From Clayton E. Kramer of PJ Media comes an interesting take on the Trayvon Martin case and how it stacks up against other cases of this type where concealed carry permit holders had to use their weapons in self defense. Interestingly enough, the last case of this kind with racial undertones, happened in Colorado in 2004. Here’s an excerpt of Kramer’s article;
Perhaps Zimmerman’s version shades the truth. Perhaps Zimmerman attacked Martin, not the other way around. Martin might have told a different version of events, but he is dead. The evidence that was available in the aftermath of the shooting created reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed a criminal act. (Stupid, perhaps, but not everything stupid is criminal.) Nothing that has shown up since, not even Martin’s girlfriend’s recounting of a cell phone conversation that she had at the start of his confrontation with Zimmerman, contradicts Zimmerman’s claim.
Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy, but not every tragedy is a crime. Unless someone finds a witness or physical evidence to prove that Zimmerman lied about what happened, or to show that Zimmerman started a fight with Martin, there really is no basis to pursue criminal charges against Zimmerman. (There may well be a civil case against Zimmerman, where the burden of proof is much lower than in criminal court.)
Some states make a point of gathering data on permit holders who are convicted of crimes. The results are generally positive: for 2009, Texas reported that 101 concealed handgun licensees were convicted of crimes, out of 65,561 convictions statewide. Since there were 402,914 licensees in 2009, in a state with just under 25 million people, this is actually pretty impressive: 1.6% of the population had 0.15% of the criminal convictions. In short, Texas licensees had less than one-tenth of the criminal conviction rate of the general population.
From 2003 through 2010, I gathered news accounts of American civilians using guns in self-defense: a total of 4,699 such incidents. (You can read a detailed report at the Cato Institute.) What I found quite startling as I compiled those reports over the years is how few incidents I found where concealed weapon permit holders used those guns in a way that was lawful but foolish. The case that was most obviously analogous to the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy took place in Aurora, Colorado, on November 13, 2004. There was a white man with a concealed handgun (Glenn Eichstedt), and a black man with a bad attitude (Aaron P. Davis). It started as a dispute over a door ding in a parking lot. At the end, Eichstedt was alive, and Davis was on the way to the hospital, where he died.
That’s an interesting statistic from Texas…Less than two percent of the population had less than two tenths of one percent of the statewide criminal convictions. Of course, gun control advocates will say that’s two tenths of a percent too many, but then, gun control advocates aren’t playing with a full deck anyway.
The solution, in my mind, is that we need to start teaching kids about guns and the proper handling of firearms in school. You can teach young children the dangers of picking up a gun they see laying around and teach them to leave the gun alone and tell an adult.
As they grow older and become more responsible, they can be taught not to be scared of firearms and be taught how to properly handle and shoot a gun. Proper safety in handling firearms should be stressed continually during all of these classes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every person should be required to own a gun. That would be akin to saying that every person had to own a Bible or had to own a copy of Das Kapital or whatever.
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?