Standing On Shaky Ground

Some people considered me a local “expert” in the use of force by police personnel. This “expert” status is a misnomer because the term “expert” is so subjective it’s arguable each of us stands in queue behind others knowing more and before others knowing less. My expertise (which is a better terminology to follow) means I studied more than another guy/gal, thus my understanding of some things is greater theoretically.

The Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman Case in Florida is a mess. The emotion is extreme. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson pouring accelerants on a raging fire of social/racial indignation to gather money to their respective organizations isn’t helping.

There were only two (2) people at the scene: Martin and Zimmerman. There was a telephonic 911 recording made at the time but it’s not explanatory of the proceedings as they occurred. One can only INTERPRET what one hears over a phone transmission.

The Press has interpreted whatever they feel gets them the best ratings. Commentators deduced what they believe happened. Pundits postulated what they think occurred. Nobody but the two primary actors KNOWS what happened: one is dead. People believe what they want to believe. People make a profit off of tragedy.

The Florida “Stand your ground” law basically says a person doesn’t have to retreat from his home, place of business or in the street when confronted by criminality. He may defend himself to a level of force ONE STEP in excess of the level of force used, or threatened against him, to prevent the criminal act. In many cases similar to this, in order to use Lethal Force, the victim must be in fear of death or grave bodily injury. (This is how Louisiana Law concerning Justifiable Homicide is defensibly defined.)

Take the known elements of the situation and work with what you have. The matter gets murky. The media alleged Zimmerman issued racial epithets. NBC selectively edited the audiotape of the 911 call to reflect what’s alleged to be Zimmerman’s prejudice and racism .The media hyped and offered many theories and positioned them to appear as fact. Nobody called them on the issue until ONE producer at NBC was fired with NO apology to any of the actors or their families for the blatant slander perpetrated.

Barack Obama entered the fray, much as he did when Henry Louis Gates was arrested. Obama said the police behaved “stupidly” for having made the arrest. The only stupidity displayed was a stupid man holding the highest office in the land making a judgment concerning an action he was NOT a participant in. He was prejudiced in favor of a black man he was personally acquainted with over a Caucasian police officer he was not. His prejudicial commentary carried a great impact on the issue. Obama’s solution was to have a beer with the main actors (and Joe Biden) so they could all join hands and sing Kumbaya in the Rose Garden. Obama said Trayvon would look like him (Obama) if he was his child.

Look at this from Trayvon Martin’s point of view. Should he be embarrassed and bothered by an unknown man watching him in an accusatory fashion (surveillance)? I’d say yes. It’s a pain in the neck to be tailed for no other reason than the suspicions of a person of questionable training and legal awareness as you go about your business: especially when the person is not readily identifiable as a proper police authority.

Did Martin have the right to question the authority of the person shadowing him? Yes. Does he have the right to attack? Unknown. Martin’s Stand your ground principle comes into effect if he believes he’s under attack. Only Zimmerman and Martin know that truth. Did Zimmerman feel he was under attack when he pulled the gun; or did he pull the gun and the attack then occurred in Martin’s self-defense? Unknown.

This tragedy should be properly investigated then placed before a Grand Jury. Available evidence will be the only thing this case should be adjudicated on: not media and greedy racist representatives seeking more money from the issue. The families have suffered enough.

Thanks for listening.

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