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July 19, 2013


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Adding to Curt Matsune's comment: Why should elderly people like my parents have to retreat from some thug looking to carjack or commit felony battery and rob them (or worse) because it makes someone like Michelle feel good inside?

I'm glad that a majority of states have these laws and in a sane country we'd have national concealed carry reciprocity and SYG in all 50 states.

Texas TopCat

Good article. Unfortunately it probably will not be read by the "occupy" or "black protest" group of people.
I think that we have not spent enough attention on the fact that Zimmerman will NEVER be able to live the rest of his life without this being part of it. He has lost virtually everything. One portion of the SYG/Castle laws is that they attempt to provide some protection for the good guy that is forced to use deadly force. The protection from civil judgments when the person is not charged or is found not guilty. This is very important, mainly when there is a chance for large payoffs the wolfs show up.

Em Anne

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of Zimmerman's mental state. I don't know if this was racially motivated, because it was said that witnesses had identified burglers as being African American, and so Zimmerman was going by that description.

But what was wrong with him emotionally, that he carried a gun despite neighborhood watch instructions not to do so, and follow Trayvon even though it was against neighborhood watch recommendations and also, at one pivotal moment, against what he was told by the police???

And while it may be legal for him to have been given his gun back, considering his mental state, isn't it a sad commentary on our lack of gun control that he can go on carrying the same gun which caused the death of Trayvon?

Another thing which is troubling is Zimmerman's inability to express any remorse about the entire thing. Apparently he believes he did nothing wrong.

Emotionally I would expect a healthy person to feel guilt and shame that his activities has led to something as awful as this. But he does not seem to have the capacity to recognize anything even abnormal or questionable in what he did.

Wm Palmer

So there is some reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder or manslaughter.
We are not beyond this doubt. QED.

Tim Mugaru

"Trayvon's girlfriend did not use the term "cracka." She used the term "ass-cracker," and explained at trial that she did not consider this a racial term. Instead it meant "pervert."

This is such BS. This chick lied completely through her teeth. What she said was "creepy ass cracka." The word "ass" is often inserted into various slang for exclamatory effect. "Scary-ass, crazy-ass, dumb-ass, weird-ass, stupid-ass."

There's no such thing as "ass-cracker", that is something the girl with two dozen names made up on the spot when Piers Morgan was tossing her softballs. Growing up, I'm sure the term "cracka" is a pretty common way of referring to white people, that doesn't make it appropriate and I'm sure she was talked to about coming up with some ridiculous explanation that a buffoon like Morgan would lap up happily and would make her seem...well, not racist.


Em Anne,

GZ has the right to carry a gun, as do you.

GZ was not on Neighborhood Watch duty that evening, so their instructions are irrelevant.

GZ was not "told by the police". The NEN operator suggested that he didn't need to do that. The difference between a suggestion and an order is significant, especially in this context.

What evidence do you have of GZ's mental state?

GZ apologized to the Martin family quite publicly at his bail hearing. I believe that qualifies as expressing remorse.


In reference to whether it was, "f****** coons" or punks", I heard punks from the start while others heard coons. I played the tape for several of my colleagues, all of us who teach foreign languages at the secondary level and to a tee they all heard punks. Indeed it was used in the trial. I could hypothesize with my undergrad coursework in Spanish dialects but I haven't listened enough to Zimmerman's English to know if it is so but it is possible that his pronunciation of punks would pronounce the p without explusion of air and not pronouncing the k, so it would sound like "poons".

Em Anne

I think that Zimmerman displayed signs of mild paranoia, and his obsession with reporting every little thing that went on in the neighborhood combined with his having applied to become a police officer, and having been rejected, paint the picture of a frustrated man who has some emotional issues which led to this tradgedy.

I would guess that his 'strict' upbringing by a military man, a.k.a. abusive or neglectful of his true feelings and needs, perhaps pressuring him to 'acheive' in some way that he couldn't, led to his compulsion to perhaps 'save' people, or control his surroundings. Most people re-enact important traumas or issues from their childhood's etc., but I don't know enough to say what those are in his case.

Whenever I read the word 'strict' about someone's upbringing, generally speaking it raises a red flag. Chidlren need nurture, love, room to grow, protection, and boundaries....not ridigity and harshness....

But clearly there is something wrong with someone who carries a concealed gun and goes after a 'suspect' (in his mind that is) when normal people would never have gotten involved or been so suspicious to begin with.

Maybe he wants to be a hero, I don't know, but personally, although he had the right to carry a concealed weapon, it doesn't make it any less dysfunctional that he had it on him and then USED it......


@Em Anne. Z made about 5 calls a year to police about various things. What is the norm for people on neighborhood watch? I don't know, but 5 calls in a year does not seem excessive.

The rest is speculative psychobabble and falls flat of its own accord.


Good work on the calls, my instinct learned from following this case is that I should verify what you say independently from as raw of a source as possible, but I recall looking at the detail on the calls last year and being satisfied at the time, plus I am frankly worn out from explaining SYG and that Zimmerman was not told to stay in his truck.

Regarding "stand your ground" while the actual wording is important, the meat of discussion should be what the law does in practice. It removes the need to prove during a trial that safe retreat was not possible, and prevents a DA from making a charge of murder when most of the evidence supports self defense.

Without SYG a DA is free to charge even the most clear cut case of self defense solely on the basis of safe retreat being possible or not, and safe retreat is about as gray of a subject legally that can be imagined. Gray legal issues and wide prosecutorial discretion are NOT in the interest of justice.


Serino in his statement to FBI says the name of the local gang in Sanford is "The Goons", who wear dark hoodies and sweats, and his view is that Zimmerman incorrectly suspects Trayvon may be a member.

Zimmerman acquires his and his wife's pistols in response to a loose pit bull on the advice of animal control. He gets his permit in Dec of 2009 and likely carried every day all day since then.

This case is a master class in media manipulation and propaganda, it should be well documented and made into a textbook. From the early work by Crump and Julison taking a local story that I don't think was even on the front page, just the local section, they made the biggest media story in 30 years. Using copyright on all images of Trayvon and leaking information and giving exclusive interviews they totally controlled the news cycle and owned the loyalty of the reporters getting those exclusives.


How is SYG functionally different from forcing the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that safe retreat was possible and that a reasonable person would be aware that it was possible and safe?

Doesn't it all depend on where the bar is set to consider something safe?

What happens when whatever element at the time was deemed to make retreat unsafe, is not available to present at the trial? A shoe that sometimes squeaked when you take a step, but stopped doing it A street light not working, with no record of repair.

Does lack of SYG force a defendant to testify against their will?


This is an outstanding piece of research. I had no idea about all this background. It raises the following questions.

1. Burgess lived in GZ's residential complex. Did any of the other three that were stopped with him on 2/7/2012 live there too?
2. Were any of the other three males picked up with Burgess on 2/7/2012 minors as of that date? How were their cases disposed?
3. What personal connection, if any, existed between Burgess and/or the other three perps and TM's family? Did GZ's defense explore this avenue of inquiry?
4. Does TM's cell phone have any record of calls to/from Burgess, his fellow perps of 2/7/2012, and/or any member of their families?


SYG and Immunity may have been introduced into Florida's Justifiable Use of Force law at the same time, but they are separate, independent sections, and it was Immunity (776.032)that legally prevented the Sanford Police Department from arresting Zimmerman that night, as they didn't have enough to overcome his self-defense claim at the time.

Not being quite as Keystone Kop-ish as they've been portrayed, they did keep investigating, and were still doing so at the time the case was taken away from Wolfinger and the grand jury.

"Mangled quote. Go back to the record and read again. And try to get this stuff accurately, because truth counts.

The 911 operator asked GZ if TM was black. GZ's comment "He looks black" was the answer to a question."

I agree, truth does count, which is why I'm going to point out that Zimmerman did not call 911 that night.

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