Letter: Stick to facts in Zimmerman discourse
I am writing as a former valley resident who left to attend law school in Florida before returning to Colorado. In response to David Olmsted’s column “Who’s not guilty here?” a few things must be cleared up.
Olmsted asserts as a basis of his argument that George Zimmerman’s attorneys successfully argued for the inclusion of a jury instruction on Forida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. This is simply not true. The defense waived the hearing that would have established that defense pre-trial. The jury instructions, which lack any mention of the controversial statute, can be found here: http://www.flcourts18.org/PDF/Press_Releases/Zimmerman_Final_Jury_Instructions.pdf
This case was a garden-variety self-defense case, and several of Olmsted’s points are factually incorrect. Zimmerman’s defense was not based on “a law that has been adopted in some form by 31 states (and) allows the use of deadly force when a person believes his physical safety is threatened.”
It was based on the age-old self-defense doctrine, which dates to the Romans. A person is allowed to use reasonable force to defend themselves. When Trayvon Martin mounted and slammed Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk, Zimmerman, as the jury determined in rendering a not-guilty verdict, was in reasonable fear for his life and was thus entitled to use deadly force to defend himself.
When Olmsted asks early in his piece, “And would there be any notoriety at all if a black or Latino neighborhood-watch volunteer shot another young black or Latino man who was on his way home from a convenience store?” Olmsted is at best uninformed and at worst intellectually dishonest. Anyone who paid any attention to this case is well aware that Zimmerman was “white-Hispanic,” which is essentially a new ethnic classification the media made up when their initial reporting that Zimmerman was Caucasian turned out to be wrong.
The whole point of my pointing out these falsities is very simple. There is nothing wrong with Olmsted or any other like-minded individuals supporting gun control in some form or another. I simply believe that twisting the facts of a racially divisive case to create what essentially becomes a fictional narrative (stand your ground and white-on-black violence, in this case) in support of one’s position is not the way the discourse should be conducted.
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