The Trayvon Martin thread

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Mo
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Mo »

Fin Fang Foom wrote:No, that's probably just homicide given that you flashed a weapon and thereby committed "menacing" or whatever its local equivalent.
No matter what, it was a homicide*. The question is whether it is manslaughter or murder.

* Which is the killing of a human by another human
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Fin Fang Foom
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Fin Fang Foom »

Mo wrote:
Fin Fang Foom wrote:No, that's probably just homicide given that you flashed a weapon and thereby committed "menacing" or whatever its local equivalent.
No matter what, it was a homicide*. The question is whether it is manslaughter or murder.

* Which is the killing of a human by another human
In JasonL's example, that is murder.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Dangerman »

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
JasonL wrote:
I'm not gonna defend the old man there, either, but I would again caution - if I'm carrying concealed and you and I are in an argument and you initiate an attempt to grab the weapon because I foolishly showed it to you on my hip, you are in fact putting me in reasonable fear for my life and that situation could wind up with justifiable use of force.
No, that's probably just homicide given that you flashed a weapon and thereby committed "menacing" or whatever its local equivalent.
I tend to agree. In this example, if A 'foolishly shows' B your weapon, what A is really doing is 'foolishly threatening' B if A hasn't given A cause to actually draw their weapon, right? Doesn't B have reason to fear for their life before A even draws? So B's grab seems a bit more justified than the shooting that may follow.

I'm sorry the A/B bits are a bit stilted, but before the edit it was all about you and I having a fight and that was bumming me out.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

Wait, you guys are saying that I'm wearing a jacket while carrying concealed, I take the jacket off, you jump at me and try to place hands on the weapon, I shoot ... I murdered you? Uh, no.

EDIT: If my hand is not on my weapon and you grab for it, I have every right to retain that weapon, and if it comes out, lethal force is justified. I can tell you for certain this is the case with police officers - any attempt to grab a firearm from a cop will get you shot. The existence of the gun in a holster does not impart any right of yours to defend yourself by attacking me. If so, there is no right to carry.
Last edited by JasonL on 26 Mar 2012, 11:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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JasonL wrote:Wait, you guys are saying that I'm wearing a jacket while carrying concealed, I take the jacket off, you jump at me and try to place hands on the weapon, I shoot ... I murdered you? Uh, no.
Uh yes.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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Warren wrote:
JasonL wrote:Wait, you guys are saying that I'm wearing a jacket while carrying concealed, I take the jacket off, you jump at me and try to place hands on the weapon, I shoot ... I murdered you? Uh, no.
Uh yes.
Open carry means everybody who is unarmed can freak out and lunge to grab a weapon off the belt of any armed person, and that's not an attack?
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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I got pulled over, and as standard protocol informed the officer I had a firearm on my hip. Can he just go ahead and shoot me in the face because I threatened him?

I'm in a bar and tell someone I have a firearm on my hip, can they hit me with a pool cue because I threatened them?

I'm in a bar and having an argument with someone who initiates physical content. I take off my jacket to illustrate that we don't want to fight because I'm armed. He can grab the thing off my belt and a reasonable interpretation of the law is that I have to what, let him take it and pray he decides not to shoot me?
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Mo »

JasonL wrote:Wait, you guys are saying that I'm wearing a jacket while carrying concealed, I take the jacket off, you jump at me and try to place hands on the weapon, I shoot ... I murdered you? Uh, no.
No. The difference here is the guy was flashing the gun when in the middle of heated argument is a "Fuck you, I will shoot you if you upset me" move.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

Mo wrote:
JasonL wrote:Wait, you guys are saying that I'm wearing a jacket while carrying concealed, I take the jacket off, you jump at me and try to place hands on the weapon, I shoot ... I murdered you? Uh, no.
No. The difference here is the guy was flashing the gun when in the middle of heated argument is a "Fuck you, I will shoot you if you upset me" move.
I would agree with this to an extent. There is a possibility that showing the weapon is that kind of move, but even if it is, if the thing is not out of the holster you have a really tough case to make that a gun grab was justified. Basically, my point is there's no difference between you making a grab for my gun and you pulling one of your own, or swinging a bat at my head or any other act of potentially lethal force. You are justified to try to grab a gun only to the extent you would have been justified using one of your own.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Mo »

I pretty much agree with everything you said here. Plus, what's the end state? You take it and take out the magazine?
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Warren »

Wait. I must have missed the point of contention.

You can't kill someone in self defense unless you or someone else is in immanent danger. So if someone is grabbing for you weapon, you should try to stop him, but you can't kill him. Self defense is an active defense, you would have to prove that he would have killed you if you hadn't killed him. The claim that he wanted to kill you and was grabbing for your gun wouldn't have made much impression on me as a hypothetical juror, especially since you grabbed it first.

Revealing that you are armed may be a threat. But a threat is not immanent danger. You can't attack someone just because they threaten you.

So ah, suppose you display your weapon to someone, and in response they draw theirs, point it at you and demand you hand over yours.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by thoreau »

In the article, it said that the old man pulled the gun and pointed it before anybody tried to grab it. If you point a gun at me unprovoked and I try to disarm you, that might be foolish but ethically it is self defense.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Warren »

thoreau wrote:In the article, it said that the old man pulled the gun and pointed it before anybody tried to grab it. If you point a gun at me unprovoked and I try to disarm you, that might be foolish but ethically it is self defense.
Agreed. But once you have the gun then I am disarmed and you have no just cause to shoot me.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

Warren wrote:Wait. I must have missed the point of contention.

You can't kill someone in self defense unless you or someone else is in immanent danger. So if someone is grabbing for you weapon, you should try to stop him, but you can't kill him. Self defense is an active defense, you would have to prove that he would have killed you if you hadn't killed him. The claim that he wanted to kill you and was grabbing for your gun wouldn't have made much impression on me as a hypothetical juror, especially since you grabbed it first.

Revealing that you are armed may be a threat. But a threat is not immanent danger. You can't attack someone just because they threaten you.

So ah, suppose you display your weapon to someone, and in response they draw theirs, point it at you and demand you hand over yours.
To clarify a few points, I started the thing about gun grabbing because I wanted to be clear that the act in and of itself constitutes an imminent threat in cases I've heard of (which are cop cases, so there's that angle too, but still). That is to say, you don't get legal protection for getting shot when you initiated a gun grab unless you were already in a state where you would have been justified in pulling a weapon of your own if you owned one. That's all I was getting at. I don't think that applies here in particular because the shooter pulled the weapon out prior to the victim attempting the grab. It would seem from the facts we have that the victim had reason to fear for his life under a reasonable man standard.

As a matter of tactics, you never show the thing until one hair before you have to use it. There is a certain kind of interaction where things are escalating and maybe drunk stupid guy takes some swings at you or pushes you and intends to close distance. In those kinds of scenarios, you cannot let him get you to the ground if you are armed, because the gun is in play when he can put hands on it. In those times, a verbal or show while attempting to withdraw might be appropriate to head off close contact that would likely result in someone getting shot.

If you display and he counters by pulling a weapon of his own, it's messy to sort out. You have a decision to make. A sudden move on his part to his waistband or pockets would probably result in your pulling your weapon, and if you saw a weapon, it's probably a shoot. If you let him get all the way out where you are "behind the curve", you have a decision to make. Handing over your weapon is a very dicey affair. You can do that and hope for the best or you can look for an opportunity. If he shoots you while you are still holstered, his legal case is going to be tough. If you shoot him while he's pulling a weapon, your legal case is probably going to be easier.

Not a lawyer of course, but this is my impression from the self defence case studies and attorneys general TDI interviews for their work.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Jennifer »

Reading these two cases -- ZImmerman and the old man brandishing the gun -- I'm very bothered by a feeling I can almost, but not quite, put my finger on -- the only way to defend either one is via the idea both of them are/should be justified in holding an extremely self-centered, solipsistic "Me, me, it's all about ME" attitude.

As in, I -- meaning Zimmerman or the old man -- I can do whatever I want, brandish a gun while stalking an unarmed person much smaller and weaker than I am, or brandish a gun on a playground crowded with kids, yet no matter what I say or do, the law should pretend I was, say, just some harmless person totally minding my own business when that menacing [str]nigger[/str] teenager started menacing me for no valid reason whatsoever.

EDIT: That was supposed to be a strikethrough word, but I clearly got the code wrong.

I dimly remember being a kid in the minister's office at church, and he had a bunch of Family Circus books on his shelves. One book's cover showed one of the little kids crying, and pointing to someone in tattletale fashion, and the ostensibly funny cartoon word-balloon had him saying "Jeffy hit me back!"

Or maybe it was Billy or Dolly who hit him back, I don't remember. But that's the same childishly self-centered attitude of Zimmerman and the old man: perfectly acceptable for me to hit you, totally wrong if you hit me back. "Hey, you! I'm gonna kill you, destroy you, trash your house ... hey! How dare you behave as though I'm some sort of threat to your safety!"
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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Here's what bothers me the most. Let's say we take Zimmerman 100% at his word and ignore all of the other facts*. Did he really think his life is in danger? Since when is getting your ass kicked a capital offense? The way Florida's SYG seems to be applied diminishes actual life-threatening incident by lumping them in. These aren't armed robberies, but simple battery. Battery sucks, but there's a reason battery doesn't get you the chair.

* Which would mean SYG would apply
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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Mo wrote:Here's what bothers me the most. Let's say we take Zimmerman 100% at his word and ignore all of the other facts*. Did he really think his life is in danger? Since when is getting your ass kicked a capital offense? The way Florida's SYG seems to be applied diminishes actual life-threatening incident by lumping them in. These aren't armed robberies, but simple battery. Battery sucks, but there's a reason battery doesn't get you the chair.
In all fairness, though -- in situations where SYG legitimately applies -- surely you or I or any honest gun-owner who shot someone and claimed SYG would not be held liable on the grounds "Really, the guy you killed was only going to kick your ass; you had no right to think he'd do anything worse."

There is a difference between "crimes deserving the death penalty after the fact" and "crimes NOT deserving after-the-fact death, but while the crimes are actually happening, your victim is nonetheless justified in using lethal force." Breaking into someone's bedroom window in the middle of the night isn't a capital crime either, but if you do this the homeowner might well be justified in using lethal force.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

There is an issue. If you are armed, you do not want to get into a close contact physical confrontation where dude puts you on the ground. You can't conceal your weapon any more and it's up for grabs once he knows its there.

Tactics aside, I am not willing to grant an assailant any benefit of the doubt here, to be honest. Imagine not two healthy adults of comparable size, but a large male threatening your wife or grandmother or someone in a wheelchair or whatever. Any male laying hands on a woman in a way that suggests harm is coming should be prepared for lead salad. In this case, it's frustrating as an argument because the old guy was so clearly threatening in advance of any plausible reason to feel threatened, but I'd really rather have a law work through this guy's case than tie my wife's hands. Same thing with home invasion - if you enter a home where people are sleeping, the reasonable fear for life is immediately present. You don't get the benefit of the doubt as the invader.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Jennifer »

That's the thing, Jason -- Zimmerman's defenders all seem to be completely overlooking what you raised. I thought of a more succinct way to say what I strove for earlier: the Zimmerman argument seems to focus exclusively on "whether Zimmerman felt threatened at any specific moment" while completely ignoring anything he might have said or done in the time leading up to that moment -- including everything he did that Trayvon would've legitimately felt threatened by.

If you attack me and I fight back, then of course you-the-attacker feel threatened -- yet Zimmerman's defenders, or the old man's defenders, are pretending that YOUR sense of feeling threatened is the only one that matters; the fact that I had legitimate reason to feel threatened by you, and furthermore the fact that you started the whole thing and escalated it every step thereafter, is just -- not even dismissed, because "dismissal" implies at least a moment or two of thinking about it first. It's never considered or looked at or introduced in the first place. It doesn't exist in their minds at all.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

Normally the sense of threat is handled by a reasonable man standard. Would a reasonable person be in fear for their lives in that moment? I think it works just fine for Zimmerman and the old man. The thing I worry about is changes to the law because there seems to be a couple of misguided notions out there, in particular in the area of what an armed person should be required to do. If the SYG concept gets struck down, I think it gets replaced with a different kind of unjust law that places an unreasonable burden on a potential victim in the face of aggression. I believe there should be no problem trying Zimmerman and retaining the essence of SYG.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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JasonL wrote:Normally the sense of threat is handled by a reasonable man standard. Would a reasonable person be in fear for their lives in that moment? I think it works just fine for Zimmerman and the old man.
It works equally well for the burglar who just broke into your bedroom, too. But all cases ignore anything the burglar, Zimmerman or the old man did leading up to that moment. It's all about them and their feelings, and completely ignores the feelings of their would-be victim.

So I'm walking down the street to my aunt and uncle's house, and some big guy starts stalking me, and now it's my legal duty to make sure my stalker doesn't feel in any way scared of me, because the second he fears for his life, my own becomes forfeit? I'm all in favor of gun rights, but not the right for gun owners to have their solipsism upheld by the law.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

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Jennifer wrote:
JasonL wrote:Normally the sense of threat is handled by a reasonable man standard. Would a reasonable person be in fear for their lives in that moment? I think it works just fine for Zimmerman and the old man.
It works equally well for the burglar who just broke into your bedroom, too. But all cases ignore anything the burglar, Zimmerman or the old man did leading up to that moment. It's all about them and their feelings, and completely ignores the feelings of their would-be victim.

So I'm walking down the street to my aunt and uncle's house, and some big guy starts stalking me, and now it's my legal duty to make sure my stalker doesn't feel in any way scared of me, because the second he fears for his life, my own becomes forfeit? I'm all in favor of gun rights, but not the right for gun owners to have their solipsism upheld by the law.
I don't quite follow. It isn't ingnoring anything anyone did up to the point they fired the weapon. You have no extra duty. Dude either has the right to use lethal force to defend his life in the totality of the situation or he doesn't. He had to think you were going to kill him and he can't have precipitated that response by saying hes going to kill you or otherwise putting you in the situation where a reasonable person in your shoes would have felt her life were in danger. If the latter, you had every right to act to defend your life. Yes, this gets into he said/she said, but that doesn't invalidate that someone in that confrontation could have had every right to defend themselves with lethal force.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Jennifer »

JasonL wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
JasonL wrote:Normally the sense of threat is handled by a reasonable man standard. Would a reasonable person be in fear for their lives in that moment? I think it works just fine for Zimmerman and the old man.
It works equally well for the burglar who just broke into your bedroom, too. But all cases ignore anything the burglar, Zimmerman or the old man did leading up to that moment. It's all about them and their feelings, and completely ignores the feelings of their would-be victim.

So I'm walking down the street to my aunt and uncle's house, and some big guy starts stalking me, and now it's my legal duty to make sure my stalker doesn't feel in any way scared of me, because the second he fears for his life, my own becomes forfeit? I'm all in favor of gun rights, but not the right for gun owners to have their solipsism upheld by the law.
I don't quite follow. It isn't ingnoring anything anyone did up to the point they fired the weapon.
No, I'm not saying you're ignoring it; I'm saying that, among those who are arguing that Zimmerman (or, presumably, the old man waving the gun in the playground) was justified in killing Trayvon, it seems they are ignoring it. It's all "Did Zimmerman fear for his life the moment he pulled the trigger," as though the feelings of Zimmerman-the-stalker are the only variable that counts.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by JasonL »

Oh. Okay. I thought you were making a case that ignoring context was somehow baked into a SYG principle, and I didn't see that. Yes, there are dumb arguments being made about Zimmerman.
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Re: The Trayvon Martin thread

Post by Ayn_Randian »

I am not going to jump into the particulars of this case, because, for better or worse, there are investigators and other interested parties who know far more of the details than I, even though it's pretty obvious Zimmerman is a racist douche.

However, the media and the Professional Outrage Industry* have been completely irresponsible. And the President had no business saying a damn thing.

I'd finally like to point out that you guys were kinda just as bad - I just noticed the thread today, but the first two pages are basically calling for Zimmerman's blood without all of the facts. Anybody care to retract or, barring that, at least rethink?

* Jesse Jackson calling Trayvon a "martyr"; the NBPP flirting with reverse Helter Skelter; and this demonstrates some bias on the part of major news sites.
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