Crucial evidence will be in dispute in the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting homicide of Trayvon Martin, but there are a few key facts that are indisputable. Trayvon Martin was unarmed at the time he was shot, no knife, no gun, no drugs, no contraband, nothing.
George Zimmerman, a thirty year old insurance underwriter was carrying a gun while he was driving in his car running an errand (not on duty as a self appointed civilian security guard). Florida’s liberal gun laws allow just about anyone to own and carry a handgun (not a hunting rifle or shotgun, but a pistol or handgun).
They call Florida a “shall issue” state, virtually anyone over the age of 21 can carry a handgun. Zimmerman himself had two prior violent run-ins with the law before the State of Florida allowed him to walk around with a gun. He was charged with assaulting a police officer and had a restraining order placed against him by an ex-girlfriend. (Zimmerman apparently obtained a reciprocal restraining order against the girlfriend) Zimmerman had his nose broken and wound up with a couple scrapes on the back of his head. Police at the scene observed that Zimmerman’s back was wet and speckled with grass (it was raining at the time of the incident). A friend who was on the phone with Martin at the time Zimmerman started following him has indicated that Martin was scared that he was being clocked by a strange guy, that the guy was chasing him, and she told investigators that she heard Martin scream for help several times over the phone. In dispute is the audio recording of the incident.
Some witnesses and experts claim Martin is screaming for help and other witnesses swear that it was Zimmerman who was screaming for help. In addition to allowing just about anyone to purchase and carry a handgun, the good People of the State of Florida have also enacted “stand your ground” legislation as pertains to self defense. Under the stand your ground law, a person is not required to retreat (even if he has an opportunity to do so with safety) when he or she is confronted with physical force, which may lead to injury or death. In other states, like New York, if you are not in your own home, you have a duty to retreat before you blow the other guy away. In Florida, you shoot first and ask questions later.
1 + 1 = HOMICIDE
SHALL ISSUE + STAND YOUR GROUND = FORESEEABLE DISASTER
The jury will hinge its verdict, under Florida law, on whether or not they believe Zimmerman acted in self defense, with no duty to retreat with his pistol, when confronting an unarmed black teen “wearing a hoodie.” While the jury wrestles with the evidence, the People of the State of Florida should rethink their statutes and advance from the dark ages.