Friday, March 23, 2012

Florida Shooting

I’m sure that most of you have heard by now about the seventeen year old boy that was shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain.  We had talked about it for a little bit in our discussion group.  I also read an article about it from  This boy, named Trayvon Martin, was an African American child walking to his father’s house in a gated community.  The neighborhood watch captain, named George Zimmerman, looks like he is Caucasian, but his family says that he has a Latino background.  Either way, it is still a very racially charged issue.  The watch captain had called the 9-1-1, telling the dispatcher that the boy looked suspicious and asked if he could follow him.  The dispatcher said to stay put, not to follow him, and that the police would arrive at his location soon.  He proceeded to disregard the dispatcher’s instructions, and continued to follow the boy.  When the police arrived at the scene, the boy had been shot and killed with the 9mm handgun that Zimmerman was carrying.

Illinois is the only state that doesn’t allow concealed carry for guns, so he was perfectly legal when he was carrying the gun.  Zimmerman was not charged with murder.  There is a law in Florida that talks about your right to protect yourself, and it extends a person’s protection rights to anywhere, it doesn’t matter at all where you are at.  Our T.A. gave an example of this, saying that if you were in Wal-Mart and you thought that someone was threatening your life, you have the right to protect yourself there.  The reason that Zimmerman was not charged with murder was that he was claiming that it was self-defense.  He said he felt threatened by the boy.  It turned out that the boy was just carrying some candy and an iced tea.

They are still reviewing 9-1-1 tapes to see if there is anything in the recording that could turn the tables and let them charge him with murder, but as of right now, they don’t have any evidence that refutes Zimmerman’s story of self-defense.  What evidence officers saw when they arrived and Zimmerman’s testimony is all that they have to go on right now.  That’s why they are going through the 9-1-1 calls, so they can try to get more evidence.

The parents of Martin are obviously not happy with letting Zimmerman walk away on self-defense.  They just lost their son for no reason at all, so they want justice to be done.  The attorney of the Martin family said that it didn’t add up, since Zimmerman is claiming self-defense, yet he was the one who approached Trayvon.  The community has also been outraged and is unhappy with the police and the whole situation.  The family’s attorney also made a comment about how the 9-1-1 tapes will reveal why Zimmerman decided not to follow instructions from the dispatcher and what his mentality was when he was following Trayvon.  It will give us an idea of whether he was actually acting in self-defense, or if he had bad intentions.

By Scott Masters



  1. I do not think that it is right that they have not charged this guy yet. It was obviously a racially motivated crime against an innocent teenager just walking through a gated neighborhood.

    Also, I do not see how this man is claiming self-defense. It is clearly not self-defense when (1) the person is unarmed; (2) when you are the one pursuing the person; and (3) when the person has not threatened you in any way. If this man gets charged (which he definitely should)there is absolutely no way the affirmative defense of self-defense will hold up on court. He will not be able to prove the elements of self-defense.

    I really hope this man gets charged and convicted for this crime. This kind of conduct is not at all okay...

  2. This article and case are particularly interesting to me because I will be relocating to Florida in the summer. What upsets me about this case is the fact that as usual, it sheds a bad light on gun owners. Thankfully I haven't heard anything about it being an issue because he legally owned a gun. I agree that it is pretty crazy that the police decided not to charge the boy at least with manslaughter. Manslaughter is defined differently in Florida than other places but I still think he could have at least been CHARGED. Key word there is charged, he would still have to go to trial. What did the kid think, he was going to beat him to death with his soda bottle or his cell phone? If he doesn't get charged, and I were this kids family, I would be going after him in civil court, I definitely think that is a landslide win.

  3. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the self defense claim. Have you guys heard the 911 call where you can hear someone wailing in the background? If not go to the link below. It's the 3rd audio stream...

    Whoever that is yelling in the background is obviously losing the fight/confrontation. It's hard to believe that Zimmerman followed Martin, who was on foot, in his car & confronted the kid armed with a gun & ended up in a position where he was pleading for mercy like that. Are we really supposed to believe that Martin was kicking Zimmerman's ass so bad that Zimmerman couldn't do anything but cry out for help? Are we supposed to believe that Zimmerman only pulled out his gun as a last resort? Of course none of us in the general public know enough details to be able to pass judgement but when I hear that tape it's very hard for me to come up with a scenario where the person pleading for help isn't Martin. If that was Zimmerman sobbing then why does the sobbing stop as soon as the shot goes off? I don't hang around many high schoolers but I just watched two weeks of high school boys state basketball championships & the idea that any of those kids could have me on the short end of the stick in a physical confrontation is laughable. Especially if I have a gun on me!

  4. Having been in Florida just a couple weeks ago this was an interesting story. This is terrible to hear, this boy died for no reason at all. The most disturbing part is his self defense plea. He was told to stay away from the boy by the dispatcher so he should have no excuse to pursue the boy himself.

    Another question is why investigators would believe he truly feared for his life when the boy was only 14 years old. This must have been a racially motivated murder. Also, the fact that the man called police over 40 times in one year suggests he was eager to find trouble and may have been looking for an excuse to shoot someone.