Well the trial’s over, but we need to see what sort of aftermath there will be.
Here are some of the posts I wrote while this was going on.
Bottom line? This didn’t have to happen. All George Zimmerman had to do was obey the instructions of the Sanford, Florida police dispatcher and let the professionals handle it.
I have in the blog posts above the psychology of George Zimmerman and about profiling. The sad part is, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were profiling each other. Trayvon Martin used the term “Cracker”. George Zimmerman has black friends. He was profiling punk kids with hoodies.
I mention in a previous blog posts that profiling is not limited to African-Americans. I’ve been profiled by police officers and I am not black.
The Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa made a film called Rashamon. It is a crime seen from different viewpoints. The only problem with this is one is dead and the other witness is the killer.
I don’t think Trayvon Martin was killed because of his color. His crime was being a teenager and wearing a hoodie. The day after it happened was a cold early morning and I wore my University of Arizona hoodie for more than fighting the cold.
I don’t like Skittles, but maybe I will carry Beef Jerky as a weapon. (Sarcasm was meant).
This is what I think happened that night from my own experience.
The young lady, whose home was broken into by the two young African-American men as she described, already had this gated community on edge. George Zimmerman consoled this woman and tried to help her.
For part of why this happened a coworker reminded me of something. July 4th weekend, seventy (that’s right 70) young African-American men were shot in those ongoing gang wars they have. It received very little press though. Why? Sadly, these folks are considered throwaways, living in a place most of us would never go. Instead the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman happened in an exclusive community, a gated community.
Trayvon Martin was returning to his father’s house in that community. He was a United States citizen. He didn’t need a passport to be there.
That night, George Zimmerman was not looking for Trayvon Martin in particular, but any “Young punk” he felt was besmirching his community.
Dear reader, please allow me to ask you something. How many seventeen year olds, would be calm when some stranger stopped them in the night and demanded “What are you doing here, and where are you going?” I know how I would have reacted. I think Trayvon Martin, who already knew he was being followed was on his guard. I think Trayvon Martin probably greeted George Zimmerman with a bunch of expletives. Dennis Root, the retired police officer, who testified for the defense said that George Zimmerman was not a good fighter.
What probably happened after expletives? Maybe George Zimmerman threw the first punch (a mistake) and Trayvon Martin was beating him badly. Or Travyon Martin threw the first punch and it went badly. George Zimmerman had the ultimate equalizer and used it.
If Trayvon Martin had a cooler head, and again, how many seventeen year old males do; maybe he would have meekly given into George Zimmerman and answered his demanding questions. Hang around for the police? Led George Zimmerman to his dad, Tracy Martin‘s house. Leading him back to dad’s house is fraught with potential danger. How does Trayvon Martin know if he does that, his dad will answer the door and more troubles will occur? Maybe George Zimmerman would have shot Tracy Martin instead. Or George Zimmerman would have balked, thinking he was being led into a trap. My point with this is, obviously, there were better outcomes for Trayvon Martin than death, but none of them good, and all of them fraught with difficulty and potential danger.
George Zimmerman had the equalizer though; and Trayvon died.
The case did not take off immediately. The Sanford City Council and City Manager wanted the former police chief, to make an arrest, any arrest. If a trial found George Zimmerman not guilty, at least Sanford did its part.
Former Police Chief Bill Lee, is a brave man, who said “I had no cause.”
Then he was fired, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Special Prosecutor Angela Corey to pursue an indictment. It was going to be tough for the prosecution.
George Zimmerman is brought to trial. With hindsight, we realize the Prosecution was going to have a long road. Some of their witnesses had issues.
Defense Attorney Don West started out with the knock-knock joke. If I were on that jury, I would’ve been insulted. The underlining comment with the knock-knock joke was, the six women on the jury were so stupid and ignorant, they were living in a bubble.
When I read Florida law for Second Degree Murder and Manslaughter, I thought he would be acquitted. Having served on juries, no matter how you feel, you have to abide by the judge’s charge to you. I realized Second Degree Murder was out, because the jury couldn’t prove George Zimmerman had malice. They would have to be able to prove, Trayvon Martin so angered him, he was going to kill him.
Manslaughter would have been more like heat of the moment, a crime of passion. George Zimmerman was pretty passionless.
Scotland has the verdict “Not proven”. That is really what was needed here. George Zimmerman was acquitted, not declared innocent. The best way to describe George Zimmerman’s actions would be not criminal, but reckless and stupid.
Even if the Martin’s can win a Civil Case against George Zimmerman, their son isn’t coming back. A Federal Civil Rights charge is an even bigger stretch because George Zimmerman has black friends. He isn’t a racist. Kids with hoodies aren’t a protected group.
I feel no sympathy for George Zimmerman, but I do feel sympathy for his family. George Zimmerman is only free in the sense that he isn’t going to jail. He (and thanks to his actions his family) will have to always look over their shoulders.
If you’re an employer, would you hire George Zimmerman? Would you rent an apartment to him? He isn’t really free. He was acquitted of criminal charges, but the moral issues don’t go away.
The Martin family has shown heroism, humility and dignity. They have asked for peace.
Two men on a dark rainy Florida night profiled one another and only one survived.
And NONE of it had to happen!