tv The Last Word MSNBC July 17, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. told the reverend al sharpton and what the george zimmerman jury isn't telling anyone. >> the burden of a star witness in a hotly disputed trial. >> i kept my ground. i stand strong. >> do you think that rachel jeantel was treated fairly as a witness? >> it was the tone of don west's questions to her. >> the way they tried to cross examine her. >> are you claiming in anyway you don't understand english? >> trying to rattle you on the stand? >> i think the tone came across very condescending. >> they're trying to call her character into question. >> she was the last one to speak to that child, trayvon martin. >> they tried to frighten the testimony. >> and he was fearful. >> the verdict in the george zimmerman trial is sparking a national dialogue. >> with an escalating push for
federal civil rights charges. >> dozens of demonstrators began a sit-in at the governor's office. >> they're looking micro scopically at the jury. >> we the jury find george zimmerman not guilty. >> did the juror make the right decision in this case? >> juror b-37 is this your verdict? >> yes. >> the jury has spoken. >> the justice department shares your concern. >> i think it's perfectly appropriate to look at the bigger picture. it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense. >> he really was talking about stand your ground. >> the prosecutor said stand your ground doesn't apply to this case. it never came up in the defense. >> it does seem like there's an uphill battle here. >> we live in a country that has a long way to go. >> a conversation that is only just beginning. >> george zimmerman didn't take the witness stand to tell his
story in his murder trial. and subject his story to the challenge of cross-examination in a courtroom before a jury. rachel jeantel didn't want to take the witness stand to tell her story. but today rachel jeantel told the reverend al sharpton how she summoned the courage to do it. >> do you feel as you say you talked to your supporters, you feel a lot of people have attacked you. but a lot of people around the country are standing up supporting you as well? >> yes, people who are attacking me, they're not in my place. they have to imagine if that was them, my age, would they do it? the whole world watching you. so nobody felt how i felt. day before i testified, i did not sleep at all. trying to figure out how i'm going to do this, how i'm going to do this.
okay, what he going to ask me, because i know don. when they said an hour, i didn't believe that. i believed it was going to be three hours. it became five hours. so i don't understand what people are saying, why she do this, she's lying. if that was you, would you do it? >> you got on the stand and testified and zimmerman didn't. >> no. and people in the whole world judging me. they're judging me. and the person who shot trayvon did not even testify. >> well, what do you think about that? >> that's not a real man. if you were, say, not guilty, you come up and tell your story, this what happened, this what happened. you just don't stand there, just
look, i ain't do nothing wrong. >> joining me now, the host of msnbc's politics nation, the reverend al sharpton. al, was that your first meeting with rachel jeantel? >> yes, it was. i had never spoken with her before. and i had watched the testimony. and i like others were alarmed at the levels of attack and almost venom that people came down on this young lady, and when i sat and talked to her, i was actually moved by her conviction, her firmness, and her strength, and her intelligence, and i thought that -- i was very happy that people could see her in her own resolve, she knew exactly what she was doing, never ever equivocated on the facts that she said from the beginning until this day. >> i want to hear -- i want to present to the audience more of your interview, because you
broadcasted four hours ago at 6:00 and i think we have a whole new group of viewers who are going to want to see this. it's a very special look at her. we're going to listen to more of it now. >> great. >> that's why they said they had a plan for me. they come after me since october. >> really? >> yes. >> why do you think it was so important to them they didn't want you there? >> phone records, proof what george said on the tape, she said it, and remind you before the 911 tape came out, i'm the one -- my voice came out before the 911s, all that. and i told them and listened to his 911, it matched what i said. >> so when you had told the
story even before the tape had come out about what he was saying, screaming, and all of that, the tape came out after you told the story, it really corroborated what you had already said? >> yes. and the state just called me, okay, you're my star witness, so they called i went to jacksonville. they went back and forth with me, and the defense would ask me question every one, trying to figure out who i am. trying to figure out the bad in me. i want your twitter, facebook, your family. they don't have nothing to do with me. it's not about me. it's not about my character, it's not about trayvon's character, it's about that night, what happened that night. who caused the situation to happen? >> so al, she knew based on what
the defense, the information the defense had been requesting from her in the previous months, she knew when she went into that courtroom, don west was going to try to put her on trial? >> she not only knew it, she anticipated it. one of the things that was stunning to me, lawrence, when don west went after her saying, do you understand english? one would think he had not spoken to her for months. she said, i know don. she was calling him don. they had that much interchange down through the months leading to trial, because the defense had an opportunity to question her preparing for their defense. he acted as if he totally was unaware of her abilities, when he was trying to rattle her and portray her in a certain way to the jury and the public. and i never understood that until we did this interview. >> will with, let's go to that part where you actually talked to her about this, and that challenge to her about speaking english.
let's listen to that. >> i think, you know, coming up as i did, i thought you basically handled the attack a lot cooler than a lot of young people -- at some points it was almost -- let me show you one question that don asked you, you tell me how you felt about it. >> are you claiming in anyway that you don't understand english? >> i understand you. i understand english. >> my question is, when someone speaks to you in english, do you believe that you have any difficulty understanding it because it wasn't your first language. >> i understand english really well. >> i mean, the way you kind of looked at him and then you kind of went ahead, it was like, what are you talking about?
>> that day i know -- well, the next -- the day before i had to deal with don, i already know what he was coming after. so i had to show him more respect. that's when the yes, sir started. and when don asked me that question and i had been talking english with him for that long. i feel like he disrespect me, so i couldn't say nothing, so i had to hold on, and i said why are you asking me this question? i'm thinking, why are you asking me this question, i'm speaking english to you. >> and had conversations with him leading up to this and this never came up? >> this never came up. >> you were preinterviewed by the defense and prosecutors and it didn't come up, why does he come up and bring it up in the trial? >> to attack me. >> and for what, to try to rattle you on the stand or something? >> yeah, to try to get me angry,
to show the jury, look at her, she angry, she's his friend. if she's angry, you should imagine how trayvon is. >> it's been striking to me since she first went public after the trial on television, and again with you, that she's just much more kind of composed and ready to talk. and it's not as if tv is easy for her. it's not like she's done that before. there's a lot of pressure on being on national television, but it seems like the pressure of the courtroom was much more intense on her. >> not only the pressure of the courtroom, and certainly, you're right there, that it was intense, but to have someone that you've engaged in a lot of preinterview, a lot of conversation ask you questions that you know they know better than, she's 18 years old, and she's like, what are you talking about? do i understand english? we've been talking for months. where is this coming from?
and for her to be able to deal with the pressure of the courtroom and how incongruous his questions was given their relationship, i think it was almost amazing that she was able to handle it. because she had to figure it out as she was going along. and again, i think he was purposely saying, this is not your first language. he was trying to make inferences to the jury that he knew better, but he wanted to project certain things to her like you're different, you don't speak english. you're different. like she said, provoking anger which would fit into the stereotype he was trying to project of trayvon martin, that he was this angry, out of control young black man, and these are his friends. >> reverend al sharpton, thank you very much for sharing that interview with us tonight, al. >> thank you, lawrence. >> pleasure. reverend al will interview the parents of trayvon martin tomorrow night on politics nation at 6:00 p.m. eastern. and you can see his full interview with rachel jeantel on
the msnbc website. coming up, we will have more from the zimmerman jury today. one of them seems to think she has already said too much. and we're not going to show you rolling stone's controversial cover, but we are going to talk about it, even though rolling stone cancelled the appearance on this program tonight of the reporter who wrote that cover story about the boston marathon bomber. and you might think that virginia's anti-sodomy law has nothing to do with you, but that's because you've never read that law. that law makes almost every form of adult sex illegal. virginia is the one state that is certainly not for lovers. that's in tonight's rewrite. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but
a friend under water is something completely different. i met a turtle friend today so, you don't get that very often. it seemed like it was more than happy to have us in his home. so beautiful. avo: more travel. more options. more personal. whatever you're looking for expedia has more ways to help you find yours.
in texas, a democratic state representative is proposing a legislation that would block the 20-week abortion ban until such time as the death penalty is abolished in texas. he says his bill would mean the abortion restrictions would not go into effect until 60 days after texas stops executing people, and then shows its actual respect for life. the state's most recent execution was on june 26th. governor perry spoke at the national right to life convention the next morning. up next, new details about the jurors in the zimmerman trial. [ male announcer ] this is kevin.
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now, that's progressive. call or click today. the juror who went on cnn monday night to tell the world how absolutely certain she was that it was george zimmerman's screams on the 911 tape, and how george zimmerman would make a perfectly good neighborhood watch leader in her neighborhood, that juror was disowned by four other jurors in a public statement they made last night. and today that juror seems to be disowning her previous certainty that george zimmerman did nothing wrong and trayvon martin did everything wrong. today she issued this statement. thank you for the opportunity to vent some of the anguish which has been in me since the trial began for reasons of my own, i
needed to speak alone. there will be no other interviews my prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict option other than not guilty in order to remain within the instructions. no other family should be forced to endure what the martin family has endured. as for the alleged book deal, there is not one at this time, there was an agreement with a literary agent to explore the concept of a book which discussed the impact of sequestration on my perceptions of this serious case while being compared to the perceptions of an attorney who was closely following the trial from outside the bubble. the relationship with the agent ceased the moment i realized what had been occurring in the world during the weeks of my sequestration. my prayers are with trayvon's parents for their loss, as they have always been. i now wish for me and my family to recover from being selected
for this jury and return to a normal life. god bless. we have had statements now from five of the six jurors. the only juror we have not had a statement from is juror b-29, the only nonwhite member of that all female jury. she was described as hispanic or black woman, married, the mother of eight children. who recently moved to florida. joining me now, msnbc's karen finney, host of disrupt with karen finney. and msnbc's legal analyst lisa bloom. karen finney, the statement today from this juror who -- when she first appeared on television, was completely convinced of every single element of the case as presented by the defense. is this statement of full of sympathy suddenly for trayvon martin. what's your reaction to that? >> you know, the first
interview, i have to tell you, i found chilling, it confirmed for me something when mark o'mara gave his closing argument. no other family should be forced to endure what the martin which was when he talked about crime in the neighborhood that had been done by people who looked like trayvon martin. i don't know the exact words used. but i think he was trying to give the jury permission for whatever biases they had, and even though we couldn't say racial profiling, for profiling. and her answers in the first interview sounded like she bought that hook, line and sinker, now she seems to have taken a step back and thought about it perhaps differently than they were when they were in the jury room. >> lisa bloom, she did refer to the jury instructions as being significant, but she just kept stressing how much she bought the defense's interpretation of the evidence. in the instructions, she is basically telling us here, i was
completely handcuffed by the jury instructions, please change the law. >> you know the jury instructions were completely deliberating, when they had sent out the question saying the manslaughter was confusing and they wanted guidance on it, and the judge sent back a question saying what was your specific question? and they never returned with the question, a couple of hours later they had a verdict. i almost wish the discussion had continued with the judge and jury and they had gotten an answer, there was no evidence it was confusing, a lot of the information in there was legalese, it wouldn't be understandable to a nonlawyer. i think they need cleaning up. seeing how everybody is so upset about the jury and coming around having more compassion for trayvon martin's family.
>> but karen finney, here you have kind of the toughest, strongest pro-defense juror who is basically saying look, this law has to be changed. i operated within the jury instructions and within the law, i was trying to do it. but the law should be changed. now in this statement today she is now saying something happened there that night that should not have happened. she did say in her interview that george zimmerman shouldn't have gotten out of the car. so it is a very important switch for her in this statement. >> you know, a lot of us thought okay, wait a second, the guy who gets out of the car with the loaded gun is the victim? and the other guy who is dead is not? there was a lot within the way this case was prosecuted that i think really switched a lot of that. but i think with regard to the juror specifically and the law, you talked about this lisa, i
want to give the jurors the benefit of the doubt that they had a certain set of facts confronting them, and the instructions in the law. and they may have believed what they had in front of them them could not convict. but i think it is very clear that this law, these kinds of gun laws create a culture and an environment where it is okay to get out of my car with my gun. go hunt somebody down. and then if that person turns on me and i feel threatened it is okay to shoot them. because she also said he was justified in defending himself. >> lisa bloom, this juror seems to be blaming a lot on sequestration. saying gee, i was locked away from the world and had no idea how the world reacted. but the world was reacting a lot before that trial in florida, how could anyone in florida not know how the world was reacting to this case before that jury was sworn in to duty?
>> well, that is true. and they should be deciding the case based on the evidence. and i'm in favor of sequestration in a high profile case, recognizing of course it is difficult to be away from your family and the internet for a month. and the bottom line is, i don't blame the jurors, i blame the prosecution because they should have linked the jury up to the facts they had in the case. it is not the fault of the jury or the instructions. >> thank you, karen finney and lisa bloom. >> thank you. >> now, we were supposed to have the controversial writer of "rolling stone." but they are running scared from the cover story and the controversy it created. and they refused to allow their reporter to join us, which means i will have to talk about "rolling stones" cover story without rolling stones, that is next. and the republican candidate
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it is a picture of tsarnaev, the bomber, presented as favorably as rolling stone would picture a rock star. and the boston mayor wrote, your august 3 cover rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment, it is ill-conceived at most, gaining fame for killers and their causes. rolling stone has pulled the magazine from their magazine racks. many of the victims of the boston bombing have publicly expressed their outrage at "rolling stone." this woman's fiance lost a leg in the bombing, wrote, for over three months now mark has had to wake up every day in the hospital dealing with pain, dozens of surgeries and intensive rehab therapy. our entire family is dealing with his recovery while we wait until he can return home. the rolling stone cover is
disgusting, sensationalizing the pain that many felt. many other victims made similar statements today. governor patrick said, i have not read it but i understand the substance of the article is not objectionable, it is good reading, but the cover is out of state. if the governor gets around to reading the article he is going to have trouble finding good reporting. the cover claims it will tell you "how a promising student was failed by his family, came into radical islam and became a monster." the article fails to do that. it spends most of its time in romantic remembering, of what a great kid dzhokhar was, as
described by his friends. now i talked to the people on the streets of cambridge and i found them as the article does, completely surprised about how their nice guy friend could have possibly been involved with the bombing. i, therefore, found them rather uninteresting people to talk to once that point was made. that the guy they knew was a good guy. they were all very repetitive when i talked to them. and each one of them offered absolutely no insight into how their friend could have become a terrorist bomber. and they offer no such insight in the article. the "rolling stone" article gives dzhokhar's friends ample space to make the points. if you think by continuing to read you will come to that moment when one of his friends has the insight that tells you how dzhokhar changed, you will be disappointed.
but along the way you will read quotes like this. "he is a golden person. really just a genuine good guy who was cool with everyone." there is also a line in there that says he was gorgeous. the author of the piece will tell you without attributing it to anyone, girls went a little crazy, but to dzhokhar's credit, his friends say even when he had crushes he never exploited them. in this 11,201 word article that claims that girls went a little crazy over him, not one girlfriend of his is revealed. not one girl who actually went crazy over him is revealed. we never discovered whether he ever had a girlfriend. an elemental fact, you would think, about a teenager. in fact, we never discover anything in the article that we didn't already know.
we all do want to know what inspired dzhokhar tsarnaev to go on his rampage. but rolling stone has moved us no closer to an answer. rolling stone's publicist was very happy to book the author as a guest on this program tonight. but that was before rolling stone saw boston's reaction to their cover story. and so by 3:00 today, rolling stone was running so scared that they cancelled the writer's appearance on this program. and rolling stone issued a very defensive statement saying our hearts go out to the victims of the boston marathon bombing and our thoughts are always with them and their families. that first line is of course, not true. none, none of the thoughts in the current issue of "rolling stone" are with the victims of the boston marathon bombings and their families. none. all of "rolling stone's"
thoughts this month are with the boston murderers and their oblivious friends. rolling stone uses their cover boy's age to justify their controversial cover. the fact that dzhokhar tsarnaev is young and in the same age group as many of our readers makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. and so rolling stone has failed on its very own terms, because we do not gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens, by reading the rolling stone article that breaks no new ground in explaining how this happened. the author of the piece offers no insight of her own to how this happened. but the article does offer two explanations, from two people quoted in the piece. one is identified as a local community college professor whose name i will shield from
further national embarrassment, for the absurdest explanation he offers rolling stone readers. the professor never met dzhokhar tsarnaev, but his appearance in the piece is justified by rolling stone because of his perspective on "many young immigrants who pass through his classrooms" end quote. the professor says all of these kids are grateful to be in the united states. but it is the usual thing. is this the land of opportunity or isn't it? when i look at what they have been through and how they are screwed by federal policies from the moment they turn around i don't understand why all of them are not more angry. the piece points out that dzhokhar and his family's first encounter by the authorities was when they were granted asylum by
the united states of america. they continued to benefit from federal policies including food stamps and income and housing support. in the course of writing a piece like this or any other piece, journalists will pick up useful information and they will pick up an awful lot of useless information. and one of the questions i would have asked the author of this piece tonight, what stupid things did people tell you that you decided not to use in the piece because they were just too stupid and too obviously irrelevant? and did anyone say anything stupider than dzhokhar and his brother became mad bombers because they were screwed by federal policies? and if the author of the piece doesn't think that that is a profoundly stupid statement, can
rolling stone or the author of the piece explain to us why there is not a bomb going off in every public square in america every day by people, young people, who think they were screwed by federal policies? the only other explanation offered in the piece to explain how dzhokhar tsarnaev fell into radical islam and became a monster as the article claims to do is offered by one of the friends of dzhokhar who never had the slightest idea that there was ever anything wrong with dzhokhar. his brother must have brainwashed him, said sam. it is the only explanation. sam, like the rest of dzhokhar's friends in this piece is identified with a pseudonym. the explanation comes at the very end of the piece when the piece is in desperate need of an explanation. his brother must have brainwashed him, said sam, it is
the only explanation. sam, like most of dzhokhar's friends never met dzhokhar's brother. never met him. never laid eyes on him, never bore witness to how resistant tamerlan tsarnaev's powers of persuasion must have been. you have to know very little about brothers to accept that as the only explanation. his brother must have brainwashed him. now, i grew up in boston where a couple of my friends had a brother who became a murderer. and they grew up admiring their older brother. they loved their older brother. but they didn't follow him into a life of crime and murder. the piece says that dzhokhar idolized his older brothers. a lot of us idolized our older brothers but that doesn't mean we will do everything they want us to do. my older brothers got me to do
things they wanted me to do. i played baseball with my older brother because we both decided that is what we wanted to do. his brother must have brainwashed him is a wild guess. it is a wild guess, made by someone who never met his brother. it is a wild guess that a lot of people all over the world have already made, as soon as they heard or read the basic outline of this story. the quote found its place in the rolling stone article because the article needed that quote desperately. needed that wild guess. because the article has no explanation about how rolling stone's cover boy became a terrorist. the only insight we have to the mind of this terrorist are his own words that rolling stone reports he wrote on the side of the boat that he was captured in, in watertown.
we muslims are one body, you hurt one, you hurt us all. rolling stone did not include another line that he wrote on the side of that boat. stop killing our innocent people, and we will stop. those were his words. stop killing our innocent people and we will stop. read the rolling stone article from beginning to end and you will have no better understanding of how the guy who wrote those words went from his high school wrestling team to trying to kill people at the boston marathon. so if you miss this issue of "rolling stone," you will miss nothing.
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in tonight's rewrite, sodomy laws. which is to say, anti-sodomy laws. and now, i know a lot of you are thinking i want people to be free to practice sodomy or even perfect sodomy. but i can live without sodomy. but if you think that you probably don't know what sodomy is in the eyes of the law, anyway. anti-sodomy laws never, never limit themselves to what is commonly thought of as sodomy. the virginia anti-sodomy law has become an issue in the gubernatorial campaign, but ken cuccinelli is rewriting his justification for the anti-sodomy law by calling it an anti-child predator's law. and that is the kind of thing that makes me want to read that
kind of law. the actual reading of the law is "crimes against nature." and that law says if any person carnaly knows any animal or female person by the anus or with the mouth or voluntarily submits to such carnage, he or she will be guilty of a class 6 felony. such a crime has a year's minimum prison sentence. so you see, sodomy in the eyes of the law includes stuff that maybe you can't live without. it does not simply prohibit what it calls carnal knowledge by the anus, end quote. it also prohibits carnal knowledge by or with the mouth, end quote.
and because the law applies to any person, any male or female person, end quote, that means any kind of carnal knowledge with a male or female mouth coming into contact with a carnal body part of a male or female. in other words, it prohibits most gay and straight sex. and while it is at it, it prohibits sex with "any brute animal." in fact, the only sex act that remains legal is heterosexual vaginal intercourse, and don't think you can enter marriage, it does not include an exception for married couples.
so the republican candidate for governor in virginia is running on a platform that wants to continue to make it illegal in virginia for married couples to have oral sex. or for any couples of any gender to have any form of oral sex, ken cuccinelli has recently tried to lie to virginia by saying that the anti-sodomy law cannot be used as acts against consulting adults. lying about the law that i just read to you that could not be more clear. and how do we know he knows he is lying and not just stupid? because when he served in the state senate he voted against a measure that would have changed the law to no longer apply to private consensual sex. as a legislator, he was actually given the chance to change the law into what he now says the law is. and he voted against that change. so when the republican candidate
for governor finds himself in a campaign debate, is it not reasonable to ask him if he has violated that law that he supports. is it not reasonable to ask him specifically if he has violated that law since 2004 when he cast that vote to make sure that that law continued to apply to private consensual sex and marital consensual sex and private sex of married couples. now, i'm not willing to ask every governor in every state what type of sex act they engage in, but when a governor is running on a platform that says if any person carnally knows in any manner any brute manner or carnally knows any person by the anus with the mouth, he or she shall be guilty of a class 6 felony and go to jail for a year?
then i want to know if that candidate or his wife have done anything that would, under that law, put them in jail for a year. i also want to ask what the new state tourism slogan is going to be. because virginia is for lovers? is bull [ bleep ]! one... more... step! [ mom ] my little girl...she loves to help out on big jobs. good thing there's bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller powerful sheet that acts like a big sheet. look! one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand. ♪ i got it!
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by "the new york times" magazine, joining me now, author of this town and two parties, plus valet parking in america's gilded capital. mark, the funeral in the book is tim russert's funeral, very sad. and one thing you said, the mayor, who is the mayor now. >> i don't know, i mean one of the points of the book, and i left with tim russert's funeral, which was sort of like a state event. given over to a lot of mourning but also a lot of networking. but i think tim russert has left a void that has not been filled in many ways. >> and how would you describe that void? if there was to be this kind of unofficial mayor, what would that role be? >> well, i mean, it is interesting, because tim's death coincided with what was about to
be the decline of the national economy. the local economy in washington didn't hiccup at all. you had obama coming in. and sort of -- you had this vacuum in the peanut gallery and that is sort of what has happened in the washington area. people have because interconnected at a time when the country has suffered greatly. so i think tim russert has been missed greatly. >> i went to see the names of everybody i know in the book, and there is no index, which i believe is a federal crime on books about washington because that is the way we read them. we just look at the index of the name. >> exactly, you notice i have to leave to new york city, my safety was at stake. there is something called the washington read, people go to the store, look to see if they're in the index, see how
they're portrayed and then put the book back, so i didn't want people to be able to do it that easily. >> but you have delivered apparently a great read because washington is grabbing it and racing through it. everybody i know is racing through the book and trading stories about it. what is the worst personal backlash you have gotten so far? >> interesting, i think -- there have been e-mails and phone calls. what is interesting is the tenor of the criticism, which is pretty muted, which is how dare he divulge the secret hand shake? how dare a member of the club speak ill or say things about other members of the club. and if this book makes people uncomfortable, i am sorry i think there should be more discomfort in washington and the washington media. i don't know, without getting specific, there were no threats of physical harm, but i think i will be okay. >> mark leibovich, author of "this town." gets the last word.
is stand your ground a call to arms? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews out in san francisco. let me start tonight with this. stand your ground. what's this law all about? is it a statement that you don't have to avoid trouble? is it a call to arms? and what part did it play in george zimmerman's behavior that tragic night? did it encourage him to pursue trayvon martin? was it because he had a gun and thought he had the law on his side? isn't it a fair question that none of this would have happened if this person had been unarmed? was there something in his thinking, zimmerman's about the law, something about the way he behaved when he pursued martin that resulted from this law that says stand your ground?