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Friday, September 30, 2016

Almost from the beginning, there were two aspects of the George Zimmerman as racist assassin story that made little sense. First, who calls the police, then murders a total stranger in cold blood knowing that they’re minutes away? Panic seemed likelier than malice. Second, how does a 28 year old man with a desk job catch a fleeing 17 year-old high school athlete anyway?

I say almost, because like most Americans, I responded to the Trayvon Martin tragedy as President Obama did—in sorrow, and with pity for the immense dignity of the young man’s parents. They and their son deserve justice. Not vengeance, justice.

I also believed, as I’ve written, that “untrained individuals like Zimmerman have no business packing heat, nor confronting strangers they deem suspicious. Trouble didn’t come to George Zimmerman; he went looking for it. At minimum, he acted like a damn fool.”

However, I was also leery of journalists and TV personalities like Al Sharpton and his MSNBC colleagues setting up as prosecutor, judge and jury. Even if you didn’t know about Sharpton’s previous misadventures—he became famous due to his outrageous conduct during the 1987 Tawana Brawley rape hoax—the network’s permitting him to report about a public event in which he’d enrolled as an active participant violated every known rule of journalistic ethics.

But truly, I had no idea. What began as a local tragedy has been supersized into a ratings-driven national TV melodrama, a racially- and politically-charged infotainment pitting good against evil. A festival of bad reporting, speculation and mind-reading from the outset, the Zimmerman-Martin affair has turned into a classic example of what University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls a “consensual hallucination.”

That is, people have so much emotion invested in the story, that regardless of how much the facts change, their conclusions rarely do. With group identity at stake, skepticism’s in short supply. It’s become like a national Rorschach Test. Comment lines to newspaper stories and blog posts regarding the case are a sight to see. Responding to a New York Times photo of Zimmerman on the witness stand, readers speculated that he’d artificially darkened his skin to curry favor with African-American jurors.

More’s the pity, because apart from its most basic elements, i.e. that George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin during a struggle after phoning Sanford, FL police to report a suspicious character, very little about the tragedy as initially reported has survived closer scrutiny. Remember when Zimmerman was depicted as a 250 lb brute assaulting a child half his size? The real George Zimmerman turns out to be a smallish fellow some five or six inches shorter than the wiry young man he confronted.

Cable TV’s amateur prosecutors expressed outrage that Sanford police failed to investigate. They alleged that Zimmerman had been allowed to leave the crime scene and go home. Supposedly, police hadn’t bothered to take photos documenting Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, nor collected his gun or clothing as evidence. Sharpton and the rest railed about poor Trayvon’s body lying four days in the morgue before his frantic parents were notified.

If true, these would have been evidence of callous racism and worse. However, they were all categorically false. The cops took Zimmerman downtown, grilled him for hours, collected the physical evidence, canvassed for witnesses and filed an affidavit recommending he be charged with manslaughter. Sanford officers delivered the terrible news to Trayvon’s father face to face almost as soon as the family phoned police seeking his whereabouts.

Needless to say, no corrections were forthcoming. Instead fresh outrage was manufactured over murky video footage of Zimmerman being led into police headquarters in handcuffs, seemingly unmarked after being treated by EMS technicians. For MSNBC viewers, the footage became as familiar as the Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination. Not only the Rev. Sharpton, but Big Ed, Lawrence O’Donnell and their guests repeatedly portrayed it as the linchpin of their case. Zimmerman had clearly lied about Trayvon assaulting him. Therefore there was no self-defense. Case closed.

So when ABC News published a contemporaneous photo of Zimmerman with blood streaming from two wounds on the back of his head on the day of his bail hearing, a naïve observer might have imagined that an attitude adjustment might be in order. No chance. Sharpton ignored the photos altogether; the rest gave them short shrift.

So maybe Zimmerman’s a racist murderer, maybe his suspicions of Trayvon were correct, or possibly something in between.

Based on what I know, I can’t say.

Then there was this disconcerting admission from the AP’s account of the hearing: “Investigator Dale Gilbreath testified that he does not know whether Martin or Zimmerman threw the first punch and that there is no evidence to disprove Zimmerman’s contention he was walking back to his vehicle when confronted by Martin.”

And if he doesn’t know, dear reader, neither do you.

  • ArchiSteve

    It is the Stand Your Ground Laws, foisted upon the US population by the gun lobby that should be the focus here. The writer is correct, Zimmerman has/had no business providing armed patrol of his housing development, that is a recipe for disaster, and disaster is what resulted.

    • factsfirstplease

      Incorrect, there have been thousands of words and opinions printed about that. Meanwhile the facts of what actually happend are getting lost. Recreating Zimmerman as a monster is just as wrong as his use of a firearm. This man, like all others, deserves a fair trial in front of an impartial jury. Thanks to Gene for looking more closely at the facts.

      • It’s the medea that should be on trial for misleading the public as to what went on that evening.

  • montanabill

    First honest opinion piece on this sad situation that I have read. Well done.

    • Honest .? Are you kidding me? First of all MSNBC or Sharpton didn’t call for a conviction . Just an arrest. They arrested the girl who threw flour at Kim K. Blood FLOWING from the back of his head ? Blood stained yes. Let me ask you this. Who after going through a life and death struggle And ultimately killing a human being asks his neighbor to take a picture of the back of his head. 3 MINUTES AFTER HE SHOOTS TO KILL. Certain aspects of this piece are true but when you throw in the retoric and spin you become what you are preaching against.

      • montanabill

        Since you have all the facts, we obviously won’t need a trial. You want supposition, how about this: the police didn’t arrest Zimmerman because they couldn’t put together enough solid evidence for a specific charge. The special prosecutor wouldn’t let the thing go before a Grand Jury, because she feared they would no-bill and the rage would continue. So she slaps a 2nd degree on him that she knows can’t stick, but at least he’s arrested.

        • He should have been arrested in the first place. Not just questioned and released. No one wants to see Zimmerman railroaded but there should be a trial and charges as it would be for anyone else who shoots an unarmed person who was not committing a crime.

          • You don’t seem to understand the “Stand Your Ground” law. It legalizes shooting someone whom you feel is threatening your life. The police do not arrest people who DO NOT violate the law.

          • bobsomerby

            Special prosecutor Corey is perhaps the most aggressive prosecutor in Florida. She didn’t bring a criminal charge against Zimmerman until she had had the case for three weeks.

            Why then were the initial authorities supposed to bring a criminal charge against him “in the first place,” presumably the very first night?

            Are you sure you understand the (state of Florida) legal procedures involved in this case? Or are you possibly spouting your soul in the manner described in this column?

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    A self-appointed henchman with a NIMBY attitude doesn’t like the looks of a kid in a hoodie and his first reaction is, “What’s he doing in MY neighborhood?”. Don’t, for a single second, think this isn’t also the reaction of the McMansioners out to show the world their grand fortunes in grand style in exclusive “neighborhoods”.

    If Zimmerman had lived in an inner city in the ghetto, would his attitude be the same? You bet not. This is what comes of the “Haves” who are so out of control, their “neighborhoods” are now protected by henchmen with long histories of blue nose aristocracy (so they try to imply). They didn’t build those towering mausoleum-style “Have” mansions just to show off. Those monsters were built to show the “Have Nots” who’s boss and wall out the “unwanted great unwashed masses”.

    • Eleanore. I’ve been watching your posts and I like what I see. You’re no mild mannered Democrat. I’m like you, an outspoken bold Democrat. We need more like you, then the Republicans would be less likely to take us as pushovers!

  • Put a pistol in a man’s pocket and things will happen that wouldn’t happen if he’d been unarmed.

    • 101strac

      What kind of statement is that? You seem to be saying, let a man be armed, and he’s sure to go off and shoot somebody. what foolishness that is. You are letting your personal fear of firearms affect your judgement. I have been licensed to carry a concealed firearm for more than twenty years, and I do carry it in a holster on my belt each and every day, and not once in that time have I ever had the desire to take the gun from its holster in public, much less point and shoot it at someone. And I am not the exception. All of the people I know, who are authorized to carry a firearm, behave in the same responsible manner. Please don’t let the actions of a few cause you to condemn the many.

      • Why do you carry it if you never need it?

        • jpm3436

          Maybe it is because people see he has one, that he hasn’t needed it!

          • Its hidden, so no one sees it. Maybe it makes him feel powerful.

          • 101strac

            Elsa, Elsa, Elsa, did you just take a shot at me? I don’t feel powerful because I carry a gun. When I’m preparing to leave my home to go out in the world, I slip my wallet into my rear pocket, my keys and change into my front pocket, and slip my holstered gun onto my belt. This has been my routine for years and I don’t give a second thought to the fact I am armed. Why do you and robert brown, and grouse feather, make such sweeping generalizations about people? Not everyone who owns and carries a gun is a bad person. Open your minds a bit and use a little common sense and logic.

          • Elsa and Robert make perfect sense…why do you carry a concealed weapon,are you afraid of something or someone while you are out in public/…are you protecting someone other than yourself,how would you feel if you didnt take it everywhere you went….i guess Zimmerman had the same feeling…

          • 101strac

            It’s as simple as this. I want the option to defend myself should a threat against my life or physical well being occur. Now, if your choice would be to take a completely passive roll in such a situation, then good luck with that.

          • 1AmericanHoney27

            101strac…… AMEN…! You are the winner!!!!! You have the right by constitutional law. In this day and time one never knows what weirdo the day or night might bring across your path… It’s always better to be safe than sorry… You keep on keeping on and live to blog another day… Like you said if one chooses to be passive so be it….. We can send flowers either to the hospital or funeral…. Their choice…. We’ve made ours….

          • Wrong! Its extra security in a world that is becoming more and more unsafe as time goes by.

        • 101strac

          What kind of twisted logic are you applying to this issue? Are you suggesting that I leave the weapon at home, and go about my business out in the world, and if I should find myself in a situation where my life is threatened, ( A situation I hope will never happen) do I call a time out while I run home to get my weapon. Not likely. It’s like having a personal life insurance policy. You keep it for years and years, all the while hoping you’ll never have to use it.

        • It’s to replace the penis that he dosen’t have.

          • 101strac

            If anybody should know about my penis Jimmy-boy It’s you.

        • patuxant

          They carry it Robert, to show their Machismo….

      • I think psychological testing should be in order for those who buy guns. The cops are doing a good enough job without gun totting psycho’s running around armed and ready to go off.
        Go join the police department somewhere if you can’t control yourself. Zimmerman tried to enlist as a cop and he was turned down for psycological reasons. Considering that, he by law had no business owning a gun.

        • 101strac

          I have to say that you might benefit from some of that psychological testing yourself. you come across as an angry person. I’m surprised you didn’t put it all in caps. By the way, the cops can’t do it all. they can’t be everywhere. If they could, you wouldn’t be reading about murders taking place anywhere. You know the gun toting psycho’s you refer to will still be out there, even after all law abiding citizens have had their lawful, legally obtained, and properly licensed handguns taken away.( God help this country the day that should ever happen) I can’t address the issue of Zimmerman, I wasn’t there. But if the laws of Florida dictate that he should be charged, brought to trial, and if found guilty, sent to prison, then so be it.Last,but not least. I could be happy with a good paying police job, and would eagerly accept it if offered. I just don’t know of any departments that would hire a 72 year old man. Do you?

          • Listen to you with your stereotyping. I need psychological testing because I’m secure in myself, not paranoid that someone is going to murder me. I’m certainly angry at people who are insecure and feel the need to carry arms because they don’t trust their government. Nothing is wrong with anger. It’s healthy. Rage on the otherhand is what armed people vent when they shoot unarmed people.
            As for your age, I’ll bet you didn’t just go out recently to buy your gun. You probably were young enough when you bought it to join the police force. Another thing, I’m not that much younger than you. Also, some people 100 years old still lack wisdom. “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” I feel safe knowing I likely won’t die by the sword. I had enough of killing when I was in Nam. Killing someone even in war haunts you your whole life if you have a conscious.
            Where’d you get that anger is unhealthy? It’s the reason why pilgrims left England and founded this great country that I love and trust. No paranoia here.

          • 101strac

            Hey Sidney, happy to hear you served. I too served. when were you there? What was your unit? As you can probably deduce from my user name I was with the 101st airborne division. Served under General William Westmorland. Skilled, Tough, ready around the clock. STRAC. Gung-Ho and all that jazz. Be interesting to hear when you served and with whom

          • I served with 2/1 Marines, 1st Marine Division in I corp, 68, 69. In Caha and Phuon Loc near Marble Mountain and Dodge City (rightly named).
            As I said, I’ve seen enough killing that I have my nightmares and go for counseling now for 17 years with PTSD.
            Thank you for serving and welcome home!

        • frivolous01

          Really, and who do you think should pay for that? I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but just because someone does not meet the phsychological requirements to be a police officer doesn’t mean that they are a ‘psycho’.

          I don’t understand your comment of ‘go join the police department somewhere if you can’t control yourself’. Are you saying that police officers should be allowed to shoot anyone they want? All in all, not a great argument on your part.

          • It’s simple. You feel insecure without your little gun, so why not be a man and join the police department. I don’t believe I said police shoot anybody they want. I’m saying at least they pass a psychological test that attests to the fact they won’t go off the deep end and shoot anyone they want.

      • I say, never leave home without it !! If a person is scared of firearms they should not have one.. It could be used against them.. Training and common sense is needed!!!

        • I’m not sacred of firearms, but the insecure nuts that must have them. No one used mine against me in Nam, in war, where they belong. My training lasted 4 months. How long did you train?

          • 101strac

            There you go again sid old boy. generalizing. Calling everyone who wants to own a gun an insecure nut. Enough about that, lets talk about your reply to Kathy Marie Tolson Cottrell. You mention how your training lasted 4 months. It seems strange to me that a combat vet who served in Nam would use the first four months of his enlistment when he received basic training, and sometimes advanced infantry training as a way of showing his weapons experience, instead of refering to his war experiences which followed. Just seems odd, thats all.

          • It’s a shame you have a reading problem. I said no one used mine against me in Nam. And about your questioning. Feel free to do more. I trained a bit more than boot camp, ITR (which is what Marines call it) and staging. I had more specialized training. If you like, I’ll send you a copy of my DD-214 if that would cure your paranoid scepticism. Nevertheless I meant what I said. Rather then intergate you I find it more civil as a veteran to say again, “Thank you for serving, and welcome home.”

          • And there you go again, showing that you can’t read. I refered to my training because I was sticking to the subject matter. Kathy Marie Tolson Cottrell said in her last sentence, “Training and common sense is needed!!!” So responding to her statement I mentioned my training, not my war experiences.
            Oh a couple of other things. I really didn’t have to prove my time in Nam. I was being polite. You’ve attacked everyone but her because you’re insecure.
            As for you being an Airborne Ranger I’ve always felt and still feel you Rangers are way overrated. It took 3 of you to kidnap me off the streets of Austin back in 71 at gunpoint. Like my service, why, it’s none of your business. All I can say is this lone unarmed Marine jumped out of the car doing 50 MPH and yelled, “URAH! Force Recon!”
            Still alive and kicking.

      • You are the problem stupid! Gun nuts. Afraid of black kids wearing hoodies and packing skittles. Big bad gun nuts.

        • 101strac

          Jimmy-boy, speaking of nuts, did you go off your lithium again?

          • 101 you sound angry. I’m surprised you didn’t use all caps!

        • 1AmericanHoney27

          101strac & Sydney let me say Thank you to each of you for your service.. I just wanted to ask James where…. When & If he served anything but himself… Sitting @ home behind closed locked doors in fear….. Prisons are full of burglars.. robbers.. rapists… murderers..etc… Bet they all wish they’d had protection for they wouldn’t have been victims. And no it doesn’t me feel powerful. It does make me feel safe… It does nothing for my penis one way or the other considering I was blessed at birth to be female… Bet the mother and family of the mother here in Texas shot down by that sorry.. crazy bitch & had her 3 day old baby stolen wishes she had carried a gun…. Now mother is dead and all 3 of her children will never know her love or her touch…

      • hjcarroll

        Why don’t we just go back to the days of old west? It didn’t work then and will not work now. It was a reason why handguns were taken away by the town’s sherriff in that time. We should progress in our thinking as a society and this not what is happening today.

    • It is not the “gun carrying laws” that are in question here. It is the legalization of murder through the misconceived “Stand Your Ground” laws.
      People who carry guns (and I am one) have a huge responsibility. If it is used, there had dam well better be a good reason, including obvious evidence, that someone’s life was being threatened.

      • patuxant

        well see what good this got you…your “huge responsibility” obviously didn’t work in this case…what is the need to carry a gun??????????????????

        • Genny Abbott–Replying to commenters above patuxant also: there are times when a civilian carrying a gun may be necessary & at those times, there IS a huge responsibility for when & how it is used & his judgement about using it at all; & for the most part a person should not be carrying a gun around. To the writer of this article & attacks on the press, I think this: The press may have rushed to judegement on some details but what I saw & heard on MSNBC & couple of other stations, the reporters did present initial audio tapes & video with voices of witness reporting what they could hear little one could see in addition to what they could NOT hear & see. #1) I wonder if any of what happenened would have really come out & any start made to get the wheels of justice going. The press would remind us that the any charges or , before that, allegations were “alledged”, not proven facts. And Mr. Zimmerman did admit to the shooting including in his ill-advised, phony souding apology to the family in his bail hearing right in the court room & the excuses he gave for shooting were so lame &, frankly crazily untrue after the language we heard heard him use about the victin he was following, fuully armed & with no regard for the statement from police headquarters that he was NOT to follow the youth. What bothers me so much is the very issue of all the time that ellapsed allowing for ever new. changing & contradictory “facts” to emerge. As a previous caregive in the medical world & knowing something about legalities, I know & experienced how other practictioners can lie, distort, tell only partial truths, & even tamper or delete, or not record thingson, medical records in attempt to CYA. So, in this tragic case, we do NOT know what the final outcome will be. But it is telling to me that a special State’s prosecutor whas appointed who reviewed everything (including things that WE do NOT know) & brought the charge of 2nd degree murder, not the press or anybody else; also that the Federal authorities are doing their own careful investigation into whether this fits the category of hate crime or profiling, which could possibly even “up” the degree of this crime. It kind of seems to me Sir, that you have a bias against msnbc whom you predominately singled out. I agree that generally crimes should not be tried & judged over public media but more often now there are times when public pressure & outcry is necessary to bring offenses to light & see that the justice sysem starts working; just as is true for other issues crooping up all over the place across the country now.

      • hjcarroll

        Well we know George Zimmerman stalked this kid prior to the altercation happening. He could have followed the directions of the 911 dispatch but he was armed with a gun and felt like taking things into his own hands. A gun will give a small man a big man personality.

        • Another one that was on the sene with MSN and Sharpton????????

          • hjcarroll

            Same as you in the vehicle with George Zimmerman. MSN had nothing to do with the media coverage as far as Al Shartpon and myself that is up to you. I know you had to be there with George, you seem to be allergic to facts.

  • Wow Archisteve really? All you gleaned from this authors very well thought out article, was the fact that Zimmerman shouldn’t have had a gun? You completely ignored the gist of the article, that no one actually knows what happened that evening, and how the media tried, and convicted this man in a public court?

    My family has literally cried for the Martin kid! That said, as more evidence comes to bear, if I had to make the very somber choice right at this moment, I could not find Mr. Zimmerman guilty of murder.

    • d11550

      How can you say that you could not find Mr. Zimmerman guilty?What articles are you reading to come to that conclusion. Do you think Mr. Zimmerman should of been following Mr. Martin especially after he was told not to? We know this to be true base on the time of the phone call to his friend. Do you think Zimmerman should of been following Martin with a gun? If someone was following you for no apparent reason and continue to follow you what would you do? Would you be scared?

  • Stand_for

    Once again, MSNBC is more interested in the events of November 6th than the events on the date of Trayvon’s killing. And certainly, the truth will always take a bake seat to mobilizing/motivating the base.
    “Lean Forward” no bend over!

  • zeidrashed

    It is ,obviously, a racist ,unprovoked killing.Every decent soul will be bitter and insulted
    if prejudice is allowed to win and the murderer is let to walk free a fter a sham trial!

  • zeidrashed

    It is ,obviously, a racist ,unprovoked killing.Every decent soul will be bitter and insulted
    if prejudice is allowed to win and the murderer is let to walk free a fter a sham trial!

  • BDD1951

    One thing is for certain. If Zimmerman had just stayed in his car, this wouldn’t have happened.

    • But he couldn’t do that. He had him a gun! Attitude check!

    • The question that everyone seems to be missing, is would this have happened had there be no “Stand Your Ground” law. Would Zimmerman have still been emboldened enough to carry and shoot and unarmed person.

  • hjcarroll

    Regardless of what you have written here the most important fact in this tragedy, nothing would have happened if Zimmerman had followed direction of 911 dispatch. Trayvon Martin like the next person fought for his life and Zimmerman was getting his ass whipped so he shot and killed this kid. You can call it self defense but Zimmerman was the person with the gun. As Zimmerman stated he did not know if the Martin was armed or not so he shot first and asked questions later. This man stated that the kid knew he was following him so where is Martin right to self defense. This is a nice neutral article.

  • hjcarroll

    Regardless of what you have written here the most important fact in this tragedy, nothing would have happened if Zimmerman had followed direction of 911 dispatch. Trayvon Martin like the next person fought for his life and Zimmerman was getting his ass whipped so he shot and killed this kid. You can call it self defense but Zimmerman was the person with the gun. As Zimmerman stated he did not know if the Martin was armed or not so he shot first and asked questions later. This man stated that the kid knew he was following him so where is Martin right to self defense. This is a nice neutral article.

  • d11550

    It is true that the body remained at the morgue for three days before the family was notified, even though there was a phone on the body. Mr. Zimmerman intensions from the beginning was to arrest or shot this guy, because as I said they always get away with these things. He continue to follow him although the cops told him not to. He was looking for trouble because he knew he had the upper hand, a gun, white, and the “stand your gun law behind him. My understanding is that he was so one how went to the gym and lifted weights, what does having a desk job have to do with it? Why was he allowed to carry a gun? Based on his past history he should not have been allowed to carry a gun. There is no justice for minorities.

    • bobsomerby

      The family was notified early the next morning when they called police. Your belief to the contrary is an example of what this column is about.

  • d11550

    It is true that the body remained at the morgue for three days before the family was notified, even though there was a phone on the body. Mr. Zimmerman intensions from the beginning was to arrest or shot this guy, because as I said they always get away with these things. He continue to follow him although the cops told him not to. He was looking for trouble because he knew he had the upper hand, a gun, white, and the “stand your gun law behind him. My understanding is that he was so one how went to the gym and lifted weights, what does having a desk job have to do with it? Why was he allowed to carry a gun? Based on his past history he should not have been allowed to carry a gun. There is no justice for minorities.

  • Mukailua

    Trayvon is dead, possibly because he stood his ground against a man with a gun. If the “stand your ground” law is such a good thing then we should license people like Trayvon to carry guns and put them on an equal footing with wrong headed vigilantes. We should also license little girls and boys to pack heat to kill any perverts that look long at them. I am sure the gun manufacturers would love to sell us all the weapons we need.

    Clearly, the people that are allowed to carry weapons of death should be trained, competent disciplined, professional police. We should not license moderately trained or untrained people to carry hand guns. Guns provide a feelings of security and power that in a real situation usually does not play out as imagined. I am sure Zimmerman often wishes he had stayed home and watched TV. However, we should not forget that Mr. Zimmerman is alive and Mr. Martin is dead.

  • majong13

    I agree that the truth needs to come out. But I can tell you that if someone was following me, first I would try to run away. If I could not get away, and I saw that the person had a gun I would attack first and try to knock the guy out. I think Trayvon did exactly that. In addition, Zimmerman, I believe, saw himself as a police officer assistant. How many times had he called the police prior to this incident? Many! He was the neighborhood watch person and seems to me he may have taken the law into his own hands as if he was a cop himself.

    • Zimmerman tried to become a cop and was turned down for psychological reasons. So by law he had no business owning a gun.

      • majong13

        There you go!

  • ilkinolywa

    Gene, you don’t seem troubled by GZ’s documented lies/inconsistencies, the time lines and double standards. Everyone has their slant or bias but yours are sooo transparent. It doesn’t help anyone to label you. Just go away

  • Lordsagent

    To talk about the death of any American child as Consensual hallucinationation is traget. Have come compasion for the berieved family. If this had been a child of your’s…you would want someone to do something about it…right? I don’t think the African American Community is over reacting. JESUS!!!What has happened to America? We use to come together, when it comcerned our children regardless of thier skin tone. Mr. Lyons I want you to know that I stopped reading your article after the word hallucination.

  • AllFreedomsFirst

    This is the most unbiased article so far. Finally, someone who reported facts and then speculated on the rest. No one knows who approached who, whether from a frontal confrontation or from behind or if Zimmerman was returning to his car when and if he was attacked.

    One thing is a certainty – “How does someone get wounds in the back of his head if he confronts someone face to face?” Did Zimmerman possibly do as the 911 Operator told him to and head back to his car? No one knows except the two involved in the altercation.

    Public and Political Pressure brought about the charge. The facts that have been released so far do not support a charge. This was admitted in so many words by the Police Investigator under oath on the stand.

    There’s just a continuing trail of wrongs here in this case which will never ad up to make a right. No official wanted to touch this case because of Politics and potential civil unrest so they all stepped aside to let others take the heat. This case is a mess and if all the facts come out in a trial (it’s doubtful that it will ever reach that stage) there are still going to be those who refuse to listen to them.

    Regardless of the outcome, the media has turned this into the potential for far more violence to come.

  • Was the 911 call placed by Zimmerman and recorded also categorically false? The one where Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin. The one where Zimmerman decided to pursue Martin anyway. Had Zimmerman stopped when instruced to Martin would still be alive.

    • AllFreedomsFirst

      Three networks (so far) have admitted altering and falsifying aspects of the 911 call.

      Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait for a trial or a preliminary hearing to hear the true call or see a true transcript of that call. The media has messed things up to the point that everyone’s opinion out here might be based of false information (on both sides of the argument).

      • hjcarroll

        Why would the networks want to alter 911 calls, this does not make a lot of sense. The whole thing is George Zimmerman responsibility to do what is right, based on what I saw him do in the court room last Friday forget it. He told the 911 dispatch that he thought this kid was in late teens. In his self serving attempt to apologize to the Trayvon’s parents he said “I did not know how old he was, I thought he was a little bit younger than I am.” George said in the 911 call the person was in his late teens. He is 28 not sure when he is 29 but he had an idea this kid was a teenager.

        • I spend a lot of time watching the news and reading it online and I don’t remember anything about altering 911 tapes. Considering the hotness of this issue it would be stupid to do knowing that everything eventually will undergo scrutiny and you’d be found out. Only Zimmerman’s parent are altering the truth, covering for their violent son.
          As for his so-called “self serving attempt to apologize” as you so rightly stated hjcarroll, he knew if he could pull it off he’d get bail, rarely heard of in 2nd degree murder cases. As lame as it was, it worked. They don’t know what an apology is. It’s not, “I’m sorry for your loss.” But, “I’m sorry I killed your son!”
          But he’s a murdering psychopath and it should be expected that his apology was without feeling too!

    • hjcarroll

      Zimmerman duty as a conceal gun owner is to act responsible with that firearm. We all know George acted recklessly with the gun and young man ended up dead at the hands of Zimmerman. Why not follow direction Zimmerman? He is accustomed things going in his favor as the judge sided with his defense and granted a bond that could made.

  • Solomon77

    The Stand Your Ground Law is a major part of this debate.
    But–consider:
    If the Zimmerman version is correct and he drew his weapon when scuffling on the ground with Mr. Martin, then there is no avenue of escape. You can’t retreat through the ground. In that event, stand your ground does not apply because all that law says is that you have no duty to retreat. If you CAN’T retreat, then it doesn’t apply. Simple self defense applies and that right existed before the passage of the Stand Your Ground law.
    If Zimmerman’s version is not correct and he provoked the attack, then Stand Your Ground does not apply. Even the sponsor of the Stand Your Ground law concedes that point. You don’t get to use this defense when you are the agressor.

    True–a dialogue on the Stand Your Ground law should be made. But is this the case on which to have it?

    • Yes this and other cases have a lot to do with this. It’s not time for a dialogue, but time to repell this wild west law.

    • AllFreedomsFirst

      Does “Stand Your Ground” apply when you have wounds in the back of your head? If Zimmerman was being pounded into the concrete with Martin on top, then no. If Zimmermann was attacked from behind, then again no.

      Solomon77 is correct here if those are the facts.

      • hjcarroll

        We don’t know what happened that night George is the only living person who can tell their story the other one is dead. When we make such a deadly mistake as to take someone life, what story can we tell to vindicate our actions. I am not sure why this kid would attack this man from behind when he was on his way home. If any person is approached by someone stalking them what would we do? George is probably lying. I am not trying George in the court of public of opinion, but the other person is dead. WHY? WHY? would this kid attacked him from behind ? George was the aggressor from the start to the end. I know there may not be any facts to prove one way or the other.

  • It doesn’t matter at all what happen, Zimmerman was following someone he deemed suspicious, with a loaded gun in his pocket. He could have killed me as easily as he kill Trayvon, with Stand-Your-Ground Laws popping up all over the Country this will not be the last story like this in the news. We have problems in this Country getting the police to act sensible – how do expect untrained average people to control themselve. Just like drivers who act carelessly and end killing someone with their car, the man should be punished.

  • Ron Falcone

    What has bothered me from day one is the *escalating* chronology of events that tell a different story from that created by the frenzied media: Zimmerman was not initially “stalking” or “hunting” down Mr. Martin. Recall, he dialed 911 and reported the young man “checking” him out and then, *running.* It was only after Martin ran past Zimmerman, that Zimmerman pursued him to see where he’d gone. Martin had obviously gained significant ground ahead of Zimmerman who lost sight of him. So, by the time Zimmerman doubled back toward his vehicle—still not knowing where Martine went—how did Martin only proceed as far as 20 or 30 feet off the grassy area where he was eventually killed? Had he continued his journey home being *ahead* of Zimmerman—he would have been well out of Zimerman’s range. Did Zimmerman run all the faster to ‘catch’ up to Martin? And if so, how or why would he have gotten close enough to allow a punch to the face? The element of surprise seems more likely here, but as the author says, no one really knows what happened.

    • d11550

      What information was you reading, Zimmerman persuide Martin.

  • Indicting the Stand Your Ground Laws for this tragedy is as much a factless opinion as is Sharpton’s. That law may or may not be a good idea, but has no relevancy to the facts that we seem to know here. Either the shooter was on the ground and being beaten, therefore unable to flee, or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, he had no need to stand his ground and attacked an unarmed individual. While I am anything but pro-gun, anti-gun folks are also guilty of consensual hallucination.

  • I believe you have the right to protect your property no matter what race you are! If you don’t want to get shot stop breaking into other people’s homes!

    • Trayvon was not a robber. Had he been shot walking down the street carrying a TV like the guy in Pasadena, TX. I might not be so inclined to be upset and would probably give Zimmerman a medal. Walking down the street is not a crime. Every young black man is not a criminal. I have two sons that are well mannered and good people. I would not want them at risk of getting shot because they were walking home from a convienience store and we live in a gated community!

    • Uh Patti Travon had every right to be in the neighborhood. He was visiting relatives.

    • d11550

      Patti in this case who was breaking into other people’s homes. Certainly not Travyon Martin, he was coming home from the store with skittles and ice tea.

  • I think this a tragedy for all concerned. I think Mr. Zimmerman took his concern for neighborhood safety too far. His foolish and irresponsible behavior cost a young boy his life and he has to live with that. I think it will all come down to manslaughter and probation.

  • The “Stand Your Ground Law” is what should be on trial……..and all the state legislatures who voted for it.
    Everything Zimmerman did was legal, carrying the gun, following Martin, and the shooting (if it was truly in self defense.) That is the only thing in question, and unfortunately, there does not seem to be any witnesses other than Zimmerman. This whole arrest and trial show was done for no other reason than to appease the black community in Florida. The special prosecutor, by charging Zimmerman with second degree murder, is hoping for a plea of man-slaughter. That would get the Governor and the Legislature off the hook.
    As it stands now, unless Zimmerman’s lawyer is incompetent, he will go to trial. And, the media will have the fiasco they want.
    I have nothing but heart felt compassion for the family of Martin, and I do not have any pity for Zimmerman, but he will not be convicted. The evil law; unfortunately, will continue to stand.

  • randylmayes

    The special prosecutor has deemed sufficent evidence for a trial and that the evidence was so strong that she did not need a grand jury and had him charged with the harshest crime she could. Commentators said she gave him the harshest judgement possible. That is good enough for me. Guilty until proven innocent from here on out. The media has spoken, the special prosecutor has spoken, and the only thing left is for another innocent verdict so Nancy Grace can scream fro another six months until a new case of the century emerges. So goes justice in America. Trial by entertainment.

    On a serious note regarding the pics from the bail hearing, how does blood stream from wounds gained several weeks prior? Doesn’t this guy’s skin ever heal? Something is wrong there.

    • I agree whole heartedly with your first paragraph! I have began boycotting the HLN channel due to the fact they just keep SPECULATING to keep an audience. Been there, done that…won’t allow the media to suck me in again. So the media needs to quit unleashing the lawyers and get back to covering the current news.

  • Fair and open-minded readers do not believe Zimmerman was a racist hunting down and murdering a victim. However, the known facts support that Zimmerman used incredibly poor judgment in carrying a gun (he was a watchman, not an officer of the law); following Trayvon when he was told not to by the 911 officer, especially when he was told police were on the way; not identifying himself (Trayvon undoubtedly thought he was being pursued by a criminal); and, his biggest mistake, using a gun in what basically was a wrestling match, regardless of who threw the first punch. If every time there was a fist fight or wrestling match between two men, one pulled out a gun or a knife and killed the other one, there would be a lot more murders. If Trayvon had pulled out a gun or a knife, that would have been the threat of the use of a deadly weapon, and self-defense would be believable; rolling around on the grass, NOT. Zimmerman simply panicked and pulled his courage out of his pocket; poor judgement, definitely yes; panicky, yes, a coward, possibly yes, and stupid, definitely yes; but a cold blooded murderer, probably not. A manslaughter charge might have been more appropriate, although there are some grounds for second-degree murder(he killed an unarmed man deliberately, without premeditation).

    • I agree with everything you said, with the exception of without premeditation. Considering that there had been reported crimes in the area by blacks, that was in his mind from the start when he saw the hoody. It was confirmed he was a racist when he said, “f****** coon. So in spite of being told not to he followed him, I believe so he could shoot him a black and be the hero of the neighborhood. Although it was wisdom not to charge him with premeditated 1st degree murder because it’s so difficult to prove, I believe he planned to kill him and it was definently premeditated murder.

  • howa4x

    While I will await what the justice system does in this case, one fact is clear. When the media gets a firm hold on a story it just runs and runs it over and over in a 27/7 news cycle. Poor young kids get murdered every day in an urban rampage that is constant. Killings happen in drive bys, or revenge, or gang related, but get no coverage except an short story in a local paper. The problem in America is that we are in love with the idea of owning a gun. We have them out of fear, or lack of power, or both. We create enemies in our minds and act out our fantisies. States are making it easier by passing laws that defend this behavior and the NRA won’t be happy till every man,women and child owns a gun. We already have urban areas where police really don’t like to go in. LA has 90,000 gang bangers that are well armed. Hate groups have traing camps, militias train because they really fear someone will take their guns away. Politicians pander to this. We have a bigger problen in this country than George Zimmerman. We just have to get the news media to realize it

  • Does it matter that Zimmerman has some blood on the back of his head? Does it matter who threw the first punch? Under the stand your ground law the young man had the right to defend himself if he felt he was under threat of bodily harm. Somebody Trayvon did not know was following him armed with a firearm. Is it possible that he was under a geat deal of strain and as a result fought for his life? Most likely. It is obvious that opinions are held close to the vest on different sides of the issue. For me the case is just a totally unnecessary tragedy that could have easily been prevented.

    Zimmerman was instructed by legal authority to stop following the young man…he did not follow simple instructions to back off. Everything that happened after that advice from the police is totally the responsibility of Mr. Zimmerman. I’m not talking about if it was murder or manslaughter, but who is responsible for what transpired. If Zimmerman had been less agressive in his actions he would not be on trial, the young man would still be with his family and the entire mess would never have happened. It has become another terrible example of gun violence and needless tragedy in America. I find it troubling that so many folks have turned this into a circus and a divisive 2nd Amendment argument.

  • It was the actions of Rev Sharpton that got a closer look at this case. Had Rev Sharpton and Jesse Jackson not stepped up, this case would have been swept under the rug like so many murders of African Americans. You can question Rev Sharpton tactics, but it is well documented that justice is many times not on the side of African Americans so can you blame them for questioning the way this case was investigated.

  • BDD1951

    I think the police dispatcher should have said “do not follow”, instead of “we don’t need you to do that”. A definite response to Zimmerman may have gotten through to him. Not likely, but maybe.

  • To paraphrase a Clint Eastwood movie, “Unforgiven” one character yells at Eastwood’s character, “You just shot an unarmed man!” [Eastwood] responds, “Well he should have armed himself.” Having said that, I was out on a date once, in my mid 20’s, with a very beautiful lady (same age) and we stopped in for a drink, at a local bar/grill, before walking back to catch the last ferry off a touristy island. Another man about our age, a little taller and about 20 lbs bigger, than I, struck up a conversation before we finished our drink.
    We left and noticed the same man left the establishment within moments after we did.
    As we walked down the block we saw that he jumped on his motorcycle and then proceeded
    to follow us. We thought it suspicious, so we took an unexpected route, as he had already
    become aware, during conversation, we were headed for the ferry. As we continued he paralleled us and then kept trying to second guess the turns we were making to zig zag our
    way back to the ferry. My date started feeling scared, we turned down one alley, where there was some construction. The man lost site of us for a moment, at which time I picked up an 18″ peice of rebarb and slid it up my long sleeve shirt. My date wondered what I was
    doing, so I showed her how fast I could drop the rebarb down my sleeve and turn it into an immeadiate weapon. She suddenly felt safe and calm. Within a moment or two our stalker pulled up in front of us and asked if we needed a ride to the mainland, as we had just missed the last ferry. He explained he could give her a ride first and then return for me.
    We convinced him that was not only not necessary but also unwanted as I asked him to
    please head on home himself. The ensuing stare down took a few moment as we guaged each other. He decided he would move along. I don’t know if he was armed or not, but I maintained a cool head and he got to live another day. We walked another block, I allowed the rebarb to slide down my sleeve and I dropped it as we approached a parked cab by the ferry landing and rode it to the bridge and then to my car on the mainland.
    My point in this long story, I was trained for self-defense (USMC) I knew, if the man made one wrong move, he was going to regret it. Treyvon Martin was a kid. At 17, it should have been obvious to Zimmerman(carrying a loaded pistol) he was dealing with a kid and he himself was armed and had the upper hand. He should have listened to the warning, “Don’t follow him…” the police dispatch said. How could he have felt threatened, at all, by this child. Treyvon Martin was being followed and probably feeling scared, armed with a bag of skittle and a soda can. Untrained to find or create a weapon, quickly, he may have reacted in fear the only way he knew how, throwing a punch. HE WAS STANDING HIS GROUND.
    Treyvon Martin was guilty of nothing that night. Big bad Zimmerman armed with a pistol not only brandished it, which would have scared most anyone into submission, he used it with lethal force. Treyvon will never know the joy of being married of having kids, or sadly, even of graduating High School, thanks to an overzealous, over-reactive, pistol-weilding
    “Hall Monitor”. Justice should have started with an arrest and hearing. When an unarmed 17 yr. old is shot, and killed, by an armed full grown man. The least of any charge should be manslaughter, to what degree, and what punishment, let the courts and the jury decide.

  • Now i see why people decide to get guns and carry them illegally….you never know what gun carry idiots actually have them…if i were that afraid of being confronted with someone with a gun…i’d never leave my home,besides that,you would still have to explain why you took a life or shot someone…oh! you have a conceal weapons licenses…WHY!!!????…….

  • patuxant

    Yes, only one person living knows what really happened. Bottom line is that Z had a gun and used it against a punk kid…a kid he stalked after being told not to…so why should anyone feel sorry for trigger happy Zimmerman? Maybe it is that hard on men get after using their guns to shoot innocent prey….

  • Ingrid you are so right….so when is it a crime to be in your own neighborhood and be a suspect….wait! i see now,”being black after dark,while wearing a hoodie” is a crime? punishable by death???….i didnt get that memo…so maybe i should start carrying a gun…just in case i happen to run into a G.Zimmerman wanna be…..just saying

  • Well if thats the case….since “white people” are afraid of “blacks” and feel threatened….does that law still apply??? if so, then i hope we dont cross pathes….just saying…because i will “stand my ground”….

  • Look…this is plain and simple…IF ZIMMERMAN WOULD HAVE FOLLOWED ORDERS…STAYED IN HIS CAR HE WOULDN’T HAVE GASHES IN THE BACK OF HIS HEAD AND TRAYVON MARTIN WOULD STILL BE ALIVE….

  • G. Zimmerman escalated a situation that was not necssary to get to the point of killing Martin. He did many things that were not only stupid but deadly. He is obviously not suited mentally to be apart of any police agency or that of a legal one, that deals with the safety and welfare of all its citizens. He is an idiot. His father doesn’t fair that much better. I wonder what the mother thinks about a son that is obviously lacking in IQ, and goes rogue, vigilante, and commits the obvious outcome of owning a gun, using it on a community watch disastor that ends up in the death a of person, the cost to the community of Sanford, and the needless hours to investigate and re-open a cse that would have been and was ignored by the police or the DA’s office, the people who are put in public office to protect not just individuals like G. Zimmerman, His father, Zimmerman, Sr., but all its citizens, regardless of economic status, gender, orientation, creed, and all that speaks to the civil rights, human rights of all of this nation’s people while on the streets.

  • Almost every comment I have read has convenently left out the fact that Zimmerman said that he had stopped following Trayvon and was returning to his vehicle , when he was confronted by Trayvon. This makes Trayvon the agressor.

    • d11550

      Do you really believe that, REALLY. Accord to what Mr. Martins’ friend said, the confrontation occured while she was talking to him, so that is a lie.

    • Like we should believe what Zimmerman said, like his phoney apology to get his “get out of jail ticket.”
      Oh as to Rev. Al, Jesse Jackson and the entire black community, they have shown great restraint considering all the racism from Zimmerman to the Police and I ask you to show me where any of them played the racists card. The only ones claiming that are the racists who are desperately trying to cover their tracks. If it hadn’t been for Rev. Al and Jesse Jackson and the black community doing what was only fair this whole thing would have been swept under the rug and another racist psycho would have been released to kill another black.
      I applaud them all for their restraint and their unity.

  • reverend01

    And when you get through. ?While I agree with a great deal of y our article. Since when have you seen someone with a broken nose and no brusing or bleeding, clothes completely in tact etc. The vidoe that you refer to as murky was not murky to me at all. Could it have been clearer yest. but i could plainly see that there was llittle if no blood on his clothes. And let’s be clear this man you claim to be so small is much smaller now because he has lost weight clearly since teh vieo from the night of the incidence. Bottom line, he had not right to chase or pursue MArtin. he is a wanna be cop completely out of control and I hope he has plenty of time in jail to remember to leava other folk alone and to mind his business. Many of us live in neighborhoods where there has been crime and break in, That does nto give us a right to suspect everyone that comes into oru neighbor that we decide looks likeor favor previous perpetrators. PUH_LEEEze. Adn further mroe no one was there to see what happen so how can teh sidewalk or the grass tell an investigator or anyone else for that maatter who lande the first blow, the bottom line the tapes tell us clearly Zimmer starte d this fight anyway you look at it. ANdI hope he gets a many day and night in jail to remember that.

    His attorny is alreayd abig liar. he stated to the court at the bond hearing that Zimmerman wanted to address the court.LIE!! He never addressed the court or the judge. HE wanted clearly his day in court to make it appear he is remorseful. it took him almost 60 dyas to come up wit some remose for the life a an unarmed 17 year oled black boyo. Better still for a human life that he took upon himself to purse and to take. I hoep Traavon’s family forgives him. But I hope he rots in jail.

    The attorney? He sees this as his grand opportunity to make a name for himself since it is such a high profied case. Heard, yes heard he is doign this pro-bono. Well of course he claims zimmerman nor his famil has much money. But he figures it is worth the gamble. If Iget him off that will be an investment in advertisement for my firm that far exceeds any fees I would have charged normally.

    When you get finished tallking about Al Shaprton and the rest of the people that marched, screamed, talked, yes even made assumption. If they had not it would have been one black boy dead and who would have given a care. Because surely this is where things were heading prior tothe uproar. AND I thank god it happened for the sake of Traavon’s family. unfortuantley he can’t be helped because onf one man that wanted to play God.

    I say if Traavon whipped his tail, he deserved it and asked for it. He would have jsut been standing his ground. how about that? Yes his right to walk the streets in an American commuiity in which he was currently living with his father. Go figure.

  • Nancianne

    “he became famous due to his outrageous conduct during the 1987 Tawana Brawley rape hoax—the network’s permitting him to report about a public event in which he’d enrolled as an active participant violated every known rule of journalistic ethics”.

    THis guy Sharpton is a fraud and a disgrace. MSNBC should be ashamed they have gave him the mouthpiece because he is a a racist and doesn’t belong in any commentator role.

    • d11550

      If not for Sharpton and people like him, there would of been a cover-up in the case. What if it was your son.

      • d3viantwolf

        You might want to do your homework….Al Sharpton tends to open his mouth and and check facts later….the Tawana Brawley case is a perfect example. What cover-up would have happened and by whom and what are the facts to back up that statement??

  • d3viantwolf

    I agree with Gene Lyons…”it is a classic example of consensual hallucination”. Zimmerman has already been prosecuted, found guilty and hung by the media. At this point I don’t care whether he is guilty or not guilty. I think he should be set free and used as an example to people like Al Sharpton, MSNBC and every other journalist & reporter out there who have unethically presented information to think about the consequences of their actions. Are we not considered innocent until proven guilty??
    A 19 year old boy is dead….and instead of finding the truth it has become an opportunity for some to get in the spot light and for others to get the ratings…very sad.

    • shillalagh

      how can you say zimmerman should be set free just to get even with al sarpton and msnbc?THAT;S WRONG!!!!!!!!! what about the conservatives blaming everything on trayvon? i do not know if zimmerman is guilty neither do you he should be tried. i know one thing! i am FURIOUS with zimmerman for disregarding the advice of the dispatcher who said “you don’t need to do that.” we know from phone records that trayvon said this guy was following him

  • AllFreedomsFirst

    Having spent half of my life prior to retiring as a Prosecutor and then as a Judge, I can say with some kind of knowledge that this case has been made into a tragic, misinformed debacle.

    The State does not release pretrial evidence prior to the charge to anyone. Facts that were public knowledge and domain were released or scrounged up by the media whom of which three networks admitted to their fabrication or alteration. Real facts are never released on the basis of tainting a jury or denying the Defendant his rights. The Media has stirred a pot to create ratings and make money. That’s what they do best, not reporting the facts in a clear and unbiased way. The Media does not even have the real facts that will be disclosed during formal discovery requests by the Defendant’s Attorney. This is all pointless bickering until a hearing or trial.

    The Grand Jury is here for several reasons. An unbiased review of the facts to issue a case under sealed indictment, to bind a case over from a lower to a higher court in lieu of a preliminary hearing when there is a murder case, rape case or complex fact case and finally to keep sensitive facts out of the public eye until the case is ready to be tried.

    This Special Prosecutor did not want the case to go to the Grand Jury first. There can be only two reasons here pursuant to what has taken place. First, that the Grand Jury would have issued a “no true bill ” at some point where the case would be dismissed or second, the Grand Juror’s would have been in the line of fire here for political pressure or threats concerning the case if they did not issue a murder case under sealed indictment or would have “no true billed” the case in lieu of a preliminary hearing.

    Politics is running the prosecution here, not facts or normal operating procedures. Regardless of who did what, the Media and Politics have turned this into a circus with so many problems that the true facts may never come to light or justice may never be served for any or either party.

    • d3viantwolf

      Thank you AllFreedomsFirst….I especially appreciate that information about the release of information prior to trial. It is something we should all keep in mind.

      I am afraid justice may never be served either but I do hope it is….for all parties involved.

    • hjcarroll

      I would ask you why did Sanford Police Department not make a formal arrest the night of the shooting? A young man died because someone failed to follow instructions. The media was not involved when Zimmerman was on the phone with 911 dispatch. The actions George committed after those instructions and Sanford Police not making a formal arrest brought the world and the media into the story.

      • AllFreedomsFirst

        They probably did not have the evidence to do so at the time. It still may not exist according to the State’s Investigator and what he said in the bond hearing.

    • hjcarroll

      Do you think George Zimmerman is telling the truth and if he is why did he not stop the moment the dispatch ask he not to follow?

      • AllFreedomsFirst

        I don’t know what the truth here is. I have not read the actual statements, seen the police photos (you can bet there are dozens) of Martin, Zimmerman or the scene, listened to the 911 tape or any other actual evidence. If I was the sitting Judge, I would wait to hear all the evidence by both sides. I don’t know what the truth may be until I see/hear the actual evidence. Commenting on partial evidence (which may be tainted) is irresponsible and not fair to either party at this time.

        Why didn’t he stop? All I can say is it was Zimmerman’s neighborhood and he was doing what “he” probably thought was right at the time no matter if he was right or wrong in hindsight. It is a gated community, so obviously there is some kind of a crime or security problem there that the residents were concerned about.

        Nor do we know if Zimmerman was out patrolling on his own accord or if it was his assigned day to watch the neighborhood. There are so many unknowns that to form a rational opinion of what really happened is virtually impossible at this time.

  • d3viantwolf

    I agree completely 101strac…and it is your constitutional right to bear arms…for now anyway…;(
    If everyone were to wear their guns like you I believe our crime rates would drop drastically. I wish we all could strap on our guns every morning…but not in my state and it is scary knowing you don’t have any real defense against those that are illegally carrying guns and want to do you harm.

  • d3viantwolf

    Elsa…he straps his belt to his waist and puts his guns in the holsters…his gun is not hidden!!

  • d3viantwolf

    Elsa…he straps his belt to his waist and puts his guns in the holsters…his gun is not hidden!!

  • d3viantwolf

    charles….His weapon is not concealed…it is strapped to his waist and in their holsters.

  • Steve Dickheiser

    I am not going to speak to “Right to carry and have VS. not a right to” but I will say this. Stalking someone will make anyone jumpy. One of my martial arts grand masters told us if a person has a gun his/her name becomes “Sir”. Having a gun changes the script for the person who carries and these days a stalkee doesn’t know if there is a gun behind him. Who attacked who first in this case? We do not know that but I still wonder if Zimmerman would have stalked if he didn’t have the gun and did he make first physical contact? As far as I am concerned whomever made that first physical contact is responsible for starting the fight and we do not know yet who that was. And, the person who started the fight is responsible for the outcome unless there is over-kill involved and that falls on whomever does it. Off hand, a man with a gun who used it against a man without one, in a killing, is engaging in over-kill. There is just too much we do not know in this case.

  • This is not about Al Sharpton, this is about a man who pulled a gun on a teenager!!! One can not out run a bullet. I was not there nor where you but your side of this tradgety is to blame someone other than the man who pulled the trigger. I would like to catch you at night walking in the rain and see if you will run from a man with a gun,a 28 year old man against a teenager with little life experiance. I am war veteran from Vietnam! Many a day i would get angery and want to shot people like you but i have not killed any one since i left Nam,41 years ago. Your an asshole!!!!!

  • Of course we don’t know for sure who threw the first punch, just as we don’t know that GZ didn’t grab him and try to pull his gun and Trayvon was fighting for his life against someone he had every right to believe was out to kill him. Those alternatives are at least equal, because the word of someone who just gunned down an innocent person, having stalked that person, and is trying to avoid charges, is always suspect. Plus, the word of a provocateur and killer can be held to be worthless by a jury, as judges instruct every day in our courtrooms.

    And there may be evidence not yet released, along with the impact of GZ’s actual whispered words, which the prosecutor understated, but any objective listener can understand.

    The pretense of “not completely knowing” can fool a gullible jury (remember Casey Anthony) from using common sense to assess what they do know, but simple facts are usually enough….Like here, where GZ stalked and provoked without authority or justification, and thereby caused an unjustifiable death of an innocent victim of his actions. Manslaughter.

  • i started out assuming it was a racist murder. what changed my mind was reading the police report from the first cop on the scene, smith, who said zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and back of head and his back was wet and covered with grass. now i think it was a tragic misunderstanding by two guys who both thought they were defending themselves.

  • I only hope someone kills your family member, or under age child, and lets see what you come up with to excuse the fact that your unarmed child or family member is dead; due to an adult who had a gun for no other reason other than he is a fool. My point is; there are no excuses to be made for the cold blooded murder of a child. I hope it happens to you! Maybe then and only then you will understand. By the way or you a Republican? you sound pretty stupid, you have to be a Republican.

  • 1AmericanHoney27

    Same words, Same B.S. just a different day… ” Zimmerman killed innocent little Trayvon “…… “Zimmerman planned to kill some little hood wearing black boy. “. ” Zimmerman should’ve stopped when when the police said to stop. “. ( police said… You don’t need to persue .”. ) They never said don’t peruse ” ” The Black Panthers have a hit on Zimmerman. “. ( Not a wise choice considering the Arian Brotherhood, KKK, MS13 & The Latino Mafia won’t lay down for this. “. Why didn’t Trayvon just answer the question when asked… ” What are you doing around here? “. People this kid didn’t walk on water & didn’t have a halo & wings… Does Florida not have a curfew law? Given his back ground one can’t be so sure that it was all on Zimmerman… Trayvon was several deaths ago & rehashing this daily will not bring him back… We all know each day it’s who killed whom on the news…. Stop this jaw jacking b4 you incite a race war which again won’t really change things…. Damage could come home to bite you in ya’LLS asses…. Then the ones of you talking crap will wish you had protection… Guns protect the innocent from all idiots… In this world it’s come to shoot or be shot….

  • joyscarbo

    Does anyone know or care that the south has had the highest murder rates for many, many years? It’s true. Louisiana has the distinct honor of having the nation’s highest murder rate per capita. And 7 more southern states grace the top 15 highest murder rates, one of those states being Florida. The southern states have the highest number of gun owners as well. Statistics have proven that if you HAVE a gun, you are four and a half times more likely to be shot and killed with a gun than a someone who does not own a gun.

    Incidently, the south uses the death penalty with alarming rates as well- 1059 prisoner executions between 2001 and 2010. The remainder of the country only executed 262 prisoners during the same time period.

    Doesn’t it make you wonder a little?

  • factsfirstplease

    Best reporting I have seen on this overheated topic. Thanks Gene. You bring real meaning to the concept of “fair and balanced” reporting.

  • wheatfire15

    Let me get this straight…in your country, a man attends his bail hearing, allegedly in a night court or whatever and he has blood ‘streaming’ from his head? What kind of zoo ya’ll running over thar?

  • umphres

    It is clear that Zimmerman threw the figurative first punch by getting out of his car (with a handgun , violating the watch captain guidelines) and following this young man. It would be disconcerting for someone to be following ME on a cold, rainy night on my way home from the store. In my home state the law states that a person may use deadly if they “did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used”. Zimmerman’s provocation is clear.

  • AllFreedomsFirst

    Just wondering how getting out of a car is throwing a first punch? No one knows the real facts that have yet to be released. No official agency has even stated if Zimmerman had a legal CCW license to carry a firearm or if it was carried in plain view as a open carry under a local ordinance.

    Now the Judge that set bond (double for the charge in other jurisdictions) is receiving death threats (a Federal Crime). How will a jury be picked now and what will happen to them if they find Zimmerman not guilty by following the jury instructions if the case even gets that far?

    There has been so much interference by the media and some individuals that Zimmerman may be set free pursuant to pretrial motions and no one will ever hear any real evidence from either side in this case.

    It’s a shame that there will be no fairness for either side now. The case has moved from the Judicial Arena to the Political Arena even with elected officials commenting on the case against all principals of their offices.

  • frankel1205

    The Stand Your Ground Law has made vigilantism legal. We will never know exactly what happened because Trayvon Martin is dead. Two things make me suspicious of Mr. Zimmerman’s story: He was advised by the 911 operator NOT to pursue Trayvon, yet he did anyway. He claimed at his bail hearing that he had no money, yet, now we know he had collected $200K from donations to a website. Clearly, the justice system is broken. After a confession, Mr. Zimmerman was allowed to live freely for over a month without being arrested. During the Bush years, the NRA bragged about having an office in the West Wing. We are reaping the consequences of its out of control power and influence.

  • Truthseeker562

    This election is so important we are making a clear choice in which path we want to take as we evolve. Putting all religion aside lets delve to our very soul. What is our Soul’s purpose. This election is A clear snap shot of our very soul. Romney is serving his purpose as so is President Obama. Both these men were clearly hand chosen by the Almighty himself. Whose path are we going to choose. I personally will choose a path that makes me look deep within my Soul. I need to question myself am I a racist would I vote against myself because President Obama is black and I haven’t cleansed that part of my soul. Am I so greedy that I cannot see that everyone doing their fair share will benefit everyone. Am I so ignorant that I would vote against myself by voting blindly or even keeping myself ignorant as an excuse not to look deep inside. I believe there is an awakening coming there is a sharp contrast here this didn’t happen by chance it is Gods way of putting out the question of where your Soul is. Romney is not a bad man he is there for a purpose he is doing God’s will also we need to see both sides to a clear choice. Everyone is playing their role here. God Loves everyone in this World no matter who you are where you come from. Wake up people.