Killing to obtain security?

by anthony.ethier on September 9, 2013 - 11:13pm


Today guns are extremly presente in our society, but do this owner of arms are going to use it for the good purpose ?George Botelho and Holly Yan from CNN discussed, in their article, the case of George Zimmerman who shot to death the young african-american  Trayvon Martin. The 17 years old boy was walking back to his home, through the rain, after having left a store. He was eating candy and drinking a soda on his way home when the neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman saw him. According to Zimmerman, Martin was acting suspiciously due to the fact that he was covering himself with his clothes. Zimmerman and Martin had a physical altercation and, to this day, it’s unclear who was the aggressor. To protect his neighborhood from violence, Zimmerman used his gun for self-defense and killed the young man. During the trial of the case, the race debate came up to the discussion. What could have happened if the young man was Caucasian? Did Trayvon’s race influence Zimmerman’s decision ? After a long debate and case study the jury tells that Zimmerman was not guilty.


Security and justice are both values that represent the ethical issue of Is killing to obtain security is good ?’’ In this case, security his representing the side of Zimmerman, he was a volunteer neighborhood watch, who means to protect his neighborhood. His job was to maintain the happiness and the good living of his neighborhood and most importantly his family. He was allowed to keep a gun with him and use it for self-defense to protect anyone from any type of crime or violence . He was dedicated to this security because he was not making any money for being guardian, it is a volunteer job. On the other hand, the principle of justice that Traven Martin was suppose to have received by the neighborhood watch by asking him to identify him self and let him the time to explain what he was doing at this time. Martin was walking back to his house calmly and was not bothering anybody. He was alone, not with friends, which proves that he was not disturbing or creating insecurity in the neighborhood. Also it is not because someone is of a different race that he is acting like the bad one of is cultural group. We can not judge a book by it’s cover so we can not judge a person by his skin color. We have to be fair with everybody. It is not because some african-american  are in a street gang that all the african-american  people are in this bad group and are bad like them. In this particular case no justice had been made, just a lot of controversy and pain. Especially the brother of the accused who was feeling sad and was shock by this situation regarding the victim’s family.


In my opinion, we should not kill anybody to obtain security. It is non-moral to act like that, many other ways may be use to preserve the security of a neighborhood. It was the first time that Zimmerman saw this kid, so before shooting him he should have talk to him and see if he really was a danger for the neighbor. Martin was a simple teen with no interest of doing bad things at this moment; he was alone where no one can influence him. Furthermore, he was coming back from a store where he bought a soft drink and candies, this demonstrates he had no bad intention in his mind. Zimmerman had no rights to shoot the teen boy, he shot him by the pure principles of generality, where he thinks that if a black man has a hoodie on his head and his hand in is pocket that he is going to do something bad.Do we really need to use violence to solve somebody's mind ?



Botelho, Greg, & Holly Yan. "George Zimmerman found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin's death." CNN. 01 Jan. 1970. Cable News Network. 14 Jul. 2013 <>.



The case of the State of Florida v. Zimmerman was a very interesting court case for me because it grabbed a lot of the media's attention and many journalists, politicians and artists found an obligation to voice their opinion on what had happened. Also, due to my busy daily schedule I often find myself walking home during the late hours of the night. Sometimes I do anxiously think about what would happen, if I would be forced to face a situation involving physical confrontation with a stranger. Thus, the question of whether or not one needs to use violence in such positions becomes highly relevant. When thinking about it rationally, I would say that violence can never be the answer. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love" thus if I were to be aggressive while confronting a stranger, he would respond by showing more aggressiveness and the situation would not calm down. However, I am forced to also understand that humans are not always capable of thinking rationally, especially when they confront a situation that triggers the animal instinct of survival. In this case the answer becomes either fight or flight and fear, anger and aggressiveness would be the most natural emotions.

As far as the main question is concerned " Should we consider Zimmerman's acts based on racial profiling or self-defense ?" I think that there is a deeper ethical issue behind it that is: should the ethnicity of the involved parties ( the victim and the defendant) be revealed in a case like this one ? The author of this blog post hesitantly questions the attention this case would have gotten if it involved a Caucasian teenager instead of an African American one. In my opinion, ethnicities should not be revealed in a case like the one involving Zimmerman and Martin. Generally speaking, it is always ethically nebulous whether killing another human being is a justified act. However, when race is promoted as the motive behind the killing the consequences are quite bad. Often times, just like in the case of Zimmerman and Martin, the involvement of race creates a separation between the communities. Consequently the court case becomes a question of "racial equality" instead of "justified killing through self-defense". As a result, the court case, when promoted as a racial equality case, creates more racial hatred between "us" and "them" and it could then be justified the motive for creating more physical disputes and killings. In other words, when some people feel that there is no justice, they take it upon themselves to take matters into their own hands.

The author of this blog post does talk about whether murder should be justified through self-defense and in his opinion Zimmerman's acts did not help the security of the neighborhood (which was indeed Zimmerman's main function as part of the neighborhood watch). It is also argued that Zimmerman should have talked the young teenager to calm down instead of firing his weapon at him. Once again, I do agree with this train of thought, however, it is important to consider that during a physical altercation one does not react with rationality but rather with instinct and reflex and in this specific case we can not certainly know whether it is Zimmerman or Martin that intially provoked the dispute.

Recently, It seems that Zimmerman was involved in another confrontation (this time with his wife) in which he also used his gun to create a threat warning. Once again however, the claims of both parties are not evident to prove and to justify.

Although it is not so evident, security and justice are two ethical values that often overlap, especially when they don’t come hand in hand. Now, while George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer and somewhat represented a figure of security, he was not an official figure of authority, and therefore should not have intervened like one and shouldn’t have been allowed to carry a deadly weapon. Furthermore, as a citizen of the U.S. of A. and as a person passing through that neighborhood, the security of Trayvon Martin became George Zimmerman’s duty, a fact you omitted to mention. You also forgot to mention that, in addition to his right to justice and equality, Trayvon Martin has the right to be free, which includes dressing and acting as he pleases. Zimmerman justified his action by saying that Martin kept trying to cover himself as he walked home, during a rainy night might I add, and that made him suspicious. I cannot know, for a fact, if George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because of the color of his skin or the way he dressed. I do know however that it is unjust to stereotype anyone based on the color of their skin, something you did when you wrote “[i]t is not because some African-American are in a street gang that all the African-American people are in this bad group and are bad like them,” since I’m sure you’re aware that street gangs exist in all races and communities. I believe this is a very touchy subject, that required a little more research and attention on your part, but all in all, I agree that the security should not be sought through murder, and that justice was definitely not served by acquitting Zimmerman.

I was interested about your post because i heard a little bit about this story and I was interested in seeing your interpretation of it and knowing your opinion about this controversial story. For me, I think this is a real tragedy and what happened should never happen to an other person either black or white. I think the way Zimmerman acted was not really for security because the kid did nothing, it should not count as self-defense, this is a murder. Trayvon did nothing bad and Zimmerman removed him his right to live. I think this is a sad story and it should be remember because guns kill and sometimes even when you want to secure your family or neighborhood you have to take in consideration that what you will do will have consequences on the life of a lot of people. I think that guns should stay legal in the United States, but in a situation like this were the person did nothing dangerous for the life of anyone, it should be count as a murder an not a self-defense. It should be ok to kill only when your life is in danger and you have no other options, in this case it is not self-defense. Do you think that some more specified laws should be inplement to be more specific about how to use guns ?

As someone who thoroughly followed the case during its trial, I was naturally interested in seeing opinions and facts about this highly mediatized and controversial case.

To begin with I am not the type of jumping out to conclusions quickly for a question of ethnicity, especially in a case like this one. However, to be honest, I was very angry they let that man go free without any punishment. When analyzing the situation in which the boy was living I am certain that he was not the type of attacking a man for no reason. Lots of facts support the theory that the altercation was a plain provocation of Zimmerman. I believe in equity of everyone and if Trayvon Martin did in fact commit an attempt to arm Zimmerman with no reason, I would be the first to defend Zimmerman. But, how can an adult feel the pressure to pull a gun on an unarmed teenager to the point of killing him? Wherever a very clear case of racial profiling has place it has to be solved honestly and insistently to remove any doubt. As a matter of fact, using racial relations as a justification to reduce individual rights of the victim previously has sad past in discrimination.

In the end I don’t think we’ll ever have a clear answer on what really happened that night but one thing is sure, racial profiling exists whether we want it or not.

Do you agree Zimmerman should have been punished?