I don’t think we can say what actually happened at this time. There have been a lot of different descriptions of the event, and they are contradictory.
I’ve been swayed back and forth as different evidence comes forth. I also know my interpretation is clouded by my opinion about getting out and initiating a confrontation once you have involved police — but that is what I would do, and that has no bearing on legality.
I don’t think that walking after a person to ask them what they are doing is a crime (on the other hand, I didn’t think asking teens if they wanted a ride in a snowstorm was a crime either, but someone got a ticket for it and was threatened with incarceration so what do I know).
Certainly having a gun isn’t a crime. And using a gun if you are being beat up isn’t a crime, at least not in Florida. I wouldn’t shoot a person to stop getting beat up, but we don’t even know if there was a struggle for the gun or not. For all we know, Martin saw the gun, grabbed for it, and while they were fighting over the weapon, it went off and killed him.
What do we really know? We know that Martin is dead. We know that Zimmerman’s gun shot him. We know that Zimmerman was in a car, and got out of the car. We know (because we have an eyewitness) that at one point, Zimmerman was underneath Martin. We know that Zimmerman has a broken nose (his lawyer told us this), and I think we know zimmerman has grass stains on his clothes (again indicating he was underneath).
What we have SOME evidence for? We know someone was shouting help. We know Zimmerman said it was him, and a friend said it was his voice. The family insists it was Martin; We’ve heard the tapes, and I think it sounds more like an adult than a kid, but on the other hand Martin isn’t the 14-year-old they show pictures of.
We have evidence that Zimmerman has friends who are black, who will vouch that he isn’t a racist looking to kill black people (note that we DO have evidence that black people are looking to have Zimmerman killed). We have also been told that there was no bullet in the chamber of the gun, and no bullets missing from the clip.
What don’t we know that the police surely know? Well, other than the report of a broken nose, we don’t know what evidence the police have regarding the struggle. Does Martin have any bruises or other signs of being hit? Does Zimmerman have other signs of a struggle? Where are the powder burns, etc, to suggest how the gun was oriented when it went off? One expert suggests that the lack of chambered round means the gun was being held when it was shot, but the police would know that. We don’t know how big Martin was, or whether he had any self-defense training, to decide whether it is credible that he would be a threat (only unsourced reports that he was 6 foot 3 inches, and another that he was 140 pounds, which seems unlikely to both be correct).
I could paint a picture “most favorable” to BOTH men, and it wouldn’t mean a crime was committed. Martin is walking and sees a big hispanic guy following him. It makes him scared. He starts walking fast because of his girlfriend’s suggestion, but then he hears the guy coming up on him. Maybe he even sees the gun, and thinks he is about to get robbed or assaulted by a gang member or something. So he ducks behind something, and as Martin comes up, he jumps him to try to get the gun away from him just so Zimmerman doesn’t shoot him.
Zimmerman isn’t trying to confront the guy, just wants to keep an eye on him so when the police get there he can say where he is. Then the guy jumps him. He gets knocked down, and starts yelling for help. Then the guy is reaching for his weapon, and Zimmerman is sure Martin is going to take the gun and shoot him. Zimmerman fights over the gun with Martin, and it goes off, killing Martin. Then the police show up, and Zimmerman describes what happend.
If this ended up with Martin alive and Zimmerman dead, I could argue that it was just an unfortunate accident, that Martin had a reason to be afraid (I know, that would be racist — he probably wouldn’t have been afraid of some middle-age white guy, but a mean-looking Hispanic?) Martin, fearing for his life, would have some right to take pre-emptive action, including jumping the guy to grab the weapon. Stupid, but probably not illegal in the end.
But apparently, nobody thinks that an unarmed man can be killed, and it not be a crime. Sometimes everything just goes bad, and you get unlucky, and nobody was trying to do anything criminal, and still someone is dead.
I could also describe this in a way that Martin was guilty of assault, or that Zimmerman was guilty of 2nd degree murder. We just don’t have enough evidence available to us as non-involved observers.
That seems awfully complicated.
It seems like it would be a lot more efficient to just have a panel of bloggers and MSNBC talk show hosts declare the guy guilty and move on.
Just think...we don’t need prosecutors, judges, or juries anymore. Think of the money we’ll save and the “justice” we’ll all have.
“What we have SOME evidence for? We know someone was shouting help. We know Zimmerman said it was him, and a friend said it was his voice. The family insists it was Martin; “
To be clear, there is a witness to move this to the “what we really know” column.
“I wouldnt shoot a person to stop getting beat up, “
Serious Question: You say you would not shoot someone beating you if you had a weapon. Okay. Doesn’t this mean you are placing your life into the hands of a thug? I mean, if you are being BEATEN the thug can beat you until you are dead, or, just beat you until you are senseless and then take the weapon from you and shoot you. Essentially, you are betting your life the thug beating you will NOT kill you.
So, if I understand your position correctly, if you are being beat by a thug that pinned you to the ground and is slamming your head into the ground, you would not defend your life? Your choice but not mine.
Like I said, if I understood your position correctly.
One of the best posts I’ve seen on this subject so far.