Am I Wrong? Trayvon and George


I originally posted this as a response to a blog post on another site. I thought I’d share it here to see what others thought…

I would like to put in my two cents worth. The fact that Trayvon or any other 17-year-old person was shot and killed is truly a tragedy. Do I think that George should have been convicted of manslaughter. However, Florida’sStand Your Groundlaw obscures at least in part  the definition where by which manslaughter convictions can be handed down because it at it allows an opportunity to use deadly force while lacking clearly defined guidelines for when its appropriate.  Why is this? Because it is the job of the courts to evaluate cases in which the law is evoked and provide an interpretation that may or may not be adopted either as a whole or in part as the courts official interpretation of the law. Sadly Florida’s law “Stand Your Ground” is lacking in such interpretations and therefore open to the risk of bad judgments.think that George should have been convicted of manslaughter. However, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law obscures at least in part  the definition where by which manslaughter convictions cab be handed down because it at it allows an opportunity to use deadly force while lacking clearly defined guidelines for when its appropriate.  Why is this? Because it is the job of the courts to evaluate cases in which the law is evoked and provide an interpretation that may or may not be adopted either as a whole or in part as the courts official interpretation of the law. Sadly Florida’s law “Stand Your Ground” is lacking in such interpretations and therefore is open to the risk of bad judgments. I think that George would not have been found guilty of the murder 2 charge in most other states as well, but I do think that had it been tried outside of Florida he would have been convicted on manslaughter, not involuntary manslaughter but manslaughter there is a difference. I don’t think he went out with the intent to kill someone but he did choose to carry a gun and he also chose  to not receive proper training in using it in self-defense and because of which someone died needlessly.

That said…

I personally find in the aftermath of this tragedy the actions of people on both sides of the this issue to be appalling. Anyone dumb enough to listen to the Queen of Oxycontin* (Limbaugh) and Anne Coulter and take what they say as fact are truly misguided individuals. The right-wing with all of its self-importance and belief that it speaks for the majority of people is wrong and I could go endlessly siting cases of their hating, baiting, and most importantly their hypocrisy, but that’s a story for another day.

Those who seek to label this as another example of white vs black racism. I don’t see that either. I’ve always believed the “Whites” referred to those of European descent that were devoid of mixed heritage with races that fall into categories of minorities. George’s mother is Peruvian and because of that George both through his mother and his own Latino features has had to have at times been the victim of racist attitudes and the victim of racist actions. I would think and maybe I’m wrong, but based on his own life experiences one would think he should have some sympathy towards others who would find themselves victims of similar archaic and incorrect attitudes. Perhaps I’m mistaken but I don’t group Latinos in with other whites when it comes to the “us vs them” racial issues, but then again I don’t think in the “us vs them” mentality that polarizes people into the different camps.  I try to live by the idea of judging people by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin…

* Rush Limbaugh’s admission of an addiction to Oxycontin brings into focus the true depth of hypocrisy and intolerance to which he will go, and given his support of the GOP which, during the congressional page scandal fielded more same sex dalliances than their democratic counter-parts at the time when they were openly militantly anti-gay. He will forever be referred to by me as the Queen of Oxycontin.

About MartyW47

Attending Triton College. Studying Emergency Services Management & Criminal Justice. Currently employed @ MPPD & Aflac. After 30 years out of school I'm back in College and having a Blast!
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6 Responses to Am I Wrong? Trayvon and George

  1. Hmmm…I have some different views, but think this is well thought out argument.

    • MartyW47 says:

      Thanks Karen! Feel free to expand on your views this is open forum and I know not everyone is going to agree with me and I accept that. Your comments are always welcome here! 🙂

  2. reocochran says:

    I would definitely (I am a pacifist!) choose as a juror, not to “cave in” and go with not guilty! I feel at least manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter are appropriate. The “911” dispatcher (I think) said not to follow the man, Trayvon, but George did. There was no reason to shoot, especially since T. was not armed. I am glad you are stating the laws of that state, explaining more clearly the situation and how you would stand, if asked. I was on several juries, in Delaware, Ohio. I also was in an unfortunate situation more than once, during my child advocate position year and a half. I had my parents and friends write indignant letters how this woman who was protected and in the battered women’s shelter was facing a charge of contempt of court and possible jail time, if she did not allow visitation with her ex, alleged at the time, of sexually abusing his oldest daughter of 15 and wanting to “visit” with his 11 year old daughter. While on the courthouse steps, (this is in one of my posts), the alleged abuser and wife beater pivoted while shackled with handcuffs, aimed the sheriff’s gun towards us and managed to hit poor Debbie Staley in the head three times. As a ‘vegetable’, I visited her often until I left Lancaster, read how Ransom Staley managed to escape from the minimum security prison (after all, he did not kill her!) and had a woman who was wanting to marry him! They caught the two halfway across the country on their way to Vegas to marry. In that news and search, I heard updates on the kids, one 11 year old girl, in foster care, older sister, then 15 now married to a cop, sure she feels safer… twin brothers age 4, then, were adopted and her older brother was also like 15 year old, grown and seemed to be living a better life. I hope that this is not too long to tell you that the justice system disappointed me in the cases with battered women, along with my getting way too close in another situation, including my 2 chlldren at the time, made me leave the town and child advocacy program.

    • MartyW47 says:

      Thanks Robin! Yes I couldn’t agree more, George should have been convicted of manslaughter, He made terrible decisions and the result was that a young man was killed. My own experiences in law enforcement and dealing with “law of the land” shows that at times the best of intention laws sometimes lead to tragic results this is I believe truly the case here. Although I agree that people should have the right to carry a weapon if they choose they should also be required to become educated in the proper use of it and it would also be prudent that they be tested to prove that they can handle the responsibility they’ve chosen to accept. Though I will also concede that until that situation really arises there is no telling how that individual may react and all the tests and training might not have made the outcome of this tragedy any different. We’ll never truly know with 100% certainty what exactly happened in the moments that led up to the shooting, all we can do is examine what little evidence is available and draw our conclusions from there. I don’t think George went out with the intent to shoot anyone, but I do think that his lack of any real preparedness before going out to confront Trayvon coupled with his ignoring warnings from the police dispatcher definitely set the stage for events to unfold the way they did and the Florida Law designed to help innocent citizens protect themselves definitely was in play as the ground work that allowed it to happen.

  3. Marty this has been a hot topic and it seems there is much on either side with regard to personalities, backgrounds as I read Trayvon had a long criminal history at his young age. The problem is that we sometimes have to fill in the blanks. Being a block captain where I live, I don’t carry a gun and don’t intend to. I know of block captains who behave as though they are the law when they aren’t. Obviously George did sustain injuries and a concusion. Unless he did that to himself, it had to occur in the confrontation. Trayvon did not live in that area and supposedly shouldn’t have been there. If I was overtaken by someone I’d have to fight to the best of my ability. If I had a gun, I would take courses to use it properly, but still wouldn’t choose to kill someone with it. I’d be apt to slow them down by shooting in their leg or something like that. I just hope that if George was guilty of inappropriate use of force, that he makes better decisions from this point forward.
    Good points here. I enjoy lively debates.
    And you are a good facilitator
    Yisraela

    • MartyW47 says:

      You make great points Yisraela! I did intentionally stay away from the actual conflict as it went according to the evidence that was available. You are correct George did sustain injuries while struggling with Trayvon. As I’m sure your aware, as a neighborhood watch person your suppose to report what your seeing and not attempt to engage the subject yourself, that’s the policeman’s job, it’s what we’re trained for it’s what we prepare for. Sadly, George either didn’t hear or ignored the police dispatcher reminding him of that. Trayvon did have some trouble in the past but nothing that would mark him as violent. Florida’s juvenile laws are probably not to dissimilar from other states and he had no “adult” convictions so whatever his record was beyond the school releasing his 3 suspensions should be sealed and inaccessible to the public. His three suspensions were for non violent offenses and the type a lot of kids his age get, truancy, graffiti, and drug residue. They did struggle but what or who started the struggle isn’t clear and George was the adult.

Please feel free to reply to anything posted here! I'm always happy for feedback good or bad... Thanks!

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