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Self-Defense Or Murder?

By The Reverend Published: April 12, 2012

March 21....

Basically, Florida's Stand Your Ground law allows for any confrontation, of any kind and for any reason, to become a murder scene….and for the shooter to walk away from any and all charges coming from that murder scene by a claim of "self-defense." Just "standing my ground", that's all.

In other words….Florida has legalized murder.

Critics mocked my interpretation of Stand Your Ground. Said I was blowing everything way out of proportion.

Stand Your Ground....

"A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

That sentence is directly from the Florida law. The phrase "reasonably believes" is the problem. It's purely subjective and prone to multiple interpretations, depending on the circumstances. How does one know when another "reasonably believes" anything?

On March 30, after watching the police security camera video of an unharmed George Zimmerman being brought into the Sanford police station, I wrote....

It's time for Sanford police to arrest George Zimmerman and charge him with manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Yesterday, Zimmerman was charged by the special prosecutor with 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. I was surprised that the charge was 2nd degree murder. Now....

The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman's shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman's lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence — a relatively low legal standard — that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.

"I predicted manslaughter, so I'm a little surprised," said Michael Seigel, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Florida. "But she has more facts than I do."

I guess we'll have to wait and see if the special prosecutor does have more facts than are known presently.

Whatever happens.....Zimmerman will attempt to exploit Florida's Stand Your Ground law as his defense for murdering Martin....

O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, said his client would plead not guilty and invoke Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.

To which, Special Prosecutor Corey has responded....

“We have to have reasonable certainty of conviction any time we file charges,” said Corey. “If Stand Your Ground is an issue, we'll fight it.”


Everything
in this case points to the Stand Your Ground law as the culprit....

Angela Corey, a special prosecutor assigned to case by Gov. Rick Scott, told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald that early in the investigation police requested an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office. An incident report on the shooting classified it as “homicide/negligent manslaughter.”

According to the paper (Miami Herald), the night of the shooting the State Attorney’s Office was consulted but a prosecutor was never sent to the scene of the shooting.
At the time, Police Chief Bill Lee cited the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and stated publicly there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman based on the statute. This sparked outrage and cries for justice across the nation.

Yes, this tragic story has taken on a racially-charged tone.....even though many, including myself, saw no clear evidence that Zimmerman murdered Martin because he was black. Divisiveness over race, (O.J., Rodney King)....is often why our failed media perch upon specific stories and ride them for all the ratings they are worth. It's sad...but it's true.

Just maybe, if Zimmerman actually goes to trial, the egregious Stand Your Ground law(s) may come under scrutiny for the legalized murder law that it is. If almost any confrontation can end in one person killing another person.....and walking away without charges,.....as clearly happened in this case....how is it that murder has not been made legal down in Florida? Not self-defense.....murder.

One more thing.....I have a big problem with the Neighborhood Watch part of this tragic story. What legal authority does a Neighborhood Watch have? Does the word..."Watch"...in Neighborhood Watch mean watch....or does it mean "stalk?" What legal right did George Zimmerman have to ignore the advice of the police dispatcher....get out of his car....and begin to follow Trayvon Martin?

And my biggest beef.....if your gated community organizes a Neighborhood Watch, to, you know, watch the neighborhood.....what does carrying loaded weapons have to do with it? That is, if the purpose of the Neighborhood Watch is to...well....watch....instead of stalk and shoot? I know I'll hear it from the gun-rights folks....but if a gated community organizes a Neighborhood Watch...to watch and report suspicious activity in their neighborhood.....members of that Watch group should be prohibited from carrying guns while they are doing their watching.

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