Zimmerman found not guilty in Trayvon Martin death, is free to go

Just thought I’d provide y’all with a place to react to this news, if you so choose:

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Jurors have found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The six-member, all-woman jury deliberated for more than 15 hours over two days before reaching their decision Saturday night.

They had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.

Reactions already abound on Twitter, of course. Here are two contrasting ones from local people. After Tweeting out “HELL YES!!! #JusticeForZimmerman,” Todd Kincannon added,

Congratulations to Mark O’Mara and Don West. Their performance makes me proud to be a member of the Bar.

At about the same time, Sam Johnson Tweeted:

Praying for peace in Sanford and across the country tonight. #ZimmermanTrial

I think I’m going to second Sam’s sentiment.

92 thoughts on “Zimmerman found not guilty in Trayvon Martin death, is free to go

  1. Barry

    The evidence simply didn’t add up to a conviction in my opinion. No one knew exactly what happened.

    The people that really scared me in this situation were the media talking heads on tv that seemed to know what happened and thought – with certainty – that he was innocent- or that he was guilty. they were all guessing because they couldn’t possibly know.

    Zimmerman is the poster child for what you don’t do as concerned citizen in a neighborhood watch. I think he’ll be a case study for every weapons safety class for the next 30 years.

  2. Doug Ross

    They didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All the speculation, extrapolation, hyperbolization of this case couldn’t convince a jury of his peers that Zimmerman committed murder.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    No, that’s not obvious at all. I can’t imagine being on a “side” in this. I wrote a headline that summed up why people found the case interesting.

    Since the start of this, I’ve marveled at people who were SO SURE about this, on both sides.

    It was just a tragic mess, without heroes or villains.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    More about that “sides” comment of David’s…

    What I can’t fathom is how anyone could look at this case and be either
    a) outraged, or
    b) overjoyed
    by this verdict. Yet there will be people in both categories.

    It’s just a horrible mess. This guy killed this kid, under circumstances that only he and the kid knew. The issue before the jury was whether the man killed the kid in self-defense or not. Or at least that’s the way the case was presented.

    The jury decided to acquit. I don’t know whether they’re right or wrong. I do know that I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that jury’s shoes for anything.

    1. Doug Ross

      Six randomly selected jurors unanimously agreed that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to convict Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter. This was more about the media and its shameful attempts to create news.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      “The jury decided it believed that he DID kill him in self-defense.” Not to split hairs with you on that statement, but I think the correct way of analyzing the jury verdict is: The State did not present sufficient evidence to overcome a reasonable doubt that the Defendant acted in self-defense.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, that wasn’t very lawyerly wording on my part.

        A Fair Witness would never make an assumption like that, and neither should a journalist. I’ll go back and change it.

        The jury found him “not guilty.” It’s reasonable that they believed the self-defense defense, but the record won’t say that.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    But you know, David’s got me concerned about the headline now. If he misread it, maybe other people will. I guess I’ll change it. But going from “Man who killed Trayvon Martin found not guilty” to “Zimmerman found not guilty” doesn’t change the facts — the whole thing is still a tragedy. And it was still going to BE a tragedy, whichever way the verdict went.

  6. Barry

    It’s a sad deal all the way around- but how anyone can be sure about what happened has more insight than I do.

    I didn’t hear anything that convinced me for sure he was guilty. But at the same time, there is no way I could proclaim him innocent. IN a trial that’s reasonable doubt.

    HOWEVER – today a man in a ponytail walked up to a man sitting on his porch and shot him in the stomach in Chicago- killing the man.

    IN Chicago this morning, a man sitting in his car was approached by two people and shot dead in his car.

    No one on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, Headline News, The State, The Washington Post, The Charlotte Observer, WIS, WLTX is going to talk about those cases. No one really cares because it doesn’t generate ratings or money.

    What a stinking mess we are in now.

    1. Juan Caruso

      Nevermind Chicago, Barry, i2 years ago it was not yet one of the U.S. cities with the world’s one hundred highest murder rates (New Orleans #21, San Juan, PR #25, Detroit #30, Saint Louis #43, and Baltimore #48).

      Closer to home, In Atlanta recently, there was another spectacular admission: http://goo.gl/zAG62

      It would not have taken genious for anyone except mainstream journalists to predict the “open season” gang members nationwide would soon declare on law-abiding citizens, had George Zimmerman been convicted. The math was simple: 2nd Ammendment 1, 2nd degree 0.

      1. Juan Caruso

        The first sentence should have said “2 years ago”, not i2 years ago. Is anyone else having random typos appear in Brad’s commenys? How could a lowercase “i” possibly appear before the numeral ‘2’ ? The characters are not even near each other on my keyboard.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “No one really cares because it doesn’t generate ratings or money.”

      Barry, if you know any journalists, you know they don’t think that way. They may think of fame or glory or credit or awards or other selfish things. But journalists just don’t think in the terms you describe. If nothing else, because there is no connection between what they do and money. No matter what they do, their pay is the same.

  7. Barry

    Talking heads oni MSNBC look like they have been crying. These opinion, agenda driven “journalists” and talking heads are so invested in the outcomes of what they are covering, they react physically when things don’t go their way – the way they’ve convinced themselves things should go.

    and of course you have ‘REV” AL Sharpton who now is given a national platform by a news organization to push his hustling and stoke anger. Classy.

    1. Bart

      Good reply but to a smart-ass comment. But if one were to read the thousands of tweeted threats on social media sites to riot, loot, and burn if Zimmerman was not convicted, you have a very long list of potential speakers to add to the list. Strange, I don’t recall reading one threat to burn and riot coming from the other side if Zimmerman was convicted. Perspective is a bitch when you don’t have it.

        1. Bart

          You don’t have to read all of them to get the general tone of the majority. After the first 100 which takes about 10 – 15 minutes, a general theme and many specifics have been established by the tweeters. Oh No! I must be guilty of “profiling” now.

  8. Bryan Caskey

    This isn’t triumph or injustice. It’s just a small sample size of our judicial system working through a difficult fact pattern.

    Also, I know this is crazy talk, but maybe the President of the United States shouldn’t comment on criminal cases before trial.

    1. Bart

      “Also, I know this is crazy talk, but maybe the President of the United States shouldn’t comment on criminal cases before trial.”…Bryan

      No, it is not crazy, it is common sense and his comments did nothing but add to the frenzy to indict when in the opinion of almost every prosecutor who was interviewed agreed that the case should have never been brought to trial especially the 2nd degree murder charge later amended to include consideration of manslaughter.

      The real tragedy is the death of Trayvon Martin and the public trial of Zimmerman by the media and the very government whose objective should be to uphold the law, not influence a state to made a ridiculous decision to proceed with a trial that couldn’t be won by any supporting evidence. This fiasco has done nothing but to further inflame emotions and tensions based entirely on a racially driven agenda by the media and the government.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        No, not crazy talk at all.

        Something happened to this country sometime during my adult lifetime. Actually, two things happened. First news coverage (on television, at least) became more and more about emotion, about feelings more than thought. And then we decided that the president of the United States was our emoter-in-chief.

        I like to blame Bill Clinton for that, because he embraced the role so whole-heartedly. But he was replying to a demand out there in the public.

        I wrote a column about the moment when I realized how out-of-control the phenomenon had become. It was the night of the Columbine shootings. I just happened to be watching TV news while working out in the hours after the shootings, and I saw the bizarre phenomenon of a TV network repeatedly cutting back to a reporter standing in front of the White House, assuring us that the president would have something to say soon.

        It blew my mind. First, there was no logical reason for the president to have anything to say about a crime committed in Colorado, one that was totally outside his federal jurisdiction. But the really freaky thing was how EAGER everyone seemed to be to hear him say it, as though it somehow mattered to the situation.

        Barack Obama is not the kind of guy to initiate such a custom. He just has the ill luck to have been born in a decade when such things are expected of the POTUS.

        1. Bart

          “Barack Obama is not the kind of guy to initiate such a custom. He just has the ill luck to have been born in a decade when such things are expected of the POTUS.”…..Brad

          So, Bill Clinton did it but I don’t remember his successor ever weighing in on issues outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. I simply do not agree with your defense of Obama on this one. If anything, he seems to be more than willng to seek out opportunities to interject his personal opinion into such matters. Totally inappropriate but then again, Obama is loathe to accept responsibility for anything.

          1. Steve Gordy

            IIRC, Richard Nixon stated publicly that Charles Manson was guilty of the Sharon Tate murders well before the courts rendered a verdict. And let’s not get into GWB’s frequent assertions about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.

          2. Bart

            “IIRC, Richard Nixon stated publicly that Charles Manson was guilty of the Sharon Tate murders well before the courts rendered a verdict. And let’s not get into GWB’s frequent assertions about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.”….Steve Gordy

            What the hell? Nixon, I agree with but to make a absolutely lame attempt to connect GWG and Saddam Hussein’s WMDs borders on the ridiculous. No damn wonder liberals lose credibility when they try to connect dots that don’t exist.

  9. Dave Crockett

    I am still troubled by the verdict.

    This was not, as far as I can tell, a parallel to a homeowner shooting an intruder dead in the middle of a home break-in. That seems to be a scenario of a clearly justified fatal shooting.

    The fact that Zimmerman apparently sought out a confrontation with Martin is a different situation, but I guess it didn’t rise to the level of murder or even manslaughter in the jury’s eyes. I’m not comfortable with that fact, but I accept that the jury had far more information to go on than we received through media reports. And I’m hard-pressed to second guess a jury in most cases.

    I am glad the case went to trial, though. The initial decision by police not to charge Zimmerman was a mistake in my opinion. The situation was not clearly a cut-and-dried self-defense situation and needed third party adjudication.

    Now, to Kathryn, Bryan, and all the other lawyers on board. Does the Martin family have the option of seeking a civil action against Zimmerman similar to the O.J. Simpson case?

    1. Mark Stewart

      I am not comfortable with vigilantes, which is what Zimmerman was. The last 2 minutes of Martin’s life will never excuse the fact that Zimmerman profiled and gave chase after being told not to by the 911 dispatcher, armed, to somebody simply walking home in his own neighborhood.

      I would think that Martin’s family would have an excellent chance in a civil suit against Zimmerman. But so what? Doesn’t change anything.

      1. Bart

        If for one moment I thought Zimmerman was acting as a vigilante, then I would agree with you but based on the factual information about the break-ins and the fact that Zimmerman was a member of the local crime watch, in my opinion, vigilantism was not involved. As for being told not to follow Martin, all the dispatcher said to Zimmerman was “you don’t have to do that” which is not a directive to not follow him.

        There have been too many lies told purposely by the media especially NBC and CNN which both fabricated a lie and reported it by editing the taped messages to convey a message that Zimmerman was going after Martin because of his skin color. The entire media should hang their collective heads in shame over the way they have behaved in the way they have reported the story. The truth be damned, print the “legend” instead.

        But, never fear, the DOJ will most likely bring charges against Zimmerman for violating Martin’s civil rights and GZ will end up in prison.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Oh great, so now we have unsanctioned crime watchers doing what even sanctioned patrols are taught not to do by the police. And you really see that as not vigilanteism?

          Zimmerman did what he did only because he had a handgun. To me that says all. You may hold to your opinion. Mine remains that he was a cowardly creep of low intelligence and low self-esteem. Martin probably wasn’t much different. He just had on a hoodie in the cold rain instead of a handgun tucked in his waistband.

          1. Bart

            Definition of vigilante: One who acts outside the law to punish or avenge a crime.
            Or, maybe the definition of vigilant: staying watchful and alert to danger or trouble.

            I respect your opinion Mark and hope you will respect mine as well, we simply see this tragedy in a different light. And to set the record straight, no one who possesses one single spec of human compassion is celebrating the death of Trayvon Martin, no one. Only the hard case assholes from both sides are incapable of expressing compassion or reason.

            Am I angry about the way the case was handled by the media and prosecution, absolutely. The media purposefully lied about the incident and did nothing but throw highly volatile fuel on a single spark and ignited a blaze that swept across the nation. When caught in their lies, they refused to acknowledge them for a long time but by the time they did, the damage was done. The president weighed in when he should have kept his damn mouth shut and if he wanted to say anything, he should have said, “let the legal system work properly by the local and state authorities, this is not a federal matter”.

            The state then made a huge mistake by overcharging Zimmerman. If he was to be charged with anything, it should have been involuntary manslaughter. If he had been properly charged, the verdict most likely would have been guilty and he might be serving his sentence now because that would be the only legitimate charge I can think of under the circumstances. However, the state wanted to go for the grand slam home run by charging Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder but when it was obvious to any rational person there was no case, the prosecution punted and asked to include manslaugher and tried to get 3rd degree murder charges considered because Trayvon was underage.

            But no, everyone was in too much of a rush to exact “justice” for Trayvon Martin, they forgot that this nation is still a nation of laws or is supposed to be. In this instance, the media, the prosecution, and the race baiters became the vigilante mob looking to exact “justice” outside the legal boundaries of the law. They wanted and still want revenge for a tragedy that could have been avoided if both Zimmerman and Martin had used some common sense and left well enough alone.

            To repeat what several have already said, “sometimes a tragedy is just that, a tragedy and no one is to be singled out for blame.” In the end, the legal system did the job it was supposed to do and a jury reached a verdict based on the evidence, not emotion or ideology. If you and others cannot accept that simple fact, then you are not interested in the legal or justice system working, you want revenge and the blood of Zimmerman because of your own personal beliefs.

            Hold fast to your hopes, maybe the federal government will join the mob and find the right tree for the hangman’s noose to place around Zimmerman’s neck. And hopefully you and the others who still want blood will never be placed in a situation where you are automatically declared “guilty until proven innnocent” instead of the other way around.

          2. Mark Stewart


            I think you completely misunderstand my viewpoint on this matter.

            To state what I thought was obvious; I condemn Zimmerman for giving chase to someone he had profiled – someone who he went after because he had the power of a handgun in his waistband. What revolts me is the way that this punk (Zimmerman) felt entitled to take the law into his own hands and terminate another’s life because of his own poor choices.

            Nobody knows who finally confronted who that night or what was said to escalate the confrontation. I have no issues with that. My concern in this is the message it sends to other people out there carrying a conceled handgun (with a round in the chamber) for the sense of self-esteem support it gives them. This doesn’t mean firearms are bad, but as with all things in life, often times the people most attracted to something are the ones most unable to handle that attraction.

          3. Doug Ross


            He “profiled” Martin based on Martin matching the profile of people who had committed recent break-ins in the neighborhood.

            Do you know what the conversation was between Zimmerman and Martin? Do you know who threw the first punch? Do you seriously think Zimmerman intended to inflict lethal harm on Martin when he approached him?

            The gun didn’t mean anything until it was pulled. And it wasn’t pulled until (rightly or wrongly) Zimmerman felt he was in danger.

          4. Bart


            Thanks for your clarification.

            My last comment on the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy is that Zimmerman has been profiled as a white vigilante punk coward who needs a gun to feel like a man so he could take the law into his own hands. I guess Zimmerman’s profiling is acceptable but when it was young black males who had been breaking into condos in the community during the daytime, when one is observed walking in the area, what else can it be called if not profiling if the person meets the description of known offenders? Now, if it had been a gang of old white men who had been commiting the crimes, then yes, identifying Trayvon Martin as a potential threat would be racial profiling and I would side with the prosecution.

          5. Mark Stewart


            The gun did mean something before the confrontation. It’s what gave Zimmerman the “confidence” to pursue and confront Martin. He either chambered the round after he exited his vehicle and before meeting up with Martin, or he carried a loaded pistol as a regular thing. Both scenarios say the presence of the gun in Zimmerman’s possession did have a direct connection to the outcome. Both scenarios demonstrate Zimmerman’s culpability in pulling the trigger.

          6. Doug Ross


            I’m a little surprised at how much insight you have into the mind and motivation of Zimmerman. What if he just had a tazer or pepper spray? Would he still have left his vehicle?

            I can invent a story about Trayvon Martin’s state of mind when approached by a white guy, too.

      2. Barry

        Don’t agree with the vigilante part. That’s an overstatement. He wasn’t walking around looking to hurt someone as a vigilante would obviously do – that was never proven despite people wanting it to be true. That’s the problem with this case – people want something to be true so they say it’s true- despite not having any evidence of such.

        Zimmerman wasn’t smart. He was overstepping his role as a concerned neighbor or neighborhood watch person. He forgot some basic things in getting out of his car. That was a really dumb move.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      The verdict neither troubles me nor surprises me. Again, I thought it was a loser case for the prosecution to begin with.

      When the prosecution fails to make their case, or when the investigating officers fail to handle evidence properly, or when there’s no way to verify key elements, or when it’s he said/she said and one of the two is dead; that means you’re probably going to get an acquittal if the system’s working as it is supposed to work.

      That’s how our judicial system is supposed to work. It’s very hard to get a criminal conviction on shaky evidence. The evidence wasn’t present in this case.

      But certain folks never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Which is exactly what makes family law – and probably all civil law – such a crock much of the time. There it is story before truth.

  10. Bryan Caskey

    Also odd was that this was a very serious felony charge of murder, and it was decided by a six person jury. In almost every other state, this would have been a twelve person jury. The smaller the jury, the greater the risk the decision will turn on some crazy outlier in the jury pool.

    Murder cases (and other very serious criminal cases) should stick to the historical standard of twelve person juries.

    Just a random thought on criminal procedure.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I thought a small jury sounded odd for a murder trial – even manslaughter. If SC uses 12 jurors, then that’s a small victory for the state and its citizens.

  11. Burl Burlingame

    Everyone involved in this case is a dumbass, including Zimmerman, Martin, the police department and the prosecution.

  12. Rose

    My cop husband’s take: all Zimmerman had to do was stay in the vehicle and wait for police. He escalated the situation – initiated confrontation – by stepping out of his car. No one was in danger that needed his immediate intervention. Until Zimmerman placed himself and Martin in danger by getting out of his car, and started this horrible mess.

    1. Barry

      No one in the world believes Zimmerman acted properly by getting out of his car. But not being smart doesn’t automatically mean he’s responsible for the entire thing. Does he bear a high level of responsibility? Yes – no doubt about it.

      The problem is- no one could prove Zimmerman confronted Martin. We have to have proof. Did he? We don’t know. No one proved that at all.

  13. Silence

    If you live like a thug, you die like a thug. Eventually “acting” like a gangster/baller/hoodlum will catch up with you…

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I doubt that is the case for someone like me. I bet I could wear a hoodie anywhere with impunity!

      1. Silence

        It’s not the hoodie per se. It’s the entire “thug” lifestyle. If you pretend to be all tough and a baller, eventually you are going to have to prove how tough you really are. If it hadn’t been Zimmerman, it probably would have eventually been some other wanna-be or real-life gangsta.

        1. Mark Stewart

          True at every strata of society.

          Zimmerman was playing that role, too – wannabe cop. They both proved how tough they are…

          The hardest lesson in life is the value of humility.

          1. Juan Caruso

            Mark, I take it that you mean, “The hardest lesson in life is the value of humility” only applies to other people right? Thanks for setting everyone else straight with nothing but high-sounding opinions. Once in a while, please present to us some facts to support your opinions [to wit]:

            ” It’s what gave Zimmerman the “confidence” to pursue and confront Martin.”

            Exactly how many nights, Mark, have you spent on community watch duty? I have done it alone and unarmed. I totally disagree with your synthesis of what gives confidence, your conclusion that Zimmerman pursued Martin, or that Zimmerman would have been wrong to defend himself from a violent person (or dog).

          2. Mark Stewart

            No, Juan, it applies to me, too.

            After that I would just say “whatever”. You are entitled to your opinion. As am I.

            My point, which may have escaped you, is that people behave as Zimmerman did, though less lethally, at all stratas of society. That doesn’t make it right for anyone.

            Did you just call Martin a dog? I wouldn’t want to misquote you… But wow. That’s bait I won’t take.

          3. Juan Caruso

            Had a dog attacked and pinned Zimmerman to the ground as violently as Martin did, few including Jesse Jackson would have protested George’s right to self-defense. That is what I am saying, and I have loved and owned dogs as family pets since the age of 10, Mark. You seem to irrationally deny self defense for feel-good, politically correct reasons, a superficial mentality.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    We have no one’s word but Zimmerman’s that he was attacked and pinned to the ground. Furthermore, a young black man is not capable of inflicting the kind of damage, say, a German Shepherd Dog could….

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Ok, Kathryn. Time to admit you didn’t really watch much of the trial. Put on your lawyer hat:

      The prosecution’s own witness testified (John Good) testified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, beating him mixed martial arts style. THE PROSECUTION’S WITNESS CORROBORATED THE DEFENDANT’S VERSION OF EVENTS!

      As Rick Perry would say: Oops.

      Good used the term “ground and pound” — before Zimmerman shot him. According to Good, he thought Zimmerman was shouting help as Martin beat him. “That’s what it looked like,” he stated. “It looked like there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown.”

      And what’s this “furthermore…” comparison to a GSD? The “kind” of damage? I admit that being bitten by a GSD isn’t a picnic, but having a 17 year old straddle your chest and punch you in the face isn’t a walk in the park, either.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Here’s one for you, Bryan. Was Zimmerman’s gun concealed or was it open carry? I read it was in the back of his waistband in a holster. Did he have on a jacket or was his shirt untucked over his weapon? If so, how did he get to it if Martin was in fact straddling him and beating him silly? Even if it wasn’t covered (which would have been an illegal carry) how did he still manage to draw his weapon under a flurry of fists? How does one reach underneath oneself to pull out a pistol from a waistband holster in that position anyway? Or was it not so extreme so that he could more than twist and squirm? “Ground and Pound”, given that and Zimmerman’s minor injuries (given that there was a fight), just seems like a long stretch from what must have really happened, no matter how dramatic in the dark it may have appeared to a witness.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I would think that it would be self evident that Zimmerman should not be entitled to have his CWP reissued. Give him back his pistol (for a number of reasons). But that’s as far as that should go.

      1. Silence

        Many states with concealed carry laws are “shall issue” states, where the local constabulary must issue your license unless there’s a compelling reason not to, like a felony conviction or whatnot. After Zimmerman’s acquittal, he’s fully entitled to get his pistol back and to continue to posess a concealed weapons permit. All is as it should be.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, he’s perfectly entitled. But all is not as it should be.

          Some people have the judgment to carry firearms. Some people don’t. I would think that conservatives (as opposed to radical libertarians) would usually agree with that, just as they would agree that some people have the talents to make more money than other people, and should reap the rewards. And that actions should have consequences.

          Zimmerman has demonstrated rather clearly that he lacks the sort of judgment and discrimination (and note, everyone, I’m using the word “discrimination” in its positive sense, which we don’t see often enough) to carry. If anyone in America should be denied such permission (and yes, I believe some people in America should be denied this power), he should.

          Zimmerman puts me in mind of the old cliche from Westerns — you don’t carry a gun unless you intend to draw, you don’t draw unless you intend to aim at someone, you don’t aim unless you intend to shoot, and you don’t shoot unless you intend to kill.

          That’s not a perfect set of ideas — if you see me carrying a gun, you can be sure that I intend to damage some empty tin cans or a paper target if I can. But then, I don’t have Zimmerman’s record. And I don’t go out armed into the night, looking for a confrontation.

          1. Silence

            Brad, you also don’t live in a neighborhood that has been terrorized by burglars, as far as I know.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Guns don’t make me feel safer.

            I remember once, long ago, when my brother-in-law and I were walking down some railroad tracks in east Memphis, heading to a wooded area across the Wolf River to do some shooting. I was carrying a .22 rifle.

            We had just passed under the overpass for I-240, and we heard a voice, behind and above us, calling on us to “Halt!”

            We stopped, and turned. A cop was walking down the embankment toward us. He asked me, “Is the weapon loaded?” I said no. He told me to lay it down. I did. He never drew his weapon, but he was ready to.

            I thought then, and I think now, all I had to do was make one move that he misinterpreted… What a stupid way to get killed that would have been.

            I forget what happened after that, whether we just went on across the river, or went home…

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            On another occasion, we had gotten across the river without incident, and were still walking along the elevated tracks looking for a place to climb down (the sandy bank made a good backstop for target shooting).

            About 100 to 200 yards ahead of us, we saw a man walking toward us on the tracks, also apparently carrying a weapon. Suddenly, he crouched as though he’d heard something in the woods, pivoted 90 degrees, and fired a burst on full auto into the trees. I think it was a Tommy gun, but we didn’t get any closer.

            Again, I don’t remember for sure what happened next, but we probably turned around and decided to go shooting another day.

            I think, but don’t know, that that guy was a troubled Vietnam vet who lived in the neighborhood, and was later busted when the cops raided his home and found illegal weapons.

        2. Mark Stewart

          Florida requires a complete description of any criminal charges (not convictions) filed against someone for the background check. So I don’t think that it is a clear case of “shall issue” for Zimmerman.

          Anyway, I imagine Zimmerman’s family wouldn’t want him to possess a weapon anyway; the guy looks like a suicide waiting to happen (I mean all the way through his adult life, not just post Martin encounter).

          1. Silence

            Well, as far as I know, there’s no outstanding charges against Zimmerman, and he was acquitted of the charges that were filed. Anyone can get any kind of criminal charges, which is why we have due process rights. There’s no compelling or even legitimate reason to deny him a CWP. In fact, in light of the threats of violence made against Zimmerman and his family, I’d say he’s a prime candidate for NEEDING a CWP. If I were him, I’d move to Minnesota or Vermont (somewhere overwhelmingly caucasian) buy some body armor and always be armed. He’s got a legitimate safety concern at this point.

          2. Doug Ross

            Ironic: liberals are against the death penalty but don’t really try too hard to condemn people who suggest harming Zimmerman or his parents.

            Sore losers.

          3. Bryan Caskey

            Zimmerman’s life is probably in greater danger now than ever before. I can’t imagine all the death threats he’s getting from angry folks wanting “Justice for Trayvon”.

            I bet you a wooden nickle he’s got a firearm at home.

          4. Mark Stewart

            Liberal or conservative, I would imagine that anyone who opposes the death penalty would condemn anyone who suggested harming Zimmerman or his family. I would also think this true of most who support the death penalty.

            Let’s not generalize the fringe anything as the norm.

          5. Doug Ross

            @Mark – you seem to have a mind-meld connection with Zimmerman. You knew his mindset when he left his vehicle and now you know he’s potentially suicidal. What makes him cry?

          6. Doug Ross

            Define “fringe”. Haven’t heard the President come out and condemn anyone who suggested harming Zimmerman. Oh, yeah, he didn’t even mention Zimmerman. Must have slipped his teleprompter.

          7. Mark Stewart

            Doug, you’re just being bombastic.

            Everyone who comments here (or anywhere) likes to ponder things. I do. I wonder what outlook, experience, and history would lead someone to do what they do. As true of myself as of any of these characters we discuss – Zimmerman, Martin, the Columbia Keystone Koppers, etc, etc. People are fascinating; not as things, but as humans. We can learn a lot from each other.

            You tell me: Is there a greater chance that Zimmerman will be harmed by someone, or that he will harm himself? I hope neither. But I would be more concerned about the latter. The guy is not a clear thinker. I would say that same thing about Martin, but we only became aware he even existed after he was gone.

          8. Doug Ross

            I would state with complete certainty that there is greater chance of someone harming Zimmerman than him harming himself. What would make Zimmerman suicidal? If he was going to do it, I’m guessing he would have done it sometime over the past year when he was contemplating spending life in prison.

            Your statements are reaching borderline obsessive… “The guy is not a clear thinker” … Based on what? What other evidence do you have that he is “not a clear thinker”? He was employed, going to college, married.

            It’s just sad how many people have tried to turn this one unfortunate incident into far more than it is. Martin was shot and killed not by a murderer but by a guy who confronted him (when he probably shouldn’t have) and then saw the interaction escalate into a fight. There is no way you can convince me that Zimmerman had any intent besides finding out what Martin was doing when he approached him.

          9. Mark Stewart

            I don’t like handguns, Doug, certainly not carried in public. Zimmerman is the classic example of the kind of guy who seems to need to compensate for something lacking in himself. When the object of someone like that’s fascination is a weapon, trouble is a very real outcome.

            I couldn’t really care less about him. It is the instructiveness of the cautionary tale that I find worth hammering home. The guy turned his poor decision making into a fatal encounter. Events spiraled out of his control; but each escalation resulted from a specific choice Zimmerman made. We should all keep that in mind, in everything that we do in our lives.

          10. Doug Ross

            It was an unfortunate isolated event. Not a national referendum on guns or race. It wasn’t murder, it wasn’t stalking, it wasn’t some guy attacking a kid, it wasn’t profiling – it wasn’t anything but a sequence of events that escalated out of control starting with Zimmerman’s decision to leave his vehicle. My OPINION is that Martin responded aggressively to being confronted and it escalated from there. And I don’t think it is anything more than that.

  15. Kathryn Fenner

    I wonder how many of your readers are young people who are obviously members of a minority…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I have no idea. Can’t think of when anyone has self-identified that way.

      But as a middle-aged white guy, I’m not gonna walk around at night in a neighborhood where this Zimmerman guy is going around armed…

      1. Rose

        And….to quote the cop husband again, “Nothing good EVER happens in the middle of the night, no matter who you are or where you are. If you’re out at 3:00am, you’re a potential victim, or a potential suspect, no matter where you live.”

  16. Silence

    I’ll troll the commenters here for one last time, see if anyone bites:

    Hispanic guy kills a suspicious black teen while patrolling his crime riddled neighborhood = national news for a year, criminal case, feds trolling for a civil rights or hate crimes case, and people marching and rioting in the streets.

    Three black teens kill a working single mother of three during a botched robbery of the bakery she worked at = local news story, criminal charges, bail revoked, police and solicitor point fingers at each other.

    Black teens/young men shooting at each other in a housing project, accidentally shoot a 4 year old girl who is sitting in her families apartment playing X-box = local news, criminal investigation, people feel sad.

    Thousands of black teens/young men kill each other in senseless gang-related violence = local news, poltiicans talk tough, occasional indictment issued.

    Anyone see anything ridiculous here?

Comments are closed.