Saturday, March 24, 2012

Zimmerman versus Martin

As you all have most likely heard back in February a Neighborhood watch leader killed a teenager that was walking through a gated community in Florida.  George Zimmerman was a Neighborhood watch leader and under Florida law he was able to carry a concealed weapon.  Zimmerman was known by Florida police, he was very involved with is community, and made a total of 46 emergency phone calls to police over the last six years.  The majority of Zimmerman’s calls in the recent months have been focused on that of young black men.

What exactly happened on that day is still unknown and under investigation but it is said that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home through a gated community from a local gas station when George Zimmerman saw him.  George Zimmerman then called the police and reported a “suspicious black male” walking through and wanted to know if the police were going to be dispatched to the area.  He then asked the police if he should keep following him, the police said no that they would be out shortly, to leave him alone.  Zimmerman did not listen to the police and in turn continued to follow Martin.  Martin then was said to be on the phone with his girlfriend and asked Zimmerman why he was being followed.  Between that question and the end Trayvon Martin was dead with a single bullet wound, from Zimmerman’s 9 mm gun.  Zimmerman claimed that it was self defense, but in my opinion it is very clear from the evidence we have so far that Zimmerman was the one that was harassing Martin. 

In the state of Florida there is a law called “Stand Your Ground”, this law states that it “allows people to use deadly force away from their homes—where such force has long been allowed—if they have reasonable fear an assailant could seriously harm them or someone else” (Pearson, 2012).

What the defense has to prove is that Zimmerman has a right under that law to shoot Martin.  Do you think, from the evidence we have so far, that Zimmerman had the right to shoot Martin under this law?  Do you think it simply comes down to the shooting victim being African American and the shooter being another race?  In your opinion, do you think that the law would have reacted differently if the person shot was Caucasian and the shooter was African American?

n my opinion I feel as though this law needs to come under review.  I feel like carry and conceal is a great law that every citizen should have a right too unless the law states otherwise (previous record, etc).  This law however seems to state that if anyone is feeling threatened can take the law into his or her own hands and take care of it.  If this law was in all 50 states, I think our country would become survival of the fittest and a lot of innocent people would die based on the fact that we may have been viewed as threatening to another person.  I am sure that the majority of people have been seen as a threat at one time or another, if you lived in Florida—you wouldn’t be here.  I also feel as though intent is a very hard thing to prove.  If Zimmerman was just a racist person that wanted to take out primarily young black men, there is no way of really proving that.  All Zimmerman can say is that he was threatened.  Martin is no longer here to prove his case, so hopefully others can prove it for him. 

Jonsson, P. (2012, March 24). Who is George Zimmerman, and why did he shoot Trayvon Martin? The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from

Pearson, M. (2012, March 20). Florida shooting renews debate over 'stand your ground' laws. Retrieved from


  1. I watched a short (3 min) CNN piece on this last week, so I don't know all the facts. It is unclear to me what exactly happened from listening to the 911 calls but it appears that some eyewitnesses claim that it wasn't self-defense. Still, I'm not sure what to think about this yet. I feel like I don't know enough to have an opinion on it. There is something HIGHLY suspect about that entire situation. Why would an unarmed kid pose a threat to this guy? Was there any suspicious behavior? Is this just a case of an overactive neighborhood watch (almost vigilante-type) character or is there something sinister and racist at play? These questions have yet to be satisfied for me.

    I think there is definitely grounds to arrest that guy though. Not sure why the police didn't do it. Something to keep my eye on for sure.

  2. This was a very interesting story to follow on the news. It seems to me that the man should have been arrested and charged because the kid did not pose a threat to anyone. It will be interesting to see what happens in this case over the next few weeks.

  3. I agree with Ethan, In section on Wednesday we spoke about this, and apparently Martin was walking home with a Tea and some skittles, while Zimmerman made the phone call to the Police. I feel this story is very vague and withholding some important information. In section Shane our GA explained that this "life threatening" law that allows deadly force upon an assailant falls under the castle doctrine which gives three pieces of interesting law...
    1) if any one intrudes in your property (car, home, store, etc) to cause bodily harm, you can use deadly force.
    2)it removes the duty to retreat if your in a place where you have the right to be, and no longer have to turn your back on a criminal to run when attacked. Instead you can stand your ground and fight back. force v. force.
    3) Finally, people using force authorized by law, will not be prosecuted for using force.

    This is a very interesting article and story. It poses a few ethical questions, but also makes me wonder if this Floridian law will ever become unconstitutional. As of now all we can do is wait for the investigation to come back. There are a few agencies working on this case as we type, but for now we have to wait because for me this story is just too vague to make a decision or opinion on.
    Great article!

  4. I agree with you that people should have the right to bear arms, but this 'feeling threatened' law in Florida just seems too crazy. Because 'Feeling threatened' is such a general term, it can be applied to almost any confrontation. Obviously, deadly force should not be used in every situation.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman is to blame for this tragic event. Not only was he told to stand down by the police, but his history with phone calls to the police shows that he is going out of his way to look for/cause trouble.

    Race is a huge issue in our society and will be for a long time to come, as proven in this case. It would definitely have received different coverage from the media if there was any race-reversal. The only way to attack this problem is to continuously bring up racial issues to the public and this is only a start.

  5. This is a really unfortunate case and I feel bad that there is no way for Martin to speak out, since he lost his life. At this point, it seems that it is Zimmerman's word against a dead boy's. I don't understand how he has not been charged yet, and will be outraged if he never is charged. You stated that the police told Zimmerman to stop following the boy, but he pursued him anyways. As far as I can tell, from Martin asking Zimmerman why he was following him, Zimmerman was the one who initiated the confrontation by following Martin because he thought something about him looked suspicious. I really hope Martin's friends and family can find justice and that one day, this man will be convicted.

  6. This Zimmerman fellow is an interesting character. From his past history of emergency calls it doesn't surprise me that when he saw a black kid walking with his hood up, he became suspicious. He's the wrong kind of overachiever. I agree with the other comments in that I am not sure how this man is not currently in custody. The media has picked this up in recent weeks and rightfully so, this was a tragedy. You just have to let the system run its course and hope that justice is brought to that young mans family, and to Mr. Zimmerman.

  7. There is alot I would want to say about this case, but I won't. But one thing is VERY clear is the racism in this case. If a African American shot a young white kid then more than likely that AFrican American would have been charged and arrested. It is no second guessing. Why is this Zimmerman individual still not charged or arrested is beyond crazy and unjust. Things need to change in this society.

  8. Hard to believe Zimmerman has not been charged and arrested yet. Agreeing with the other comments, if it was an African American who was the shooter, he would of been charged and arrested already. I also agree that the law does need to be reviewed and even changed. Hopefully justice will be served for this young boy.

  9. I agree with everybody, Zimmerman claims he did it out of self defense, which is not true, especially when he was following Trayvon, he was the one causing trouble. Clearly Florida's police department is stupid in my opinion for not arresting the guy. If the roles were changed they would of arrested him intermediately. There a lot of evidence against Zimmerman, there is even eyewitnesses at the crime, Trayvon girlfriend on the phone and the police records of him on the phone with them. He has no remorse and should go to jail! The society as a whole needs to change because this is ridiculous.

  10. With such little information available to us at this point in time, it's hard to draw a firm conclusion. I think the police know more than what they're saying and that's the way it should be until the suspect is prosecuted. There was a murder in my home town not too long ago and everyone there demanded answers from the police but since when does the general public know what's best for them? The police kept the details of the case silent for good reason; to catch the criminal! I know that's a little different in this case but my point is that the truth will come out; justice will be served. There's way too much light on this case for the guy just to walk free if he really did just shoot him out of hate, or taking his neighborhood watch too seriously. It'll be interesting to see where this goes and I, like many of you, will be anxiously waiting to hear what comes of it.

  11. This story overall seems pretty far-fetched. I don't really see any viable reason that Zimmerman would have "felt threatened," but I also don't know all of the details of this case yet. Like almost everyone else has said so far, it's still extremely early in this investigation for us to be making conclusions because we don't have all of the facts yet. Even at this point, this seems like it's going to be an extremely high-profile case that will continue to attract a lot of media attention. I'm sure that we will continue to learn more about it as time goes on - at the times that the investigating agencies feel is the appropriate time to release certain pieces of information. In terms of Zimmerman, he's taking his neighborhood watch "duties" a bit too seriously...

  12. Earlier today I had someone from down south tell me that these types of laws are commonplace down there. You just have to prove that you felt threatened and you can use deadly force. That is crazy to me.

    Zimmerman's father & brother have been doing television interviews the past couple of days and there's so much about what they're saying that doesn't make sense. Zimmerman's dad doesn't even seem to have listened to his sons 911 call because his account of what happened is a lot different than the way I heard the call. Then they're saying that Martin decked Zimmerman with a single punch to the face which broke his nose & then bashed the back of his head into the concrete several times over. Zimmerman's brother said on Pierse Morgan that if his head would have gotten smashed against the concrete just one more time then George would have had to be spoon fed for the rest of his life. Really? I could go on about other things about their accounts that I found suspicious but I'll spare you.

    I want justice for both Trayvon and George but if the new investigation doesn't lead to some type of charge & we don't see Zimmerman have to plead his case in court then that will be disgraceful.