General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Who was the victim?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) May 17th, 2012

When you first heard about the young black man Treyvon Martin being blown away in self defense by a “white” man Zimmerman…who did you think was the victim?

Almost 3 months later has any “new” evidence changed your opinion about this case? Do you have any concerns over how this event was handled and portrayed by the media? Will you be content with whatever outcome the courts decide?

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77 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

ooh, this question was asked 0 miliseconds ago. I didn’t think fluther went that low. Awesome.

I always thlought he was the victim, just a dumbass white american racist overreacting like they do best.

dontmindme's avatar

I’m still on the fence.

Will you be content with whatever outcome the courts decide? Yes. They have the evidence. I don’t.

ETpro's avatar

Zimmerman was clearly getting the worse for it in the fight. He may well have had reason to fear that if he didn’t run or shoot, he would be seriously injured or even killed. But if the Stand Your Ground law is applied correctly, he should have no defense if he can be shown to have started the confrontation. If he had done what the 911 operator told him to do, and stayed in his car, both of them would be fine today. Instead, he chased after Treyvon Martin. If some bozo chased me down in the dark and grabbed me my reaction would be fight or flight, and I am sure that was Martin’s reaction.

Coloma's avatar

I think Treyvon was a narcissistic, paranoid / biased, knows better than than anyone else, immature young jerk. He made a error of judgement and he should pay for it.
Tragic outcome of YOUTHFUL stupidity, programming, ego, color aside.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I think everyone overreacted to the story, of course, immediately wanting to brand this as a racist crime. Other than that, nothing has really changed my mind. It’s ultimately just a “he started it!” case…

So I’m just waiting to see if they can prove who started it…

chyna's avatar

If Zimmerman had stayed in the car as the 911 people told him to do, this would not be an issue. None of it would have happened.

woodcutter's avatar

First of all ,since when has following someone been considered a threat? If that was what was going on, one guy watching another’s every move ,I don’t see how that makes it self defense on the part of the person being surveiled. It may well anger them because we all know it’s impolite to stare but to say he (Martin) was standing his ground seems weak.

Nullo's avatar

I think that accusing him of murder is a bit much. That Zimmerman was wounded at all suggests that he drew and fired once he started losing a more physical contest.
Manslaughter is a more fitting charge, and self-defense ought not to figure into a fight that he walked in to. (I’m not sure who threw the first punch, though. There may be a takeaway lesson of “don’t swing first” that would be prudent for more people to learn.)

On the other hand, this whole thing underscores our ability to jump to conclusions, especially ones that fit our own agendas. For instance, the media’s bloodthirst and the willingness for certain parties to try to stack the deck by crying hate crime. If this leads to a serious re-evaluation of hate-crimes laws as a concept, well, I might be happy with that.

jrpowell's avatar

“I think Treyvon was a narcissistic, paranoid / biased, knows better than than anyone else, immature young jerk. He made a error of judgement and he should pay for it.
Tragic outcome of YOUTHFUL stupidity, programming, ego, color aside.”

We need a down vote button. Or at least a “I just lost all respect” one.

dontmindme's avatar

@woodcutter First of all ,since when has following someone been considered a threat? I’m a female and I would feel threatened if I was followed. But I wouldn’t attack the person following me. I would call 911. I agree with everything you said except your first statement.

Coloma's avatar

@johnpowell He’s an ass, young, cocky, biased and was just itching to have an altercation. Can you spell E-G-O? That’s my opinion, along with the obvious fact he has the IQ of a potato.

DominicX's avatar

@woodcutter I don’t think attacking someone because they were following you is “self-defense” (there usually has to be another attack in order for it to be self-defense), but really…you wouldn’t consider being followed threatening? I think the whole concept of “stalking” indicates how people feel about being followed.

Coloma's avatar

OH…my mistake…I meant to say ZIMMERMAN…not Treyvon.
Okay…addendum…ZIMMERMAN has the IQ of a potato.

Cruiser's avatar

@Coloma the defense atty wants to know is your concern over an Idaho potato or Russet? It apparently matters greatly! ;)~

Coloma's avatar

@Cruiser A spud is a spud…take that tater to the fryer. lol

Cruiser's avatar

@Coloma Duly noted! Now…does your assessment of this case in any way change if we are talking about mashed, french fried or twice baked?? Would you like a salad with your potato? Perhaps a glass of Chardonnay to wash it down??

jrpowell's avatar

@Coloma :: I’m glad you simply mixed up the names.

Coloma's avatar

@johnpowell Took me a minute there, I couldn’t figure out WTH you were saying. haha

woodcutter's avatar

@DominicX Do I think being followed makes me feel threatened? It depends. But I sure as hell wouldn’t go to town on someone who was doing it. The marks on Zimmerman look like a little more than a slap of disapproval. Apparently Martin, at least in what we know ,smoked more than his fair share of weed. Not that it should matter here but…..We all know that would have no part in making someone just a we bit paranoid~? His THC levels were consistent with a regular user or, one that recently burned one. Either way you slice it ,self defense is going to be a stretch if being followed was all that was going on. You really think he would have gone after him like that after seeing a pistol?

jca's avatar

New evidence of them saying Martin had marijuana in his system means to me that perhaps Florida laws will not find Zimmerman guilty. Florida laws are wacky anyway. Look at the Bush/Gore election and what happened there. I have zero faith in application of the law in Florida.

In my opinion (just my opinion), if Zimmerman did as the 911 operator said he should and didn’t get out of the car, there would be no issue. Neighborhood Watch is supposed to watch and call the cops. It would make me happy if Zimmerman ends up doing a lot of time in jail, convicted of whatever. I am doubtful that will happen.

We also hashed this discussion out on at least two other threads. Majorly hashed it out. I find this topic to be so tiring. It doesn’t matter what we think. It’s in the hands of the court now.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My initial thought prior to hearing or reading anything was that there must have been some info that wasn’t being reported as to why Zimmerman shot the kid.

So, I waited well over a week before I came to the conclusion that Zimmerman was completely in the wrong.

The kid was guilty of wearing a hoodie, whilst being black and walking in front of a racist. Zimmerman profiled him from the first moment of seeing him, called 911 and then proceeded to do as he saw fit on his own.

No words to ask Trayvon where he lived, no introduction of himself as a neighborhood watcher…nothing to justify his horrible decision.

The 911 call was what altered my opinion. Then, I heard 911 calls from the neighboring apartments. Trayvon’s finally scream sounded like an animal being sent to slaughter. It was chilling.

woodcutter's avatar

“If Zimmerman would have just stayed in his car” Seriously? What about if: “Martin had chosen another way to get to where he was going?” If someone is volunteering to be neighborhood watch, it might be necessary at times to get out of a vehicle to see better. He was there and had a purpose, otherwise what would be the point? Think about it. To be confined to a car only ,as if suspicious characters are only going to sneaking about in plain view right there on the main drag, is going to limit their usefulness in that capacity to pretty much nothing.
By the time Zimmerman was instructed to break off pursuit he was already out of the car, was he not?

So much effort has gone into making this a racial deal why? To make it have more plausibility? It really needs that to kick it over the edge? Pretty much all the people who are sure Martin was the victim are all black…all the “expert opinions” and other commentary. The same is true for they who think Zimmerman was justified to stop an ass beating he clearly was not prepared for, the white people what…no Hispanics? It is already split down racial quarters anyway.

Nullo's avatar

@johnpowell The lurve allocation gets abused as it is. Throw in a downvote system and it’ll only get worse.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Philosophile's avatar

@woodcutter Except Zimmerman already believed he was a suspect, and had already reported him. Besides, Zimmerman decided to go after him instead of returning to the car. The reason they think it was possibly racially motivated is because the 911 call recording reveals what sound like Zimmerman saying “fucking coons,” which would mean that Zimmerman’s suspicion WAS racially motivated. However, they’re not sure if that’s what he actually said, though it’s worth looking into.

@Johnpowell I agree with the sentiment, not necessarily the phrasing. It’s extremely stereotypical and unfair to say that, Woodcutter. Like saying that all Hispanic people agree with Zimmerman. It’s simply untrue.

woodcutter's avatar

Those I was referring to were the talking heads we all have seen in the news. Pretty much can be taken in a narrow way but the one way it cant be taken as for it to mean all. You have to admit.MOST of the time it works out that way and I’m sorry it pisses off the few but it’s all right there. Pretty predictable.

Of course here on fluther if you dislike guns and the people who have them that too will be as predictable.

funkdaddy's avatar

The uproar wasn’t about who was the victim or people thinking they had all the evidence.

The outrage was because it looked like it was OK to decide you were a threat, pressure you until there’s an altercation, and then kill you.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @ETpro.

Basically Trayvon was standing his ground from what I can tell. I wondered the other day, what if Zimmerman had wound up dead? Trayvon would have been hauled into jail in a second I bet.

No one should have died, it is a horrible tragedy. I don’t think Zimmerman intended to hurt or kill anyone. I do think he handled the situation horribly and aggressively, when it was not his place to do it. Possibly Trayvon reacted in a way that escalated things after confronted, but still an adult man should be able to deescalate a situation. Most kids who are up to no good would run wouldn’t they? I don’t see how a fight breaks out unless Zimmerman was immediately trying to handle the kid physically.

I’ll accept whatever the courts say.

AshlynM's avatar

Young, black male teen wearing a hoodie. Young white male teen wearing a hoodie. Young asian male teen wearing a hoodie. Who do you the police would choose as a suspect for spray painting a wall or stealing a bike?

Neighborhood watches are not vigilante groups and they’re not supposed just take matters into their own hands.
The entire situation was handled very poorly from ALL sides (including police), even from the media reporting it when it first came about. We can debate forever on hindsight, but what I’m concerned with now is if Zimmerman isn’t found guilty, what will the public do to him, especially Martin’s family? The public already has this angry mob mentality, what’s to stop them from taking action?

jca's avatar

@woodcutter: What about if Martin had chosen another way to get where he was going? Why should he have? People with hoodies shouldn’t walk through that complex or you might get shot? “He may have needed to get out of his car to look at Martin”, despite being told not to by 911? Look at him for what? Follow him in the car if need be, to point him out to the cops. Watch him, like the neighborhood watch is supposed to do.

Kayak8's avatar

Wow, I don’t know who is to blame because all I have to go on is what the media has reported, adjusted, controverted, etc. I have absolutely no idea what evidence is available to support either side. I will be fine with the trial result as they, most hopefully, will get to see evidence.

syz's avatar

Wow, why do so many people have such firm convictions when they weren’t there, don’t know the individuals involved, and didn’t investigate the crime? And by the way, why the hell speculate? It just adds to the divisiveness (as an example, see above).

AshlynM's avatar

@syz I wonder the same thing about Zimmerman’s father and brother. Why are they defending him so much? They know him but they weren’t present at the scene.

jca's avatar

@syz: We were asked. We’re answering the question. That’s what Fluther is about. They’re just opinions.

syz's avatar

@AshlynM “don’t know the individuals involved” I don’t find it surprising that family members would support him.

@jca Sure, everyone’s got an opinion, but look at all of the rage and hurt that spread across the country over this case, in many cases because people with no direct involvement made snap judgements. But deciding guilt is what the court systems are for, and when someone is tried in the court of the public eye, it’s manifestly unjust and just adds fuel to the fire, IMO.

jca's avatar

@syz: Sure. that’s what the courts are for. That’s my last sentence in my first answer. I said that very thing! Yup.

However, again, we’re all just answering the question. That, again, is what Fluther is about. Ask a question, get some answers.

funkdaddy's avatar

Here’s a pdf of all the evidence released recently, along with the police department’s findings and recommendations.

Informed people, who investigated the crime and have been in touch with the people involved decided

The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman. If Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern. There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.

and further down

Based on the facts and circumstances outlined in this narrative, I believe there exists probable cause for issuance of a capias charging George Michael Zimmerman with Manslaughter

There are reasons the police department doesn’t get to decide guilt and punishment and I fully support those reasons and think a trial should be separate. But people who were there staked their reputation and career on the fact that they think something wrong happened and someone should be charged with a crime.

Whether he’s been charged correctly or if there are other laws and rights that excuse what Zimmerman did legally is another matter as far as I’m concerned. This isn’t a case where the average person lacks access to sufficient evidence to have an informed opinion.

Qingu's avatar

I am glad he was charged. There shouldn’t be any question that when a kid is shot, with no evidence of an actual crime, the killer should just get to walk scot free.

It seems obvious that Zimmerman instigated the situation. He was told not to follow Martin, and he did. He also obviously made an uncalled for assumption on Martin’s motives for walking through the neighborhood, assuming Martin was a criminal, and appeared willing to treat him as such. That, to me, makes him liable to at least some extent.

Whether that extent is murder, manslaughter, or something lighter, I dunno. It would seem to depend a lot on who actually threw the first punch, how, and why. Maybe it’s impossible to know for sure. In any case, this is exactly why we have a justice system.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Basically, it all comes down to the fact that Zimmerman was told to stay in his car. However, Zimmerman (who had a past history of confrontations with law enforcement), chose to get out of his car & follow Martin. Whether or not Martin had been smoking marijuana really has no bearing on the case (usually pot smokers get mellow, not paranoid). Zimmerman made what sounded like racist statements on the phone when he was told to stay in his car. Martin was a black kid in what was a ‘white’ neighborhood, he was wearing a ‘hoodie, & at some point Zimmerman confronted him. It may be that Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman following him, & being as young as he was, he may have challenged Zimmerman. But Martin was unarmed & Zimmerman had a gun (& a past history of being quick to anger). Now Martin is dead & cannot speak for himself & Zimmerman’s defense attorney may pull the “hopped up on drugs” defense for Zimmerman (if it can be confirmed that Martin had been smoking pot) & chances are strong that Zimmerman will be found to be not guilty because Martin was using pot. He will become just another statistic in the “War On Drugs” because Zimmerman felt like Martin did not belong in “his” neighborhood, because he was a young black teenager wearing a ‘hoodie! He should be found guilty of killing Martin & he should be sentenced to prison time, but chances are…... it will not happen.

Philosophile's avatar

@funkdaddy Thanks for that addition of cited evidence :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

The victim was Trayvon Martin. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest otherwise.

@Cruiser I don’t know what media you are watching and/or reading, but none of the stories I read about Zimmerman described him as white until after the Republicans started trying to make this about race.

@woodcutter I am about as white as can be and I am sure that Martin was the victim. Almost all of the white people I know agree. If you are merely talking about people on the news, that’s not a very good way of judging anything. Television “news” is basically all show these days, and pundits are basically stock characters. When the Republicans tried to make this about race, the news stations started scrambling for black people to argue about it. Don’t fall for the theatrics.

@syz Virtually everything any human being does is based on fallible evidence. Do you believe I exist? You don’t know me, you’ve never investigated my home. Human beings speculate by nature. If you wait for 100% confirmation that a Smilodon is behind you before running, you wind up dead.

jca's avatar

Even if Zimmerman doesn’t go to jail, he will never live this down and he will probably be harassed where ever he goes. He might get his ass kicked or worse out on the street. If he goes to jail, he’s toast.

woodcutter's avatar

So let me be sure I understand the logic correctly. Lets use different people to do it. I, (woodcutter) am in error of following someone without cause, because there have been people who have, out some kind of trust ,chose me to lurk in the area to just keep an eye on things because of concerns, and I pick the wrong guy to mess with. I’m 52 and in no shape to run or really duke it out with someone younger or bigger than me. I see the person I have been watching has had enough of this and in general ,enough of society thinking he’s a bad guy because of outer appearances, and decides to let me have it now. And he’s good. I mean this guy is handing my ass to me in a bad way.

Here’s the question: Even if I concede I may have been wrong by pressuring this kid (by following him), he has by this time really confirmed my assessment he’s a bad player. The neighborhood watch BS is not the issue now, this kid is going to knock the hell out of me and probably get his mitts on a gun thats bound to make an appearance in a struggle. My nose is busted and the back of my skull has taken an impact that could turn out the lights. So do I let the kid continue out of respect to show that I admit I made a mistake and just let him get this out of his system? or do I do the only thing I can do at this point in time and open fire?

Remember nobody in a struggle for their lives has the benifit of hindsight.
What would you have done?
And please don’t say you would never have been there in the first place to need to make such a decision. Play along.

chyna's avatar

@woodcutter He had no business getting out of the car and following the kid in the first place. As you point out, he is 52, out of shape, and is packing. So to me, he is expecting his gun to carry his voice. The kid is going to the house he is staying at, talking on the phone to his girlfriend, minding his own business. Some old guy is following him, saying crap to him and doesn’t identify himself. What would you do? It doesn’t matter what color either of you are, what would you do in the kids place?

funkdaddy's avatar

Or we could say you’re an adult, who outweighs the minor you’re following by 40 pounds, and who made the mistake of thinking someone else didn’t have the right to be out in public.

But I guess we’re ignoring that, and playing along.

So I guess you don’t want to fight, but you’ve decided to physically challenge someone, confidence probably boosted by the gun only you know you have.

And now you’re scared you’ll get shot. Shot by the gun you brought to the fucking party altercation you didn’t want to be a part of, right?

Sorry, having trouble playing along again, back to our “game”.

So you’re struggling, you’re getting your ass handed to you and you decide the best thing to do is escalate this again by pulling out your gun. You get one or both hands free even though you’re at such a disadvantage to this other guy. Good job!

Wait, if you can pull a gun out here, couldn’t you probably get away? Am I not playing along? What if you pull the gun and he backs off, do you still shoot him? I know, I know, they told you in your gun safety class to never pull your gun unless you plan to shoot, so now that it’s out, might as well, right?

What’s the worst that could happen? Well, at least it won’t happen to you, right?

You’re just standing your ground.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter Allow me to introduce you to the loaded question fallacy. What’s that? You’re already well acquainted? Ah, yes… I see that you are.

That Zimmerman got himself into a situation with no good solution is his own fault. Even if we were to agree that his actions were understandable in the circumstances, that does not excuse the bad behavior any more than it excuses a drug dealer from killing a police officer because he knows that he’s on his third strike (meaning he’ll go to prison for life if caught again). It would have been better to stop selling drugs, of course; but as you say, that’s all hindsight (and therefore “doesn’t count,” apparently).

Now, you want to say that Zimmerman did what anybody would do. I disagree. Indeed, @funkdaddy has already presented a rather commonsense alternative. But you also ask what we would have done. My martial arts training tells me to stop the fight, not to escalate it. In the worst case scenario, I’d pull the gun and try to use the threat of it against my attacker rather than just shoot. Again, this is exactly as @funkdaddy suggests. If my attacker continued to advance on me, I’d use non-lethal stopping force and call 911 immediately.

Finally, I’d like to go back and make a point about neighborhood watch. My family started the neighborhood watch movements in my hometown. We were coached by the local police. Following is not part of it. That’s why it’s neighborhood watch. You are supposed to watch and inform. Everything else Zimmerman did was against procedure. You think this makes being a watchman pointless, but that is false. A watchman can be effective without chasing or confronting people. It’s not the getting out of the car that is the problem, after all; it’s that he followed Martin after fulfilling his role as informant.

woodcutter's avatar

Martial arts is not an alternative for I’m guessing 99.999% of the general population. Even suggesting that be some sort of obligation is sanctimonious at the least. Zimmerman was in a place he had a legal right to be. It wasn’t like he followed the guy into his own house. In which case he would officially be trespassing and probably a few other illegal things.

When you have someone beating your face to a pulp how do you even use a phone? It’s gone way beyond that by that point. And when was the last time you saw 911 work in time to stop anything? Do you tell the kid to back off while you report him to the police? C’mon.

I can tell you don’t have any firearms.or any training in their use. That, or you watched too many Lone Ranger shows. If someone is on top of you pounding your face in, you don’t just point a pistol at them at that point and say “stop it or else”. By that point in time, the guy on the bottom is already at a great disadvantage. Things are moving fast as a blur.Remembering that martial arts is not an option still.
Zimmerman may have overstepped his authority ,but up until the point of the hand to hand QCB no laws have been broken by either person. So again…even factoring in that he should have not been following the kid, do you still think the kid was justified in escalating something when G Z had done nothing personal to him except watching him?

George Zimmerman did not start any altercation deserving of an ass beating going by what little information that has been leaked out. Speculate all you want but following someone around is perfectly legal as long as you are in a place you have a legal right to be.

funkdaddy's avatar

@woodcutter – The police were already called, the first officer arrived 20 seconds after the shot was fired.

Maybe he could have held out? Are we ignoring that too?

Have you looked at the evidence? What exactly are you objecting to?

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter You have no idea who started the altercation.

First, Teryvon martin was walking back from a convenience store to his uncles house, where his family were visiting. He had the perfect right to be there. Against the 911 operator’s specific instructions, Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin. You could hear him huffing and puffing on hos cell phone. He wasn’t just floowiing the kid, he was chasing him down.

It’s a reasonable guess he ran up behind Martin and grabbed him, perhaps asking what he was up to. If someone did that to me as I was walking along a poorly lit path at night, I’d be likely to deck him. If that’s how it played out, and the evidence does point there, then stand your ground does not apply. I don’t think they can get 2nd Degree Murder under the Florida statutes, but Manslaughter may well be the verdict. On the other hand, there may be enough confusion and doubt about who really escalated the confrontation to a fight that the jury will conclude that they can’t determine beyond a reasonable doubt wwhich man started it. Zimmerman has one big leg up in this. He’s alive to spin the story so it enhonerates himself, whether he is innocent or guilty. Dead men tell no tales.

woodcutter's avatar

But nobody really knows what exactly happened. I’m having a hard time believing shooting the kid was right up front on the altercation. Nobody is going to let someone beat the crap out of them in any event. GZ’s head was all fucked up and the kid had a messed up hand. Not trying to take sides but it looks suspicious whenever the race card gets whipped out right out of the box. Zimm is looking at manslaughter at the worst but then again nobody knows what really happened between those two. Guessing about what happened is good discusion material but I’m going on what has been put out there to date as far as I know.

AshlynM's avatar

With the technology available today, is it possible to determine who was calling for help on the 911 tape? If this hasn’t been done already, why haven’t they tried to determine this? Wouldn’t that make this investigation easier in determining Zimmerman’s innocence? Surely someone’s had some time now to look over that recording. That would be important key evidence right there.

jca's avatar

@woodcutter: Bottom line is it really was not necessary for him to get out of the car. Bottom line is 911 told him not to get out of the car. Bottom line is he already knew cops were coming because he called already. Bottom line is if he didn’t get out of his car, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now.

LostInParadise's avatar

One thing that I hope the trial does is to discuss the rules of neighborhood watch groups. They are a national group with a clear set of rules. One rule is that members are not allowed to carry guns. Their purpose is to observe and to report anything wrong to the police. By carring a gun and disobeying instructions from the police, Zimmerman transformed himself form neighborhood watch member to vigilante. He should not go unpunished.

jca's avatar

@LostInParadise: If he avoids jail he’s definitely going to be punished anyway. If he goes to jail, forget it. He knows it. I know he’s tormented now. Good for him.

chyna's avatar

@woodcutter You keep going back to the whole “no one is going to let someone beat the crap out of them” scenario. As we have all said 100 times, if Zimmerman had followed the rules of the neighborhood “watch” and reported what he thought of as suspicious behavior and stayed in his car as ordered, we would not be talking about why his head was being bashed in. When you bring a gun to a fight, someone is going to die.

jca's avatar

@woodcutter: The whole “got his head beat in” is addressing Step 4 or 3 or whatever. If Zimmerman never went past step 1, this would have never happened.

Nullo's avatar

@jca Actually, only about 20% of handgun shootings are fatal, provided that the wounded party receives prompt medical attention. Look at Giffords. She was shot in the head and is just about back to where she was before.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter I see you are also acquainted with the red herring fallacy. I recommend reading my response again, as I did not say any of the things you attribute to me.

You asked how we would personally react to a situation, and I gave you an answer to how I personally would respond. Focusing on the words “martial arts” in my response is completely disingenuous of you as I made no reference to using martial arts techniques. What I noted—quite explicitly—was that what a martial artist’s training would tell him to do in this situation is remarkably similar to what common sense tells everyone else to do: stop the situation, don’t escalate it.

Second, I didn’t say a single thing about using the phone while being beaten. My point about neighborhood watch was completely separate from the rest of my response, as should have been obvious to anyone giving even the least amount of effort to understand what was actually written. The point was merely that your earlier attempts to defend Zimmerman by claiming he was merely fulfilling his duties as a watchman are incorrect. The point was that a good watchman never would have gotten into this situation in the first place.

As for firearms training, you know perfectly well that I have trained in their use. We have discussed it before, though you refused to engage in honest discussion on that occasion as well (preferring again to respond to things you were pretending I had said rather than what I had actually said). I also have self-defense training, and I know that anyone who is being responsible does wait to use lethal force until it is necessary. Not only is that what the law requires, it is what any decent human being would do.

You keep saying that no laws had been broken, but there is actually some ambiguity on that score. Florida’s stalking law is very broad and does not set any minimum duration guidelines. Whether or not Zimmerman’s actions constitute stalking under Florida law very well may be part of the trial, so we cannot say with complete confidence at this stage that Zimmerman broke no laws. Moreover, people have a right to defend themselves from credible threats. Martin knew that he was doing nothing wrong, and he knew he was being followed. That his self-defense instincts might have been aroused is surely quite understandable (especially if the reports about Zimmerman’s gun being exposed are true).

The other legal point to be made is that Zimmerman lost his right to claim a Stand Your Ground defense as soon as he decided to follow Martin. This is not to say that he broke a law, but only that it removes one possible avenue of defending Zimmerman. In the words of Jeb Bush: “This law does not apply to this particular circumstance [...] Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.” Even if no laws were broken, Martin had a right to defend himself from a credible threat and Zimmerman had no basis for a Stand Your Ground claim.

You want to bring everything back to the fact that people will defend themselves when being beaten. The question for you, though, is “so what?” That it was his natural reaction does not mean that he had a legal justification for doing so. The law says he never should have gotten himself into that situation in the first place. The law says that what he did negates any sort of self-defense claim Zimmerman might try to make in court, even if it counts as self-defense in a broader sense. In short, you’re entire argument is irrelevant.

The question asked who the victim was. Trayvon Martin is the one who was followed while doing nothing wrong, and Trayvon Martin is the one who wound up dead. Whatever we think of Zimmerman—whether you think he is a tragic figure who made a mistake or a vicious killer who ought to be put away for life—that still makes Martin the victim by any reasonable definition.

woodcutter's avatar

Ok kids the deal with wanting not to be pounded even though it may have not been appropriare to be walking. It is all shoulda, coulda, woulda by that point. If the guy is told to stand down while already gone and out of the car then it has to be done after the fact.G Z was out of breath by the sound of the call to the cops so it appears he took the initiative to investigate away from vehicle. I’m just sayin. One report I heard was it was raining and after being told to back off he did and was hiking back to the car when the contact happened. Whether I be right or wrong for any reason, not going to allow someone to punch me repeatedly. Because by then it ain’t about neighborhood watch anymore. This whole case has about been beaten to death and not many people really know everything that happened. Either way this trial turns out, it may be a good idea to not be driving around in any Fla city intersection while being white.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter You don’t seem to be paying attention. No one is denying that Zimmerman could be expected to defend himself once the fight with Martin began (regardless of how it got started). What we are saying is that the expectation that he would defend himself is not a legal defense for killing Martin if he provoked the conflict. It’s not that subtle of a point, so I’m not sure why you can’t seem to get it.

woodcutter's avatar

He didn’t kill Martin if it was self defense….Martin did, Get it?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter Killing someone in self-defense is still killing. It might stop it from being murder, but it doesn’t stop it from being killing. This is a rather basic point of both English and logic. If that’s really what your argument is built upon, then, it seems we must add the equivocation to the list of fallacies with which you are clearly acquainted.

ETpro's avatar

@woodcutter You’re missing the legal point. Under the law, if you pick a fight with someone, you don’t have a right to kill them when you start losing the fight. That’s not standing your ground, it’s invading another innocent persons space, getting in their face, and then having to use deadly force to win a fight that never needed to happen.

You are quite right we don’t know who started it. But evidence weighs heavily on it being Zimmerman. Is that evidence so strong 12 members of a jury will think there is no reasonable doubt? I don’t have a clue. We’ll just have to wait and see.

JLeslie's avatar

@woodcutter Think of it this way. Let’s say Zimmerman was an armed theif. He breaks into my home, and I try to fight him off. He fires at me and I die. Then is Zimmerman entitled to defend himself under stand his ground in your mind? I think that is what people are trying to point out, if Zimmerman was the aggressor, the one threatening another person’s life to begin with, in this case Trayvon, then can Zimmerman still claim stand your ground as a defense?

I know we don’t know for sure what happened, or what was in Zimmerman’s and Trayvon’s mind, but Zimmerman’s aggression, persistence, in pursuing Trayvon after being told to stand down, reminds me of that case not too long ago when those theives kept trying to come in to that teenage mother’s house and finally she shot one dead and the other ran off. Pretty much everyone agreed she should not have charges against her, even though I had a lot of Republicans trying to say Democrats would fault her for defending herself, that was made up crap, because I don’t know one Democrat who did. Sure a few liberals found it an opportunity to talk about gun control, but fault her, or convict her of murder? Nobody.

woodcutter's avatar

children…CHILDREN!! Nobody knows who did what yet. So all I have to go on is the dribbled out stuff that we get and, just trying to think like a potential juror might be asked to do with my head. Too many are thinking with their emotions and that will get you thrown off any potential jury line up quick. It is looking to me that there is a contingent who wants the evidence to show things a certain way to match their beliefs. Without any evidence to the contrary we have to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant.

If Zim did turn around to go back to the car (as has been told) before the two were close enough to fight then that becomes a separate incident. If he hit first then he’s toast. You don’t know. That’s why q’s like this expecting people to be judge and jury right now at this point is really silly ,but on another aspect of even more fun you guys have been burnin up my inbox with some killer hate-on….and I like that.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter Ah, infantilizing the opposition. Just more rhetorical nonsense to add to the list. Quite frankly, it is strange of you to accuse everyone else of arguing based on emotions when you are the one who:

(a) brought up the irrelevant issue of marijuana (and then immediately disavowed its relevance, raising the question of why you brought it up in the first place if not to poison the well),

(b) engaged in race-baiting while attacking others for mentioning race (and ignoring the fact that it was Zimmerman’s supporters who made race an issue first in what turned out to be a disastrous attempt to distract from the real issues), and

(c) argued entirely in loaded questions and other fallacies while refusing to engage honestly with what others had written (going so far as to ignore one post entirely because it was too long, as if complicated issues could be adequately solved by sound bites).

No one here has claimed to know exactly what happened on the night in question. Indeed, most have gone out of their way to note that they do not know exactly what happened. Bringing that point up in your last post as if it were something novel, then, is just further disingenuous behavior from you. If you are not willing to have an honest discussion here, that tells us all we need to know about your personal take on the matter.

jca's avatar

@woodcutter: We don’t know what happened. However, we have heard the 911 operator telling Zim not to pursue. So, he was told not to pursue, it’s not his role as neighborhood watch to get out of his car, it was not necessary to get out of the car, but he did, and the other side of the story is now dead and not here to defend himself. At this point, Zim can spin the story any way he wants to make himself sound like an altar boy.

Paradox25's avatar

Without getting technical legally here, I still believe that Zimmerman deserves some type of harsh punishment for forcing the situation into getting worse. Also, it seems that Zimmerman’s hero ego, along with his stalking ended up leaving a kid with his whole life ahead of him gone. I guess I’m one of those people who believe that some cases of manslaughter are more evil than many first degree murder cases. We will likely never learn what really happened in this case for obvious reasons.

@ETpro The problem with these types of laws (I do agree with the intent behind them) is that it is nearly impossible most of the time to figure out who started a fight, especially like you’ve said, when one party is gone from the picture. Even then it is still difficult to ‘prove’ who started a confrontation.

woodcutter's avatar

@jca I’m pretty sure that when he was instructed to break off surveillance, he was already out there on foot following him. I mean how do you disobey a command not to leave the car if you are already out of it? The closest thing anyone can do to comply is stop then and go back.
The prosecution’s big angle was racism and profiling and that has died. The guy was a private tudor to young black kids as well as his not to distant lineage is black. It’s going to have to rely on provable facts. Look, if the guy shot that kid on purpose in cold blood then he’s going to fry but if the boy took things to a higher level especially if it comes out he chose to fight him instead of moving on, its going to be the defense’s case to lose.

and to set things right so we all know ,that we all know….EVERYONE profiles to some degree. There’s no way you don’t, unless you have been taught to be incredibly naive, stupid or blind. It is instinct.

chyna's avatar

@woodcutter “I’m pretty sure that when he was instructed to break off surveillance, he was already out there on foot following him.” Really? You were there? You know that how?
And really, even if he was, he needed to back off. As per instructed by the 911 people.

woodcutter's avatar

@chyna I’m pretty sure it was in the news reports I saw. Anyway in the recording it sounded like a real out of breath GZ. Gives it away he’s not sitting in the car tugging one off.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@woodcutter Zimmerman’s former MySpace page provides evidence that George is racist.

dontmindme's avatar

Everyone so quick to judge without all the evidence and the media swaying your view.

so sad

woodcutter's avatar

@SpatzieLover What some would call a racist is the same person not being politically correct sometimes. It’s a touchy subject and people can be sensitive and perceive disrespect when there was never any intended. If you want to be safe just tow the P.C. line and stay safe but if you dare have an opinion than starts to tangent away from the purely established and accepted vernacular well then there is some risk of getting that albatross around your neck. Too many people like to automatically complain about that because they are loaded triggers waiting to go at the something that remotely sounds like its going that way. It becomes the perfect smoke screen if its used skillfully enough.

jca's avatar

@woodcutter: I think talking about hittin’ Mexicans and referring to them as “soft ass wanna-be thugs” is a bit more than being “not politically correct. I think that’s disrespectful language at the very least.

woodcutter's avatar

Was He speaking about all Mexicans OR the one’s that do nothing but run dope and hustle people? I’m thinking he was speaking about the ner do wells. See what I mean? The same statement can be taken different way by different people. White people aren’t the only one’s who get away with self deprecation aye?

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