I figured it is about time for me to weigh in on the Zimmerman/Martin case. Not because I think my opinion is of any real importance, but the more I hear about the case, the less I think anyone actually understands about it. So, if this can help put a voice to anyone that feels the same or even fuels conversation about an opposing view, I will feel validated.
If you don’t know the story by now, on Feb 26th, 2012, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was returning from a quick trip to the convenience store from his relative’s house with a drink and a snack on his person. Along his way, he sparked the interest of neighborhood watchman, 33 year old George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, suspicious of Martin called the police to report a suspicious character while tailing him to make sure he didn’t disappear before the cops arrived. Police dispatch told Zimmerman that he did not need to pursue Martin as the police were on the way but Zimmerman continued.
What happened next differs based on who you talk to. Zimmerman will say that Martin approached him and threatened him. This altercation turned into a violent struggle that left Zimmerman fearing for his life and therefore, under protection of the Stand Your Ground law, shot Martin at point blank range in the heart.
A woman on the phone with Martin at the time of the altercation will say that Zimmerman followed Martin and instigated the argument and ensuing fight.
Neighbors heard the scuffle and someone yelling for help but could not agree as to who was crying out.
Zimmerman claims that Martin was punching him in the face, slamming his head into the concrete, and reaching for his gun. This last motion is what caused Zimmerman to draw on Martin and fire. Martin’s family claims that Martin was likely protecting himself and was unfairly racially profiled by Zimmerman.
A month or so later, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, a case that recently ended with Zimmerman being found not guilty.
Here’s what I think…Zimmerman (a wannabe police officer) took the neighborhood watchman job as a desperate grasp at authority. He saw Martin as another punk kid in the neighborhood and mentally connected him to the possibility of crime. If right, we just stopped the neighborhood from being struck by burglary and if wrong he managed to wield some imagined power over some kid and feel better about himself as a deterrent to future crime.
Zimmerman observed and pursued over-zealously. The dispatch told him he didn’t have to keep following him but they never told him specifically to stop. Martin, suspicious of some adult following him around his relatives neighborhood and possibly full of the bravado that most 17 year old boys are decided to see what Zimmerman’s issue was.
I think they got into a struggle and Zimmerman was taken down much faster than he thought he would. Martin had no injuries indicating being on the defensive. Zimmerman on the other hand had a bruised face and bleeding head. I think Martin got the upper hand and Zimmerman panicked and shot him. Out right murder? No, I don’t think so. Complete idiocy? Absolutely. The fact that Zimmerman couldn’t fight off a 17 year old and had to rely on the gun that he probably shouldn’t have been allowed to own in the first place, is laughable and sad at the same time.
In most states, this would have been an open and shut involuntary manslaughter case; defined as a negligent act resulting in someone’s death. Florida doesn’t consider death by negligent act to be manslaughter worthy. In Florida, involuntary manslaughter is an intentional act that results in death which to me doesn’t sound all that involuntary.
I don’t think this was ever about race as most people have made this to be; in the shallow hope of capturing riot footage. This is and was about Florida’s backwards idea of justice and the jury that was given a very small window of opportunity but nothing to open it with.
I mourn not just for Martin but everyone let down by a legal system that has loopholes you could fly a plane through. I also mourn anyone whose death was falsely used to further an agenda.
We all lose here and it’s up to us to change it. Or I guess we could throw more gasoline in the fire along with the hose that could save us.