Geraldo: Blame the hoodie for Trayvon Martin shooting as much as the shooter; Update: Florida law explained

posted at 11:00 am on March 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

As a gun-rights advocate, I constantly have to remind people that guns are a tool, not an entity with motives, and that the responsibility for its use lies with the shooter. For some reason, we have an impulse after tragedies to try to blame objects rather than people, or more likely, to blame everyone else (“society”) for the personal choices of an individual. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it taken to the extent that Geraldo Rivera does in this morning’s Fox and Friends segment on Trayvon Martin’s death:

“I have a different take, Brian, on that,” Rivera said. “I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

According to Rivera, the so-called hoodie has negative connotations attached to it, which may inspire ill-advised reflexive reactions.

“When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles,” Rivera said. “Take that hood off. People look at you and what’s the instant identification? What’s the instant association? Its crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stick up a 7-Eleven, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or get the old lady in the alcove, it’s the kid with a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta — you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action.”

I’ve had a number of e-mails asking me to analyze the issues in the Martin/Zimmerman shooting. I’ve struggled with it, but I can assure readers that hoodies never came up in my calculations. I do get what Rivera is saying; I had this conversation with my nephew when he was a teenager, explaining that clothes are a statement of values that get communicated instantly to the people around him, especially to those who don’t know him. That doesn’t mean that baggy pants or a hoodie makes you complicit in your own death when someone shoots you for no other reason, however, and it’s a blame-the-victim impulse to make that argument.

Otherwise, this is a tough case to explain, in part because I’m much more familiar with Minnesota law than Florida law on self-defense. Under Minnesota law, Zimmerman would have been charged with some form of homicide, probably manslaughter, if the circumstances are what we have seen in the media. Minnesota law requires that the actor using lethal force in self-defense has to first be in reasonable fear of his life or of grave bodily harm, the latter of which means losing a limb, an eye, or significant maiming and not just getting one’s ass kicked. That requires some demonstration of lethality or threat of maiming before the shooting, not just a threatening motion.

Second, and equally importantly, the actor in a lethal deployment of self-defense has to not have contributed to the conflict that required it. This is where the difference between state laws might be an issue. In Minnesota, even under the Castle Doctrine law that Governor Mark Dayton vetoed, chasing down someone to shoot them would have been a clear violation of self-defense statutes and would probably result in manslaughter charges. I’m not sure how Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is written, though; it might allow someone who got threatened to chase the person who did the threatening with the intent of using deadly force. If so, that’s incredibly stupid, but it might explain why Zimmerman couldn’t get charged in this case. Stand Your Ground laws in general are supposed to allow people to defend themselves without having to demonstrate that retreat was impossible — in other words, avoiding the need to defend one’s self from the second-guessing of a district attorney later on whether the shooter had the opportunity to run and hope the potential attacker didn’t shoot, stab, or chase anyway. They aren’t supposed to allow shooters in this situation to chase down the threat and shoot, but again, I don’t know how Florida wrote its law.

My late friend Joel Rosenberg, who was also my carry-permit instructor, taught one lesson above all else: a carry permit was not a Junior G-Man badge, especially not in Minnesota. That seems to be a lesson Zimmerman didn’t learn, and Florida may need to modify its carry and self-defense statutes to make that much more clear.

Joel literally wrote the book on carry licensing in Minnesota, The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition.  Unfortunately Joel passed away before he could complete an edition that looked at the issue nationally, but even if you’re not in Minnesota, there is a ton of good advice for those who want to pursue carry licenses and handle firearms.  My particular favorite chapter of the book is titled, “Cowardice 201: A PhD Seminar in Advanced Staying Out of Trouble,” in which Joel reveals that the true secret of karate is to run faster than everyone else.  Self-defense starts with keeping out of situations where you will likely find yourself threatened.  Joel’s book is a sobering read, literally and figuratively.

Update: I forgot to mention another point about self-defense law in Minnesota. Once the threat ends, self-defense actions have to stop as well at that moment. That means that an antagonist who stops threatening lethality can’t be attacked with lethal force in self-defense.

Update II: A reader who has a carry permit in Florida e-mails a detailed response, which clarifies Florida law and shows that it’s much the same as Minnesota’s. What follows are his lengthy comments; I’m blockquoting where he quotes:

I have a Florida concealed weapon license. You said:

Minnesota law requires that the actor using lethal force in self-defense has to first be in reasonable fear of his life or of grave bodily harm, the latter of which means losing a limb, an eye, or significant maiming and not just getting one’s ass kicked. That requires some demonstration of lethality or threat of maiming before the shooting, not just a threatening motion.

The same is true in Florida.

A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.

That means that you can use force (BUT NOT DEADLY FORCE) to proportionally defend against imminent use of force. So if someone cocks their fist back to punch you, you can beat them to the punch. You can’t #$%&ing shoot them because they were about to punch you.

However, 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

So if someone is about to kill or severely main you or someone else, you can respond with deadly force. Again, the response has to be proportional to the threat.  read 776.013, as it contains a bunch of stipulations about the use of deadly force.

Finally, 776.041:

 The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

Note #2… initially provokes the use of force against himself. That might apply here.

There is no situation where a confrontation you initiated, in which you were never threatened with mortal danger, can be legally ended by you using lethal force. Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter or maybe even second degree murder under Florida law.

My late friend Joel Rosenberg, who was also my carry-permit instructor, taught one lesson above all else: a carry permit was not a Junior G-Man badge, especially not in Minnesota. That seems to be a lesson Zimmerman didn’t learn, and Florida may need to modify its carry and self-defense statutes to make that much more clear.

They do make it clear, and the brochure you get when getting a license spells it out explicitly (this is an offical State of Florida brochure). They contain case studies where lethal force is not justified. Like it talks about one case where someone chased a robber off of their property and shot them. They were charged. You can use a
gun to stop a forcible felony, not bring someone to justice after they’ve fled. There is a case where neighbors get into an argument and one neighbor swings a garden hose at the other, who replies by shooting him. Charged. You can’t use a gun if you’re not in mortal danger. The brochure clearly explains that a CWL does not make you a law enforcement officer. I got this hammered into me really hard in the course I took (which is mandated by the state).

Here’s one of the pamphlets:

http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/forms/P-00090-DeadlyForce-0911.pdf

[end update II]


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Blame Bush…..
…………………..the TEA Party
……………………….now it’s the Hoodie

…liberals are pathetic

Baxter Greene on March 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM

What the camera never showed you was that Geraldo did find a solitary item inside Capone’s vault…a single, ominous hoodie.

Kataklysmic on March 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Everything will be fine people….Rev. Al is on the scene
now….he’ll straigten out those Punk fag&*ts.

ToddPA on March 23, 2012 at 11:06 AM

First time I can think of that I agree with Geraldo.

teri_b on March 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM

So Ed, your logic is ‘guns don’t kill ppl, ppl kill ppl” right?

Well, if that’s the case, then why don’t we allow ppl to own tanks on their lawns for defense, or bazookas, or anthrax?

I mean, none of those items would kill without being used. A’mrite?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Don’t wear a clown outfit either, that clothing choice has also gained a negative connotation.

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Bill Bellichick, you’ve been warned…

joejm65 on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

I can’t abide Geraldo any longer.

I do get his point about clothes…but not in this case.

CoffeeLover on March 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Zimmerman will get arrested eventually. There’s no way he’s not gonna be charged with something.

That being said, the folks screaming racism better calm down. There’s been a huge amount of black-on-white crime over the last few years that’s gotten almost zero coverage in the press and you don’t see white folks holding rallies and protests demanding justice. Where was the outrage a couple weeks ago over that poor little white kid who got attacked by black youths and torched while they were shouting racist language at him?

Doughboy on March 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

So Ed, your logic is ‘guns don’t kill ppl, ppl kill ppl” right?

Well, if that’s the case, then why don’t we allow ppl to own tanks on their lawns for defense, or bazookas, or anthrax?

I mean, none of those items would kill without being used. A’mrite?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

The right to bear arms includes anthrax? Ok……

joejm65 on March 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Hoodies have been tools of robbers just as much as guns have been. It is not the fault of the tool.

Grunt on March 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I don’t blame the hoodie but I’m a bit sympathetic to Geraldo’s point. I had the same issue with my step-kids when my wife finally broke down and allowed them to dress as they wanted (against my wishes). Baggie pants and all that crap. I told them if you want to look like a gang-banger thug, that’s how people will treat you. And that’s exactly what happened.

Keyser-Soze on March 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Conversely, some poor kid was beaten to death in Chicago a few years back with a 2×4.

We should ban wood planks.

Amirite?

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

How about: “If you dress like a gang member, be ready to be treated like a gang member.”

RoadRunner on March 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

“The right to bear arms includes anthrax? Ok……”

Ok forget anthrax. But should I be allowed to own a bazooka or a tank if I feel it makes me safer in protecting my family? If not, why?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

“the actor using lethal force in self-defense has to first be in reasonable fear of his life or of grave bodily harm, the latter of which means losing a limb, an eye, or significant maiming and not just getting one’s ass kicked.”

Any lawyer who couldn’t convince a jury that a guy down on his back getting his “ass kicked” is in reasonable fear of his life or grave bodily harm shoud turn in his Westlaw account. I don’t know if those are the true facts (they have been reported) but if they are defending him at trial before an impartial jury would be a lay-up.

tommyboy on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

As I white guy I don’t go walking through some inner city black neighborhood at ten o’clock at night wearing khakis and sweater-vest. So don’t be surprised bad things eventually happen when some large black guy is wandering around a gated community with a hoodie.

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

“Conversely, some poor kid was beaten to death in Chicago a few years back with a 2×4.

We should ban wood planks.

Amirite?”

Obviously not, since wood planks serve a purpose in construction…ie it is not solely a weapon.

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I too, rarely think that Geraldo is firing on all cylinders, but I think he hit on something here.

“Stand your ground” doesn’t mean “search and destroy” .. I think Zimmerman is an idiot who messed up.

BUT … allowing your teens to dress and comport (nice old word that) themselves like gang members is STUPID!!!

It’s not “just” an article of clothing, it’s a symbol and a tool of a criminal element. Everyone, including the kids, knows this. That’s why they want them and think they’re “cool”.

Parents can’t/don’t discipline their children. Children can call the bureaucrats on their parents. The bureaucrats do what bureaucrats have done since the beginning of time. They occupy nodes of power in the society and fail to do anything except collect money for themselves.

CrazyGene on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

It seems to me that what a person chooses to wear DOES have an impact on who you may be assoiated with or what you may be…

Say for instance a white hood, or a red armband with a black symbol. Hell, even the Unibomber wore a hoodie!

singlemalt 18 on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

It’s the hoodies fault not the person, blame the hoodie.

jaboba on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

This guy makes the rest of us with a CCW look bad. Arrest and prosecute him.

watson007 on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Well, this line of analysis has the advantage of being novel.
Before long we will have complaints of “hoodies profiling” to add to the usual dreck.

J_Crater on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

First, they came for our hoodies, and I did nothing. Then, they came for our burkas, …

shaken on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Reverend Al, Where are you?

reddevil on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Archie Bunker said it best to his nutty daughter, “Would it make ya feel better if they were all pushed out of windows?”

jeffn21 on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Ed:

All stand your ground does is allow the the defender to protect himself if retreat, even though available, makes you more vulnerable. It is not a license initiate the confrontation. When Zimmerman left his car to pursue he lost his SYG rights.

jerryofva on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

So we can blame mini-skirts when women get raped?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Reports are he the kid put his hood on after noticing the guy was watching and following him.
Also, it was raining.

(Ed – how long you think before you’ll have to shut down this comment section? I’d plan on some serious moderatin’…)

verbaluce on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Well, if that’s the case, then why don’t we allow ppl to own tanks on their lawns for defense, or bazookas, or anthrax?

I mean, none of those items would kill without being used. A’mrite?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Strawman, ignite!

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Maybe Ed should have actually read the Florida law before opining on it, just sayin’.

Metal Head on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

As I white guy I don’t go walking through some inner city black neighborhood at ten o’clock at night wearing khakis and sweater-vest. So don’t be surprised bad things eventually happen when some large black guy is wandering around a gated community with a hoodie.

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

His father lived there. he had every right to be there..

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

First time I can think of that I agree with Geraldo.

teri_b on March 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM

He does have a point.

When you see some teenage punk driving down the road with his seat so far back that only the top of his head is showing, and he’s wearing a hoodie, baseball cap and sunglasses, he is intentionally trying to conceal his identity and project the image of a hoodlum.

Doesn’t mean I want to shoot the kid, but he does look like he’s up to no good.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

President douche has now commented on this. Has is ever commented ob black on white murder?

kozmo on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Geraldo has a point though… If you want to dress up and be a gangsta, don’t be upset when you are treated as one.

jeffn21 on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

“The right to bear arms includes anthrax? Ok……”

Ok forget anthrax. But should I be allowed to own a bazooka or a tank if I feel it makes me safer in protecting my family? If not, why?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Using a bazooka or a tank to stop someone climbing through your bedroom window at 3:00 in the morning just doesn’t seem practical. Most situations can be handled just fine with a gun. I can’t think of any self-defense situation that would make me think ‘man, I wish I had a bazooka’. Not being snarky here, just honest.

joejm65 on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

That being said, the folks screaming racism better calm down. There’s been a huge amount of black-on-white crime over the last few years that’s gotten almost zero coverage in the press and you don’t see white folks holding rallies and protests demanding justice. Where was the outrage a couple weeks ago over that poor little white kid who got attacked by black youths and torched while they were shouting racist language at him?

Doughboy on March 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Yep, why doesn’t anyone want to talk about this? Afraid it might spread?

Was Boy in K.C. Fire Attack a Victim of His School’s Racist Teaching?

slickwillie2001 on March 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Conceal and Carry laws are unconstitutional, the Founding Fathers could not have been more clear in their personal writings or in the 2nd amendment. People who support conceal and carry laws support the usurping of the 2nd amendment and the subversion of the US constitution.

Thomas Jefferson: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither
inclined or determined to commit crimes. Such laws only make things worse for the assaulted and
better for the assassins; they serve to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man
may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (1764 Letter and speech from T.
Jefferson quoting with approval an essay by Cesare Beccari)

John Adams: “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self
defense.” (A defense of the Constitution of the US)

George Washington: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the
people’s liberty teeth (and) keystone… the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable… more than
99% of them [guns] by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very
atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference [crime]. When firearms go, all goes,
we need them every hour.” (Address to 1st session of Congress)

George Mason: “To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.” (3 Elliot,
Debates at 380)

Noah Webster: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in
almost every country in Europe.” (1787, Pamphlets on the Constitution of the US)

George Washington: “A free people ought to be armed.” (Jan 14 1790, Boston Independent
Chronicle.)

Thomas Jefferson: “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (T. Jefferson papers,
334, C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)

James Madison: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of
other countries, whose people are afraid to trust them with arms.” (Federalist Paper #46)

History had to be revised by a progressive controlled educational system for these facts to be so ignored and watered down as to advance the notion the founding fathers found both insane and insulting, reasonable regulation and public safety.

Thomas Jefferson perhaps said it best.

Thomas Jefferson: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither
inclined or determined to commit crimes. Such laws only make things worse for the assaulted and
better for the assassins; they serve to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man
may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
(1764 Letter and speech from T.
Jefferson quoting with approval an essay by Cesare Beccari)

SWalker on March 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

I own a sweatshirt with a hood, but I am not black or latino, so please tell me, Geraldo, am I OK?

McDuck on March 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The watchman is a racist who allegedly referred to the black boy as a c00n. I personally believed he enjoyed killing the unarmed black man.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Strawman, ignite!

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Lorien…answer the goddamn question. Why should I not be allowed to own a bazooka if my purpose if for self-defense?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I think we’re getting way in to the weeds with this incident. I believe the same thing as I did when I first heard about the story. That is, this is merely a tragic local event and not applicable to the country as a whole.

This incident has become a political tool to push some political POV. Too many things get not only politicized, but overly-politicized nowadays. Just like this Florida case has become.

Weebork on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

First time I can think of that I agree with Geraldo.

teri_b on March 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM

No, his reasoning is on par with “a girl in a miniskirt deserves it if she is raped.”

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

“The right to bear arms includes anthrax? Ok……”

Ok forget anthrax. But should I be allowed to own a bazooka or a tank if I feel it makes me safer in protecting my family? If not, why?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Actually, Federal law is quite clear on the topic. Citizens have the right to whatever is issued to the military as a standard weapon.

So “nonpartisan”, your junior high school debate logic fails. (But that’s why you are a “liberal” and mask your folly with the label “nonpartisan”. Your statement was very “partisan”.

CrazyGene on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

President douche has now commented on this. Has is ever commented ob black on white murder?

kozmo on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

he was asked a question and he answered. What is he supposed to do? Ignore the question?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

It seems to me that what a person chooses to wear DOES have an impact on who you may be assoiated with or what you may be…

Say for instance a white hood, or a red armband with a black symbol. Hell, even the Unibomber wore a hoodie!

singlemalt 18 on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Exactly.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Lorien…answer the goddamn question. Why should I not be allowed to own a bazooka if my purpose if for self-defense?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Because it’s a military grade weapon?

Why can’t you have a nuke silo in your backyard for self defense, amirite?

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

If a hot girl walks around in revealing clothing and gets raped. Is she to blame?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Using a bazooka or a tank to stop someone climbing through your bedroom window at 3:00 in the morning just doesn’t seem practical. Most situations can be handled just fine with a gun. I can’t think of any self-defense situation that would make me think ‘man, I wish I had a bazooka’. Not being snarky here, just honest.

joejm65 on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

What if I live in a particularly dangerous area where there are massive gangs…and I need an area of effect weapon?

My whole point is that Ed’s argument “guns dont kill, people kill” can be applied to any weapon….ie tanks, bazookas.

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

From the Florida Statutes

776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

tmitsss on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

he was asked a question and he answered. What is he supposed to do? Ignore the question?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Odd that he and his DOJ know the details of this case. Fast n Furious. Not so much.

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

…as one who is not to judge until all the facts are laid out:
Just what happened after Zimmerman went down that alley? The phone calls from the neighbor to 911, there were screaming in the background.
Some say the youth attacked Zimmerman.
I guess I’ll just wait for the newspapers./s

askwhatif on March 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Just keep company with your kind, and you’ll be fine.
Just try not to walk into things.

verbaluce on March 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Look…I understand that this incident looks and probably is an example of this Zimmerman guy shooting and innocent person, and he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

However, the way all of the media is turning it into the crime of the century ( including “our” media) is maddening.

Just last year in Baton Rouge, a women was executed in her home, that was invaded by criminals wanting to steal her TV. Her daughter was shot in the back 9 times by these criminals as she tried to run away. The little girl crawled to the front door and barely got it open so the police could find her faster, since she did not know her address when she called 911.

But I don’t remember that being the crime should re-order the ability of good people to defend themselves??? WHY? Because the re-ordering that would result from that crime would benefit the law abiding citizens, that’s why. And further, it didn’t make the national news as important…because the perpetrators were not White and the victims were. That paper probably hit the Justice department wastebasket so fast it wasn’t funny.

When are we going to quit accepting this garbage reporting? Further why are Presidents and Golfers and Boxers and Football players of mixed race always considered to be the non-white race? Yet, when a person of mixed race does a crime…it’s always the hateful white half?

Call me a racist if you want, but I am sick of this crap.

WL on March 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

His father lived there. he had every right to be there..

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Martin was cutting through a gated community. His father did not live there; his father was staying in a nearby community.

HeatSeeker2011 on March 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Not even worth commenting on. Not even worth mentioning that it’s not worth commenting on.

Akzed on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

I’m not sure how Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is written, though; it might allow someone who got threatened to chase the person who did the threatening with the intent of using deadly force. If so, that’s incredibly stupid, but it might explain why Zimmerman couldn’t get charged in this case.

The shooting and the chasing are two separate things. In what state is it illegal to approach a person? That’s the real crux of the problem here Ed. But you are jumping the shark a bit by postulating Florida law possibly allows people to chase other people down and kill them. It isn’t the chasing down of Trayvon Martin that is the issue. It is what happened after he caught up to him.

As an example, if I approach a person to ask them for directions and that person pulls a knife on me am I within my rights to use lethal force to defend myself even in Minnesota? What happened after Zimmerman approached Martin? That’s all that matters.

NotCoach on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

My particular favorite chapter of the book is titled, “Cowardice 201: A PhD Seminar in Advanced Staying Out of Trouble,” in which Joel reveals that the true secret of karate is to run faster than everyone else.

“When danger reared its ugly head, Sir Robin bravely turned his tail and fled.”

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

he was asked a question and he answered. What is he supposed to do? Ignore the question?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Actually, King Putt ignores lots of questions. So, to answer your question…yes.

joejm65 on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Geraldo has made it clear by this logic that we can blame rape victims when they get raped.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Because it’s a military grade weapon?

Why can’t you have a nuke silo in your backyard for self defense, amirite?

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

yeah but lorien, even military grade weapons don’t kill, its people who use them who kill, riiiight?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

When confronted someone takes a lot of information in instinctively, it’s a reaction.
Young kid, crime neighborhood, dressed like a banger, probably walked like one, you have moments to decide.
If the kid was dressed in khaki pants, button down, no hat or hoodie, looked the people in the eye, probably no problem.
Most of us would have probably made the same decision, under the same circumstances…but we have hindsight, we “dissect” the incident and separate the different vignettes, and dilute it down to…he wasn’t armed, he shouldn’t have been shot.
Since the beginning of time, we “size” up people quickly…it’s part of our DNA survival…the trick is, not to associate with something that someone recognizes as “bad”…not a difficult thing to master.

right2bright on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

So we can blame mini-skirts when women get raped?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Hmm, well seeing as you “like that woman” in reference to
Lizzie Warren, you do realize she “inspired” the Occupy
Movement, which condones rape, soooooooo

We can blame you for women getting raped, right?

ToddPA on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Where was the outrage a couple weeks ago over that poor little white kid who got attacked by black youths and torched while they were shouting racist language at him?

Doughboy on March 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Like I’ve been saying all along, black-on-white crime is not considered crime by the Democrat Media Complex. It’s poignant and considered justified payback by an aggrieved party, or as the extremist’s adopted daddy would say “chickens a comin’ home to rooost!”. Dem white folk had it comin’ to ‘em. Any word yet on the DOJ’s hate crimes division opening an investigation into that or are they still too busy on the racist oppressive white man attempting to require photo ID’s for voters?

RepubChica on March 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Geraldo has a point though… If you want to dress up and be a gangsta, don’t be upset when you are treated as one.

jeffn21 on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

His hood was up because it was raining. Or is just any sweatshirt with a hood considered “gangsta?” If so, my 50 year-old boss who wears a hooded sweatshirt with his daughter’s high school name on it every Friday for casual Friday is totally gangsta.

sob0728 on March 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

So we can blame mini-skirts when women get raped?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

If a hot girl walks around in revealing clothing and gets raped. Is she to blame?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Try not to make it too obvious that you are the same people, okay?

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Obviously not, since wood planks serve a purpose in construction…ie it is not solely a weapon.

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I collect certain guns for investment purposes, some of which have never been fired, i.e. used as a weapon. Alternative purpose for them, amirite?

I also have a razor-edged Katana which I use to slice the Thanksgiving turkey, which shows it has a dual purpose, amirite?

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I own a sweatshirt with a hood, but I am not black or latino, so please tell me, Geraldo, am I OK?

McDuck on March 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Probably not. Does it have big pink flowers on it? If no, then you just look like a white or asian gang member. (You just said that you weren’t “black or latino”, so “white or asian” are possible.)

If you are camping, or on your sailboat, or engaged in some athletic endeavor, then you’re probably ok.

But the reason the “tough guys” in the movies, TV, and video’s wear them is that they are “tough” looking and make you look “cool”.

Come on, McDuck, be honest. Why did you buy it? Not to keep warm, because there are better things for that. Not because it would look good at the Ritz and make your parents proud. You bought it because you wanted to look tough.

So, “tough” = “scary” (no big pink flowers…)

CrazyGene on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Hoods are the problem, not hoodies.

MaxMBJ on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

First time I can think of that I agree with Geraldo.

teri_b on March 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM

No, his reasoning is on par with “a girl in a miniskirt deserves it if she is raped.”

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

This is different. The kid who got shot was dressed and was behaving in a way that aroused suspicion of criminal activity. A mini skirt alone does not indicate that the wearer might be up to something.

No, this does not justify him getting shot. That was a tragic mistake and the shooter should be brought up on murder charges. But, he was doing his job as neighborhood watchman when he noticed a suspicious individual.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I better burn my Spurs Hoodie… Sometimes when it is cold outside, I like to keep my head warm by putting the hood up. Don’t want to get shot for doing this. Heck, my 2 1/2 year old son has a hoodie he somtimes wears when it is chilly out, now I am scared it might kill him.

Gimme a break.

James on March 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

yeah but lorien, even military grade weapons don’t kill, its people who use them who kill, riiiight?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Yep. Bazookas do not walk around and shoot people. We agree. I’m not sure your problem, here. ;)

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Until all the facts are in, I’m withholding judgement.

I live in Florida and I strongly support the Right to Not Retreat. I carry almost everywhere, except where I work, since that is a university. You know, places that bad guys go to kill people since they know they are not going to encounter any armed opposition…

That said, I don’t support “Chase ‘em down and shoot ‘em.”

There will always be aberrations in society. Heck, did you know that people actually get shot in New York City? In Chicago? In Washington, DC? In spite of their stringent anti-gun laws. Heck, even on a disarmed army base.

Guns(actually, bullets) don’t kill people. People kill people. Some people don’t use guns to kill people. Knives. Bats. Cars.

Guns are easy to demonize.

But demonizing guns deflects from the real issue of people killing people.

In this case, let’s find out what happened. If the shooter was in the wrong, prosecute him. If he did what he is accused of doing, then we don’t need him on the streets.

The 99.9999% of other CCW permit holders WANT this resolved properly. We know what we are supposed to do and not supposed to do. And more importantly, know what the consequences are when the line is crossed.

ProfShadow on March 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Did we all miss the editorial by the author of Florida’s law?

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/21/trayvon-martins-alleged-attacker-not-covered-under-law-wrote/

TexasDan on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

While not a direct threat, a hoodie will get everyone watching out. A neighborhood watch/red hat volunteer will watch more closely. Sorry, but if you’ve lived in a bad neighborhood for a while, the fact that you’ve lived and not been mugged is partially due profiling and not doing something stupid, like NOT paying attention.

Certainly not grounds for shooting. But it does say: “I’m not one of you” in some areas.

Blagden Alley on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

If a hot girl walks around in revealing clothing and gets raped. Is she to blame?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

No, she didn’t commit the rape. Could she have potentially avoided it? Yes. I think it is more important though where she is hanging out. But as Ed already pointed out with his personal example concerning his nephew, how we comport ourselves in public certainly impacts people’s views of us.

NotCoach on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Yep. Bazookas do not walk around and shoot people. We agree. I’m not sure your problem, here. ;)

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

So explain to me why military grade weapons are banned from civilians then…

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

you can own a tank, provided you can buy one.

you can own a bazooka, provided you live in a state that allows it.

you can not own anthrax, because anthrax kills passively.

clown.

bloghooligan on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

But, he was doing his job as neighborhood watchman when he noticed a suspicious individual.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

His job as the neighborhood watch isn’t to gun people down. It’s to report crime to the police.

Even if he saw this kid breaking into a house, I’m not sure it’d be cool to pop him.

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

I have a couple of hoodies with built in concealed carry chest pockets, which this kid may have had as well. Then again, being in Texas, I assume that everyone is carrying, with or without concealed carry licenses. But, those of us who have them are trained to use our firearms only in self-defense or property protection purposes. So, I want to hear the whole story on this incident and not just what the press is reporting.

TXUS on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

This is different. The kid who got shot was dressed and was behaving in a way that aroused suspicion of criminal activity. A mini skirt alone does not indicate that the wearer might be up to something.

No, this does not justify him getting shot. That was a tragic mistake and the shooter should be brought up on murder charges. But, he was doing his job as neighborhood watchman when he noticed a suspicious individual.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

It is not different. How can you read someones mind?

How do you know the woman wearing a miniskirt doesn’t want to get raped?

There is no way you can read someones mind, you are a painting with a broad brush.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Geraldo’s point (gawd…am I about to agree with him?) is really a message to those who don’t have a great deal of self-respect.

They dress in a way which they believe will garner them respect (through fear) by dressing as a tough guy, the gangsta, and wiseguy. And for many, many years it was effective.

But times have changed. Dressing a like a bad guy labels you as a bad guy and the average Joe Citizen is more and more less likely to be afraid. This is where the conflict is created. Trayvon dressed in a way that made him appear to be a bad guy. And it got him noticed.

Did the hoodie kill him? Thats absurd. Was the hoodie involved in the “first impression” by ZImmerman? Without question it did.

Did Trayvon have a right to wear a hoodie? You bet. Did his right to wear a hoodie cancel the concern that people wearing hoodies might be up to no good? No.

Suppose I wore a white sheet and started walking around Harlem. What should I expect to happen? Will people I pass on the sidewalk simply say “I see you’re exercising your right to dress anyway you want…right on!”, or would there be a completely different conversation?

The hoodie has become a symbol, just as the white sheet is. It doesn’t matter what it symbolizes.

I didn’t make these rules..but I understand them. Denying they exist is idiotic.

BobMbx on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

yeah but lorien, even military grade weapons don’t kill, its people who use them who kill, riiiight?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Exactly. That’s why we can’t trust Iran with nukes.

NotCoach on March 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

The kid who got shot was dressed and was behaving in a way that aroused suspicion of criminal activity.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

“Walking” and “wearing hooded sweatshirts” are now considered suspicious activities?

sob0728 on March 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

It is not different. How can you read someones mind?

How do you know the woman wearing a miniskirt doesn’t want to get raped?

There is no way you can read someones mind, you are a painting with a broad brush.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

pot/kettle moment going on here….

bloghooligan on March 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

So explain to me why military grade weapons are banned from civilians then…

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Cuz, they are, um, military weapons? Common sense is hard, I know.

Why can’t I own a nuke? Is this really your point? It’s retarded.

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

My whole point is that Ed’s argument “guns dont kill, people kill” can be applied to any weapon….ie tanks, bazookas.

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Your point seems to be an attempt to strip the semantic base of what Ed said down to the atomic level, for what reason I’m not exactly sure yet but I’m certain you’ll produce one eventually. And it might even be salient, emphasis on “might”.

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

he was asked a question and he answered. What is he supposed to do? Ignore the question?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

“Have you got your birth certificate?”

He dodges questions all the time.

Isn’t it about time for you to get on your bus to the “middle school”?

CrazyGene on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

As I white guy I don’t go walking through some inner city black neighborhood at ten o’clock at night wearing khakis and sweater-vest. So don’t be surprised bad things eventually happen when some large black guy is wandering around a gated community with a hoodie.

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

And that is a problem. Because if you did, and something happened to you, you would not be to blame. This kid should not have been shot. We don’t know all the details of what happened, but I’m pretty darn sure that allowing a guy who shot someone after having been told by 911 dispatch to leave him alone and not follow him to walk around entirely free without making any arrest is a bit ridiculous.

If the guy is found guilty or innocent later on isn’t really the major issue. It’s that wearing a hooded sweatshirt and being Black and young doesn’t automatically make you suspicious, and certainly doesn’t make you complicit in your own death because someone thinks you’re suspicious.

And before the “black people do stuff to white people” jump all over me, that really isn’t relevant.

I’m raising a son who will one day be a young man who someone will think is suspicious just because of the color of his skin. And so I have to think about all the things he needs to know how to do or not do so that he isn’t thought to be a threat and is shot down. I lived it, so I know it, and it took a lot of time and a lot of God’s grace to not resent “the Man.” There are lots of things I would rather teach my son and lots of things to protect him from. I just wish one of them wasn’t, “son you have to be extra careful because you’re Black and therefore someone is likely to see you as a threat– no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, or if you’re innocent or guilty.” Every time a story like this comes out it is a painful reminder that I still have that lesson to teach.

And no I’m not responsible for what “Black people” are doing and have done, and I don’t blame “White people” for anything either. It is just the reality of our broken sinful world and the particular American expression of that sinfulness reflected in broken racial realities.

theblackcommenter on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Well, if that’s the case, then why don’t we allow ppl to own tanks on their lawns for defense, or bazookas, or anthrax?

I mean, none of those items would kill without being used. A’mrite?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

When I was a kid we routinely had dynamite. It was great for taking out tree stumps and livestock that had died over the winter.

As for tanks and bazookas, they wouldn’t do much without the ammo. Could a tank run over people and cars? Yes, just like a bulldozer which is available for purchase.

TugboatPhil on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

The 99.9999% of other CCW permit holders WANT this resolved properly. We know what we are supposed to do and not supposed to do. And more importantly, know what the consequences are when the line is crossed.

ProfShadow on March 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Yep. I suspect the worst possible outcome for Zimmerman would be a jury stacked with CC permit holders. Educated on the laws, and zealous to defend the right we have by being quick to hold anyone accountable who tries to use it as a license to pick fights and start shootouts.

TexasDan on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I think we’re getting way in to the weeds with this incident. I believe the same thing as I did when I first heard about the story. That is, this is merely a tragic local event and not applicable to the country as a whole.

This incident has become a political tool to push some political POV. Too many things get not only politicized, but overly-politicized nowadays. Just like this Florida case has become.

Weebork on March 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

It may not be there yet, but eventually this will become entirely political. It will be used to gin up energy within the black community and intimidate people who still suffer from white guilt. Race baiting and class envy are all Obama has to run on in November. This will help him with the former.

In fact, I take back what I said. We probably are there already. Sharpton is down in Florida as we speak. And Obama just commented on this case this morning.

Doughboy on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

So we can blame mini-skirts when women get raped?

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

If a hot girl walks around in revealing clothing and gets raped. Is she to blame?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

No they’re not to blame, but that doesn’t change the fact she may be putting herself at a higher risk to be raped. You can pass all the laws and scream about fairness all you want, but it doesn’t change reality.

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Ok, since I live here and all those race baiting clowns screwed up traffic yesterday.

My take is Zimmerman (hispanic btw) was an asshole who hassled the innocent kid. Pissed him off so much the kid clocked him (reports are Zimmerman was bleeding when the police arrived). The contention is Zimmerman was walking away and got blind sided, others say it was face to face. Does not matter, when I was 17 I had already enlisted in the service and obviously was of a stature to be considered a threat. People have been killed by getting a beating so the use of a firearm to defend ones person is reasonable. The problem is the kid brought his fists to a gun fight.

Zimmerman was an overzealous ass who went looking for trouble. That does not justify assault, even if your black.

Watched that farce of a protest last night on TV. Mayor Triplett got on stage and those people heckled him down even though he has been pushing for disclosure of the facts more than anyone. Poor guy is a business man and part time pol and was brought to tear by those bigots heckling him in the crowd. At least Mrs. Brown had enough class to call them out on it.

There were only 2 people that know what really happened that day. One is dead and the other an ass. Sometimes crap like this happens and it can only be left to god to deal out justice. The rest of us should just try to learn what not to do in the future.

TheGarbone on March 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

I’ll blame George Zimmerman for the killing, and local law enforcement for their apparently unforgivably poor handling of the case, thank you very much.

TedInATL on March 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

If your argument is built on a strawman, you’ve lost already. Why can’t leftist pukes argue a point without resorting to this kinda sh1t?

garnkikaloid on March 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

yeah but lorien, even military grade weapons don’t kill, its people who use them who kill, riiiight?

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

News flash, you actually ARE allowed to own Bazookas and Tanks, your snark falls flat on it’s face when confronted with reality, however just like owning a fully automatic machine gun they are very expensive toys to keep and maintain. I have a neighbor who owns 2 M-60 Tanks, every year at midnight on New Years Eve he fires of 2 parade round from each of them. Those 85mm parade rounds only cost about $100.00 backs apiece.

SWalker on March 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM

No they’re not to blame, but that doesn’t change the fact she may be putting herself at a higher risk to be raped. You can pass all the laws and scream about fairness all you want, but it doesn’t change reality.

lowandslow on March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

So I assume we should make laws banning miniskirts?

That should cut down on the amount of rape.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Keep a close eye on Obama because he’s attempting to instigate racial turmoil and in turn generate Black voter solidarity for his cause. Not to mention the fact that as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer he is biasing the case against the shooter. This once great Republic is very sick.

rplat on March 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

So explain to me why military grade weapons are banned from civilians then…

nonpartisan on March 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Because politicians wish to disarm us because they fear armed constituents.

NotCoach on March 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

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