Pursuit vs Watch

As one pundit noted, you can tell where on the political spectrum a person is by whether they say Zimmerman was in pursuit of Martin or whether he was just watching Martin. This also shows up in stories that assert that Zimmerman was wrong to get out of his truck to ‘pursue’ or ‘watch’ because that is what lead to the tragedy.

What has been missing in the public discussion is Martin’s role in what he did wrong and what he should not have done. Some of these would be: he should have just gone directly home from the convenience store rather than wander around looking at houses in the dark; he should have spent the four minutes getting inside rather than waiting to jump Zimmerman; he should have simply asked Zimmerman what he was doing and then gone home; he should not have jumped Zimmerman (in the manner he bragged about in his telephone messages).

Another behavior to look for is the ‘both sides at fault’ rationalization. That requires equating the Zimmerman watch or pursuit with the Martin house browsing and assault as equivalent in moral and ethical terms.

Extrapolation, especially for minimization, is another behavior to observe. Bob Beckel provides a case study in extrapolation a self defense during an assault with a bar fight and another ‘expert’ who suggested the brawl was like a schoolyard fight. The ideas here boil down to dismissing any basis that self defense might be required, especially self defense with a gun. People being mugged should just accept it? Being mugged is the same as a bar fight or the fight between a couple of kids on the school yard? You are supposed to take careful inventory of your injuries and forecast potential future behavior of the guy beating you up before you decide how to respond?

The implications are also worth considering. A neighborhood watch is an organized adjuct to the police efforts. The idea is that the members of a neighborhood will watch out for each other so burglars, vandals, and other criminals will know they have a higher risk of being caught. That means that suspicious behavior is noted and that those expressing that behavior will not disappear before the police can check it out.

The implications for self defense are also significant. Does the girl crossing campus after a late class need to just submit to assault? Or can she carry a weapon to defend herself? Should gangs be able to attack without any concern that they might be met with deadly force?

It is the neighborhoods where the citizens cower, where the don’t get out of the truck to let potential criminals know they are being watched, that have the biggest crime problem. It is the people who are not able to exercise self defense that end up being killed or beaten to a pulp. Those uncomfortable with Zimmerman’s efforts for his neighborhood should consider the alternative.

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