Opinion: Skittles and iced tea vs. deadly cold steel
There are neighborhood watch volunteers in communities all over America. Most have the safety of their neighbors, their families, themselves and their properties at heart and no one will fault them for that.
But was that George Zimmerman's priority the rainy night of Feb. 26, when he honed in on a teenaged Trayvon Martin as he walked through the gated community of Sanford, Fla., on his way home from the store?
I have spoken to police officers who say that neighborhood watch volunteers are there to do just what their title explicitly says: Watch, observe and report any perceived suspicious or criminal activity back to the real law enforcement officials-the police.
Another rule of thumb neighborhood watch volunteers are supposed to follow to the letter is: No guns allowed on patrol. Right off the bat, Zimmerman had broken both those rules the minute he started to follow the 17-year-old.
There are many versions of conflicting stories out there and some of his supporters, trying to justify him having a gun on a watch, have said he was not on a watch but on his way to the store. I have not heard that version from any credible, official source.
Even if that version is true, it makes no difference legally for the end result is the same. If he wasn't on neighborhood patrol, he certainly turned it into one when he went after Martin, making the no weapon rule now valid. If he was out on a watch shift, he shouldn't have had a gun either, so we are back at the same junction.
When he called 911 to report "a really suspicous guy" who looked "like he was late teens," the dispatcher told him to stop following Martin. "We don't need you to do that," were the exact words of the 911 operator.
This is where the grey areas of events turned thickly opaque. We don't know exactly what happened but we know the tragic end results. At 7:12 p.m., Martin was reportedly on his cellphone to his girlfriend DeeDee and at 7:16, the unarmed teenager lay dead, face-down in the grass at 2861 Retreat View Cirle, with a single hollow point bullet from a 9 mm kel tek pf9 semi-automatic handgun through the heart.
Michael Skolnik, Editor-in-Chief of Global Grind wrote, "the bullet entered his left chest 17 1/2 inches below the top of his head, one inch to the left of the anterior midline and 1/2 an inch below his nipples, which left a hole 3/8 of an inch in diameter round and left no exit wound.."
According to the Medical Examiner's report, that single bullet was fired from "an intermediate range," which is approximately 18 inches. 28-year-old Zimmerman is taken into custody, questioned, videotaped, photographed and released. He was never taken to a hospital, nor did he go to one on his own. He went home. Next day, he reportedly saw the family doctor who released his medical report of that visit on Wednesday.
George Zimmerman, now a defendant charged with second-degree murder, was banged up all over. He had a fractured nose, two black eyes, abrasions on head and busted lip--well according to his private Doc's report. I guess that's pretty standard for someone who was in a fight. At least he walked away, slept in his own bed that fateful night while Trayvon Martin was carried away in a body bag to the morgue. Not quite a fair fight, was it?
Incidentally, the over 40 pics of Zimmerman taken by police on the night he killed Martin and released on Wednesday, do not show all of those many injuries his doctor wrote in his report. His nose showed slight injury but his eyes showed no signs of being black, neither did his lips. His clothes looked clean and there were no apparent blood stains, which was odd for he had blood on the back of his head from what looked like abrasions.(Click on photos above to see of those pics).
So why did he go after the teen? He told the 911 dispatcher that the "suspicious Black guy wearing a hoodie" was acting like something was "wrong with him," "like he was on drugs or something," and was "coming to check him out." That rules out his ambushed from behind version, doesn't it? Moreover, the newly released surveilance video from 7-Eleven showed Martin buying the Skittles and can of ice tea and he walked steady and gainly to me.
Some of Zimmerman supporters have made the argument that Martin didn't call 911 when he saw Zimmerman following him. What does that prove? It's kind of like the argument they used long ago when women took too long to report a rape--rifed with bias.The fact remains, he was unarmed and the night watchman wasn't. Did Zimmerman go after his "suspicious" target because he had the comfort of the deadly cold steel in his waistband, already prepared to use it? Why wasn't he afraid to follow a stranger who he said was acting "strange?"
He later said in one of his versions of events, that he had forgotten he had the gun on him. I find that hard to believe if he decided to follow a stranger through the neighborhod at night. We know he wasn't a martial arts or MMA fighter so what bolstered his courage to stalk a strange male much taller than himself?
Did he go looking for a fight because he knew he had Florida's Stand Your Ground law on his side and his target was "a Black guy"? Many have accused Florida of widespread bias in their justice system and of double standards when administering Stand Your Ground. Let's not forget, Zimmerman is the son of a retired judge, so suffice it to say he may know a little about the law or has close ties to someone who knows the law intimately.
If he didn't have a gun, would he have gone after Martin? If it was the other way around and the teen had shot the watchman, then claimed self-defense, what would have been the outcome?