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April 12, 2012


We will all wait to see how the case unfolds. But that will not stop me from speculating about what may have happened.

There is a difference between the scenario in which the two men found themselves. In my opinion, Trayvon Martin is the one who stood his ground against an apparent aggressor with a gun who was following him. Zimmerman had no reason to follow him even if he was suspicious of Trayvon. Neighborhood Watch is just that - "watch." (I was involved in setting up the program in our neighborhood and I have attended several training sessions conducted by the local police department. Carrying a weapon is the biggest no-no during patrol;#2 is accosting a suspicious character even if one is a witness to a crime that is under way)

Some people have wondered if Zimmerman fired in self defense after Trayvon "jumped" him. We don't know. What we do know is what we heard on the 911 exchange with Zimmerman. There was no indication there that Trayvon or anyone else was about to jump Zimmerman. Also, please remember that Zimmerman was inside a vehicle and was clearly asked not to get out and pursue the young man. We may not have heard or seen what actually happened but that phone call gives us a fair idea of what "may have" happened later when Zimmerman refused to give up the chase. Did Trayvon jump on him? Possibly. Most seventeen or eighteen year old males would confront someone who they thought was following them for no apparent reason. It may have even been only a verbal confrontation. Of course, we don't know anything "exactly" because one of the parties involved is dead, but we can make a pretty logical guess as to the scenario that may have unfolded.

@ Ruchira,

"But that will not stop me from speculating about what may have happened."

And it shouldn't. This is fine as long as people are honest enough, as are you, to characterize their views as speculation. In my writing and correspondence I am careful to say things like, "in my opinion," "in my view," "it is my judgment," "my personal assessment is," etc.

When people characterize their views appropriately, it can lead to some really good exchanges and lots of learning. It makes for a respectful debate and challenges all of us to be clear in our thought process, and lay the groundwork for our conclusions.

I'm glad you mentioned your actual experience with neighborhood watch. That's what all of us need to hear, and why we should be more likely to give greater value to others who have more direct experience and knowledge. Unfortunately, we've both read and heard remarks like, "I wasn't there, but I know what happened, and he's guilty."

The video I linked with the lawyers was not the one of the lawyers extended comments and description of the evidence of which he was aware. I had to settle for second best with the Piers Morgan clip. The one I wanted was the news conference held by the defense attorneys who were withdrawing from the case. I could only find clips of a minute or two covering the announcement of withdrawal. I can't seem to find the complete news conference, or at least an extended version.

If anyone comes across the video, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Elatia was once again unable to post her comment here. This is what she said:

I have followed this case until I cannot follow it any more -- I believe the truth is forever hidden, thanks to the botch that was made of the direct aftermath of the fatal shooting. Anyone who thinks Zimmerman's father being a judge has nothing to do with this ought to think again. I wouldn't dream of speculating what happened. Even if Zimmerman's actions were somewhat less craven, trigger-happy, racist, vicious and entitled that they appeared when the story broke, I still hope he is prosecuted successfully and convicted of Murder Two. Why? Because I want African-American teenaged boys to be safer than they are from men like him, and letting him off looks -- to me -- like greenlighting the sort of proactive vigilantism the shooting gives a face to.

Now, if I were a prospective juror, I would have to speak truthfully about this -- as I am doing now, under no such pressure. I would have to say I cared less whether Zimmerman were personally guilty of Murder Two, or some lesser crime, than I did what kind of impact on society an acquittal would have. So I would never be selected for the jury. I suppose that honor must go to people who can set aside their concern about the current war on young black men, and focus solely on what Zimmerman may have done -- all while knowing it's FUBAR, and that the truth cannot be established. If having a ringside seat to lawyering is different from having a hand in whether justice is done -- and I hope it still is -- then the jurors here will have a ringside seat to lawyering, period. May The Force be with the prosecutor.

@ Elatia,

Would that more people could express their views, honestly and thoughtfully, as you do.

To me, the following points really stand out in this mess:
- The Florida law is horrible.
- It's remarkable they needed a month just to decide to charge him. Someone was shot to death, and even this law doesn't say you can skip trials entirely.
- I think this is the black-guy version of pretty-blond-girl kidnapping syndrome. Black youth face many problems in America; being murdered by paranoid neighborhood watch nuts is not among the top two hundred.
- Support for Trayvon started at here at something like 75% and it's down to a plurality. I don't think racism increased markedly in March 2012 - I think it's because no-one likes feeling manipulated. The media shouldn't be trying to engineer people's thoughts so blatantly, and if it must, it shouldn't be so damned stupid about it. Americans aren't so awful that they need to have facts fudged (the altered NBC quote, the 'coon' mixup, the weird 'white hispanic' thing, even to an extent the photo issue) in a case like this.

The media have played a horrible role. Indeed most Americans were initially appalled by what was perceived as police negligence in the investigation. But now things have gone a long way from there and not surprisingly, opinions seem to cleave across racial lines somewhat. My own suspicions still stand where they were in the early days after the news broke. I am even unsure if the attempts to correct the situation will necessarily bring "justice" in the case. Several experts think that the affidavit showing probable cause submitted by the prosecution is quite thin. The defense lawyer (a much better man than the two previous ones) thinks Zimmerman has the Florida law on his side.

I wrote this on a friend's Facebook wall last night.

Second degree murder after all, is a serious charge. If I were "really" devious, I may even speculate that the prosecutor brought this charge knowing that it will be a hard case to prove, thereby ensuring that it will look like justice was served but Zimmerman will go free!

The sad thing is that a young man died under very suspicious circumstances and now his family may never know what actually happened because the police didn't think that the killing of an unarmed young man was worth investigating thoroughly.

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