In Legal Terms, It’s Not So Black And White
I'm the night-watchmanI am security I'm the night-watchman How safe do you want to be? Tom Petty - Night-Watchman
By Randall Grantham Community Columnist
I have bitten my tongue now for about as long as I can about this black teen and the Jewish/Mexican security guard. A death like this of anyone, black, white or green, is regrettable and from all indications Zimmerman regrets that the incident happened, but I am sick to death of watching news show after “news” show about the demonstrations, listening to the professional civil rights spokes-people and hearing the left-wing media calling for his arrest and the abolition of a law that has saved many people from death or injury and/or prosecution for protecting themselves or their families.
That’s right, I said left-wing media. I’m no right-wing-nut but I do believe in personal rights and personal responsibility. I also believe in the right to bear arms and to take defensive action as necessary. I’ve been called a left-leaning libertarian lawyer and that’s pretty accurate, I think. But when it comes to the Second Amendment and the right of the people to stand up for themselves, I give no ground.
In this case out of Sanford, Florida, the first thing to realize is that nobody knows what happened out there that night. Nobody other than the night watchman and, from all accounts, he has been cooperating with the police.
But, just because a black man was shot and killed by a (kind of) white guy, it’s an “oppression of the blacks” case. I keep hearing all manner of people referencing 1960's racial conditions and talking about Selma and the KKK and calling for Zimmerman’s head. To me, those people are nothing more than a modern day lynch mob.
How’s that for a reference to racial divisions?
Where were all those people when the black guy near Tampa shot and killed the white guy on the basketball court and wasn’t immediately arrested? You didn’t see masses of people who had no idea what might have happened in that case traveling from all over the country and demonstrating, calling for him to be jailed. You didn’t hear people like Jesse Ventura (that’s as close as I could come to a white Jesse Jackson) calling for a boycott of Valrico.
Now I’ve never been to Sanford, but I don’t think the town of Sanford was involved in this shooting. And I don’t think the town of Sanford should gather up their pitchforks and torches and go out and track down this Zimmerman fellow, but that seems like what some people think should be done (Spike Lee, I’m talking to you).
Unlike the Sanford case, in Valrico there were witnesses, and although there was some discussion as to whether the black guy would be arrested, the police were allowed to finish their investigation and they eventually did arrest the shooter. However, from what I’ve read, the case against him is anything but a lock.
He had his hearing under the “Stand Your Ground” law not too long ago and there is a definite possibility that his charges will be dismissed before trial. And, by the way, the last story I read about that shooting, never even mentioned the races of the parties involved.
The thing to remember before gutting or throwing out this law is that it is not a license to kill or a tool of racial discrimination. It is a law that says we don’t have to run away and cower in our homes. We can continue about our lives and, if we are attacked and fear for our safety or lives, we can defend ourselves.
If we don’t follow the law, the police will investigate and arrest us if there is probable cause to believe we committed a crime. That is their job. Don’t you think we should let them do it?
(Randall C. Grantham is a fifth generation Floridian and lifelong resident who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz . He can be reached at LutzLaw@aol.com. Copyright 2012 RCG)