It’s A Fine Line Between Provocation And Self-Defense

A Virginia man wearing a bizarre outfit approached a 12 year-old boy and his sibling, who were selling lemonade on a hot day, and threw a piss-filled balloon at them. He followed up by demanding that they go back to Africa, which sounds like a lot of the people in this Facebook comment thread

So, as far as I can understand, had the boy begun hitting his assailant – and then started to win the fight – piss-balloon man would have been justified under Florida law to “stand his ground” and shoot the boy dead.

Piss-balloon man would be the only one up on the stand, and he can just testify that he was all done with his assault and had retreated, so it was the boy’s own fault he got shot, and he never uttered a racial remark, and the kid may have had detention once and his sibling is fat and rolls his eyes on the stand. 

Let that sink in.


  • I must have missed the part where Zimmerman physically assaulted Martin before their fight started.

    Also, since literally every agent involved in the case, from police to both sides’ attorneys to judge have said the case did not involve the SYG stuff, when can we stop talking about it as if it did?

    • You did miss it. Any evidence of what happened disappeared with Martin’s murder. The only person who knows what happened is the guy who smartly opted for his right not to testify at trial.

    • “…the jury that acquitted him received instructions that borrowed language from the statute, specifying that if “‘he was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force.'”

      That’s from Fox News. Literally.

      “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • Let’s pretend as if SYG didn’t result in a 6 week delay before Zimmerman was arrested.

      • Still waiting for your take on the delay in arrest in the Daniel Adkins case and why the Reverends Jesse and Al weren’t involved and if there is a Department of Justice Investigation ordered by the President.

        • Keep waiting. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • For me, a reference to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton when someone is trying to deflect racism is the equivalent to Godwin’s Law. The minute you mention those names, I realize that you have no real argument, and I stop listening.

          • I wasn’t trying to deflect racism just wondering what people’s opinion are on a very similar case. Therefore there was no argument at all.

  • Balloon man exhibited an unprovoked act of aggression, Zimmerman did not. Balloon man exhibited racial bias, Zimmerman did not.

    • John (not McCain)

      Where’s your wife work? I’d like to follow her around and find out if you think that’s aggressive or not.

      • Zimmerman was doing what the community asked him to do. Did Zimmerman exercise the best judgment? Probably not. Did Trayvon Martin exercise the best judgment? Probably not. Did a tragedy occur? Yes. Did said tragedy rise to the level of manslaughter or 2nd degree murder? No.

        • John (not McCain)

          Swing and a miss. I was asking for a physical address of your wife’s place of employment, not your feelings with regard to the George Zimmerman case.
          As you can tell from the four upvotes, there are five of us who would like to find out whether or not you think it’s aggressive if I follow your wife around in a public space that I have every right to be in. For that, I’ll need a street address. It would also help if you could post a picture of the woman in question. Your anticipated cooperation is required.

  • The problem with the Zimmerman case was simple – although we know that Zimmerman (wrongfully) approached him, we do not know what happened next. Martin could have started pummeling him after Zimmerman made it clear that he was no threat. Martin could have pummeled him in his own defense if Zimmerman was trying to hurt him. Martin could have been pummeled himself and then murdered. Hence, the acquittal.

    And the reason we don’t know any of this is because this cowardly loser – who lacked the ambition, work ethic and fitness level to be a real cop – shot and killed a kid who was half his size.

    I have no problem dismissing the racial angle – it is a complete distraction from the real issue, which is that this pathetic rent-a-cop loser needed his gun to escape a beating from a child.

    You people rooting for Zimmerman are revealing more about yourselves than anything else. You don’t need to stick up for every single cause that Fox News instructs you to.

  • Your understanding depends solely on the premise that a 12-year old boy can put a grown man in reasonable apprehension of impending death or serious injury–with his bare fists.
    Thus justifying the use of deadly force against him.
    How’s that working out for you?

  • Bedenko formerly wrote some pretty interesting stuff here using very good research and journalistic skill.
    Lately though I am wondering what has happened to that guy. It’s like he’s making a living doing short shorts while on vacation somewhere.

  • Imagine if the neighborhood watchman took the time to get to know his neighbors and their families. Then perhaps he might have been more inclined to give his neighbor’s kid a ride home, to get him out of the rain, instead of identifying him as a threat to the community despite the fact that the kid was doing nothing illegal, negligent nor even uncivil.
    I know who my neighbors are, which is why I don’t feel it necessary to carry a gun and accost them everytime the walk around my property.

  • Even if Zimmerman did not have injuries, according to Florida law, he will still win the case because of the following:

    ” The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been ACTUAL; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually BELIEVED that the danger was real.”

    So Zimmerman can say the danger facing him was that Trayvon covered his mouth and nose so he could not breath, that is enough danger for the jury.

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