You might think from the title of this piece that I’m referring to what has taken place so far during the trial. Though I would agree what we’ve seen has been pretty nutty, that’s not what I’m referring to.
I am referring to the remarks I’ve heard people make about Zimmerman and their view that this trial is good, proper, and necessary. That is the insanity to which I refer.
Apparently some Americans [far too many in my view] have lost sight of the purpose of criminal trial. There is one – and only one – purpose for a criminal trial. That is to determine whether a defendant accused of a violation of one of more criminal statues will be found guilty or acquitted.
What a criminal trial is NOT about is punishing a person for doing things of which you disapprove, but which are not violations of any criminal statute(s).
Sadly, most people who believe that Zimmerman should be tried in a criminal court feel that way because they don’t approve of what Zimmerman did when he first spotted Trayvon Martin. Whether or not Zimmerman committed any violations of the criminal statutes of the State of Florida – or whether Trayvon did – are completely irrelevant to them. They view Zimmerman’s trial as a social statement, not a legal one. And frankly, they don’t particularly care if their view even comports itself with the facts of what happened that night.
These are the worst kind of citizens. They would gladly make a political/social mockery out of criminal law, and the state courts that enforce it, simply to assuage their “feelings” about Zimmerman. They don’t care about facts. They merely want their “feelings” validated – even if it costs an innocent man his life. How pathetic is that!
So…what are the facts?
George Zimmerman was acting that night in the role of Neighborhood Watch. As many of you know, the idea of a formalized Neighborhood Watch has been around for several decades now. Some police departments will even have officers meet with residents and discuss how to set up a Neighborhood Watch program.
Despite the formalization of this thing called “Neighborhood Watch”, the principle of watching out for yourself and your neighbor’s safety and property are as old as society itself. And in my opinion, it is a particularly American characteristic! America was founded on the principle that We The People are the source of all power and government is merely our servants. Or phrased another way, my neighbors and I, being good American citizens, have every right to keep an eye on our own neighborhood, and we don’t need our servants to do that for us – or to tell us we can’t!
In his Neighborhood Watch role, Zimmerman happened to see Trayvon walking down the street and felt he bore watching. I should point out that decision (i.e. Zimmerman deciding to keep an eye on Trayvon) is what most people who hold Zimmerman responsible for Trayvon’s death, have a problem with – though they won’t admit it and cover it up with all sorts of other nonsensical claims. They “feel” that Zimmerman’s decision to keep on eye on Trayvon was racist. They “feel” that everything that happened thereafter was a result of Zimmerman’s “obvious” racism.
But they are making a presumption. And an unsupportable presumption at that. They don’t know Zimmerman’s heart. There is no historical evidence that Zimmerman is a racist. People are branding him a racist for no better reason than they want to. They leap to the unsupportable conclusion that because Zimmerman felt a man who was black should be watched, his decision was based on skin color. Oh…I should add that Zimmerman is not white. He’s Hispanic. But that doesn’t matter to the crowd that wants Zimmerman prosecuted because…well…he “looks white”. I’d certainly agree there is racism involved in this case!
Years ago a couple of Hispanic young men stole some Porsche hubcaps off of a custom VW Bug. The victims (the married couple that owned the Bug) saw the crime in progress and called it in. A two-man unit under my supervision located the fleeing suspect vehicle and stopped it. As their supervisor I decided to stop at the scene and see how they were handling the situation. As soon as the two suspects realized I was a supervisor, they informed me that they’d done nothing and had only been pulled over because they were Hispanic and the two officers who had made the stop were racist.
What these two rocket scientists didn’t realize was that the victims were about 60 yards away and had identified both of the suspects (and the vehicle) as being the ones who had stolen their hubcaps.
I shared this information with the two suspects and pointed out that the victims were black, so “obviously” they – the suspects – were racist and had chosen to steal from black people. The suspects had nothing to say to me after that! LOL
The suspect’s self-serving claim that the officers were racist was not true. Nor was my tongue-in-cheek comment that the suspects were racist. The point being that when people don’t like what is going on, the claim of “racism” is easy to throw around without a shred of proof. And that is precisely what those who want Zimmerman tried are doing. It is despicable and they should be ashamed of themselves.
Once we get past the real reason they want Zimmerman prosecuted, we begin to get to the things they use as “cover” for their racist stance. (Yes, to accuse someone of racism, without proof, for no better reason then the two parties are of different races, is racist.)
One of the most common criticisms of Zimmerman is that the police dispatcher had instructed Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon and let the responding officers handle it and Zimmerman ignored her. My response: So what?
Anyone with any familiarity with police dispatch procedures knows that is a standard line. It is not situation dependent, nor does it mean that is the proper course of action for the citizen to take. Let me give you an example. If you called the police to report a stranger was dragging your child toward a non-descript gray vehicle – and the police admitted their closest unit was 11 minutes away – they would still tell you to stay away from the suspect and let them handle it. The fact that the man was stealing your child, using a non-descript car, and within 1 minute he, your child, and that car may be forever gone would be of ZERO consequence to the dispatcher. She would still tell you “Let the responding officers handle it.” Good luck with that!
But more importantly than that nauseating reality is the fact that statements – or “instructions” if you prefer – made by a dispatcher are meaningless; they convey no authority nor obligate anyone to do, or not do, anything.
Zimmerman’s neighborhood had been plagued by thefts. They had called the police time and again – and nothing had changed. Zimmerman’s response to the dispatcher was “These assholes. They always get away.” When Zimmerman said “assholes” did he mean black men? There is no evidence of that. What makes far more sense is that by “assholes” he meant the guys (of any color) who were committed the frequent thefts and had NOT been caught by responding police! And I can tell you from professional experience that a “suspicious person” report is a VERY low priority radio call. If your neighborhood has been plagued with theft and you’re banking on that changing by calling the police, you’re in a fantasy world. As a member of the Neighborhood Watch, Zimmerman had come to understand that. That is what his response to the dispatcher conveys.
Do you want the man to stand trial for being right?!
Understanding that the police were not going to stop the thefts by him walking away from someone he thought was suspicious, he did what any moral thinking American would do – he ignored the non-authoritative “suggestion” of the dispatcher and continued to do what he felt was a better path to resolving the matter. That path was to keep on eye on Trayvon.
“Keep on eye on Trayvon.” This conduct irks some weird folks. So what? Who cares? What is important is that Zimmerman did not approach Trayvon, did not inhibit his freedom of movement, did not accuse Trayvon, did not attempt to detain or arrest Trayvon – he simply watched him. I want you to listen very carefully to the next statement: There is no law anywhere in the U.S. that prevents one person on a public street from watching another person on the public street. Also, there is no “right of privacy” when walking down a public street.
Since we’re getting to the critical moment, let’s take a moment to look at what we’ve covered so far.
1. Zimmerman was serving in his Neighborhood Watch role. Is that a criminal act? No!
2. Zimmerman saw Trayvon and felt he was suspicious. Is that a crime? No!
3. Zimmerman called the police to tell them what he was doing. Is that a crime? No!
4. Zimmerman declined the dispatcher’s suggestion to stop observing Trayvon. Is that a crime? No!
5. Zimmerman continued to observe Trayvon from a distance without making contact or interfering with Trayvon. Is that a crime? No!
So…as we approach the critical moments of the event we see that up until this moment Zimmerman had violated no laws at all.
Do you support Zimmerman being prosecuted for breaking no laws? Let us move on.
According to courtroom testimony, Zimmerman lost sight of Trayvon. As Zimmerman was walking along attempting to locate Trayvon, Trayvon jumped out of some bushes and confronted Zimmerman face-to-face.
The testimony is that Trayvon spoke first, saying to Zimmerman “What the fuck is your problem homie?” Did Trayvon commit a crime by verbally challenging Zimmerman? Of course not.
Zimmerman replied, “Hey man, I don’t have a problem.” Any crime so far? Nope.
Trayvon then said, “Now you have a problem.” Any crime in saying Zimmerman has a problem? Nope.
But then Trayvon punches Zimmerman in the face. Is THAT a crime? You bet!
It is important to understand that Trayvon, not Zimmerman initiated the violence and was the only person to commit a criminal act in the entire affair!
But it doesn’t end with a punch in the face.
When Trayvon hit Zimmerman, he fell on his back. Zimmerman had been punched in the nose. EMTs at the scene who examined Zimmerman at the scene shortly after the confrontation stated that his nose was broken. Photos of Zimmerman taken in the back of a patrol car sometime afterward also confirm this. His nose is noticeably bent to one side, swollen, and blood is running down from his nose across his lips. This physical evidence supports his additional testimony that we will get to in just a moment.
Courtroom testimony by Zimmerman is that when he hit the ground, Trayvon jumped on his chest in a sitting position and started punching Zimmerman repeatedly in the face. This is corroborated by a neighbor who testified in court that Trayvon was straddling Zimmerman in a “ground and pound” position. Zimmerman’s testimony is that it was as this time that Trayvon said, “You’re going to die tonight mother fucker.”
Zimmerman stated to police, and under oath in court, that he could neither see nor breath while being violently attacked by Trayvon. While most Americans these days have never been in a violent physical altercation, getting slammed in the nose produces exactly the response Zimmerman described. Your eyes start watering ferociously and the blood from your nose filling your nasal passages and running into your throat (if you’re on your back as Zimmerman was) makes you feel like you can’t get any air into your lungs.
Imagine if it was you who was on your back, felt blind and suffocating, and you were being beaten mercilessly by a man who had just told you that you were going to die. How terrified would you be?
Despite the horror Zimmerman must have been feeling at that moment, that was not the end of it. Once Trayvon felt he had softened Zimmerman up enough with the head punches, he then grabbed Zimmerman’s head in both his hands and began smashing the back of his head into the concrete.
I believe it’s important to mention at this point that Trayvon’s actions are a felony. In some jurisdictions, depending on the temperament of the D.A., the first punch might be seen as a misdemeanor. But of course a violent misdemeanor is still an act of violence and still a crime! However, once Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon attacked him again, there is no jurisdiction I know of that would not consider that “felony battery”. Additionally, once Trayvon uttered the words “You’re going to die tonight mother fucker” and began smashing Zimmerman’s head into the concrete, it went from “felony battery” to “attempted murder”.
So, at this point Zimmerman cannot see or breathe. He has been told by his attacker that he is going to be killed. And his skull is being smashed repeatedly into the concrete beneath him. For those who think Zimmerman is the bad guy in this, at what point do you think self-defense is called for?
It’s clear Zimmerman can’t beat Trayvon in a physical altercation; certainly not after getting sucker punched and losing his vision and ability to breath properly. Zimmerman goes for the tool he has. He reached for his gun, which is below the area to which Trayvon is giving his full attention. Zimmerman fired one round into Trayvon’s torso and that ends the vicious attack Zimmerman was enduring.
I should also add that jut hours after the incident, a police detective attempted to fake-out Zimmerman and falsely told him that the incident had been videotaped. Zimmerman’s immediate response was “Thank God.”
People are free to feel that Zimmerman should have handled things differently prior to the violent attack. But oddly, when I observe that Trayvon also had the opportunity to handle things differently prior to initiating his violent attack, such as simply saying something like “Looks asshole, my dad lives here. Fuck off” and walking away, they refuse to acknowledge that Trayvon also had a choice. It’s as if their view is that Zimmerman could choose his conduct, but Trayvon couldn’t. I guess that’s because they feel a young black man isn’t capable of controlling his violent instincts. Gee…I wonder who the racists are.
Much has been said of Trayvon’s and Zimmerman’s lives prior to the incident. None of that is relevant in this particular criminal case because none of it pertains to, or affects, what happened seconds after Trayvon jumped from the bushes. What happened at that moment was that a man who had harmed no one was violently and viciously attacked by another man, and told he was going to be murdered right there. What happened at that moment was that a man who had broken no laws had a violent felony unleashed upon him.
Violence was Trayvon’s answer to a circumstance that pissed him off. In fact, his own words were that he was going to murder Zimmerman; a man who had committed no crime and harmed no one.
Self-defense is an unalienable right. Under our system of jurisprudence, a right can never be converted into a crime. It should be obvious to even a person of the most modest intelligence that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot Trayvon. Whether you agree with Zimmerman’s earlier choices is irrelevant to the truth that he was acting in self-defense. Your “preferences” as to how you think he should have acted earlier on can’t change the hard reality that he was in fear for his life when he shot Trayvon.
So, if you still think Zimmerman should be tried for murder, all I can say is you’re a fucking asshole who represents everything that is wrong with this nation.