I’ve followed the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, without issuing an opinion about the incident until now.
Martin, a wispy 17 year-old-black teen, was walking to the home he was staying in after going to the convenience store for a bag of candy and a Coke. George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, stalked Martin from his car, and then well, you can read the rest.
It seems self-evident from the 911 tapes that he was psyching himself up to justify a confrontation. Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by leaving his vehicle. He then asks us to believe–absent any living witness to conflict with him–that a teen some 100 lbs lighter than him started a fight, and that Zimmerman “had” to shoot the kid in self defense. Does anyone by Zimmerman’s father–and an apparently incompetent Sanford PD–buy Zimmerman’s claim this was a justifiable case of self defense?
I’ll admit that I do not know the idiosyncrasies of Florida law, but if an armed person initiates a conflict, then uses that conflict as an excuse to draw his weapon and kill the person he confronted, that sounds a lot like murder in my book. No wonder Martin’s parents are furious that the Sanford PD hasn’t filed charges against Zimmerman.
In light of the just released 911 tapes, which suggest Martin plead for his life before Zimmerman fired a second, killing shot, both Zimmerman and the Sanford PD better prepare for very expensive civil rights cases, and hope that a vigilante doesn’t act to correct a perceived injustice as some have already threatened.