Re: George Zimmerman Verdict
posted at 7/17/2013 9:34 AM EDT
In response to pezz4pats' comment:
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
Here (from the website of the Florida state legislature and in blue type below) is the portion of Florida's self-defense law that applies when self-defense is not in one's home (the phrase "in any other place" is there because the preceding paragraphs are talking about self-defense during a break-in).
Under this expansive law, Zimerman, if he were attacked, would have had the right to defend himself, meeting force with force, with no responsibility to retreat had he simply believed he was under threat of death or great bodily harm or was preventing a forcible felony. There is no provision for proportionality of force--and the right rests purely on one's own "reasonable belief" of being in grave danger, not actually being in grave danger.
I'm not a lawyer, but as far as Martin's right to hit Zimmerman, it depends on how you define an "attack" and how you interpret the right to "meet force with force." A lot of that would, I think, depend on how Zimmerman approached Martin and unfortunately there is no evidence other than Zimmerman's story (which may or may not be true). If in the way Zimmerman approached Martin, Martin could reasonably believe he was under attack and threatened with force, I think he would have had a right to fight (and no obligation to retreat) under this expansive law.
Regardless, the law seems misguided to me. If you shoot and kill someone in a public place, to claim self-defense you should have to show that (1) you really were under physical attack and the threat of death or grave bodily harm was real and not just your belief, (2) that you had done nothing to provoke that attack or that could be construed as physically threatening to the person you shot prior to that person attacking you, and (3) that you had done everything you could to retreat or avoid having to kill, not just at the time the shooting occured, but from the time the encounter began to become threatening to you or the other person. You should have a duty to withdraw rather than confront at all stages in an encounter. I would have a less demanding standard of self defense in the case of break-ins. But shooting and killing someone in a public place where the killed person has a right to be, even in self-defense, should be looked at as a very serious action that can be justified only in very limited circumstances.
Simply put, the law seems to encourage escalation of conflict rather than retreat. That's completely misguided. The law should create a duty of both parties to retreat as early as possible when a potentially violent conflict could arise to avoid any fatal violence from occuring. This law does the exact opposite and seems to make the choice to use of deadly force easier rather than more difficult. In fact, we know that is exactly what the Florida legislature intended. Too many Americans. sadly, like the idea of using deadly force and hence laws like this that encourage the use of force are becoming more common. It's a choice we, as Americans, have to make. What kind of society do we want to live in?
(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.
That's just silly. How is it advocating violence?
The violence is ALREADY occurring.
Are you saying the law should place restrictions on what the victim can do while he's getting his head bashed in?
Imagine a world where a perp has the law on his side because he knows the victim has no legal right to defend himself. WOW!
The actual real victim is dead. THe guy who had his "head bbashed in" had a couple of little baby cuts.
Ever played a contact sport or even been in a non deadly fist fight? THe injuries Zimmerman received were so lame one has to wonder whether he is such a woos that his whole life is to prove to everyone (himself?) that he is a man. Totally lame. Totally.
And the dead teen is not a victim? It would be funny if it weren't so ... fill in your own words.
I do get the points made about the specific Florida law. ANd Agree completely that it is a rediculous law written and passed by rediculous clowns. Perhaps we should turn a place like Tombstone, NV into a territory - like an Indian reservation inn that it has separate rule of law from the state - where people can live if they want to play being Clint Eastwood with real guns. As for legitimate men who own legitimate guns and are responsible folk, I have no problem.