The case of the wannabe cop who shot an unarmed teenager in Florida initially generated enormous publicity due to the allegation of racism as the basis for criminal charges not having been laid against Mr. Zimmerman. Now that he has been arrested for murder the media are awash with expert opinions from criminal lawyers on the likely outcome of the trial. Learned academics and experienced practitioners are expounding their views on the finer points of the law relating to the use of force in self-defence.

So far, most of the comment has been on the applicability of the so-called “stand your ground” rule to the various factual scenarios, which might have occurred during the deadly encounter. No one seems to be interested in the obvious question of why Mr. Zimmerman was carrying a loaded handgun in the first place. Regardless of what the jury decides actually happened in the moments leading to the fatal shot being fired one has to wonder whether the confrontation even would have occurred had Zimmerman not been emboldened enough by holding his deadly weapon to disregard the advice of the 911 dispatcher and continue to follow Mr. Martin.

In Canada, as in most other so-called civilized countries, the right to carry a handgun is restricted almost exclusively to government law enforcement officers and armoured carrier personnel. Private security agents and private investigators are not permitted to carry handguns nor are private bodyguards. One can only hope the sad waste of Trayvon Martin’s life leads our neighbours to the South to reflect on their wrong minded infatuation with firearms.