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ZIMMERMAN VERDICT PART 19: LESSONS — No Comments

  1. You’ll notice even his (soon to be) ex-wife is using the “he’s a gun crazed psychopath” excuse now in her divorce case.

  2. Excellent set of articles!!! Do you mind if I repost links to them on mymy wife’s blog?

    And for the record, I haven’t trusted anything the news says (including the weatherman) for many, many years now.

  3. Have not had a chance to read thru all of these, but you should consider consolidating all of them into a single page or ZIP file for us that would like to read them to catch up on…

  4. “…I don’t think anything Zimmerman did within the totality of the circumstances was the proximate cause of the death…”

    Nor do I, but it might end up being the proximate cause of his own death, and certainly caused the end of his life as he once knew it. Worse, it could end up doing the same to others if their actions prior to the shooting mirror his.

    And that is the point I’ve been trying to get you to address under the heading of “lessons learned”. While I agree with, have learned from, and much appreciate most everything in this series, if this installment is meant to encompass all lessons learned and act as a guide to others, in this regard it has fallen far short.

  5. @chris,

    Grab a six pack of your favorite brew, sit down, and read his GZ series end to end. It’s very refreshing to hear the honest, no bull side of the trial.

    One thing about the defense fund I am curious about is why it is still up. I donated some to his fund the night before jury deliberation in case of an appeals process, but since he has been acquitted, why haven’t they taken it down or at least mention what current donations are going towards? The only thing he needs a lawyer for now is suing MSNBC, in which case it wouldn’t be a “defense fund” anymore.

  6. Not too long ago I found myself on the receiving end of that be-all and end-all of arguments: “If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, Trayvon would be alive”. And I gave the same answer you have, Mas: “Yes, certainly. It’s Zimmerman who would be dead”.

    Again, thank you so much for the whole series. I wish I could’ve read something like that during the trial, to help keep my sanity while so much misinformation was being thrown around!

  7. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the self anointed successors to MLK would probably respond to Mas’ last wise comment by proclaiming to their choir:

    “It’s better to have a dead, racist white Hispanic than a dead, innocent little black child, who has never done anything wrong in his entire life.”

  8. jtc, if you’re saying that people “shouldn’t get involved” as being the eyes and ears of law enforcement in Neighborhood Watch, I get it. Pretty sad lesson, though, and as I’ve already said, I think it’s going to result in some people leaving that excellent program, or deciding not to join it. I think the result of that will be a net loss in crime prevention, because Neighborhood Watch has done a great deal of good over the years.

  9. @jtc – What, exactly, *is* the point you have been trying to get Mas to post on your behalf? Your post above is clear as mud, and your ‘point’ is not apparent.

    Mas – “…I don’t think anything Zimmerman did within the totality of the circumstances was the proximate cause of the death…”

    JTC – “Nor do I, but it might end up being the proximate cause of his own death, and certainly caused the end of his life as he once knew it. Worse, it could end up doing the same to others if their actions prior to the shooting mirror his.”

    So you think that the collective rest of the world should avoid doing *any* of the things that GZ did that night? Because the totality of what he did do (legally carry a gun, act as a member of the Neighborhood Watch, call 911, defend himself from a murderous assault, survive) doesn’t really seem to be such a bad list of things. In fact they seem to be the proximate cause of his surviving the evening…unless you are implying ‘he shouldn’t have gotten involved at all’?

    I do find it fairly amusing that you complain that Mas hasn’t made the point you have been trying to get him to address, and that you expected this blog entry to “encompass all lessons learned and act as a guide to others”. I do believe that if Mas could read your mind (through the internet) and he had the time and inclination to write another full length book, he could probably have satisfied you…but perhaps not.

  10. “If George Zimmerman hadn’t been carrying a gun routinely on a night he wasn’t expecting trouble, he would probably be dead.”

    Of course, had he not been carrying, he might have just called 911 and let the LEO handle the situation. Does being armed and feeling empowered make you more likely to confront someone than call LEO…for some people, maybe so.

    Zimmerman has been found not guilty but he is still not innocent IMHO.

  11. One lesson for me is we as a nation are not doing too well on “E Pluribus Unum.” We sure have the “many,” but are far away from achieving the “one” part of the slogan on our coinage.

    I am not much for “giving back to the community.” However, I realize others are into “giving back to the community” and that George Zimmerman may well have been one of these people.

    A lesson these people should take away from this incident is good intentions will not protect you, especially from people with an agenda.

  12. “”@jtc – What, exactly, *is* the point you have been trying to get Mas to post on your behalf? Your post above is clear as mud, and your ‘point’ is not apparent.

    Mas – “…I don’t think anything Zimmerman did within the totality of the circumstances was the proximate cause of the death…”

    JTC – “Nor do I, but it might end up being the proximate cause of his own death, and certainly caused the end of his life as he once knew it. Worse, it could end up doing the same to others if their actions prior to the shooting mirror his.”

    So you think that the collective rest of the world should avoid doing *any* of the things that GZ did that night? Because the totality of what he did do (legally carry a gun, act as a member of the Neighborhood Watch, call 911, defend himself from a murderous assault, survive) doesn’t really seem to be such a bad list of things. In fact they seem to be the proximate cause of his surviving the evening…unless you are implying ‘he shouldn’t have gotten involved at all’?

    I do find it fairly amusing that you complain that Mas hasn’t made the point you have been trying to get him to address, and that you expected this blog entry to “encompass all lessons learned and act as a guide to others”. I do believe that if Mas could read your mind (through the internet) and he had the time and inclination to write another full length book, he could probably have satisfied you…but perhaps not.””

    Looking for the like button. Great post. In short, those doubters can have any damn expectations they want. Nothing legally stopping them from expecting more than there IS. What happened, happened. GZ did what he thought was appropriate, and a jury found him not guilty. I don’t know if I’d have done what he did, but it doesn’t matter. There is no generic through-put on the outcome that we can apply to every situation. Each situation is unique unto itself, and the facts and evidence bear it out in the end. No template can cover the details to satisfy every skeptic, and armchair quarterbacking is pretty easy to do on Monday morning. Even if there was an exact timeline of events accurately portrayed about this, or any similar event, there can be no way of knowing what each of us would do until we are on the bubble when the balloon goes up. Life is ugly, people aren’t perfect, shit happens. Why do so many continue to act as if they know the answers to the test before it’s given. We can only do the best we can do. Either live with that or don’t, but it’s truth. And the truth sits in the middle….and knows.

  13. The message delivered by the “black community” and the “Main Stream Media” is “DO NOT GET INVOLVED! Do not defend yourself. Die like a good little dimmie slave while begging the SUPERIOR BLACK RACE for forgiveness.” Geoff Who after the Zimmerman affair WILL NEVER VOTE TO CONVICT if I am on ANY jury at ANY level.

  14. @steve, that is one large assumption. Yes one must be more aware when one is carrying, but one is usually not going to be more *brazen* because one is carrying.

    You are also ignoring that he DID call law enforcement, and requested their presence. What I think you meant to say is that he would have stayed in his truck. It would be very assuming to say that he wouldn’t have exited his truck when the dispatcher asked him where Martin was headed, if he wasn’t armed. I tend to think he was not consciously making those decisions based on his weaponry, but rather based on his desire to report on Martin and his duty as neighborhood watch.

  15. Looks as if the lines are pretty well drawn between those that espouse doing nothing and reserving the right to criticize, those who would kill them all and let God sort ’em out, and those in between those two extremes that believe that self defense is not only a right but a possibility they might have to exercise some day. The latter have followed this series of posts asking common sense questions and posing alternatives that might help them survive a similar situation and its aftermath. Thank you Mas, you have done an excellent analysis of this case drawing on your years of study and experience. I would think you are also a great police officer after witnessing your patience with some of those who have little or no real world experience, whose life seems to revolve around their sense of moral superiority and righteousness. I sincerely hope they never face a deadly force scenario in their lives.

  16. I saw some conjecture at another blog about the way the situation would have developed if GZ carried the pistol in Condition 3 into the confrontation, or if he went from C3 to C1 right before the physical confrontation.

    Mas, what are your thoughts on that? Apologize, if you’ve already written about that in this series; I haven’t read all the parts.

  17. @charles d:

    He still needs a legal defense fund because he still owes around a million dollars to his legal defense team. And though he’s very likely to win a multimillion dollar settlement in his case(s) against NBC for their edited and misleading 911 recording broadcasts, and against the prosecutors office for their intentional withholding of evidence, he’s also very likely to be sued soon in civil court by Martin’s family for millions – after all, that’s the whole reason they hired lawyers who hired a major PR firm. They want a ready jury of lemmings so they can make millions off their dead criminal son. Even if he prevails against that coming lawsuit, it’s going to cost a LOT of money in legal fees.

  18. @steve:

    I can’t speak for Mr. Zimmerman, but I can tell you that I routinely carry and if anything, I am more polite and not “emboldened” or antagonistic when I carry. I realize that when carrying I must hold myself to a higher standard than the average unarmed citizen. I think my creed on this subject is the norm amongst honest, law-abiding CCW holders.

  19. @Geoff a well known Skeptic: I wouldn’t go as far as you, but ‘do not get involved’ is certainly the lesson here, whether we decide to follow that or not. And it also certainly is what a sizable portion of the population and a majority of the government, want us to do. Only local cops in non-urban areas seem to appreciate people’s involvement. So coming down hard on people who act is about sending a message (be and stay a good sheep and accept your fate), not justice.

  20. Mas, you know from my past comments of my respect for you and my appreciation for what you do, including this series. I think you must also know that my concerns are for the many, many who carry and due to lack of proper training think that they are ready and able to use their weapon if only given half a chance…and do not realize that if and when they do, their life is forever changed, no matter how “right” they may be.

    This case goes far beyond itself in terms of teachable moments about decisions and actions that could lead to the need to use deadly force. And while I know your history of teaching avoidance of such confrontations at (almost) any cost, I think that your concentration on the justifiable shooting itself and the immoral and even criminal behavior of those who so desperately wanted to make it seem otherwise, has been at the expense of making the clear and stern case that different decisions and actions on the part of GZ could have saved him from the tragedy that his life has now become…and more importantly could save untold others from the same fate.

    There is no doubt in my mind that GZ himself wishes he had done things differently, and if given the chance (which he may have in the book that you anticipate) would advise others who carry the means to violently and permanently end a confrontation, to do everything possible to avoid confrontations that do not present clear and present danger to themselves and those they are legally or morally bound to protect. That level was not reached in this case until GZ put himself in a position to do that which was absolutely justifiable, but completely avoidable.

    20/20 hindsight? Monday morning quarterbacking? Of course. And too late to save George from his fate, which could have been much worse, but is not to be envied, and certainly not what he would have chosen. But learning from history and mistakes is what teaching is all about, and what I would expect from a teacher of your caliber after all is said an done, in a post entitled “Lessons Learned”.

  21. Mas, not really, no. There has been zero discussion and analysis from you regarding the actions GZ took leading up to the shooting and what others might do differently to avoid the same outcome. And no that doesn’t mean total non-intervention when an active threat is identified, just more careful actions and cognizance of how a perceived or profiled potential threat situation can be handled so as to avoid ruining your own life by allowing escalation to the point that a shooting is unavoidable.

    I know by now that you reject addressing this dimension of the, so this and my last comment were intended for the commenters above who apparently were too busy or lazy to read the entire series and prior comments.

    -30-

  22. My two cents worth on what I’ve learned from following this series:

    1. Don’t invite trouble, especially if you’re carrying. Because you are carrying, you have the greater burden of avoiding/defusing any situation that would require escalation of force to resolve.

    2. Relying on the police to come to your aid when you call 911 involves the realization that sometimes they will be delayed due to priorities, and during those times it may be the case that you will have to use deadly force to protect yourselves and your loved ones. Knowing the gun laws in your state and prior planning to your response to a defensive shooting incident is important. Do you have a good attorney before-the-fact? Do you know what you are going to tell the police when they come? Are you able to identify witnesses?

    3. Having a good lawyer is essential to your defense, both in the criminal and civil cases sure to follow if public outcry outweighs the good judgement of those persons trusted to uphold the law.

    4. A defensive shooting incident involves not only you but your immediate and extended families. Can your family endure the scrutiny and loss of privacy?

    5. Don’t rely on the main stream media to tell your side of the story.

    6. Be prepared to undergo what GZ when through if “tribal” aspects are involved in your case.

    7. Try to use non-lethal methods to deter/stop the attack, if possible.

  23. Well — if I can horn in here, jtc — I must admit to being both busy and lazy, but I did read the series and comments, so I’m not sure whether you are addressing me or not.

    At any rate, this is only a series of short articles. It appears that the author has considered the more important lesson, at least for this venue, to be the ones he mentioned, and he chose not to discuss GZ’s actions in the way you suggest. (Edit to delete speculation on why.)

    I might also like to have his take on it, just to see if it jibes with my own, but to critisize this excellent series too strenuously just because it doesn’t agree with our pet issues could look a bit egocentric on our part, couldn’t it?

    Maybe we can discuss it differently in our own classes, on our own forums.

  24. I agree. However, there is no doubt that Zimmerman was the proximate cause of Martin’s death. The issue was whether he was justified in doing so based on his belief of imminent grave bodily harm. Even IF he went looking for trouble, he was still justified in defending himself under these circumstances.

  25. I too was anxious to see Mas reconcile the higher standard of care notion and his general advice to avoid ‘contacts’ with his support for Zimmerman. I even asked about it earlier in the series. I’m satisfied that he did, but this requires a little subtlety.

    First, Zimmerman was the victim, and any criticism of his actions (all justifiable, if not always advisable) leading up to the assault is dangerously close to blaming that victim, which we wouldn’t dream of doing if talking about a rape.
    Two, I’m as conflicted about this as most of us probably are: while we practice avoidance to spare ourselves some trouble and the risk to others (criminals we might have to shoot or innocents we might hit by mistake), as good guys it’s pretty hard to stomach that doing nothing is the ‘best’ course of action. And calling 911 is realistically doing next to nothing in many cases.

    The issue is too complex for clear-cut, right or wrong answers. Only the antis view it in narrow and simple terms: carrying a gun is wrong because taking a life is wrong – end of story. How comfortable this must be, if you can live with yourself being a coward, that is.
    We (and Mas), on the other hand, realize that things might go terribly awry, but that we STILL have to be prepared to act anyway. It seems like a contradiction, but I don’t think that Mas’ position was ever to tell people to run the other way in all circumstance. I always took his advice as a means to inhibit overly enthusiastic hero/macho impulses, not to paralyze us. Training, mental preparation, legal research, all this is fine and dandy… but only necessary if one day you are willing to act. Otherwise it’s only mental masturbation.

    Martin dressed, acted, and reacted suspiciously, Martin committed assault and Martin stated intent to kill (you have to believe Zimmerman for that one, as I do, but it’s not a requisite), and now Martin is dead. Zimmerman is not to blame; Darwin is. Otherwise any of us can be blamed for carrying a gun and refusing to live in fear. Because unless we’re just posers, Zimmerman, what happened to him, is a potential in all of us.

  26. What happened to “All it takes for evil men to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.” (Sic, probably ).

  27. As usual, Alonzo’s level-headed articulation is better than most. (Thank you Alonzo.) The issue is indeed far too complex for clear-cut, right or wrong answers, and most of us are intelligent enough to recognize the subtleties of Mas’s writing without repetitive bickering and hairsplitting.

    jtc: You are being more than a “little egocentric.” If you are so unhappy with Mas’s take on all of this, how about you go write a “perfect” little blog of your own about it elsewhere? I for one, promise NOT to read it and nitpick it to death.