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.