For some reason, I’ve found myself focusing entirely too much on the Zimmerman – Martin shooting. In an attempt to get it out of my head, I will outline what I think happened and why I think so. This is long, and the bulk of this post will be behind a cut, but just to be upfront, I do not think Zimmerman is a racist or otherwise evil. I do think he was over-aggressive and made poor decisions. Since those decisions and actions ended up in somebody getting killed, it’s only just that Zimmerman answer to his actions in a court of law. A final disclaimer - this is based on public evidence, so other facts not released my change my assessment.
Zimmerman made two bad decisions right at the start of the encounter. He decided that Martin was a crook, and more importantly for what followed, that Martin would run when confronted. These decisions, especially the later, colored everything that happened.
So, we know Zimmerman got out of his truck and followed Martin – that’s on the 911 tape and Zimmerman’s statement. There is then a two minute gap between calls, where all we have to go on is Zimmerman’s statement. Based on watching the video reenactment of the shooting, Zimmerman was not “walking back to his truck.” If he had been, he’d have gotten in the truck in about 30 seconds, and there would have been no fight. Zimmerman spent most if not all of the two minute gap looking for Martin.
At some point in this gap, the two men came into contact. By Zimmerman’s own statement, he never identified himself as Neighborhood Watch. Zimmerman claims that Martin launched an unprovoked attack. I strongly question that. Why would Martin stop Zimmerman, face him and then punch him, while leaving his only weapon (the can of iced tea) in his pocket? If Martin were to have launched an attack from concealment, wouldn’t a more logical attack involve whacking Zimmerman in the back of the head with the can? Since when do teens, even gangbangers, attack people one-on-one?
No, the more logical explanation is that Zimmerman found Martin and attempted to stop him. Zimmerman had no right to make a stop, and Martin had no duty to stop or retreat. But at some point and for some reason, Martin threw a punch, maybe two. That punch broke Zimmerman’s nose, and surprised him. He was expecting flight, not fight. Surprise and a strong jab led to Zimmerman hitting the deck, cutting his head when he hit the sidewalk.
But the subsequent statement by Zimmerman of “he was bouncing my head on the concrete” doesn’t fly. Martin had one small cut on his knuckle, Zimmerman had no injuries to his ears, defensive wounds, or skull fractures. How exactly did Martin “bounce Zimmerman’s head?” No, Zimmerman went down, and the fight might have ended there.
But I believe that Zimmerman, now on the ground, went for his gun. I would have, if somebody I thought was a sneak thief had put me down. Martin saw that, and a struggle for the gun ensued. This explains why, on the 911 tape where we hear the fight, the man with the gun isn’t yelling, “I have a gun!” Martin already knew about the gun.
We know how that struggle ended. By the time the cops arrived, Zimmerman had decided on his first lie. He couldn’t tell the cops that he’d ignored the dispatcher, so Martin had to have attacked him. The second lie, about being repeatedly pounded, probably came about as Zimmerman was sitting in the squad car. The paramedic who treated him probably gave him a brief once-over, said, “You’ll be fine” and dashed over to the dead or dying Martin. Saying that he shot a guy over one punch wouldn’t fly, so it had to be multiple punches.
The third lie came during the ride to the station. If, as I have, you hang around with gun owners, sooner or later the talk will turn to defensive shooting. You will then, as sure as night follows day, hear people say “tell the cops the SOB said he was going to kill you” or words to that effect. Zimmerman, a fairly new gun owner, had probably heard that line before. So, he added it to his statement.
The hell of it is, had Martin been a local crackhead instead of a high school kid from a good home, Zimmerman would have walked. I’m not sure that this adds up to murder – more like manslaughter to this non-legal mind. At any rate, now Zimmerman has to tell it to the judge.