Guns Don’t Kill People; Paranoid Whackjobs With Guns Kill People

Steve M has been blogging up a storm about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, but for now I just want to riff a bit on this post and also Jesse Taylor’s post on paranoia.

Over many, many years I’ve attempted to communicate to gun, um, enthusiasts. I do try to be fair. For example, I give the 2nd Amendment the same expansive interpretation I give the rest of the Bill of Rights. Sometimes liberals don’t want to hear this, but in fact the 2nd was assumed in early American history to protect an individual right (for white men, anyway) to own firearms, the militia clause notwithstanding.

I’m not really anti-gun. I grew up in a rural culture in which the menfolk would, from time to time, gather up dogs and rifles and go out to the woods to shoot forest creatures. The menfolk in my family rarely actually killed anything, as I remember. But the point is that I don’t faint away at the sight of a firearm, and I’m not opposed to people owning firearms.

However, I have big issues with the idea that anybody should be able to carry a concealed weapon anywhere he wants. And my issue is that a big chunk of humanity doesn’t have the sense God gave mushrooms. People who are frightened, panicked, startled, angry, drunk, stupid, or whatever, are not people I want to have “locked and loaded” in my neighborhood, thanks much.

And then there are the Fox News viewers who have been commenting on the Martin case. I assume most of these people are law-abiding citizens, meaning they’ve never been convicted of a crime. But how many of these hate-spewing bigots would you like carrying concealed weapons in your town?

In my conversations with Gun People I have seen over and over again that they divide humanity into two types of people – “criminals” and “law-abiding citizens.” And the latter, the LACs, are seen as noble and sensible people who would never, ever, shoot anyone who wasn’t a “criminal.” Gun People assume that the only reason we Not Gun People are nervous about guns is that we think that more “criminals” will get guns and use them to commit crimes.

But that has never been my concern. My concern is that a large part of the people I have met — pretty much all of them, actually — who are all fired up to carry guns wherever they want appear to have serious anger issues, if not outright paranoia. If I could vote on which people I would trust to carry a concealed weapon, it would not be them.

I’ve even communicated with whackjobs — sorry, but that’s what they are — who cannot understand why it’s a really, really bad idea to have loaded guns within reach when there are small children in the house. They thump their chests and say they will teach their kids to leave the guns alone, which tells me they have no actual hands-on experience raising children (even if they have children). Even “good” children do things they know they aren’t supposed to do. But the consequences of raiding the cookie jar or getting the handgun Dad keeps under the bed are quite a bit different.

Last week in Washington state three children were shot, and two died, because they got their hands on loaded guns adults kept for self-defense. In one case, a three-year-old shot himself in the head with a gun his father kept in his car. In another, a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed by a younger sibling, also with a loaded gun kept in the family van. In those cases, the adults were in compliance with all firearm laws, and no charges were filed.

If you’ve got small children, you go around putting caps on unused electric sockets and keep the Draino out of reach. Yet some people refuse to acknowledge that maybe a loaded gun is at least as dangerous to small children as Draino. Like I said, they lack the sense that God gave mushrooms.

And then there’s the National Rifle Association. Current leadership has whipped up paranoia among its members to keep those dues coming in. So potentially violent paranoids with guns — albeit who are not “criminals” — now have their own lobby. And Florida’s “stand your ground” law is the fruit of that. Jesse Taylor writes,

An expansive self-defense doctrine turns the expression of paranoid activity into a socially acceptable, excused form of vigilantism. Hunting down and murdering a teenager visiting his father because he “looked suspiciously at houses” and “walked slowly” – teenagers being known, of course, for their otherwise purposeful, focused strides – becomes a he said, he dead proposition. The paranoiac who fixates on black youth is protected, because feeding a certain form of majoritarian paranoia bears rather awesome political fruit.

The issue is not simply that a non-black man has a problem with the existence of young black men. It’s that the law in Florida is structured in such a way that the former can use the latter for target practice, and says nothing so long as one is afraid of 140-pound teenagers for the right reasons.

I’d like to point out one more wrinkle in Trayvon Martin’s case. The evidence we’ve heard about in news stories makes it clear that Zimmerman followed and confronted Martin, and that Martin had tried to get away from Zimmerman. Yet Zimmerman claims Martin assaulted him before he fired. I am skeptical, but let’s assume that’s true.

Didn’t the unarmed Martin have a right to “stand his ground” also? A much bigger man, a stranger, had been following him and then confronted him in a belligerent manner. Martin had even tried to get away, but failed. If it turns out that Martin did land a punch or a kick on Zimmerman before he was killed, didn’t he have a right to do that? Or does “self-defense” only apply to people with guns?

38 thoughts on “Guns Don’t Kill People; Paranoid Whackjobs With Guns Kill People

  1. Thanks for this comment, Maha. I’d be curious to know how many “sportsmen” are heading off into the fields with concealed handguns.

    This whole NRA thing has gotten ridiculous. They need to be prevented from buying any more legislators. We could all honor Trayvon by working to prevent such a killing in the future.

  2. I don’t see why you can’t make it illegal to have guns around without trigger locks (the child shooting).

    I also don’t see why it should be legal for crazy people to have guns (Virginia Tech / Giffords in AZ / This “neighborhood defender / the Yosemite PTSD guy).

    • I don’t see why you can’t make it illegal to have guns around without trigger locks (the child shooting).

      Of course that could be done. Some states have all kinds of laws about how guns are stored in a home with children. Also several states make it a crime to keep a loaded gun anywhere a child might reach it. But the whackjobs are opposed to such laws, because if you have to keep your gun unloaded with the ammunition locked up in a separate place, then it won’t be ready to fire when you wake up and there’s a homicidal maniac standing over your bed. So they insist on being able to keep a loaded gun within reach at all times.

      If you fear home invasion, get a really big family dog. Properly raised, most big dogs will be very sweet with children and protective of its family but will at least bark at strangers breaking into the house.

      I couldn’t find data on the number of children attacked and killed by the family dog every year; it’s very rare. Wikepedia says about 26 people die of dog attacks in the U.S. every year; that’s all dog attacks. On the other hand, in 2008 more than 500 children in the U.S. died in gun accidents

  3. The whole purpose of this “law” seems to be recognizing that all ground is yours if you have the gun. What will they do if two gun-toters shoot and wound each other in a he-said-vs-he-said situation? And who will be responsible if bystanders are shot by shooters who are “in compliance” with this ill-defined excuse for belligerence?

    I am still curious as to why Zimmerman was licensed/reporting in his neighborhood if he was such a constant caller to 911. Is it that the local police department gets funds based on how many calls are answered? That would make frequent callers a real plus for the budget process, despite the obvious encouragement to waste government money on unnecessary responses. Maybe the system was feeding Zimmerman’s ego as a side serving along with its main budget meal. How many of these neighborhood groups exist, and how many police their own ranks effectively?

    Thirty-plus years ago, I had a high shcool student who put red lights behind his grill and pulled people over if he thought they were driving too fast. He was a notorious 35-in-a-55 driver, and nothing ever happened to him. If he had had a gun, I wonder what he would have done.

    There is a strong self-righteousness quotient among extreme authoritarians, and I think every group with police or enforcement powers needs to assess its members’ propensity for over-the-top actions. Of course, that would be the fox guarding the henhouse!

  4. Now that Zimmerman’s a made man, can he join the mob? And since murder is now legal in Florida, shouldn’t they also give organized crime a tax break? You know, to encourage growth of the industry?

  5. So far as I can tell, the current “If you feel threatened, you have a right to shoot somebody” law–which replaced the previous “If you feel threatened, walk away” law–has more holes in it than a colander. The key word being “feel”. (Or maybe it’s “think” or “believe” or “perceive”–I haven’t read the exact phrasing of that law, so am only coming at it secondhand.) At what point is the percipient/shooter responsible for his/her own actions leading up to the shooting?

    As an extreme example: What if I–fulled locked and loaded–accidentally wandered into a biker bar, saw all the bearded bubbas in leathers, chains and tats staring at me and grinning malevolently. Would I “feel” a tad threatened? Unless I was also a bearded bubba with “Hell’s Angels” stenciled on my jacket, the answer is YES. At this point, I have some options. I can speed dial 911. I can pull out my credit card and order pitchers of beer for everyone in the place. I can quietly leave. Or I can shoot the place up.

    The fact that Zimmerman chased after Martin–when the 911 dispatcher specifically ordered him not to–indicates that Z. was not in fear of his life. So why did the police let that loon off the hook? That’s the part that has me shaking my head.

  6. The death of Martin was a selffulfilling prophesy by Zimmerman, who called 9/11 almost 50 times in 12-14 months.

    Now, either he lived in the worst “gated” community in the country, or the boy had some issues. I read somewhere, that Zimmerman accounted for 10% of the calls from that area.

    He is probably paranoid, and has am extremely low self-esteem. And by being the neighborhood ‘watch’ captain, he felt he had a chance to be a hero, instead of the zero that he is. And everyone walking by his home instantly became a suspect in his mind, and his chance to be a hero.
    And Martin, a young black male, fit the profile of a “suspect” (young, black, male) for the man who wanted to be a hero. And so, with little or no provocation, except that which he himself provided, he grabbed his chance to be a hero not a zero.
    If Martin had a 9mm Glock on him, we would know nothing about this case. It would have fit perfectly with the NRA, FOX, and Rush narratives.
    It’s unfortunate for Zimmerman, that the only things that Martin was “packing” were some Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. Neither one of which could be considered using “deadly force,” unless your definition of “deadly force” includes tooth decay.
    More unfortunate, though, for Martin and his family.

    Another point against Zimmerman – maybe if Martin came to Zimmerman’s door, there might have been some sort of justification to shoot him (one more reason not to be a door-to-door salesperson, these days). Especially if he knocked on, or burst through, his door and flung the Skittles and Arizona Iced tea at him.

    But people are defending a guy who leaves his house, gets in his car packing a gun, and then creates a circumstance where he can pull his gun and kill someone.
    Maybe a person in his house has no recourse if he/she feels threatened/attacked.
    But a person in a car has at least two:
    “D” and “R.”

    Also, a note to the police: If some clown calls 9/11 almost every week, maybe the problem isn’t in the neighborhood he/she lives in, maybe it’s the person on the other end of the line making the calls.
    This clown cried “WOLF!” so much, someone on the police should have figured out that a person this paranoid was more likely to mistake a lamb for a wolf, and shoot it, than ever find a real wolf to take aim at.

    Oh, and in the unlikely event that this ever makes it to trail, Zimmerman will most likely have an all, or mostly, white jury.
    In the idiotic “War on Drugs,” actually, more accurately, a “War on Black People,” when you’re convicted, not only do you lose your right to vote, you are also, then, taken out of the jury-pool.
    That’s a nice little double-feature that people don’t think about, and that helps insure that MORE black people end up in jail – or, in FL, on Death Row.

    I hope the DOJ nails this asshole to the wall.
    But we already know the response from the delusional right:
    That Nigra President just sent his Nigra AG to frame a nice white(r) man for killing that trouble-making teenage N*gger.

    One last mini-rant:
    We have too many mental defectives in this country. And somehow or other, a lot of them seem to find gainful employment as local, state, and even federal legislators.
    AKA: Politicians.
    Which means that we have more than enough mental defectives in this country to elect these f*cking idiots.
    If you’re a f*cking idiot, why would you vote for someone other than another f*cking idiot? The only language you’re fluent in is “f*cking idiot,” so how could you be expected to understand anyone who’s not?

    Rush, FOX, and the NRA, have been far more effective at destroying this country than any “Fifth Columnists” we were warned about ever could have been.
    Too many people in this country are stupid, ignorant, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and/or homophobic. And the Righties exploit that for fun, power, and profit.

    In the words of the great classic cartoon, “Pogo:”
    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  7. Oh, this is one of your best posts ever. I’ve been pondering much of it myself the past few days, particularly your last paragraph about Trayvon Martin’s right to “stand his ground.”

    Non-crazy folk, let’s review: a 17-year-old male is walking along the sidewalk with a pocketful of snacks when a large, creepy-looking, possibly intoxicated middle-aged male with a gun starts to follow him.

    What the hell kind of world do we live in when the creepy stalker with the gun is the threatened party? I think it’s pretty clear what Trayvon must’ve thought, even though he probably didn’t know the names “John Wayne Gacy” or “Jeffrey Dahmer.”

    This is a tragic loss of a young life, but if any good comes out of it, I hope it’s the repeal of this insane law, and a new look at the attitudes and goals of the NRA.

  8. “What will they do if two gun-toters shoot and wound each other in a he-said-vs-he-said situation? And who will be responsible if bystanders are shot by shooters who are “in compliance” with this ill-defined excuse for belligerence?”

    I don’t have the links handy but in 2006 in FL there was a gang shootout in which an innocent bystander was killed. The three gang members involved were either acquitted or had charges dropped, because all were deemed to be covered under this law and were “defending” themselves.

    This situation exposes the law as obviously flawed. Yesterday, the two GOP sponsors of it said that the law was not meant to let Zimmerman off with no charges in a case like this. Even they have called for Zimmerman to be arrested.

    But in its rawest form, what this law says is if someone comes after you with a gun, you fight back and get injured or killed, nothing can be done to the shooter because they were “defending themselves.” So essentially, only the possesor of the gun has a right to “self defense.”

    So what is FL saying? Everybody get a gun?

  9. Good question. And damn it, Trayvon Martin should not have had to die in order for the citizens of the state of Florida to provide an answer. I suspect there are a lot of disturbed people in Florida, walking around muttering “Hoocoodanode” or some version of it to themselves, trying to conform their pictures of “self-defense” to what happened in this case — and failing.

  10. Surely some conservative is introducing a bill to force anyone who wants to buy a gun to watch a video of news reports of small children getting shot accidentally by guns in their own houses. After all, it’s information, and as we know from the ultrasound bills, conservatives are all about making sure people have plenty of information.

    I’m kidding, of course. Conservatives are eight-year-olds in the back seat of the car, holding their finger a half-inch away from their five-year-old sister’s eye, saying “I’m not TOUCHING you! I’m not TOUCHING you!” And when the car goes over a bump and they poke their sister in the eye, “It’s NOT MY FAULT!”

    And yes, I’m curious what the reaction would have been if Trayvon Martin had had a gun, “stood his ground” and blown George Zimmerman away. No, I’m not really curious; I know full well.

  11. But we already know the response from the delusional right:
    That Nigra President just sent his Nigra AG to frame a nice white(r) man for killing that trouble-making teenage N*gger.

    Or they can simply say the same thing by saying...”I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!”

  12. People also need to understand that even under Florida law, one cannot successfully claim self-defense as a complete defense if they used excessive force under the circumstances. If a jury finds excessive force resulting in a homicide, the best you can get out a self-defense claim is voluntary manslaughter. In this case, given that Trayvon Martin, outweighed by 100 pounds, defended himself with his fists alone, Zimmerman knew or should have known that he was facing an unarmed opponent with little likelihood of causing him serious bodily injury. Knowingly (constructive knowledge will suffice) shooting an unarmed opponent who clearly poses no substantial physical threat is a classic case of excessive force.

  13. I’m a resident of Florida, and I don’t (own or) carry a gun.
    I DO carry a well stocked first aid kit in my work vehicle.
    Today (on the job) I was talking with my conservative Christian work partner who told me since he IS a Conservative Christian, he carries his Bible and his hand gun.
    I don’t comprende, but I doubt his first aid box is properly stocked, and I don’t think Jesus has a carry permit.
    This is one of your FINEST posts, Dear Maha!
    Florida has jumped the shark in passing the stand your ground crap.

  14. Ok…I gotta weigh in here, not on this case, but on the gun topic..Please endulge me.I am from Iowa and since gov braindead took office our states concealed carry laws were loosened . The results have been over whelming. THOUSANDS of new people are now permitted to carry a concealed weapon.(for those of you that say this will reduce crime I point you to our state statistics which show crime has actually INCREASED since the new laws took affect so don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining).

    It has come to a point where local bussinesses have been forced to post signs on their doors prohibiting fire arms.. including the market where I shop for groceries. And thats where the problem starts. I read the local “rants and raves” section of Craigslist daily. There was a conversation about this topic where the “good guys” were BOASTING that they went in to such places WITH THEIR GUNS all the time. Instead of just going to another store where no signs are posted they go ON PURPOSE to the stores that have specific policies against guns on their property. They brag how “nothing will happen to them” and the “stores have no right” and that the “only thing the store can do is ask them to leave and even if the store calls police there is nothing the police can do except ask them to leave.” This is the mindset of those carrying guns.. It isnt how can we carry our guns lawfully , it’s how can we make the laws run over anyone who rejects our guns? They challenge the notion anyone has a right to choose not to have guns around them.

    Then came the really paranoid stuff. 2 years ago , one night after the state fair( and off of fair grounds) 2 groups of teen agers got into a fight. It so happened that some of the kids were black and some white. The white kids got their butts kicked and even though our black community is out numbered in a major way by the number of white folks , the white people freaked out and dubbed that night” beat whitey night”, so the following year many expected trouble on that same night. Now it was a sad thing that happened but kids fight..thats the reality. The fight didnt involve any regular fair goers- just a couple groups of teen age kids. The general public was never at risk. I am a 100 lb woman and I was walking in that area that night ALONE. There were teen age kids every where some scuffling with each other over typical teen age crap. I saw a few fights but I never felt afraid because the events didnt involve me and there are police out the wazoo who dealt with it.I have seen lots of kids fighting over my many years in many places.And long after I am gone it will be happening. This is no social crisis..however……….

    It became one.This is Iowa, Ok? We have nothing to do here. So the State fair is a really really HUGE deal. I used to take roses to the rose show(and I won a lot of ribbons / awards for the roses I grew). I did not attend the fair this year because I was afraid to. Nor will I ever attend again. Why? Because of the reactions of paranoid whackjob gun nuts who are so insecure, so afraid, so out there they are too afraid to attend the fair for a corn dog without being strapped with weapons, despite the RULES that prohibit guns from the fair grounds( except for those people who are at the fair for a shooting competition or exibit).

    For a month leading up to the fair people posted on the “rants and raves” section of craigslist that they were “going with their guns to the fair on beat whitey night just in case anyone decided to get froggy” they promised now that they were allowd to carry guns “the results would be very different”. They were going on purpose WITH their guns, to the fair LOOKING for trouble and they would be the equalizer who would stop it all Clint Eastwood style with 6 shots.

    The fact that GROWN adults who are entrusted by state permit to carry a concealed weapon were going to the fairgrounds hunting for teen agers who were fighting to break up a imagined race war with their guns is f’ing insane! It is one thing to deal with trouble when it is in your face, but to go looking for it under the protection of a concealed carry law is a real problem. Brave guys(snark) posted that they would shoot first and ask questions later and they had no fear since they , after all , had a permit and they would let the chips fall where they may, but they felt justice would side with them and their right to carry. They claimed I would thank them when some thug stole my purse and they capped them and returned my purse to me.(helpless little me I should just let the big tough men with guns handle it for me and shut it) . Let me tell you, the person who steals my purse would WISH someone would just shoot them before I was done. I can assure you, I wouldnt go someplace if I didnt think I could handle myself and I would be OUTRAGED if anyone was ever shot for taking my purse. Nothing in it will ever matter to me more than a persons life. Even a “bad guy”(the faceless boogie man who is lurking around the corner to get us all these whack jobs are so terrified of.

    But lets put all that aside. Now I dont know how your state fair is. But if you have ever been to our state fair you know it is crowded..VERY crowded. Wall to wall people who you pray washed this month. You cannot go a hour without accidently touching someone else.Bumping shoulders, stepping on toes, ect. Do you get the point? Strollers and small children are EVERYWHERE.Even late at night. Now I just stole a ladys purse and your gonna fire a shot at me to stop me ok? I am not gonna hold still like a target you shoot at the range. I am gonna zig zag thru the crowd. What are the chances when you fire you will hit me? Or one of the few hundred innocent people who will be blocking for me?

    Part of the responsibility of owning a gun is knowing when it is un safe to fire it. There is no regard for the innocents who got in the way as long as paranoid whack job gun toter is safe. Right?

    And personally, if I was so afraid of going for a corn dog that I couldnt feel safe going without a gun I would never endanger my family by taking them. Thats a heavier situation than I want to be in and 6 shots aint gonna fix it.That is neglect to take your kids to someplace you KNOW is that unsafe.

    I was a street kid from the time I was 12. I made it with no gun.As a tiny little lady when I see a grown man more afraid for his security, so terrified he needs a gun I dont see him as a man anymore. Who wants to be braver than her man? Someone that afraid is NOT going to make reasoned choices with the gun. They will end up being knee jerked and reactionary. Here it has given people the idea they can go places they know are un safe and that they other wise would not go.

    So I wont go to the fair anymore until they install metal detectors at the door that protect me from people who think they have the power Of their God with these weapons and feel totally comfortable that they will only hit the bad guy when they fire into a crowd of fair goers in a situation that would make a sharp shooting expert crap his pants. It would be insane to take a child into that situation.

    I assume it will be a long time, however, before that happens. When there were calls for a “gun free fair” the gun nuts took to right wing radio and demanded their right to carry a gun at the fair saying it was STATE PROPERTY and therefore the people owned it and the grounds had no right to prohibit guns. Nothing happened and guns were not allowed, but no one was checked. I wont go to any large event any more unless there is screening.

    I am not anti gun. As a Harley riding lady who has friends I have lost in deer vs motorcycle wrecks I am pro hunting because they are over populated.(rush would have a field day with the moral behavior of our deers, then demand video) , but I gotta tell ya I am still of the thinking that you may have a constitutional right to guns. Buy a million of em!.I dont argue that.. I believe you have the right to bare them. Bare doesnt mean shoot. If I bare my chest that doesnt mean I will fire…LOL. There is no right in the constitution to bullets.NONE. Bullets kill people.If you really want to end gun deaths stop making more bullets. There is no legal right to ammo.

  15. Would Zimmerman’s armed (contrary to neighborhood watch rules) pursuit (contrary to police advice via 911 operator) not constitute an aggravating factor? Is that applicable in this instance? How can it be “standing your ground” when you are chasing someone?

  16. I am part of the neighborhood watch in my community. We have T-shirts that identify us as neighborhood watch. When there is a question about access at the pool, I ask to see a pool pass. Twice last week, I called police to report trespassing. I don’t enjoy being called foul names by mouthy little bastards less than half my age who don’t live here.

    I don’t go armed and I could. A gun is not a magic wand. If you are armed, you have to shoot, rather than let an individual or group take the gun away from you. So I go armed with a phone and my wits and thus far, I have been able to stare down the kids. If trespass was a capital crime I would not have survived my teens. But when I got caught, I shut up and got out.

    There’s a reason I stake out my ‘turf’. My 8-year-old daughter and wife were ready to quit using the pool last year because it was getting rude and dangerous. Now I’m on the Home Owners Association Board and I’m part of neighborhood watch.

    I guess what I’m pointing out is that this yahoo is in the minority. Most people in a neighborhood watch are just trying to look out for themselves and their neighbors. That’s how it should work and mostly it does. This guy was way outside the boundaries and given the facts, I don’t see why he hasn’t been charged, even under Florida law.

  17. I suggest that, since the majority of these yahoo’s are male, instead of ‘Concealed Carry,” we have ‘Gun-out/D*ck-out’ laws.

    If you decide to carry a gun, it must be worn where it can be seen at all times – and you must also walk around with your d*ck and balls hanging out.

    What kind of a p*ssy wants to conceal their gun?
    Wear it with pride.
    Display your privates with pride.

    Why have a ‘gun-out/d*ck-out’ laws?
    So we can check the calibers.

    My bet is, the higher the caliber, and the more rounds, the smaller the d*ck and balls.

    And if you drive a Hummer, or a pick-up whose bed still looks brand spanking new, AND you have guns, you will be required to also carry a magnifying glass – not to inspect the gun, which I’m sure will be huge, and must be exposed as part of the ‘Gun-out,’ but so we can actually see what’s down there as far as the ‘Dick-out.’

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the NRA, Rush, Grover Norquist, FOX News, and the Jesus freaks, have done more to destroy this country, than any group of outside forces ever could have.
    We were warned for decades about some mythical The “Fifth Column.”
    I think I’ve found the real problem – ‘The Five ‘Calumnist’s’.”

  18. Doug, you make excellent points. There are right and wrong ways to perform “neighborhood watch.” Zimmerman is a pure example of how NOT to do it. Everything I’ve learned about him in the past few days suggests he was more of a danger to his neighbors than any sort of help.

  19. Why was the neighborhood watch tolerant of this Zimmerman? Were the other members such frequent callers to 911? Was he clearly over the top for the situation and neighborhood? There is a lot yet to be found out about the background of this group and its members. Has anyone seen a report on the neighborhood and its population make-up? Is there even a crime problem there? What did Zimmerman do for a living that he had time for such volunteering?

    If the local news people don’t put together an in-depth report on the background of this event, they’re no better than our locals. Low information leads to low growth.

  20. As more investigations take place, I believe we will see many of the “facts” of this situation are not actually fact. The police and particularly the chief seem to have been on Zimmerman’s side from the start, and may be facing charges themselves.

    Yesterday on MSNBC I heard that Zimmerman had not, in fact, taken the training to be a neighborhood watch person, and I’m skeptical of how much of his claim to be a “neighborhood watch” was official, and how much just a claim from his cop-wannabe ego.

    It’s pretty clear that, even with Florida’s cockamamie “stand your ground” law, the cops had grounds to arrest Zimmerman and let him tell the judge he was ‘standing his ground’, but they didn’t, and it sounds like they did a lot that was bad procedure.

  21. great post awesome comments gun out/dick out wow what a hoot, bigger the caliber the smaller the balls got to be true. I have had run ins with condo commandos they are small minded paranoid people who invent crimes that don’t exist and criminals who were never there they revel in their own self importance and are delusional megalomaniacs what transpired in Sanford was 1st degree murder you can not stand your ground when pursuing an unarmed man, lawyers in Fla must be salivating over this case this bastard deserves the chair that police department needs a through investigation as well as the local DA the Feds need to step in to make sure that justice is served this is simply old timey good ole boy cracker bullshit

  22. The NRA, which I understand was behind the Florida law, is hell-bent on establishing a society ruled by the tyranny of the gun. That said, the Florida law gives people the license to take the law into their own hands. Since when has that become the law-of-the-land. Where is SCOTUS? Why hasn’t anyone brought a case to it challenging the law?

    Maha – I have read that SCOTUS has twice ruled that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to individual gun ownership. Any info on the subject?

  23. I can’t be sure, but I got a feeling that the guys who wrote the Stand Your Ground law plagiarized it in part or in spirit from Hammurabi’s Code.

    Although, I can be sure that civilization has taken a step backward with the implementation of that law.

  24. Maha – I have read that SCOTUS has twice ruled that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to individual gun ownership. Any info on the subject?

    There have been two rulings. The gun nuts insist that the first one supports an individual right interpretation, and states that it’s not within the court’s notice that the weapon in question is useful for a militia. (So, it sounds like they’re saying “if there was testimony that a shotgun that was sawed off that short *was* useful, we might have ruled there was a right to have it.”) I’ve seen people argue just as insistently that it is completely *inconsistent* with an individual right to keep and bear arms.

    However, the latest ruling, unless I’ve been grievously misinformed, is very clear that there’s an individual right, and that over-restrictions on that right are subject to challenge.

    A link:

    • Thanks for the answer on SCOTUS and the 2nd Amendment. My focus here was on how the 2nd was understood in the early years of the Republic, especially before the Civil War. And from what I have read it didn’t occur to anyone, including judges, to think in terms of a “collective” or “individual” right. It was just a right. (One of Chief Justice Tandy’s “issues” in the Dred Scott decision was that if they acknowledged that non-whites had standing to bring suit against a white man, next thing you know they’d have to let them own guns, too.) Of course, back then there was no 14th Amendment and so there was no question about whether state or local governments could place restrictions on guns, and many did. It was not unusual for guns to be outlawed in city limits, for example.

      I’m pretty sure the first time the SCOTUS tied gun ownership to being in a “well-regulated militia” was in U.S. v. Miller, 1939. Very basically SCOTUS decided that it was OK for the federal government to ban fully automatic rifles and sawed-off shotguns (in response to violence during Prohibition) because those specific weapons were not essential to maintaining a well-regulated militia. And in the next few handful of cases that touched on gun ownership, they continued to hold that there was no right to own firearms outside of some reasonable connection to a militia. But more recently the SCOTUS “reinterpreted” Miller to say that Miller only applies to regulation of certain firearms and was not a ruling on the 2nd Amendment itself, pretty much opening up the whole “individual” v. “collective” issue again, like a can of worms.

      There is no self-armed militia any more, and there hasn’t been for a long time, and so the militia clause is meaningless today. But back in the day the militias were entities of the states (except when federalized), and I think the way the 2nd was understood originally is that the federal government could not prevent citizens from owning firearms and thereby deprive states of their militias. So it was kind of an individual right that served a collective purpose.

  25. erinyes..Whatever you do…Just don’t piss him off. He’s got all the ingredients to explode like a firecracker. It’s a dangerous combination that you’re dealing with

  26. maha,
    GOP POV:
    “So it was kind of an individual right that served a collective purpose.”

    So, it was SOSHULIZM! Or COMMUNIZM! Can’t tell the difference, they’z all the same.

    No wonder the Supreme Courts determined that it was only right that every God-feerin’ Murkan had the right to own as many guns, and semi-automatic ones, at that! FREEDOM! LIBERTY!
    Now, if only we righteous NRA members could own fully automatic ones, and whatever caliber we wanted.

    Oh, and maybe then, this SCOTUS take another look at Roe, Griswold, Brown, Plessy, and Dred Scott, over-throw the first three, and uphold the last two?
    That’s LONG overdue!

  27. Swami,
    You’re right, amd it gets better;
    his son-in-law is an unemployed Iraq war vet with TBI, his wife is very ill and they’re trying to get her on disability, and he’s going through bankrupsy proceedings.He also has anger “management” issues.
    Thank goodness I know when to hold my tongue and how to difuse heated conversation.Sometimes being right or winning the arguement is not the best thing.

  28. Pingback: Links 3/25/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  29. When will “they” understand” that criminals don ‘t give a hoot about ANY. gun laws?!
    Someone gets killed by a car, ban cars
    By a knife, ban knives
    By a baseball bat, ban baseball bats

    When the bastards come through your door, you don’t have time to go to your safe and get your gun , moron(s)! Maybe you all should watch Investigation Discovery and see the real deal you Commie liberal s.o.b.’s!!

    • When will “they” understand” that criminals don ‘t give a hoot about ANY. gun laws?!

      James — Wow, did you ever not read the post at all. You have no idea what I actually wrote, do you? And you probably don’t appreciate why your comment makes you look really, really stupid. But thanks for helping to illustrate part of my point.

  30. James,
    Not just brainwashed – but rinsed, bleached, dried, ironed, permed, and set.

    Take a V*lium, son.
    No, take two.
    Maybe some nice W*llbutrin to wash them down.

    BEHIND YOU – LOOK OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. They don’t need to know what you or I think, or read what we write.

    We’re Liberals, so they’ve been told how we think, and what we write.

    Just skipping to the comments, not only saves them time, but they don’t have to sully, or waste, their “beautiful minds” in the process.

  32. Pingback: The Mahablog » Another Piece of the Zimmerman Puzzle

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