Lessons From Martin – Zimmerman Case

I’ve remained relatively quiet on the Zimmerman – Martin case, and that may surprise those who know I am a strong advocate for the 2nd Amendment and refusing to be a victim of crime.

When I first heard about this case, I will admit that based on the media’s initial account it sounded like a “bad shoot.”  That means unjustifiable as self-defense.  We 2nd Amendment supporters refer to a Defensive Gun Use (DGU) as a “good shoot.”  My first impression was that Zimmerman used poor judgment and was involved in a “bad shoot.”

Yet, I’ve chosen to stand by for more information rather than jump on the bandwagon of “public outrage.”  That’s not my style, anyway.

Hmmmmm…

This is the “angelic” photo that the media consistently uses to portray Trayvon Martin. It’s several years old.

One thing I found curious was the delay from the incident to the sudden prominence in the news and popular culture.  Where was Al Sharpton the day after Trayvon died?   The week after?  Two weeks after?  Why did it take a MONTH for this to suddenly come to a boil?

I do not believe it was any accident that the angelic photos of Trayvon Martin put out by the media were several years old.  Apparently, this “kid” was 6′ 2″ tall.  They also focused on the fact that he was unarmed (irrelevant).   They focused on the 911 operator telling Zimmerman,

This is the photo the media uses for George Zimmerman. He sure doesn’t look like a nice or happy guy, eh?

“We don’t need you to do that (follow Martin)” (also legally irrelevant).   The media repeatedly mentioned that the neighborhood watch group had a rule against being armed (also irrelevant).   There is no law against approaching someone or talking to them.  And, Zimmerman was legally armed. The ONLY thing that matters is whether Zimmerman can claim legal self-defense.  Period.  There ARE criteria to make that determination.  And, I expect the facts will come out and make clear whether this was justified or not.

Uh… Wait a minute…

As more information has been “leaked” or possibly even fabricated by the media (I just don’t know), my initial concerns about a “bad shoot” have changed.  It’s entirely possible that Zimmerman WAS justified.  I’m not saying he was.  I’m not saying he wasn’t.  And, none of us should be jumping to either conclusion.

New photos of the two have emerged, each portraying the subjects quite differently than the original photos.

These photos portray each person quite differently than the original photos.

Not quite the same angelic 12 year old the media keeps parading around, eh?  He’s 17 and 6′ 2″.  Of course, this is no indication of guilt / innocence.  Rather, it just illustrates how the media intentionally manipulates the public’s emotions.  Apparently from TM’s Facebook page.

Yelling “movie” in a crowded firehouse.

What is frightening is that the media and “opinion leaders” like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Spike Lee, and Roseanne Barr are COMPLICIT in inciting a nation-wide LYNCH MOB.   They are yelling “Justice!”  But, what they want is REVENGE.  And, they want it now.  This is truly dangerous and grossly irresponsible behavior by these influential people.

The cult of personality

Spike Lee tweeted an erroneous address for Zimmerman.  Roseanne Barr also tweeted Zimmerman’s parents’ address.  Reckless behavior!

These celebrities and politicians are DANCING IN TRAYVON’S BLOOD to advance their own twisted agendas, including self-aggrandizement.  How that is not obvious to even a casual observer is stunning to me.  But, it’s a basic human need to feel significant in this world.  Sadly, there are a LOT of people who have no other way to feel significant.  So, they join a mob.  They join a “cause celebre” to stake their claim on the moral high ground, even though it lacks ANY sort of foundation based in fact or verified truths.

I sell the things you need to be.
I’m the smiling face on your TV.
I’m the cult of personality.
I exploit you.  You still love me.
I tell you one and one makes three.
I’m the cult of personality.
- Living Colour

You have the right to…

Maybe Zimmerman’s actions are indefensible.  Maybe not.  There’s a reason the police didn’t arrest him.  The police WILL arrest anyone if there’s ANY reason to do so.  It’s what they do.  It’s their JOB.  Then they let it get sorted out in court.  So, I can’t help at least thinking, “There must be a number of reasons why the police did not arrest Zimmerman.”

But, we are a country of LAW, guided by the Constitution.  And, we need to let the LAW take it’s course.  We should not try this case in the media or popular culture.  Let the FACTS come out and let our system work.

What’s next?

I am concerned about what might happen if Zimmerman is determined to have acted within his legal rights.  Already riotous behavior is cropping up around the country.  A large group of Trayvon Martin “supporters” ransacked a Walgreens in Miami.  “Supporters,” my ass.  See video below:

Options, options, options.

That all said, I will render some opinions about this based on what I’ve heard and read so far.  I concede that it’s entirely possible Zimmerman was impertinent in his actions.  I also believe that it’s possible he was attacked unprovoked.  If he was being beaten and having his head slammed on the ground, that’s potentially lethal.  Armed self-defense IS justifiable in that situation.

Zimmerman may have been over-zealous.  Maybe not.  But, as one who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and like most similarly licensed people, I have thought very carefully about how I might handle a variety of possible confrontational scenarios.

I have written many times here on the blog about Situational Awareness.  I believe the very front line of self-defense is AVOIDANCE.  I will avoid those situations by being situationally aware.  I will make every effort to foresee confrontations and steer clear of them before they happen.

Secondly, I have considered that every possible physical confrontation may NOT require the use of lethal force, and I may not be able to avoid every scenario.   They say, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  I don’t want lethal force to be my only tool.  If I’m confronted by a drunk looking for a fight (as opposed to a violent criminal), and I can’t get away or use my “verbal judo,” I’d like to have other options besides lethal force.  But, at my age, I have zero interest in going “mano a mano” (fist fighting or martial arts).  The obvious choice, in my opinion is Pepper Spray… up to a point.

Having intermediate options eliminates the all-or-nothing proposition for lethal force used in self-defense .

I carry this pepper spray in my pocket. I also have one in the center console in each car.   Click on the photo to link to www.FoxLabs.com.  This pepper spray is widely regarded as the best on the market.

Force continuum

If Zimmerman had been carrying pepper spray (and I have no clue whether he was or not), he might have been able to stop the alleged attack easily and safely (for all involved).

When I committed myself to exercising my 2nd Amendment rights (and refusing to be a victim), I decided that lethal weapons would not be my only option.  Carrying pepper spray provides for a “force continuum.

A “force continuum” for a law-abiding citizen might go like this:  avoidance / escape –> verbal de-escalation –>  walk away (try escape again) –> H2H (hand to hand / martial arts – if trained and practiced) –> pepper spray –>  lethal force (if you are in danger of serious bodily harm or your life is threatened).

Let cooler heads prevail.

So far, the lesson from the Zimmerman – Martin incident is that acting or speaking out brashly before having ANY of the FACTS is dangerous and could lead to more violence or precipitate even more tragedy.

If you make the decision to be accountable for your own safety, consider having a “force continuum” at your disposal rather than just a “hammer and seeing everything like a nail.”

Be safe out there, and be smart, Dental Warriors.

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9 Responses to Lessons From Martin – Zimmerman Case

  1. Let the Grand Jury decide whether or not to indict Zimmerman. Anytime Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson get involved, I completely tune out. It’s amazing that the media still give these clowns a forum.

  2. Chris S says:

    The only thing I can say about not wanting to go “mano y mano” is that you don’t get to make that call all the time. There’s a possibility that you’re going to find yourself in a clinch or on the ground and you better know how to respond, and you aren’t going to get that from a seminar or class but repeated training. You also might find with repeated training you’ll end up in better shape and not feeling your age :)

    As for the rest. Couldn’t agree more.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      I agree… but even on the ground, mano-a-mano isn’t the only choice. You can still deploy weapons (lethal and non-lethal). And, according to Zimmerman’s recount of events, that’s exactly what happened.

      • Chris S says:

        You can deploy them if you’ve got the skill to create the time and space to access them.

        If you have no ground training and someone who has some is all over you, accessing your weapons from the bottom will end with you having your weapon taken, choked out or arm broken.

        • The Dental Warrior says:

          Of course, training is always a good thing. And, there are no guarantees… ever. Nothing is 100% effective.

          I maintain, having options is a good thing. If the ONLY weapon you have is lethal, it’s an all or nothing proposition. Having other options fills in the blanks.

          The best fight is the one you’re not in, so avoidance is always ideal. :)

          • Chris S says:

            Please keep in mind, that while I’m discussing this with you. I’m not trying to dismiss your opinion. All to often these disagreements in the shooting community become very heated.

            I will respond to that by saying, with good H2H skills you’re never with out them a weapon, and always have a less lethal option? Have you been sprayed with OC before? While effective I like how I’ve heard it described before, “an eye jab in a can.”

            Much like I was saying on Sherman’s FB page which led me here. There is an over-reliance on tools.

            A quote I’m sure you’ve seen, but may be beneficial to others.

            “The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.”
            -John Steinbeck

            • The Dental Warrior says:

              Oh, I absolutely agree. Good H2H skills are always a good thing. But, some folks do not have the time nor inclination to commit the time and dedicate the energy to mastering those skills. Martial arts require nearly a LIFETIME to master.

              So, I’m in agreement. But, I realize that in my audience, a majority are unlikely to pursue that level of training. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing.

              I’ve never been sprayed with OC. And, to be clear, I’m not advocating it as a panacea. It’s just another option, and it’s certainly one that is “palatable” to most people. Furthermore, I brought it into the discussion to make the point that just because you CAN deploy lethal force, it’s a good idea to know that you may not want or need to.

              And, I totally agree with the Steinbeck quote. It relates to my first line of defense: situational awareness and avoidance.

              That all said, I’m going to add H2H to my force continuum in the article.

              Thanks for chiming in. And, you’re always welcome to do so! :)

  3. Linda Boehm says:

    Excellent Dr. Mike! Your systematic analysis and thoughtful commentary on this tragic case are the best I have read or heard.

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