Texas ain’t so bad after all


texas our texas

texas our texas (Photo credit: jmtimages)

I’m not a fan of Texas’ governors Rick Perry or former governor George Bush.  Their shoot from the hip attitude probably contributed a lot to Raul Rodriguez’s belief that he could confront someone on their property, and then shoot and kill them while claiming he had no obligation to retreat from his victim’s property because he was in fear for his life.

What senor Rodriguez wanted to do was a police action of sorts that would end up with a result that he wanted but instigating a fight, recording it and killing someone is not the way to win friends and influence people, and especially the jury of his trial.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.  He will have to serve 20 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.  That’s a good thing.  No one should be able to pick a fight with you because of a personal dislike they have for you or for what you are doing that is not a violation of the law,  then kill you when you try to defend yourself or your property from their intrusion.  (Perhaps Rodriguez went too far in considering himself a member of the police department of his town, since it appears police are usually the ones  who carry that attitude of unlimited trespass upon personal property and unaccountable murder of the owners of that property when they respond.)

But if you don’t know where I’m going with this, the point is this case has implications in the Martin/Zimmerman case in Florida where George Zimmerman is using basically the same right to ‘stand his ground’ after he followed, pursued, encountered a completely innocent up to that point Trayvon Martin and then shot and killed him when Martin did, what to most accounts will probably show, a pretty good job of defending himself against Zimmerman. It’s people who are legally armed and make such arguments as Zimmerman and Rodriguez who scare me and give other law abiding gun owners a bad name.  I cringe at examples like those two, knowing that the chorus for gun control will do doubt ring out calling for  ever more strict laws against gun ownership.  The Zimmermans and Rodriguezs of the world  are just as criminal as they people they arm themselves to defend against.  Thankfully, the jury in Texas got it right!

*Don’t mess with Texas*

Advertisements

Florida’s Stand your ground


George Zimmerman’s arrest and charge with murder should be a slam dunk.  Why the authorities are taking their time until now to even charge him is an indication of how broken the criminal justice system is.  Further delay can only make matters worse for the citizens of the State.  Here’s what the law says

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—…… a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
…. .

(3) 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.

From all accounts, Zimmerman initiated the contact with Martin while he, Zimmerman, had a weapon in HIS waistband. ( The accusation by Zimmerman was he thought Martin might have had a weapon.) Martin was where he had a right to be and was going to a residence within HIS gated community at night when suddenly he was approached by a man with a weapon who is not a police officer and demands were placed upon him.  Fearing for his life, Martin used the only weapon he had at his disposal…his fists which is why a fight broke out between the two.

Police dispatch not able to ascertain whether Martin was involved in illegal activity at the time of Zimmerman’s call probably foresaw the problems with the law if Martin was where he had a right to be when confronted by a belligerent other citizen which is why they asked Zimmerman not to confront the youth. The difference is a 17 year old 140 pound youth was unable to kill a 28 year old 250 pound man with his fists.  This point of Martin being in fear of his life and resorting to the only weapons he had was made in an article on Slate, via Emily Bazelon

….you can flip the premise and see Martin, not Zimmerman, as the person who was acting in self-defense. Jeff writes: “Trayvon saw someone following him, felt threatened, retreated, was still followed, and then was approached by an armed man who had 100 lbs on him. … Because Zimmerman was acting as an aggressor, Trayvon had the right to defend himself by punching, kicking, tackling, etc. Because Zimmerman was acting as the aggressor, his actions cannot be considered self-defense: you can’t initiate and then claim self-defense. The evidence for initiation is there on the 911 tape. … Why is it that a black man cannot be afraid of a white man who follows and approaches him on a street at night?

Yes, why is that? The problem is authorities believed Zimmerman sight unseen without conducting any investigation.  They didn’t even identify Martin’s body, although he had his cell phone which could have immediately been used to identify him.  This goes to the issue of race and the fact that a white man standing over the body of a black teen is most likely going to be given the benefit of the doubt because of where we are  in America.  However, Zimmerman’s history should have precluded that presumption of innocence.  Unfortunately that history was ignored and  not given any due consideration by the authorities which only exacerbated the legal situation. The problem of racism emanates from the local police department.  Sadly the explosive atmosphere surrounding this case will only make people more entrenched in their positions and justice denied.