The UN, Jesse? Really?

In an op-ed published yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for an investigation into Trayvon Martin’s death the the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He hints that the self-defense shooting of Martin may have been a violation of international law.

We need a national investigation of the racial context that led to Trayvon Martin’s slaying. Congress must act. And it’s time to call on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for an in-depth investigation of whether the U.S. is upholding its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties. Trayvon Martin’s death demands much more than a jury’s verdict on George Zimmerman. It calls for us to hear the evidence and render a verdict on the racial reality that never had its day in court at the trial.


The sad reality is that the UN is more likely to “investigate” this that than state-sponsored atrocities happening around the world.

CCRKBA Defends Stand-Your-Ground Law At Florida Hearing

Joe Waldron, Legislative Director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, testified today at a commission hearing in Florida that was examining their stand-your-ground law. The commission was established by Gov. Rick Scott to make recommendations about the law in response to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman shooting incident.


BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today defended the legal concept of Stand-Your-Ground, which is the law in 24 states, during a public hearing in Florida, where a movement is underway to change that state’s statute.

CCRKBA Legislative Director Joe Waldron told the committee examining Florida’s law that the state should not change a law that has been working for seven years. Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a commission to examine the law earlier this year following public outcry over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The incident provided a launch pad for attacks on similar self-defense statutes across the country.

“But after that single incident nine months ago,” Waldron observed, “we’re told Florida’s stand-you-ground law is terribly flawed, and should be repealed or at least restricted severely. The law has been in place for seven years. Laws should not be made – or repealed – based on a single, anecdotal incident.”

He noted that in some states, the stand-your-ground concept has been adopted via “black letter law,” that is, by judicial rulings.

“The stand-your-ground concept has been through the courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Waldron said. “The legal concept governs federal case law regarding self-defense.

“In all 50 states,” he added, “if you are subjected to a potentially lethal attack or one that poses the risk of serious bodily injury, you have the right of self-defense, up to and including the use of lethal force.”

“Laws that protect millions of citizens should not be changed because of public reaction to a single case,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We are hopeful that Florida lawmakers use common sense and back away from any attempt to change or repeal this statute.”

Zimmerman’s Attorney Mark O’Meara To Speak At 2012 GRPC

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation sent out an email notice last night saying that George Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Meara, is scheduled to be one of the speakers at this year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando.

From the email:

George Zimmerman’s criminal defense attorney Mark O’Mara in the Trayvon Martin case has just confirmed to speak at the Gun Rights Policy Conference!…

This year GRPC will be action-packed. With over 50 speakers hand-picked from the leadership of the Gun Rights Movement, the topics to be presented promise to have an impact that will help direct the path of our cause for years to come. Invited speakers this year include: myself, Joe Tartaro, Alan Gura, Otis McDonald, John Lott, Alan Korwin, Massad Ayoob, David Kopel, John Snyder, as well as staff from the Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation,, and Gun Owners of America. A number of elected political leaders have been invited as well.

For more information on the Gun Rights Policy Conference or to register online, go to the SAF’s GRPC page.

I plan to be there and I’d urge you to make it if you can.

Reparations? Utter Nonsense From The UN

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has now weighed in on the Trayvon Martin cases and says reparations are due. Excuse me? Reparations? You have to wonder how an organization such as the UN was allowed to fall so low over the years.

Although local, state and federal inquiries have been underway for weeks, Pillay called for “an immediate investigation” into the shooting.

“Justice must be done for the victim,” she told a media briefing in Hastings, on the southern end of the Caribbean island [of Barbados]. “It’s not just this individual case, it calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this.”

“In this particular case it was the family itself, their distress that became known to the general public – once again people pressure that has drawn attention to this case. It shouldn’t be so,” Pillay continued. “The law should operate equally in respect of all violations. So, like every other situation such as this, we will be urging an investigation, and prosecution and trial – and of course reparation for the victims concerned.

Pillay, a South African jurist, was appointed U.N. rights chief in 2008 and is based in Geneva, at the home of the U.N. Human Rights Council. She is a former judge at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

According to her official bio she has masters and doctorate degrees from Harvard University in human rights and international law. I’m sure Harvard is very proud of her but one does have to wonder just exactly what she learned in Cambridge.

Unscheduled Events At The Annual Meeting

Thanks to Twitter, I found this unofficial, previously unscheduled event that is planned for the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. It will feature some local politicians as well as possibly some out-of-town visitors. The flyer for the event is below.

Since the Tweet featuring this flyer linked to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) website, I’m assuming that they are the organizers of this soiree. As Sebastian so accurately observed today on Twitter, they are professional agitators. I don’t think they should be confronted, heckled, or otherwise given more attention than they deserve.

That said, I’d love to get a picture of myself with Ladd Everitt or Josh Horwitz much as Mike Vanderboegh has one of himself with Paul Helmke at the Restore the Constitution Rally. It would make a great keepsake – and a great reminder of our opposition.

H.Res. 612 – For Those Who Thought This Was Just A Police Matter

If you thought the Trayvon Martin case was just a local police matter which would be handled in a court of law, you are so sadly mistaken. It is a political matter now and you have to look no further than House Resolution 612 to get confirmation of that.

From an article in The Hill:

The resolution — sponsored by CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Florida Democratic Reps. Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson, all members of the CBC — refers to Martin’s killing as a “crime,” condemns “the inconceivable fact that his killer remains free” and claims “racial bias led to the use of deadly force.”

The non-binding resolution also “condemns unfounded reliance on Stand Your Ground laws to protect actions that extend far beyond historical use of self-defense … [and] urges any state legislature considering Stand Your Ground legislation to reject such proposals.”

The text of H.Res. 612 as introduced.


Honoring the life of 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, urging the State of Florida and others to repeal the Stand Your Ground law, and admonishing involved parties to pursue full investigations into all homicides, regardless of defenses asserted by the offender.

Whereas on February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, an African-American youth, was horrifically shot and killed while walking from his local 7-Eleven in Sanford, Florida, because he was viewed as `suspicious’ by George Zimmerman;

Whereas Zimmerman, a self-appointed, untrained neighborhood watch volunteer, admitted to police that he shot Martin in the chest;

Whereas Zimmerman raised a `self-defense’ claim and Martin, as the deceased victim, was unable to rebut such claim;

Whereas Zimmerman was never charged for the crime and was released by the Sanford Police Department soon thereafter;

Whereas despite the numerous pieces of evidence, including a 911 call made by Zimmerman, Martin’s final phone conversation which occurred during the course of the crime, the numerous calls made to 911 by nearby neighbors who heard the incident, and Zimmerman’s troubling legal history, the Sanford Police claimed they did not have enough evidence to detain Zimmerman and subsequently released him;

Whereas Zimmerman’s unfounded assumptions and racial bias led to the use of deadly force;

Whereas a month after the crime, Zimmerman remains free and still bears a concealed weapons permit and the legal right to carry a gun;

Whereas Trayvon Martin’s brutal death and the inconceivable fact that his killer remains free should not be ignored;

Whereas the Sanford Police Department and its Chief, who is on temporary administrative leave while the case is being investigated, have faced a firestorm of criticism over the handling of the shooting;

Whereas this case sets a horrific precedent of vigilante justice and compromises the integrity of the legal system;

Whereas the Department of Justice will investigate all facts and circumstances leading to Trayvon Martin’s death and consider Federal criminal prosecution of George Zimmerman based on Federal civil rights statutes;

Whereas over 2,000,000 signatures have been collected on an online petition demanding Zimmerman’s arrest and justice for Martin’s family;

Whereas Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has been criticized by both the legal and law enforcement communities;

Whereas 21 States have passed and implemented Stand Your Ground laws;

Whereas Stand Your Ground laws dramatically and recklessly expand the right of citizens to use deadly force in self-defense, and have been the subject of national scrutiny in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death;

Whereas the Stand Your Ground laws were drafted by organizations, corporations, and individuals that ignored advice from experts explaining that such laws would compromise public safety, disproportionately impact communities of color, and would result in offenders circumventing prosecution;

Whereas an attempted expansion of the Stand Your Ground laws doctrine has resulted in the collaboration of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which promotes conservative public policy by affecting change in State legislatures;

Whereas ALEC drafts model legislation for its members to champion and advance in their home States;

Whereas ALEC used Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as a template in its push to broaden the Castle Doctrine nationwide; and

Whereas the 2005 passage of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law resulted in similar statutes being passed in 16 other States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) admonishes any State, local agency, or official acting to obstruct an open investigation or failing to fully execute their official duties in the investigation of the events surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin;

(2) condemns all relevant parties for their roles in proposing Stand Your Ground legislation and similar legislation that compromises public safety and the integrity of the prosecutorial system;

(3) condemns unfounded reliance on Stand Your Ground laws to protect actions that extend far beyond historical use of self-defense;

(4) urges any State legislature considering Stand Your Ground legislation to reject such proposals; and

(5) urges the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law in every applicable State, including Florida.

Unfortunately, George Zimmerman cannot sue Representatives Cleaver, Brown, Hastings, or Wilson for defamation as they have absolute legislative immunity. Moreover, the resolution reads like a bill of attainder which is forbidden by the Constitution.

The Hill reports that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are not done yet with their so-called legislative efforts.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), another CBC member, is crafting a proposal requiring members of Neighborhood Watch groups to be registered before taking to the streets under a watchman’s badge.

And Wilson, who represents the district where Martin lived, is working on legislation to create a national commission “to study race-based injustices, health disparities and economic disparities affecting African-American men and boys,” in the words of the congresswoman.

The commission would be charged with examining racial disparities on topics ranging from crime and incarcerations to education and healthcare, and making policy recommendations to Congress on how to fix any imbalances it finds.

Call me a cynic but none of their efforts are about “Justice for Trayvon™”, improvements to the criminal justice system in Florida, or legal standards for self-defense. Rather this resolution and the bills to follow are about the re-election of Barack Obama. They seek to keep the issue alive and kicking within the African-American community in hopes of generating the same sort of African-American voter turnout in 2012 as occurred in 2008. Without that turnout in battleground states such as North Carolina and Florida, Obama’s re-election becomes more iffy especially given the fragile state of the economy and historically high gasoline prices.

UPDATE: It looks like my instincts, cynical though they may be, are right on the mark about the Trayvon Martin case. Luther Campbell, a record producer and rapper, who blogs as “Uncle Luke” had this to say in his blog in the Miami New Times which was posted about an hour after my original post.

For more than two weeks, tens of thousands of African-Americans have been marching on public streets to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami Gardens teen killed by Sanford resident and overzealous neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. The marches have taken place from Los Angeles to Manhattan and from to St. Petersburg to Bayfront Park. They’ve included high school students, housewives, and professional activists. Yet when it comes time to march to the polls on Election Day, African-Americans are nowhere to be found.

We can’t continue taking to the streets to cry about our civil rights being violated when we are not exercising our right to vote. That’s the real injustice. By not voting, African-Americans end up with leaders who don’t respect them as constituents.

Campbell concludes with a call for African-Americans to march to the polls in November.

Instead of taking money to hold self-serving rallies, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should be marching people to their local voter registration offices. The only way to stop injustices such as Trayvon Martin’s killing is to march when it really matters.

And that’s on Election Day.

Question Of The Day

Joe Huffman says there is only one question he wants answered about the Trayvon Martin case. And depending on the answer, that will be all he needs to know about the case.

The one question I have that will probably settle the issue for me is when the authorities said, “Zimmerman then shot Martin once in the chest at very close range”; What was that range? I’ve probably spent more time and money than most on learning about such things and if the investigators know what they are doing, and I have no reason to believe they don’t, then they should be able to determine that range quite accurately. If the range was under 12 inches they can probably determine the range to within a fraction of an inch. And of course the angle can be determine quite closely as well.

If the range is determined to be within six inches and the bullet path matches Zimmerman’s story then I have to conclude the two were in a fight at contact distance and Zimmerman was losing badly. If I were on a jury I would insist that Zimmerman was in reasonable fear of imminent permanent physical injury or death and was justified in using deadly force to protect himself.

End of story for me.

This is a very interesting question and one I hope will be answered sooner than later.

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes from Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned. He notes the narrative continues despite all indications from recent reports that the Stand Your Ground law has no real bearing on the Trayvon Martin case anymore.

This stopped being about Trayvon Martin days ago. The media is now in a full court press to blame the laws, despite the current witness testimony that essentially reveal that Martin was on top of Zimmerman before the shooting occurred. Duty to retreat is not at issue here. It can’t be at issue. Zimmerman had no means of retreat. The entire question, as I have said since the beginning, will hinge on whether Zimmerman is faultless.

Quote Of The Day

When multi-millionaire NBA stars are joining “million hoodie marches” and when you are shocked that the name “Trayvon” was not uttered in the news round-up on CBS Sunday Morning, you know the whole Zimmerman-Martin affair has jumped the shark.

Thrown into this media circus is a sage, yet snarky, comment from Tam:

I wish the media would find another ball to chase soon. I have never hoped for some random celebrity to choke on their last cookie so hard in my life. Elton John would probably do. He’d wipe the whole Zimmerman/Martin thing right off the front page, and he’s kinda past his Sell-By date, anyway. I mean, all he’s done in the last twenty years is release more re-recordings of songs about dead blondes, right? Come on, Elton, how about leaning in over the plate and taking one for the team?

I can see the epitaph now – “He was just walking down a yellow brick road listening to some crocodile rock and dreaming of being a rocket man when he was beaten by a deaf dumb and blind kid (who) sure plays a mean pinball.”