Half Cocked

March 19th, 2012

The Judge, Jury, and Jailer Will be Back After This Commercial Message

I wonder if anyone in the Blogosphere is paying attention to the Trayvon Martin case. It’s a classic example of prosecution by media.

A kid named Trayvon Martin was visiting relatives in Sanford, Florida. He went out to get candy and a drink. On the walk home, he was spotted by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who was armed. Zimmerman followed him, thinking he might be a criminal. There was a scuffle. Zimmerman shot and killed him.

Zimmerman is Hispanic. Martin is black.

Naturally, the press is crucifying Zimmerman. Because there is strong evidence that he committed a murder? No. Because he is now the face of a good law liberals hate.

Under Florida law, you don’t have to run away when you’re attacked. If it’s legal for you to be where you are, you don’t have to jump into the ocean or out in front of traffic. You don’t have to leave your own home or leap across train tracks while your assailant laughs and sees how far he can make you run. You’re allowed to kill him without running. It’s not your job to exert yourself and subject yourself to more danger in order to save the criminal’s life. That’s just common sense. If the law were otherwise, criminals would be permitted to chase you all day, and while the law would offer you some protection, it would be of no practical use. Few people are going to prosecute criminals for picking on them and chasing them around, when no physical harm is done.

Liberals hate this law because it puts teeth in the centuries-old right to self-defense. Liberals like punishing law-abiding victims, and they want to protect stupid, violent people.

Because of their bias against self-defense, liberals are all over Zimmerman, and they’re lying about him in order to stir up the public. I feel very sorry for him. It seems like no one is defending him.

Zimmerman may be a murderer, but the truth is, we don’t know that, and the facts so far suggest he is not. We should be allowing law enforcement to make a careful investigation instead of jumping to moronic, unfair conclusions. We are supposed to have courts in the United States. We are supposed to investigate shootings and use reason to determine the rights of those involved. Zimmerman is in danger of going to jail simply because talking heads don’t like the laws of the State of Florida. That’s a terrible situation to be in.

Here are the facts.

1. Martin was unarmed.

2. Martin was walking around Zimmerman’s neighborhood.

3. Zimmerman followed Martin, believing he might be casing the houses.

4. Martin approached Zimmerman.

5. There was a fight.

6. A witness saw Zimmerman on the ground under Martin.

7. After the fight, Zimmerman had grass stains on his back, and his face was bloody.

8. No one saw the shooting.

9. There is a recording of someone screaming for help, followed by a gunshot, but the recording is of very poor quality.

10. Zimmerman claims the person screaming was him.

That’s really all we have. The Miami Herald is adding in inflammatory garbage. They pointed out that Zimmerman called the police a lot. Hello? He’s a neighborhood watch captain. That’s what they do. Other media outlets are pointing out that Zimmerman was once arrested for battery on a LEO and resisting arrest, but he was not prosecuted, and no one has bothered digging up the facts.

People are also saying that a police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, as if that has some relevance. First of all, it never happened. The dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you doing that.” Second, the law doesn’t say police dispatchers have the authority to order you to avoid contact with people.

Why are we trying this case on TV and in the newspapers? What happened to due process? What is the point of having courts and investigators, if we’re going to let heartless media halfwits decide who goes to jail?

If there are facts that suffice to put this man in jail, presumably, the police will make an effort to uncover them. If not, he should be left alone.

It’s odd that “journalists” aren’t making more of Zimmerman’s ethnicity. He is clearly not white. Look at his photo some time. His father says he comes from a multi-racial family with many black members. He is part of a highly diverse social circle. He’s not a blue-eyed Aryan with swastikas tattooed on his forearms. It seems obvious that the press wants us to see this as a white-on-black execution, committed by a bigoted vigilante. So far, the only white people involved have been cops and journalists.

If someone knocks you down and starts beating you, you are allowed to shoot him. That would not change, even if Florida imposed a duty to retreat. You can’t retreat when you’re on your back. If Martin was beating Zimmerman, and Zimmerman feared severe INJURY (it doesn’t have to be death), then Zimmerman had the right to shoot. Believe it or not, even in 2012, you don’t have to allow criminals to beat you, just because you probably won’t be killed. We haven’t sunk that low yet. And if Martin was beating Zimmerman, he was a criminal.

If I had to guess–and that means GUESS, because unlike the other armchair detectives, I’m willing to admit I don’t know what happened–I would say Martin got mad because he was being followed. His race was probably one reason he was followed, and even if it wasn’t, it would be understandable for Martin to assume it was. He probably lost his temper and did something stupid. He probably attacked Zimmerman, not knowing he was armed. This is the most reasonable explanation.

Some people say Martin was screaming on the recording, begging for his life. If you listen to it, though, you can’t tell what the person is saying. It sounds like the word “help,” but it isn’t clear. And who is more likely to yell for help? A man lying on his back with a bloody face, like Zimmerman, or someone who is on top of him, inflicting damage?

If Martin is innocent, why is Zimmerman injured? Why were there grass stains on the back of his shirt? Did he beat himself up after he fired, in order to claim self-defense? His accusers have no explanation.

The only anti-Zimmerman explanation that makes any sense at all is this: Zimmerman attacked, Martin overcame him, and Zimmerman fired. That would not be self-defense, if Zimmerman’s attack was unprovoked. But why would he do that? What’s the point? Imagine yourself in his shoes. In thirty seconds, you can send the cops a cell phone photo and retreat to a safe distance to maintain observation. If you attack, you take a risk that your gun will be exposed to your attacker, and he’ll use it against you. There is no reason to do it, unless you’re an idiot.

Zimmerman might be an idiot. It could be that he made some kind of effort to restrain Martin, and Martin defended himself, and the fight escalated into an illegal shooting. And maybe Zimmerman somehow gave Martin time to scream for help repeatedly. But that’s a stretch.

Whatever the truth is, it should be uncovered through a professional investigation. It shouldn’t be buried under media hysteria and racist craziness. And we shouldn’t be ruining a man’s life in order to put our laws themselves on trial. If he’s guilty, he should pay. But I don’t trust ABC News to make that determination.

16 Responses to “Half Cocked”

  1. Jeffro Says:

    I’ve been wondering about this situation as well. The Spin is strong in this story…..

  2. Steve H. Says:

    The real goal in this case is to put Zimmerman before an anti-gun judge, so Florida’s common-sense self-defense law will be gutted. Laws don’t mean what they say. They mean what judges say they mean.

  3. aelfheld Says:

    ABC isn’t to trusted, period.

    Neither is CBS, nor NBC, nor the rest of the Baghdad Bob’s in Burberry.

  4. Aaron's cc: Says:

    George not Robert Zimmerman. Robert Zimmerman happens to be the birth name of Bob Dylan. George is clearly Hispanic. See photo at link, below.
    I’d be more inclined to outlaw hoodies than firearms. Whenever I see them I think the wearer is getting ready to rob a convenience store and the hoodie is intended to obscure easy identification of facial features.
    Not clear if your bullet point 3 was accelerated, that is, was Zimmerman chasing Martin before the latter realizes it? If Martin turns around to face his pursuer, is that “approaching” Zimmerman?
    Not clear who started with physical behavior first. If Trayvon pushed back from an aggressive Neighborhood watch guy, or if Trayvon started it. Zimmerman is reported to be 25 and 250 lbs. Martin is reported to be an A-B student weighing 140 lbs. It doesn’t look good for Zimmerman. Also, it’s seems clear that Martin was the one shouting for help… not the typical behavior of a perp or aggressor.
    It’s clearly biased reporting when photographs of Trayvon aren’t showing a 17 year old in a hoodie. The photos all seem to be from when he was much younger and less threatening looking. I’m not afraid of a black man in a suit. Put on a hoodie and that’s the uniform of a criminal whether you like it or not. I’ve seen some of the hoodie photos and they are not “friendly”.
    It often helps to refer to a non-US news source for less biased reporting.
    I got my report here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/20/trayvon-martin-death-story-so-far
    Seems like the left will benefit from a perfect storm and will try to kill the law, hanging it around a Sharpton-led mob’s dream villain.

  5. Steve H. Says:

    I transposed Zimmerman’s first name with his father’s.
    When I wrote this, it was by no means clear that the screaming voice was that of the deceased. Where does your information come from? It’s not in the Guardian story.
    I wouldn’t call the Guardian story “unbiased.” It makes no mention of Zimmerman’s black relatives, his injuries, the fact that he was seen with Martin on top of him, or the stains on the back of his shirt. How do you get a bloody face and grass stains on the back if you’re winning a fight? How does the loser end up on top of you in front of a witness?
    The story also refers to a report that Zimmerman was slurring his words. I don’t hear that on the tape. He sounds like his accent affects his pronunciation. If that’s the way he normally talks, and the police realized it, it explains why there was no blood test.
    I don’t know why people are calling Zimmerman “white.” Well, yes I do. It feeds the racial tension by turning this into a white-on-black crime. He is definitely not white. He looks like he might be a South American or Central American with Indian blood.
    The weight difference doesn’t mean anything to me at this point. Obesity is not a martial art, and Martin was an athlete.
    Zimmerman may be guilty, but guilt doesn’t justify a lynching.

  6. Aaron's cc: Says:

    “Less biased” not “unbiased”.
    Are there any photos of the bloody face and grass stains?

  7. Steve H. Says:

    Here is Zimmerman’s “criminal history,” from a new story:
    ”In 2005, Zimmerman was charged with resisting arrest with violence. State alcohol agents said Zimmerman pushed them while they were arresting a friend of his during an underage drinking operation at a bar. Zimmerman avoided a conviction by going into a pretrial program that is offered to people with no prior arrest”
    Here is Sanford, Florida’s letter, explaining the decision not to arrest Zimmerman. It reveals that Zimmerman stated that he was on his way back to his truck, and Martin attacked him. Whether this is true or not is a matter for the authorities to resolve, but it is clear that they could not disprove it at the time of the shooting.
    In 2005, Zimmerman was charged with resisting arrest with violence. State alcohol agents said Zimmerman pushed them while they were arresting a friend of his during an underage drinking operation at a bar. Zimmerman avoided a conviction by going into a pretrial program that is offered to people with no prior arrest

  8. Steve H. Says:

    Zimmerman’s injuries and the stains were noted by the police, but I have not seen any current photos. The famous jail photo is from his 2005 arrest.

  9. Onmilo Says:

    Tough case to call. What I have seen indicated is that Zimmerman outweighed Martin by almost 100 pounds. Slender kids can overcome larger adults but the chances are rare the assault will succeed.
    More likely Zimmerman pulled down on Martin and Martin reacted with what he had available.
    I don’t like the whites on blacks scenario the media is portraying, I don’t like the prosecuting of the Police who investigated & still are investigating the incident, I don’t like the fact the media have already convicted Zimmerman without due course of law.
    I don’t like the President weighing in on a case that is an individual State issue,,,

  10. Steve H. Says:

    If you think there aren’t plenty of 140-pound men who can beat bigger men like little girls, I beg to differ. Ask any cop. Floyd Mayweather is that size. And the only witness to the fight says Zimmerman was under Martin, yelling for help. If Zimmerman was winning, why was his head bleeding when the cops found him, and why did he have stains and water on the back of his shirt? How did his nose get broken?
    Wait and see. So far, the evidence looks good for Zimmerman. I predict he will not be arrested for murder. They may try to get him on some other charge, but unless new facts come out, I see nothing here that can ground a homicide charge.

  11. Onmilo Says:

    Head bleeding and stains on the back of his shirt could indicate he slipped on wet grass and fell backwards.
    Any of this could have occurred before, during, or after the confrontation.
    Witnesses tend to show up in droves for famous cases, don’t be surprised if even more suddenly appear.
    Where did you get the information that Zimmerman had a broken nose?
    140 pound 17 year old will rarely beat 28 year old in a fight, 50 year old guys, maybe.
    I think the prosecution may have a chance at suggesting Zimmerman knowingly stalked Martin, provoked him, then killed him & understand I am not taking sides here, just looking at what has been offered with an interest.
    As a lawyer I hope you can respect that.
    Any prosecutor, investigator, or defense attorney should salivate at this opportunity.

  12. Steve H. Says:

    “Head bleeding and stains on the back of his shirt could indicate he slipped on wet grass and fell backwards.”
    He cut his head and broke his nose on wet grass? Why would he slip, if he had not been attacked? He happened to fall down, backward, while chasing an innocent teenager? How did he shoot him if he was lying on his back while Martin ran away? His gun is a Kel-Tec. I’ve fired one, and believe me, the accuracy is abysmal.
    In a prosecution, you don’t look for what COULD have happened. You look for the most likely explanation. The witness says Martin was on top and Zimmerman was yelling for his life.
    “I think the prosecution may have a chance”
    Again, that is not how it works. The prosecution has to PROVE the ONLY LIKELY EXPLANATION is that Zimmerman did not shoot in self-defense. So far, that doesn’t fit the known facts.
    Zimmerman doesn’t have to prove a thing. The burden is 100% on the state. That’s what “presumption of innocence” means.
    “Witnesses tend to show up in droves for famous cases, don’t be surprised if even more suddenly appear.”
    I don’t know where you heard that. You may be confusing witnesses with people who give bad leads to police when they ask the public for help. This witness talked to police on the day of the incident. I don’t know why you would assume this witness is a flake.
    Martin was a young athlete. Zimmerman is a fat guy who studies criminology, and a witness saw him on the bottom in a struggle. That plus his injuries spell “underdog.”

  13. Steve H. Says:

    Here’s something else you need to ask yourself. How did a fat guy catch a 14-year-old athlete and make him hold still while he shot?

  14. Mike James Says:

    Wasn’t Trayvon Martin 17 years old, and six foot two inches tall?

    Apparently a 13 year old boy in Kansas City was doused with gasoline and set on fire, and although he didn’t die, I doubt there will be any protests on his behalf.

  15. Onmilo Says:

    Finish the quotes if you are going to use them.
    “may have a chance at suggesting Zimmerman knowingly stalked Martin, provoked him, then killed him”
    Zimmerman was following the kid, no one told him to nor did anyone tell him not to, that is voluntary premeditation.
    Zimmerman had a gun, he had no knowledge of whether Martin was armed or not, “stand your ground” means you do not have to flee in the face of danger & it appears Martin was posing no danger to anyone until he became aware that Zimmerman was following him, this is noted in Martin’s phone conversations with his girlfriend, as he said to her that he did not intend to run as she suggested but he was going to continue walking at an accelerated pace, The hinge lies here in the next few minutes, who provoked whom, Did Zimmerman yell at Martin to stop or did Martin turn and come after Zimmerman.
    If this is the case and Zimmerman backpeddled, slipped on the grass , fell against a patio or some other object and cut his head, he may be justified in the actions that followed.
    If Martin stopped at a verbal command and Zimmerman accosted him and attempted to detain him without fair reason and Martin fought back, or “Stood His Ground” with Zimmerman who then shot him, Zimmerman may be at fault for use of excessive deadly force.
    Zimmerman did not “Stand his Ground” he escalated the event by continuing to follow Martin of his own accord and what may be perceived as very poor judgement.
    By continuing to follow Martin he provoked the resulting event and that can place Zimmerman “at fault”.
    I still want to know where this information of Zimmerman suffering a broken nose comes from as there are no photographs available after the fact to prove any of the allegations of injuries to Zimmerman as of yet.

  16. Steve H. Says:

    “Finish the quotes if you are going to use them.”
    I’m a lawyer. You’re not. I quoted that part for a reason. It’s the only part of your sentence that has any legal significance. You may not understand that, because you’re a layman, but it’s true.
    “Zimmerman was following the kid, no one told him to nor did anyone tell him not to, that is voluntary premeditation.”
    “Premeditation” is a legal term, and you don’t know what it means. I’m not going to write a memorandum to explain it, but you are completely wrong.
    “The hinge lies here in the next few minutes, who provoked whom”
    Again, as a non-lawyer, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You are way off. You can provoke people all day and still not be quilty of a crime. I’m sorry, but your comment is not really worthy of response. There is a reason lawyers go to school for three years, and you’re proving it. When you discuss things you don’t have the training to understand, a little humility and open-mindedness are in order.