Monday, July 1, 2013

What Exactly is George Zimmerman Guilty of?

by Pat Brown

The trial of George Zimmerman is about half-way though and the six woman jury is gong to have to decide what George is guilty of and if what he is guilty of deserves any time in prison. It is an odd case in that there is no disputing the man on trial killed someone, but there are two questions which make the final verdict a tough one; did George shoot Trayvon Martin in self-defense and how responsible was George for instigating the incident in question?

Both of these questions revolve around the definition of self-defense and one's right to resort to lethal force. Basically it comes down to this: you have the right to defend yourself from injury if you are being attacked (the key words here are "being attacked" and not that your opponent is fighting back after you attacked him nor are the two of you brawling with equal participation) and you have the right to  resort to lethal force if you are in immediate danger of extreme injury or death (and you can't shoot someone because you start losing a fight; you must have conceded and your opponent must be continuing to beat you up). I think anyone listens to this 911 call would easily conclude that George Zimmerman was screaming in terror and felt he was about to be killed.

Let me pause for a minute and discuss whether that is Trayvon or George screaming "Help me!" in the 911 call. Even if we ignore George's statement about how Trayvon punched him in the nose, knocked him down to the pavement, mounted him and started doing an MMA "ground and pound," the scenario one hears in the background of the 911 call has someone repeatedly screaming for help which would be the guy who is losing the fight. George Zimmerman clearly was not winning the battle since Trayvon had no injuries other than the bullet wound. A person who is punching the daylights out of someone or smashing their head into the pavement is not going to be screaming "Help me!" at the same time. Only someone needing a referee to stop the fight is going to be screaming for someone to save him and that someone would be George Zimmerman.

So, George passes the first test of rightful self-defense; he really was on the receiving end of a brutal assault and he thought he was going to die. It is interesting to note that one hears a bunch of screams in the tape so it is clear that George didn't get punched once and then blow away his opponent. This meant Trayvon had ample time to stop beating up George. George's screams also show that Trayvon knew George was terrified and he was not fighting back and, therefore, continuing to attack George is nothing but straight-up assault.

However, one thing that has always troubled me; George Zimmerman's cop-wanna-be attitude and some of his behaviors while in jail and in court. George has issues and one of them is taking on the role of a cop, an armed cop, while patrolling the neighborhood. Clearly, the dude can't fight for shit and following tougher, younger, possibly violent men when you are a wuss and come off like a wuss can only invite trouble. The Guardian Angels patrol neighborhoods, too, but these are usually tough young men and women who don't carry firearms. When they approach someone they think might be dangerous, they do it with the full realization they are putting their life on the line and may have to protect themselves with their fists. If a fight ensues, likely both will walk away, albeit with some damage. And, if you aren't going to carry a gun, you better go out on a group patrol or be a pretty big, tough dude.

George Zimmerman, on the other hand, brought a gun because he felt unsafe, probably because he knew he would lose if he ended up in a fight with anyone. Since George obviously hasn't spent much time in a gym, he quickly did end up on not being able to defend himself with his fists after Trayvon hit him, leaving his only resort to pull his weapon and shoot. Of course, Trayvon clearly went on far too long fighting a man who was no match for him and you do take your chances that the man down is going to pull out the only weapon that will work for this case... a gun.  George says that he only pulled the gun when he realized Trevon was going for it, which actually gives George even more right to pull the weapon and fire. Considering how long the screaming went on, I would have to give George credit for holding off for as long as he did (assuming the reason wasn't that he simply couldn't get to the gun).

So, I conclude that George Zimmerman legally shot Trayvon Martin at the moment he pulled the trigger, but, I still feel like he deserves some penalty for instigating the confrontation, only because anyone carrying a weapon (except the police) should avoid trouble. George, carrying a gun on patrol bothers me because Trayvon might not have retaliated for having his presence be questioned if it had been a police officer. Doing so while armed and without a badge raises the level of risk for both parties. However, manslaughter does not really work in this case and the sentence would likely be way too high.

It is a difficult case for six untrained jurors to decide (and most of you folks know I dislike the jury system). I don't know if I could fault them for going any direction with their verdict because there the beginning of the exact confrontation is unknown although evidence seems to indicate Trayvon circled around and then sucker punched Zimmerman which would mean at that point Trayvon was the aggressor and the attacker. I wish them the best in trying to come up with a satisfactory conclusion and I hope the public will not burst out in anger regardless of which way these jurors go. Sometimes the law cannot so clearly address a complicated scenario in which both parties deserves some of the blame for the outcome, although Trayvon Martin actually is responsible for the criminal action.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Zimmerman took MMA several times a week. He was very toned at the time of the "murder". I will never believe those desperate cries for help were coming from a buff man with a deadly weapon. No way. Those were cries coming from a helpless defensive person armed with skittles and tea in my opinion.

Pat Brown said...

Btw, being buff doesn't mean you are not a chickenshit. Even some huge bouncers at bars can be worthless at their jobs. They like to walk around like they are tough guys but when a fight breaks out, they don't have anyone's back. Usually they finally get fired because they are useless except for dealing with drunk college girls.

Pat Brown said...

Here is a bit more information on Zimmerman's supposed MMA training.

"However, a UGer familiar the case, FredEttishFan, noted that Zimmerman trained at a gym that offers MMA conditioning classes, which bear the same resemblance to MMA that cardio kickboxing does to Tyrone Spong. The prosecution was not familiar enough with the sport to know what while an escape from mount (where Zimmerman allegedly found himself vs Martin) is taught in the first week, or even day of real MMA training, it is not covered at all in cardio MMA classes."

Anonymous said...

I don't think George was a "buff" man at the time this incident took place. He had just as much right to be in that areaa & walk where he wanted to as Treyvon did! They're acting like TM was just some little kid walking along with his Arizona & skittles,he was 6'0 tall & 160 pds,I don't think George knew his age & I don't think race mattered.

Joe Blow said...

If a guy with a gun threatened me, I would beat the hell out of him to try to keep the guy from shooting me.

Is it still self defence?

Pat Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Brown said...

Of course, Joe, but you damned well better be able to prove it!

Let's say I pull a gun on you in as you are walking to your car. You knock it from my hand, scuffle with me, and when we both grab for the gun, you get there first and shoot me. The gun turns out to be stolen. Good luck, buddy, trying to prove you didn't assault and murder me.

The difficulty with the right to defend oneself with deadly force is in proving that it was necessary. When I took weapons training from a great police trainer, he told us that when we pulled the trigger we needed to be sure that we did so because we truly believed the alternative was death. Then you do what you have to do and hope the system doesn't screw you.

The big problem with this case is we now George was carrying a weapon but there is no evidence he pulled it out and threatened Trayvon until the fight was ongoing and the physical evidence leans toward George being the one getting beaten. That puts George in a better position to prove self-defense. It is still a bit gray and that is the problem with the case.

Anonymous said...

This case is difficult. I cannot get past the Neighborhood Watch job he was to do. Part of the watch program is just that watching. NO weapons are to be used. The 911 dispatcher even told him don't do anything. Let the police handle it. GZ is a a police wanna be and should not be handling a firearm. If he could not deal with the consequences. All he had to do was point it at TM and he would likely have backed off.

Anonymous said...

How was he being assaulted? Killerman went after Trayvon. Trayvon acted in self defense.

Anonymous said...

Off to search for pix of GZ " injuries"

Cozy in Texas said...

Good point about Zimmerman being the one with the injuries, but as you say he was carrying a gun and shouldn't have been stalking someone. The jury has a difficult decision to make.
By the way, I loved your book on Cleopatra.

A Voice of Sanity said...

> Zimmerman ... shouldn't have been stalking someone.

He wasn't. Following someone suspicious is entirely legal and something I have done myself.

Sucker punching someone and then trying to beat them to death is not.

Anonymous said...

What troubled me from the beginning is how Zimmerman was mistreated by the press from moment one. If his last name had been Peruvian, I doubt he would have been so readily cast as a de facto racist. It never made sense to me for Martin to be the one yelling for help when witnesses put Martin in the attack position atop Zimmerman. When Martin's mother said it was her son screaming, first, middle and last name, it struck me as trying just a little too hard. What is further disturbing is that a sitting president insists on meddling in criminal cases purely because he thinks he knows more about the case based on half of his color. Can you imagine if he spoke about his experience from the white half of himself? There's a simple test to tell if X is racism: switch the colors of the people involved and see if it still feels wrong. If Zimmerman had been black and Martin had been white, would there protests for No Justice No Peace? Would the president be saying if he had a son he would have looked like Martin? I'm sick of the double standard because it simply keeps us all mired in hard feelings. It is wasting so much frikkin time. Thanks for the post Pat, great take. --A.

Anonymous said...

Oh look, the not-colored-enough-for-the-NAACP Peruvian Jewish 'racist' who successfully defended himself using his 4th Amend right has, along with another man, helped four crash victims escape a rolled over SUV in his hometown. I guess 'partly white racists' aren't all that bad. I'm part white so that part is going to be uppity about Zimmerman's clearly irrepressible inclination to help. If he has a little bit of a hero complex, we could all use more of that rather than a profile-any-guy-not-black- as-a-possible-gay-rapist complex (as in what Rachel Jeantel told Piers Moron). Where's the gay outrage? *crickets*... O I C --A.

Anonymous said...

What the.. I meant 2nd Amendment, not 4th. Excuse me, I must go beat the proofer. *headdesk* --A.

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