I hate missing the first reports of what become much-commented news stories. Learning about news even just a few days after the event makes it very difficult to learn the facts of the story. People who have the nerve to make news on Friday evening, when many might delay learning of it until Monday morning, are simply rude. Why can’t they relax, enjoy their weekend, and wait to resume their murder, mischief, and mayhem until people are ready to hear about it?
I missed the first reports of Trayvon Martin’s killing, so for a long while I’ve been lost in a sea of commentary about it. Everyone wants to print an opinion about what happened, but no one wants to reprint — or even link to early printings of — what actually happened. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.
While swimming in that commentary sea for weeks, though, I’ve learned that plenty of people blame Florida’s recent decision to clarify by statute that justifiable homicide in self-defense can occur publicly without being preceded by retreat.
I tend to like a broad definition of self-defense, so I feel favorably toward Florida’s law. I shouldn’t have to submit to, say, an armed carjacking while driving my aged mother to the hospital simply because a gang of thieves left me room to abandon the old lady and retreat.
But with so many people claiming that Florida’s law bore all the blame for George Zimmerman’s not being arrested and charged, I (naïvely) figured the facts of the story might give some reason for opposing the stand-your-ground doctrine.
The problem is, though, that Zimmerman didn’t stand his ground. He chased Martin, according to his own admission.
That’s where his defense seems to fall apart, where a real jury would likely face some difficulty when asked to acquit him. The average man can understand a stand-your-ground interpretation of self-defense. The chase-’em-down interpretation is much more mysterious.