In the aftermath of the death of Trayvon Martin, politicians, commentators and ordinary citizens have voiced their disgust and suggested culprits.

On February 26 Trayvon was shot to death at a gated community in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was a self-appointed watchman for the community.

Was Neighborhhod Watch responsible?

Neighborhood watches can perform an extremely valuable service in protecting their neighborhoods from crime. Offical organizations work closely with local police and the members receive proper training as to determining what persons and activities to consider suspicious.

A sampling of those standards is available here, a booklet for neighborhood Watch groups issued by the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s office.


But there was no official Neighborhood Watch operating in Trayvon’s community. So scratch that idea.

There are fifteen (15) types of suspicious activities listed in that booklet such as looking in cars or through a window into a house.

Here is the first part of Zimmerman’s 911 call as he observed Trayvon:

We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. It’s Retreat View Circle. The best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle.

This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about. [00:25]

Was Trayvon Martin acting suspiciously so as to justify the attention of Zimmerman? Not according to that official booklet. Merely walking around doesn’t qualify.
Now an additional element to this story is that Florida has what is known as a “Stand your ground” statute. 
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
A LOT of commentary lays blame squarely on this law. Similar statutes have been enacted in other states. Anecdotal information tells us there has been an increase in “self-defense”killings since its passage.
But George Zimmerman was NOT in a place he was legally entitled to be during the ultimate confrontation with Trayvon. That took place in a resident’s yard . That means that Zimmerman was trespassing, not having permission, direct or implied, to enter someone’s personal real esate. Thus that statute, however right or wrong, simply did not apply.
The investigating authorities obviously were not correctly applying the law.
The increasingly irrelevant and unfathomable Geraldo Rivera came up with his own theory behind the shooting. Trayvon was killed because he was wearing a hoodie.
That doesn’t cut it either. 
If you were not already aware, Trayvon was a young black man. Zimmerman supposedly has some hispanic blood but from photos one would assume he is white. Some of his comments in the 911 call then and previously indicate an inordinate amount of attention to young blacks.
Our nation has a sorry history of young black men ending up dead in an encounter with authorities, though unarmed and their “suspiciousness” being dubious at most.
Associated Press reporter Jesse Washington, a black man, addresses this fact in this column.
He suggests that Trayvon would be alive if he had followed this “Black Men’s Code” as he sets it forth. basically it means no matter how innocent you are, if you are black and stopped by the police, do absolutely nothing to provoke them into possible violence against you.
The problem in the Trayvon case is that he did not encounter a policeman, but a self-appointed vigilante without any indicia of authority.
So these purported reasons for the chain of events that ended in Trayvon Martin’s tragic death:
  1. A neighborhood watch gone wrong
  2. A state law permitting the use of deadly force
  3. Wearing a hoodie
  4. Not adhering to the “black men’s code”

are all pretty much irrelevant.

There is one reason and one reason only for Trayvon’s life being snuffed out.

One man—George Zimmerman—took it upon himself, without any official sanction, and with demands from his neighbors that he cease his “vigilance”, to present himself as the protector of his neighborhood and report someone who was in no way acting suspiciously. He proceeded to maintain his pursuit of Trayvon despite explicit directions to not do so and to await the arrival of law enforcement officers.

He was not “standing any ground” but himself was trespassing in his lust to be a hero.

So the answer as to who to blame for Trayvon Martin’s death is simple and obvious.

George Zimmerman is a murderer and should be charged and tried as such.

Justice demands this. All else is a distraction.

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  • Lawson Hammond  On March 25, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I agree 100%or that Zimmerman should be brought to justice but there’s one thing I want to clear up. Zimmerman was not explicitly told not to follow Martin. The 911 dispatcher said “we don’t need you to do that” when Zimmerman said he would follow Martin. It was not an explicit command to not follow him. 911 operators do not have the authority to issue commands to people.

    • umoc193  On March 25, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      I didn’t say he was “commanded”, I said he was directed. True, neither has the force of law but his failure to comply, to me, demonstrates that he was seeking a confrontation, not acting innocently and being attacked where he had a right to be.

  • Deke  On March 25, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Lets look at who pushed this law: the NRA and ALEC and those weasel politicians who are in their pocket. Sure Zimmerman pulled the trigger, but the NRA, ALEC and those politicians had a hand in it also.

  • umoc193  On March 25, 2012 at 6:29 PM


    I don’t like the law, but in this case the law shouldn’t apply. It is very specific about who has the right to use deadly force and under what circumstances. I don’t see those circumstances present here. Even a rep from the 2nd Amendment Association I saw on TV the other day agreed Zimmerman did not qualify to use it as a defense.

  • Deke  On March 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Also the sloppy and discriminatory work of the Sanford P.D. stands out. The way I’m looking at this law is Trayvon Martin had the right to “Stand Your Ground.”
    Zimmerman did in fact shout out racial epithets. He did indeed get information from the 911 dispatcher not to intervene. Zimmerman has a assaultive history.
    Zimmerman should be arrested and charged with the apporiate offense. A indepth investigation should be undertaken by the DOJ.
    I agree that Zimmerman did not meet the Stand Your Ground criteria. I believe Trayvon Martin did.

  • thescarletpumpernickel  On March 26, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    UMOC –

    Black man’s code? As a group, I respect the police and the job that they have assumed, but that “code” of which you speak is smart advice for anyone.

    Not *just* the Black Man’s code. It’s what I tell my kids, also.

    In *do* believe that the occupation, like most occupations, attracts its own unique “archetype”. Unfortunately, in this case there seems to be a disproportionate (relative to the population in general) number of control freaks, risk-takers, and persons who *want* to be in a confrontational situation.

    i.e.,, Some cops are just plain thugs.

    My advice. Speak calmly. Cooperate. Don’t make any sudden movements. Save the arguments for court, as necessary. If stopped, hope that you are in a place where there are witnesses.

    Really. I believe that most cops are professional peace officers committed to protect and serve, but you never know when you are going to run up against the one who is a prick jonesing for a fight.

  • umoc193  On March 26, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Yeah, black men’s code may be advisable, but what do you do when you’re dealing with someone other than a cop.

    Now comes the news today that Trayvon was the attacker and the cops back that story up. Strange, isn’t it, that it took a month for that to come out?

    I’m waiting for more info and trying to absorb this news. I’m not sure it exonerates Zimmerman.

  • ciejai  On March 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    UMOC, this is a test to see if I’ve filled in the blanks properly.

  • thescarletpumpernickel  On March 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    came through here

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