But then, Arizona has had a very long history of being lenient with allowing guns. I do not think there was ever a time when open carry was illegal here. That has bred a certain amount of maturity in the citizens for handling weapons well. When concealed carry was made legal without a permit, leftists said that this would make the state into a shooting gallery. In reality, nothing changed. While there are still rare accidents, swimming pools are a larger threat to young children than guns are (check the statistics).
So let's talk about my carrying my gun for a moment. To me, the gun on my hip or in my bag has three levels of use. The first level is preventative; when I open carry, I forewarn others I have it on me. But let's say that I am carrying concealed or that someone is high on PCP and decides to take their chances.
Now, my gun has a more foreboding use. I can (given the circumstances) simply take it out and let you know I will use it if I have to. But of course, this is not designed to get anyone shot--I simply want us to part ways so that I can go on about my day. And unless I am in the parking lot of the grocery store, I would eventually give ground to end the confrontation.
The third level, actually firing my weapon at the perpetrator, is one I hope never to have to do. It is the last resort. It will only happen when I am assaulted, despite my best efforts to dissuade the other party. I am prepared to do so, but I do not want to. If I was the other party, I would want as much of a grace period from the person defending themselves to think through what I was doing. And, you never know if the person you are defending yourself will turn their life around one day. If you take their life, they will never get the chance to do so, ergo, actually pulling the trigger must be for absolute last resort, so to speak. Only if I or another person in my presence is being assaulted or charged do I actually fire (yes, I can use my weapon to protect others as well, I would assume).
And this is why I believe both Zimmerman and the Sanford police department has it all wrong. If you are going to allow citizens to carry weapons in public then there must be some balance. Otherwise, normally sincere and upstanding people can begin to lead towards bullying. That is what I think really happened here. The media is overplaying and misplaying the facts of the case, but are still partially right.
Ultimately, a stand your ground law is not meant as an aggressive tool. In fact, the implication of the law should be this; If you are the aggressor in a physical confrontation with another person, you lose. And if you manage to get your ass shot in the process and die, sorry about your luck. This is the same reason why I believe it was correct for Joe Horn to be cleared. Now apply that same idea here, and you will get a different outcome.
Had Zimmerman simply stayed in his car and watched Treyvon Martin come and go, even if he followed him from a long distance in his car, there would have been no confrontation, no shooting, and no death of the young man. Zimmerman would have watched Martin go to the store then return home. But he did not. He aggressively pursued Martin, and in doing so became the aggressor.
When he became the aggressor, he moved to the wrong side of the equation, because Treyvon Martin also had the right to stand his ground against aggressors, and that right is not lessened because he was black. I do not believe this attack was racially motivated; it is clear from the 9-1-1 calls Zimmerman did not know what race Martin was when he first saw him. And frankly, it is immaterial. Once Zimmerman became the aggressor in the situation, he loses. Period.
Therefore, I support those who want to see justice in this case. Clearly, Zimmerman was in the wrong. His aggressive actions were unwarranted unless Martin had been in an altercation with another person or being destructive of the property of others. And even then, it is unlikely that Zimmerman would have needed to approach Martin close enough for a physical confrontation. There is simply no way in this case that Zimmerman did not interfere with Martin's rights to go about his business. He should have more carefully considered, like I have, what it means to carry a weapon. But he did not, and now a young man is dead due to his carelessness, for which he should be held responsible.
Do the right thing and prosecute him, please.