How the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Debate Goes Down

Macro-Analysis

Blue is what Zimmerman’s persecutors argue.  Red is what his defenders argue.  

  • Zimmerman murdered Trayvon.
  • No, Zimmerman was being attacked 1.3. and had a reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death 4.
  • Trayvon was the one defending himself, and he was the one in fear of great bodily harm or death.
  • Trayvon had no reason to be defending himself or to be in fear of great bodily harm or death. 2. 3.
  • Yes he did. Zimmerman aggressively chased Trayvon and then threatened Trayvon with his gun.

That’s it.  His persecutors have no place to go after this but the land of ludicrous.

Evidence References

  1. Zimmerman had significant injuries.
  2. Martin had no injuries except a cut on a finger.
  3. Witness(es) saw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman.
  4. Frantic cries for help are recorded on 911 calls.

The evidence indicates (or outright proves) that Trayvon was not chased, Trayvon was  not injured, and was not threatened by Z’s gun.  So how did Trayvon have any legitimate cause to attack Zimmerman?  He didn’t.  And why in the hell would it be Trayvon screaming for help? It wasn’t.

Manslaughter

This has always been, at worst, a manslaughter case. The only serious questions in this case relate to manslaughter.   I think there are basically two approaches one could take to it:

  1. Zimmerman’s fear of imminent great bodily harm or death was not reasonable.  In other words, that he overreacted to a self-defense situation.
  2. Zimmerman’s actions (or inactions) contributed to the circumstances in a way that he should have reasonably anticipated.  In other words, he acted recklessly. 

I’ll approach the question of manslaughter in more detail in a future post,  but briefly:

1. While his injuries were not life-threatening, I believe the fact that Trayvon did not cease the attack while Zimmerman screamed for help (over and over), indicated a desire to really hurt Zimmerman.   Having already sustained a broken nose, I believe his fears of great bodily harm were reasonable.  (His screams for help are incredibly helpful to Zimmerman for so many reasons. Without them, the question of whether his belief was reasonable would be far more difficult to determine. This would be a different case.

[Note:  I am not ignoring Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon threatened to kill Zimmerman and then reached for Zimmerman’s gun because I disbelieve Zimmerman, but because it can’t easily be proven, and it doesn’t need to be.]

2. I actually believe his actions were understandable and appropriate based on the circumstances as they appeared to be at the time.   I don’t believe he acted recklessly at all.  If I were to criticize anything it would have been placing himself in what he could have foreseen was a potentially  (but not likely)  possibility of a conflict, while armed.   However, as I said, I think he could not have reasonably foreseen that the guy would relentlessly attack him , nobody would help him, etc.  This wasn’t a shoot first, ask questions later situation.

Understanding the Encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin

Anyone who studies the evidence intelligently, who is capable of an open mind, will soon realize that the original media narrative  is nonsense. They will realize that the notion that Zimmerman went and malevolently (or haphazardly) initiated (or provoked) a physical altercation with Trayvon is just not supported by the evidence. Based on the evidence to date, the following is what actually happened:

No racism

Zimmerman dialed a non-emergency number for the Sanford Police Department to report a suspicious person he didn’t recognize. The reasons for his suspicions included that he did not recognize this person; it was raining, dark, and the person appeared to be leisurely “wandering about”; looking at houses; fidgeting; and acting as though they were “on drugs or something”.  Also, it so happens that there had been a number of burglaries in the neighborhood, and in this particular part of the neighborhood where he first saw this person.

His suspicions were based entirely on behavioral or circumstantial factors- not physical ones.    He only mentioned Trayvon’s race and hoodie when asked to provide a physical description by the dispatcher.  Ironically, while there is overwhelming evidence that the “suspect”‘s race and clothing were of great significance to others (coming to symbolize their cause), there is no evidence they were of particular significance to George Zimmerman. In fact, there is no evidence of racial “profiling” of any kind.

Finally, at no time during the call did he use a racial epithet of any kind.  In short, there is absolutely no evidence that George Zimmerman is racist, or even prejudiced, against black people. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that George Zimmerman is not a racist.  

In short, this was a person he didn’t recognize, acting oddly, in an area with a recent spike in crime. The neighborhood watch captain, on his way to Target, acted appropriately in calling the non-emergency line and reporting it to the dispatcher.

No reckless chasing

This suspicious person, possibly noticing Zimmerman’s interest in him, approached Zimmerman’s vehicle to “check him out” (and/or to intimidate him as Zimmerman later suggested). Zimmerman, who did not wish to engage this person, remained in his vehicle.  At this point, the suspicious person bounds off eastward and disappears around the corner, heading down the southern path of a “T” intersection.   The suspicious person out of sight, and having apparently fled, Zimmerman exits his vehicle and heads east for the “T” section.

Shortly after Zimmerman left his vehicle, the dispatcher asked him “Are you following him?”, to which Zimmerman replied, “Yeah.”  The dispatcher (possibly believing that Zimmerman was pursuing this person) told him “We don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman said, “OK”- a term of agreement and compliance.  In truth, Zimmerman had nothing to comply with, because Zimmerman had been “following” only in the sense that he was headed to a location the “suspect” had been (the “T”-intersection).

But his purpose in heading to that “T” was to look down the southern path to relay the heading of the “suspect” to the dispatcher.  After looking south (and not seeing Trayvon), he went straight- continuing a little further east to an adjacent street.  He went to the adjacent street in order to find a house number.  (He had a house number for the street he was parked on (the one on the left/west side of the “T”), but he couldn’t think of the street name at the time.   He did, however, know the name of the street to the right/east of the “T” (he lived on it), so if he had a house number he’d be able to relay his location to the police when they arrived.)

To recap: the ‘suspect’ headed south at the “T”, while Zimmerman headed east.  If his intention had been to ‘chase’, ‘pursue’, or ‘follow after’ the suspect, then Zimmerman would have taken a right at the “T” and headed south after him.  Zimmerman didn’t do that. He clearly did not intend to follow this person in any conventional sense of the word.  He left his vehicle to relay requested information to the authorities.  “Which way is this guy running?”  “Where are you now?”

We know Trayvon wasn’t really running away and that Zimmerman did not pursue Trayvon south.

Trayvon initiated the encounter

On his way back to his vehicle (traveled west across the “T”-intersection), the ‘suspect’ appeared from the south path and, by all accounts, initiated verbal contact with Zimmerman.  Zimmerman states that Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman says ‘no’, Trayvon says ‘Well, ya do now’ and then Trayvon strikes Zimmerman, fracturing his nose.  

It is less clear what exactly happened at this point but, in the midst of the assault, the two men moved south down the path.  Zimmerman screams for help.  His attacker tries to cover his mouth and nose at some point, hits Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk, and when Zimmerman is convinced the guy is reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, Zimmerman draws it first, and shoots Trayvon a single time.  Trayvon dies shortly thereafter.

In closing

That’s it. No racism.  No chasing.  No disobeying the dispatcher. We can’t account for every detail but the timeline of events, the location and extent of Zimmerman’s injuries, the locations of physical evidence, and the accounts of witnesses are all, by and large,  consistent with his account.  That is why he was not originally arrested and why he was not originally charged.  The involvement of political activists and sensationalist reporting by the media finally contrived enough political pressure that George Zimmerman was inappropriately charged.

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This is only meant as a ‘big picture’ introduction to the case.  There is a lot more to this story.  In the future, I will go into more detail and offer proof of my summary above.  I will also go into many of the other aspects of this case in future posts.