God’s Will: The Last Refuge of Assholes


I’ve written almost nothing about the Trayvon Martin killing because I think it’s all too easy for people to choose up sides on the basis of tiny scraps of information, some of which turn out not to be true, and then to impose an easy narrative over the whole situation. I think it’s a good idea to wait for an actual trial, where the facts can be examined critically and truth can be separated from rumor, before jumping to convenient conclusions. But when I see statements like this from Zimmerman, it leaves me angry:

Hannity later asked him if he regretted getting out of his car initially. Zimmerman said no, then saying he didn’t regret being armed, nor his other actions that night, adding: ‘I feel that it was all God’s plan. For me to second guess it, um…’

Really? So if you’re convicted and sent to prison, will that be God’s plan too? Or will you fight against “God’s plan” by filing appeals? I get so tired of these constant claims that everything good or bad that happens is God’s will — or the ever-popular equivalent platitude, “Everything happens for a reason.” I remember seeing Patrick Swayze offer that bit of bullshit on the Tonight Show 20 years ago when asked about his then-soaring career. Maybe he should have gone and explained to the people of Ethiopia the grand purpose of Road House. And pity those poor Somalians, if only they had a good publicist.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    “I feel that it was all God’s plan. For me to second guess it, um….”

    Maybe God’s plan was to show him how stupid it is to unilaterally engage in law enforcement duties that are better left to trained professionals?

  2. says

    Maybe he should have gone and explained to the people of Ethiopia the grand purpose of Road House.
    Be nice.
    Until it is time to not be nice.

  3. eric says

    I was amazed his lawyers even let him make that statement. I can see them telling him to mention God a lot to get sympathy, but that mention of God made it sound like he had absolutely no regrets about what happened, like he’d do the exact same thing given another chance. Which may be the truth, I don’t know, but IMO it makes for one hell of an unsymathetic defendant.

  4. slc1 says

    I have to agree with Mr. Brayton here, that people chose up sides based on no information. One of the worst offenders was Dr. Greg Laden, who was given the heave ho from this network for other reasons.

    In my opinion, if Zimmerman had not been armed, he would never have gotten out of his car and pursued Martin, as he was told not to do by the dispatcher who he contacted, and this incident would never have taken place. It is my information that participants in neighborhood watch organizations are not supposed to be armed (that’s certainly the case in my neck of the woods).

    Based on the information that has been released, IMHO, the police officer who was in charge of the crime scene had it right. Zimmerman should have been arrested and charged with manslaughter. Unfortunately, he was overruled by the prosecutor in that jurisdiction. I still think that there will be a plea bargain and that Zimmerman will plead guilty to manslaughter and do some jail time.

  5. Who Knows? says

    Well, I chose sides with little or no information and I’m quite happy with the side I chose. This idiotic statement from Zimmerman is just one more piece of information that confirms I chose the right side.

  6. slc1 says

    Re eric @ #3

    We have to understand who the audience is on asshole Hannity’s program, namely the right wing racist teabaggers. These folks would probably give Zimmerman a high 5 if they happened to run into him on the street.

  7. d cwilson says

    slc1@6:

    Just look at the comments in the conservative bogs. “Good shot, Zimmy!” is one of the milder ones.

  8. says

    I remember seeing Patrick Swayze offer that bit of bullshit on the Tonight Show 20 years ago when asked about his then-soaring career.

    Was that the explanation he gave for his pancreatic cancer?

  9. says

    Old snark: So, does this mean we can charge god with conspiracy, or just regular premeditated murder with Zimmerman as a weapon with no will of his own?

    I’m willing to revise my position if new evidence comes to light, but the pro-Zimmerman reactions I’ve seen so far are consistent with an absence of mitigating circumstances, and often serve to reinforce and excuse poor judgement, rather than to prevent future mistakes.

  10. Reginald Selkirk says

    It is my information that participants in neighborhood watch organizations are not supposed to be armed (that’s certainly the case in my neck of the woods).

    Is your neck of the woods Floriduh? Otherwise known by Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen as an inexhaustible source of material for crime and comedy writing?

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    Old snark: So, does this mean we can charge god with conspiracy, or just regular premeditated murder with Zimmerman as a weapon with no will of his own?

    Of course not. Murder is unlawful killing, and everyone knows that all laws derive from God.

  12. says

    Zimmerman should have been arrested and charged with manslaughter. Unfortunately, he was overruled by the prosecutor in that jurisdiction.

    I know it’s common for prosecutors not to go ahead with charges against someone after he’s been arrested; but how often does a prosecutor overrule a cop BEFORE an arrest is made? That bit sounds pretty hinky to me.

    As for this “God’s will” crap, I’m amazed there hasn’t been much more outrage over the implication that God wanted Zimmerman to kill an unarmed black teenager who wasn’t committing any crime. Seriously, where are the black churches on this? Staying mum to avoid prejudicing a case?

    And that latter possibility hints at an answer to eric’s comment #3: maybe Zimmerman’s lawyers are quietly allowing him to say as much stupid shit as possible, in order to generate enough emotion to make a fair trial impossible, and thus get their client sprung with no charges. (Then maybe they’ll get him to write, or pretend to write, a book bleating about his triumph over the liberal fascist PC establishment.)

  13. Trebuchet says

    In my opinion, if Zimmerman had not been armed, he would never have gotten out of his car and pursued Martin…

    Nor would he have gotten out of his car and pursued if Martin had been a white kid in a hoodie. He might as well have said “God wanted me to kill that nigger”.

  14. lofgren says

    I don’t get this. So Zimmerman believes that the universe follows some kind of divine order. It doesn’t change anything. Hell, that may well be his point – if you believe in a divine order, regrets are even more pointless than they are for somebody who doesn’t. This could just be his way of saying “I’m not going to get caught up in some stupid ‘what if’ game with you.”

    An atheist might say “I wish things had happened differently, but everything I did made sense to me at the time. So I cannot in all honesty say what exactly I would change, because obviously if something different had made sense to me then I would have done that. I don’t want anything like this to happen again but I cannot change the past and I cannot tell you how it would be different had I made different choices.”

    A Christian might say “It’s all part of God’s plan,” as a shorthand for basically the same sentiment.

    Yes, I realize this is not the only thing “It’s all part of God’s plan can mean,” and it’s possible that Zimmerman meant something more horrifying by it. But given the situation he was in, I can’t blame him for deflecting the interviewer’s question. Maybe the alternate universe scenarios are too difficult for him to even contemplate. Maybe he’s run through the night a thousand times in his head and still thinks that he made the right decisions given what he knew at the time. Maybe he was just afraid that saying anything too specific would be an admission of guilt. (And even if he is guilty, and even if he believes himself to be guilty, and even if he feels really, really bad about it, I can’t blame him for using the system as much as he can to his advantage. The system assumes that you will do everything you can to protect yourself. If he didn’t appeal, didn’t mount a defense just because he feels guilty, it could go very badly for him, worse than even I think he deserves. If I ever make a series of bad choices that result in somebody inadvertently dying, I am going to shut the fuck up and do whatever my lawyer tells me to do. Trusting my own decision-making skills was what got me into that situation to begin with.)

    And yes, he will appeal, because the appeal is also part of god’s plan. And the black churches have nothing to say because to many people what Zimmerman said is self-evidently true: Martin is dead. Therefore Martin being killed is part of God’s plan. If you start from the assumption that God already knows what the future holds and is capable of changing it, literally everything that ever happens is god’s plan. As fucked up as it sounds to anybody who doesn’t share that view (including some Christians!), there are literally hundreds of millions of people who are not only OK with that, they take comfort in it. It sounds weird but getting upset about it is just pointless.

    With all of the aspects of the Martin case, all of the facets of our world that it brings together in such a horrifying way, this is the one that you are motivated to speak out about? Is your next post going to be about how Miley Cyrus says “like, um” too much?

  15. smhll says

    I am also enraged when people say “God’s plan” to wave off responsibility for something terrible.

  16. says

    It’s amazing how god seems to think just like we do. In fact, god seems to think just like whoever it is who’s speaking about god’s will at any given time – unless it’s about the piddly stuff like that god doesn’t like ham, or whatever.

  17. Michael Heath says

    lofgren writes:

    I don’t get this.

    I think the compelling piece of evidence which makes sense of Mr. Zimmerman’s behavior is that he’s a Sean Hannity fan.

  18. A Hermit says

    That’s one of the best examples ever of how religion is used to avoid responsibility…Zimmerman can’t afford to say “yes I would have made different choices that night” because to do so would be to admit at least some responsibility for the killing of another human being.

  19. thisisaturingtest says

    @#3, eric:

    …but that mention of God made it sound like he had absolutely no regrets about what happened, like he’d do the exact same thing given another chance.

    He doesn’t and he would. The pertinent parts of the interview:

    “Is there anything you would do different in retrospect, now that time has passed?” Hannity asked.
    “No, sir,” said Zimmerman. “I feel that it was all God’s plan, and for me to second-guess it or judge it…”

    “Do you regret following?” Hannity asked.
    “No, sir,” replied Zimmerman.
    “Do you regret you had a gun?” asked Hannity.
    “No, sir,” he replied.

    He may regret the things that have happened since that night, but, that night? Based on his own words, it doesn’t seem so.
    I have to wonder how this will play at sentencing time if he’s found guilty.

  20. raven says

    I am also enraged when people say “God’s plan” to wave off responsibility for something terrible.

    Oh really?

    You do realize it was god’s plan that James Holmes shot up a theater in Aurora, Colorado.

    We are too dumb to understand what god’s plans are. But it seems to have been to…feed the xian ghouls. Even creatures of the night need to eat.

  21. eric says

    I have to wonder how this will play at sentencing time if he’s found guilty.

    I have to wonder at his lawyers letting him make a statement that will likely increase the chance of him being found guilty. At least IMO. But what do I know – as other people said in response to my previous post, there are probably a lot of jurers who would high-five him for saying the whole thing was God’s plan.

    An unrelated speculation about what he said: you often hear (religious) victims of horrendous accidents or acts of nature say that it was God’s plan. So my (uninformed) guess is that Zimmerman in some way sees himself as the victim in this whole episode.

  22. lofgren says

    I think the compelling piece of evidence which makes sense of Mr. Zimmerman’s behavior is that he’s a Sean Hannity fan.

    True.

    I still believe that there is enough murkiness surrounding the events of that night that we cannot presume Zimmerman’s intent. It seems almost impossible to believe that he was suspicious of Martin for any reason other than that he was a black kid in a hoodie. (I accept Geraldo’s speculation that the hoodie contributed. A black kid in a suit probably would not have gotten the same reaction.) He definitely overstepped his responsibility by carrying a gun and by pursuing Martin, putting himself and Martin at unnecessary risk. But I believe it is possible that Zimmerman never wanted to shoot, never wanted to kill, and certainly that he was convinced when he pulled the trigger that he had no choice for his own safety. He just thought he was having an adventure.

    But being a Hannity fan is plain unforgivable.

  23. says

    It’s amazing how god seems to think just like we do.

    Well we are created in his image, after all. It only stands to reason…

    And he’s giving us immortality.

    People invent gods in a vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to invest ourselves with god-like powers.

  24. slc1 says

    Re Reginald Selkirk @ #10

    No, Northern Virginia, although, I spent 2.5 years in Tallahassee a million years ago.

  25. slc1 says

    I think that Zimmerman can make a semi-legitimate argument that he was in some danger being as how he was in a fight with Martin and was getting the worst of it.

  26. says

    Zimmerman’s defenders would like to start at the night he shot Trayvon Martin and not go backwards into his fucked up past. Good luck with that.

    Zimmerman’s an asshole who convinced himself–and no one else– that he’s a GOD.

  27. conway says

    Don’t you mean the FIRST refuge?

    BTW, I saw God’s Will. He left everything to some hooker named Mary.

  28. Scientismist says

    The translation by lofgren to what an atheist might say may be pretty close to the mark:

    I wish things had happened differently, but everything I did made sense to me at the time. So I cannot in all honesty say what exactly I would change…

    But that (or his actual religious response) are the kind of things he should be saving to work out later with a therapist. That is, if he, or his family, or the justice system, or anyone else gives a rats ass about his mental health (or public safety) when he’s eventually turned loose.

  29. says

    slc1 “It is my information that participants in neighborhood watch organizations are not supposed to be armed (that’s certainly the case in my neck of the woods).”
    In your hippie commune? Where the HippieCops are armed only with patchouli spray? Come on! This is the real world here, where anyone (anyone!) could be armed with Skittles! You truly haven’t faced death until you’ve been forced to Taste the Rainbow!

    “These folks would probably give Zimmerman a high 5 if they happened to run into him on the street.”
    I doubt that. More likely they’d notify the INS.

    Raging Bee “As for this ‘God’s will’ crap, I’m amazed there hasn’t been much more outrage over the implication that God wanted Zimmerman to kill an unarmed black teenager who wasn’t committing any crime.”
    To be fair, God can be kind of an asshole. I set out nachos for Jesus, as is tradition for Easter, and when He came He totally double-dipped. Ick!
    And He goes to AA meetings and turns all the water into wine. I know!

  30. lofgren says

    I think that Zimmerman can make a semi-legitimate argument that he was in some danger being as how he was in a fight with Martin and was getting the worst of it.

    “Semi-legitimate?”

    Right. Because when you arm yourself with a gun and stalk somebody through the streets, it’s “self defense” when he fights back.

    If Zimmerman gets off on that claim, I can see every appeal for the next 20 years in Florida: “Sure I followed her home, broke in, and raped her, but I only shot her eight times because she punched me in the face while I was trying to get my pants off, and I feared for my life. Clearly it was self defense.”

  31. ehmm says

    Wait one minute here.

    I’ll ignore the details of what happened after Zimmerman got out of the truck and focus on the uncontroversial facts. If I’ve got any of this wrong or any of this is contested, please correct me.

    Given the benefit of hindsight, we know that:

    1. Martin was not armed.
    2. Martin was by himself.
    3. Martins destination in that neighborhood was a home where he was welcome.
    4. It cannot be demonstrated that Martin was doing anything more nefarious than returning from purchasing a soft drink and some candy.
    5. Zimmeman continued to trail Martin even after the police dispatcher told him not to and that a police unit was on its way (from the recording of the 911 call).

    This clown can go on TV and say he regrets nothing? That “in retrospect” (Hannity’s words) he would have done nothing differently?

    Is this guy for real? Does he even understand the question?

  32. says

    “Was JoePa’s episode different?

    asks Mr. Kamath, also positing that Joe Pa didn’t do no buttfuckin’ teh kiddies.

    Well, as I said at your blog. The reason Joe Pa is a piece of shit is…

    Because if Paterno had used the power of his office to STOP Sandusky before he buttfucked other kids…do you see where I’m going with this?

  33. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I think that Zimmerman can make a semi-legitimate argument that he was in some danger being as how he was in a fight with Martin and was getting the worst of it.

    Has some evidence surfaced that Treyvon Martin was Palestinian?

  34. says

    No democommie, I don’t. But then I do not know how far you actually read the post.

    Maybe you’d benefit if I put post labels at the top. It appears that even labeling a post is not good enough these days.

  35. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton

    Someone should tell Zimmerman that when you’re responsible for the death of an innocent person, even if it was totally by accident, or because you mistakenly thought they were attacking you, as I’m certain as he claims, you don’t say it was “God’s will.” That expression is reserved for when someone dies and no one was able to stop it. The shear fact that he could have acted differently and Trayvon Martin would still be alive if he had just kept his cool, really means he shouldn’t have said that. Like said, I wonder if he will regard it as God’s will if he’s sent to prison. Somehow I doubt, it. Instead I have a feeling he’ll reveal himself as a hypocrite and start whining about how unfair it is.

  36. F says

    Without looking at another damn line of text, I applaud the title.

    Now to read the post.

  37. F says

    lofgren @ 31

    For recent history of of a more widely known case, look up CeCe McDonald. You can see then how the courts get things ass-backward. See also civil cases brought against homeowners where someone doing a little B&E was injured while invading the home. (Yeah, there is a lot of apocryphal crap mythology on this sort of thing extant, you just have to see the factual instances.)

    Not that this makes such a defense for Zimmerman (semi-) legitimate at all, but people buy illegitimate crap all the time.

  38. says

    All I can say is that a lot of what he’s saying seems to conflict with the recorded telephone conversations he had with police and reports consistent with those calls that came from people that had reported to have spoken to Travyon at the time.

    For sure he has been given a good defence lawyer and nice talking points that will only appeal to people on his side of the fence in the first place, but it’ll give them a boost, make them more zealous about this case. This was a smart move on their part.

    I hope I’m not sickened by the end result of all of this as much as I’m disgusted by this interview.

  39. slc1 says

    Re lofgren @ #31

    Zimmerman claims that he had broken off his pursuit of Martin and had started back to his car, that Martin confronted him, subsequent to which a fight started in which he was getting the worst of it. The fact is that, aside from the gunshot wound, the only other injury to Martin was a bruise on his hand, while Zimmerman had cuts on his head and at least a bloody nose, presumably from a blow (there are conflicting reports that his nose was broken). These injuries are verified by photographs taken at the scene and the testimony of the EMT guys who treated him there. Zimmerman also claims that Martin was reaching for the former’s gun.

    As we sit here today, I don’t know how much of Zimmerman’s story is true, if any of it is true. There is also a report that Martin had called his girl friend and that there is a recording of someone yelling for help that was taken over the phone. As is ofter the case, the experts differ as to who was yelling for help. The FBI analysis claims that it can’t be determined which of the two men was yelling, while an expert hired by the Martin family claims it was Martin who was yelling.

    I am not a lawyer but my analysis of the evidence as we know it today indicates that the prosecution will have its work cut out for it to sustain a conviction for 2nd degree murder, and the defense will have its work cut out for it to obtain a not guilty verdict. That’s why I predict a plea bargain for manslaughter.

  40. says

    “Maybe you’d benefit if I put post labels at the top. It appears that even labeling a post is not good enough these days.”

    I read the entire post, just now. My comment remains the same as @34.

    And, yeah, you’re probably right, labelling your post the way you did is NOT good enough in that instance.

    I don’t know you or your blog. When I see a header that says the NCAA is the anti-christ followed by the first line of text indicating that the writer thinks Joe PaPennState was done dirt and THAT followed by a text that which have run longer but, instead, led with a “teaser”–and I wasn’t teassed–yeah, more “above the fold” context on the front page if you don’t want to be “misunderstood”–ymmv.

    I don’t think we’re in disagreement that Joe Pa is a shit. I think that the PA DoJ completely screwed the pooch on their investigation. If what Louis Freeh was able to ferret out, with PSU’s cooperation was all there when they ran their investigations (local and state) they should have frogmarched a number of people right down the front steps of the admin building and put ‘em in a perpbus, with the cameras rolling. People who actively aided/abetted Sandusky’s actions OR simply stood by doing nothing while having knowledge of them should all be looking at jail time.

  41. slc1 says

    Re democommie @ #43

    Mr. democommie is either on the wrong thread or the wrong blog!

  42. d cwilson says

    According Zimmerman’s story, it’s self-defense because, after he stalked Martin with a gun, Martin confronted him about it.

    Makes me wonder if we continue to follow this logic. What if, as Louie “Terror Babies” Ghomert had wished, someone had brought a gun to the Colorado theater and shot at Holmes just as he was throwing the tear gas cannister into the crowd. Would Holmes then be able to claim self-defense in shooting back under “stand your ground”?

  43. slc1 says

    Re d cwilson @ #45

    The confrontation was more then verbal. the evidence seems to show that a fight ensued in which Zimmerman was getting the worst of it. Because Martin was not armed, and apparently had no weapons on him, I don’t think a self defense argument can fly but, on the other hand, I think that Zimmerman might reasonably have concluded that, if the fight continued as it was progressing, he was going to be in serious trouble. Whether that trouble rose to the level of life threatening (i.e. if it was either me or he going to the graveyard), a jury will have to decide, assuming that the case isn’t plea bargained, as I believe it will be.

  44. d cwilson says

    I think that Zimmerman might reasonably have concluded that, if the fight continued as it was progressing, he was going to be in serious trouble.

    Imagine how much better things might have turned out if he had “reasonalby concluded that,” following the police’s advice to cease stalking Martin was a good idea. Instead, he decided he was going to be a hero, following the same cowboy mentality that Louie “Terror Babies” Gohmert exihibits.

  45. slc1 says

    Re d cwilson

    I don’t disagree with Mr Wilson’s evaluation of the situation. As I have argued, had Zimmerman not been armed, IMHO, he would not have disregarded the advice of the police dispatcher. However, we are where we are and the question is, what happens now. After Zimmerman was apparently on the ground and being pummeled by Martin, I guess that Mr. Wilson thinks he just should have lain there and taken his beating, as just punishment for his error in judgment.

  46. d cwilson says

    After Zimmerman was apparently on the ground and being pummeled by Martin, I guess that Mr. Wilson thinks he just should have lain there and taken his beating, as just punishment for his error in judgment.

    Well, I’m sure you can guess lots of things, but I’ve said nothing about what whether taking a beating was “just punishment”. I was only making the point that the events leading up to the confrontation was entirely of Zimmerman’s making, so he bears that lion’s share of responsibility for the consequences.

    Of course, we don’t have Martin to give us his side of the story, so we’ll never know for sure if he ever “got the better” of Zimmerman in the fight or even threw the first punch. All we do know for sure is that 1) Zimmerman followed Martin; 2) He continued following him even after the police told him not to; 3) There was a physical confrontation between the two and; 4) The confrontation ended with Martin dead at Zimmerman’s hands.

    I therefore hold Zimmerman as the primary instigator of these events. I would never conclude that getting beaten up was a “just punishment”, but I would argue that it was a foreseeable consequnece of stalking a stranger. Add a gun into the mix and the possibility that someone would get killed is also a foreseeable consequence. Therefore, it is my opinion that Zimmerman acted with reckless disregard for human life. Whether that meets the legal definition of manslaughter or murder in Florida is a conclusion that I am not qualified to make.

  47. slc1 says

    Re d cwilson @ #49

    The fact that Zimmerman had head injuries and, possibly a broken nose and, other then the gun shot wound, Martin had only a bruise on the knuckle of one of his hands, would seem to indicate that Zimmerman wasn’t doing too well in the fight that ensued after the confrontation.

  48. lofgren says

    Zimmerman claims that he had broken off his pursuit of Martin and had started back to his car, that Martin confronted him, subsequent to which a fight started in which he was getting the worst of it.

    Irrelevant.

    You can’t stalk somebody armed with a deadly weapon – essentially looking for a fight – and then suddenly decide that you’re the defending yourself because you didn’t feel like continuing to terrorize and menace an innocent person anymore.

    I’m not saying the courts don’t ever get it wrong. I’m saying unless some new evidence arises it appears to me that Martin was completely in the right to defend himself from this stalker, and Zimmerman was completely in the wrong.

    If Zimmerman was getting the worst of the fight he initiated, then he should have apologized and run away crying with his tail between his legs, begging Martin to stop hitting him. His wounded pride would recover. Martin will not.

    After Zimmerman was apparently on the ground and being pummeled by Martin, I guess that Mr. Wilson thinks he just should have lain there and taken his beating, as just punishment for his error in judgment.

    Fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.

    Fucking yes he should have lain there and taken it, or perhaps tried to extricate himself from the situation the way that Martin did.

    If you stalk somebody until they fear for their own safety, they don’t suddenly become the aggressor just because happen to be a big fucking wuss when it comes to getting your hands dirty.

    The fact that it temporarily seemed as though Martin would be successful in his own defense does not transform his act of self-defense into an assault.

    You want fucked up self-defense laws, that’s it right there. Sure, self-defense is legal, but if you are actually successful at defending yourself then your assailant has the right to shoot you and get away with it.

    It’s almost as beautiful as Catch-22.

  49. d cwilson says

    The fact that Zimmerman had head injuries and, possibly a broken nose and, other then the gun shot wound, Martin had only a bruise on the knuckle of one of his hands, would seem to indicate that Zimmerman wasn’t doing too well in the fight that ensued after the confrontation.

    “possibly a broken nose”, even though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he sought treatment for one. Of course, you’re ignoring the biggest disparity in the injuries: Only one of them had a gunshot wound.

    Even so, Zimmerman was still the one who instigated the series of events that led to Martin’s dead. You don’t get to start a fight and them claim self-defense just because you were losing.

  50. slc1 says

    Re lofgrin @ #51

    Excuse me, if Zimmerman is telling the truth, something that we should take with a generous helping of salt, and he was heading back to his car, there was no reason for Martin to confront him as the pursuit was over. I fail to understand how Martin was defending himself by confronting the retreating Zimmerman. Of course, once the fight started, he had every right to self defense and he was apparently was giving a good account of himself against a man who outweighed him by 30 pounds.

    The issue here is not whether Zimmerman’s claim of self defense is valid; I don’t think that it is. It is also not whether he should be charged with a crime. The issue I have raised is what crime he should be charged with.

  51. slc1 says

    Re d cwilson @ #52

    Wait a minute here, what is the evidence that Zimmerman started the fight? For all we know, Martin threw the first punch. There is certainly no evidence that Zimmerman caused any injury to Martin and considerable evidence that Martin caused some injury to Zimmerman prior to the gun shot wound.

  52. grumblebot says

    As to Ed’s mention and disdain of “there’s a reason for everything”, it reminds me of a recent Ricky Gervais twitter stream where a fan asked him how he got so lucky with his career. Ricky stated “the harder I work the luckier I get.”
    So, you’ve got to do something to make something happen.
    Cause, meet Effect.

  53. gingerbaker says

    “Hannity later asked him if he regretted getting out of his car initially. Zimmerman said no, then saying he didn’t regret being armed…”

    You expect Zimmerman’s lawyer advised him to go on national TV and admit that he made errors which led to a man’s death? Give me a break. If you (anybody) were in this situation you would be saying the same thing.

    Lofgren:

    “I’m saying unless some new evidence arises it appears to me that Martin was completely in the right to defend himself from this stalker, and Zimmerman was completely in the wrong.”

    So you have evidence that contradicts everything that has appeared in the news so far? Because what we think we know is that Zimmerman acted like an asshole, but it was Martin who committed assault and battery, to the point of repeatedly smashing Zimmerman’s head against the pavement, whilst he was begging for him to stop.

    And from this, you get to Martin was in the right, and Zimmerman completely wrong? Seriously?

    It doesn’t matter what Zimmerman said or did. Unless Martin attacked him physically because he believed that at that moment his own life depended on it, (pretty unbelievable idea, since he evidently did nothing to disarm Zimmerman, if he even knew he was armed at all) then what Martin did was felony assault and battery. The only question is whether Zimmerman, when he was having his head smashed into the pavement by an angry guy who did not respond to his pleas to stop, could reasonably be expected to feel his life was in danger.

    The more of an asshole he was toward Martin, the more he might reasonably expect Martin was indeed trying to kill him. Zimmerman has a strong case here IMO. Remember, he is not being tried for his moral behavior, but only by the standards of the new Stand Your Ground law.

  54. lofgren says

    Excuse me, if Zimmerman is telling the truth, something that we should take with a generous helping of salt, and he was heading back to his car, there was no reason for Martin to confront him as the pursuit was over.

    This is not only generously taking Zimmerman at his word, it’s attributing Martin with mind-reading powers.

    If I were being stalked by somebody, I would not feel safe until he was well and truly gone. Getting in a car so that he can more easily pursue me would not be reassuring.

    Wait a minute here, what is the evidence that Zimmerman started the fight? For all we know, Martin threw the first punch.

    Again, irrelevant who through the first punch. Zimmerman’s attack began when he followed Martin through the streets, making the younger man who was only trying to buy some candy fear for his own safety.

    If Martin had been a white woman who fought back against the creepy hispanic man when he started following her home, she would be a national hero.

    Zimmerman initiated the altercation regardless of whether he threw the first punch.

  55. lofgren says

    Because what we think we know is that Zimmerman acted like an asshole

    “Acted like an asshole?” How about “Acted in a menacing manner that gave a teenage kid alone in the rain good cause to be afraid for his own safety.”

    Remember, he is not being tried for his moral behavior, but only by the standards of the new Stand Your Ground law.

    The stand your ground law is not relevant.

    1. Trayvon was the one acting in self-defense, not Zimmerman.
    2. Trayvon attempted to extricate himself from the situation first, a requirement for a self-defense verdict in non-stand-your-ground states. Since Florida is a stand-your-ground state, Martin would have been justified attacking Zimmerman the moment he felt he was in danger.
    3. The fact that Zimmerman was losing the fight he started by menacing children does not mean that he was not the primary assailant.

    I don’t understand how you can say that Zimmerman’s behavior doesn’t matter. His behavior was exactly what made Martin feel that he had to defend himself in the first place.

    Unless Martin attacked him physically because he believed that at that moment his own life depended on it, (pretty unbelievable idea

    You find it hard to believe that a kid being followed home by a strange man might fear for his safety? You must live in the most secure, happiest place on the planet. I envy you, but out here in the real world if somebody follows you for several blocks, most people would fear for their own safety, especially young people.

    to the point of repeatedly smashing Zimmerman’s head against the pavement, whilst he was begging for him to stop.

    Remember kids: if somebody threatens you, you can shoot them dead. But if you don’t have a gun then you have to wait until they draw first before you can defend yourself. And then you have to stop if they ask you to.

  56. gingerbaker says

    lofgren:

    “The stand your ground law is not relevant.

    1. Trayvon was the one acting in self-defense, not Zimmerman.
    2. Trayvon attempted to extricate himself from the situation first, a requirement for a self-defense verdict in non-stand-your-ground states. Since Florida is a stand-your-ground state, Martin would have been justified attacking Zimmerman the moment he felt he was in danger.
    3. The fact that Zimmerman was losing the fight he started by menacing children does not mean that he was not the primary assailant.”

    You are not making a lick of sense here, lofgren.

  57. d cwilson says

    Wait a minute here, what is the evidence that Zimmerman started the fight?

    Once again: Zimmerman initiated the series of events that led to Martin’s death the moment he began stalking him against the explicit instructions from the police.

    For all we know, Martin threw the first punch.

    And for all we know, Zimmerman could have thrown the first punch, too. But it doesn’t matter. The confrontation began with the stalking, not the first punch.

    There is certainly no evidence that Zimmerman caused any injury to Martin and considerable evidence that Martin caused some injury to Zimmerman prior to the gun shot wound.

    Which proves nothing. Zimmerman could have thrown the first punch, but Martin ducked and then swung back. We don’t know either way and probably never will for sure. What we do know is that but for Zimmerman’s actions, Martin would be alive today.

  58. d cwilson says

    Trayvon attempted to extricate himself from the situation first, a requirement for a self-defense verdict in non-stand-your-ground states. Since Florida is a stand-your-ground state, Martin would have been justified attacking Zimmerman the moment he felt he was in danger.

    Of course, that assumes that stand your grounds laws are applied evenly with respect to race, gender, etc.

    Lest anyone has forgotten, in Florida, a black woman went to prison for firing a warning shot into the ceiling of her home when attacked by her abusive husband.

    I have zero doubt that if Martin had gotten ahold of the gun and shot Zimmerman, he’d have been arrested and charged that night.

  59. slc1 says

    Re lofgren & d cwilson

    So if there is a plea bargain for manslaughter, and Zimmerman gets, say 5 years in the slammer, Mr. logren and Mr. wilson will consider it a miscarriage of justice and demand a federal indictment for Zimmerman?

  60. kermit. says

    If I knew the circumstances, if I could be a fly on the wall and watch the whole sequence of events, I might change my mind. But on the surface, Trayvon was acting in self defense. It’s really easy for Monday morning quarter backs to judge a situation when they didn’t hear the words, see the body language, or see the terrain.

    But if someone confronts me when I am innocently walking down the street, and I take off running, and he chases me, I will be waiting around the corner with a trash can lid, or a bottle, or whatever I have in my pocket. And it may look bad for me when the police show up, but I’ll be alive. And whatever the verdict, it would have been self-defense on my part. It’s too bad that Trayvon’s fist couldn’t match Zimmerman’s pistol.

  61. d cwilson says

    slc1 wrote @62:

    So if there is a plea bargain for manslaughter, and Zimmerman gets, say 5 years in the slammer, Mr. logren and Mr. wilson will consider it a miscarriage of justice and demand a federal indictment for Zimmerman?

    I wrote @49:

    Therefore, it is my opinion that Zimmerman acted with reckless disregard for human life. Whether that meets the legal definition of manslaughter or murder in Florida is a conclusion that I am not qualified to make.

    So your question is already asked and answered. I’m not an attorney, much as an expert on Florida law, so I do not know whether his actions would be considered manslaughter or murder. My gut instinct is that manslaughter easier conviction to make, but we’ll see what the jury says.

  62. Chiroptera says

    It’s hard to say how I would vote if I were on a jury trying Zimmerman, not yet having heard all the defense arguments and all, but I can say that the fact that Zimmerman ignored a police/911 dispatcher’s instructions to not follow Martin would to a long way of removing reasonable doubt as to Zimmerman’s guilt.

    I mean, in my opinion, deliberately putting yourself into a position where you may very well be involved in a violent altercation is pretty much strong evidence that you are, in fact, guilty of the violence actions that ensue.

  63. greg1466 says

    I always love the “everything happens for a reason” line. I regularly respond, “you’re right, everything does happen for a reason, just probably not the one you’re thinking of”.

  64. slc1 says

    Re Chiroptera @ #65

    Guilty of what? Based on what I know, I would find him guilty of manslaughter but not 2nd degree murder.

  65. says

    slc1@44:

    What causes you to think that I’m on the wrong thread/blog @ 43?

    As to Zimmerman’s credibility in describing events of that evening:

    It appears that Zimmerman was not injured badly enough to seek medical attention on the night of the altercation–any information contrary to that might be in police records.

    It appears that detailed photos of Mr. Zimmerman’s head injuries were taken by someone OTHER than the the Sanford, FL PD–any information contrary to that might be in police records.

    Who did what in terms of the stalking/assault is unknown and probably unknowable, considering that one of the two parties to the altercation is dead and there are no–afaia–eywitnesses to the altercation.

    Zimmerman’s credibility on other issues, such as his failure to surrender a second passport or disclose the availability of >$135K in liquid assets at his initial bond hearing, do not indicate that he is an honest and forthright individual.

    As far as I’m concerned he’s a lying scumbag who shot a kid to death for reasons known only to him. Fortunately for Mr. Zimmerman there is a legal system that will attempt to sort things out. Mr. Martin, otoh, does not have that going for him.

  66. slc1 says

    Re democommie @ #68

    The subject of this thread is George Zimmerman, not Penn State.

    It appears that detailed photos of Mr. Zimmerman’s head injuries were taken by someone OTHER than the the Sanford, FL PD–any information contrary to that might be in police records.

    My information is that they were taken at the crime scene by the responding officers. The EMC technicians also stated that they observed both the cuts on Zimmerman’s head and his bloody nose.

    Who did what in terms of the stalking/assault is unknown and probably unknowable, considering that one of the two parties to the altercation is dead and there are no–afaia–eywitnesses to the altercation.

    It is my understanding that there is a witness who saw two men wrestling on the ground but was unable to tell who was on top. Of course Zimmerman claims that Martin was on top.

    There is also a recording over a cell phone of somebody yelling for help. The FBI analysis claims that they can’t tell whether it was Zimmerman or Martin. An expert hired by Martin’s family claims that it was Martin yelling. In the event this goes to trial, I am willing to bet that the defense will come up with a witness who will claim it was Zimmerman yelling for help.

    People like Mr. democommie and Mr. lofgren seem to be arguing with a straw man here. I have repeatedly stated that Zimmerman is not an innocent man and that his self defense claims are dubious, at best. The argument isn’t whether he is innocent, it’s over what he should be charged with. The police officer in charge of the crime scene, after hearing Zimmerman’s story, wanted to arrest him and charge him with manslaughter. I agree. Had the idiot prosecutor agreed, this entire incident would have been a one or two day story in the media. Instead, it has now been blown up into a bacchanalian revel with people who know fuck all about the incident choosing up sides.

  67. says

    slc1:

    I did not initiate the conversation about PSU, that was done @33.

    The photographic evidence of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries, from photographs taken at the scene was, I’m told, very low quality. If there are other evidence photos taken by legal authorities or first responders perhaps you’ve seen them. I have not. Zimmerman’s defense claims that they have photos showing extensive injuries to the back of Zimmerman’s head. Those photos were not, according to news reports, taken by authorities. They are, therefor, probably not admissible as evidence.

    Eyewitnesses to the struggle on the ground have been interviewed. It is not apparent from anything that I’ve read that they actually saw HOW the pair got into the scuffle in the first place. Mr. Martin’s cellphone call is problematic for both the defense and the prosecution.

    I am not involved in a bacchanal–nor have I been since July 7, 1982. I am not doing anything that millions of others aren’t doing in terms of looking at what little evidence there is and, yes, leaning into my “feelings” about the situation.

    I think I’m safe in saying that whether he’s found legally culpable or not, George Zimmerman is a coward and a lying piece of shit; ymmv.

    There are, btw, a lot of people who are just as convinced that Zimmerman is a fucking hero. And, if he’s found guilty of manslaughter or worse, they will insist on formulating some seriously fucked up conspiracy theory to explain his being railroaded.

    I do not see you as being pro-Zimmerman and I understand what you’re saying. I just don’t agree with your premise.

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