I appreciate your justice story summaries at http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/crime-and-justice-news. Thank you.
Today I address the following summaries of stories on the teen shooting in Florida below (George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin fought, and Zimmerman shot Martin to death).
FL Teen Shooting Overstepped Neighborhood Watch Protocols
Neighborhood watch programs have long been the eyes and ears of local law enforcement, keeping tabs on suspicious behavior. The shooting death of unarmed Trayvon Martin by a watch volunteer may incite debate over how to balance vigilance and action, NPR reports. Recordings of a 911 call by George Zimmerman to police in Sanford, Fl., suggest he overstepped basic protocols set down by the National Sheriffs' Association's manual for such watch groups. Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old in what he said was an act of self-defense during a patrol."Although Mr. Zimmerman apparently was not part of any official neighborhood watch organization, even if he had been, these folks don't have any more power than ordinary citizens," says law Prof. Paul Butler of George Washington University. "They are not law enforcement officials." About 25,000 watch groups are registered with the sheriffs' association, which started its program in 1972. Other groups are registered with local law enforcement. The association called Zimmerman a "self-appointed neighborhood watchman," and it is unclear whether he would have been familiar with NSA guidelines. Most neighborhood watch programs have functioned safely and helped reduce crime, says a 2009 federal report. There have been other cases of surveillance escalating into violence. A man in Utah was shot dead in 2009 by the father of a teenage girl who apparently mistook the community watch member's questioning of his daughter for an incident of stalking. Chris Tutko, who runs the sheriffs' association's neighborhood watch group, says the manual his organization distributes says that citizens should never take action on their observations. This message has been harder to get out as budget cuts to local law enforcement have forced some departments to curtail their support for watch groups. "It used to be that departments had an officer assigned specifically to the local neighborhood watch program, but there's not much money for that anymore," Tutko says. He says one problem with unsanctioned programs is that without police aid and member screening, "you have no way of knowing if you're letting the bad guys in." For neighborhood groups, "firearms are definitely out," Tutko says.
Calls Grow To Reassess "Stand Your Ground" Law In Florida
Seven years after Florida enacted a landmark "stand your ground" gun rights law that became a model for other states, calls are mounting from the public and some state officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, to reassess it after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain who apparently confronted him after deeming that he looked suspicious, says the Christian Science Monitor. In another development yesterday, Bill Lee, police chief in Sanford, Fl., where the Martin killing occurred, said he would temporarily step aside.The law's expansiveness could cause problems for prosecutors and law enforcement officials trying to determine the credibility of evidence and witnesses. A coalition of black Florida legislators asked House Speaker Dean Cannon to open hearings on the law, which removes any duty by an armed citizen to retreat from danger and allows the use of deadly force if there's a reasonable fear of death or grave harm. Cannon says he wants to wait until more facts are known about the incident, and until state and federal investigations are wrapped up. State Sen. Chris Smith is writing a bill that would bar a shooter from claiming self-defense if he or she is at any point the aggressor or provocateur.
I have these comments.
1) America's Black and liberal media pundits have universally expressed outrage at the self-defense shooting, demanding the ouster of the police chief, and the arrest of George.
2) Travon Martin wore a "hoodie" that made him look suspiciously like a gang thug. Florida has laws (below) against wearing hoods that descended from the anti-KuKluxKlan eara, but many people, particularly gang thugs, wear "hoodies," more to cloak their identities than to stay warm.
a) 876.11 Public place defined.
b) 876.12 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on public way. No person or persons over 16 years of age shall, while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be or appear upon any lane, walk, alley, street, road, highway, or other public way in this state. History.—s. 2, ch. 26542, 1951.
c) 876.13 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on public property.
d) 876.14 Wearing mask, hood, or other device on property of another.
e) 876.15 Wearing mask, hood, or other device at demonstration or meeting.
f) 876.155 Applicability; ss. 876.12-876.15.
g) 876.16 Sections 876.11-876.15; exemptions.
h) 876.17 Placing burning or flaming cross in public place.
i) 876.18 Placing burning or flaming cross on property of another.
j) 876.19 Exhibits that intimidate.
k) 876.20 Wearing mask and placing exhibit to intimidate.
l) 876.21 Sections 876.11-876.20; penalty.
3) The cops received over 400 alert and help calls from the neighborhood the preceding year, and 8 robberies had occurred there. That created a heightened sensitivity of the residents to the presence of suspicious-looking people on foot.
4) Police had notoriously taken so long to respond to calls that many criminals had gotten away.
5) Neighborhood Watch, while a good organization, cannot and does not train ite members in the use of firearms, and to avoid actions it warns members NOT to carry firearms or get into a confrontation with crime suspects. This waters down the effectiveness of any neighborhood defense program because it lets criminals know they can have a good chance of getting away with their crimes. Therefore, people like George feel naturally inclined, out of common sense, to arm themselves and pursue suspicious people who look like intruders.
6) If the gated community is largely a white community, and Trayvon walked through it looking like a thug, and then acted even more suspicious/guilty by running away instead of speaking forthrightly and politely to George, then punched George in the face, no one should feel surprised that George shot Trayvon. Death often results from physical combat. Trayvon behaved stupidly and it cost him his life. The fault lies with him, not George.
7) Anyone has the right to patrol his neighborhood under arms and on the lookout for thugs, burglars, carjackers, and other crooks. If more people did that, fewer neighborhood crimes would occur because the bearing of arms deters would-be criminals from trying to victimize the innocent.
8) If Trayvon had a pop can in his pocket, the bulge might have resembled that of a weapon, and that might have alarmed George.
9) Occasionally "relatively" innocent (stupid, untrained, or inattentive) people would get shot if more people bore arms. However, dangers exist all over the world. The innocent die daily from accidents and mistakes arising stupidity and inattentiveness. Such deaths or injuries would occur anyway through traffic accidents, bee stings, dog bites, falling off roof, stepping into holes, etc, whether or not people bear arms and patrol neighborhoods.
10) Trayvon's father Tracy Martin should have done a number of things as a responsible parent – Such advice would have included an admonition
a) Drive Trayvon to the store instead of making him walk.
b) Train Trayvon in principles of self-defense and in not unduly alarming others or making them fear for their safety in his presence.
c) Warn Trayvon about how to behave when walking through the neighborhood, including all of the following.
i) Show respect to neighbors and others who might accost him.
ii) Don't dress like a gang thug, specifically don't wear baggy, low-slung pants or a hoodie
iii) Don't wear a hood on his head
iv) Walk on the sidewalk or left side of the street,
v) Don't jaywalk,
vi) Don't shortcut through or trespass on people's property
vii)Keep your head up
viii) Don't carry a boom box or wear ear pieces, or listen to hip-hop music to the extent of distraction
ix) Remain alert and attentive to surroundings and to hints of danger, but don't suspiciously do so
x) Stay out of confrontations, altercations, and harm's way
xi) Understand the Florida "Justifiable Use of Force" laws (Florida Statutes Chapter 776, below)
xii)Understand the right of non-felon adults to obtain permits and carry concealed weapons
xiii) Understand that members of different racial groups harbor inherent distrust of one another and will feel more concern about personal and property safety in the presence of members of other races.
11) Trayvon, a minor child, needed such advice, because under a hoodie he could (and did) pass for an adult and a thug with evil intentions, because such an appearance does not typify the appearance of those who walk down the streets in that neighborhood.
12) Sadly, many young Blacks dress and talk like thugs because so many of their rap and hip-hop role models dress and talk like thugs, and so few have sufficient male parental guidance at home. The bulk of the American population society knows this and sees it daily on national television, on the streets, and in mixed-race interactions. This has created an American mindset containing an image in which Blacks generally loathe, resent, or disrespect Whites for no reason other than racial differences, and Whites generally fear, distrust, and/or keep their distance from Blacks. People cannot tell by looking at attire and behavior whether a young Black male has malicious intent.
13) The news media seems reluctant to interrogate the father and his "fiancé" in order to discover why neither of them had the adult caring and common sense to give Trayvon advices like those above, nor to inspect Trayvon's appearance before Trayvon left the house. They are legally responsible for him and any damage or trouble he caused. They are responsible for his death because their negligence laid the groundwork for the altercation between Travon and George, and for the shooting.
14) Black thugs seem to prefer White victims. Read mathematical proof in the 1999 La Griffe du Lion article "Crime in the Hood" based on US Government data regarding crime in America. Additionally, in a declining economy where competition for jobs and commodities becomes tougher, crime tends to increase, adding to natural racial tensions. Informed people have good reason to fear and arm themselves against thugs, particularly in communities where police traditionally delay showing up in answer to alarm calls.
15) All public schools should, but don't, teach children the basics of laws of self-defense, such as the below Justifiable Use of Force laws.
16) The Mainstream Media did not report any of the above issues to any meaningful extent. Even though news stories mention the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law, actually called the "Justifiable Use of Force" law, none of the stories provide links to on-line references, and they seem to pick a name for it that makes looking it up difficult if not impossible. I provide below the actual statutes in question. The typical reader should see them as impeccably sensible because people ought to arm themselves to defend themselves and their property and communities through the use of force.
The 2011 Florida Statutes
------------------ UPDATE 27 March 2012 --------------------
Today Ted Guest released these news summaries:
Zimmerman Told Sanford FL Police Martin Punched, Pummeled Him
With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Martin climbed on top of Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, Zimmerman told police, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. Zimmerman says he shot in self-defense.Civil-rights leaders and more than a million other people have demanded Zimmerman's arrest, calling Martin a victim of racial profiling and suggesting Zimmerman is a vigilante. Martin was an unarmed black teenager who had committed no crime, they say, who was gunned down while walking back from a 7-Eleven with nothing more sinister than a package of Skittles and can of Arizona iced tea.
The National Media Circus Turns Against Trayvon Martin
The media circus surrounding the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case is taking "decidedly ugly turn," says Tampa Bay Times columnist Eric Deggans. As protests spread and celebrities from Sinbad to M.C. Hammer weigh in, supporters of Zimmerman, including some conservative websites are attempting to turn Martin's image from innocent kid to dangerous thug. The website the Daily Caller featured tweets from the dead 17-year-old's now-closed account under the name NO_LIMIT_NIGGA.Another website, Wagist, complained that the widely-circulated photo of Zimmerman was a mug shot from a 2005 arrest, while photos from Martin's family showing him as a younger, less threatening youth. The site posted pictures from a Twitpic account featuring what it says are Martin's multiple tattoos, concluding he "may have been a small time drug dealer." In a media world where everything is political, Martin's killing has become a tug-of-war between those who see his case as an example of the dangers of racial profiling and those who contend liberal activists have hijacked the process for their own ends. Deggans asks, "Even if Martin dabbled in drugs, carried himself like a gangsta and wore tattoos, did Zimmerman have the legal right to kill him that night?"
How NRA Spread "Stand Your Ground"--An Issue In Martin Case
In 2004, the National Rifle Association honored Florida state Rep. Dennis Baxley with an award. Then, he worked closely with the NRA to enact Florida's then-unprecedented "stand your ground" law, which allows citizens to use deadly force if they "reasonably believe" their safety is threatened in public settings, reports the Center on Public Integrity. Florida's law is under a cloud as a result of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17. The 28-year-old shooter, George Zimmerman, who was licensed to carry a gun, said he acted in self-defense after a confrontation with Martin.Baxley contends that his law shouldn't shield Zimmerman because he pursued Martin. The NRA is silent on the issue, but its silence contrasts with its history of activism on stand-your-ground legislation. Since the Florida measure passed, the NRA has flexed its considerable muscle and played a crucial role in the passage of more than 20 similar laws nationwide. The Florida law is rooted in the centuries-old English common-law concept known as the "Castle Doctrine," which holds that the self-defense right is accepted in one's home. The Florida law and others like it expand that to venues beyond a home. "This train keeps a rollin' - Castle Doctrine Sweeps America," an NRA message said in 2006. he campaign, the group said, "is turning focus from criminals' rights to those of the law-abiding who are forced to protect themselves."
Holy Smokes, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Have you seen the latest disclosures about Trayvon. Tracy’s backpack had a baggie in it with traces of weed. Caught with woman’s jewelry he couldn’t explain and a “jimmy” screwdriver at school. Suspended 10 days for being in “unauthorized area,” a pretty extreme punishment the day of his death. Sported gold teeth, tattoos, and a “No-limit nigga” twitter account which his daddy (or someone) deleted right away after his death, apparently to hide the truth about the gangland image of Trayvon.
As the investigation proceeds and details come to light, George looks ever better and Trayvon ever worse. George and an eye witness said George stopped chasing Trayvon when the cops told him too on the 911 call, and then he returned to the truck. Trayvon had circled around and approached him form the other side of the truck, asked “You got a problem?” George said “no” Traybon said “You do now” and punched George in the face, breaking his nose, then jumped on him and slammed George’s head backwards onto the concrete. Then, George shot Trayvon.
So do you see? At the end Trayvon became the real predator, tracking down George to beat him up, possibly to death, and George shot Trayvon in self=defense, as he originally claimed.
It appears that Trayvon had become a headstrong thug who dressed and behaved like a thug, not an innocent, baby-faced teen. He probably wouldn’t have listened to parental advice such as “don’t go around looking like a thug.” And this means parental training failed early in Trayvon’s life. What a shame. Tracy was, after all, responsible for his son’s behavior. Only, he turns out to have been irresponsible. I would not blame George for suing Trayvon’s father Tracy for Negligence. I imagine George as too nice a man for that, but it would really give his detractors something to howl about and Americans in general something to think about.
This incident shows up the mainstream liberal media as fools who want to highlight white on black violence wherever possible to make whites seem cruel, repressive, and racist, and to warp incidents of self-defense shootings, particularly of black thugs, to make gun owners and users seem like power-crazed maniacs. As one commentator pointed out in the non-liberal media, George is half white and half South American Hispanic (mestizo), like millions of Mexican and South Americans. If George had won a Nobel Prize, the pundits would have identified him only as Hispanic, not as a "white" Hispanic the way they did.
This time, maybe George Zimmerman did the world a favor by excising Trayvon Martin from the planet before he could do much more serious damage, like murdering innocent white people.