I’m not Trayvon Martin. I was way worse.

trayvon martinThere’s a meme going around the internet and in street protests this week that has people proclaiming, “I am Trayvon Martin.”

But thinking about that seventeen-year-old boy’s death and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who shot him, I keep thinking, “Uh, no.  I was a lot worse than Trayvon Martin.”

Let’s rehearse what we know about the kid who was gunned down last year.

We know he did drugs, smoking at least enough marijuana to get caught and suspended from school.

I went to a rural high school where drinking and smoking marijuana were as commonplace as doing homework.

I never got suspended for it, only because it was the culture of that time and place to look the other way.  I remember kids making bongs in art and shop class.

There is also some evidence that Martin stole things.  He was found at one point with what may have been a “burglary tool.”

When I was a kid, I was a certifiable klepto.  I’m ashamed to admit it now, but my decidedly casual moral and ethical boundaries ranged from theft to harassment to vandalism.

I’m sure some of my high school friends will correct me if I’m misremembering this, but I seem to recall one lazy, bored small-town summer when we actually made a game of pestering police officers — a kind of high-stakes hide and seek.

Except, really, the stakes weren’t so very high.

In my rural, white world, it was understood that kids would get up to hijinks.  I’m not excusing my behavior — it was appalling, shameful, idiotic.

I’m merely pointing out that where I come from, a kid was expected to do far, far worse than anything Trayvon Martin did as a sort of rite of passage, as a way of sowing wild oats.

Some kid acting like a screw-up didn’t prompt anyone to reach for their pistol.

On the contrary.  There’s actually a whole genre of American movies — “American Graffiti,” “Animal House,” “American Pie,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — romanticizing teen rebellion.

Or maybe I should say white teen rebellion. Try to imagine it being a funny sight gag in an American movie if a bunch of black kids sabotaged a cop car?  Or sped away from a traffic accident?

Text messages also suggest that Martin had a fascination with guns and gangsta culture.  Friends, we owned guns, big guns, and we did things with those guns that make my blood run cold now.

Finally, there is this idea that maybe Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman in the street the night the boy was killed. Maybe Zimmerman pulled the trigger in self-defense.

I can tell you that in the rural white culture where I grew up, if some strange guy is stalking you as you walk home from the corner store, refusing to mind his own business, there’s a level chance he’ll get a poke in the eye.

Now let me say this.  In hindsight, some grown-up should definitely have twisted my ear a lot sooner.  And there are still some old neighbors back in my home town who are owed a sincere apology.

I’m guessing there are some people that Trayvon Martin would have apologized to someday as well, if he had lived.   He would one day have been sheepish about and embarrassed by the stupid nonsense he got up to as a kid.

What I didn’t need, though, was a guy with a pistol following me through dark streets.  And I can tell you straight up that Trayvon Martin didn’t need that either.

Finally, I’ll say what I think is obvious but has maybe gotten lost in the culture war back-and-forth of this tragedy.

If a guy had shot me down in my home town in exactly the same way that Trayvon Martin was shot down, he would be in prison right now.

Particularly if you flip the racial dynamic and make it a black man shooting a white seventeen-year-old kid, it would be a no-brainer.

You could have told the jury about every one of my youthful indiscretions. You could have pointed out that the man who gunned me down had some injuries on his face.  The guilty verdict would still have come back in about four minutes.

In a lot of ways my experience and Trayvon’s mark the current racial demarcation in America.

Yes, Jim Crow is gone. The modern era of lynchings and officially sanctioned violence against blacks is over.

But behavior that is met with flexibility, patience and a certain amount of weary, parental fortitude in white society — casual drug use, petty crime, youthful nonsense — will still get you killed or sent to prison if your skin happens to be black.

George Zimmerman walked away from this one.  The rest of us?  Not so much.


110 Comments on “I’m not Trayvon Martin. I was way worse.”

  1. The Original Larry says:

    Well, of course you had to play the race card, I expected no less, or should I say no more? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with people not thinking things all the way through and understanding the consequences of their actions. Things are vastly different now, Brian, than they were when we grew up. Consequences were different then. Guys who swung on the wrong person got their asses kicked. Martin may have been “right” to attack Zimmerman but being right won’t help him now. Zimmerman may have been “right” to defend himself but he is complicit in the destruction of his own life. No winners here, only losers. Race hasn’t anything to do with it and to suggest that it does is to pour gasoline on the fire of race hatred.

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  2. V. Burnett says:

    Well spoken, Brian. This has everything to do with race and the fact that so many whites believe and that race is not a factor in this case frustrates and frightens me – partly because the issue reaches into my extended family but mostly because it is more evidence that we STILL have not learned how to recognize and correct the flaws in the way we think about & treat people who are different from us.

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  3. PNElba says:

    Martin was killed for walking down a sidewalk while black. Zimmerman had the right to self-defense (with the advantage of a handgun and martial arts training) and Martin evidently did not. Who initiated the conflict when told to leave it to the police? Zimmerman appears to be a frustrated police wannabe who didn’t have what it takes to get into a police force. In my opinion Zimmerman was looking for trouble while armed. I’m willing to bet that if Martin had been a white teen, Zimmerman would have been convicted of at least manslaughter.

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  4. Will Doolittle says:

    How are things different now? They’re different in a way that justifies tailing a teenager who has done nothing in your car, then chasing him when he starts to run, then killing him when he turns on you? The national rate of serious crimes has gone down from 30-40 years ago, that is one way things are different. So how does a lower crime rate justify what happened here?
    Thank you Brian for saying what everyone knows but some deny: You can justify what Z. did on technical legal grounds but you still know that if the people were different (a white teenage girl, for example, instead of a black teenage boy) but the actions the same, the response would have been different.
    But things are different now, yes. People are full of fear and quick to resort to guns.

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  5. Mayflower says:

    Nonsense, Larry. It was all about race. All of it.

    Zimmerman saw a young black male and assumed him to be “up to no good.” He was unlikely to have stalked a white girl walking through the neighborhood on the assumption that she “was on drugs or something.”

    Similarly, Martin saw a white man following him and assumed him to be “a crazy white cracker.” He was unlikely to have taken either a flight or fight action against a black woman walking on the sidewalk behind him.

    Each drew upon past racial history, real or imagined.

    The differences are these: (1) Zimmerman’s assumptions were incorrect (Martin was a teenager talking on a cell phone, not a criminal casing the neighborhood), while Martin’s assumptions were correct (Zimmerman was, in fact, stalking him). And, ultimately the most critical difference: (2) Zimmerman was carrying a gun with a live round in the chamber, while Martin carried candy and canned tea.

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  6. Paul says:

    Seems to me that this Florida “stand your ground law” is the issue. Perhaps race was an issue but it sounds like the jury never even discussed it in their deliberations. I wonder how Zimmerman would have reacted if it was a Hispanic youth? If he is really a “frustrated police wannabe” maybe he would have done the same thing no matter what color the kid was. To him perhaps they are all “punks” (I think the only reference he made) and he would have gone after any kid? Maybe even the young Brian Mann punk! If that is the case, and I think it is very plausible, then I don’t think it has much to do with race. Mostly just stupidity.

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  7. Will Doolittle says:

    The point is not only what Zimmerman would have done, but what the police and public reaction would have been. If the teen had been a white girl, same size as Martin, and she and Z. had done the exact same things Z. and Martin did, do you think there is any chance Z. would not have been excoriated in public and in court?

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  8. Pete Klein says:

    Brian, you are a lot younger than me, so if you go back to when I was a kid, kids in high school were not into booze or Mary Jane. But we did smoke. That nonsense all started around the time the Vietnam protests began.
    Fast forward to now and it’s booze and drugs – but thank god the kids don’t smoke tobacco.
    As far as the case in question goes, I don’t know. I wasn’t there when it happened and I wasn’t there for the trial.
    Dumbness and fear on both sides appears to be the cause.
    Everyone seems to have an opinion. We are constantly being asked to take sides on everything. Maybe what is needed is for people to step back and say, “I don’t know.”

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  9. Alan Morrison says:

    Nobody seems to be wondering whether Mr Zimmerman is a right and proper person to be allowed to carry a firearm. Results seem to indicate that he isn’t. I suggest the case is more to do with the NRA and the insane number of guns in your country than a race thing. If Zimmerman had a nightstick rather than a pistol the results would have been much less interesting to the black rights people.

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  10. myown says:

    It is wishful thinking, and self-delusional on the part of the jurists to say race wasn’t a factor. If the roles/race were reversed the verdict would have been different. If both were black the story would have been on the last page of the local newspaper and forgotten.


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  11. The Original Larry says:

    Things are different now because the price of stupidity is not getting shot and not having your life ruined for defending yourself. Of course, if this isn’t about race then most of you have nothing to say and the “media” has nothing to sell newspapers and ad time with.

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  12. scallywag says:

    What’s interesting is the mixed bag reaction to the new tumblr page, with some congratulating it as a gut wrenching honest attempt to come to terms with the African American experience with others wondering if it’s just more of the same, white privilege unable to help itself and make itself the center of attention again…


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  13. scratchy says:

    Brian Mann:
    “Finally, I’ll say what I think is obvious but has maybe gotten lost in the culture war back-and-forth of this tragedy.

    If a guy had shot me down in my home town in exactly the same way that Trayvon Martin was shot down, he would be in prison right now.

    Particularly if you flip the racial dynamic and make it a black man shooting a white seventeen-year-old kid, it would be a no-brainer.”

    I’m not so sure. Take a look at the Florida self-defense statute. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.012.html

    The prosecution had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman did not “reasonably believe” that shooting Martin was necessary to defend himself. That is a difficult standard to meet, given the evidence of Zimmerman’s injuries. Whether Zimmerman provoked the confrontation is not relevant under the statute.

    Now, I do not know what the law is in your native town. It’s possible that it has a different definition of self-defense.

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  14. Paul says:

    “Some kid acting like a screw-up didn’t prompt anyone to reach for their pistol.” When I read this again I find some strange phrases like this one. Like I said the issue is with the law. As I understand it the question for the jurors were looking at was not some “screwed-up behavior” but the altercation that was going on. In fact most of the boys behavior was inadmissible, I think? This guy was claiming that the beating he was taking was what made him fear for his life and draw his gun. If his plan was just to shoot the kid then it would have probably played out differently.

    In the end you have to be responsible for your actions. If Zimmerman had stayed in his car and let the police deal with it then we would not be having this discussion. The fact that the law allows him to do what he did with no culpability is the problem the rest of this is all irrelevant.

    The outcome here, with no change to the law, would indicate that everyone should carry a gun for self defensive purposes. I say that since Martin was entitled to “stand his ground” and defend himself just like Zimmerman. Problem for him was that we that he didn’t have a gun.

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  15. oa says:

    “Nobody seems to be wondering whether Mr Zimmerman is a right and proper person to be allowed to carry a firearm…”
    He’s the perfect person to carry a gun. Not very tough. He’s wimp who screamed like a little girl when he got his butt kicked in a fight he picked. That’s how people who carry guns are. That’s why they need to carry guns.

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  16. dan3583 says:

    From following the trial as closely as work allowed, and following a lot of blog conversations, I am truly confused by the inability of some to accept that TM had a legitimate reason to fear for his life and safety, and to respond the way GZ says he did…if, in fact, he threw the first punch. My understanding is that GZ failed to identify himself when the 2 were face to face (and I believe TM had a right to see if GZ was following him), and that GZ reached into his pocket. I believe TM may very well have thought GZ was reaching for a weapon. Wouldn’t you, in those circumstances? Yet many seem to see TM as the aggressor, and GZ as the poor, unfortunate victim. And, of course, race had nothing to do with it…snark. Brian, I grew up in Massena in the 60s. If I broke wind on Main Street, my folks knew about it before I got home.

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  17. Peter Hahn says:

    What I dont get is why conservative white guys care about this case. Is it the gun?

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  18. Peter Hahn says:

    or is it that they dont like that fact that african americans (and many others) believe it was racial profiling?

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  19. dan3583 says:

    Peter, that’s a subject of intense discussion, with a lot of vitriol on both sides. IMHO, it has a lot to do with both. Heaven forfend one should suggest that the incident would probably have ended far differently if GZ had not been armed. One side says poor GZ would have been beaten to death; the other side says he would have stayed in his car, the cops would’ve come, and everyone would have wound up alive. As to profiling, one side says GZ wouldn’t have followed or questioned a young white male, while the other says he would have been concerned with anyone walking the streets at the ungodly hour of 7pm. I know which side of the questions I come down on, and why.

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  20. Paul says:

    Peter, aside from the tragedy human nature is an interesting topic no matter the political label you prefer to put on people discussing it. The most interesting thing in my opinion is the diverse reaction to the same set of facts. It sounds like the jury (all white) was split at the beginning of their deliberations.

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  21. Paul says:

    Lucky for us the country is more peaceful and non-divisive than it has ever been in our history. But we are still working on it. That is a good thing.

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  22. dan3583 says:

    Paul, that is a very apt comment. My gabber has been flasted on several occasions where the same evidence was interpreted in diametrically opposed ways by people who were clearly leaning one way or the other. Have you seen Brain Games? It’s amazing how a group of people can watch an incident and report very different “evidence”. Eye witness (ear witness?) accounts are pretty much worthless. Also, I am at a loss as to the definition of “jury of his peers”. Really? 5 white women and 1 Hispanic woman? Plus, 27 pages of jury instructions? No wonder they were unclear about manslaughter. I’ve been leaning toward the concept of professional jurors for some time; this case tipped the scales.

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  23. scratchy says:

    Paul says:
    July 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Lucky for us the country is more peaceful and non-divisive than it has ever been in our history. But we are still working on it. That is a good thing.

    True, but we are also the most violent first world nation in the world, with murder rates far higher than those in Canada, Europe, and Japan. There is a lot of room for improvement.

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  24. dan3583 says:

    As Paul asked at 2:26, scratchy, is it the gun?

    I don’t believe Canada, Europe, or Japan have the guns we have here. It’s not just the guns; it’s the culture that creates and perpetuates the perceived need for guns.

    Makes us free, I guess.

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  25. Russell Dee says:

    The author, like all of the Trayvon Martin supporters, is either ignorant of the facts or intentionally misleading the reader. The fact is that Trayvon Martin was not shot because for being what the author called a “screw-up.” A screw-up is ditching school, kerfew violations, petty-theft, graffiti, smoking pot, and stuff like this, which Martin did, but none of these is what caused Martin to be shot. We have all been told what caused Martin to be shot. Martin was shot because he was using deadly force against Zimmerman. Martin was banging Zimmerman’s head into concrete and if Martin was banging the author’s head into concrete (and if the author had a gun on him) then the author would have shot Martin too. I certainly would have.

    When I was a kid my dog wrapped his dog-run around my ankles, I tripped, and my head hit the concrete. When I awoke I was in the operating room and they were preparing to cut my head open to remove a piece of my skull so that my bruised expanding brain would have room to expand into. You see, if my brain had crushed into the inside of my skull I could have died, or ended up in permanent coma, or ended up with permanent brain damage.

    Luckily for me the medical staff determined that my injury was not as severe as they first thought and they kept me in observation for a few days and then released me.

    But the entire incident shows that it only takes one blow with concrete to the head to cause major alarm by medical personnel. They know the facts about what our bodies can and can not withstand. The medical community has made it abundantly clear to me that one blow to the head by concrete can cause serious medical problems.

    Face it! Martin was trying to do George Zimmerman serious bodily harm or even kill Zimmerman. And for what? I’ll tell you what for: Because Zimmerman was watching Martin. To the author I ask: were you that much of a screw-up that you were running around trying to do severe bodily damage to other human beings, or even kill them, just because they were watching you? I don’t think so but if you were then you are lucky you weren’t shot to death by someone. It would have been justice if you had been shot to death by someone.

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  26. Will Doolittle says:

    Canada is free. Japan, too. So is Europe, to varying degrees.

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  27. The Original Larry says:

    “What I dont get is why conservative white guys care about this case.”

    Nobody seems to mind liberals caring about this case. What a comment!

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  28. dave says:

    I’d love to go on an on about race and all of the other fun stuff people seem to want to talk about, but this case was about as simple as can be to me…

    Here it is:

    You can’t beat someone up for “following you” – you just can’t.

    If you do, they have a right to defend themselves.

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  29. dave says:

    That said, I do strongly believe if Zimmerman had not been carrying that stupid gun, all we’d be talking about now is how some weird neighborhood watch guy got roughed up by a teenager with skittles.

    If even that, my guess is he never would have gotten out of the car. But since he had his gun muscles on, he had that false sense of bravado. So, so, so stupid.

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  30. Gary says:

    I was not in the courtroom to hear the testimony. I respect the decision of the jury, like it or not. I do not like the way our media made this a racial issue. From the start it was made racial. Don’t agree with me? Please explain why in the early stages NBC Today Show edited Zimmerman’s phone call to the dispatcher.

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  31. Why on earth would you post the worst pictures of a kid who was killed? Its clear whose side you are on….that’s not write, you r probably white and racist just like Z. They should kill him! After all the grief he put that family through he has the right to press charges??! After killing their teen! what am I reading. Secondly, you should be ashamed of your self. But I believe that people like you and Z will suffer in the end ….believe that God is watching. It might not happen today but one day. RIP Trayvon you didn’t have to be a saint you just had to live long enough to learn right from wrong! We all deserve that as humans.

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  32. mervel says:

    I didn’t know you were Hispanic Brian?

    But anyway this whole thing I think should be about this insane and unconstitutional law, not about classic US race baiting politics on either side. It throws everything I have been taught about self defense and about violence in general from a legal and moral standpoint out the window.

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  33. dave says:

    My understanding is that the silly ‘stand your ground’ law was not really a factor here, and the prosecutors said as much in their post trial interview.

    Zimmerman was getting his you-know-what kicked. He was mounted… he had someone straddling him. He wasn’t “standing his ground”, he was getting physically pummeled.

    A stupid, horrible law… but I don’t see how it applied here.

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  34. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Basically, if you live in Florida you have a license to kill as long as you provoke someone into looking like they want to punch you. As long as you aren’t black, because anyone who thinks this law or any other law affects blacks and white equally in this country is not attached to reality.

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  35. myown says:

    So a guy in a pickup can stalk a kid walking along the road. Get out of his truck with a loaded gun. Get into an altercation and shoot the kid. And then use self-defense as an alibi? Not in my book. If that is the law in Florida, remind me never to go there again.

    This was a case of pre-meditated confrontation. He was looking to get the “punks,” as his phone call made clear. Zimmerman was playing cops with a loaded gun. He initiated and created the conflict by getting out of his truck. He could have waited for the police. He had many other options besides confronting Martin. Zimmerman alone was responsible for what followed. That there is no law in Florida that would hold him accountable for his actions and the death of Martin is unbelievable.

    And then, despite Zimmerman’s obvious flaws in judgment and his horrendous choice of action, the clown that was his defense attorney says the state should give him his gun back. Oh my.

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  36. dave says:

    Are you implying that it is ok to beat the snot out of someone because they are following you? That if someone confronts you, even if they are wrong, that it is ok for you to mount them and beat them up?

    That is both dangerous and absurd.

    I don’t care if Zimmerman was skipping circles around Trayvon telling him his mother wears combat boots. In a lawful society we do not allow people to physically assault one another for such things. And if they do, we acknowledge that the person being assaulted should be able to defend themselves.

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  37. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Dave, 17 year old walking on a dark street being followed by a suspicious character afraid for his safety confronts potential attacker. And, adult neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in possession of a loaded handgun initiates a confrontation with a person doing nothing more suspicious than walking down the street wearing a hoodie.

    Yes, there were bad judgements on both sides, but there was no equivalency.

    If you’re hiking on Tongue Mountain and you see a rattlesnake in the trail do you shoot it because it is a danger? Or do you take a picture of it from a distance and then give it wide berth as you continue your hike?

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  38. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Please tell me that you wouldn’t shoot it and that you wouldn’t defend the actions of someone who would as being sensible.

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  39. Peter Hahn says:

    lets turn this around. imagine a white tourist accidentally walks through a Miami slum. An armed gang-banger sees him, follows him, and confronts him. A fight ensues and the gang-banger shoots the tourist. The gang-banger claims self-defense and a jury made up of people from the gang-bangers neighborhood acquit him.

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  40. Ron Shirtz says:

    I find it funny that some posters think that Mr. Martin feared for his life because he was clairvoyant enough to know that Zimmerman was carrying a gun.

    If he feared for his life, and suspected that Zimmerman was armed, why did he turn around to confront him, and throw a punch at him? Not the smartest thing to do to bring a bare fist to a gun fight, is it?

    No, Mr. Martin was full of himself, and thought he was the baddest “gangsta” around. He also was playing his own race card, taking his prejudice out on Zimmerman. He could have walked away, instead of giving in to his so-called injured pride that he was supposedly being discriminated against. You can bet that if some strangers were walking around on his neighborhood turf, he and his buddies would be eyeing them suspiciously as well.

    If Zimmerman had been black instead of Hispanic, this incident never would have become the media issue it is now.

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  41. mervel says:

    Dave the law was part of the instructions to the jury so it certainly played a part in the decision.

    No doubt race is a part of this, but if you are bound by the law you are more constrained. I have not agreed with Eric Holder very much, however in this case he has made a very good point the issue is mainly this law which goes against really a good portion of our modern jurisprudence. The idea that I can always defend myself through the use of overwhelming violence even if I initiated the confrontation is insane, and that is essentially what this law says. They are going to have a hard time with a federal civil rights complaint given that law.

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  42. mervel says:

    The normal and I think constitutional and civilized way to look at self defense is to do what you have to do to remove yourself from the situation. That may mean running, that may mean fighting if you have no other choice, it would never mean getting into a fight with someone you are following and then when things go wrong you end up killing them. Thank God that the law in NYS is not this sort of thing.

    Example a young man in Ogdensburg about 6 years ago, a soldier got into a bar fight while home, I don’t think he started it, who knows? He hit a guy with his fist knocked him to the ground, the guy cracked his skull and died. He is in prison today.

    We can’t have people believing that violence works and is successful.

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  43. Will Doolittle says:

    You’re supposed to be able to use equivalent force to defend yourself. If someone pushes me in a bar, then comes at me with their fists cocked, I am not allowed to pull a gun and kill that person, then claim self-defense. I am allowed to punch back. We’ve had lots of people around here prosecuted and convicted for hurting someone badly in a fight that was a mutual sort of thing, at the start. Zimmerman not only instigated this fight, with someone younger, legally a child, and 30 pounds lighter, but even though he may have been getting the worse of it, he was not badly hurt. Nothing broken, no concussion, no stitches. Bruises and small cuts. His “self-defense” was an overreaction (I’m guessing because he was a wimpy sort of guy who panicked), especially in the context of a confrontation he sought out, against the advice of the police.

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  44. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Ron, sometimes I’m afraid of the dark and I don’t suspect the dark has a gun. No clairvoyance necessary.

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  45. myown says:

    People seem to be making a lot of assumptions about what took place after Zimmerman got out of his truck. From his 911 call we know his state of mind and that he obviously left his truck to engage Martin. We don’t know what happened, beyond a reasonable doubt, after that.

    It could be that Zimmerman rushed Martin, tackled him to the ground and shot him. Zimmerman’s wounds could have even been self-inflicted after the shooting to pretend self-defense.

    Or maybe Zimmerman approached with his gun out or said he had a gun and Martin felt justifiably threatened and defended himself with the only weapon available, his hands. In that scenario, what if Martin wound up killing Zimmerman? Wouldn’t it be self-defense for an unarmed man to protect himself from an armed accoster? If so, Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed man who was defending himself.

    Or maybe Martin immediately went after Zimmerman, they fell to the ground, Martin was pummeling him and Zimmerman shot him.

    There are many other possible scenarios. The point is we don’t know what happened beyond a reasonable doubt after they met. What we do know is that Zimmerman was the aggressor by getting out of his truck with a gun to initiate the confrontation. He was on the phone with 911 and clearly did not need to leave his truck. The wannabe cop took unnecessary vigilante action that resulted in the death of Martin.

    People need to be responsible for their actions and be held accountable. Either the laws in Florida are inadequate or the prosecutors were incompetent, or both.

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  46. Paul says:

    “And then, despite Zimmerman’s obvious flaws in judgment and his horrendous choice of action, the clown that was his defense attorney says the state should give him his gun back. Oh my.”

    Why not. He was found innocent of any crime? Are we supposed to now just start picking and choosing who can do what based on nothing?

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  47. Mervel says:

    Will I don’t think that is correct on the equivalent force. If someone smashes you in the face and you have the opportunity to leave the situation that is what you must do. If you are hit in the face and you hit equally back, when you did not have to; and the guy slips and dies, you go to jail.

    Self defense is NOT retribution. So it is not about equal force, it is about self defense what it takes to best defend yourself from further harm or from any harm. If someone is walking toward you with a gun, and you have the opportunity to leave or run, but instead you stand there and shoot and kill him, once again, not self defense when you had the opportunity to do something else less lethal to get out of the situation.

    MYown the laws in Florida are totally inadequate they foster anarchy, as you said it is basically a free for all whoever wins the fight simply claims they were standing their ground, its crazy.

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  48. Paul says:

    Of course in this case his defense was not based on “stand your ground”, as I understand it they never even raised it in court. I think it was based on self-defense.

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  49. Paul says:

    “It could be that Zimmerman rushed Martin, tackled him to the ground and shot him. Zimmerman’s wounds could have even been self-inflicted after the shooting to pretend self-defense.”

    I thought there was an eyewitness who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman??? This would have been tricky to fake with a dead person?

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  50. oa says:

    The term stand your ground was given in the jury instructions:
    “…If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony…”


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