To the family of Trayvon Martin,

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford
Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

I did not know him,and, except for his death, I most likely would never have even heard of him.  Maybe, if he had been able to mature to adulthood, he might have been able to make his mark on the world but, unfortunately we will not have the chance to find that out as his premature death, at the hands of an overzealous moron, closed off a possible life path that could have lead anywhere.

I know there are people who see his death as a condemnation of the so called “Stand Your Ground Law” and wish to see the law repealed.  The problem with that theory, as far as what I have read about the case up to now, is this:  if the “Stand Your Ground” law had applied to this incident, it would have applied to Trayvon Martin who found himself being followed by an unidentified person.

Mr. Zimmerman might have had some kind of standing if he had been in either a vehicle marked as a Neighborhood Watch, or if he had been in some kind of uniform that stated he was a member of a neighborhood watch.  I have not, so far, seen any reports that put him in either of those, so he was just some guy on the street.

For Trayvon Martin we have a young man who walked suspiciously?  Being followed by some guy he did not know.  Accounts, from the Sanford PD, have Zimmerman getting injured in a scuffle, of some kind.  Did Zimmerman attempt to detain Martin and got knocked on his ass for his efforts, at which point he shot the young Martin?  Did Martin confront his pursuer, and wind up in the scuffle? I would think that, at the point Mr. Zimmerman started to follow Martin he was the aggressor, and the only one with the right to defend himself would be Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.

I still do not see the merit of Zimmers argument that he was defending himself when it seems like HE initiated the contact.  If Zimmerman grabed Martin then he would be guilty of assault, and therefore would be the one at fault.

Once an investigation takes place, and the Grand Jury is probably the best way to go, we should know what the facts were, and would be able to make a better judgement.  In the meantime, if you want to talk about the so called vagueness of the law you have no further to look than at Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom.  Judge Bloom gave an opinion that Greyston Garcia, who had seen  Pedro Roteta  steal property from his truck,  was able to use the “Stand Your Ground” defense when he chased Roteta down and stabbed him in the BACK.  I agree that Garcia saw evidence of a crime, seeing his radio being lifted out of his vehicle, but, I have yet to see where the “reasonable threat” comes in, as me Roteta was running away from him.  If a sitting Judge, they are usually lawyers, can make a stupid call such as this, well, how do you expect the Sanford PD to do any better with just their Police training.

In the meantime the usual suspects are stirring up the crowd and trying to overturn a law that they just don’t understand.  In one article I found there were a bunch of quotes from Democrats from around the country, who seemed to think the law would result in open season on minorities.  The other quotes were from Republicans who expressed the idea that Americans have the right to defend themselves from ANY kind of threat.

As an Air Force Security Policeman I was taught that there were three actions a patrol officer should take 1st observe  2nd report and then 3rd respond.  If you got killed doing the 3rd then you were a wast if you had not done the 2nd.  As private security the 3rd would more properly be wait for the cops, and keep your suspect under observation.  I used to see private security people who were like Zimmerman, and I would tell them the same thing I am going to say here.  “If you want to play cop, and bust people, then you have to know more about the law than the cop who responds.  If he makes a mistake by arresting the wrong person he is protected by the legal presumption that he is doing his best.  You might just go to jail”.  Some of them understood what I was talking about, other still wanted to stop people, and question them.

In one neighborhood where I did mobile patrols there were some kids who worked for us who would follow a certain car around.  The reason was that in a well to do area where the homes, in the 90s, went for at least $150,000 they would see an old beat-up sedan, which they assumed did not belong there.  I could understand that but I also knew that the man in the car owned a construction company, and this was the car he drove to work sites so he did not have to worry about damage to his good cars.

It is nice to think that you are helping to keep an area safe but, you must use discretion, which did not seem to be a word that Mr. Zimmerman understood.

Trayvon Martin’s death is tragic, and useless.  I would hate to see it take away from our right to defend ourselves when faced with violence.   Resetting the law to a time before the passage of the “Stand Your Ground Law’ would require people, when faced with violence, to either submit, or run.  They would only be able to defend themselves if they were in a position when they could NOT retreat.  It would also give the attacker the advantage of knowing that, unless he left his victims no place to run to, they could not act against him, and that even if they did try to run away they would have to turn their backs to him, and he could just take what he wanted off their bodies.

There is an old saying “an armed society is a polite society”.

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2 Replies to “To the family of Trayvon Martin,”

  1. Well said, Joe! I say let a grand jury decide if Zimmerman should stand trial. police officers face a review board when they use deadly force. If Zimmerman has nothing to hide he should welcome the chance to clear his name. I just hope the radicals and hate mongers flocking to Florida don’t end up inciting a repeat of what we saw in California after the Rodney King fiasco. With tempers flaring the way they are and the number of guns in private hands, both legally held and illegal, I shudder to think of what may come of this.

  2. As seems to be usual in these current days in our society, we may never know the “real truth” behind this entire assiignation. It seems to me from reading several of the reports that are linked to this story, that the person in the upper story of the apartment building who saw the moments BEFORE the shot may be the only credible and/or actual witness. As for other “witness” reports, they appear to be inconclusive and also incomplete! The tendency for today’s “instant replay” in regards to reporting means that we do not have a concise picture of what happened. But it also means we cannot overlook the fact that a neighborhood watch needn’t EVER carry a gun. They are suppoised to report to REAL police any suspicious circumstance, and NOT to confront the suspect. However, in the rush to judgement we have more confusion than facts, more may-bes than actualities, and far too much reaction without proper police work being done. If there is something that the police have not released, or some witness who now feels that they might be too much in the spotlight of attention, then we are left with more presumptions that do NOT add up to any proof at all.
    What I would point out from this situation is that reporting today is very bad. There are opinion polls being taken by the media BEFORE all the facts and REAL reports are in. Any person reading about this incident should have NO REAL opinion of the outcome — because all the FACTS are not there. Besides, the “man in the street” is not the police, not in possession of ALL the FACTS, due to a lack of confirmation by today’s reporting standards (if we can actually use that word anymore!). Public outcry and opinion polling by people who MAKE UP THE NEWS as much as they “report” it, does not produce a healthy society. Let the police do their work; let a proper investigation gather ALL the facts that can be found, and then let a legal system do its job. (The police in this case have also acted too quickly in making a statement that they found no reason to hold the neighborhood watch person for further qurestioning. The mere fact that he carried a gun, when none was warranted is cause for investigation.)
    If we have no faith in the legal system as it stands today, then why should we prosecute someone “In the court of public opinion”?? If there is a problem, let it be corrected through the laws that now stand, or fix the laws through the legal process. A wise man and/or woman once said: “Opinions are like assholes — everyone has one”. This means that unless we are picked for a jury and presented with ALL the facts in a rational manner in a court of law, that NO “opinion” should prevail in determining someone’s guilt or innocence.
    When we circumvent the due process — for ANY reason — we cannot clearly make an unbiased judgement. I think this is what has come out of this tragic situation. That said, I almost feel like there is much more that needs to be done in regards to allowing PROPER police procedure, and a great deal less in regards to uninformed reactions.

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