I am responding to the AFN Guest Commentary of July 19 by Ellen B. Davis, chair of People Acting for a Safer Society, Arizona entitled, “Do we want to live in a state where aggressive people are free to use guns?”
It is quite obvious that Ms. Davis has an agenda and wishes to “never let a crisis go to waste” as is commonly expressed by our liberal/progressive friends in today’s society and government.
No, Ms. Davis! I want to live in a state where aggressive and non-aggressive citizens are allowed to use guns as long as they are legally used in cases of self-defense when their own lives may be in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm. I don’t want to be arrested for defending myself or to lose every penny I earned defending myself or to be sued by the perpetrator’s family for “wrongful death.”
You use the Zimmerman case in Florida to bolster your argument against Arizona’s stand your ground “SYG” law. You are misleading the public as the “stand your ground” law was not invoked in the Zimmerman case. If the SYG provision had been invoked there would have been a substantive pre-trial hearing and the court would have ruled on the matter from the bench. The common law rule was instead used and no retreat is a part of that rule in Florida. Nonetheless, Zimmerman could not retreat if a 6-foot, stocky “child” who had been taught street fighting was pummeling his head into the concrete.
You also mislead the public by stating “Zimmerman initiated the confrontation and then shot the teenager dead.” Were you present to see who initiated the confrontation? You make it appear that Zimmerman shot the teen simply as a consequence of a confrontation. Does following someone or profiling someone (neither of which are illegal) automatically initiate a confrontation? A confrontation only takes place if the person being followed does not continue on their way home (which was only a short distance away) or the person being followed fails to call 911 or their parents. Apparently the person being followed had little fear of the person following. If I were to have many instances of burglaries in my neighborhood, I too would be “suspicious” of someone walking around in a hoodie at night. That would be a profile of someone that might not want to be recognized. And, it would be difficult to ascertain what race the person is when wearing a hoodie at night, so no racism involved. I might also carry a defensive weapon since I am not at the age where I can physically defend myself against an “unarmed” teenager intent on doing bodily harm to me. Apparently you have little knowledge of the strength of many teenagers.
You mislead the public by stating in your ending paragraph, “the gun was used to initiate the confrontation and to kill unarmed people (or teenagers or children).” The gun did not come into play until Zimmerman was laying on the ground as a result of a punch to his nose and ballistic residue on the “child’s” clothing proved that. There were two witnesses to the altercation. The “child” was not unarmed, he had fists and legs, which he used in an aggressive manner. His girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, also persuaded the teen to be aggressive
You infer that Zimmerman was the aggressor because of some circumstances that occurred in his lifetime, yet you failed to elaborate on Trayvon Martin’s past wrongdoing. What is the definition of an aggressive person? How do you propose that authorities determine who has aggressive tendencies prior to issuing a weapons permit? Do we give them a psychological evaluation?
Ms. Davis, you also throw out some Florida statistics concerning criminal cases and the increased use of the “stand your ground” law. Good, if the defensive actions were legally justified, so be it. I note that you failed to mention that since the enactment of the Florida SYG law in 2005, violent crimes have decreased almost 23 percent (FBI statistics), although this may or may not be entirely contributable to SYG.
Finally, Ms. Davis, please Google the following crimes on the web. The case of Pat Mahaney in Cincinnati, Ohio, who was beaten by six unarmed teens (children) who were bored. Unfortunately, it appears Mr. Mahaney was unarmed and is now dead. And for all those race baiters, including Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama, the 2008-09 New York case of Roderick Scott-Christopher Cervini. Similar situation as the Martin-Zimmerman case, only the acquitted shooter was black and the white kid died. Where were the race baiters and the media then? The state of New York has no SYG law (AFN cartoonist, take note). Why is it, Ms. Davis, that groups such as yours do not politicize these types of cases? The death of anyone is unfortunate, however, stop blaming it on a gun or a law or racism! There may be a multitude of other reasons for the end result. In the Martin/Zimmerman case it may have been the stupidity of both individuals.
We must give President Obama some credit! In 2004 as an Illinois senator, he voted for HB2386, which expanded their SYG defense law.
• Gerald Tharp has been a resident of Ahwatukee for 19 years.