Skip to comments.Why vigilantes make lousy cops (Nauseatingly awful)
Posted on 04/17/2012 10:31:04 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
When I heard about George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin in Florida, I thought about the 1992 Clint Eastwood film, Unforgiven. I wondered if Zimmerman had ever killed a man before. I wondered how he was feeling about it.
"It's a hell of a thing, killing a man," says Eastwood's character, Will Munny, who has killed more than his share. "You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
The Schofield Kid (after killing someone for the first time) had just finished telling Munny, "It don't seem real ... how he ain't gonna never breathe again, ever ... how he's dead. All on account of pulling a trigger."
Right now, I suspect George Zimmerman would agree. It's a hell of a thing, killing a man.
But he "stood his ground."
Whatever comes of this case, of one thing we can be fairly certain: Mr. Zimmerman may think twice before he goes hunting "bad guys" again.
Zimmerman, it's probably safe to assume, thinks of himself as one of the "good guys." That's the problem with vigilantes that righteous certainty.
Florida's self-defense law encourages gunslingers to "Stand Your Ground." The name of the law is a dead (so to speak) giveaway. It's all about machismo, defiance, fighting back (pre-emptively if necessary) against all the "bad guys" out there, real and imagined.
When I'm out walking at night, I know I'm innocent, that I'm not acting "suspicious," but I'm not the one defining that, am I? The guy concealing and carrying a loaded gun is defining it. If I make a "wrong" move, if I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time, I could be shot, maybe killed.
Whatever else we learn about this case, one thing seems pretty clear: Zimmerman was the protagonist. He initiated the contact.
By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There's a difference, but a guy with a gun is not likely to make such fine distinctions.
Might this kid have been a hothead (or just having a bad night) who retaliated when confronted? If he did, was Zimmerman justified in shooting him?
Did Zimmerman show his gun first or did he conceal it until he fired? If he showed the gun, did Martin grab for it? If he did, was it because he was trying to attack Zimmerman or was he desperately trying to save his own life? At what point in such an altercation does "stand your ground" shift over to protecting Trayvon Martin? Would he have been justified in killing Zimmerman if he ended up with the gun? After all, his life, we now know, was clearly threatened.
Maybe Martin would have been more merciful with Zimmerman than Zimmerman was with him.
We'll never know for sure. Lack of witnesses makes this a "he said/he said" incident. Oops, I forgot. One of the "he"s is dead. It's now down to a "he said" case. Very convenient for Mr. Zimmerman.
This incident reminds us, as if we needed a reminder, that vigilantes make lousy cops. I guess the Bernard Goetz lesson has worn off. Was Zimmerman inspired in his pre-emptive law enforcement efforts by the Bush administration's pre-emptive invasion of Iraq (international vigilantism)? Were the two revenge-seekers in Tulsa, Okla. encouraged by the "stand your ground" laws in more than 20 states?
Creating a climate, it seems, has consequences, many of them unintended. If you have a gun and permission to use it, you're not necessarily going to wait for the other guy to possibly shoot first. Too risky. Safer to ask questions later.
But Mr. Zimmerman might think twice the next time.
Maybe he'll think about the film Body Heat, where Mickey Rourke, playing a two-bit criminal, reminds William Hurt's character about some advice he once received: "In any crime, there are at least 50 ways it can go wrong. If you're a genius, you can maybe anticipate 20. And you ain't no genius."
There are a lot of vigilante wanna-bes out there who either applaud George Zimmerman or think they could have avoided whatever mistakes he might have made. But vigilantism is a lot like committing a crime. As Zimmerman now knows, there are plenty of ways it can go wrong.
But maybe others think they could do better. They can tell the difference between a bad guy and a scared kid in the dark. They'll only shoot if their life is truly threatened. After all, they're the "good guys." I can't tell you how reassuring that is for the rest of us because it's not.
Vigilantes make lousy cops because they have an ax to grind or they wouldn't resort to being vigilantes in the first place. Their judgment is questionable, and reality just isn't as clear-cut as it is in all those "righteous revenge" action flicks that thrill them so. Life isn't so black and white well, maybe in this case, though not the way Zimmerman figured.
A nationwide movement has begun to repeal these vigilante laws, and that's a bandwagon Oak Park should be jumping on. If it happens, Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman may get his wish at last: Making all of us safer from people like himself.
And if Trayvon Martin turns out to be the guilty party? It's still a hell of a thing to kill a man.
In Unforgiven, the Schofield Kid says, "Yeah, well, I guess they had it comin'."
To which the Clint Eastwood character replies, "We all got it comin', kid."
This piece is wrong in so many particulars, and on so many levels, that it would make a great target for analysis in a course on how to spot sloppy and deceitful political writing.
Sadly, even a few freepers have wondered if you should shoot someone if they are “just” beating you up.
Oddly enough, in my liberal state of Washington, the law considers it a lawful shoot if it is used to stop a felony. Such things as assault, robbery, theft over $250. Even shooting at a fleeing violent attacker if you think they run the risk of attacking someone else. Just last week some guy shot at a truck fleeing his home after the guys were banging on his front door trying to break in. The only comment the police had was “the rear window in the truck may be broken”.
Maybe not the wisest move considering one’s individual state or city, but as in another recent home invasion (among many recently), the cop said, after the suspect was killed by the owner “It seems to be open season on criminals here”.
To panty-pissin' hoplophobes like Kenny boy, EVERY armed citizen is a "vigilante." In his world, only cops and jackbooted government thugs have "legal" guns; all others are "illegal".
Yes, it's a sick and unconstitutional mindset. So why is his side winning? Power.
Whatever else we learn from this opinion piece, one thing seems clear: Trainor starts with a preconceived conclusion and twists the facts to fit.
There is no evidence I've seen that warrants Zimmerman being knocked down, his nose broken and his head smashed into the concrete.
If we ever hear of it happening to Trainor, I guess we can say, "He had it coming".
Look to England if you want to see the role model for government thugs and the lefties who love them.
In England, citizen self-defense is a much more serious crime than attacks on the lives or property of citizens.
It’s what the lefties here want for us.
You have to think, what is the goal here? Is it to change laws? Of course that’s on their wish list but they have to realistically know that’s not going to happen. At least not now.
Is the goal to make citizens personally doubt their right to defend themselves? Maybe. But again, they have to know that’s a long shot.
No, I think the main goal here is to convince the Trayvons of America that the citizens are weak and that the rioting can now begin.
The goal is to encourage race riots.
Problem is, race riots usually end up burning down their housing and driving stores out of their neck of the woods. In other words, it hurts the rioters, not the “weak citizens.”
Maybe, but it's better than being beaten to death.
That is why it is called self defense.
“By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There’s a difference...”
No, there’s not actually a difference. People can die from a single punch, so anytime you are in a fight, your life is, by definition, in danger.
Probably saved a lot of trouble down the line as there will now be no further victims of said thug.
The people pushing for these race riots don’t care about the well-being of the rioters or their neighborhoods.
Obama needs an excuse to through the “kill switch” on the constitution.
That baseball fan at Dodgers stadium got a thrashing and was in a coma for months and is severely brain damaged to this day. Is that what Zimmerman was supposed to endure.
Actually in the movie (which Iam sure was much later than 1992) Eastwood kills to collect a bounty or reward. This makes him more like the New Black Panthers than George Zimmerman.
By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There’s a difference, but a guy with a gun is not likely to make such fine distinctions. <<
This is not a case of a referee and shaking hands and wearing protective gear. This is being attacked by someone breaking your nose and pounding your head into the pavement. He had every reason to think his life was in danger.
Was that comment serious or sarcasm?
Was that comment serious or sarcasm?
This is why our loss of Ann Coulter to the cult of Romney is all the more tragic. She was one of the few conservatives who could and did go toe-to-toe with the left and carried the battle to their turf. She fought by their rules and they didn't know how to handle it.
Ken’s comments about vigilantes are entirely appropriate, for actual vigilantes, which have a long and well-documented history in America. Vigilante movements invariably went bad. Those few that didn’t had precisely defined objectives and disbanded as soon as they were achieved.
But self-defense against an attack has nothing at all in common with vigilantism.
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