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On Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

July 18, 2013

On a website, I read the following comment regarding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman incident:

“Yes, let’s ignore the fact that if Zimmerman hadn’t racially profiled an innocent teen, that innocent teen would be alive today. Let’s just gloss right over over that, so we can pretend it’s not about race.”

I responded thusly: “Zimmerman “profiled”, as you say, a young person in a hoodie walking in the yards, close to the homes of his neighbors. As a neighborhood watchperson, his responsibility was to observe suspicious behavior. He observed and reported it to the authorities. The person was not suspicious because he was black. His race was not immediately apparent due to it being dark and due to Trayvon wearing a hoodie. He was asked by the 9-1-1 operator if the suspicious person was black or white. Zimmerman’s answer was “He looks black.” It wasn’t “He’s black”, which would denote certainty, but “He looks black”, which denotes uncertainty.

Then, the first mistake was made. Zimmerman set after the suspicious individual on foot. When the operator asked him if he was pursuing the individual, Zimmerman said that he was. The operator did not say, “Do not follow him”. He said, “We don’t need you to do that.” Because Zimmerman fancied himself a defender of the people of his neighborhood, a self-styled avenger of the wrongs perpetrated on the people of the neighborhood, he set out to keep an eye on this person. Unfortunately, he was carrying a gun, which it was his right to do. Neighborhood watch members are not supposed to engage suspects who are in the act of committing crimes. All evidence, as far as we know, points to Zimmerman not engaging Trayvon, but only following him. This, in and of itself, was poor judgment.

Next, we have Trayvon Martin, being followed by a “creepy ass cracker”. Aside from the racial epithet, this is a reasonable thought, as anyone being followed by a stranger in the dark might be a little unnerved. Trayvon, being a teenage boy and full of possibly false bravado and pumped up machismo while discussing this turn of events with his girlfriend on his cell phone, then exhibited the second act of poor judgment in this incident. Instead of rushing to his father’s house, as a frightened person or someone looking to avoid a confrontation might do, Trayvon decided to face the creepy guy that was following him. As far as we know, and as far as any of the evidence suggests, Trayvon physically accosted Zimmerman, whether he was facing him or if Zimmerman had his back to him is uncertain. Now, we know that Trayvon had traces of marijuana in his blood. We do not know how long before the incident Trayvon had smoked the marijuana. Two possible side effects of smoking marijuana are paranoia and poor judgment. These may have also possibly contributed to Trayvon’s decision to face his follower instead of continuing to walk to his father’s house. We will never know.

So, now we have a physical altercation going on between the two. As the evidence indicates, Trayvon had pinned Zimmerman to the ground and was beating his head against the concrete. Here is where Zimmerman made the final act of poor judgment. Frightened by, he assumed, the possible loss of his life, he pulled out his gun and shot 17 year old Trayvon. In my estimation, just getting your ass handed to you is no reason to pull a gun. Being a self-styled avenger, thinking of himself as much more than he actually was, Zimmerman couldn’t actually beat back the assault or get Trayvon off of him. He panicked, like a pussy, and shot Trayvon Martin.

Three mistakes of judgment were made: 1) Zimmerman followed on foot 2) Trayvon faced and attacked Zimmerman instead of continuing on to his destination 3) Zimmerman panicked, pulled his gun, and shot Trayvon to death.

There was no malicious intent to Zimmerman following Trayvon. There is no evidence to support the idea that Zimmerman is/was a racist and assumed just because he was black he was up to no good. He did not set out to kill a black kid if he saw one. There goes Murder One. Once he saw Trayvon being seemingly suspicious, he did not decide to shoot and kill him. There goes Murder Two. Since Zimmerman was not in the act of committing a crime when he killed Trayvon, there goes Voluntary Manslaughter or Third Degree Murder. Now, that brings us to Involuntary Manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, either express or implied. It is distinguished from voluntary manslaughter by the absence of intention. It is normally divided into two categories; constructive manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter, both of which involve criminal liability. Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs where death results from serious negligence, or, in some jurisdictions, serious recklessness. A high degree of negligence is required to warrant criminal liability. A related concept is that of willful blindness, which is where a defendant intentionally puts himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable. This fits the bill. However, the prosecution did not prepare a case for Involuntary Manslaughter, but instead got greedy and went for Murder Two. The jury felt that Zimmerman was defending himself. The facts could not be pieced together to qualify as a murder charge, nor a voluntary manslaughter. The possibility of an involuntary manslaughter conviction was possibly struck down by the fact that Zimmerman was physically attacked by Trayvon in the performance of his duty as a neighborhood watch member and he was therefore defending himself.

I personally think he should have been convicted on the lesser involuntary manslaughter charge, but there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest racism or “racial profiling” on the part of George Zimmerman.”


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