~~~ by Steve Klein~~~
(Serves as Staff Attorney and Research Counsel for the Wyoming Liberty Group and is a frequent guest on The Morning Zone on AM650 KGAB.)

When George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder for killing Trayvon Martin last year, I commented on the ridiculous attempt by some liberals to use Martin’s death as evidence for stricter gun-control laws. Considering Zimmerman’s version of events, I concluded: “If Martin did pin Zimmerman to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face, Zimmerman was fully within his rights to shoot Martin in the chest.”

Over the weekend, Zimmerman was acquitted of not only second-degree murder but also manslaughter, a much less serious felony. This means the state of Florida could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was the aggressor against Martin, which would have made the shooting a criminal offense. Nevertheless, even after acquittal, President Obama quickly enlisted Travon Martin’s memory to rally support for gun control. The President is not alone in the use of this tactic, but it appears to be little more than another blundering step in the gun-control stimulus package.

This is not to vilify Trayvon Martin. The trial revealed vague witness testimony and inconclusive forensic evidence as to who was the aggressor. But just as this evidence failed to pillory Martin, it fell far short of convicting Zimmerman.

The court of public opinion is not bound by the same standard as the jury, but even tangential facts in the case reveal that terrible night in Florida is far from a support of gun control, and is instead a testament to the importance of gun rights. The timeline of events reveals the response time of Sanford, Fla., police. Although it took only about a minute for police to arrive after the shooting, they’d been first contacted by Zimmerman around seven minutes prior. As the case shows, it only takes seconds for very bad things to happen, and police response times are actually far worse in other towns and cities. All too often the police are not there to stop crime but merely to punish those who committed them, if that.

The 911 audio from Zimmerman’s neighbors during the incident is especially telling, with one lady hiding upstairs in her home fearfully calling—begging—another occupant to join her and stay away from the windows after the gunshot. This is not to say gun owners should engage criminals offensively, but that it’s far better to hide in one’s home armed against possible intruders than to be stuck there asking police dispatchers if a patrol is en route after a shooting in the backyard.

The polarized opinions on the Zimmerman case are most disturbing as they reveal the complacency demanded by gun-control activists. It’s very hard to understand how anyone could paint Zimmerman as a gun-toting nut who was out to kill that night. Given the undeniable crime in his neighborhood at the time, and the length of time it took police to respond, there should at least be some commendation of Zimmerman’s stated goals as a neighborhood watchman. Alas, in the name of anti-gun principle, when there’s trouble we are supposed to call the police and pray. (Excuse me, that’s simply “call the police.”)

Progressive dogma requires unlimited support of welfare programs, education and other professional bureaucracies without any accountability to efficacy. Such support is often justified with lofty calls to support our communities. But with the tax dollars we pay to support this administrative state we are also asked to sacrifice our basic responsibilities, such as protecting ourselves and our neighbors from crimes. Things might go wrong, and mistakes and malfeasances are only forgivable when it’s civil servants behind them.

Federal charges or a civil lawsuit by Martin’s parents may follow George Zimmerman soon enough, but nothing will elevate this incident from one of the most mischaracterized anecdotes in the gun rights debate.