Chanting Points Memo: The Law And The Leftyblog Fantasy World

Hypothetically, here:  Let’s say that a Neo-Nazi – let’s call him “Tim Stevenson” – gives a rabble-rousing speech at a tiny meeting of neo-nazis.  He rouses the skinheads and flat-earthers present to a fever pitch of hatred against “N****rs, Kikes, Wops, Spics, F****ts, C**holics and Immigrants”, calling for their expulsion from the US – peacefully, if possible, not-so-peacefully if not.

Stevenson – at 60 years old a small man, 5’7 and maybe 150 pounds, with a law degree from the U of M and closely-cropped hair – is a truly hateful man.  He also has a spotless criminal record, and has a Minnesota permit to carry a handgun; “believing rotten things” is not a condition for denial.  As hateful as his beliefs are, he’s never been in a physical fight in his life. He’s got a little .380 in his pocket.

After his speech, and after coffee and coffee cake with the assembled louts, Stevenson leaves the meeting, walking out onto a cold, dark, wind-swept Brooklyn Center street to get to the parking lot, a block away.  He’s being followed, he notices, as he tries to walk toward the parking lot, by a large woman in a “trench coat mafia” duster. His spidey sense, augmenting his far-left Nazi paranoia, kicks in; he walks a little faster.  The woman walks faster still.  Stevenson breezes through the stoplight to get across the street to the parking lot; the woman breaks into a jog, yelling “Hey!”

Stevenson turns, and notices the woman appears very aggressive.  He starts backpedaling, toward his car, yelling “what?”

“I’m coming for YOU, Stevenson!” the woman – Hannah Rothenshteyn-Gabler, 29, a 5’11 former rugby player and current competitive bodybuilder, bellows.

(By an odd coincidence, a video production class was just letting out in a building across the street.  Seven people with video cameras happen to videotape the entire incident, from a variety of angles, with crystal-clear audio, albeit with a style overly derivative of early John Sayles).

At this point, it was Stevenson’s opinion and perception that something bad would happen if he waited to meet the woman.

Stevenson backpedals, yelling “DO NOT ATTACK ME!  HELP!  DO NOT ATTACK ME!” – because while Stevenson may be a neo-Nazi, he did pay attention in concealed carry training; he remembers the part where his instructor said “when you’re carrying, you have to turn into the biggest p**sy in the world”.  “HELP!  DO NOT ATTACK ME!”

As he backpedals through the parking lot, he can’t see the banana peel, left earlier in the evening by a littering driver, lying in his path.  As he backpedals, he slips and falls squarely on his butt, sprawled on the ground, dazed for a shaved instant.

Rothenshteyn-Gabler runs up to where Stevenson lies on the ground, and pulls a 16 pound sledgehammer from under her duster, and hefts it above her head.  “I am going to pound your brains into silly-putty”, she says.  “And then I’m going to soak what’s left of you in gasoline and light you on fire!”, she bellows, preparing to smash the hammer down on Stevenson’s face.

Feeling himself – in his opinion, informed by his perception of what was going on – to be in imminent danger of death and great bodily harm, having established that he was an unwilling participant and making a very credible and reasonable effort to try to run away, Stevenson pulls his .380 and fires one shot.  It hits Rothenshteyn-Gabler in the head, killing her.

Stevenson calls the police, who detain him, but review the evidence – including the seven videotaped accounts – and note that Stevenson behaved correctly in every possible way.

But the Hennepin County Attorney brings charges – Second Degree Murder.  Stevenson’s lawyer mounts an affirmative defense, a “self defense” claim, noting that yes, Stevenson did shoot Rothenshteyn-Gabler, but…:

  • Stevenson  was as reluctant a participant as it was possible to be.
  • He’d made an extraordinary effort to retreat.
  • He had a freaking sledgehammer above his head, and an attacker who was clearly ready and able to use it, putting him in very reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.
  • He fired exactly one shot, enough to end the threat – so his force was “reasonable”.

The prosecutor got up to respond.  “But ladies and gentlemen of the jury – while the defendant meets all four criteria of the self-defense claim, HE IS A NEO-NAZI!  I mean, come on!  He’s a NEO NAZI!  He HATES Jews and women and blacks!  HE’s A NEO NAZI!  A NEO NAZI!”

Two questions for you, the audience:

  1. How does the jury rule – bearing in mind that Stevenson’s beliefs, reprehensible as they are, had nothing whatever to do with the fatal encounter itself – personal beliefs don’t justify deadly attacks, right?
  2. How would the story be any different had the “Stand Your Ground” bill passed?

For the first:  If the Jury doesn’t nullify the law and ignore that, noxious personal beliefs aside, Stevenson acted correctly?  They’ll most likely acquit him; hateful as he is, he obeyed the law.  There are no guarantees with a jury, but given impeccable behavior, he could prove the correctness of his actions.  He’d make his lawyer a little wealthier, of course.

For the second?  The lawyer would have to come up with a better argument, one that hinged less on “HE’S A NAZI”, and more on proving his fear wasn’t reasonable.

Tha’ts really about it.

I bring this up because some local leftybloggers want to ignore the facts and pretend that the first part is what matters, when it suits them.


“Spotty” from Cucking Stool – who loves to dish all sorts of insulting crap about people, but would really really prefer that nobody use his real name, because while he loooooves dishing it out, he doesn’t want to take it – is, as we showed last year, one of the worst sources there is on matters of law when it comes to guns, which is ironic seeing as he’s a lawyer and all.

Anyway, like all prominent leftybloggers, he’s got Media Matters chanting points to churn through.  And churn he does:

ALEC and the NRA’s Shoot First’s poisonous legacy is spreading throughout the country, including recently, as most of you know, in Florida. Trayvon Martin was shot dead for the crime of walking while black and armed with Skittles. Well, he was wearing a hoodie.

Hoodies have been my outergarment of choice for close to 40 years.  Oddly, I remain unscathed.

Shoot First was described — misleadingly by it proponents and perhaps merely sloppily by the media — as extension of the “castle doctrine.” That is the legal doctrine that says you can protect yourself in your home with deadly force and that you have no duty to retreat from a threat encountered there. Sensible enough.

Sure.  You can thank the Second Amendment movement in Minnesota for pushing that through in the past ten years or so, over the whinging of the likes of Heather Martens, as well.

But Shoot First says that the world — or the states where it exists, anyway — is your castle. If you thought the world was your oyster, this is better, no?


For starters, the Minnesota proposal didn’t make “the world” one’s “oyster” – just ones property, business and car.

And I’ve yet to hear a lefty tell me why something that’s “sensible enough” in the home somehow isn’t when it’s on the porch, in the garage, or while driving down 50th Street.

Anway – “Spotty”, day job notwithstanding, seems to have a supernatural ability to err when it comes to matters of law?

George Zimmerman didn’t have to retreat under Florida law when he saw a person he considered threatening, not did he have to obey the 911 dispatcher’s instructions to stay in his vehicle.

Nor would he have had to under Minnesota law had the “Stand Your Ground” bill passed.

Nor, for that matter, would he have to under Minnesota law today.  Or, for that matter, under current law in New York, Massachusetts or the District of Columbia.

Because even in places with a “duty to retreat”, that “duty” doesn’t start until the actual encounter begins.  George Zimmerman had every right to be where he was; he wasn’t breaking any laws by following Trayvon Martin.  And he wasn’t breaking any by not “obeying the 811 dispatcher’s instructions”; a cop can tell you to stay in your vehicle with some legal force; a dispatcher’s “instruction” has no legal weight.

It may have been a wise thing to do under the circumstances, mind you – but that’s not “Spotty’s” point.

No, he went stalking the teenager that he described to the dispatcher as a “f***ing coon.”

Well, it sounds like Zimmerman might not be a nice guy.  Between his Dwight-Schrute-like “insta-cop” tendencies and his racism (assuming “Spotty”, a member of the same lefty “alt”-media pack that just knew the Duke lacrosse team was guilty, too, is relating actual fact).  But it’s of no more interest to the actual encounter that led to the shooting than Tim Stevenson’s history was to the hypothetical shooting above.

Did it lead him to do something stupid?   We’ll come back to that.

We know what happend.

Well, we know how it ended.  In between the 911 call and the cops arriving there’s a lot of things we – and by “we” I mean “all of us” – don’t know.  “Spotty” is going by what he’s been told by the same media that just knew Tawanna Brawley was a victim and the Duke Lacross players

What’s left is to sort out the consequences. And that’s where we come to the remarks of the Minnesota Senate’s Repple Depple Deputy, Julianne Ortman…Deputy Ortman said that she didn’t think that Shoot First would affect the way people behaved, but that it would affect the consequences.

The case of George Zimmerman is Exhibit A.

Ortman was right, and “Spotty” is – I’ll be charitable – mistaken.

First, getting out of his vehicle to confront the “f***ing coon” — especially after being told not to — might well preclude a claim of self defense by Zimmerman in Minnesota; he obviously had the ability to retreat or at least not escalate the situation.

“Spotty” is, of course, wrong; there is no “duty to retreat” from something one has a legal right to do (no matter how vile one’s personal beliefs) in a place one has a legal right to be (non-binding “instructions” from a 911 dispatcher notwithstanding).

You don’t have to take my word for it, of course.  You can take the word of anti-gun Hennepin County Prosecutor Mike Freeman.  Last fall, operating under current Minnesota law, he declined to press any charges against the man who shot Darren Evanovich, in an incident that was unambiguously much more perilous; the shooter had seen Evanovich rob and assault a woman, and followed him (in a car! Just like Zimmerman!) into an alley!

What do you suppose a 911 dispatcher would have told him?

But the fact is, the shooter wasn’t doing anything illegal, under Minnesota law, by being there; there’s no law against following a mugger into an alley and asking them to give stolen property back.

And either was Zimmerman, under Florida or Minnesota law.  He had a right to be on that street, just as we all have a right to be anywhere, and no legal obligation to be a fortune-teller.

“Spotty” is talking, in the legal profession’s canonical Latin, “De Anus“.

But he’s going to graze ever-so-close to the heart of the matter next; close, enough, that I’m going to add emphasis to the important bit:

Second, here’s what the vetoed HF1467 says about the burden of proof in a criminal trial where deadly force was used and self-defense is claimed:

Justifiable use of force; burden of proof. In a criminal trial, when there is any evidence of justifiable use of force under this section or section 609.06, the state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not justifiable.

And there’s the key to the matter.  Florida’s law is broadly similar (and applies everywhere in Florida, not just on one’s property, business and vehicles, as Cornish’s bill did) to the Minnesota proposal…

….especially in the key respect that if there is evidence that it was justifiable, it’s the Prosecutor’s job to prove otherwise; under current Minnesota law, it’d be Zimmerman’s job.

And the cops and the county attorney initially opted not to press charges.


Several possibilities:

  1. The cops and prosecutors are all racists, and anyone who looks white can get away with murder in Florida, no matter what the law says.  Which, if true, is horrible – and not really the fault of the Stand Your Ground law.  You get the same results in states with “Die, Victims!” laws.
  2. The cops and prosecutors screwed up and ignored evidence that the killing wasn’t justified, that could have proven that Zimmerman had no reasonable fear of death or harm, and that he provoked the incident beyond a point where Zimmerman had a legal right to be, under Florida or Minnesota or Delaware law, for that matter.  If that’s true?  Then it doesn’t matter what the law is; you could have law that is perfect beyond human comprehension, and human error can negate it.  Either way, it’s not the fault of Stand Your Ground; even in “Die Victims!” states, cops and DAs are frustratingly human.
  3. The cops and prosecutors, seeing the evidence available to them, decided they didn’t have a case – or, perhaps unthinkably, that Zimmerman was justified.  Were they right?  We don’t know.  None of us – not the Second Amendment-supporting real Americans, and not the “Castrate The Lacrosse Team” crowd.  None of us.

Which is the case?

We may know the truth, eventually.  It is a fact that we will not learn the truth from the lefty “alt”-media.

Back to “Spotty”.

George Zimmerman says, “Yes, I stalked the ‘f***ing coon’ in my vehicle, got out and followed on foot contrary to instructions from the 911 dispatcher, and when I confronted him, I felt threatened and so I shot him dead on the spot.”

That’s some evidence of self defense, isn’t it?

Well, no.  But up to the “felt threatened” bit, it’s also – and I know “Spotty” will huff and puff and cry “Teabagger” when he reads this – completely irrelevant.

Is there evidence the “feeling of threat” was illegitimate?  That the lethal force was illegitimate under Florida law?  That Zimmerman was not a reluctant participant in the actual fight, and didn’t try to disengage from the actual fight?


Then the case would be a solid case of self-defense even under current Minnesota law.  

We don’t know how the Zimmerman/Martin case is going to turn out.  That’s because we don’t know a whole lot of the facts, other than those leaked by one side or another to the press.  And everyone on both sides would do well to quit pretending they know more than that.

So it seems that the the Repple Depple Deputy is right. Shoot First would help you get off if you set out to kill someone, especially those f***ing coons.

Only if the case, and the law, existed the way they do in “Spotty’s” curious little world.  As this long, long post has showed, it does not.

The title is [Spotty’s blog post] is taken from a Stephen Colbert monologue that you can see at The Shannon Files.

The left might be better served if they let Colbert and Jon Stewart do all their thinking for them.

15 thoughts on “Chanting Points Memo: The Law And The Leftyblog Fantasy World

  1. I wonder if he’ll even bother to respond, I wonder what mail correspendence classes he took to get that law degree.

  2. “not [sic] did he have to obey the 911 dispatcher’s instructions to stay in his vehicle.”
    Zimmerman received no instructions to stay in his vehicle, from the 911 dispatcher or anyone else.
    Idiot knows that there is no evidence that Zimmerman said “f*king coons”, yet he repeats it four times. Here’s the audio of the 911 call:

  3. Idiot knows that there is no evidence

    Not so sure he “knows” any such thing. He, like most leftybloggers, seems to have gotten his “information” from some combination of ThingProgress and Colbert. Goddess only knows what they’re telling the lefty kids.

  4. CNN, 10 voice expert analysts said inconclusive. coons is close to creeps but even if he did say it what difference does that make in this case?

  5. Not so sure he “knows” any such thing. He, like most leftybloggers, seems to have gotten his “information” from some combination of ThingProgress and Colbert.

    One would think that a lawyer would have the ability to evaluate arguments and evidence.

  6. Here’s what City Pages says about Cucking Stool:

    Tightly written, with cited excerpts, external links, and a refreshing lack of vitriol, the Cucking Stool won’t make you feel like you need a tick bath after reading it.

  7. and a refreshing lack of vitriol
    I’m sorry is there another Cucking Stool out there? Because clearly I am not reading the same blog as the reviewer, every post is dripping with vitriol and contempt for anyone not on the left.

  8. The problem with using the shooting of Trayvon Martin as a ‘People’s Exhibit A’ in Stoolies brief is how little is known about the events by nearly everyone (including and especially the PTR media) except the victim and the shooter, George Zimmerman.
    Last week, the news had it that the shooter “had not even been taken into custody!!1!1!!”; yet last night the story was “he didn’t even have any blood on him!!!1!!1 when he was taken in to custody”. Last week Trayvon Martin was a slight, apparently happy 17 year old who looked like he was 14 years old; shot for nothing more than wearing a hoodie, eating some skittles and drinking a tea. This week we learn he was bigger at his death because the picture the media circulated was from when he was 14. And he was wandering around at 3 AM because he had been kicked out of school back home in Miami, more than 4 hours away from Sanford.
    As I’ve noted before – I can only hope that all the parties involved get justice. By using this poor kids death to grind his axe and the issues he has with the 2nd amendment lowers Stoolie to a new low amongst the Lefty’s.

  9. shing lack of vitriol

    Other than not being able to refer to a “tea partier” as anything but a tea bagger? Sure.

    Except for this sort of thing, no “vitriol” at all.

  10. What is that? A picture taken at a “Socialism in One Nation” rally? Why isn’t Spotty there?

  11. Having visited the link Mitch provides, it’s pretty darned appalling that none of Spot’s pet liberals called him on the egregious violation of Godwin’s Law. And he would accuse conservatives of being an echo chamber? Weird.

    I’ve had, for what it’s worth, a number of interactions with liberals who should know better where they more or less will deny the protection of the law to their opponents. One would figure that someone who had studied 20th Century history might know where that leads, but apparently not.

  12. @ Seflores – And he was wandering around at 3 AM

    I heard he was out at 3am myself and thought it may be a reason why Zimmerman was suspicious of him but according to the initial police report, the shooting took place between 7:17pm (when the police responded to a report of a suspicious person) and 7:30pm (when Martin was pronounced legally dead). So he wasnt actually wandering around at 3am but more like 7pm which is not unusual for a teenager but YMMV.


  13. The Stool used to feature somewhat rational opposition to conservative ideals. But in the last 3-4 years, it has devolved into a hyper partisan shill for any and all on the left.

    Ironic that the success of ‘hope and change’ led to bitterness and despair.

  14. Meanwhile, the RedStar’s coverage of yesterday’s Martin rally is an utter and absolute embarrassment. Not even a passing attempt at balance, and even Roger Reinert talked about ‘shoot first’ laws leading to a Martin repeat in Minnesota in his dutifully-printed DFL editorial chanting point piece today.

  15. Pingback: Whizzing In Other Peoples’ Wheaties | Shot in the Dark

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