Unless one was hiding under a rock in East Timor, it is hard to escape the 24/7 coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder case. The accused is Floridian, George Zimmerman, a self-described “captain of the neighborhood watch” program, and the victim, Trayvon Martin was a black, 17-year-old, six-foot football player shot after “some sort” of struggle.
So far the case is lean on evidence and robust on speculation. The incident actually occurred in February with little fanfare, but with the advent of social media, the self-defense/murder case percolated and finally boiled over into a second-degree murder charge.
The increased media coverage brought out the usual civil rights’ suspects, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the New Black Panthers all migrated to Florida to fan the flames with the typical race-baiting cliches, calling for large-scale marching and promising civil unrest if their demands were not met.
Enter anti-gun activist NYC Mayor Bloomberg
The anti-gun NYC mayor wasted little time inserting his beliefs into the nation’s Stand Your Ground Laws. Yesterday he addressed the Washington DC media at the National Press Club where the Mayor proffered his latest disarming campaign aptly named “Second Chance on Shoot First.”
The national campaign seeks to change the law in 25 states making Bloomberg’s plea a tall order, especially since the states followed a strict legislative process before governors signed the bills into law. However, Mr. Bloomberg seems to disagree with the legal process state’s adhere to before they “make law.”
“The fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force,” Bloomberg said in DC, “but these ‘Shoot First’ laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of Second Amendment rights, instead they justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results.”
Bloomberg further disparaged the 25 states and added the National Rifle Association (NRA) into the mix by accusing them of endorsing “vigilante justice,” that amounted to nothing more than “a license to murder.”
“The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the (National Rifle Association) should be ashamed of themselves,” Bloomberg shot back. “This has nothing to do with gun-owners’ rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”
The well-known anti-gun activist, Mayor Bloomberg continued his pandering and stated, it’s “plain and simple, this (Stand Your Ground) is just trying to give people a license to murder. The NRA’s leaders weren’t interested in public safety. They were interested in promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands with a gun and face no consequences for it.”
Mayor Bloomberg rages at anti-gun campaign
The Mayor appeared visibly angry as he told a Daily Caller reporter he couldn’t believe she would bother asking a question about the $10,000 “dead or alive” bounty offered by the New Black Panther Party for the “capture” of George Zimmerman.
“I don’t know that to be the case,” Bloomberg told the reporter. “Anybody who puts a bounty on somebody else’s life is acting totally inappropriately and I’m outraged to even be asked the question. Whadya think? I didn’t even know about it until you just told me, thank you very much,” he finished.
Yet, Bloomberg’s claim of not knowing about the New Black Panther bounty placed on Mr. Zimmerman is disingenuous at best.
“Like Mayor Bloomberg’s other efforts to disarm law-abiding Americans and criminalize the exercise of fundamental civil rights protected under the Second Amendment, his position on ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws is simply misguided. The laws are designed to keep innocent victims of violent crime, who are forced by their attacker to use a gun in self-defense, from being improperly prosecuted,” said Brandon Combs of The Calguns Foundation.
This isn’t the first time the NYC mayor accused the NRA of encouraging a well-armed citizenry while innocent victims pay the ultimate price. Bloomberg pointed out that U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would require all states to recognize conceal-carry permits just two-weeks after Trayvon Martin’s untimely death. When contacted about the flagrant assertions made by Mayor Bloomberg, the NRA declined to jump into the political fray and respectfully declined to comment.
Again, Bloomberg assumed details surrounding the controversial Florida incident without knowing the facts and went on to brandish local law enforcement authorities about gun laws when his City is one of a handful that has witnessed increased gun crime rates, despite implementing the toughest laws in the nation.
“In fact, Florida authorities have still not, as far as I know, revoked George Zimmerman’s concealed carry permit. So if Congress passed the legislation today, he could legally carry a gun in New York City,” he finished. Such conceal-carry laws would dramatically affect Mayor Bloomberg’s confiscatory procedures of seizing legal guns transported through NY airports as previously detailed by this reporter (see below).
However, Bloomberg does know a little about unlawful justice. The self-appointed food police mayor has recently banned trans-fat oils in his city, blocked homeless shelters from receiving food donations that don’t meet his healthy standards and supports warrantless scanning of citizens on NY streets.
Some might even say Bloomberg is a de facto dictatorial mayor who has no problem rearranging the rules. A prime example of this is the mayor’s audacity to change the law limiting the mayor to two terms so he could serve a third term.
The NY Times; asserted Bloomberg, leveraged his billions to “to win three terms as New York City’s mayor. Exercising power through a commingling of electoral clout, personal wealth and private philanthropy, (that) Mr. Bloomberg won in 2001 and 2005.”
Presumed guilty until proven innocent
Zimmerman “was a man with a history of violence,” Bloomberg said in prepared statement. “I can tell you in New York we would never allow such an individual to carry a gun and neither would many other states.”
Clearly, the mayor failed to inquire about Zimmerman’s history. NBC news found only one incident concerning Zimmerman.
According to the NBC’s Nightly News, “Zimmerman had a run-in with police years before shooting Martin in February 2012. The Florida native was arrested in Orlando in 2005 for “obstructing justice’ and ‘resisting an officer with violence’ during an alcohol-control arrest at a college bar. Zimmerman’s actions resulted in a misdemeanor charge and court-ordered anger-management classes.”
Bloomberg wasn’t the only U.S. official to weigh in on the Florida tragedy. President Obama famously told the White House press pool a few weeks ago “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”
Not one to shy away from racially charged issues, Eric Holder the Department of Justice Attorney General attending yesterday’s Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention held in Washington, D.C., answered a question with the following explanation:
“We will examine the facts and the law if we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime we will take appropriate action the facts and the law will guide us forward,” Holder responded. “I have great faith in our justice system. The truth will ultimately be determined and appropriate action will be taken,” Holder claimed.
What is self-defense or Stand Your Ground?
According to Adam Winkler, Professor of Law for UCLA; “The Stand Your Ground law won’t likely offer Zimmerman much of a defense in this case, but nevertheless may still be relevant. In particular, the law offers Zimmerman the possibility of avoiding a trial. The real impact of Stand Your Ground laws is not in their expansion of the right of self-defense to the public streets — many states, including my own liberal state of California, have allowed people to stand their ground for decades.”
“The innovation of Stand Your Ground laws is to establish procedures to reduce the likelihood that a person who kills in self-defense ever has to stand trial.
Traditionally, one claiming self-defense would have the opportunity to raise that defense at trial before a jury. In Florida, however, the Stand Your Ground law gives defendants like Zimmerman the right to a pre-trial hearing to challenge his indictment.
At this special pre-trial hearing, which will occur long before any jury trial, Zimmerman will have the opportunity to present evidence to a judge showing he acted in self-defense. If he can show that he was acting in self-defense by a “preponderance of the evidence” – legalese for “it’s more likely than not” — then the charges against him will be dropped and he’ll never face a jury. That burden of proof is not very demanding and requires a showing far less demanding than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” test used in criminal trials ordinarily,” Winkler reported.
There is no question that what happened to Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. A young man lost his life. But to blame this crime on firearms is equally wrong-headed. Every year 13,000-law enforcement agencies report their stats to the FBI and the numbers are thought provoking.
Violent crime is down, even with an uptick in firearm sales, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) preliminary 2011 crime data indicates a multi-year downward trend.
Now that Mr. Zimmerman has been arrested, it’s time for cooler heads to prevail and allow justice to do her job without the sensationalism of media seeking agitators.