Trayvon Martin (right) died on February 26, 2012 from a gunshot wound to the chest. The shot was fired from George Zimmerman (left) and was claimed to be in self defense.
Why is Zimmerman not in jail? As a certified NRA Firearms Instructor many have asked me why Mr. Zimmerman is not in jail? The simple answer is that he claimed self defense. By law, the police can not detain any person who has claimed self defense, unless the judge issues a bail bond or otherwise. Now that does not mean he will be free forever, it simply means he is innocent until proven guilty or at fault. In Florida and other states in North America, you can use lethal force against another person and claim it as self defense for you or another's life and limb. At the time of the incident you will be required to go to the police station to make a statement only if you wish to or you can wait to make a statement after consulting with an attorney. The ability to make no statement to the police is granted to all by the fifth amendment. The 5th amendment basically states that you do not need to make a statement to anyone that could incriminate yourself until you have an attorney at law present. However sooner or later you will be required by law to defend your actions in court, but until then you are considered innocent. So for know, Zimmerman is a free man probably with the exception of travel restrictions.
What are the facts?
Unfortunately, we do not know all the facts yet. And as a result of the death of one of the parties involved, we will only get to hear one side of the story. Besides following the victim, which Zimmerman should have done without physical contact, everything is in his legal advantage. Should he have made physical contact with a so called suspicious person? NO! The fact that Trayvon had no weapons seems like a obvious guilty verdict to most, but most people do not fully understand the laws regarding self defense. Fact is a person does not need to have a weapon to kill another person. On top of that, a person without a weapon can obtain a weapon from the person they are attacking or from the surrounding area during the altercation. You can bet that this will be one defense's main arguments at trial.
Zimmerman should not have followed Trayvon, the dispatcher instructed him not to do so as well.
There is no law stating that you are not allowed to follow another person unless you are directly interfering with their freedom of movement. Also, the person being followed would need to file a restraining order and win judgement to make it illegal for the follower/stalker to stay within a set distance set by a judge. This is the reason why the paparazzi can follow celebrities everywhere they go without getting in legal trouble. The media has turned this into a racial debate which nobody can fully confirm as we do not know Zimmerman's inner feelings and thoughts. Everyone can say what they think would happen if the tables were turned, but that is just their opinion. It is important to know that what we think and feel means nothing in court. All actions will be judged by a jury based off of the laws pertaining to it and whether the actions are justified or not.
Now my opinion as a NRA Certified Firearms Instructor is that Zimmerman did not need to make physical contact with a suspicious person as we have police to handle that. He could have simply observed from a distance then lead the police to the suspicious person's location. Also, Zimmerman could have video recorded Trayvon or take pictures to show the police as evidence of whatever he thought was illegal. I have no doubt that the police would have no problems searching for a suspicious looking person. Zimmerman should be charged with something for his cowboy like actions. As a pro gun, pro firearm defense person he makes all who responsibly carry and possess firearms look bad in the eyes of the public. This only gives anti gun supporters more reason to attack the rights of responsible gun owners enabling us the right to protect ourselves against imminent threats. Firearms should only be used to defend, not apprehend.
This is only going to get more ugly! Everything I have said is based off of the laws in Florida and the United States of America. It may be hard to understand depending on which side you are on, but the laws are there to protect both the victim and the defendant. You could find yourself on either side whether it be by choice or by force. Rest assured that there will be due process with an outcome that will be great for one party and bad for the other. If Zimmerman is not charged with murder, this may bring the USA back to the times of Rodney King and the LA Riots. This is such an unfortunate situation that could have been avoided on the part of Zimmerman.
Posted on Tue, March 20, 2012
by Scott C. filed under