I debated posting this, because I am an outsider talking about a stranger family’s tragic grief. Whatever else you take away from what I am about to say, understand that with what little I really know about the case, I feel (as most anyone would, presumably) that it would almost be worth bending the laws of the universe rather than have something like this happen.
That being said, here is the repost of what I wrote over at Jim West’s blog (in response to an understandable but exaggerated post of his):
“Obviously, there are so many things wrong with this case it’s hard to know where to start. It’s a tragedy and a travesty in the name of the right of self-protection.
Lethal force laws are different in different states. Some insist on retreat if at all possible, some do not require retreat. None I know of say you follow Mr. Stranger Danger. And any gun owner with sense is going to retreat if at all possible, whatever local law says, in respect to human life or in fear of criminal and especially civil penalties, at least. In fact a good case can be made that the legalities of lethal force make it almost redundant to carry a lethal weapon in the first place.
There’s definite questions in how Zimmerman got and kept a gun permit, given the apparent incident(s) with police and his repeated calls to police and neighbors’ concerns about his obsession with black males. I am mind-boogled that they didn’t test him for drugs and alcohol, which is SOP in tons of criminal offenses.
People bent over backwards to protect Mr. Zimmerman’s rights. It is now impossible to protect Trayvon’s rights. There is no easy answer to the conflict of self-protection vs abuse of force. Plainly this case shows how NOT to balance those conflicting rights.”
Prayers and sympathy to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. I do not know how you feel, and I wish no one ever did.