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Thread: The Murder Case of Travyon Martin

  1. #1
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    The Murder Case of Travyon Martin

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-...ing/?tag=strip

    We're in Florida right now, and this case has been all over my newspaper for days.

    Seventeen year old, African American Travyon Martin, who was a Miami resident, went to visit his father in Sanford in central Florida. His father lives in a gated community, which means down here that there is a gate guard at all times whose job is to keep out non-residents. He got hungry one evening and decided to walk to the local convenience store, where he purchased iced tea & Skittles, and began to walk home. He was wearing a hoodie, because it was an unpleasantly rainy night. He was completely unarmed.

    On his way home he was spotted by George Zimmerman, age 28, who is part white and part Hispanic. Zimmerman is described as "the neighborhood Watch captain." Why a neighborhood Watch is needed in a gated community is unclear to me.

    Zimmerman took a gun, got in his car, and pursued Martin. Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person. The 911 operator told Zimmerman to stay in his car and wait for the police to arrive. Meanwhile, Martin was alarmed. He phoned his girlfriend and told her that a strange guy was following him, and it had made him feel so stared at and uncomfortable that he pulled his hood up over his head. He then said he was going to try to lose the strange guy. He told his girlfriend the guy was right behind him again. His girl told him to run. He told her that he wasn't going to run, but he was going to walk fast.

    The girlfriend then reports that Martin said, "Why are you following me?" Then another voice (presumably Zimmerman) said, "What are you doing around here?" These 2 questions were repeated. Then there was the sound of a scuffle, and the phone went dead.

    Zimmerman says Martin punched him, and so Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

    In FL, there has been a law since 2005, that you are allowed to shoot people if you feel threatened. And, of course, everyone here can pretty much get a concealed carry permit for a handgun.

    From the article:

    Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened.
    A grand jury meets on the case in April. Federal authorities are also pursuing the case. It may be hard to get a conviction for anything, since clearly Zimmerman felt threated by Martin.

    However, since Martin's only threatening behavior, at least until they began to talk to each other, was being unknown to Zimmerman (and possibly, but not definitely, being seen as a black person dressed in a hoodie in a gated community), do you feel this defense should hold water?

    Zimmerman says that Martin hit him before he scuffled with him. Martin is dead and can't comment.

    In a larger sense, is the Florida law even constitutional, given that it allows someone who irrationally feels threatened to murder someone else? And if it is constitutional, do you think it is right?

    The legislator who introduced the bill is backpeddling quickly to say that this situation is not quite what he intended:

    The "Stand Your Ground" law's legislative sponsor, Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, said it wasn't written to give people the power to pursue and confront others.
    Clearly, Zimmerman pursued and confronted Martin.

    Since Zimmerman was told by the 911 dispatcher to stay in the car and wait for the police, and he didn't, can he legitimately claim self defense?

    And again, should someone visiting a gated community stay inside at all times for fear of being murdered?

    If the crime was murder, should it be prosecuted as a hate crime?

    Should the Federal government be getting involved at all? This is not an ATF case, nor a drug case, so I suppose they are involved only because at first the local police were perceived as not doing anything-Zimmerman shot Martin, admitted it, and he should be arrested, was the thinking.

    However, is it because the Feds are treating the case as a hate crime?

    Should Zimmerman pay Martin's family in a wrongful death civil suit?

    This will draw more attention in various media outlets as April approaches .
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-20-2012 at 11:03 PM.

  2. #2
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I don't think he felt threatened at all, I think he has massive issues and was out looking for a fight. And it's already being talked about up here at length. It's just want the anti-gun folks wanted - why is it that the antifolk are the only ones who seem to celebrate the very thing they say is the reason they're anti whatever it is in the first place?

    If I understand correctly you're allowed to match force with force. If the teen had a weapon then I could see where yes it would be "okay" to match him, but in all reports it seems the aggressor was Mr. Zimmerman.

    But we also have to take into account that the media loves to fuel these fires, so we don't have the entire story, which may be why the local authorities seemed to be doing nothing, and are only doing something now because the Feds are getting their noses in it. I'm not saying Zimmerman was right, by all media accounts I say hang him high... but I am not as big a fan of crucifying the police for doing their job.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I am not blaming the police as yet. Given the Florida law that you can stand your ground and shoot somebody because you feel threatened, I think they had to do a lot of investigating before an arrest could be made. The law made the definition of "self defense" very confused down here. The one thing no police organization wants to do is get something to a speedy trial and have a perp get off on a technicality.

    A Japanese exchange student went out on trick or treat in I think Louisiana and was shot to death in a similar case, and the perps got off.

    I'm not sure the feds should have any role in this case, unless it's a hate crimes case. And it's not clear that Zimmerman is not such a paranoiac fool that he would have done the same to an unfamiliar white or Hispanic or Japanese kid in a hoodie. Again, it was a gated community. He should have called the gate guard about whether a kid came by whose dad had called to have him let in.

    Frankly, I think the Stand Your Ground Laws are no good. They lead to this sort of stuff. That's a separate case from guns or concealed carry laws. In the version in Florida, it isn't force for force, it's just "feeling threatened," which is a far different thing.

    ETA: Apparently, Zimmerman was a self appointed head of the Neighborhood Watch, and there is no such organized group in his neighborhood. He has called in about 50 unfounded reports to the police about black people here in the past. He is clearly a fruitcake. And he has a prior arrest for resisting arrest and striking a police officer, which you would think would keep him from having a concealed carry permit. But this is FL, where they wanted to require everyone to carry a gun last legislative session. (It didn't pass, but still...)

    And I read that the fed is investigating whether it is or is not a hate crime.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-20-2012 at 03:22 PM.

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    This one was heartbreaking, I agree.

    I live in a big city, but I understand that people who live in exurban areas have a different view of gun ownership. Nevertheless, I think one problem with private citizens in neighborhood watch groups is that learning how to fire a gun at a target is not enough to make them adept with firearms. Cops and soldiers, who use guns professionally, are also taught how to react in different situations. (And even they get it wrong sometimes, as a search through newspaper archives will prove.) If a trained cop sees a young guy walking through a neighborhood, he can often evaluate the kid to figure out how much of a threat he is. He is practiced in various techniques to assert authority without shooting. He is able to call for backup. In other words, he doesn't just know how to shoot a gun; he knows how to use it. He knows how to deal with human nature so that using a gun is truly a last resort.

    I hate to say it, but even an experienced hunter might not have those skills, because he deals with deer, not people. And this man doesn't sound as if he has even that much experience with armaments.

    Whatever the situation and the temperament of this particular man, there should at least be a police inquiry. Something terrible and unjustifiable took place here.
    Last edited by Olympia; 03-20-2012 at 11:34 PM.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    I haven't followed this, but it seems strange that there was not an immediate police deep investigation. Is it correct that they believe Zimmerman was acting in self defense? Somehow, in my city, if I told a similar story, I know I'd be arrested, held in jail, and not believed. We have a lot of police here and they are like most police forces. I hope they give this young man who died the investigation his family has begged for.

    I have a missing neighbor-I have no idea how "good" the police have been. Given the fact he is white, from an affluent neighborhood with extended, caring family who have kept it in the press despite their very private nature, I suspect he is being truly searched for. I don't know if that would be the case if he were a poor black kid, knowing the city's police department as I do. I was assaulted by a known person, out of state, and they did not care. They also did not care when a caregiver stole medication. I have not been lucky. I have lived in Florida, and i hope that this was not a racially motivated shooting. We had someone disappear from a car in Vt last week with a two year old.

    Today, the news brings news of 10 dead from a man gone mad in California. I don't even want to turn on the TV anymore. This week brought us some lovely skating which is a balm to so many people. Thank God for small mercies.

  6. #6
    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    Just heard this on the news Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demarinis5 View Post
    Just heard this on the news Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.
    He was released on bail.

  8. #8
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I haven't followed this, but it seems strange that there was not an immediate police deep investigation. Is it correct that they believe Zimmerman was acting in self defense? Somehow, in my city, if I told a similar story, I know I'd be arrested, held in jail, and not believed. We have a lot of police here and they are like most police forces. I hope they give this young man who died the investigation his family has begged for.
    My guess is that the police did some investigation and felt that the guy would probably get off on Stand Your Ground law. Florida has a much higher rate of people defending themselves with this law than any other state with a similar law.

  9. #9
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Yes, and some of the defenses are really, really thin:

    The Tyler Spann case in Venice, FL, where an offduty deputy killed a guy, who with a friend was doing the "ring and run" prank:

    http://origin.tampabays10.com/news/l...storyid=130299

    And the Kenneth Rosenbloom case (where fortunately, the man didn't die):
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82M06L20120323

    Allen was not arrested in the shooting of Rosenbloom. Sergeant Tom Nestor of the Pinella's County Sheriff's Office said Allen was found to have acted in self-defense when he pumped two rounds into Rosenbloom with his 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

    "He meant for me to be dead and he never called 911," said Rosenbloom, 36, adding that Allen, now 65, bent over him and using an expletive, warned him not to tangle "with an ex-cop" as he lay bleeding on the ground.

    "The police closed it on his words alone," said Rosenbloom, explaining how the case that began with a complaint about him leaving eight trash bags on the curb instead of the regulation six, was closed after what he described as only a summary investigation.

    "They made me the bad guy," he added.
    In Florida, you can shoot anyone; all you have to do is create a plausible story that you felt/or were threatened.

    In the above 2 cases, the victims were white. And the shooter walked away.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/...efense/1227798

    Stand Your Ground is a common defense in any murder or assault case these days, according to the above article from Tampa.

  10. #10
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Some more tales of Stand Your Ground - very inconsistent and some cases mystifying on a common sense level.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publics...ing-on/1233133

  11. #11
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    heyang, Thanks for the link. For me, that link shows that any state that hasn't got a Stand Your Ground law should think twice before passing one.

    The part about increased concealed carry permits was particularly troubling; Florida is apparently turning into the OK Corral. And the fact that you are even more likely to be given a Stand Your Ground free pass if the dead person is black is also very troubling.

  12. #12
    Only in the US...

    RIP Travyon Martin

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