The facts of the trial are basically this: George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain and concealed carry permit holder noticed Trayvon Martin wandering through his neighborhood and acting suspiciously. There had been a series of break ins and robberies for which Martin fit the description. Zimmerman got out of his truck, called 911, and started to follow Martin. The dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, and according to Zimmerman, he turned around and headed back to his truck. At some point, Martin jumped out of the bushes and sucker punched Zimmerman, then proceeded to jump on him and beat him badly. Zimmerman's jacket rode up exposing his gun. Martin went for it saying "Tonight you die." Zimmerman caught Martins hand as he went for his own gun, pulled it and shot Martin one time. This is Zimmerman's story, and it hasn't really changed. Moreover, the Prosecution never managed to prove that any part of Zimmerman's story was substantially false. In a normal situation, Zimmerman would be able to walk free based on self defense and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws. He would not even be arrested, much less tried. But these were not normal circumstances, and I think Zimmerman was railroaded.
The first thing to note is that Zimmerman is a light skinned Hispanic person, and Trayvon Martin was a black youth. The NYT coined the term "White Hispanic" to drive home the nature of the "crime." Of course, Martin was anything but the 8 year old kid we constantly saw pictures of in the media. In fact, Martin was a strapping 6 foot 2 inches 17 year old coming into the prime of life. He was angry, and he was criminal. Indeed, the reason he was in Sanford, Florida, was because he was expelled from school for possessing burglary tools and stolen women's jewelry. He had gone to live with his father and his father's girlfriend, after being kicked out of the house by his mother.
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the Department of (In)Justice Community Relations Service showed up in the weeks following the incident to whip up emotions, hold demonstrations, and incite riots. That the media, constantly showing the 8 year old boyhood picture instead of showing the angry young man helped to further inflame the people. NBC, in a particularly egregious move, edited the 911 tape to make it sound as if Zimmerman were profiling Martin. Profiling has become the latest sin in the lexicon of the Left. In fact, when the entire tape is played, a different set of facts comes to light. Zimmerman was responding to a question by the 911 dispatcher asking for a description of Martin. The tone of his voice was indeed matter of fact, something you wouldn't expect if someone was racially profiling Martin.
Many on the Left seem to think that Zimmerman was a wussy, and couldn't tolerate a beating. People like Bob Beckel, who claims to have gotten into innumerable fights as a youth, and Juan Williams, who claims to be an expert fighter, having been taught by his father, seem to think that the fight going on the night of the killing was some kind of childhood fight, with kids exchanging unaimed blows, becoming exhausted, and going home to play a video game together. Unfortunately, a person can be killed with fists, and it is more common than you might think. Testimony suggests that the initial sucker punch may have stunned Zimmerman. Other testimony places Martin on top, raining blows down on Zimmerman, and Zimmerman screaming for help. Zimmerman's defense claims that in addition, each blow to the head caused Zimmerman's head to strike a concrete sidewalk. If I were Zimmerman in that situation, stunned and losing consciousness with each blow, unable to stop the blows, I would be in fear for my life. So Zimmerman claims.
Then there is the judge in the trial. She seems to have been in the tank for the prosecution from day one according to this report by Anthony Martin at the Liberty Sphere. Martin:
Interestingly, the judge in the case is a Jeb Bush appointee. The undercurrent in the trial points to the fact that she, too, has been under intense pressure to ram through a guilty verdict, or at the very least create a scenario in the courtroom that would make it difficult for the jury to find Zimmerman not guilty.
Radio talk show host and attorney Mark Levin, who worked in the Reagan White House, stated that in all of his years as a practicing attorney he has never witnessed such outright disregard for the law, for the rules of evidence, for proper court procedure, or for basic fairness. The judge, he said, clearly has been in the tank for the prosecution from day one.
What is most disturbing about this case is that many on the left seem to feel that Zimmerman had an obligation to take whatever Martin was prepared to mete out that night, and die. In some way, they seem to feel that Zimmerman's death at the hands of Martin would wash away the ancient sin of slavery and discrimination with Zimmerman's blood, and with which each white person is born. How else to explain the complete ignoring of the facts in favor of a made up story line? And really, are the race baiters going to stop? Did the election of our first black President heal the wounds? Of course it didn't, and of course they won't. The only way the wounds of slavery and discrimination will ever be healed is when blacks themselves say to the race baiters "Enough is enough. You don't speak for us. We can speak for ourselves."
Beckel, Williams, and other commentators have reiterated that Martin didn't do anything. He was a innocent boy (of eight years in their minds) who went out to buy Skittles and Arizona "Iced Tea" for his little brother. He was innocently walking back to his house when he was confronted by big bad Zimmerman who shot him in cold blood out of some sort of malice against him. Martin, in this scenario dies through no fault of his own. Zimmerman supposedly followed Martin as if to keep an eye on him. He "stalked" him in some tellings. First of all, it was not illegal for Zimmerman to get out of his truck, nor was it illegal to follow Martin while contacting police. They counter with the fact that it wasn't illegal for Martin to be walking through the neighborhood either. While true, I don't see the relevance. Martin apparently confronted Zimmerman to ask if he had a problem with him. That was also not illegal. The first illegal act by either party was when Martin sucker punched Zimmerman. At that point, Martin became the aggressor, and Zimmerman had to defend himself. Had Martin punched, knocked Zimmerman down, then run, Martin would no longer be the aggressor, and Zimmerman would have had no cause to shoot him.
Beckel constantly makes a point of the fact that Zimmerman knew the law concerning self defense and implies that therefore he somehow maneuvered (again the 8 year old ) Martin into looking like the aggressor so as to be able to shoot him. Again, how does one do such a thing to a strapping 17 year old, 6 foot 2 inch man? Of course Zimmerman knew the rules concerning lawful use of force. Anyone with a concealed handgun permit knows the rules, because you don't want to do anything that puts you in jeopardy of prosecution for unlawfully shooting someone. But beyond that, no one wants to have to shoot. If you have to shoot, you life at the least will be turned inside out.
Something not brought out in the trial, but certainly should have been discussed by commentators was that Martin was taking a terrible risk hitting Zimmerman. He assumed he was a better fighter than Zimmerman, but that needn't have been the case. Had Zimmerman been better trained in hand to hand combat, he might have deflected Martin's punch, and delivered a strike to one of the vital points on the body causing unconsciousness or death. If Martin had managed to get him down, and again assuming Zimmerman were a better street fighter, several quick knife strikes to the Martin's kidney would have had the same effect a gun. Whether Martin knew it, or not, or whether he analysed his situation or not, he chose to become the aggressor, and took on the risk that he could be killed. The arm chair tough guys can call Zimmerman a wuss all they want, but those are the facts.
At the end of the trial, the Prosecution decided to add lesser charges to the one for which Zimmerman was being tried, Second Degree Murder. The one charge that the Judge allowed was Manslaughter, which still carries with it 30 years in prison. First of all, by adding these charges the State is acknowledging that the State has not proved Second Degree Murder beyond a reasonable doubt. But then to add Manslaughter at the end, after they know the defense's case seems cowardly, and extremely unfair. Going strictly by the evidence presented, Zimmerman should be acquitted of all counts on the basis of self defense. The Prosecution is counting on some jury members feeling that while the evidence for Second Degree Murder is not there, that in some cosmic justice sort of way he should be punished for something. It will be interesting to see. If they do convict on Manslaughter charges, I would expect the Judge to sentence him to the maximum time. Such is the racial pressure on the State to punish Zimmerman for a "crime" he didn't commit.
Of course, what then does that say for those of us who carry a gun for self defense and defense of our loved ones? If confronted by a black youth, and sucker punched, are we too obligated to take it and die. Because if we defend ourselves, the State will destroy our lives, put us behind bars, and make us wish we had? Look, Martin got justice. Had Martin even punched Zimmerman, then run home, he would be alive now. Everything that happened to Martin happened because of decisions Martin made. What I want to know is where is justice for George Zimmerman?
Update: Martin's behavior may have been profoundly affected by his use of "Lean." See The Conservative Treehouse which has done the yeoman's task of digging into the Zimmerman case. It makes Martin's violence seem more reasonable.
Update 2: Last night the jury found Zimmerman not guilty on all counts. So, everyone it seems has been served justice. Except of course that Zimmerman will forever have a cloud over his head, and of course must pay 10s of thousands in attorney's fees. but as far as this trial is concerned, justice was done.