no third solution

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My Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Incident

March 26th, 2012

trayvon martin

I fear that this case will be spun by the anti-gun folks as further ammunition (no pun intended) for the argument that “civilians” should be further restricted or denied their right to own or carry firearms, and/or as evidence that communities are incapable of self-policing for fear of shoot-first-ask-questions-later vigilantism (an agument which conveniently ignores numerous examples of police misconduct which also falls under the “shoot first” umbrella).

What are overshadowed in these tragic cases are the multiple failures of the municipal police that lead to tragic outcomes like this.

In the Martin case, for example, the police’s previous failures to protect the community created a need for supplemental security which was in this case filled by George Zimmerman. Were police forces at at all capable of protecting the public from legitimate threats at reasonable costs, communities would have no need for supplemental security.  Another narrative is that the police failed to protect the community from George Zimmerman. And last but not least, the police failed to protect Trayvon Martin from Zimmerman by 1) not giving explicit instructions for Zimmerman to back down and/or 2) failing to respond quickly enough to diffuse the situation with (one hopes) a lesser amount of violence.

The Martin case, and others like it, need to be viewed as evidence that the municipal police forces are abject failures not only at a department-specific level (i.e., the “few bad apples” argument), but that the entire model is irrevocably and institutionally flawed.

Failure is built-in because municipal police forces are essentially monopolies of the worst sort: not only are competing defense/security agencies crowded out of the marketplace for such services, in some cases legally precluded, but consumers must pay for the services rendered, whether they like it or not, whether they are performing adequately, whether they are keeping anyone safe, etc. Furthermore, municipal police departments are generally not accountable to their victims (in the case of misconduct/negligence/wrongdoing) or to the members of the public if/when they fail to protect and serve.

Whatever the outcome of the Martin incident, one thing is absolutely certain: justice will not be served.



  • Karl says on: March 28, 2012 at 7:35 am


    I agree 100%. The thing is, they wouldn’t even be talking about the “stand your ground law” if they weren’t trying to defend Zimmerman but its the only defense they have and since thats their defense, opposer’s of the law are going to work to strike it down. There’s another problem here though, according to the law Trayvon had a right to stand his ground too. This strange man was following him, he felt threatened, and in standing HIS ground, to protect himself from bodily harm (as that law states you can do) he retaliated because HE felt threatened by this stranger. Zimmerman’s only job was to call the police. They want to use the law to support Zimmerman’s case but it actually supports Trayvons case.According to the latest reports Trayvon was the aggressor which he had the right to be because HE felt threatened by this strange man so he stood his ground.I love this law,because it gives everyone the right to protect themselves if they feel threatened. It empowered Trayvon to fight back even though he lost his life in doing it. He fought back, stood his ground. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work for Zimmerman. Only thing he is really justified in doing is having a gun. None of his actions are justified.He approached Trayvon, which there were no “grounds” for him to that (especially after the police told him not to pursue). Trayvon had done nothing. Then he intimidated Trayvon, causing him to feel threatened and Trayvon retaliated and according to the law Trayvon who didn’t have a gun, had a right to “stand his ground”. He had nothing or nobody there to protect him and he felt threatened. If the laws were such that even a minor like Trayvon could have had a gun, (maybe 16 should be the law like for driving) he would have had one and Zimmerman would have probably thought twice about approaching him and just would have called the police. If he had of approached Trayvon, and Trayvon had a gun, I believe Trayvon would still be here and Zimmerman would be gone.

    What they should do in honor of Trayvon is not work to get “stand your ground” out but lower the legal age to carry a gun because if Trayvone had of had one, he’d still be here. If they weren’t trying to justify Zimmerman’s actions instead of avenging Tray’s death, no attention would be being brought to this law and nobody would be going after it. Drawing attention to these laws can only support Trayvon, and once they realize it the focus for Zimmermans defense will change. Instead of defending his actions by standing on these laws there going to start whittling away at Trayvons character.They are already showing a new picture of him looking like a young gangster with gold in his mouth. The stand your ground will become a mute point, which it should be. The guestion should be what is the role of watchman

    • David Z says on: March 28, 2012 at 11:58 am


      Hey Karl, thanks for the reply. As to your closing comments about the character assassination attempts, did you happen to notice this piece at Alternet which discredits all of the smear campaigns designed to make Tray seem less-than-sympathetic?

      My personal belief is that Tray probably did not approach Zimmerman, even if he felt threatened (especially?). I think Zimmerman, by all accounts, had a hero complex and was out looking for trouble even if he had to instigate it. There really isn’t any evidence to support Zimmerman’s version of the events, and Martin is dead, so we’ll never know his side of the story, sadly. Your point still stands, though, that if Martin felt threatened he also had a right under the SYG law to defend himself.

      Thanks again for stopping by & for the comment!

      • Karl says on: March 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm


        David – Thanks for shooting that link to me about the smear campaign. I would say unbelievable but its going just the way I said. And whats really sad is as they are working to smear Trayvon, they keep coming up with stuff to make Zimmerman a saint. The latest picture of him ..smiling, suite and tie nice haircut .. Trayvon …chain around his neck, rough and tough looking.Its very obvious how they want this to go. And again I’m in agreement with you about Zimmermans “hero complex”.and it got the best of him. Well we’ll have to wait and see how its going to turn out. Type at you later.

        • David Z says on: March 31, 2012 at 10:27 am


          There was another story I saw came out yesterday (here), the funeral home director who prepped Trayvon’s body said:

          Richard Kurtz, the funeral director who prepared Martin’s body for burial, revealed to CBS News that he saw no bodily injuries on the youth that would indicate a physical struggle with Zimmerman.
          “We could see no physical signs like there had been a scuffle [or] there had been a fight,” said Kurtz. “The hands — I didn’t see any knuckles, bruises or what have you…

          So… the plot thickens…

no third solution

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