Why is George Zimmerman allowed to roam free tonight?

I think you are getting unfairly piled on here, Nomad. That said - your statement was pretty inelegantly put. Sure, had the kids not been being kids and listening to music at an obnoxious decibel level, this probably wouldn't have happened. But it is in no way their fault that a gun-toting madman came at them with intent. Blaming the victim here is why everyone is jumping on you.

Your statement is in the same vein as saying that if a woman doesn't want to get raped, she shouldn't dress so sexy. That is absolutely not what you meant, I am sure, but it is essentially what you said.

Edit: It has been fixed and my comment didn't contribute to the discussion.

Let me be clear. I am not blaming the kids in the vehicle. At no time did I ever blame the kids in the vehicle for the shooting, in fact I stated the opposite in my original post.

Nomad wrote:

Let me be clear. I am not blaming the kids in the vehicle. At no time did I ever blame the kids in the vehicle for the shooting, in fact I stated the opposite in my original post.

Nomad wrote:

I think a secondary moral to these stories is:

As a general rule, don't be a jerk to people. You never know if one of them might be a lunatic with a gun. I think the "anonymous internet culture" may be blurring the lines as to what is acceptable to say or do to someone else.

Disclaimer: I am not implying specifically that any of the parties involved in either of these 2 incidents was deserving of violence.

Ok, maybe I'm just missing something here, and it's probably tied to the use of the word 'deserving', but it seemed like you were throwing out the 'your skirt was too short' defense, and then trying to say 'but not really' afterwards. The known facts of the story being what they are, I didn't see how 'jerkish' behavior was being particularly exhibited by anyone here, other than the shooter. If you were making a general statement, not tied to this specific case, it seemed in very poor taste/timing.

On a second read, maybe Nomad is saying: Next time you're a jerk to someone, remember that guy might be a guy who is so crazy he'll kill someone who's NOT even being a jerk to him.

Which is a mixed bag of a message, but better than the short skirt.

SixteenBlue wrote:

On a second read, maybe Nomad is saying: Next time you're a jerk to someone, remember that guy might be a guy who is so crazy he'll kill someone who's NOT even being a jerk to him.

Which is a mixed bag of a message, but better than the short skirt.

This.

I think there's one common theme here, to both shootings: in both cases, the white armed men initiated the confrontation and killed someone. In neither case did the confrontation actually need to happen.

With Zimmerman, the shoddy police behavior is a much more severe and pressing issue, but this incident shows the underlying problem is still there and needs to be fixed: Stand Your Ground is being used as an excuse after causing a confrontation. Without that law, there would probably be two less dead kids today.

I think if you're actually on your own property, especially if you're in your house, you have no particular obligation to retreat, but out in public? Of course you should back off before shooting someone. Damn.

Malor wrote:

I think there's one common theme here, to both shootings: in both cases, the white armed men initiated the confrontation and killed someone. In neither case did the confrontation actually need to happen.

With Zimmerman, the shoddy police behavior is a much more severe and pressing issue, but this incident shows the underlying problem is still there and needs to be fixed: Stand Your Ground is being used as an excuse after causing a confrontation. Without that law, there would probably be two less dead kids today.

I'm not sure. I think it's being used as an excuse, but I don't think the law caused the problem at all. I think (especially in this case) they're just scrambling for justification after they f*cked up.

There are a number of posts in this thread that said if the police had done their job this would be a non-issue. It's a sad story when anyone gets killed but that's the end of the story for the majority of people (i.e. anyone not personally involved). This is exactly that situation and I think it still holds true. There's not much to discuss. Crazy guy did something sh*tty and got arrested for it. As pointed out earlier, the law prevents the arrest so clearly the excuse is not being taken seriously.

SixteenBlue wrote:

I think it's being used as an excuse, but I don't think the law caused the problem at all.

It might not have caused it, but Stand Your Ground laws most definitely encourage more aggressive behavior. Instead of having people to do the reasonable thing and back away from a conflict, the laws actually encourage people to use violence when they get into a pickle (and be the first to do so). Couple that with the feeling that you're Billy Badass because you're carrying a concealed weapon and you get situations that quickly turn deadly.

OG_slinger wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I think it's being used as an excuse, but I don't think the law caused the problem at all.

It might not have caused it, but Stand Your Ground laws most definitely encourage more aggressive behavior. Instead of having people to do the reasonable thing and back away from a conflict, the laws actually encourage people to use violence when they get into a pickle (and be the first to do so). Couple that with the feeling that you're Billy Badass because you're carrying a concealed weapon and you get situations that quickly turn deadly.

I agree. Its easy to write these situations off as simply cases of bloodthirsty psychos who were going to blow some day, but I think it's equally plausible that many of these tragedies are the result of otherwise decent people doing something horrible in the heat of the moment. But these laws play a key role in turning situations that otherwise would have ended up as shoving matches into shootouts.

I don't think the guy is a psycho. I think the guy clearly has self esteem &/or anxiety issues that he thought he could fix by carrying a goddamn firearm and using it to feel like a big man.

Without the obligation to retreat from a confrontation he feels he has a right to pull that gun on people he's picked a confrontation with.

Without the gun he doesn't drive up to them at all.

Why has no one mentioned that "being a jerk" is constitutionally protected free speech? Why is "being a jerk" even something that we should consider *not* doing in public, for fear of violent reaction?

I'm all for socially acceptable behavior, most of the time. But if I'm in a bad mood and want to blare some music in my car, I should have to worry that someone will wag their finger or yell at me to turn it down, try to embarrass me. I should not have to worry that someone will shoot me, nor should I have to moderate my behavior for that reason.

This is not a teachable moment for a teenager. "Don't be a dick" - yeah, that's something a teen takes right on board; after all, they've never heard that before. This is a civics lesson - even obnoxious people are protected by the first amendment. And for those who have a problem with that, the second amendment is dangerous to them, because as Paleo put it, once they can carry, they feel empowered to go after people who simply annoy them - and there is no guarantee that what they think is obnoxious is obnoxious to everyone. As a thought experiment, tell me how you teach kids what they need to do to avoid offending people in Harlem, in Beverly Hills, in Lahore and in Pyongyang - referencing only everyday behaviors, rather than religious beliefs, superstitions and cultural norms. Good luck. Once you're out of the culture you are familiar with, you will be lost, unaware of what's obnoxious (say, men kissing men on the cheek in greeting in Lawrence, Kansas) and what's good behavior (say, men kissing men on the cheek in greeting in Brugge, Belgium). When cultures meet - and have no doubt, black urban culture and white urban cultures are very different, and both are different from suburban and rural - what is obnoxious is not the same for both sides.

I'll say that again - Nomad's definition of obnoxious may not be mine, or that of Dennis Leery or Pat Robertson, and that's fine, but it doesn't really matter here, because people are *allowed* to be obnoxious by their own definitions. So that, as a general warning, while it may be useful to someone in the same culture, will almost certainly not be shared by someone from a different one, and may not even register as being obnoxious by the people doing it. This was fundamentally a clash between cultures, as marked by race and behavior, and the shooter violated one of our most closely held beliefs, that individuals should be allowed to express themselves as they wish, even if it annoys someone else. The kids did not - there is no legal prohibition against being obnoxious. The "Stand Your Ground" law did not help here, nor did concealed carry, not because the guy was a lunatic necessarily, but because he didn't understand the situation he was in, and he had a tool designed to radically change the power dynamics of a confrontation. When he felt he had no power, he adjusted the situation. That's where the fault lies, not in the kids being jerks, because even if they *were* jerks, violence is not an allowed response.

tldr: The only jerk here was the guy with the gun.

Robear wrote:

Articulate, patient, cool-headed assessment of the issues in the Jacksonville shooting.

Thank you.

Perhaps a tertiary moral to take away from this is: make sure that what you write actually says what you mean before you post it for public scrutiny.

NSMike wrote:

Perhaps a tertiary moral to take away from this is: make sure that what you write actually says what you mean before you post it for public scrutiny.

This is the first comment that has ever made me wish this site had a "+1" or a "Like" button.

Whether or not the incidence of shootings using Stand your ground are in the spirit of the law, the law has created so much FUD in Florida fire arms prosecutions, and a display of overt racial bias in the enforcement. The statistics are in this man's favor that he will get off on the charges.

Because the law is so wonderful, it also provides civil immunity.

Something so heady as what, when, where people can say whatever they want is not at issue here.

What I suspect is that these stand your ground laws will be seen in high federal courts due to the disproportionate effect had based on race, and how antithetical they are to our common law history.

What severely troubles me is that it has crept into the police, making them very hesitant to investigate these shootings at all, let alone put in the work to arrest or make a case.

Unlike the Martin case, this entire confrontation was likely caught on video tape (I don't know a single gas station without multiple cameras covering every square inch of the property), so it isn't just a case of the living person's word.

Dunn is going to prison.

The secondary lesson here is, if you are going to shoot someone in Florida, shoot EVERYONE and take the video tape. Then claim you stood your ground.

I can't wait to see the day when someone uses the excuse that firing a gun at someone is free speech...

CheezePavilion wrote:
NSMike wrote:

Perhaps a tertiary moral to take away from this is: make sure that what you write actually says what you mean before you post it for public scrutiny.

This is the first comment that has ever made me wish this site had a "+1" or a "Like" button.

I hate you!

Seriously, it's been bad on Ars, Kotaku and every other site that put voting systems in place. DON'T threaten to bring it here. I might even start a P&C thread on the topic if the mood strikes me...

Sorry for the OT!

Jayhawker wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

The cops must not have thought much of his "stand your ground" defense, as the statue in question actually prohibits an arrest.

My thoughts exactly. This doesn't seem similar to the Zimmerman case at all. This seems like an asshole bigot that thought Stand Your Ground was a Get Out of Jail Free card for white folks.

Agreed. Unlike Zimmerman, there have yet to be cicumstances introduced that would give a logical person cause to have immediate fear for their life or serious injury. If the video is able to show a shotgun at the scene that might change, but I don't think it's likely.

As far as stand your ground enabling the behavior goes. I don't see it that way. When someone is accused of a crime they're going to go with whatever justification they can. You can't remove self defense or insanity as a defense, because people use it as a convenient defense.

The police and prosecution just need to be able to prove that it wasn't applicable in this situation. Which I'm guessing won't be too difficult.

Trophy Husband wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

The cops must not have thought much of his "stand your ground" defense, as the statue in question actually prohibits an arrest.

My thoughts exactly. This doesn't seem similar to the Zimmerman case at all. This seems like an asshole bigot that thought Stand Your Ground was a Get Out of Jail Free card for white folks.

Agreed. Unlike Zimmerman, there have yet to be cicumstances introduced that would give a logical person cause to have immediate fear for their life or serious injury. If the video is able to show a shotgun at the scene that might change, but I don't think it's likely.

As far as stand your ground enabling the behavior goes. I don't see it that way. When someone is accused of a crime they're going to go with whatever justification they can. You can't remove self defense or insanity as a defense, because people use it as a convenient defense.

The police and prosecution just need to be able to prove that it wasn't applicable in this situation. Which I'm guessing won't be too difficult.

His attorney claims that the youths probably ditched the mythical shotgun, but the police replied by saying that even if a shotgun were present, Florida law actually protects the youths since the confrontation was started by Dunn and they would have been lawfully allowed to possess one.

That is one seriously fcuked up place.

Paleocon wrote:

His attorney claims that the youths probably ditched the mythical shotgun, but the police replied by saying that even if a shotgun were present, Florida law actually protects the youths since the confrontation was started by Dunn and they would have been lawfully allowed to possess one.

That is one seriously fcuked up place.

You've obviously never seen a nutbar waving a handgun in stopped traffic before. I'm ok with someone in another car having a shotgun in that case.

...although I guess I'm just making your point for you re: Florida. Never mind.

His attorney is playing up that he is a "responsible gun owner" and "longtime member of the NRA".

He is not doing us any favors.

Jeez.

Paleocon wrote:

His attorney is playing up that he is a "responsible gun owner" and "longtime member of the NRA".

He is not doing us any favors.

Jeez.

Everyone's a careful driver right up until the first time they plow through a crowd of nuns.

Jonman wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

His attorney is playing up that he is a "responsible gun owner" and "longtime member of the NRA".

He is not doing us any favors.

Jeez.

Everyone's a careful driver right up until the first time they plow through a crowd of nuns.

Jeez, Jonman. That was ONE TIME. How long am I going have to talk about that?

Paleocon wrote:
Jonman wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

His attorney is playing up that he is a "responsible gun owner" and "longtime member of the NRA".

He is not doing us any favors.

Jeez.

Everyone's a careful driver right up until the first time they plow through a crowd of nuns.

Jeez, Jonman. That was ONE TIME. How long am I going have to talk about that?

Nuns don't kill people. People kill people.

Stand you ground is absolutely sending the wrong message.

It is enabling confrontation because in each of these cases the shooter is engaging someone they feel, at the least, uncomfortable about and probably a lot more than that. When, in a responsible society, you should witness or document from a safer distance and report it to the authorities.

This is true whether it is a noise complaint or someone with suspicious behavior. You do not need a gun to be a responsible citizen witness.

That's what happens when you convince everyone they're consumers first, and citizens somewhere further down the line.

clover wrote:

That's what happens when you convince everyone they're consumers first, and citizens somewhere further down the line.

I think this is one of the many inevitable consequences you get when you create a national ethic that government is the cause of all ills and that one's individual actions should not have legal consequences. Dunn (like Zimmerman) saw himself as protected by "rights" protecting himself from the externalities of the actions he took because he was insecure, angry, or inconvenienced.

We are a sick, morally diseased society.

Paleocon wrote:

We are a sick, morally diseased society.

No. The acts of a few shouldn't be an indictment on the moral fiber of an entire society. This is an overreaction.