I’ve been following the Treyvon Martin / George Zimmerman case since the story broke over a month ago. In the interim, I’ve seen the media manipulate the events for ratings, race baiting stooges like Al Sharpton insert themselves in the events for attention, and an understandable outcry over the reported events.
Cliffs Notes Version:
George Zimmerman was the head of neighborhood watch. He saw someone acting funny, and reported it to 911 because there had been several burglaries in his neighborhood. The operator advised him not to follow Treyvon Martin, but he apparently did so anyhow. (now this is where things get foggy depending on which media outlet you subscribe to) – Zimmerman either pulled open his jacket to reveal a Punisher t-shirt and executed Treyvon Martin on the spot, or (and this is the version I believe) – Martin saw Zimmerman following him, confronted him, threw him a beating, and was shot to death as a result.
One of the spins on this which I absolutely do not believe, is that the only reason Zimmerman was following Martin was to get the street-name. The guy is the head of neighborhood watch, he has a record of calling 911 and getting results – he knew what street he was on. I also don’t believe that Martin set out to kill the teenager. It irked me to no end that the media has constantly portrayed Martin as innocent in this, going as far as to only show a non-current photo of a smiling early-teenager to further reinforce the innocent victim spin. He didn’t deserve to die, but he wasn’t innocent.
Neither of them are innocent in this IMHO. Zimmerman did his due diligence in calling 911 and reporting something he believed to be suspicious. His first mistake was ignoring the 911 operator’s request to stop following Martin which subsequently spurred the chain of events leading to Martin’s death. Martin was obviously a ‘take no shit’ type of guy, so when he realized he was being followed, he confronted Zimmerman. Neither of them backed down and their mistakes culminated in a tragedy.
Should Zimmerman be punished for his part in contributing to the tragedy? Absolutely. He’s not a cop. I’ve been told by 911 operators not to follow someone I believed was driving drunk – and I complied. Does he deserve to be convicted of 2nd degree murder? Absolutely not. Reckless endangerment or involuntary manslaughter would make more sense to this arm-chair quarterback. As for all the talk of racial profiling, unless there were two teenagers out there of different races, and Zimmerman decided to pick Martin and ignore the other (fill in the race) teenager, it wasn’t profiling, it was wrong place, wrong time.
The ‘stand your ground’ law is a good idea, but just the same – if a cop is involved in a shooting he/she is relieved of duty until the investigation completes. That Zimmerman was able to shoot and kill another human being and be home in time for dinner while the other party was stored in a morgue as ‘john doe’ for more than a few days just doesn’t make sense to me. He should have been arrested, processed, and the courts should have made the decision on his guilt or innocence from day one, after 40 days of the media and talking heads spinning the event for their own benefit.
Both of them made mistakes, both of them are guilty of a crime, and unfortunately a life was lost because of their mistakes. It’s a tragedy no matter how you look at it. Zimmerman should be charged with a crime, not to dissuade potential victims from ‘standing their ground’ but to remind people that there are limits to what can and should be done when confronted with a situation like this. If both of them backed down, Martin would likely still be alive today.