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In Florida Murder Case: 'Charitable' Reward Offered for Zimmerman's Arrest & Murder Charge
In Florida Murder Case:  'Charitable' Reward Offered for Zimmerman's Arrest & Murder Charge

Trayvon Martin's parents now have only photographs and memories of their murdered son (photo from RollingOut.com).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Rochester, NY - There's a strange law in the State of Florida that allows an armed citizen to shoot another citizen, whether or not the victim is armed, if the shooter later claims they felt a reasonable threat to their life, or, a threat from another that the shooter might suffer "bodily harm". This law has been dubbed the "Stand Your Ground" law (enacted in 2005).

This law, and the Wild West mentality that has gripped the State of Florida for decades, is partially responsible for the death of an unarmed teenage black male, the late Trayvon Martin.

And the young Mr. Martin's crime? None that can be discerned. But I suppose according to the shooter, 28 year old George Zimmerman, walking through a neighborhood (where the victim belonged), and holding in his hands the very deadly Skittles, and an ice tea, is prima facie evidence of alleged harm that could have come to Mr. Zimmerman.

Zimmerman versus Martin: An Unbalanced Gun Freak versus an African-American Teen, with a Sweet Tooth. On February 26th, of this year, George Zimmerman, a resident of a gated community just northeast of Orlando (in Sanford, FL), was patrolling with his unofficial "neighborhood patrol", when he spotted what he claimed was a young man who might be a thief. Zimmerman said Martin was walking slow, and "funny", and was allegedly looking in windows of neighborhood homes. Zimmerman also later maintained the young Mr. Martin placed one hand in his pants waist, allegedly concealing a weapon.

What happened next appears to be a case of stalking, by Zimmerman, of Martin. As he frequently has before, (46 times in 14 months) Zimmerman then called 911, and informed the operator about an alleged suspicious character in the neighborhood. Zimmerman then stated to the 911 operator something to the effect that "these assholes always get away with it."

Zimmerman then told the 911 operator that he was following the "suspect". The taped 911 conversation unequivocally demonstrates the 911 operator instructing Zimmerman "not to follow" Martin. Zimmerman, though, had other ideas.

Zimmerman later stated that he exited his truck so he could read the street signs, so as to inform 911 about the location of him and Martin. But some felt that Zimmerman's leaving the truck was not necessary since the gated community was small, and Zimmerman would easily have known where in the neighborhood he was parked.

Witnesses then heard screaming, sounds that the vast majority of nearby witnesses claimed were clearly coming from Trayvon Martin. Not so, said Zimmerman. He claims he was the one screaming, for fear of his life.

Trayvon Martin's Final Phone Call. An attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents claims a female friend of the murder victim was on a cell phone call with Trayvon, seconds before the gunshot that killed him. Thus far, the young woman remains unidentified, but phone records have been produced that substantiate the claim that Mr. Martin was indeed on the phone with the young woman very close to the time of his death.

The anonymous female told the Martin's attorney that Trayvon told her on the cell call that someone was following him, and that he wanted to "get away". Allegedly, the young woman told Trayvon to begin running, but Trayvon allegedly told his female friend he would at least walk fast. She then claims Trayvon's cell ear piece must have fallen to the ground, and just before the call ended, the young woman heard a substantial altercation, allegedly between Martin and Zimmerman.

Zimmerman had a permit to carry the murder weapon, a 9-mm semi-automatic hand gun. However, Zimmerman appears to have a checkered past when it comes to his own encounters with law enforcement.

In 2005, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with battery involving a police officer. Though the charge was later expunged from his record, Zimmerman's reputation seemed to stick. Zimmerman is a law enforcement wanna-be, having attended criminal justice courses in the past. According to many neighbors in the Sanford, Florida complex, Zimmerman was easily the most 'zealous' of all those who took part in neighborhood watch. Some neighbors seemed to admire Zimmerman's passion; others, though, claimed to be scared of the 28 year old.

As of this writing, the United States Department of Justice has announced that it is launching an investigation of the case, with an eye on why the Sanford Police Department never charged Zimmerman. For instance, Zimmerman was never tested for alcohol consumption or drug intoxication the night of the killing, though these kinds of tests are typically standard in shooting cases. Also, Zimmerman was interviewed the night of Martin's killing, not by a homicide detective, but by a narcotics officer.

My "Reward". As a way to show solidarity with Trayvon Martin's parents, relatives, and friends, and in a small way to help motivate law enforcement officials in Seminole County, FL, and Sanford to finally do their jobs, and arrest George Zimmerman, I, Christopher J. Wilmot, offer the following:

A charitable donation of $2,500 to the relevant and appropriate police benevolent association of the officer, or officers that arrest Zimmerman; and, $2,500 to the charity of choice for the district attorney, or prosecutor who then charges Zimmerman with at least manslaughter, or more appropriately, 2nd degree murder, for the killing of Trayvon Martin.

If these conditions are met, I will travel to Florida, and deliver the checks personally.

A Gun Crazy Country that Only Billy the Kid, and a George Orwell Character Could Admire. According to the New York Times, 23 states now have some form of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law on their books. Florida law enforcement officials claim that self-defense is now used far more often as a defense claim in a myriad of shooting cases, since 2005. In one case, an ice pick was used.

In too many of these Sunshine State self-defense gunshot cases, the alleged deadly threat originates from an unarmed person, and the dispute is completed by the alleged aggrieved party, who is nearly always armed. If a guy looks at your wife or girlfriend 'wrong' in a bar, this could serve as provocation to 'stand your ground', and finish the dispute with deadly force.

The National Rifle Association firmly advocates for, and stands behind these "shoot first, and ask questions later" laws, that continue to pop up around the United States of Armed Citizens (USA-C).

Very few Americans call for the elimination of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ("...right of citizens to bear arms..."). But isn't there a workable compromise, where citizens could defend their persons and property against intruders (be they thieves, or someday, totalitarian-government thugs) using only 'non-concealable' hunting rifles; and, the right of citizens to be free from the significant harm that concealed weapons (i.e. handguns, etc.) too often cause law abiding citizens? I think so.

Law abiding citizens, like the late Trayvon Martin.

-Christopher J. Wilmot, Pittsford, NY

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By: RepublicNY on 3/23/12
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted with the intent of protecting people from prosecution for defending themselves against aggressors. It was never intended to defend stalkers. According to the Florida State Senate website, the law states as follows:

“A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if…he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

This certainly is not the case with George Zimmerman. According to reports, the teenager weighed about 140 pounds and was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea he had bought at a nearby convenience store when Zimmerman began following him in his sport utility vehicle. Zimmerman, meanwhile, weighs around 200 pounds and was armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun

According to the Associated Press, State Sen. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, said he is preparing a bill that would not allow a self-defense claim in cases where the shooter appeared to provoke the victim. - a sensible revision since Zimmerman was following the teenager in his vehicle and approached him aggressively despite specific instructions from a 911 operator to back off.

Hopefully, it will not take monetary incentive to get this SOB arrested, charged, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Wesley Lowe
Fairport, NY

By: admin on 3/30/12
Mr. Wilmont Please explain to me and all your readers how you offering a “reward” is in any way shape or form going to help the situation in Florida. Does your self-righteous offer some how make you some kind of superior individual? Does this “reward” make you feel better? Instead of trying to inflame the masses, why not let the Judicial system handle the legal aspects of the case without you interfering. Your reward serves absolutely NO PURPOSE and will have no bearing on this case except to get your name in the news and to make YOU feel better. And how would that help Trayvon Martin. You could have quietly made a donation, but you needed everyone to know what good guy you are? Please do not infer that all Legally armed Concealed Carry Permit holders are out looking to shoot someone. The fact is EVERYONE I know that has a CCW permit, including myself avoid confrontation at every turn. 99% of us go out of our way to avoid trouble. Mr. Zimmerman wants to play cop, then he MUST answer for his actions. But consider this. Every year, people in the United States use guns to defend themselves against criminals an estimated 2,500,000 times – more than 6,500 people a day, or once every 13 seconds (Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995,) and (Targeting Guns, Dr. Gary Kleck, Criminologist, Florida State University, Aldine, 1997) Every day 550 rapes, 1,100 murders, and 5,200 other violent crimes are prevented just by showing a gun. In less than 0.9% of these instances is the gun ever actually fired. (Targeting Guns, Dr. Gary Kleck, Criminologist, Florida State University, Aldine, 1997) You stated “In too many of these Sunshine State self-defense gunshot cases, the alleged deadly threat originates from an unarmed person, and the dispute is completed by the alleged aggrieved party, who is nearly always armed. If a guy looks at your wife or girlfriend 'wrong' in a bar, this could serve as provocation to 'stand your ground', and finish the dispute with deadly force” Really, would you care to cite specific examples of this “wild west mentality” your so found of throwing around. Do you have any specific case where looking at someone caused a homicide. The “Stand your Ground” law, technically called the Castle Doctrine is by no mean a “shoot first-ask questions later” law. Your assertion that millions of Law abiding Americans should run and hide every time evil raises it's ugly head is exactly why we have the Second Amendment. I and every Law abiding American have a God given right to defend ourselves, our families and friends from evil using any and all means. Your suggestion that I should give up that right simply because I left my home is ludicrous. What happened in Sanford Fl may or may not have been legal, or even right. For you to offer a “reward” to “motivate the police”?, I am beyond disappointed in you and the Smugtown Beacon for jumping to conclusions without all the facts.

Jeffery McSpadden
Rochester, NY

By: admin on 3/30/12
(from the Co-Owner & Publisher of the Smugtown Beacon.com, Christopher J. Wilmot):

Mr. McSpadden:

First, my last name is spelled "Wilmot", not "Wilmont". Secondly, like everyone (you included) who wishes to have their words and ideas published, there is likely a touch of vanity and hubris in all of us, from frustrated authors to accomplished ones.

Do I think my 'charitable reward' donation will result in an expedited arrest of Mr. Zimmerman? Probably not, but that certainly is not the point, is it? The point is to highlight the epedemic of gun ownership and use in the U.S. But don't trust me: Read what the experts have to say (like you, I have my own experts).

"...Perhaps, not coincidentally, the FBI has reported that Americans set a new all-time record for gun-purchase-related instant background checks, in 2011, at 16.4 million, a 14.2 percent increase over 2010, the year in which the previous record was set.

As proof of the correlation between gun sales and relaxed gun laws, the National Rifle Association said the record number of gun sales, last year, could be attributed to the fact that more people said they need guns for self defense. According to one NRA spokeswoman, the surge of gun sales is also related to the national economic downturn, “…prisoners are being furloughed; police officers are being laid off.”
As further evidence of the chilling relationship between “Stand Your Ground” laws and gun sales, it should be noted that states with “Stand Your Ground” showed dramatic year-to-year gun sales increases, as compared to states without it.

Those sales have brought the number of civilian-owned guns in the country up to 270 million, or approximately 88.8 firearms per 100 people.

Those figures rank the U.S. at number one among the 179 countries in the world, as to the rate of gun ownership. By comparison, China has 4.9 guns per 100 people, Pakistan has 11.6; Iran has 7.3; Germany has 30.3; Angola has 17.3; and South Africa has 12.7.

The exceptionally high rate of gun ownership in the U.S., has, not surprisingly, produced an average of 15,930 homicides, each year, from 2006 to 2010. The U.S. gun-related homicide rate at 10.3 per 100,000 population is substantially higher than the 6.3 in France, the 2.9 in Italy, the 1.6 in Germany, the .46 in England, the .24 in Singapore, and the .07 in Japan.

Can you spell "Wild, Wild West?" (SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer, March, 2012).

And...

"Firearm-related deaths in the United States and 35 other high- and upper-middle-income countries."

By, Krug EG, Powell KE, Dahlberg LL.

(SOURCE: Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.).

Abstract / BACKGROUND:

The Forty-Ninth World Health Assembly recently declared violence a worldwide public health problem. Improved understanding of cross-national differences is useful for identifying risk factors and may facilitate prevention efforts. Few cross-national studies, however, have explored firearm-related deaths. We compared the incidence of firearm-related deaths among 36 countries.

METHODS:

Health officials in high-income (HI) and upper-middle-income countries (UMI) with populations greater than one million were asked to provide data using ICD-9 codes on firearm-related homicides, suicides, unintentional deaths and deaths of undetermined intent, as well as homicides and suicides for all methods combined. Thirty-six (78%) of the 46 countries provided complete data. We compared age-adjusted rates per 100,000 for each country and pooled rates by income group and geographical location.

RESULTS:

During the one-year study period, 88,649 firearm deaths were reported. Overall firearm mortality rates are five to six times higher in HI and UMI countries in the Americas (12.72) than in Europe (2.17), or Oceania (2.57) and 95 times higher than in Asia (0.13). The rate of firearm deaths in the United States (14.24 per 100,000) exceeds that of its economic counterparts (1.76) eightfold and that of UMI countries (9.69) by a factor of 1.5. Suicide and homicide contribute equally to total firearm deaths in the US, but most firearm deaths are suicides (71%) in HI countries and homicides (72%) in UMI countries".

Mr. McSpadden, I understand from your job description that you might sometimes visit neighborhoods that may be considered by many as 'unsafe'. In my former profession as an elected official, I too had to visit many neighborhoods that were widely considered as a risk to my well being (Beechwood Neighborhood in the City of Rochester, etc.).

However, just because Americans of all stripes are armed-to-the-teeth doesn't mean that more firearms, more concealed handguns, and more 'Stand Your Ground' laws are the solution. The facts speak for themsleves. The statistics demonstrate that we live in a violent nation, and one of the major factors is a high rate of gun ownership.

And Mr. McSpadden, "God" didn't grant we Americans the 2nd Amendment; the Founding Fathers did. I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but for hunting rifles only (as I stated in my article). Remember, today's law abiding citizen who has a permit for a concealed weapon, could end up being tomorrow's criminal (SEE Mr. Zimmerman). Thank you.

Christopher J. Wilmot
Pittsford, NY


By: RepublicNY on 3/31/12
The international comparisons you use conveniently compare the United States with another country with stronger gun control laws and lower murder rates. But you could just as easily compare the United States to countries with stronger gun control laws and higher murder rates -- Brazil and Russia, for example. You could also compare the United States with countries with more widespread gun ownership - Switzerland and Israel, for example - and lower murder rates.

It is an easy conclusion that guns are the sole culprits to high and/or rising crime rates. But there are many other factors that are hardly ever taken into account by the left. - The use or lack of use of incarceration, for instance.

Homicide rates in the United States soared during the 1960s while imprisonment rates were dropping. And homicide rates in the United States began to decline only after the lowering rate of imprisonment was halted and reversed, leading to a rising prison population much despised by liberals. Singapore's imprisonment rate is more than double that of Canada - and its crime rate less than one-tenth the Canadian crime rate.

Self-defense against criminals is abhorrent to the left in both Britain and the United States, but in Britain the left has greater predominance. Britons who have caught burglars in their homes and held them at gunpoint until the police arrived have found themselves charged with a crime -- even when it was only a toy gun. Given the current view in the British criminal justice system that burglary is a "minor" offense and its fierce hostility to guns, even toy guns, the homeowner is far more likely to end up behind bars than the burglar is.

This, and more, is the reason why “Stand Your Ground” laws have been enacted.

Wesley Lowe
Fairport, NY

By: admin on 4/1/12
(from the Co-Owner & Publisher of the Smugtown Beacon.com, Christopher J. Wilmot):

Mr. Lowe:

As usual, you make many good points. However, one demographic fact you failed to mention in that of 'median age'.

You are correct when citing that higher incarceration rates of habitual violent offenders is partly the cause of lower crime rates in America. Partly the cause.

But more important, and less interesting to politicians, media types, and law enforcement officials is the demographic reality in America that over the last 30 years or so, the median age of the U.S. population has been increasing. It currently stands at about 37 years of age.

And why, you say, is median age important when discussing violent crime? Because it is a fact in the study of criminology that most (not all) violent crime is committed by males between the ages of 16-28.

Therefore, when median age rises, in any society, it tends to have a very positive effect on the rate of violent crime (positive, of course, in terms of lowering violent crime rates).

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Christopher J. Wilmot
Pittsford, NY

By: admin on 4/1/12
Like the prevalence of gun control laws, the median age of any nation is hardly a consistent factor in determining crime rates. The median age in Europe has risen as well and yet that they have seen a significant rise in property and violent crimes. That's why I believe that personal accountability for one's own acts is the primary factor in suppressing criminal offenses.

Wesley Lowe
Fairport, NY

By: Jmac00 on 4/3/12
Mr Wilmot

My apologies for misspelling you your name.

It's interesting that you site the number of lawfully owned firearms in America. Especially the fact that sales of firearms have sky rocketed in the last few years.

Even as firearm sales have dramatically increased, according to the FBI, crime in America has fallen for the forth year in a row. From the FBI's website:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/september/crime_091911/crime_091911

“The incidence of crime nationwide decreased again, according to our just released Crime in the United States report. Overall, the estimated volume of violent crimes in 2010 dropped 6 percent compared to the 2009 figure, the fourth consecutive year it has declined. For the eighth consecutive year, the volume of property crimes went down as well—2.7 percent.
The report was compiled from data submitted to us by more than 18,000 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the nation. It contains information on the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughters, forcible rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny-thefts, motor vehicle thefts, and arsons.
Violent crime offenses were down across the board—the largest decrease was robbery, down 10.0 percent. Property crime offenses went down as well—the largest decline, 7.4 percent, was for motor vehicle thefts.”
So it would seem More Guns, equal Less Crime.
Washington D.C. has essentially banned gun ownership since 1976 and has a
murder rate of 56.9 per 100,000. Across the river in Arlington, Virginia, gun ownership is
less restricted. There, the murder rate is just 1.6 per 100,000, less than three percent of
the Washington, D.C. Rate. Crime in the United States, FBI, 1998

A survey of felons revealed the following:
• 74% of felons agreed that, "one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at
home is that they fear being shot during the crime."
• 57% of felons polled agreed, "criminals are more worried about meeting an armed
victim than they are about running into the police."The Armed Criminal in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Federal Firearms Offenders study, 1997: National Institute of Justice, Research Report, July 1985,
Department of Justice

60% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they
knew the victim was armed. 40% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided
committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed. Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, James Wright and Peter
Rossi, Aldine, 1986

Two-thirds of the people who die each year from gunfire are criminals being shot
by other criminals. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, 1994

94.4% of gun murders are gang related Homicide trends in the United States, Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 17 2007

In that same vane, the murder rate in the United States is NOT even in the top 30 countries on a world wide basis
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita
It's interesting you site the United Kingdom in your response. The U.K. measures crime using two different processes:
British Crime Survey (BCS): The Home Office conducts surveys of the
population to determine how often subjects have been affected by criminal
activity. Data is projected to reflect the entire population.
Police reporting: Crimes are reported to the police and nationwide,
census-level statistics are summarized.

The BCS has been reporting a declining crime rate in the UK while police reporting has
shown an increase. The BCS has routinely been criticized because it under reports crime
due to the following factors:
• Murdered and imprisoned people do not answer surveys
• Some crimes are not surveyed when victims are below age 16524
• Crime against institutions (bank robbery, etc.) are not included
• Crimes are recorded at final disposition (conviction/acquittal), leaving many
crimes completely unreported.

These deficiencies are so significant that even the British government does not believe
the accuracy of the BCS.
The BCS did not record ‘various categories of violent crime’, including
murder and rape, retail crime, drug-taking, or offenses in which the
victims were aged below 16. The most reliable measure of crime is that
which is reported to the police. We're facing over a million violent crimes
a year for the first time in history.

Even banning guns does not slow down criminals. In the U.K., where private
ownership of firearms is practically forbidden, criminals have and use guns regularly, and
even build their own. One enterprising fellow converted 170 starter pistols to functioning
firearms and sold them to gangs. Hundreds of such underground gun factories have been
established, contributing to a 35% jump in gun violence. Gun crime spreads 'like a cancer' across Britain, The Guardian, Oct 5, 2003

We can debate the statistics of gun ownership and their relation to crime all day long. The facts support my assertion that more guns equal less crime. Common sense also tells us that in any human endeavor you will have a small percentage people that have issues. Even the military has personnel that “lose it” on occasion as evidenced by the massacre in Afghanistan.

Was Mr Zimmerman in the right when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin? I have my doubts. But unlike the media, I'm willing to give the justice system a chance to work. You should to.

One more thing. You said "God" didn't grant we Americans the 2nd Amendment; the Founding Fathers did” Yes I know that, but that's not what I said, is it. What I did say is “I and every Law abiding American have a God given right to defend ourselves, our families and friends from evil using any and all means. What I should have said is, I and every law abiding person on the planet have a God given right to defend ourselves.

Jeff McSpadden
Rochester, NY


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