Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Zimmerman Trial

The longer the trail of George Zimmerman goes on the weaker the case looks. This isn't surprising. From the beginning it was a show trial of sorts.

The first most people heard of George Zimmerman and Trevon Martin was a distorted version of the actual events. According to this, Zimmerman profiled Martin because of his race and his hoodie, tracked him down, and shot him then got off because of Florida's Stand Your Ground law. To make matters even more extreme, old photos of martin were released showing him as being fairly small while Zimmerman was described as being twice Martin's size.

On top of all that, NBC edited a tape of the 911 call to make it appear that Zimmerman did indeed profile Martin based on race.

Suddenly the incident became a national cause. Opponents of the Stand Your Ground law publicized it while black activists insisted that it was a proxy for all race relations. The authorities who failed to file charges against Zimmerman were fired and a special prosecutor was brought in who files 2nd degree murder charges.

Eventually the real story came out. Zimmerman may sound like a white name but this one is a mixed-race Hispanic (although he is still being referred to as a "white Hispanic). Zimmerman is short and doughy while Martin was tall and in good condition (in one picture taken just before his death he towers over his family).

The Stand Your Ground defense is meaningless here because Zimmerman claimed that Martin knocked him to the ground and sat on him while hitting him and banging his head against the sidewalk.

So far the prosecution has totally failed to prove otherwise. The two most reliable witnesses insisted that Martin had Zimmerman pinned. Another witness assumed that Zimmerman was on top because all of the pictures in the media showed Martin as being smaller. Once she found out that Martin was a good deal taller than Zimmerman she changed her story. The one witness who said that Zimmerman was on top also claimed that he shot Martin three times in the back (he was shot once in the front).

The physical evidence supports Zimmerman. He was cut and bruised while Martin was unharmed except for his knuckles and the shot that killed him.

You would think that all of this would be enough to convince a fair-minded observer that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. Not so. There is still a crowd who clings to minor details - Zimmerman says that they struggled for the gun but there is no evidence that Martin touched it and Zimmerman says that he spread Martin's arms wide but they were together when the police found them.

These people have been watching too many police shows where a tiny inconsistency eventually points to the real killer. That makes for good fiction but poor training for reality.

Unfortunately, if Zimmerman is found innocent then we will probably have nationwide race riots.

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