Video of George Zimmerman being brought into the Sanford police station after shooting on 26 Feb 2012
I’ve held off on writing about the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin last month in Florida. There just wasn’t enough info at first and it was being blogged coast to coast elsewhere. But it’s started to fill in a bit and maybe some speculation on what could have happened is in order. First the eyewitness:
(CNN) — The witness recounted seeing two men on the grass, one on top of the other. “And at that point, not looking out the window, I heard the yell for help, one yell for help, and then I heard another … excruciating type of yell. It didn’t almost sound like ‘help.’ It just sounded so painful. But I wasn’t watching out the window during that. And then the next time I looked out the window, there’s the same thing: two men on the grass, one on top of each other.
We may never know what happened here. But we can guess, construct scenarios and judge them. My guess would be each of these guys inadvertently reinforced the worst fears of the other, fears stoked by popular media portraying urban myth and real world events in a confusing mix.
Zimmerman is worried about burglars, the neighborhood had apparently been hit several times. He sees a young man black man wandering around. Thanks to Zimmerman’s preconceptions, in large part fueled by media accounts, Martin is the right race, the right age, and behaving the right way to fire up his worst fears.
Martin is walking around talking to his girlfriend, probably bored like kids are at that age, and he sees an unknown grown-up paying very close attention to him. Zimmerman is the right sex, the right age, and behaving exactly the right way to fire up Martin’s worst fears, thanks to endless warnings about strangers and shows about child predators, that he’s being stalked by a perv.
Critical move; Zimmerman approaches Martin and makes social contact. Words are exchanged, neither party feels obligated to explain themselves to the other, far from it, each reinforces the false assumptions of the other, each becomes quickly convinced the other is up to no good. Someone pushes the other, a scuffle ensues. Zimmerman perhaps fearing for his life, pulls his gun. Martin, now fearing for his, grabs for it. Bang.
That’s one possibility, I have no way to know if that happened or not. But it makes sense. It’s plausible and it’s consistent with what has been reported. Decide for yourself if you think a scenario like that holds water, or if it would be a crime if something like that did happen. On the latter, I honestly don’t know.