Just the facts. Gimme the case file and let me go all Mentalist on it and shit. Here goes.
The road is a lover
You never recover
Not now or any time soon
My head starts to spin
When I think where I’ve been
Playin’ twin to an old fiddle tune, oh
As the wind chases after the moon
—The Road is a Lover, Alison Krauss and Union Station
“Okay, look. This can go the easy way or this can go the hard way. You’re standing over a kid who has just been shot and killed. You’re holding a gun. Our keen powers of observation tell us the kid was armed only with Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. Tell us what happened or this will go very badly for you. We may have to take you downtown.”
“It was self-defense.”
“That seems reasonable.”
“You don’t need to arrest me.”
“We don’t need to arrest him.”
“You don’t need to give me a drug test.”
“We don’t need to give him a drug test.”
“You don’t need to give me an alcohol test.”
“We don’t need to give him an alcohol test.”
“You don’t need to run my ID or perform a background check.”
“We don’t need to run his ID or perform a background check.”
“I am free to go. Everyone can move along now.”
“You are free to go. Move along. Move along.”
Holy. Fuck. What? Even the scene in Star Wars was much more plausible than that. By about a billion percent.
I can’t help but wonder, though. Just how often does law enforcement come across a fatal shooting and respond like this? Is this somehow normal routine? Aside from not showing up at all, is there any conceivable way they could have done anything less than what they actually did? Wow.
Maybe the officers didn’t think the scene was “conviction worthy,” but a person had been fucking killed. Go way out on a limb and arrest the shooter. Take him to the station. Test him for alcohol and drugs. Take his picture. Fingerprint him. Run a background check. And, for God’s sake, get an official fucking statement from him, you know, just for the record and shit.
You are allowed to arrest people, decide not to press charges and then let them go pending more evidence. You can hold them for a certain period of time then press charges or let them go.
In other words, do some police work. (Look it up if you find that term confusing.)
If you get pulled over for running a stop sign or not wearing your seat belt they always take your ID and go sit in their car for 15 minutes while they check things out. Pull the trigger on a black kid with Skittles and iced tea and it’s, “You’re free to go.”
Not exactly CSI, is it?
“Oh shits. We’ll never know what happened here. There’s no evidences. Put on some gloves and try those Skittles. Mmmm. I just tasted the rainbow.” Pull off sunglasses. “This case just got delicious.” A scream. Cue Roger Daltrey and The Who. Why? Because We Won’t Get Fooled Again!!! That’s why.
“The shooter said it was self-defense therefore that must be true. I don’t see any evidence to the contrary.”
Eh? Excuse me. Have you guys ever even seen an episode of COPS? Everybody, and I do mean everybody, fucking lies through their teeth when questioned by the police. But these cops, though, they were smarter than that. Somehow they knew this was the one dude who was telling the truth. It’s Occam’s Razor in action: The simplest explanation is probably the correct one. It’s only a kid who’s dead. Yep. Good enough for me. Enjoy the rest of your evening, sir.
Another possibility is the unwritten “code” of brotherhood that exists between sworn members of law enforcement and their unofficial compadres in the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain vigilante business. Simply put, they merely provided a little “professional courtesy” for one of their own.
Is it just me or does someone who appoints themselves, takes their position a little too seriously and has a special permit to pack heat is exactly the opposite of who we really want performing that function?
The Sanford police chief (before he “temporarily” stepped down) decided to wait weeks before releasing the 9-1-1 audio records. Then he said there was no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin out of self-defense.
Wait. What? Check that.
The police chief didn’t talk about what the evidence showed. He talked about what the evidence didn’t show. Excuse me, but that’s a load of horseshit.
The police also claimed that Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law meant the shooter could not be convicted.
It’s just a little roadkill, happens when you stand still, bottom of my boot heel, really ain’t no big deal, don’t mean no ill will. But if you get in my way, watch out! You’re just road kill.
—Roadkill from the musical The Great American Trailer Park (emphasis added)
So what does the evidence say?
There was evidence of a struggle. The shooter had minor injuries (bloody nose, wound to head) and several witnesses said they saw a scuffle before the shooting. What does that prove? Does it speak to who was the instigator? No. The only evidence we have on that is the shooter’s statement it was self-defense.
- Martin was armed with Skittles and iced tea. Zimmerman was packing a gun.
- Zimmerman had called 9-1-1 a whopping total of 46 times in less than three months during 2012 at the time of the incident.
- There is no evidence the victim did anything to initiate the encounter.
- There is no evidence the victim was threatening the shooter. (Physical or witnesses.)
In light of the fact that there was no evidence of any kind to support the idea that Martin did anything wrong, there is no evidence to suggest that Zimmerman should have felt anything that justified the use of deadly force.
Police looked at these facts and apparently agreed with Zimmerman that, after first going to the store to procure deadly Skittles and iced tea, he suddenly snapped and decided to go on a murderous rampage. Thank god Zimmerman, an innocent defender of justice and light, was there at the right place and the right time to save the day.
Ugh, I hate to be all generalize-y, but… why doesn’t it surprise me that Florida has such a mind-numbingly stupid law as this “stand your ground” law? Oh, maybe simply saying “Jeb Bush” is sufficient reason.
Without having been there, or knowing more about what happened, it sounds as if Zimmerman got out of his car to follow Martin? If that’s true, it seems to me that the instant Zimmerman started following Martin, he gave up his right to claim self-defense.
By the way, I really liked your: “Mmmm. I just tasted the rainbow.” and “This case just got delicious.”
Thanks. I got a lot of enjoyment from writing those two sentences. A lot. 🙂
I’ve been reading a lot about Florida’s gun laws and how they become a bellwether to other lemming states to make laws and follow suit. That is sad.
I’m not sure if Jeb Bush had anything to do with it or not, but if there was political hay to be made, I’m sure he’d think twice about passing it up.
I think there’s a lot to question here, but it does seem like something like this would be presented to the prosecutor for a decision on whether the case goes forward. I’ve not heard that happened.
Unarmed and teenager do not always add up to harmless but the fact tht he went to the store and was headed back home doesn’t really add up to intent to stir up trouble.
What really makes me question Zimmerman is his conduct before the shooting. He called it in. He was told not to follow the kid. He did anyhow. Not the conduct of someone who thinks he is in jeopardy. This is a guy who is determined to make sure this kid gets what he (Zimmerman) wants – a hassle. We don’t know what happened, but kid was past him,Zimmerman had to catch up to him to start an encounter. Perhaps what he perceived as reason to defend himself was the normal reaction of a young man accosted by a complete stranger.
The one thing I’ll argue on is a bond between police and this sort of self appointed neighborhood protector. I just don’t see it.
Sad that this young man lost his life because of a string of bad choices he wasn’t aware were being made by someone else until it was too late.
Good point. The story of the teen doing something threatening that somehow provoked the situation is tenuous at best. It just doesn’t make sense to think he was out for trouble. It doesn’t add up.
The police/neighborhood watch bond was sarcasm. It’s as implausible as the rest of this whole unfortunate drama.
I deliberately omitted the bit about a possible racial slur on the 9-1-1 tapes, because I haven’t heard if that has been officially verified yet. Even so, from some of Zimmerman’s other comments I feel I feel a racial bias is indicated. What in the name of hell did he mean by, “They always get away with this.” What? Walking down the street? And who is the “they” he was talking about?
I think Zimmerman had psych’d himself out to see what he wanted to see and that’s exactly what happened. The 46 calls to 9-1-1 to me clearly show his state of mind.
as I understand it the ‘stand your ground’ law permits one to use deadly force if one is threatened rather than seek to run away from the attacker.
I don’t think it was intended to apply in situations where the killer is the one doing the following and the threatening
but hey, what do I know?
From what I’ve read, it sounds very much like he got out of his car. Maybe he didn’t “follow” but getting out of his car and doing the opposite of what the 9-1-1 operator said certainly escalated whatever was happening.
I’ve read reports that Martin was on the phone with a 16-year-old girl and she said he was trying to avoid Zimmerman. If true, that strongly supports the case that Zimmerman did indeed follow the victim.
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