworthy than the facts themselves. Without answers to these questions, opinions on the matter seem to be beside the point.

  • JasonB

    Most misunderstandings are based on some form of ‘profiling’, racial or otherwise. All people are judgmental to a certain degree, and misread or misinterpret situations constantly. It’s the starting point of many conflicts including, unfortunately, tragic ones.

  • Jim G

    Do I have this story right? An armed white man in his pick-up follows an unarmed black youth who’s walking through his neighborhood in a hooded sweatshirt. The white guy confronts the black young man, and then the white man shoots the unarmed black man. Then no charges are filed? Sounds like murder to me.

    But the white guy was the only one living to tell the story, because dead men tell no tales. These types of crimes happened in the deep south in the 60’s. The facts show that the history of slavery and Jim Crow laws will always be present. This stain of racism upon the American soul will not fade, it must be remembered and fought in each present day.

  • Brock

    It seems to me that in this case, a prosecutor in most states would be bound to bring charges of murder. All evidence suggest Zimmerman was the aggressor. But, in light of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and the penalties for bringing an unsuccessful case that it carries, I can see why no charges have been filed.

    Legislatures also find unintended consequences flow from their enactments. They are just rarely this highly visible.

  • linda

    This is the result from letting the NRA write gun laws. It is tragic and beyond sad. There is a way to sanely protect people and private property without turning untrained and untested people loose with a gun.

  • JJ

    Shooting death is a tragedy which is another reason I dislike guns.

    I am curious why not the outrage that from January through today, there have been over 100 murders in the City of Chicago, mostly black on black vilolence and yet no outrage from all the civil rights hypocrites. Appears when it is adjacent to a gated community, it is suddently an outrage!!!!

  • Craig

    The tape reveals the shooter to be a frustrated, emotional, untrained person with a gun following a kid on a rainy night after the police told him not to. If such foolishness is protected by a “stand your ground” law, why would Minnesota want similar legislation?

  • Paul

    If you murder someone and claim self-dense, it seems to me there’s a burden on you to show that the person you murdered was threatening you specifically, and not that you pursued a “suspicious” person and ended up shooting them. I’m having a hard time seeing the other side of this argument.

  • Stuart Knappmiller

    Dare I say I’m happy to be white(sic) in our culture? All I have to deal with is guilt.

    Wait, is the way a person of color(sic) feels similar to how I feel about our son being sent to the slaughter in Iraq and AfPak? But every day, all one’s life?

    Our potentially best and brightest: killed for walking, killed for volunteering to serve our country.

    Someone can explain to me the difference between this vigilante and our nation’s actions around the world, right?

  • Jack

    I’m thinking of how troubling it is here in the Twin Cities in two recent news items here:

    1) A (white) kid (17 year old Jack Jablonski) is hurt in a hockey game. He’s paralyzed in some fashion and I’m sure it’s not fun nor easy. But it’s a known risk of playing hockey.

    2) A black kid (3 year old Terrell Mayes) is killed in his own home by a stray bullet.

    Case #1: Endless hours television newscasts; news anchors pining over ‘if only’; fundraisers going on in every corner of the cities. By my own loose calculations we’ve raised over $500,000 for dear old Jabs.

    Case #2: At best we’ve raised $10,000 to find Terrell’s killer. There is virtually no response from the news people. Guess it’s not selling ads.

    So now Trayvon Martin. I grew up not very far from Sanford, Florida (New Smyrna Beach, actually). It was the Sixties and race relations were as bad as you have heard. Painful and ugly.

    I’m glad that area of Florida is reacting to this senseless killing. Maybe for once there will be some justice in that place for our African American brothers and sisters.

    But I’m still waiting for justice here in this place.

  • I’m surprised no one has commented so far on this question.

    I think the problem stems from a wide interpretation of the law in Florida. A person should have the right to defend their life and home when they are threatened, but to construe the law to mean a guy like Zimmerman can chase down a teenager and shoot them is not the intent of these laws. These laws were intended to protect homeowners from prosecution FROM criminals for defending their lives and property.

    However, it is a gross violation of self-defense to suggest Zimmerman was being threatened when he refused to listen to the 911 dispatcher tell him to let the police handle the situation. He decided he was above the law, he chased that boy down and should face murder charges for his actions.

  • Gary F

    This is going to be a tough one because the media hype and hysteria is moving faster than the facts.

    Did law enforcement screw this one up? Yes. Why wasn’t the guy taken in to custody? Why wasn’t he given drug and alcohol tests? The shooter had a head wound. Why wasn’t his head wound and bloody nose been inspected by a medical/crime inspector? Was the shooter’s blood/skin/hair on the weapon? On the iced tea can? On the Trayvon’s hands or finger nails? Bad, bad, bad.

    Was the kid shot in the back?

    Why and how did the shooter get a head wound?

    Problem is now, emotions are overpowering any facts of the incident. With the poor attention to detail by law enforcement, it may be a long time to determine the facts. This have become a media wildfire, and the facts don’t matter anymore. Many people know don’t care about the facts because it might get in the way of their agenda.

  • FH

    The large majority of the people do not have the facts of this case yet a verdict has already been reached. There is definitely a “lynch” mob mentality out there right now. The young man’s death is a tragedy, but the media has clearly framed the story as partly shown by the picture they show of the young man (his football picture from several years ago) and we really do not know the facts. Remember the way the media reported the “rape” in NY, Strauss Kahn was convicted before the case ever went to trial. The case ended up collapsing, yet the damage was done to Strauss Kahn and his career. The media often have their own agenda irrespective of who it hurts.

    What I find interesting is that people are always talking about minorities as people of color – this includes Hispanics and Asians. Yet in this case, it is a black vs. white crime even though the perpetrator is Hispanic. Why is this not a minority on minority crime – when the black leaders are talking about rights for minorities is it all minorities or is it just African Americans? Or does it depend on what is convenient at the time? Also where is the outrage for the numerous black on black killings and senseless killings that black gangs do all the time. I don’t see Al Sharpton flying in for any of these type of crimes that took place in the Twin Cities.

  • John

    Guns don’t kill people, Stupid people kill people.

  • @Jack-

    You may have a point about media coverage concerning Jack Jablonski and Terrell Mayes but why did you have to ruin your point by refering to Jablonski as “dear old Jabs?” If you want to blame the media for their shortcomings, be my guest, but don’t take it out on innocent children.

  • James

    I’m starting to think we cannot afford to ever elect another Republican at any level.

    Who knew there were already 22 states with “stand-your-ground” laws? I’ll bet every one of then has a Republican legislature or governor or both.

    And at the federal level, it’s more of the same, with the additional insanity of no abortion for any reason, no contraceptives, and the latest…no need for college education.

    They’ve gone off the deep end. It’s time to relegate them to the minority everywhere.

  • Gary F

    Sharpton and Farrakhan are now involved.

    Let the circus begin.

  • A few observations:

    1) I suspect at the end of the day we’ll find that the police and prosecutor did a terrible job of investigating the shooting.

    2) The media have done an even worse job, incuriously giving anti-gun zealots a platform to trumpet bald-faced disinformation about “Stand Your Ground” laws, which have been remarkably uncontroversial until this case – which isn’t controversial because of the law, itself as…

    3) …the Administrration and its supporters are playing this case for maximum politics. Obama has been a gun control zealot his entire career. From turning the Dept. of Justice to work as an anti-gun propaganda mill with “Fast And Furious” (which NPR has done a disgraceful job of neglecting to cover) to the escalating drumbeat of anti-gun (in the hands of the law-abiding) propaganda, he’s clearly using this incident to try to turn out his base. Which means…

    4) Move Over, Sandy Fluke – your fifteen minutes as the Administration, Mainstream Left and NPR’s prop are over. Trayvon Martin’s fifteen minutes are now in effect.

    5) As a Second Amendment activist, I hope justice is served – whatever it is. And as everyone from the Feds to TMZ investigate this case, I urge you all to remember last October, when a good samaritan killed a mugger who’d robbed and then pistol-whipped a woman in Minneapolis. The media leaped in with hagiographies of the “victim”, Darren Evanovich, and touching human-interest coverage of his family. MPR’s own Bob Collins pondered the wisdom of the state’s shall-issue law, which had allowed the Samaritan to be armed in the first place. The assumpiton on the part of the city’s media patricians was that it was another innocent life snuffed out by big bad guns…

    …until County Attorney Freeman hailed the Samaritan as a hero, and not only cleared him of all wrongdoing. but essentially arrested much of Evanovich’s family as a petty criminal enterprise.

    That was yet anoither case where y’all just KNEW we shooters were wrong.



    Well, blow me down.

  • So much here to respond to, and I can’t possibly do it all.

    But I had to respond to this:

    ” These laws were intended to protect homeowners from prosecution FROM criminals for defending their lives and property”

    Well, no. The right to self-defense goes back as far as Western law does; it’s part of English common law. “Stand Your Ground” laws merely legally define that an otherwise law-abiding citizen need not “retreat” in the face of lethal force. Think about it; how far do you have to retreat? At what point does that duty end?

    The answer – in Minnesota, today, since our idiot governor vetoed the Cornish bill – is “as far as a county prosecutor, with ample time to think about your situation, thinks you should have”. Arbitrary? Hell yeah! And so if the shooting is *otherwise* justified – if there was legitimate reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, and if the force used was reasonable under the cirumstances – then it’d be a legitimate case of self defense. “Duty to retreat” is a technicality which has put many otherwise-innocent people in jail, and led indirectly to the death of a Saint Paul police officer in 1994.

    “However, it is a gross violation of self-defense to suggest Zimmerman was being threatened when he refused to listen to the 911 dispatcher tell him to let the police handle the situation”

    While that fact may suggest, and might even turn into evidence, that Zimmerman didn’t act in self-defense, it’s worth noting that 911 dispatchers don’t give legal orders that are binding on citizens’ behavior.

    .”He decided he was above the law, he chased that boy down and should face murder charges for his actions”

    Or so you’ve been told.

    Is that in fact true?


    But you don’t know. Either do I. Either, likely, does anyone.

    But the media, hating guns and loving a racial issue as much as they do, and in the bag for Obama as they are, will be the last to tell you that.

  • GregX

    that the florida “stand your ground” law is poorly written. Following someone with your weapon and creating the need to “stand your ground” and then using your weapon to kill that person …. doesn’t border on the definition of stalking and killing – it is the definition. The florida lawmaker who authored the bill doesn’t think the language of the law is at fault – he thinks the local police and killer mis-understand and mis-interpret the law. I would say that if both the police and the general public mis-interpret the law… that is the definition of “badly written”

  • GregX

    MItch Berg “it’s worth noting that 911 dispatchers don’t give legal orders that are binding on citizens’ behavior. ”

    True enough. Neither do they give illegal advice. But … they do give time tested, live-situation based qualified advice. the kid was walking awy from Mr. Zimmerman’s property. Mr. Z apparently thought the “stand your ground” was carte blanche’ to be follow someone, confront them with a weapon and then shoot them who he perceived as a threat.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but someone following me with a gun … that would be a threat.

  • I’m sort of confused why everyone is blaming the “stand your ground” law since it has nothing do with the case; if the shooter is convicted that shows that “stand your ground” doesn’t protect murderers and if the shooter was justified then how can you attack “stand your ground”? I am in full agreement with the president, there needs to be a full investigation and if George Zimmerman instigated this situation in any way he should (and will) face justice for it. I can’t say I know all the facts so for now I’ll wait until the shooter gets a full trial. One thing I did learn is that the media tried to blow this situation up into some sort of a white on black crime. How did the media get it wrong? First I heard a white man shot a black kid…I heard that multiple times before finally I heard that Mr. Zimmerman is Hispanic. I then heard how Mr. Zimmerman was white and Hispanic…are we really going to get to the point where we start splitting up people’s race down to halves and quarters? I guess in the end the race of the shooter doesn’t matter that much but I hope the media didn’t start up all the hype and have it end up like the Duke Lacrosse case. I do feel sorry for Trayvon Martin’s family and I hope they get justice if their son was murdered.

  • Sarah

    I am very upset over this. Have we as a society not come farther than this? Zimmerman was out for blood. He hunted the kid down and murdered him. He should spend the rest of his life in prison. The police chief should be ashamed of himself for not doing anything. That could have been my child. I use to cut through people’s yards all the time on the way home from the store when I was a kid. There was no reason to kill him!!!

  • Jim G

    “The answer – in Minnesota, today, since our idiot governor…”

    Posted by MItch Berg | March 23, 2012 1:18 PM

    I stopped reading your post at the word idiot. Whatever you wrote would have been negated by your inappropriate use of this adjective describing Governor Dayton.

  • Jim G,

    “I stopped reading your post at the word idiot. Whatever you wrote would have been negated by your inappropriate use of this adjective describing Governor Dayton.”

    a) I suppose running away pleading victorian vapours at the perceived insult to the governor is easier than engaging arguments over inconvenient truths.

    b) The governor’s veto was, objectively and empirically, idiotic. It was done (so he said) on counsel from people who engaged in systematic lies to the people about the “Stand Your Ground” proposal.


    He either acted out of uninformed incuriosity, or out of blind adherence to dogma. Idiotic? What would you call it if a pol you *disagreed* with did it?


    “Zimmerman was out for blood. He hunted the kid down and murdered him”

    That is one narrative. It may even be accurate – we don’t know.

    But the mainstream media, whether through sloth, incuriosity, ideology or just-plain-dogma, is just terrible at covering these sorts of stories. I ask you to turn your attention again to the coverage of the Evanovich shooting last fall.

    Start at the bottom of this page and work your way up:


    The media started its coverage with the presumption that the “good samaritan” tracked the “victim” down and murdered him; the Strib and MPR comment sections were full of people like yourself decrying the “Cold blooded murder” wrought by “guns”.

    We know how that turned out, right?

    Or maybe we don’t; Mike Freeman – who hates law-abiding gun owners – called the shooter a hero.

    In other words, *the initial media narrative*, including here on “no rant no slant” MPR, was 180 degrees wrong.

    Maybe Zimmerman DID murder Martin. But it’s for sure that you won’t know, for real, from media coverage. Not at this stage – even IF the media weren’t being manipulated by the outrage industry, which they are.

    “hat could have been my child. I use to cut through people’s yards all the time on the way home from the store when I was a kid. There was no reason to kill him!!!”

    Right – and if someone had, and there was no legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, that homeowner would be sitting in Saitn Cloud State Pen right now.

    To sum up: Media coverage of self-defense law and incidents: Distrust, but verify. And, usually, distrust some more.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Suppose Trayvon had been legally carrying a gun, too. According to the person he was on the phone with when the incident happened, he clearly felt threatened. Would he have been justified in shooting first? Okay, so he wasn’t armed, but maybe he did try to stand his ground in some way against what he perceived as someone threatening him. By standing his ground, he then appeared threatening to George Zimmerman, who then felt justifed in “defending” himself with his gun. So, by the logic of stand-your-ground, if two people are mutually afraid of each other, whichever one shoots first is doing so in self-defense? There’s something wrong with this picture. Taken to its logical conclusion, stand-your-ground would virtually legalize dueling.

  • Gary F
  • i smell a lawsuit

    @ gary f


  • suzie

    Personally, I will wait until all the media hype calms down. The national news networks are always ready to spin a story to their advantage – get the higher number of views. How many times in the past have they broadcast information that they did not verify first or just slant the information to make it just a little more exciting. How many minutes of air time have they given to all the other murders that happened that day?

    I’ll wait until all the celebrities get their fill of their own importance – then maybe the truth will come out. If Zimmerman did murder Martin, then let him do life in prision. But as of right now, where could Zimmerman get a fair trial in this country?

  • Jim G

    @MItch Berg,

    As a son of a Marine Korean War Veteran (The Frozen Chosen), I’m definitely not ” pleading Victorian vapours.” I just know that killing people is the last choice we should make, because the person that does the killing is the one who has to live the rest of their life with the knowledge they have taken others’ lives.

    Ask my dad how often he remembers Korea even though it’s 60 years in the past. I remember as he told me about his war, his kills. He had to tell them to someone, his oldest son was his choice. Not even my Mom knows these stories of lives taken, sanctioned by war, but life altering nonetheless.

    So, these “Stand your ground” laws passed with little deliberation deserve a respectful review. Emotive words, like “idiot” shut off and kill the higher reasoning skills that make us human. If you want to convince me that carrying guns and killing people you perceive as a threat is what’s best for America, you’ll have to do better than call your adversaries “idiots.” You’ll notice that I have not done this even though I most strenuously disagree with your opinions.

    Oh yeah, I know how to use use weapons too. I shoot animals for meat, not humans out of fear or animus. I’m not your NRA. I stopped being a member when they wanted us to hunt deer with AR 15’s.

  • Duke

    I was hoping MPR would put up a post about this. The facts are quite stark: an armed “neighborhood watchman” (which in itself is quite odd to me) states that a black teenager, 11 years younger and 100 lbs lighter, appears suspicious solely due to walking down the street. He then exits his car, expressly ignoring the 911 dispatchers statement not to do so, chases him down, initiates an altercation (if there was even an altercation at all!) and shoots the kid dead in the street.

  • This IS NOT what law abiding, responsible neighborhood watch (and firearms owners/carriers) do. George Zimmerman does not represent the civilians who own over 300,000,000 firearms in the US – 1 out of every 3 Americans.

    Also, our desire for safe neighborhoods, being trained and prepared to defend our loved ones and exercising the right to carry a firearm DO NOT equate to racism or vigilantism. The acts of one do not define the many.

    End the anti-gun hysteria. “One Million Open Carry to Counter Hysteria.” Find it on www [.] facebook [.] com/tcgunsandcarry.

  • Craig

    Vengeance fantasies sell. Movies and games sell vicarious killing. Gun manufacturers sell combat-style weapons to the powerless, afraid, and aggrieved as fantasy aides. “Stand your ground” laws tap the same market, offering the prospect of not just play-acting with a gun in your basement, or at the range, but actually killing in the streets, just like in the movies.

  • Audrey F.

    Mitch Berg expresses more deep-seated hatred than anything I have read in a long time. How sad, to carry so much fury around inside you.

  • Doug

    Just a thought: It strikes me that while we all debate whether Stand Your Ground applies to Zimmerman, and the justice department gets ready to debate that in Florida, it seems pretty clear that had Martin shot and killed Zimmerman, it would have applied to Martin.

    So the next question on Stand Your Ground should be this: If things had gone that way, young man of noted complexion kills man of unremarkable complexion serving his community in the private defense of property, would SYG be as defended or would different people be calling the prosecutor a fool?

    The problem with the law is that it was too easy for the police and DA to decide how it’s applied. Easily misread law means what people think it means.

  • Duke Powell

    On Saturday the New Black Panther Party offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman and Spike “Do the Right Thing” Lee used Twitter to give out Zimmerman’s home address.

    One can just see Kerri Miller and Bob Collins sitting in their cubicles at MPR smiling and nodding with approval.

  • Not sure if people are reading this, but what the heck.

    Audrey: Not at all, although I know it’s easy to dismiss inconvenient dissent as “hatred”. I hate nobody. While it’s becoming a bit of a cliche, your statement really does say more about you than it does about me.

    Jim G.:

    “As a son of a Marine Korean War Veteran”

    Thanks to your father for his service. For serving at Chosin in particular.

    But – and I’m not trying to be rude, here, merely logical – your father’s courage, noble as it is, gives you no particular standing in this argument.

    “I remember as he told me about his war, his kills”

    Right. Self-defense is very different from war. Although one of the big lessons from concealed carry training (and any defensive firearms class taught by a responsible teacher) is that it’s the second-worst possible resolution to a bad situation.

    No sane person denies that – LEAST of all law-abiding gun owners who are. I’ll note here that nationwide, carry permit holders are three orders of magnitude less likely to commit murder overall than non gun-owners.


    “So, these “Stand your ground” laws passed with little deliberation deserve a respectful review”

    And, again with all due respect, they all got reviewed – when they were passed into law by their elected legislatures. Be honest – you (plural) had no idea what these laws were until the Martin case, or maybe when the Cornish bill came up, right?

    No law is perfect – some are worse than others – but nationwide, “Stand Your Ground” HAS been a success.

    ” If you want to convince me that carrying guns and killing people you perceive as a threat is what’s best for America, you’ll have to do better than call your adversaries “idiots.”

    Fair enough.

    The *objective record* is that the law-abiding gun owner is, *statistically*, vastly more law-abiding than the average citizen; carry permittees, moreso. I grew up in an anti-gun family; the objective record swayed me.

    So here’s the challenge for you, Jim; since you say people have to do better than name-calling to convince you, take a look at the *objective* record – not the one flogged by Heather Martens and the VPC and, this week, the media. The real one. The one that shows carry permittees have 1% the *overall* crime record of everyone else (Florida, 1983-1988). The fact that every single argument against concealed carry, shall-issue and Stand Your Ground, when viewed unemotionally, has been pretty well debunked by actual neutral statistics, consistently, for three decades now.

    ” You’ll notice that I have not done this even though I most strenuously disagree with your opinions.”

    And you’ll notice I haven’t, either – not with any party to this discussion. I happen to believe our Governor is not a very good one – basically a ventriloquist’s dummy for the interests that paid for his election. His veto of “Stand Your Ground” was based – as I showed – on complete buncombe. But you’re right; I shouldn’t call him an “idiot”.

    Just a lousy governor.

    “Oh yeah, I know how to use use weapons too. I shoot animals for meat, not humans out of fear or animus. I’m not your NRA. I stopped being a member when they wanted us to hunt deer with AR 15’s.”

    You got a link to where they were promoting hunting with AR15s?

    I mean, you DO know an AR15 is nothing but a heavier, less-powerful hunting rifle that you have to load less often, right?

  • Barry

    Little more concerned with children nor being able to play outside in the inner cities without running the risk of catching a bullet, not a peep on the MSM either. Typical.

  • David Poretti

    All racial issues aside, all SYG pros and cons aside, how can anyone claim self-defense when they initiate the conflict?

  • “how can anyone claim self-defense when they initiate the conflict?”

    That’s a great question. And a tricky one.

    Self defense hinges on three or four factors; that the self-defense shooter…::

    – *reasonably* feared death or great bodily harm (where “reasonable” means “would convince a jury”)

    – used “reasonable” lethal force (i.e., didn’t kill someone who wasn’t, or was no longer, a threat; in other words, you don’t shoot someone who’s down).

    – made a “reasonable” effort to disengage (in some states including Minnesota, not in Florida or others)

    – Was a “Reluctant Particpant” – meaning the shooter wasn’t a willing party to the incident.

    In some states, including MN, the shooter has to prove all four of those criteria to claim self defense. In others, the state has to prove they weren’t the case.

    You’re asking about the last of the four. It hinges on *when* the lethal encounter began. For example, if you dive into a bar-room brawl, and someone pulls a knife, you can’t pull a gun and claim self-defense. You were a willing part of the fight.

    In the Evanovich case, the good Samaritan followed Evanovich, the mugger, and asked him to give the victim’s purse and money back. It may seem imprudent, but the Samaritan was within the law in doing it. Evanovich drew a pistol – THAT’s when the encounter began. The Samaritan shot first; he was a reluctant participant in the *lethal* encounter; he didn’t start a fight with Evanovich, merely told him to give the stolen purse back. He *reasonably* feared death (Evanovich had A FREAKING GUN!), he used *reasonable* force (ended the threat and no more), and had no option of retreating. Open and shut case.

    The Marin case is murkier. Zimmerman DID have every legal right to be where he was, and to ask Martin who he was and where he was going (it may not have been * smart*, he may have been acting like Dwight Schrute when he did it, but it was legal. You can do it, too). People say “the 911 operator told him not to!”, which is true, but irrelevant; 911 operators aren’t cops, they can’t give “lawful orders” to go away.

    When did the actual physical encounter begin? Did Zimmerman provoke a fight? Did Martin attack him, putting Zimmerman in some reasonable fear of death or great bodiliy harm ? We don’t know – and ALL the assumptions being paraded around in the media (and this comment section) this past week are just wild guesses, really.

    BTW, this is just how I see it given my general knowledge of the issue, not the specific incident. I’m no lawyer; I’ve just read and written a lot (!) about the issue, and taken carry permit training twice.

  • I hope everyone who thought Zimmerman should be put on trial immediately has second thoughts after he released his side of the story (with a witness who backs up his side). We can’t condemn a person without knowing the facts, now we have some facts and it wasn’t really some white guy running down a black guy in an alley and shooting him…obviously this guy was attacked in some way, who knows if Martin would have killed Zimmerman if he didn’t use his firearm. Let’s all take a step back and think before assuming someone is guilty…media take a good look in the eye as well…you created this situation and I hope you have some regrets in your reporting of this incident.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Obviously,” Jefferson? I don’t think so. The new information you refer to is hardly a vindication of Zimmerman, or of Florida’s SYG law. Zealots on both sides of the gun issue are so afflicted with confirmation bias that practically nothing is obvious.

  • ” The new information you refer to is hardly a vindication of Zimmerman…”

    Of course not – not by itself.

    What it does mean – as I pointed out in my blog this morning – is that the left/media lynch mob that was howling bloody murder (as it were) last week may have been just a tad premature.

    “…or of Florida’s SYG law.”

    I’m not sure this case will ever be a “test” of SYG, outside of the lefty/media narrative. SYG is only intended to protect shootings that are justified under the other three criteria of self-defense. If the prosecutor proves Zimmerman’s fear of death/great bodily harm was was unreasonable, that he was not a reluctant participant, or that the force used was reasonable under the circumstances, then SYG is irrelevant.

    This case is only a test of SYG in the purely emotional sense of the term. As badly as many of you wish it otherwise, it is just not true.

  • Steve the Cynic – [“Obviously,” Jefferson? I don’t think so. The new information you refer to is hardly a vindication of Zimmerman, or of Florida’s SYG law. Zealots on both sides of the gun issue are so afflicted with confirmation bias that practically nothing is obvious.] *** Not a single person disputes that Zimmerman was attacked by Martin, Zimmerman had a bloody face and lacerations on the back of his head. I used the word “obviously” in reference to Zimmerman being attacked in some way…that is obvious. All witnesses have confirmed this along with the police and Zimmerman himself received medical care at the scene and the next day. Bringing up SYG was a political tactic, used by those on the left who reached a verdict before all the information was available. Anyone who wanted to use this situation to promote a political ideology should be ashamed and embarrassed to do so before all the information was released. I’m not sure why you would bring up confirmation bias with my comment, I have always suggested that we wait before we hear all the information and investigations to be complete so we have full picture of what happened before making a judgement.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Jefferson, none are so blind as those who will not see. That Martin attacked Zimmerman is no more “obvious” than that Zimmerman is an over-zealous, self-appointed vigilante, whose activities were provoking fear and anger in a black kid wearing a hoodie. Why did I bring up confirmation bias? Because your postings on these pages look to me like you’re going out of your way to dig up “evidence” to support your ideology, rather than basing your opinions on evidence. Yes, “lefties” do that too, but libertarians like you are the champions.

  • jack

    Zimmerman and the police are liars. Witnesses said no blood was noticed on that nut’s face after shooting. I wonder who beat up zimmerman the next day to use for self defense. This is not a left or right issue. ITS ABOUT WHATS RIGHT, PERIOD.

  • CwwFLg I appreciate you sharing this article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  • This is the precise What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it? | Today’s Question | Minnesota Public Radio diary for anyone who wants to act out out almost this subject. You notice so such its virtually effortful to discourse with you (not that I real would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new protract on a message thats been codified around for age. Fastidious personalty, only great!

  • What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it? | Today’s Question | Minnesota Public Radio I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about What’s your take on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the controversy that followed it? | Today’s Question | Minnesota Public RadioBest Regards Cindy