Yep, I’m going there. Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
After hearing so many people defend Zimmerman down here in Texas, I just had to present my simple argument for why I would have given Zimmerman some conviction within the orbit of a manslaughter charge.
If someone follows another person around in the dark and at night, against the police dispatcher’s insistence, and gets into an altercation with that person that leads to their death … then the burden is on the perpetrator to justify the use of lethal force. Zimmerman was the aggressor, and the fact that Martin may have thrown the first punch or may have been winning the fight is irrelevant. Zimmerman also lacked the authority to use lethal force proactively, and was told to cease and desist from his activities (that may escalate the situation and provoke the need for force). To say it simply, Zimmerman chose to start a violent confrontation.
For parity and as a thought experiment, are we now to allow anyone to pick a fight and justifiably shoot the other person when losing? If you insist that Zimmerman’s role as a member of the neighborhood watch grants justifies his actions, then you are confusing a local informant with an on-site police officer. In fact, too many of the pro-Zimmerman opinions that I’ve heard treat him as if he were a police officer (hat tip to Adam Kotsko of An ind fur Sich for the idea), in which case I would side with Zimmerman as well since Martin would have assaulted a uniformed officer and violently resisted arrest. But that is not the case, and the police dispatcher’s repeated requests, which we ignored, for him to wait for the police destroy the credibility of that line of argument.
Please hold your objections about whether Martin may have been a marijuana user in the past, or whether Zimmerman feared for his life, etc. since those are unprovable speculation. So what if Marin “escalated” the situation; I would too if a strange guy was following me from behind at night and tried to forceably halt me, since I would presume the person was trying to mug me. Besides, by parity, Zimmerman escalated the situation first by forcing a confrontation. Let’s not go into the question of race in Zimmerman’s mind, since we could not prove anything; it’s irrelevant in that respect.
All that said, I do not see how a murder charge could be supported given the publicly available evidence. What was omitted from the jury is not that significant. There just is not sufficient external evidence of intent, and the situation as we know it supports the view of an accidental altercation between two people. We cannot know what more evidence we might have had if the police had performed a proper investigation.
I would invite anyone to provide evidence or considerations that I have over-looked or misinterpretted.