The Instigator
donald.keller
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
Junja
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

George Zimmerman acted in self defense against Trayvon Martin.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+11
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
donald.keller
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,948 times Debate No: 35525
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (46)
Votes (4)

 

donald.keller

Pro

I'm hoping to find an opponent who will discuss this topic without bias. This topic is clouded with bias and emotions from both sides because of bad media coverage and sensitive issues. I'm looking for someone who will defend his views with reasonable evidence instead of fallacies and opinions.

I'm not concerned about heavy amounts of formality. I want a discussion that gets to the point and isn't scared to get a little interesting, so long as both sides are reasonable and calm.

First off, round 1 will be accepting the debate. 2nd - 4th round will involve discussing the evidence for both sides.

My name is Donald Keller, I am a 20 year old Graduate from DeSoto High School. I am supporting George Zimmerman in this case on the bases that George Zimmerman was assaulted by Trayvon Martin after Zimmerman reasonably tried to investigate.
Junja

Con

I accept this debate and look forward to a good argument. While I think the prosecution is displaying a weak case, I still think there's evidence that makes George Zimmerman guilty.
Debate Round No. 1
donald.keller

Pro

Thank you for accepting. I look forward to a great discussion. First, lets discuss what happened before the events took place.

1 - Did George Zimmerman have reasonable cause to investigate?
We are not discussing whether or not the police approved of Zimmerman investigating or if it was smart, but whether he had reason to feel the need to.

To answer this, we must understand why he was concerned about suspicious people wondering around. To start, there had been up to eight burglaries, nine thefts, and even a shooting around the area during the 13 months prior to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Other Neighborhood Watch members stated that it was often young black males involved.

"Young black males have been seen in, you know, burglaries here. They've been seen with drug dealings here and the Sanford police is well aware of everything," Taaffe told the Orlando Sentinel.

"A review of police records confirms Taaffe"s account of crimes in the neighborhood. According to the Miami Herald, police were called to Twin Lakes 402 times in the 13 months before Martin"s death. According to the Herald"s review of police records, the community experienced eight burglaries, nine thefts, and a shooting over that period." The Daily Beast.

a) http://www.thedailybeast.com...

It should be noted that while the Police were called 402 times during the 13 month period, Zimmerman had only made 46 calls... across an 8 year period.
--------------------------------------------------------------

2 - Did George Zimmerman break any laws when carrying a gun?
No. According to Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, Zimmerman still had the constitutional right to carry a gun with him during the events that took place.

"Police Chief Bill Lee said that although police do not encourage watch program volunteers to carry weapons, he recognizes a citizen"s constitutional right to do so." Miami Herald wrote.

a) http://www.miamiherald.com...

Zimmerman also had a Concealed Weapon/Firearm License, as well as a Certificate of Training.

b) http://cfnews13.com...
--------------------------------------------------------------

Now to discuss whether or not Zimmerman acted in self-defense when the two confronted each other. We know that many eyewitnesses described seeing one man on top of the other attacking (rather it appeared as a fight or just roughhousing.) We can conclude whether or not it was self-defense by who was on top attacking.

a) http://abcnews.go.com...
b) http://articles.orlandosentinel.com...

Many of the witnesses who got a clearer image of the fight described a young black male on top (Martin), and a guy in a red hoodie on bottom (Zimmerman.) It was dark, however, so we need to view the next bit of evidence... The recorded 911 call, where (logically the man on bottom) can be heard crying for help.
--------------------------------------------------------------
3 - Who was the man crying for help?
According to the report, the Zimmerman family was convinced it was Zimmerman crying for help.

a) http://abcnews.go.com...

While Trayvon Martin's mother claimed it was Trayvon's voice, his FATHER claimed otherwise. Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, said it was not his son's voice he heard on the recording.

b) http://www.nytimes.com...;

With every Zimmerman sure it was George Zimmerman crying for help, and the Martin family split on rather it was Martin or not, we must look at other people's testimony, starting with his neighbors.

Zimmerman's neighbors seemed certain that not only was he not racist, but that it was his voice crying for help.

"None of the neighbors interviewed by the FBI said they had ever heard Zimmerman make a disparaging remark about racial or ethnic minorities. They described him as helpful and friendly. One neighbor, a man born in Dubai, said he is "110 percent sure" it is Zimmerman on the 911 tape" MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press wrote.

c) http://www.wptv.com...

If we cannot conclude who was on top attacking with the voice heard on the 911 call, we must look at the most important evidence... Injuries.
--------------------------------------------------------------

4 - What does the injuries say.
The person being attacked will have injuries on his body to show it. While George Zimmerman had multiple injuries on his head, including a busted nose. Martin had none that show he had been assaulted prior to the gunshot.

a) http://a.abcnews.com...
b) http://gzlegalcase.com...

With multiple injuries showing signs of assault on Zimmerman's head, and no signs of assault on Trayvon Martin's body, it seems unlikely Martin would have been on bottom.

One bit of evidence stands out, telling us that Martin had in fact been on top attacking. Bruises. An autopsy found injuries on Martin's knuckles. Not injuries that show signs of assault, but signs of assaulting.

c) http://www.wftv.com...

With the injuries on Martin's knuckles, it's hard to dispute that he had thrown punches, corresponding with a busted nose and injuries on Zimmerman's face. Further corresponding with eyewitness accounts that someone was on top attacking.

With Martin's knuckle injuries, Zimmerman's head injuries, and the majority of accounts claiming it was Zimmerman's voice screaming for help (including neighbors, and even Tracy Martin,) everything starts adding up to Zimmerman's testimony.

While the witness accounts and testimonies bare slight inconsistencies, as can be expected given the time of day the events took place, the evidence bares very little inconsistencies, and seems to connect in favor of George Zimmerman's testimony.
Junja

Con

At the outset, let's establish that the central question herein, is not whether George Zimmerman acted in self defense, but whether or not George Zimmerman's reckless and unwarranted aggressive actions were in fact what caused and provoked the incident to begin with. If George Zimmerman, a failed wannabe rent-a-cop, had not needlessly taken the law into his own hands, a teenager who was out to do nothing more than buy a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea would in fact be alive today. The idea that one can start a fight and then when losing that same fight respond with deadly force is both ludicrous and dangerous. So now that we understand what the real issue is here, let us begin to respond to your points:

"1. Did George Zimmerman have reasonable cause to investigate?" - The last I checked no one hired George Zimmerman as an "investigator" nor is there any evidence to support the concept that he was at all qualified to conduct any sort of "investigation". "Reasonable cause" for investigation is a concept that applies to law enforcement's right to obtain a search warrant, a right that will require trained law enforcement to actually go to court to show "reasonable cause" to actually obtain such a warrant. If you are asking whether or not it was "reasonable" for a self appointed neighborhood watchman to contact the police when he saw someone unfamiliar and perhaps suspicious to him in the neighborhood? Of course that would be. In fact it would be "reasonable" for Mr. Zimmerman to keep an eye on such a person and watch him from a distance while waiting for the police to arrive. However, it is and was patently "unreasonable" for Mr. Zimmerman to take this matter into his own hands and confront the person he was watching with a gun, particularly after law enforcement expressly told him not to. If we want to ask about "reasonableness" I will ask the question whether or not it is reasonable for a 17 year old male minding his own business to protect himself when confronted for no reason whatsoever while he is out on a simple stroll home from a convenience store.

To address your second point "Did George Zimmerman break any laws when carrying a gun?" - Well carrying the gun didn't break any laws, but using it recklessly to murder someone did.

Point 3. "Who was the man crying for help" No one except the 2 involved will ever know this for sure. There are people testifying on both sides. The scientific experts that were not allowed in the trial actually stated that it was most likely a teenage boy. It is highly possible that both sides were crying for help at some point. It really doesn't matter. There was a confrontation. It was unnecessary. It was started by Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was killed.

Point 4: "What do the injuries say?" - They say that Trayvon is dead and Zimmerman had some MINOR bruises. They say that two guys were in a fistfight and one (who started the confrontation) elected to use deadly force.

The people who have allowed this to become a debate about whether or not Zimmerman was acting in self defense have lost sight of the case. Zimmerman targeted what was in his own words one of those "a--holes" who "always get away" and took it on himself to handle one of those (again in Zimmerman's words) "f--cking punks". It is unfortunate that the big man Zimmerman was not as tough as he pretended to be when he confronted an innocent kid. It is tragic that anyone thinks it is justifiable for him to shoot that young man.
Debate Round No. 2
donald.keller

Pro

"At the outset, let's establish that the central question herein, is not whether George Zimmerman acted in self defense, but whether or not George Zimmerman's reckless and unwarranted aggressive actions were in fact what caused and provoked the incident to begin with."

I want to take note of the phrase 'Unwarranted aggressive action.' Martin spoke to Zimmerman first, with Zimmerman replying with a question before the fight starts.

You seem to act as though Zimmerman reacted with unneeded aggression, even though all the evidence and injuries (excluding the bullet wound) claim Zimmerman was the one assaulted.

a) http://gzlegalcase.com...
b) http://www.hlntv.com...
c) http://www.theatlanticwire.com...

---------------------------------------------

"The last I checked no one hired George Zimmerman as an "investigator" nor is there any evidence to support the concept that he was at all qualified to conduct any sort of "investigation"."

Again, this isn't about whether or not investigating was smart or advisable. This is about whether he had reason to, and given the prior crime spree, he certainty wasn't acting on racial profiling (As my prior argument made, none of Zimmerman's neighbors feel he was racist, and have never heard him make racial remarks.) In fact, a black friend even defended that Zimmerman was not racist.

a) http://www.reuters.com...
b) http://www.cnn.com...

---------------------------------------------

"In fact it would be "reasonable" for Mr. Zimmerman to keep an eye on such a person and watch him from a distance while waiting for the police to arrive. However, it is and was patently "unreasonable" for Mr. Zimmerman to take this matter into his own hands and confront the person he was watching with a gun,"

You seem to have done little research regarding the situation. A call Trayvon Martin made prior shown Martin was the first to approach and speak to Zimmerman. Zimmerman's reply was "What are you doing here?" This is a reasonable question.

Zimmerman, like any man, has reason to carry a gun on them when confronting someone suspicious at night. He broke no laws doing so.

---------------------------------------------

"If we want to ask about "reasonableness" I will ask the question whether or not it is reasonable for a 17 year old male minding his own business to protect himself when confronted for no reason whatsoever"

Again, you're ignoring the evidence I gave. If the evidence is correct, Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman. Martin shown no signs of being assaulted, meaning he was most likely the one who started the fight. This is far different from your phrase 'protect himself when confronted'...

That phrase leads to more issues. Martin assaulting Zimmerman is not a 'reasonable' way to handle being confronted. If Zimmerman had assaulted Martin first, then it would be self defense. If someone confronts you with the question "what are you doing here?" and you begin attacking him, you're not reasonably 'protecting' yourself.

If the evidence and injuries are right, it was Zimmerman who had to protect himself.

a) b) http://abcnews.go.com...
b) http://abcnews.go.com...

----------------------------------------

"To address your second point "Did George Zimmerman break any laws when carrying a gun?" - Well carrying the gun didn't break any laws, but using it recklessly to murder someone did."

The law says you may carry a gun and defend yourself with it. If Martin did attack Zimmerman (and injuries show he did) then Zimmerman's use of the gun would not have been 'reckless.' It would have been appropriate, ESPECIALLY since Martin was reaching for Zimmerman's gun (to use against him.)

a) http://global.christianpost.com...
b) http://abcnews.go.com...

I feel your argument was more based on Gun-Control bias than actual reasoning.

----------------------------------------

"Point 3. "Who was the man crying for help" No one except the 2 involved will ever know this for sure. There are people testifying on both sides. The scientific experts that were not allowed in the trial actually stated that it was most likely a teenage boy"

Actually, most people asked said it was Zimmerman, including co-workers and Tracy Martin.

The experts said they couldn't determine who it was. All their tests kept going back in forth. They were undecided, with different Audio Specialists offering different conclusions.

"Though Sybrina Fulton, Mr. Martin"s mother, has said she believes that the voice crying for help on 911 tapes was that of her son, the victim"s father, Tracy, is shown in the reports to have a different opinion." New York Times

a) http://abcnews.go.com...
b) http://www.nytimes.com...

----------------------------------------

"It was unnecessary. It was started by Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was killed."

Again ignoring the injuries and the eyewitness accounts. You blatantly shout who you think did it, but offer little reasoning or sources.

----------------------------------------

"Point 4: "What do the injuries say?" - They say that Trayvon is dead and Zimmerman had some MINOR bruises. They say that two guys were in a fistfight and one (who started the confrontation) elected to use deadly force."

Trayvon's death (gunshot wound) is not an injury that proves whom started the fight. Minor bruises still claim he was assaulted.

You say that the people saw two guys in a fistfight, but the evidence and eyewitnesses say only one was on top doing the fighting while the other was being assaulted.

You continue to say Zimmerman started the fight, but you only back this accusation up with what appears to be a genuine dislike of the person and not much else.

According to the evidence, Trayvon Martin started the fight. Zimmerman elected to appropriately use deadly force against a young adult physically assault him, especially after Trayvon tried to reach for Zimmerman's gun first. (17 years old is considered a young adult)

a) Evidence for assault still at top.
b) http://global.christianpost.com...

-----------------------------------------

"It is unfortunate that the big man Zimmerman was not as tough as he pretended to be when he confronted an innocent kid. It is tragic that anyone thinks it is justifiable for him to shoot that young man."

Confronting a suspicious character is not inappropriate. You refer to Trayvon as an 'innocent kid', then as a 'young man.' He has to be one or the other. At the age of 17, he was not a kid, and the injuries on Zimmerman's face and Martin's knuckles show he wasn't innocent either.

It is in fact justifiable to use a gun in self-defense when someone is on top beating you, and reaching for your gun.

----------------------------------------

Now answer these questions...

1) Did Zimmerman have reasonable cause to keep an eye on Martin? (I'll answer Yes for you because you've already said he did in your prior argument.)

And...

2) Did Zimmerman have a License to carry a gun?

Now ask this...

3) Does Martin show injuries or signs of being assaulted PRIOR to being shot?

And finally ask yourself this...

4) Does Zimmerman show injuries or signs of being assaulted?

Once you answer all these questions, I think you'll find Zimmerman acted in reasonable self-defense.
Junja

Con

It is unfortunate that the Florida stand Your Ground Law was not followed in this case. For some unfathomable reason the prosecution seems to have forgotten and or failed to emphasize the part of the law that does NOT allow the use of Deadly force in self defense as stated below:

776.041Q95;Use of force by aggressor."The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is NOT available to a person who:

(2)Q95;Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a)Q95;Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm AND that he or she has EXHAUSTED EVERY reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;"
History."s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1190, ch. 97-102.

The "stand your ground law" is problematic, but even this bad law takes into account the fact that one can't provoke the fight and then avail himself of its self defense protection. "There is no way Zimmerman can claim that he EXHAUSTED EVERY REASONABLE MEANS to escape the danger he allegedly felt. "To the contrary, the defense counsel went out of their way to try to demonstrate that Trayvon showed no injuries other than the bullet hole through his heart. "The law clearly states that even if Zimmerman, the provoker of this incident, reasonably thought that he was in danger, he, the PROVOKER, had an OBLIGATION to EXHAUST EVERY REASONABLE MEAN OTHER THAN THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE. "That clearly did not occur. There was no evidence that Zimmerman threw a punch or did anything other than reach for his gun in a fist fight that he may have been losing. "If he was in a position to grab his gun, he could have tried to hit Trayvon back, with or without the gun, but he didn't do this. He started a fight and then immediately reverted to the most extreme use of deadly force possible. That is not only morally wrong but a violation of the Florida statute. It is a shame that this exception to the statute was not emphasized by the prosecution and now a murderer walks free."

As for answers to your questions:
1. Did Zimmerman have reasonable cause to keep an eye on Martin? You seem to want me to answer yes. He was clearly profiling but if he wants to WATCH people in his neighborhood as opposed to confront and shoot, I have no problem.

2. Did Zimmerman have a license to carry a gun? Apparently. That also implies an obligation to carry it responsibly which he did not.

3. Does Martin show injuries or signs of being assaulted PRIOR to being shot? Apparently not and that my friend is definitive proof that George Zimmerman violated the law and is guilty as he did NOT exhaust every reasonable means possible OTHER than the use of deadly force as he was REQUIRED to under the plain language of the Florida statute.

4. And finally ask yourself this...does Zimmerman show injuries or signs of being assaulted? In the words of the medical examiner "minor injuries". If his injuries were minor, does that really mean his life was in danger? He is a wannabe cop who started a fight and got his butt kicked and then illegally responded with deadly force. I hope you or a family member or friend never find themselves in the position that Trayvon was. Peace be with you.
Debate Round No. 3
donald.keller

Pro

"It is unfortunate that the Florida stand Your Ground Law was not followed in this case."

I'll just examine all 4 of your paragraphs here, since they are repetitive.

The Con's argument is based on the idea that Zimmerman had provoked the fight, and that Zimmerman's life was not in imminent danger.

To start, let's review that law...

(2)Q95;Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a)Q95;Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm AND that he or she has EXHAUSTED EVERY reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;"

a) http://floridastandyourground.org...

Confronting someone does not equal provoking. By 'provoking,' we can assume it means 'start the fight.' One does not start a fight by confronting a person.

It says he may use deadly force against the opponent if he believes his life is in danger, and has exhausted every means to escape.

The 6' 7" Zimmerman could not reasonably escape when the 6' 11" Martin was on top of him. Now ask yourselves if you were in Zimmerman's position, and the guy on top was assaulting you with punches to the head, and THEN the person reached for your gun, would you have reason to believe you were in imminent danger?

Zimmerman claimed Trayvon had reached for his gun. With this, we must conclude that Zimmerman (pinned to the ground) had no means of escape, and was in imminent danger.

b) http://tampa.cbslocal.com...
c) http://www.calgaryherald.com...

Trayvon would have continued assaulting Zimmerman. Those minor wounds would have become major injuries, and possibly fatal. Trayvon may have even killed Zimmerman.

If Trayvon had successfully grabbed the gun (and he likely would have continued reaching for it until he did) then Zimmerman would most definitely had been dead.

"He started a fight and then immediately reverted to the most extreme use of deadly force possible."

That is not an argument, it is an opinion of what you think happened. One that is not supported by the evidence.

------------------------------------------------------

"1. Did Zimmerman have reasonable cause to keep an eye on Martin? You seem to want me to answer yes. He was clearly profiling but if he wants to WATCH people in his neighborhood as opposed to confront and shoot, I have no problem."

It's not that I want you to. It's that you already did. Let me pull a quote from your prior argument.

"...In fact it would be "reasonable" for Mr. Zimmerman to keep an eye on such a person and watch him..."

The Con believes that Zimmerman was profiling Martin. On the call to police, Zimmerman didn't profile Martin until the police asked for a race. If you recall in a prior source of mine, even Trayvon's Stepmother did not feel it had anything to do with race. Zimmerman's community agreed, as did Joe Oliver, a black friend of Zimmerman's.

a) http://www.breitbart.com...?
b) http://www.inquisitr.com...
c) http://www.theblaze.com...
d) http://latino.foxnews.com...

The Con has made wild claims like this since the beginning, but never backs them up. I should note that Source B lists multiple cases where Zimmerman helped the black community, and even requested the NAACP's help with homeless black kids.

e) http://dailycaller.com...

Zimmerman also pushed to discipline cops after they beat a black homeless man.

f) http://dailycaller.com...

Zimmerman even had black relatives, and a mother who was Latino. The Con simply has no case proving Zimmerman to be racist. Irrationally pulling the Race Card is offensive to the very nature of Justice, Reasoning, and the Gathering of Evidence.

g) http://www.washingtonpost.com...

------------------------------------------------------

"Apparently. That also implies an obligation to carry it responsibly which he did not."

The Con has agreed that Zimmerman had a license to carry a firearm. But the Con also feels that Zimmerman had been irresponsible by carrying the gun when confronting a stranger, who was nearly half a foot taller than Zimmerman, at night.

Any reasonable man would, when confronting a suspicious 5' 11" stranger at night, keep his gun on him.

If the evidence stands, and Martin did assault Zimmerman (and the evidence stands very well,) then Zimmerman was right to carry the gun. If he had not, the assault would have continued until Zimmerman was dead or dangerous wounded.

a) http://www.latimes.com...

------------------------------------------------------

"Apparently not and that my friend is definitive proof that George Zimmerman violated the law and is guilty as he did NOT exhaust every reasonable means possible OTHER than the use of deadly force as he was REQUIRED to under the plain language of the Florida statute."

The Con has again misread the Statute. It says Zimmerman must exhaust all possible means of escape. He held none, and after Martin reached for his gun, Zimmerman had to apply deadly force to survive.

"EXHAUSTED EVERY reasonable means to escape"

The Con has accepted that Martin shown no sign of being assaulted.

a) http://floridastandyourground.org...

------------------------------------------------------

"In the words of the medical examiner "minor injuries". If his injuries were minor, does that really mean his life was in danger?"

The question wasn't whether or not they were minor, but whether or not he had them, and you accept that he did.

The Con feels that minor injuries mean Zimmerman wasn't in danger. If Zimmerman had not shot, those minor wounds would have became fatal injuries. Zimmerman may have even been dead. In fact, we know they would be fatal because Martin reached for the gun.

Zimmerman did NOT reach for his gun until Martin had reached for it. If Zimmerman had not grabbed the gun, Martin would have had it. Knowing that Martin only failed to get the gun because Zimmerman grabbed it first, we can assume Martin would have fatally wounded Zimmerman if he had had the chance to.

The evidence stands to say Martin started the fight after being confronted, so Zimmerman was within the law when he shot.

a) http://www.latimes.com...
b) http://www.examiner.com...
c) http://www.miamiherald.com...

---------------------------------------------------

The Con has agreed to the following.

1- Zimmerman had reason to keep an eye on Trayvon.
2- Zimmerman had a license to carry a gun.
3- Martin shown no signs of being assaulted.
4- Zimmerman shown signs of being assaulted.

By agreeing to these resolutions, the Con has basically agreed to the Resolution of the debate, that Zimmerman had broke no laws up until the fight, and had acted in self-defense.

The Con continues to argue, however, using only the unsupported claim that a racist Zimmerman walked up and started fighting Trayvon Martin.

With this, I conclude my case that Zimmerman acted in self-defense against Trayvon Martin.

I enjoyed debating, and hope to debate with you again.
Junja

Con

OK, so the "Pro" has repeated over and over his belief that it was reasonable for Mr. Zimmerman to "defend" himself against a boy armed with a bag of skittles and an iced tea by shooting him in the heart. The "Pro" cites his version of Florida's self defense law and ignores the clear requirement under Florida State Statute 776.041 (2) (a) that a person trying to avail himself of a self defense argument cannot do so if they started the fight, unless they have "exhausted EVERY reasonable means to escape" the danger.

I have previously raised this with the "Pro" and have pointed out that if Mr. Zimmerman was able to escape to the point where he could shoot his gun, he probably could have tried another means to escape the danger he allegedly perceived. Perhaps he could have thrown a punch. That used to be kind of traditional in fights in most places. Historically, it has not been accepted behavior to get in a fight and as soon as you are losing, take out a gun and shoot someone in the heart. Now, maybe that is what 20 year old Tea Party Conservatives do these days. It works pretty well in those video games that the "Pro" has said he likes to play. I am sure that shooting someone in the heart scores a lot of points when you "spend a great deal of time playing games like Age Of Empires, Civilization V, Hollywood Mogul 3, and Stronghold."

Unfortunately, Mr. Pro, its not such a good idea to do this in the real world. In fact when people do this in the real world there are actually laws and consequences for such overreaction. The basic definition of "manslaughter" is an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence and the State of Florida has specifically codified Manslaughter in Section 782.07(1) of the Florida Statutes as:

"The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776."

As we have tried to teach the "Pro", Section 776 does not avail itself to Mr. Zimmerman because of his failure to exhaust all reasonable means before killing a boy armed with a bag of skittles.

Mr. Zimmerman is further culpable under Section 782.11 of the Florida Statutes which outlaws an "Unnecessary killing to prevent an unlawful act" and states that "Whoever shall unnecessarily kill another, either while resisting an attempt by such other person to commit any felony, or to do any other unlawful act, or after such attempt shall have failed, shall be deemed guilty of manslaughter, a felony of the second degree".

I have been at this long enough to know that the "Pro" will continue to take the position that poor Mr. Zimmerman did nothing wrong and did not provoke anything. The "Pro" thinks that Zimmerman had every right to confront the teenager and that Zimmerman was an innocent victim. The fact that Zimmerman ignored police staff admonishments that he should stay in his car and let the police handle it, has no bearing on what happened in the "Pro's" world. The "Pro" further thinks that in trying to piece together what happened on that night, the only testimony we have from Mr. Zimmerman BEFORE the incident occurred, i.e. Zimmerman's recorded opinion that these "F#@kin$ punks, these as@holes" always get away" is irrelevant. Somehow, even though this confrontational statement is recorded shortly before Zimmerman and Martin met, the "Pro" thinks that this is not an indication of Zimmerman initiating the confrontation that ended Trayvon Martin's life.

So, we are not going to change the "Pro's" mind. He can go back to spending a great deal of time playing video games where people can get shot hundreds of times a night and nobody really dies. That's not what happened here.

Whoever people end up voting for in this debate, I hope that everyone who reads these arguments thinks long and hard about the ramifications of a vigilante society where people respond to a punch with a gun. The next kid carrying skittles and an iced tea might be someone you know. Think about how you would feel if that teenager was killed by a "neighborhood watchman."
Debate Round No. 4
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Lol :D
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
@Donald
I don't know what you mean by ablaze, but its on my opening page for msn news. Seems pretty fired up to me. :)
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
I feel these things have been established based on character analysis and factual evidence:
1. Zimmerman is a righteous(possibly a little self righteous) man
2. Zimmerman is charitable
3. Zimmerman is not racist
4. Zimmerman was under assault
5. Zimmerman called for help
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
I heard! Why isn't the media ablaze with that story?!
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
It is beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was the one being punched in the face with Martin on top of him (based on physical analysis, autopsy, and eye-witness testimony). It is therefore correct to assume that the cries for help originate from Zimmerman. Seriously, why would Martin be crying for help as the one punching the other person's face?
@Junja : If Zimmerman started throwing punches, then he would become legally liable too. He was correct to not do anything until the moment he felt he had no choice but to use his gun. Ironically, his initial passivity almost mirrors that of the black community's (mostly MLK followers) mid 20th century peaceful protestation. I do agree that he should have had better discretion with where he put that bullet, but spur of the moment occurrences happen. However, the legality of his actions do not seem to be questionable.
The only non-evidenced issue I see is Zimmerman's reach-for-gun claim. I think his charitable, good character lent him credibility in this one.
I just wanted to add that Zimmerman just helped to save 4 people last Wednesday[1].
The article is somewhat vague on the details, but I find Zimmerman to be very likeable.
[1] http://news.msn.com...
Posted by Junja 3 years ago
Junja
Yes. It seems excessive. Based upon every bit of testimony by Zimmerman himself and the detectives and the medical people, Trayvon Martin didn't have a scratch on him other than the bullet hole through his heart. Maybe before you shoot someone who is besting you in a fight you try to throw a ouch or two yourself. Or as I have pointed out many timesans which you have never addressed maybe you hit him in the head with that gun. Maybe the you try something other than deadly force. Yes. It seems excessive.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Well, if you're in Zimmerman's position, and you only know that something has to be done about the guy half a feet taller than you smashing your head into the pavement... Would you sit there and let him do that?

If Zimmerman hadn't, he might be dead. Does it seem excessive?
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
It's a case of reasonable doubt. We can deduce who most likely started the fight, based on the injuries. I for one don't believe the claim of 'he went for the gun,' yet such was not a point of the criminal trail; so if civil rights are to remain the USA what choice did the jury have other than innocence?

I'd have to double check, but I'm pretty sure the prosecutor did not list 'assault with a deadly weapon' among the charges, therefore the jury could not even convict him of what very few would question his guilt on (with anyone reaching for the gun not a part of the criminal trail, was pulling a gun excessive?).
Posted by Wocambs 3 years ago
Wocambs
I haven't seen any compelling reason to think that was the case.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
No, but you are allowed to if you didn't start the fight, and the other guy reaches for your gun.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
donald.kellerJunjaTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con maintained that self defense could not be used by Zimmerman, because Zimmerman provoked the incident. But there is no evidence that contradicts Zimmerman's account in which Martin jumped Zimmerman, and all the evidence (injuries, screams, Martin on top) is consistet with that. Pro did a thorough job of laying out the evidence and arguing the law.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
donald.kellerJunjaTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: This boils down to factual evidence and supporting it. I think pro wins this just due to that fact alone. Con seemed to debate off of personal opinion and did not support his points, or provide sources to strengthen them. While we may never know what happened, judging by this debate alone Pro wins due the fast amount of evidence providing along with how detailed his arguments were.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
donald.kellerJunjaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: My opinion has been shifted from reasonable doubt, to actual self defense. Conduct: See argument. Argument: Con lost a lot of points with his R2 opening "let's establish that the central question herein, is not whether George Zimmerman acted in self defense, but..." the resolution is not about how much of a jerk/loser Zimmerman is, it is literally if he acted in self defense. With such a large early concession, what's left is strength of arguments. Pro made a case, and effectively replied consistently (height errors noted). Con rambled about matters outside the case, instead of sticking to that Stand Your Ground Law (his strongest warrant). He wasted his final round insulting video games, and claiming pro's argument was actually about video games. Sources: Pro cited every quote, lending credibility to his argument; con did not even attempt to flip any, and made non-cited quotes. Heck where did Zimmerman's past talent for shooting people in the heart come from?
Vote Placed by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
donald.kellerJunjaTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:61 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins this debate because he accurately explained the situation in regards to facts. He provided great informative sources, and ultimately proved that Zimmerman acted in self defense better than Con did the opposing. Con used expletives, over exaggerations, and wasn't as thorough and articulate in his response. His opinion seemed to be conflicted with falsehoods and flawed arguments. I don't think Con should have used the argument of what the case was really about; this debate was on a seperate issue of the case entirely, that being the act of self defence. Good job to pro for a great debate, and good luck in future debates.