Friday, July 12, 2013

Zimmerman/Martin myths

There are a number of misconceptions about the Zimmerman/Martin case. The case is in the hands of the jury. While we're waiting for the verdict, I'll go over a few:

Zimmerman racially profiled Martin.
Zimmerman thought that Martin looked like he was up to no good but did not say why. An early version of the 911 tape seemed to indicate that he was racially profiling Martin but this turned out to have been altered by NBC. In the full tape, Zimmerman only gave Martin's race when asked by the police dispatcher. There is no reason to think that racial profiling was involved. Zimmerman is mixed race and has many close black friends. The neighborhood is mixed race so a black face would not stand out. On the 911 tape, it was Martin's behavior, not his race, that made Zimmerman specious.

Zimmerman shot an unarmed boy
This is a major sticking point for many people - that Zimmerman had a gun and Martin did not. This is a major oversimplification. According to Zimmerman, witnesses, and forensics evidence, at the time of the shooting Martin was sitting on Zimmerman, hitting him in the face and pounding his head into the cement sidewalk. It doesn't matter that Zimmerman's injuries at that point were minor. What matters is that he had reasonable cause to think that he would be seriously injured or killed if Martin continued beating him. I challenge anyone who thinks that Zimmerman was overreacting to put himself in that position and see if it changes his mind.

The defense summed it up saying that Martin was armed with a cement sidewalk.

Martin's character should not be questioned - it is Zimmerman who is on trial.
A big question in the trial is if Martin was the sort of person who would decide to teach a crazy-ass cracker a lesson by beating him up?

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