sgsguru: (Default)
There's one and one thing only that will matter in the Zimmerman trial -- the judge's instructions to the jury.

What happened is obvious:
  1. Zimmerman, in his car, sees Martin "acting suspiciously" (walking while black, ducking into a doorway during a rain shower.)
  2. He calls 911.  The operator tells him *not* to follow Martin and that police are on the way.
  3. He follows Martin anyway.  He is carrying a gun in violation of his "neighborhood watch" policy.
  4. Martin freaks out.
  5. At some point, Zimmerman stops his car, gets out, and confronts Martin.
  6. Fisticuffs ensue.  Zimmerman, despite outweighing Martin by 100 lbs, gets the worst if it.
  7. When Martin has him on the ground and is slamming his head into the pavement, Zimmerman assumes he's in deadly danger, pulls his gun, and shoots Martin.
Was Zimmerman in deadly danger at the time he shot Martin?  Yes; getting one's head slammed into the pavement is a serious matter.  But the only reason that he was in that position was that he had, against explicit instructions, deliberately put himself there.  So the whole thing depends on exactly what the law "really" means -- and that is the responsibility of the judge.

My own cynical take -- white man shoots black teenager == justified.  This is Florida, after all.

"I know how good a gun feels. It makes you bright-eyed and bushy- tailed, three meters tall and covered with hair. You're ready for anything and kind of hoping you'll find it. Which is exactly what is dangerous about it-because you aren't anything of the sort."  -- Tunnel in the Sky, Robert Heinlein

 

Or, as somebody else put it more pithily:  "Guns make you stupid."
sgsguru: (Default)
Connie Shultz, wife of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and real journalist writes about a woman who was carjacked and did everything right:

In this story, Ms Yee did almost everything exactly right, and she did do everything that needed to be done. The only thing she could have done better would have been to hit the "panic button" on her car key. Hard to think of everything ...

It's interesting to consider a case like this in the context of the current gun debate. What would have happened if Ms Yee had had a gun? Best case, it would have played out exactly like it did. Problem is, she had a gun pointed at her. She had no time to get her own (theoretical!) gun into action. Grabbing for it would probably have caused the attacker to shoot. If somehow she did manage to get her own gun out, she'd be in a gun battle at zero range, inside a car. Bad, bad, bad.

Problem with the pro-gun types is that they talk in terms of imaginary scenarios. It's far more useful to look at real-life situations like this one. The main problem with the scenarios that the pro-gun types use is that they ignore the time it takes to get a defensive gun into action -- a dead-flat minimum of two seconds. On the street, a heck of a lot can happen in that two seconds, and experienced robbers know how to keep a situation ambiguous until the last possible instant.

Another problem with the pro-gun types is that they assume that they will always be able to identify a situation requiring deadly force. Cops have trouble with this one. Harmless street person panhandling or robber? Life is ambiguous. Deal with it.

I may do a post later with my views on self-defense and martial arts. I have a lot of experience with American style wrestling, Judo, and Aikido. I have taught (as an assistant, not a primary) women's self defense. My opinions on the subject are pretty much The Common Wisdom, with some additions from experience, plus some things that are probably so "common wisdom" that they never get mentioned.

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