Trayvon

My son has a friend who took the class required by the state to get a concealed weapon permit.  He says that the instructor started the class by saying this.  ‘I’m going to tell you something, and if you don’t like it, I recommend that you leave.  This is what getting a concealed carry permit means.  It means that you agree to lose every argument you have, with anyone, for the rest of your life.  If you’re in a bar, and people start arguing, and it gets heated, you will back down.  You will apologize and you will leave.  Every time, for the rest of your life.  Because otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation in which you have to draw your weapon.  At which point, anything might happen.  And if you are forced to fire, and you take the life of another human being, that moment will haunt you forever.  So if you want to stay in the class, remember what I said.  You just agreed to never, ever, win an argument.’

And a third of the class walked out.

I thought about this over the weekend, when the George Zimmerman verdict came down.  I didn’t watch the entire trial, but I did watch some of it, and I watched quite a bit of the legal commentary afterwards.  I found the verdict infuriating, sickening, horrific.  I also think it’s quite possible that the jury got it right.  The legal experts seem to have thought so–so did the folks posting on the Law sub-reddit thread.  The presumption of innocence is central to our legal system, and if the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, then Zimmerman should go free.  That doesn’t mean we have to like it.

What I wanted was for the jury to hear the entire narrative.  That’s our focus, as non-lawyers, as citizens watching the trial.  And that entire narrative is one in which Zimmerman’s actions were incomprehensibly wrong.  Let me break it down in a way that makes sense to me.

Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch guy, and he saw Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, walking down the street.  He called 9-1-1, and was told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away.  Instead, he followed Martin in his car.  Got out of his car, confronted Martin, which led to an argument,which led to a fight, which led to a gun being fired and Martin’s death.

So step A–he ignored the instructions given him by the 9-1-1 dispatcher.  Zimmerman was wrong, completely wrong to do so.  He was morally wrong, tactically wrong, situationally wrong, ethically wrong.

Step B–he followed Trayvon.  He was wrong.

Step C–he got out of the car.  Wrong.

Step D–confronted Trayvon.  Wrong.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  Every single step of the way, George Zimmerman acted wrongly.  Step A: wrong, Step B: wrong, Step C: wrong.  It wasn’t until Step Z, in which he was losing the fight, getting his head pounded against the pavement (if that even happened), choosing to defend himself with his firearm, that he did something that might be considered even defensible.  He was wrong up to that point, completely, unequivocally wrong, for steps A-Y.  Step Z, there’s reasonable doubt about whether he was wrong or right.

But step Z is the only one the jurors were allowed to consider in the court of law.  Steps A-Y were legally irrelevant.

I’ve heard it said that the prosecutors botched the case, in part by overcharging it, and in part by presenting it badly.  I don’t see how that’s relevant.  According to Florida law, the only legal issue at stake in the trial had to do with what I’m calling Step Z.  The only way the prosecution could have won would have been to try for some bizarre sort of jury nullification.  They would have had to have persuaded the jury to ignore the judge’s instructions, and rule, not according to the law, which limited them to Step Z, but on the whole narrative, Steps A-Z.  I suppose it’s barely possible that might have worked.

In fact, I don’t think the A-Z narrative should start with Zimmerman’s response to the 9-1-1 instructions he received.  My question is: ‘why call 9-1-1 at all?’  As far as I can see, here’s what he saw, here’s what prompted his 9-1-1 call.  He saw a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk in his neighborhood.

That’s it.  That’s all.

And that’s where race enters the equation.

I don’t have any special insight into George Zimmerman’s soul.  But I can’t see what else could have prompted an emergency call.  Because what George Zimmerman saw was A Threat.  He saw, not just a kid, not just a pedestrian on a legitimate errand.  He saw The Other.  He saw something that made him think that a potentially threatening situation might develop.  And there was nothing for him to see except what was there–a Black kid, wearing a hoodie.  And that’s how, for many Americans, we construct race.  As Other.  As threatening.

I’ve heard it said that this would never have happened if Trayvon Martin had been white.  I’m not sure that’s true. If this mysterious pedestrian that had Zimmerman all worked up had been a white kid with a shaved head and a swastika tattoo on his neck wearing paratrooper boots and camos, he may well have reacted the same way.  Again, he would have seen someone Other, seen A Threat.  What’s appalling, though, is that a teenage kid, minding his own business, on a snack run to a 7-11 could be seen as so terribly threatening that a guy like George Zimmerman would overreact so horrendously.

Even scarier was some of the local reaction.  On the Deseret News website, they posted the basic AP story about the verdict.  The message boards exploded.  Here are some of the comments:

“There are still some jurors who won’t be bullied.”  “Speaks volumes that only one group is expected to start rioting.”  “The prosecutors are cowards. There was never enough evidence to convict, much less arrest him. Apparently, fear of rioting, being called “racist” by mindless lemmings, or blind hatred of gun-assisted self defense overcame their consciences. Pathetic.” ” A state has no business interfering in a persons right to defend themself for political or any other reasons.” “The prosecution should have never let racial and political influences take this to court in the first place.”

But on Facebook, in response to the well-meaning suggestion that Zimmerman ought to have just offered Trayvon a ride home, this: “Trayvon would have robbed George if he had offered, and probably car jacked George’s car. Admittedly, we are all being fed political propaganda, and George was a fool in butting in where he didn’t belong. Just because Trayvon was scouting out places to burglarize should not have been George’s concern. But since no good deed ever goes unpunished, good old George decided to tell Trayvon to get the hell out of the neighborhood, and Trayvon attacked.”

Wow.

In other words, George Zimmerman was not wrong in taking steps A-Y. He was only wrong in being bad at fighting.

I am frightened for our country.  I thought it was a good thing in our country when we elected a Black man as President.  When I saw photos of Tea Party rallies with men wearing T shirts that read ‘Keep the White House White,’ I thought it was just a minor thing, a vestigial remnant of our bad ‘ol past.  And yes, progress has been made, slowly and painfully, but progress nonetheless.

But the George Zimmerman case is so . . . elemental.  Far too many Americans see threats everywhere.  See their fellow citizens as threatening, see their government as threatening, see the President of the United States as sinister and scary and threatening.  For many people, George Zimmerman wasn’t just a guy who flunked neighborhood safety 101.  He wasn’t just a guy who overreacted horribly and tragically to a completely non-existent threat.  He wasn’t just a guy who mis-read a totally innocent situation, with horrendous consequences.  He wasn’t just a guy who flunked the first rule of gun ownership: meekness.  He was a hero, acquitted by fellow heroes on a jury.

On one of the Sunday talk shows, various commentators suggested that it was time for ‘a national conversation about race.’  I disagree.  I think it’s time for people who call themselves Christian to re-examine their souls, and their attitudes towards their brothers and sisters.

137 thoughts on “Trayvon

      • There was also evidence left out that would have pointed to Zimmerman being guilty, and in my opinion makes the entire thing add up. He had drugs in his system, not illegal drugs but prescription drugs. He was on Adderall! This was why the defense decided not to tell the jury about the trace amounts of thc that the victim had in his system. They fought hard and had hearings to be able to admit that into evidence, the judge allowed it, then they didn’t tell the jury about it. If they had brought that in then the prosecutors could have brought in what George Zimmerman was on. Then they would have brought in experts to testify about the side effects of Adderall, it is very similar to cocaine. It can cause paranoia and agressiveness amongst other things…I think it contributed to all of this, I think that the evidence suggested that GZ tried to detain Martin and that is what started the fight. The summation on this blog is correct, Zimmerman caused all of this, he brought this onto himself. He knew the police were on his way because he called them, Martin didn’t know that help was on the way. Martin was in fear of his life. The jury answered the narrow question that they were asked, there isn’t any justice here though. If anything this case shows how the laws desperately need revision, common sense needs to return!

        • Um, help me understand where Mr. Zimmerman caused Mr. Martin to physically assault him. Where was Mr. Zimmerman taking any action that would have caused a reasonable person to fear for his life?

          • There isn’t any evidence to show that Martin started the fight, just what Zimmerman claimed and he was caught in several lies. The spoke a lot about “state of mind”, being high on Adderall certainly would have effected that. He was, the jury just didn’t get to hear that. Also when you are talking about “state of mind” George Zimmerman knew that the police would be there any moment, he knew this because he is the one who called them. Martin didn’t have this knowledge, if anyone was in “fear of their life” it was Martin. Did Martin not have the right to defend himself? He was being stalked by an older man, his gf that was talking to him on the phone testified that she told Martin that he was probably a rapist. Zimmerman caused this whole thing! He will probably kill someone else, he may actually need to really fear for his life at this point. He will never have a normal life again and karma will catch him…Everyone thinks he is this model citizen this great guy. A guy who had a restraining order against him for domestic violence, had been charged with assaulting a police officer, and has an cousin who is claiming he sexually molested and assaulted her over a period of ten years. If anyone in this case was a criminal it is Zimmerman, he had a longer wrap sheet than Martin!

          • Not sure why it won’t let me reply to starbugary, but oh well. I’ll reply here.

            What evidence do you have that Mr. Zimmerman was high on Adderall? Yes, it was in his system, but did the police report that he was acting high or delusional? What about Mr. Martin’s THC? Is it possible he was impaired?

            Mr. Martin might not have know that the police were coming. That is true. Wouldn’t that make someone more cautious such as not approaching Mr. Zimmerman once you had lost him? If he was in fear for his life, wouldn’t he have left? Called the police? Gone to a safe place?

            If in fact Mr. Zimmerman initiated the physical force then yes, Mr. Martin had every right to defend himself. But what evidence do you have that Mr. Zimmerman initiated it?

            Frankly, we’ll never know what exactly unfolded. But let’s be fair and acknowledge that and not assume that we somehow know more than everyone else.

            We have no choice but to accept the fact that things might have played out as Mr. Zimmerman described just as they might have played out very differently. And if we don’t know the actual truth, perhaps we should refrain from casting unnecessary judgment.

          • His flat affect is how you would know Zimmerman was high on a\Adderall and Temazepam. The guy could barely stay awake in court, this was one reason I know it was not him calling for help. His voice had such a flat affect he could hardly speak to the 911 operator.

          • Sorry, but his affect in court has nothing to do with his state at the time of an incident a year ago. Did the police document anything at the time that show he was high? If not, saying he was high is complete and pure speculation. Not even your MD who has your complete medical history can accurately predict if you will have adverse reactions to any medications so I doubt you, I, or anyone else can say with any authority that Mr. Zimmerman was high.

            As for court, it could be easily argued that the overwhelming stress of the trial which could easily contribute to a lack of sleep, the natural depression that would accompany his circumstances, and a host of other possibilities could result in the appearance of flattened affect.

            I am not defending Mr. Zimmerman. I am saying that we all need to stop making assumptions based on speculation, inference from incompletely information, and guesswork.

          • A strange guy is follow me in his car, gets out and starts following me on foot, and when I take evasive action, follows me more closely. He doesn’t speak to me or do anything that shows he is doing anything except stalking me. Why would I not fear for my life and or freedom?

          • Except for apparently where he evaded Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Zimmerman began returning to his truck. If someone truly feared for their life, would they re-engage the person or stay away?

        • You are misinformed about the effects of Adderall in someone who has ADD or ADHD. It does NOT have teh same effects as cocaine in a person with those health conditions. THeir body chemistry is different, and in fact, it chills them out, not peps them up. However, when it begins to wear off, then yes, the effect of NOT being on it (frustration, lack of focus, anger, lack of impulse control etc.) can come out.

          • Basically, a properly administered and used medication for a clinically diagnosed medical condition is not the same as someone “being high on drugs.”

  1. I have been on a jury and it is frustrating to be only able to count certain aspects. This looks at the whole picture, thank you.

    • What skilled defense attorneys do is get pertinent information thrown out. That’s why OJ was acquitted in the criminal trial and convicted in the civil one. He had the A-Team in defense attorneys and they were able to keep most of the damning evidence out of the trial.

      There will be a civil trial. Zimmerman may or may not lose, but it will be different for sure.

      • I believe the burden of proof is also lower in a civil trial. Criminal trials have to be proven “beyond reasonable doubt,” while in civil trials you generally have to establish “preponderance of evidence.” I’ve heard it explained as basically showing that it’s more likely than not that the defendant is in the wrong, which is an easier standard to meet.

  2. Well, since no one knows what actually happened, I find it disturbing that you treat your version of events as factual beyond question. There is actually no evidence that Zimmerman confronted Martin when he got out of the car, only that he followed him. Z’s side of the story is that M came at him from behind, after he had lost sight of him, and began the attack. If this is true, Z had a legitimate claim of self defense. I understand that we only have Z’s point of view to look at, but your synopsis of events above is perpetuating an incomplete story that circulated in the media frenzy right after the tragedy took place. It is at worst deliberately deceptive and at best inadequate for only sharing one side. I agree that Z’s decision to follow M was wrong, but certainly not illegal in itself. There’s no reason to completely discount his version of what happened that night, esp since a jury was given his side and found it accurate.

    • Even if we conceded that Zimmerman’s version of events is accurate, what about Martin’s right to stand his ground? If I were a 17-year-old who was walking home from the store and some strange man followed me in his car and then got out of the car to follow me on foot after I tried to ditch him, I might think my only option was to jump him from behind and wound him enough so I could escape without him being able to follow me to my home.

      • The Stand Your Ground Law gives you the right to use force in the act of self defense without an obligation to retreat first — I’m not sure that a reasonable person (who is the standard for determining if there was a threat serious enough to warrant self defensive acts) would consider jumping a person from behind within the bounds of no “obligation to retreat.” In my mind, that would be considered beyond retreat and into the territory of aggressor.

        But that is almost beside the point. The point is that there isn’t enough physical or circumstantial evidence to disprove Zimmerman’s version of the events. From the legal view of this trial, if the prosecution cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury has no choice but to acquit.

        Lastly, I’ll just echo what Megan said above — this blogger posts the sequence of events as if he/she were watching the whole thing happen.

        • Everybody who has told the tale, right from the beginning has chosen those “facts” which support his or her favored version of the story. The physical evidence is inconclusive, and the only witness to most of the events was George Zimmerman, since Trayvon Martin is dead.

          Unfotunately, George had reasons to tailor his story so it made him look good, because he didn’t want to go to jail, so his own account may not reflect the actual, mechanical truth.

          We don’t really know who threw the first blow, or first made physical contact — George says it was Trayvon, sneaking up behind him, Trayvon’s friend says a “heavy breathing man” was within earshot of Trayvon’s telephone, and that Trayvon said “Get off, get off”. Neither account is truly reliable.

          What did happen for certain is that an older man in poor physical condition was outmatched in a fistfight by a younger man in good physical condition. Both may have felt they were fighting for survival, both were probably scared, and both probably thought they were defending themselves — but George had a gun, and used it.

          With so little hard evidence, and just a few snippets of contradictory witness testimony, there was plenty of room for reasonable doubt on the part of the jury, even though they may have had a gut feeling that Zimmerman might have prevented this. The jury verdict correctly reflected the jury’s reasonable doubt as a matter of law, but the general public has been caught up in their own versions of the story, and their own ideologies, like “Al the Insurrectionist” further up in the comments.

          If this case has done anything, it flushed out those in our society who are prejudiced against those “not like them” — yes, The Other. And it seems their ranks are legion. I too fear for the future of America, and at least for the moment, I’m glad I don’t have children who will have to bear the pain of our legacy.

  3. I do agree that George was wrong to pursue the issue, against the direction of the 911 dispatchers, but I believe the race card was blown out of proportion by the media. If I saw a stranger in my neighborhood, of any color, in the middle of the night I too would call the police. He was wrong to continue past his 911 call certainly, but the President was also wrong to condemn Zimmerman before the trial and football players are wrong to threaten Zimmerman with violence from “the hood”. This was a needless death, not a hate crime. We are only inciting more anger by labeling it as such.

        • Al Miller, you do sound like the type of person with too much time on their hands that would call 911 if you saw a black teenager walking in your neighborhood at 7pm in February…

          • If they were walking between houses you’re damn right I would call. But I have black neighbors who are very social so I see blacks in my neighborhood all the time. They don’t wear hoodies and act suspiciously.

  4. Too many people in this country are armed against imaginary threats. In my 55 years on this earth, I’ve never been faced with a situation where a gun would have solved the problem. We have become a paranoid people. More guns are used by members of our own family against each other or for committing suicide than will ever be used against a random stranger.

  5. The jury got it right according to the law, which is what they were sworn to do. George had it all wrong from the start and should have stopped with the 911 call, but what he did was not illegal. Florida needs to change this law.

  6. .

    How in the world can anyone read this and then make comments like some of these?

    My hopeful guess is that they didn’t read it.

    But that’s not my real guess.

  7. Though thoughtful, you are simply incorrect on almost all fronts… the only laws broken were by Martin, felony battery and attempted manslaughter. While I certainly don’t glorify anything that ZImmerman did, he did absolutely nothing illegal nor did he do anything wrong. The culminating result of Martin’s death is truly a tragedy and unfortunate, though the jury has ruled, the evidence presented and your analysis/conclusions are incorrect.

    To begin with, your notion that not following the advice of the 911 operator was wrong of Zimmerman is factually inaccurate. Anyone familiar with this process of calling 911 is aware that this is the standard response that the operator must give – explained, if ever told to follow or pursue or rescue anyone at the request of the operator and then worst case scenario happens liability for which is then on them. Additionally, a 911 operator is a tech school program grad (at best) who is overpaid for a service, they have zero authority whatsoever. Secondly, race was never a part of the dialogue nor part of Zimmerman’s thought process (unless of course you are daft enough to believe an admittedly falsified recording, in which case I think tin foil is a great shade for that hat you are donning). Third, your speculative game of “what if?” is both insulting to the reader and discredits any attempt at logic you may be able to conclude within this text. I don’t doubt that you are an intelligent person and I have every reason to believe you mean well – a likeminded Giants fan is always good by me. Though I fear that you must simply have fallen victim to the rampant amount of misinformation currently being misdiagnosed as “relevant/accurate news” germane to this case.

    • As a former dispatcher, I believe your compartmentalization and stereotype version of dispatchers in general is inflammatory and, quite frankly, rude. I have worked with a number of excellent and honorable people. If you’re going to make a point, make it, without throwing around inaccurate labels. It doesn’t lend credibility to your argument, and tends to shed a less favorable light on the rest of your claims.

      • I’ve been trying to get a hold of someone who was trained as a dispatcher to get a little insight on the dispatcher’s comments that night. Were you ever trained to encourage citizens to put themselves in potential harm. Put another way (and I know this is not the case with the call in question), if you had ever received a call saying, “I’m witnessing a murder, should I try to stop it?” or “I see woman drowning, should I save her?” what would your response be according to your liability training?

        I ask because every person that night had an A-Z, and I agree that none of them started with the 911 call (or even that night). But for any argument to be substantiated, and for any judgement to be passed with accuracy you have to know the A-Z of each person who played a part.

        Some say the dispatcher told “we don’t need you to do that”, so he was wrong; others say the dispatcher is required to say that, and it had more to do with liability than right/wrong. What is your take, and what was your training?

        • Hi Bryan,
          I was trained to keep a caller on the phone until help arrived – never to advise the caller to put themselves in harm’s way. You can always call your local non-emergency number and ask the dispatch supervisor for details regarding specific local training. It’s not meant to be a mystery how emergency responses are handled.

  8. This terrible chain of events has left two victims – Trayvon and Zimmerman. They share the blame for the outcome. It is very probably true that Trayvon threw the first punch – assaulting Zimmerman. Had he just talked with Zimmerman, explaining why he was in the neighborhood he would still be alive today and Zimmerman would be living a normal life, free of the guilt, fear and persecution that will haunt him the rest of his life.

    • It could also be said that Zimmerman should have approached Martin calmly, asked him if he needed anything, instead of following him in the vehicle and then chasing on foot. There are more than two victims though … Martin’s family is mourning his loss, Zimmerman’s family is probably suffering, and our nation is at war with itself over race. Again.

  9. I have not followed the story or trial in depth. Let me make that disclaimer up front.

    My dad taught me a lesson when I was a kid. He said that you never start a fight. You never throw the first punch. It doesn’t matter what the other person says or how they act. If they don’t touch you, you don’t touch them. But if they start the fight, be sure you finish the fight.

    Why was Mr. Zimmerman “wrong” for not following the dispatcher’s instructions? As a former 911 dispatcher, I had no authority to order anyone to do anything. It would seem that as a neighborhood watch volunteer, Mr. Zimmerman did exactly what he was supposed to do: watch and observe. According to his testimony, he never approached Mr. Martin. There is nothing wrong with what he chose. Now, we can argue about whether it was smart, prudent, or wise but there was nothing inherently “wrong” about it.

    Regardless of who approached who, there is nothing “wrong” there either. You, me, Mr. Zimmerman, and everyone else are free to approach and talk with whomever we choose until they choose to leave and discontinue the contact. Again, we can argue about whether it is smart, prudent, or wise to do so in any one particular situation but there is nothing “wrong” about it.

    That all changes when it turns to violence. The moment someone throws a punch, pulls a knife, or draws a gun without the reasonable fear for their safety that is required to meet the threshold for self-defense, *they*are*wrong*. It seems clear that Mr. Zimmerman was physically assaulted and he claims that Mr. Martin turned the exchange (regardless of who initiated it) from verbal to physical. At this point, we have no evidence that proves he is lying. Therefore, we must accept that Mr. Zimmerman may be telling the truth about being assaulted by Mr. Martin and defending himself.

    Again, there was only one person who was wrong that night. Mr. Zimmerman may not have acted or behaved in a way that was smart, prudent, or wise but doing so is not criminal and not “wrong.” Whoever turned the situation violent was wrong. And for now, we’ll have to accept that it may have been Mr. Martin.

    • “It seems clear that Mr. Zimmerman was physically assaulted and he claims that Mr. Martin turned the exchange (regardless of who initiated it) from verbal to physical. At this point, we have no evidence that proves he is lying.” Well, duh. If you kill the guy you’re fighting with it does make it kind of hard for a jury to ever hear that dead guy’s side of the story, yes? I get the concept of reasonable doubt as a factor in this case. But your blanket condemnation of Martin’s actions is a bit disturbing.

      • Hi Dan. I’ve re-read my comment a few times to try to see where you feel I make a “blanket condemnation” of Mr. Martin’s actions. You weren’t clear with where you saw that.

        If you’re referring to the portion which you excerpted, I am still a bit lost. there is significant evidence to show that Mr. Zimmerman received injuries during a fight. He was physically assaulted. Yes, you can’t hear testimony from a dead man but testimony from the other party isn’t the only evidence that could show Mr. Zimmerman was lying. Unfortunately, there were insufficient testimonies to show Mr. Zimmerman was lying.

        If Mr. Martin did initiate the physical altercation, does that not deserve condemnation? I thought I had made it clear that the condemnation needs to fall on whomever initiated physical force. At this point, it cannot be proved that Mr. Zimmerman initiated it.

        To be more clear, I don’t believe either Mr. Zimmerman or Mr. Martin did anything wrong (see my disclaimer on not-smart vs wrong above) and neither deserve condemnation for anything up to the point where one of them began to use force. Whomever that was deserves condemnation. All we know is that we don’t know for sure who it was.

        Is that clearer? Perhaps I missed something. Please let me know if you feel I blanketly condemned Mr. Martin elsewhere. Otherwise, I’ll have to assume that I clarified my position sufficiently.

  10. Oh, and regarding the advice by the CCW instructor: that is certainly the smart, wise, and prudent approach. That is certainly the approach I take when carrying concealed and doubly so when carrying openly (my state does not restrict this practice). Are you wrong if you don’t do it? Nope. But you may regret it if you don’t.

  11. This is long but thanks for humoring me.
    This would be a nice commentary if it were based in fact but just like 90% of the story that exists in cyber space it is factually incorrect and inconsistent with testimony. Let’s just start with your statements regarding the facts of the night…

    “Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch guy” –TRUE

    One of many watch participants in the neighborhood. Initiated in 2011 they were trained not to confront suspicious individuals but according to the trainer in court testimony:
    “Zimmerman lawyer Don West asked Dorival whether a person walking in rain between houses without a particular purpose — a description of Trayvon the night of the shooting — was suspicious. Dorival said yes and added that she encourages neighbors to know who doesn’t belong and to call police.”
    “and he saw Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, walking down the street” – FALSE
    George Zimmerman was not patrolling the neighborhood the night of the shooting he was heading to the store. When first noticed by Zimmerman, Mr. Martin was standing in front of a house that had twice been burglarized in the recent past. He was not moving out of the rain he was standing at the side of the house looking at it.
    The person that Mr. Zimmerman did not recognize belonging to the neighborhood standing in a location that had a criminal past caught his eye. Mr. Zimmerman did not stop did not confront Mr. Martin he kept driving. He went another 100+ yards and pulled into the Club House parking and made the call to non emergency 911 services to request a patrol. While making the call Mr. Martin walked past his car and kept staring at Mr. Zimmerman’s car but then he continued up the street.

    “He called 9-1-1, and was told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away.” – FALSE

    When initially asked which direction Mr. Martin went he said, “he did not know he could not see him.” This was because he had walked out of his vision to the right. The dispatcher then asked Mr. Zimmerman if he could get to a position in which he could see Mr. Martin.
    It was at this point Mr. Zimmerman backed out and turned down the road which Mr. Martin had disappeared down. After about 100 yards he pulled over because he once again saw Mr. Martin in the distance. He was still on the line with Dispatch while parked in his car when Mr. Martin came walking towards his vehicle. Mr. Martin slowly circled his car with his hand in his waistband then walked off up the street.

    “Got out of his car, confronted Martin, which led to an argument, which led to a fight,” – FALSE

    Mr. Zimmerman relayed the proceedings to the dispatcher who then asked for an address. Mr. Zimmerman could see no signs because he was in the back side of the neighborhood houses and he didn’t live on that street so he did not have knowledge of the addresses on that street.
    At this time and only this time did he exit his vehicle with Mr. Martin gone, for the sole purpose of getting an address.
    Prior to this, Mr. Zimmerman had not been told to as you put it “to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away. “ In fact, he was asked by the dispatcher to find a place in which he could view Mr. Martin. Next he complied with the Dispatcher to find an address at which the police could meet him.
    Knowing that a street in the distance about 75 yards away had an address he started out on foot all the while talking to the dispatcher. Being nervous about Mr. Martin he watched along the way but stopped when he was almost to the street and told the dispatcher that he (Mr. Martin) was gone that he could not see Mr. Martin any longer. It was at that point the dispatcher asked if Mr. Zimmerman was following him and he said yes but only because he was in the general area. The dispatcher told him that he didn’t need him to do that. Mr. Zimmerman replied “OK”. Don’t forget that he was instructed by Dispatch specifically to get to a place where he could see Mr. Martin. The last he had seem Mr. Martin was when he was circling his car with his hand in his waistband.
    The dispatcher asked if he still wanted a car to respond he said yes and continued on to the street containing the street signs to give them the address but realized that with him being gone it would be easier to give them instructions to get to where his truck was so he gave the dispatcher those instructions. Ended the call and started back to his truck.
    When Mr. Zimmerman passed the spot where he had told the dispatcher that Mr. Martin was gone, Mr. Martin aggressively approached Mr. Zimmerman from behind and said “Yo You got a problem?” Mr. Zimmerman said “No I don’t have a problem” and reached for his cell phone and immediately Mr Martin jumped at him and punched him in the nose and said “now you do”
    Mr. Martin jumped on top of Mr. Zimmerman and began to hit him and then began smashing Mr. Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. Mr. Zimmerman started screaming for help. In squirming, Mr. Zimmerman’s coat came up and Mr. Martin saw his gun first and reached for it yelling that he(Mr. Zimmerman) was going to die today. Mr. Zimmerman trapped Mr. Martin’s hand that was reaching for the gun and grabbed the gun himself and shot Mr. Martin.

    “which led to a gun being fired and Martin’s death.” – TRUE

    The only part of your summation that has and corroborative evidence or testimony was that Mr. Zimmerman was on the Neighborhood Watch and that Mr. Martin was shot by Mr. Zimmerman
    At no point was Mr. Zimmerman given instruction by the non Emergency dispatcher that he could have violated. In fact, as testified by the dispatcher that took the call,
    “Sean Noffke, a 911 operator who also answers non-emergency calls, testified that it is police policy not to give orders to callers. “
    In addition, the only instruction from that point on to Mr. Zimmerman was as testified by the same dispatcher,
    “he did not need him to follow the teen.”
    Dispatch is not authorized and does not have a policy to give orders to callers nor do the words used remotely sound like and order.
    At no time during the entire episode that the gun came into play was after he was already being attacked and Mr. Martin noticed the gun and reached for it telling Mr. Zimmerman that he was now going to die.
    Mr. Zimmerman did nothing other than I would expect out of anyone in my neighborhood. In fact, I had a very similar incident happen in the last few months. Some teens that did not belong in my neighborhood were standing in a dark part of the street for an abnormal amount of time. I immediately stood out on my sidewalk making sure they saw me and I called non-emergency dispatch and asked for a patrol. When they started moving down the street after I showed up, I followed them for a distance.
    At no point was the fact that Mr. Martin was black brought up. The only time race came into play were the words by Mr. Martin to his girlfriend in which he used a racial epithet to describe Mr. Zimmerman.
    There is no grand conspiracy here. There is rule of law which the county officials applied and had no intention of charging Mr. Zimmerman with any crime. Not because of the color of the victim or the perpetrator. The facts just added up to a man that choose violent means to maneuver adult life and ended up on the short stick. It added up to Mr. Zimmerman who had no other motive but taking action in his community to protect the space in which he lived and ultimately had the ability to defend his own life.
    Is it a shame that life was taken, yes. That is always a tragedy when life it taken young or old, guilty or not, but it happens. The biggest shame is a community that chooses to suspend the right to others they seek most to preserve for themselves. What is a shame is that threats of thuggery, harm, death and other mob mentality outcome is the tool used to force a whole community, even a whole nation, to go against the rule of law, to go against the rights of one individual to go against common sense. What is a shame is that we have a national and local government that will cave to these threats.
    What is the greatest shame is that we see color before behavior and we are willing to overlook behavior because of color, white black or any other shade in between. I do agree with you that fear is the great motivator and I, unfortunately don’t see that changing. I wish it could.
    Sadly we are in a society built on the 60-second sound bite so anyone with an agenda is able to spout it from the roof tops and we have a nation of lazy sheep that rather than do the research, read and listen to many sources and then build for themselves an informed opinion, they would rather listen for that 60 seconds, take a media statement for fact, then return to candy crush for the next hour on their phone.
    In the end the jury heard the evidence and got it right, but because of the same mentality that caused this trial in the first place Mr. Zimmerman will never live a free life and for what? He made correct reasonable choices from A-Z. Behavior cannot be discounted, crime and bad people exist and because of that we will never stop profiling our surroundings. Get over it. I don’t walk down dark alleys at night, I don’t hang out in bars, and if a convicted child molester moves into the neighborhood I am extra vigilant with the goings on of children. Your claim that he should have ignored the existence of Mr. Martin is completely unreasonable and the outcome of ignoring will only be tolerated until it’s your house that gets burglarized or your neighbor gets murdered or raped. I can guarantee your profile-o-meter will go into high gear and for a good cause.
    As with everything good wholesome dialog is needed in our society. We need to start solving problems but this case is over let these families try to recover their lives.

    • “Mr. Martin aggressively approached Mr. Zimmerman from behind and said “Yo You got a problem?” Mr. Zimmerman said “No I don’t have a problem” and reached for his cell phone and immediately Mr Martin jumped at him and punched him in the nose and said “now you do”
      Mr. Martin jumped on top of Mr. Zimmerman and began to hit him and then began smashing Mr. Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. Mr. Zimmerman started screaming for help. In squirming, Mr. Zimmerman’s coat came up and Mr. Martin saw his gun first and reached for it yelling that he(Mr. Zimmerman) was going to die today. Mr. Zimmerman trapped Mr. Martin’s hand that was reaching for the gun and grabbed the gun himself and shot Mr. Martin.”

      And you know this how, exactly? Oh yes, the testimony of Mr. Zimmerman. No witnesses to corroborate any of this part of his story, of course. But since he was alive to tell the story, he gets to construct the narrative for you. The victor always get to write the history.

      • Well there is a trail of evidence that the truth is based on including, yes, George Zimmerman’s testimony. That is the right provided in the American Justice system.. He is innocent until physical evidence proves otherwise. In case you want to give the tired argument that Treyvon didn’t get to testify what we do have is other testimony and evidence including extended conversations with non emergency operators for almost the entirety of the incident. We have time lines, We have the physical condition of both Zimmerman and Martin. We have 3rd party witnesses to the fight. We have forensic evidence of the shooting itself. We also have the history of both Martin and Zimmerman. We have a 6’2″ inch man that loves to fight, has been suspended from school for fighting and drugs. We have a gun carrying man that volunteered for his neighborhood’s protection. That felt that the risk to himself for the sake of his neighborhood was worth it. Who chooses to be an involved citizen not prone to sticking his head in the sand like many of the martin supporters say we should do as citizens. A man that has had a concealed carry for many years that has no one incident of even drawing a gin on anyone. We have George Zimmerman a man that had his life combed over with a fine toothed comb in the hopes that the government could make a legitimate case appear out of thin air and yet they came up with 5 out of 46 calls to target and a self defense class taken over 2 years ago.

        I’m sorry if you feel offended by the truth of the matter, but if you insist on ignoring all this evidence to attack Mr Zimmeramn based on one or more of 30 “what if” scenarios then try this on for size. Treyvon was a criminal that loved to assault people and was in the neighborhood dealing drugs to little kids and robbing houses looking for what he thought was a white man to assault because he was so angry. He was a bigoted racist that wanted to enact his anger on “the man.” Hey its a “what if” isn’t it? And since you feel this is an ok practice on Mr Zimmerman I think it should be used on both……of course if I did that then we would both be dead wrong.

        • If you’re going to continue to post about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, you should at least get your facts straight. Official autopsy findings were that Martin’s height was 5’11″ (not 6’2″ — yes, four inches taller than Zimmerman’s 5’7″, but not that tall for a skinny 17-year-old) and his weight was 158 lb. (considerably less than Zimmerman’s 185 lb. at the time of his booking — official police records). Pretending that Martin was a big scary hulk does not help your argument when it is untrue.

          Your additional claims that he was “suspended from school for fighting and drugs” and that he “loved to fight” are also false. He was suspended from school for graffiti, for tardiness and truancy, and for being caught with an empty marijuana bag and pipe. Never for fighting. Stop spreading lies. It just makes you look bad and makes everything you write look more questionable and biased.

    • I would respond that you are basing this entire scenario on Zimmerman’s testimony, the details of which changed repeatedly. Of course he created a narrative in which he is completely not culpable. It is, however, entirely implausible.
      I’m basing my account on the physical evidence presented in court, and on corroborative testimony. It was seven o’clock at night, and Martin was walking on the sidewalk, on his way home from a 7-11. Zimmerman was the aggressor throughout.

      • What physical evidence specifically?

        And can you clarify why you feel Mr. Zimmerman was the “aggressor throughout?” To many people, the use the term “aggressor” indicates physical force. Some clarification on whether you are referring physical force in saying he was the aggressor or to something else would be appreciated.

    • While I agree that we as a society can allow race to cloud our perceptions of behavior, I do have to agree with others that we cannot take Mr. Zimmerman’s testimony as fact unless it is specifically backed up by evidence. Without audio and video recording or reliable eye witnesses, it is simply his assertion.

      I do agree that we as a nation need to move on to talking about changes in law to address any perceived injustice instead of Monday-morning quarterbacking the jury and we need to let Mr. Zimmerman, his family, and Mr. Martin’s family try to find some semblance of normality and as much peace as they can.

  12. I dont see facts here – i see opinion. Truth is we may never know the facts. Truth is following/watching someone is not a crime. Trayvon could have left the area. He didn’t. Truth is the media made this story a national sensation, on purpose. They had to make Zimmerman “white” to fit their narrative. NBC had to edit the 911 call to fit the narrative.
    When Al and Jesse get outraged and start “protests” in some of the murders that happen weekly (200 so far this year) in Chicago, I will pay attention. Until then the “activists” and media have zero creditability with me.

  13. Does it matter that the boy fit the description of suspects that had been breaking into houses in that neighborhood? I am not dismissing the race card, but he had more motivation to call 911 than just race.

    • Even if you can excuse profiling an individual, why not allow the police to do their job? Based on his own statements to the 9-11 operator he was lumping Martin into groups “f-ing punks” , “they always get away”, both plural even though Martin was alone. The operator advised him not to follow him, why did he do it anyway? Zimmerman created this whole thing, he knew the police would be arriving momentarily, that knowledge in itself in my view makes using a firearm excessive…If only the jury could have heard about the paranoia inducing Adderall that he was on…

  14. I’ve seen this allegation that tea-parties wore racist t-shirts. I have yet to see one piece of evidence to support that claim beyond this:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/10/13/what-did-a-man-wear-to-a-romney-event-that-was-so-offensive-the-campaign-denounced-it-as-reprehensible/

    (Unless the alleged conservative racists somehow managed to scrub the internet of anything that would have won Brietbart’s $10,000 reward)

    This blog has a habit of using drive-by social media evidence, as manifest by constant use of this claim, and this entire post on the zimmerman case. Others here have already exhaustively laid out the details the court uncovered, though I think this post is too much of an opinion piece to warrant a rebuttal. There is nothing unchristian or immoral about being foolish or unwise… those are separate problems. At best you can claim Zimmerman was too concerned for his neighborhood to let a seeming threat go unreported. Is concern for other’s safety not “christian”? The judgements of moral absolutism I see here are far beyond the authority or purview of the author.

    Though he is certainly entitled to an opinion, I’m reminded of a quote from Bastiat…

    “You who think that you are so great. You who judge humanity to be so small. You who wish to reform everything. Why don’t you reform yourselves? That would be task sufficient enough.” – Frederic Bastiat

    One’s christianity is not enhanced by unequivocally proclaiming others unchristian.

    • There were literally dozens of ‘keep the white house white’ Youtube videos, until Youtube pulled them off. As for Breitbart, consider the source.

    • Some good thoughts. As long as Mr. Zimmerman didn’t initiate the physical violence, I think the conclusions are spot on. Can’t say one way or the other about the details he references.

    • That’s this guy’s takeaway? ‘Cool. The gun worked as advertised.;
      And that’s it?
      I repeat: Zimmerman saw a pedestrian walking down the street. Period. No threat, no danger–a pedestrian. He had no reason even to call 9-1-1.

      • I thought the part about the gun was pretty irrelevant and thought there was certainly more substance to what was written than just the gun.

        You say Mr. Zimmerman saw a pedestrian. Yes, he did see a pedestrian. But a pedestrian that he didn’t recognize from his neighborhood and who appeared to be out of place. He didn’t call 911, he called a non-emergency line to ask for a patrol car to just swing through and keep an eye on things. That isn’t wrong. That is proactive community involvement, especially for a neighborhood suffering from recent break-ins.

        • Exactly Ethan, HE CALLED THE POLICE…He knew they were on their way, he knew they’d be there momentarily. This is knowledge that he had that the victim didn’t have, this effects his “state of mind”. He should have just let the police do their job, even if they were struggling and fighting he knew that help was on the way and didn’t need to use a gun. You gloss over the fact that he profiled the kid. He will be held accountable maybe not in this life but in the next. There are millions of people who think he is a murderer regardless of what the jury decided. I also think he’ll probably do it again, especially since he thinks he is justified and entitled…

          • Starbugary, you seem to make a lot of assumptions that we don’t know. We don’t know Mr. Zimmerman’s or Mr. Martin’s state of mind. We may know factors but that is it.

            You say that Mr. Zimmerman should have let the police do their job. How do we know he didn’t want to and make an effort to just let the police do their job? If Mr. Martin approached Mr. Zimmerman and subsequently attacked him, we can’t cite Mr. Zimmerman for trying to do the police’s job when he didn’t do anything other than try to keep an eye on Mr. Martin and then call the police.

            You say that Mr. Zimmerman shouldn’t have used the gun and that he should have just endured whatever was happening until the police arrived. What is Mr. Martin was reaching for the gun or trying to take it. How long should Mr. Zimmerman have waited? It certainly appears that Mr. Zimmerman was having his head hit against concrete. How long does it take to kill someone? How many times do you have to be hit in the head? As a 911 dispatcher, I knew of cases where it took exactly one hit to the head. Should Mr. Zimmerman have just let Mr. Martin continue to hit his head against the pavement, if that was what was indeed happening, and hope that none of those hits were fatal?

            Profiling the kid is irrelevant. Mr. Zimmerman or anyone else can profile all day long and it doesn’t justify violence or force. And speaking of profiling, would saying that Mr. Zimmerman “will do this again” be profiling those who use firearms to take a life and are successful in claiming self-defense?

            You’re right, Mr. Zimmerman will be condemned for whatever crime he committed if he actually committed one in the hereafter. But let’s allow a perfect God who knows all to condemn his soul rather than us doing it with imperfect knowledge.

            PS: How do you know Mr. Zimmerman feels entitled? Justified, sure, he felt his life was in danger and we can’t disprove that. But entitled?

      • For those stating how awesome and great it is to be placing all the blame for this on Mr. Zimmerman, help me understand what Mr. Zimmerman did that warranted the physical attack by Mr. Martin.

        It seems as though we are treating degrading Mr. Martin by implying that he was some wild animal that Mr. Zimmerman should have known to avoid and ignore such as a strange dog walking down a road. Shouldn’t we instead see him as a human being who is responsible for his actions even if some “creepy-ass cracker” as he described Mr. Zimmerman to his friend is following him or trying to talk to him?

          • You keep assuming that Zimmerman is telling the truth. Rachel Jeantel was on the phone with him when he stated to her that Zimmerman was approaching him. He had already told her that he was following him in his car, then told her that he was on foot, he told her that he was approaching him then she heard Martin say “get off me, get off me!” This is evidence, it is not an assumption that I’m making. Just because people didn’t like Jeantel, and didn’t like how she spoke and her attitude shouldn’t have effected the outcome. The Juror that gave an interview on Anderson Cooper said that she only believed certain things that Jeantel said, and they were only things that were favorable to Zimmerman. The Juror also made statements that reveal what a racist she is!

          • I am not assuming that Mr. Zimmerman is telling the truth. I recognize he may not be, either intentionally through lying or through skewed recollection as a natural result of adrenaline and cortisol in the bloodstream from being in a heightened state.

            I also recognize that Ms. Jeantel has already shown that she will lie and distort the truth. Her testimony is unreliable because she has been shown to leave out and adjust details to make Mr. Martin look better.

            It is a shame that someone who appears to be a racist was on the jury. I know nothing about the juror so I really can’t comment further except to say that one juror does not make a verdict. At best, they can make a hung jury which would result in a mistrial and Mr. Zimmerman having to be tried all over again.

        • Two possibilities: Either Trayvon was not dangerous and Zimmerman was not justified in following him (which would have resulted in an uneventful night of no significance), or Trayvon was dangerous and Zimmerman was justified in following him. The fact there was a confrontation that resulted in head and tailbone injuries for Zimmerman, and no injuries except gunshot and knuckles to Martin shows that the danger was legitimate, why is anyone trying blame Zimmerman for following him? The results prove the perceived threat.

          ————
          Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything, okay?
          Zimmerman: How long until you get an officer over here?
          Dipatcher: Yeah, we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does something else.
          ————

          Twice the dispatcher instructs Zimmerman to keep watching Martin, notice he doesn’t say to go home, but to give a reliable address (something he would have to leave his vehicle to do) where the police could meet him and pick up the trail.

        • He acted in a way that was indistinguishable to the target from the actions of a sex predator or a mugger. He apparently followed this young person in his car, then got out and attempted to follow him on foot.

      • A massively ignorant statement. Zimmerman told the dispatcher that he saw Martin walking through the backyards, standing around, and looking about at the houses. this would cause any of us to be suspicious. Not to mention, he did nothing wrong in calling. He has a right to call that number any time for any reason if he feels the need. The dispatcher then asked him to describe the appearance and activity of the pedestrian. He was never asked to “stay in his truck”, nor would that instruction be in any way binding on him if it should be given.

        This should help clear up the misconceptions so many are fans of:
        http://www.dlas.org/questions-zimmerman-verdict/

  15. Trayvon made a fatal mistake by making the confrontation physical, most likely thinking he could beat up GZ, probably assuming GZ was unarmed. If somebody jumps me like this, gets me into an indefensible position that threatens the integrity of my skull, I will react exactly as GZ did, which would be to scream for help and, if the beating continues, shoot my assailant dead. That is what the evidence showed most likely happened in the Zimmerman case although there are those who are too biased against lawful gun owners or too biased against whites or “white Hispanics” to accept anything other thsn a theoretical narrative that GZ was a Hunter or to kill a black person. My observations of people who don’t like the jury verdict either don’t like the law or didn’t want the jury to rule according to the law, which dictates that if there is reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant broke the law as defined by the court, the jury must acquit. I doubt that more than 1% of those who are currently shocked and disgusted by the verdict would have the same reaction had Trayvon been the black neighborhood watchman and GZ the unarmed person who had broken TM’s nose and had then straddled TM and started bashing TM’s head onto concrete until shot dead by TM.

  16. Eric,

    I have been a reader for several months now. And while I was never a student of yours during my time in the MDT program at BYU, I have to say that I always admired your work. The final two paragraphs of this post have very eloquently described for me what has been most disheartening about this tragic event and, even moreso, the vitriolic and anger-filled response.

    I am tired of living in a political and social landscape that is ruled by paranoia, where suspicion is the means by which we interact with those different in some way. I am tired of decisions being made out of fear of the possible, and with the assumption the worst of one’s intentions. I am tired of the anger and vitriol that steps from those intent upon keeping “The Other” at bay–whether it be race, sexual preference, gender, nationality. I am tired of being preached the doctrine exclusion, separation, isolation, and mistrust. I am tired of those who should be building bridges instead building walls.

    I just wanted to add a comment to this (less than hope-inspiring) comment thread to say that I appreciate your time and effort to keep this blog. I don’t always (but often do) agree with what you have to say, but I always find your thoughts intelligent and insightful. There is, to be frank, so very little of that on display these days. You have caused me, on several occasions, to examine my personally held beliefs.

    So, thank you for your thoughts–and for wishing for a better, more loving, more accepting, and less paranoid future.

  17. This. Exactly this. The whole thing boils down to a confrontation that never should have happened in the first place. I don’t care about the details of the fight or who threw the first punch or who was really screaming. It never should have gone that far. It just should. not. have. happened.

    One of the most disturbing things I’ve read is Zimmerman’s family saying that if he had to do it all again, he wouldn’t do anything differently because he didn’t feel like he did anything wrong. REALLY?!?! You killed a 17 year old boy and you wouldn’t do a thing differently?

    It is a disheartening world we live in today.

  18. Perfect summary of the events as I understand them from the trial and from news reports and an excellent, well-though-out analysis of their implications. Thank you.

  19. i believe this article feigns to be open minded, but then jumps on the bandwagon to ride off into glory. Why cast into doubt weather Zimmerman got his head smashed “(If that even happened)” ?- you didn’t question the evidence of the prosecution. It was pretty clear from the medical staff present at the trial it did happen. Have you ever had your head smashed against the cement? You may feel slightly endangered and reactive.
    Secondly, why even address the race issue? “…a black teenager…” Zimmerman didn’t even mention race until he was asked by dispatch. But of course that’s the popular thing to bring up in this case and it will get people to praise articles like this.
    Exactly who’s version of “a-y” is the Jury going to listen to? No one, not the media, not dispatch, and not even the writer of this article knows what happened and what the intentions of the individual parties were. This is why the jury is told not to read or watch anything to do with situation during the trial. MAYBE we should trust the system and that the jury MAY have been privileged to information we don’t have or at least information that wasn’t tainted.

  20. I accidentally posted this as a nested reply up above. I am reposting this down at the bottom where it belonged.

    For those stating how awesome and great it is to be placing all the blame for this on Mr. Zimmerman, help me understand what Mr. Zimmerman did that warranted the physical attack by Mr. Martin.

    It seems as though we are treating degrading Mr. Martin by implying that he was some wild animal that Mr. Zimmerman should have known to avoid and ignore such as a strange dog walking down a road. Shouldn’t we instead see him as a human being who is responsible for his actions even if some “creepy-ass cracker” as he described Mr. Zimmerman to his friend is following him or trying to talk to him?

  21. I don’t know what bible you guys are reading but the list of commandments I pay attention to starts with thou shalt not kill. As soon as Z stepped out of the car with a gun to hunt Trayvon he decided to have an interaction with him that he hoped would escalate to violence, or else why the gun?

    What did Z do wrong? Now only God can judge him. Trayvon jumped some nut with a gun who was following him by car and then got out and ran after him.

    • The gun is for protection. I pray every day that I never have to use my pistol to defend my life or my family’s life.

      I don’t know what Bible you are reading, but it is replete with examples of justifiable killing. Even Christ advocated carrying a weapon (Luke 22:36).

      Defending yourself and murder are two entirely separate things.

  22. “I didn’t watch the entire trial, but I did watch some of it, and I watched quite a bit of the legal commentary afterwards.”

    Perhaps you should have watched the whole trial to understand the details more accurately. Your summary is not accurate and you have regurgitated the misunderstandings as presented in the social media before, during, and after the trial. The fact that you claim this was a racist act shows you see color in others. Perhaps you can read the entire story, educate yourself fully, and speak for yourself rather than parrot what others are saying.

    I paid attention to the news via live video feed and online newspapers regarding this case. The media certainly wanted to portray Trayvon as a harmless individual who was profiled and abused by a wannabecop. They also wanted to portray Zimmerman as a bully acted solely on his racist intentions. I don’t buy either of these prejudices. Had I been Zimmerman I would have acted differently. Had I been Trayvon I would have acted differently. They both acted foolishly. This is most often the case in a criminal situation.

    As far as race is concerned I don’t recall any racist comments made by Zimmerman. I only heard racist comments from the prosecutor’s witnesses who were representing Trayvon’s side. That is a sad reality. I feel very sorry for Trayvon, his family, and friends. His parents will never be able to hold him and kiss him goodnight, ever. Every kid makes mistakes, acts foolishly, and has regrets. This does not make them bad kids. To claim this foolish encounter by both individuals is race driven is simply foolish on your part and everyone else in social media circles who continues the misperception.

    I wish you well and hope you inform yourself more before commenting further. Here’s a question – Why do you think you have the complete answer in an incomplete summary of the court case, which perhaps took you one or two hours to write, when the case took three weeks of legal proceedings to determine a fair and just verdict?

  23. Some good points were brought out in this article, however I think we’re missing the point. My conceal carry instructor also stated the day you shoot someone (even in self defense) will be the worst day of your life. I have no trouble believing that and I pray the day never comes that I must use my gun in self defense. But the problem with this case is much deeper than racism or guns. Obviously this case involved two individuals prone to making dumb decisions because they had an attitude problem with a capital “A.” But to blame this on just racism means, yet again, people are reacting and not looking at the big picture.

    I’ll tell you what bothers me. The media played this like a twelve string orchestra. Not only are people eating up the “injustice” but celebrities, right down to our President, are on board. Tell me – were they there? Were you there?

    Now, I happen to believe in the Constitution and a case like this is just what it’s for. Twelve people that sat in that courtroom day in and day out came to a decision. Maybe we’re not happy with it, but even if I don’t agree them, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt they did the best they could, because I know that if Zimmerman doesn’t get his just reward now – a greater judge than any of us will make sure that he does eventually.

    Don’t let yourself be manipulated and played. There are people that gain an advantage by distracting you with this kind of stuff. They do it to keep you from seeing the real issues going on. We can’t change people’s attitude with more laws. There will always be people with bad attitudes that make dumb choices. A wise man once said, “The government would have you take the people out of the slums, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ takes the slums out of the hearts of the people and then the people take themselves out of the slums.

    Each of us are accountable for the choices we make. Make sure you’re looking for the real issues going on behind the scenes and not just reacting to created hype.

  24. This article is not based entirely on concrete facts, but is well written for the the information upon which it is based. The truth is no body wants to know the truth. The supporters of Zimmerman want him to be the victim and the supporters of Martin want him to be the martyr. We all lose because nobody is willing to see the truth except for those not emotionally invest in some agenda for social justice or feigned social equity.

    • So what. Everyone has just glossed over the fact that GZ was an adult, Martin wasn’t. GZ had a concealed weapon permit, having that permit means he had an even greater responsibility on his shoulders. Even the prosecutors didn’t really point out that this is a kid we are talking about, he was what about a week past his seventeenth birthday. We drew a line in the sand at some point in our society and decided that 18 was the age when we consider people an adult. Anyone who is even a day younger should be treated as a juvenile. Zimmerman was stalking a kid, he knew the police were on their way, why didn’t he identify himself as Neighborhood Watch and just ask him if he was lost or needed help? Why did he just assume he was a criminal? Because of his race. The obvious in this applies and it is a tragedy, it could be Shakespearean. Two lives have been destroyed, two families destroyed, a senseless killing, and why? All over stereotypes and assumptions…George Zimmerman may have been found “not guilty” and under the very technical rules of law the jury was probably painted into a corner with all of the legal semantics in the law, he is not Innocent however. He killed an unarmed juvenile and he will have to live the rest of his life knowing that. I think it is going to be hard for him to have any peace, and maybe that is what he deserves I don’t know. I do know that my hope is that we all learn from this, that our country starts to have some real dialogue about issues that we clearly haven’t moved past…I saw the interview on Anderson Cooper with one of the jurors and she was a complete racist, she made racist comments and they were disgusting. She wasn’t impartial, she made comments to show that. The most ironic thing is that she claims that she isn’t a racist at all, she doesn’t even get it. I am so tired of this, I’ve seen it my entire life with my parents generation, can we please move on. The concept of “the other” remember that? Hopefully we’ve all learned about it in school by now, the “other” is a construct, a myth,…

      • You can use the word “kid” but that kid was four inches taller than Mr. Zimmerman (5’7″ vs Mr. Martin’s 5’11″). Exactly how was Mr. Zimmerman to know that was a “kid” he was following? Did he act like a kid? It doesn’t seem so. He certainly wasn’t weak like a “kid.” In fact, it appears that Mr. Martin (the kid) was stronger than Mr. Zimmerman as he at some point was able to pin him on the ground and pound his head into the pavement. Let’s be real here. At 17, we trust kids to be mature enough to make responsible decisions on a consistent basis to the point that we entrust them with driving a 2,000 pound chunk of metal down at 60+ miles per hour around other people. This is a pretty significant responsibility when you think of the potential for damage, injury, and death. Many states allow 17 year olds to petition the court for emancipation and to marry with parental consent. At 17, you can enlist in the armed forces with parental consent. While things may change legally on an 18th birthday, there is no magical maturity switch that gets hit and we do a great disservice to teens everywhere when we expect poor decisions about respecting the rights of others and appropriate behavior from a 17 year old “kid” the way we would from an 11 year old or 6 year old “kid.”

        You claim Mr. Zimmerman was stalking him because of his race. Can you prove that? I’m not saying he wasn’t. I’m proposing that you don’t know that any more than people on the other side know what Mr. Martin was thinking or doing. There is certainly no hard evidence he was acting on race.

        “He killed an unarmed juvenile and he will have to live the rest of his life knowing that. I think it is going to be hard for him to have any peace, and maybe that is what he deserves I don’t know.”

        Now that is something I can agree with. Maybe Mr. Zimmerman does deserve not having peace but maybe he doesn’t. There is every chance that he was attempting to follow exactly the rules of Neighborhood Watch and the instructions of the dispatcher (such as returning to his truck when the dispatcher said they didn’t need him to follow Mr. Martin) and was assaulted by Mr. Martin in such a way that he actually feared for his life. In that case, I hope he finds peace and knows that he made the best decision he could.

        Then again, there is also the chance that he was acting as a racist, walked up to Mr. Martin, and began the whole physical confrontation. In that case, perhaps a life tormented by guilt is appropriate.

        I don’t know the whole premise of the blog owner’s approach to “The Other” but from what I gather, I can see where both of them were locked into that idea in the moment. There is certainly some blame to go all around for what happened, with both Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman, and with society in general.

        As a society, we have to regain the importance of personal responsibility, respecting the right of others, and of treating one another with respect. We have to begin holding tightly to the idea that initiation of force against another person is immoral.

        It’s going to be a long road.

  25. You lost me when you said you thought it was good that we elected a black President. How about if we just a elect a great leader and forget what color he is? Also interesting that you list all of GZ’s wrong moves and via your silence and questioning if anything GZ said actually happened, assume TM was the All-American boy next door on a snack run. Your bias is loud and liberal. Yet you complain everyone else is getting it wrong. Not balanced, not fair. Your right to say it this way, but at least don’t hide behind the cape of balanced and fair.

    • I agree, failing to provide an accurate representation of each parties’ A-Z as he calls them, and then presenting one person’s actions with high levels of inaccuracy (are you really saying he didn’t have head wounds?), makes his whole post, although consistent with your right to freedom of speech, feel very biased and therefore of little importance.

  26. Excellent essay and very thought-provoking. I agree with your conclusion: Those of us who consider ourselves Christians and followers of Jesus Christ must examine our souls – because there is something lacking in anyone who feels that Zimmerman’s behavior was justified. What’s lacking is charity, the pure love of Christ. I share your concerns about our country; this is not the America I want my children and grandchildren to be a part of.

  27. If I take away anything from the Zimmerman trial, it is that there is a vast and seething amount of anger in this country. Whites angry at blacks, blacks angry at whites, poor people angry at the rich, and the rich angry at and disdainful of the poor. People angry at the government, angry at one religion or another, one political party or another. Anger for those who disagree, anger for those who are not the same, anger for those who are angry.

    If you scratch the surface of American society, the first thing to ooze to the surface is anger. We lament the loss of civility in our society, but civility has been trampled under angry feet that have no time for manners or thoughtful discussion. This climate, if left unchecked, will kill this country, as it has many others before us. Angry people will follow a demagogue who promises to eliminate those things that make them angry (usually other people). We don’t trust, we don’t discuss, and we don’t compromise — poisonous conditions for the survival of a Republic.

    And I don’t think “Christianity” will prove helpful — we have far too many “check-the-box” Christians who profess the religion when they fill out a census form or insurance papers, but never crack a Bible or set foot in a church.

    I am not optimistic about our chances.

    • Wow Sam really? “You (author) are the problem in this country” That is such a shallow statement. The author of this post offers his opinion on this issue and leaves it open for comment and that is all you have to say? You must have been holding a mirror when you wrote that…

  28. Why’s it got to be ALL about race? This dude wasn’t some skin head white supremist out LOOKING to commit racial hate crimes… He saw a suspicious kid wearing a hooded jacket that he didn’t recognize. If I see someone walking down my street, that I have never seen before, wearing a hoodie, best BELIEVE I’m givin them suspicious ass looks and if they have a problem with it, and attack me for keeping an eye out for my neighbors and myself? You bet your ass I’d shoot ‘em, I don’t care what police, that are going to take until its too late to respond and catch someone in the act, tell me.

    When in the world did it become MORE wrong to shoot black people than brown people, white people, purple, orange, green people? PEOPLE shooting PEOPLE should be equally as terrible regardless of color, religious preference, sexual preference, ETC. Half of the racism problem, is the people constantly bringing it up every 3.2 seconds, to win an argument. HE DOESNT LIKE ME CAUSE IM PURPLE! No, actually, I don’t like you because you’re ignorant, and you just called me racist.

    • “He saw a suspicious kid wearing a hooded jacket that he didn’t recognize.” and then he deliberately took steps that, given his suspicions, he had every reason to believe were likely to put him in danger of his life. If Martin was indeed the burglar, punk and thug that Zimmerman thought he was, why would Zimmerman have any reason to believe he, Zimmerman, wouldn’t be putting himself in danger?

      If Zimmerman had every reason to believe he was putting himself in danger, he therefore put himself in a position where he was likely to need to shoot this young person wearing a hoodie. Zimmerman had every chance to avoid needing to ‘act in self defense.’ He chose another path.

  29. Why slam Christians at the end? with no mention of them or any purported sin within your essay… are you just picking a personal bone? I carefully considered and agree with some of your points though you lost me at the end. Not all who identify themselves as Christian hate or even mistrust people of different colors. In fact, according to my experience, many Christians are people of color. My brothers and sisters. Your sweeping generalizations taint the logic of whatever point you are trying to make. The “I’m not a lawyer but I play one online” gets a little weak.

  30. Point of clarification, he didn’t call 911, rather he called a non-emergency police line because Martin was cutting through yards and he felt he was behaving suspiciously in light of recent burglaries in the neighborhood. That is what the non-emergency lines are there for. You relay information to the police and they can decide if it sounds like something that they should follow up on.

    I did the same thing when I thought it was possible that the guys living across the street from me were selling drugs. Guess what, I was right, they got busted.

    However he should not have confronted him. He made his call, he should have either gone home or kept and eye on him if he was really concerned to see if he was in the neighborhood for a reason if he was in indeed going to break into a home. Confronting him however did not give Martin the right to assault him.

    • Jenn, you’re assuming that he confronted him. Mr. Zimmerman asserts he didn’t and that Mr. Martin confronted him. Not saying Mr. Zimmerman is telling the truth. Just that we can’t assume the truth to be that he did confront Mr. Martin.

  31. “Step Z” wouldn’t have happened if Zimmerman hadn’t had a gun. He might not have confronted Martin in the first place without a gun making him feel infallible. The confrontation might have ended in a fistfight–not a seventeen-year-old dying.

    • Or it could have ended with Mr. Martin continuing to bash Mr. Zimmerman’s head against the pavement until Mr. Zimmerman died. Mr. Zimmerman’s assertions that he was overpowered by Mr. Martin was was in fear of his life due to the physical violence Mr. Martin was perpetrating against him cannot be disproven by evidence. Therefore, we must at least conceded that it is possible he is telling the truth.

      And if he is telling the truth, that situation is exactly why the responsible carry of a firearm is prudent.

    • George Zimmerman is a racist! This is a link to his myspace page, his own words, it is full of racist comments. He is bragging about how he was able to get felony charges pled down to misdemeanors, he is a criminal! Why didn’t he just identify himself that night? Why not say “Hey, I’m neighborhood watch, my name is George, can I help you, are you lost? What are you doing here, I just haven’t ever seen you before…” Even the police wondered why he didn’t just do that. Its because he is a racist and he profiled Trayvon Martin!
      http://politicalblindspot.org/george-zimmermans-old-myspace-surfaces-full-of-racist-statements-and-admissions-of-criminal-activity/

    • Let me suggest to you a reason why your ill-considered and unequivocal embrace of George Zimmerman’s account of the event is so problematic. Never mind the fact that Zimmerman, as he told the story, kept changing essential details. The fact is, he never testified in court. That mean that his story was never told under oath, in court, and was never subjected to cross-examination.
      In contrast, the testimony of Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, which contradicts Zimmerman’s on essentially every key point (and which suggests that Zimmerman struck first, and that Zimmerman was the aggressor throughout) was given under oath, and was subjected to very tough cross-examination. Did she change her story in early accounts? Yes. So did Zimmerman. But the facts she established in court have evidentiary value. Zimmerman’s comments have none.

  32. Eric, this was very well put and has made me reconsider certain aspects of this case. But I would submit one other aspect to your argument about why this has blown up, along racial lines and along political lines, the way it has.

    I believe there are a large number of non-racist, basically good people who don’t necessarily see a threat when they see a person of color. However, when you add one element to the mix, they become inflamed and suddenly do see a threat. And that element in this case exemplified by Al Sharpton, among others.

    By inserting himself into this situation, he brought with him all of his past baggage. I’ll list the two most egregious that come to my mind.

    1. The Duke Lacross Rape Scandal. Three young men had their lives damaged and their names ruined because of a charge brought against them that when examined, was easily refuted. But no one was ever given a chance to review the facts because Rev. Sharpton and willing media descended on the situation and doused it in racial gasoline. I think most Christian whites would admit that what was happening in that house that night was not appropriate. But what happened to those young men was chilling to every white person I know.

    2. I apologize for not being able to recall the exact details, but I believe the circumstances I describe will trigger in most people’s memories the event I’m referring to. A group of African-American teenagers were caught on tape in the stands of a high school football game brawling so violently that is caused injuries to several innocent spectators nearby. The school administrators, who were white, then expelled those students involved that could be indentified. Both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson descended on the school claiming racism.

    Both of those instances, in my opinion, created a threat in the minds of many white Americans. The threat is from the racism machine often represented by either Rev. Jackson or Rev. Sharpton. I know if either of those men showed up in my community with television cameras in tow, I would be frightened until I knew they weren’t planning on talking to me.

    So how does this affect the Martin/Zimmerman case? I believe their involvement from the earliest moments of this tragic event caused unfair opinions and judgments to be formed on both sides before any facts could be discovered. It wasn’t fair to Trayvon Martin and it wasn’t fair to George Zimmerman. In fact, the argument could be made that the price George Zimmerman will now have to pay because of the sensationalism of this trial is worse than if he had been convicted.

    Regardless, I will admit that I had some of my opinions formed by their involvement. And that was wrong of me. I shouldn’t have risen to the bait. But if we are truly concerned about racial healing in this country, those individuals who have used up their credibility on race should not be given national television network platforms. It creates An Other. And one that I’m frankly terrified of.

  33. What? “You should know about drugs.” What is that supposed to mean? “ammy comment” I don’t recall making a comment to anything ammy said…who is ammy? Your comment is what makes no sense!

    • This was meant to be a response to this comment: “You should knpw about drugs. However your response has nothing to do with aamy comment.” from someone named “Shantel”, I hadn’t noticed the authors name until now…IF you are the “Shantel” that I think you are then why REALLY applies here!

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