Crime

Does George Zimmerman's Story Sound Plausible?

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Tapes released by George Zimmerman's defense yesterday present the clearest picture yet of why he claims to have believed that Trayvon Martin posed a deadly threat on the night he shot the unarmed teenager in Sanford, Florida. As was previously reported, Zimmerman told police he was heading back to his vehicle, having lost sight of Martin, when the teenager "jumped out from the bushes" and confronted him, saying, "What the fuck's your problem?" Zimmerman says he replied that "I don't have a problem," at which point Martin said, "Now you have a problem." According to Zimmerman, Martin then punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. "He was whaling on my head," Zimmerman said. In an interview recorded on February 27, the day after the shooting, Zimmerman gave his account of what happened next:

I kept yelling for help. And I got a  little bit of leverage, and I started to sit up, and then he took my head and slammed it into the concrete several times….I started screaming for help, and he covered by nose with one hand and my mouth with the other one, and he told me, "Shut the fuck up!" And I couldn't breathe; I was suffocating. But when I shifted, my jacket came up and my shirt came up, exposing my firearm. And that's when he said—he sat up and looked and said, "You're gonna die tonight, motherfucker." And I saw him take one hand off my mouth and slide it down my chest. And I just pinched his arm and I grabbed my gun, I aimed it at him, and fired one shot.

It is not hard to understand why Martin, tailed by a strange man in an SUV as he walked back to the house where he was staying with his father, might have been angry and scared—maybe even angry and scared enough to attack Zimmerman in an attempt to neutralize a perceived threat. But I'm not sure the mechanics of the struggle described by Zimmerman make sense. If Martin was using both of his hands to cover Zimmerman's mouth and nose, doesn't that mean Zimmerman's arms were free to knock Martin off, or at least knock his arms away? If Martin "sat up and looked" before reaching for Zimmerman's gun, wasn't that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself? Then, too, the threat Zimmerman says Martin issued seems a little too theatrical to be real. Once the gun was exposed, wouldn't Martin simply have grabbed it instead of telegraphing his intention to do so?

While Zimmerman's story seems fishy, it may still be plausible enough to create reasonable doubt as to whether he reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to prevent Martin from killing him. And as I've said before, the right to "stand your ground" does not enter into it, since Zimmerman claims Martin overpowered him and had him pinned to the ground, meaning he did not have an opportunity to retreat. Whether a jury will believe that is another question.

Previous coverage of the Trayvon Martin case here. The website maintained by Zimmerman's defense is here. His February 26 written description of the circumstances that led to the shooting, which seems consistent with what he said in the interview the following evening, is here.

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  1. If Martin “sat up and looked” before reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, wasn’t that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself? Then, too, the threat Zimmerman says Martin issued seems a little too theatrical to be real. Once the gun was exposed, wouldn’t Martin simply have grabbed it instead of telegraphing his intention to do so?

    Monologuing: the classic villain mistake.

    1. Don’t forget the famous last words of every villain, “You got me.” Zimmerman should have never watched Training Day before recounting his story.

    2. There’s an entire Cheapass game based on it: Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond.

  2. If Martin “sat up and looked” before reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, wasn’t that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself? Then, too, the threat Zimmerman says Martin issued seems a little too theatrical to be real. Once the gun was exposed, wouldn’t Martin simply have grabbed it instead of telegraphing his intention to do so?

    Zimmerman is clearly lying, because he’s a racist.

    1. the because is irrevelant

  3. I’ve always thought Zimmerman’s various accounts of what happened were a little too theatrical and self-serving.

    Of course, the relevant bits may still be truthy enough, but still . . . .

    1. I agree. I honestly wouldn’t convict him (barring anything else I don’t know) because there’s simply no way to know, and I’m not sending a guy to jail forever based on assumptions.

      But he seems to be constructing a, “What do people believe an angry black man would sound like?” defense.

      1. The alleged Trayvon’s last words don’t seem at all implausible to me. That said, I don’t know if I even consider it entirely relevant. A cursory viewing of the available facts leaves me unable to conclude that this is anywhere close to 2nd degree murder. Had they sought a manslaughter charge, I might’ve been more convinced.

        1. This is the one thing that I absolutely don’t understand for the life of me. It’s highly likely that the government could “get” Zimmerman on a lesser charge. But instead, they chose to waste time and money pursuing a charge that a first year law student could easily get him acquitted on. It makes no sense.

          1. Makes perfect sense. They have to say “Hey- we tried” to keep the savages at bay. The alternative is riots and looting for not doing “enough” to placate the mob.

          2. It makes total sense if you assume the prosecutor is a self-aggrandizing psycho who wants to build a political career on destroying the people who come before her, innocent or guilty.

            1. The prosecutor, Angela Corey, seems to be anti-gun and anti-self defense. This is the third time (that we know of) that she has harshly prosecuted someone who acted in self-defense. Two of them got 20 YEARS for firing shots in self-defense. See:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…..artin_case

  4. You kidding me? Eyewitnesses with no skin in the game have notoriously unreliable memories of the details of these kinds of events. The details memory of a person who really is afraid for his life is bound to be even more sketchy.

    1. Good point, especially since the eyewitness accounts have Martin on top of Zimmerman whaling away as described.

      1. I don’t doubt that part. I doubt the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker dialogue.

        “Obi-wan never told you the truth about how I am going to kill you, George.”

        1. So now you’re making up dialogue? The quotes that Zimmerman gives are cliche but they’re cliche for a reason. The “you’re gonna die tonight” line is probably the most theatrical but it’s a very believable line for someone in a fight.

          1. You clearly haven’t been in many (any?) fights. I do believe in any fight I’ve ever been in, I, and anyone else watching, would have burst out laughing at that point.

            1. Jim, remember: Tulpa’s special ability is to talk out his ass about shit he knows absolutely nothing about.

              Don’t begrudge him his special skill. It’s all he has.

            2. If in the course of any of those fights, you observed a firearm, that might have changed.

              I wouldn’t be beating anyone to death with my bare hands, but had I seen the person I’m fighting with a gun, it’s not unreasonable to think at that point I begin realizing it’s either him or me (especially if he had been tailing me for 15 minutes with said gun).

              1. There were guns present in most of those circumstances. When it’s a bunch of sailors, soldiers, and marines, it’s pretty much assumed most of us are armed.

                1. I thought enlisted guys weren’t allowed to carry sidearms when not in battle or training? Hence, you know, the Ft Hood massacre being possible.

            3. I haven’t been in any street fights, certainly none with death threats involved.

              I’m also not the one claiming that someone’s recollection of the story is likely mistaken because of the dialogue involved.

            4. I’ve been in several fights, and witnessed and/or broken up numerous others, and I have had an almost identical threat made to me when a guy had me pinned to the ground and was trying to punch me in the face. It may be theatrical/cliche/stupid, but it’s not implausible.

              Also, if a bigger guy has you pinned to the ground, even if your arms are free, it’s not exactly easy to knock him off of you. If it was, you wouldn’t be pinned down in the first place.

          2. Strange so many are leaping to the conclusion it’s GZ who watched too many movies. How about TM watched too many movies? The 18 yo kid is more likely to say dramatic, cliched crap during a fight.

    2. The details memory of a person who really is afraid for his life is bound to be even more sketchy.

      Especially if his head was banged against the ground -he probably had at least a minor concussion.

  5. This is a case for the jury. What casual followers of this story think of anyone’s relation of events is irrelevant. This whole thing is politicized, fucking stupid, and tiresome beyond belief.

    1. I’m thinking of a word that starts with G.

      1. No one cares what you think. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

        1. i care tulpa. go on please…

        2. Oh, but his comments “always draw a crowd”.

      2. Gynotikolobomassophile?

      3. How about “gynotikolobomassophile”?

      4. Nah, it’s gynecomastia. Tulpa’s trying to come clean with us.

      5. Guido. Tulpa is attacking Episiarch’s rich ethnic heritage.

        1. Ok, I lol’d.

        2. Racist!

            1. Hmmm, probably both.

              1. We’re all racists. Once we accept that fact, we won’t have to elect vacuous idiots to high office.

  6. I’d like to see the bushes Martin jumped out of.

    The dialogue is extremely theatrical and implausible, but I find the “ninja attack” part even sketchier.

    It sounds like a story you make up on the fly when you think you just shot a burglar or prowler. Because they’d be hiding in the bushes. Why was Martin hiding in the bushes? To drink the iced tea he just bought?

    1. The dialog is very plausible. Have you ever been around people trying to start a fight? That is exactly the kind of stupid shit people say. “you got a problem?” and so forth. It is totally believable.

      Think about this. Why is it so unbelievable that an 18 year old kid would get pissed off and beat the shit out of someone who pissed him off? That happens like a thousand times a day.

      1. And yet there aren’t a thousand deaths a day. Sounds like some people aren’t flexing their rights like they should be.

        1. Most people don’t carry guns. Or they have a chance to brandish them before the fight starts.

          1. The “you got a problem?” is extremely believable. The, “You gonna die tonight motherfucker!” not so much. I was in my fair share of bar fights while I was in the army, both here and overseas, and never heard anybody, black or white, make a stupid pronouncement like that.

            Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It just sounds strange to me.

            1. That is a bit much. But who knows. It is not totally unbelievable. Once Martin gets hyped up and starts whaling on the guy, it is believable he might have said something crazy like that.

              1. Yeah like I said up-thread, I find the dialogue hokey to the point of, “What do people think angry black men sound like?”

                But that’s not the same thing as evidence. It’s just my gut feeling, which I would never, ever use to justify convicting a guy of anything. As far as I’m concerned, at this point (only given the information we have so far), Zimmerman walks.

            2. Still this was attributed to a guy (teenager no less) who referred to himself as “No Limit Nigga”. I’m not sure that I would put “you’re going to die tonight” past him.

              1. Yeah but Zimmerman refered to himself on Myspace as “datniggyb” so I guess they “thug quotient” is cancelled out.

            3. I dunno. I had a guy who was trying to get into a fight with me use “I’ma fuckin’ kill you!”, so, “You gonna die tonight!” doesn’t seem that out of bounds.

            4. I’ve heard plenty of “You’re fucking dead motherfucker” as I was dragging idiots of all races out of bars and clubs. Lucky for them they never actually connected with one of their their ill-conceived haystackers.

            5. Of course, a rational person would have run into the night, and gone home (not far away) if he thought there was a threat. He could obviously outrun Zimmerman.

          2. Also, most people don’t jump into their Batmobile to fight petty crime, then blow away the unarmed other guy when their own ass gets handed to them. That might be a part of it.

            1. And just to be clear, I’m not taking sides on the actual confrontation. I just believe Zimmerman is a bitch for the ages for seeking out this thing in the first place.

              1. I could see it happening if he’s frustrated over past robberies by presumably unrelated people. I’m pissed about all the assaults and muggings here in Pgh and the police always reiterating that you should never resist, considering that they NEVER catch these schmucks. Not to the point of jumping in my Echo and tailing a suspicious character, but I can definitely sympathize with the mindset.

                One thing that’s certainly true is that, with what we know now, Z would have been immeasurably far better off going home and hiding under his bed than pursuing this kid.

                1. The part of zimmerman’s behavior that is incomprehensible to me is where he pursued and then lost sight of martin.

                  I can see being the neighborhood watch guy, tailing a suspicious character from a distance and calling the cops. But no way in hell would I approach the guy.

              2. He wasn’t ‘seeking this thing’ he followed Martin initially to see where he was going. He stopped following Martin when the dispatcher told him they didn’t need him to do that.

    2. Muggers jump out of vegetation here in Pittsburgh all the time. Somebody got robbed walking along Blvd of the Allies last week because someone jumped from behind some Schenley Park shrubbery.

      It’s a pretty common tactic for criminal lowlifes.

      1. Right. But Martin wasn’t actually a burglar.

        That’s Zimmerman’s mistake here.

        He made this statement shortly after the shooting. At that point, he’s telling himself, “I shot that damn burglar who was blighting our poor street”. So he made up details that fit the scenario of getting into a confrontation with a burglar.

        The only problem is that we know Martin wasn’t a burglar.

        1. You’re really in the midst of a logical pretzel here, Fluffy.

          There is no reason to believe Martin was a burglar. Correct. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing something that burglars also happen to do.

          I’d think a very common tactic for a person who thought they were being followed and wanted to get the jump on the follower would be to hide in some vegetation and wait for the guy to pass him. Hell, I might try that myself if it came to a point where I had no populated/lighted place to flee to.

          1. By the way, we still don’t know TM wasn’t a burglar. One of his 3 suspensions was possessing a bunch of jewelry and a big flat head screwdriver. Another was apparently to do with assaulting his bus driver.

        2. Except that every single piece of forensic evidence matches up with his ‘made up details’. What are the odds of that?

          He knew, in microscopic detail, the exact nature of every piece of physical evidence, where it should be, and what the story was that should cover it. Wow.

          1. Except that every single piece of forensic evidence matches up with his ‘made up details’.

            Actually, I think a lot of the detail he provides about the fight wouldn’t result in forensic evidence.

            Certainly not the dialogue or the bit about his gun being exposed during the fight or Trayvon reaching it. Probably not the bit about Trayvon covering his nose and mouth with both hands, Trayvon jumping out the the bushes or (critically) Trayvon starting the fight.

            1. The cuts on Trayvon’s hands, the cuts on Zimmerman’s head, his broken nose, the grass and wetness on his back, the positioning of the wound along with powder burns.

              That’s all forensics–and it all matches. Even though Zimmerman was ‘making up details to fit the scenario’

              The dialogue–‘you got a problem’, ‘no’, ‘you do now’ is old news, and no, it’s not able to be checked. Nothing about the initial confrontation can be checked. But everything after that matches what Zimmerman said. The conversation with the dispatcher we can hear appears to back up the statement that he was headed back to his car.

              So, here’s how it stands–either Zimmerman is telling the truth–or he’s an incredibly clever murderer who foresaw every circumstance leading up to the kill.

              1. That’s the way I see it too, Azathoth.

              2. The physical evidence doesn’t matter. To me, even if Martin was beating the crap out of Zimmerman, it changes nothing, because Martin was entitled to use force against Zimmerman.

                Zimmerman to me is in the legal position of a mugger who is losing a fight. If you try to mug someone and they beat you up, fuck you, you get to take it.

                1. To be a mugger doesn’t someone have to, ummm, actually mug someone?

                  1. I think when Fluffy says “mugged” he means, “got within 100 feet of him.”

        3. He wasn’t likely a burglar (there is a lot of lost time from when he left 7-11, after all), but he was certainly an assailant.

          1. How do you know this?

            1. The surveillance video from the 711 store has TM leaving some 40 minutes prior to the encounter with GZ (and there is some odd activity at the 711, too, but I’ll let that go for now). It’s about a half mile away, around a 10 minute walk for a normal person. So what was TM doing for 40 minutes?

              Also, TM bolted when GZ was still in his car and had a good 8-10 second lead on the shorter, fatter, older GZ. That was easily sufficient for him to round the corner toward his dad’s g/f’s condo. GZ can’t locate TM for over two minutes, according to the 911 tape, during which TM has plenty to time to get home. Instead, TM decides to double back and confront GZ. And GZ’s statement makes it clear that is precisely what happened.

              1. So you don’t know what TM was doing, there is no evidence of any theft occuring in the area he was at and to top it off there was no stolen loot on his person.

                From all of that you say because you don’t know where he was for 40 minutes he must have been stealing? LOL.

                Now explain that jump in logic. LOL.

                Trayvon walks by Zimmerman and Zimmerman sees him and follows him, to the point where Trayvon fears for his safety and runs away, going by girlfriend’s conversation. The same girlfriend on the phone with him through the whole ordeal up to Zimmerman’s approach in which she says it was Zimmerman who provoked the situation.

                From all this you say Trayvon had stolen someone’s property and is a burglar. LOL.

                No credibility.

                1. From all this you say Trayvon had stolen someone’s property and is a burglar.

                  Huh? If you read my post, you’ll notice that I said he “likely wasn’t a burglar.” I did say he was an assailant, however, which is germane to the discussion.

                2. She was not on the phone with him the whole time. Phone records are clear on that. She’s lying.

        4. Someone following you, you might jump into some bushes too, burglar career or not. What is not clear is if Zimmerman was following him and if he did at what point did he lose sight of Martin.

          As to dialog, yeah it’s goofy enough to sound like it came from a kid who has seen a lot of action movies, and decided he was the hero of one.

        5. Right. But Martin wasn’t actually a burglar.

          How do you know that?

          1. He was a black dude wearing a hoodie. It would be racist to assume he was burglar. Therefore it is impossible that he was a burglar.

            Duh.

          2. Probably because he hadn’t stolen anything. You have to burgle to be a burglar.

            1. That night.

          3. Because Martin said that he was leaving the house to buy snacks; he, in fact, bought snacks; and the altercation took place about a block from the house along the route that you would have expected Martin to be taking if he was, in fact, returning to the house with the snacks he bought. How many burglars or muggers buy a can of ice tea and bag of Skittles for when they go out to commit crimes, but don’t carry weapons or burglary tools? I believe Martin and Zimmerman got into a fight, but Zimmerman’s story about how the fight started smells like week-old unrefrigerated fish.

            1. He could have been casing places on his way home.

        6. How do you know Martin wasn’t a burglar? Previously, during one of Martin’s school suspensions, Martin was found with ten pieces of women’s jewelry and a screw driver in his backpack. You might argue that he simply was a jewelry collector, but those items strongly suggest burglaries.

          1. 1000 times this.

          2. He was on his 3rd suspension at the time.
            One for the jewelry and screwdriver.
            Another for assaulting his bus driver.
            The old photo of TM in his pop warner gear the media keeps pushing has apparently done it’s job.

  7. If Martin “sat up and looked” before reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, wasn’t that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself?

    Let me start a fight with you and start kicking the shit out of you and lets see what you do? Zimmerman owed only reasonable behavior under the circumstances not perfect behavior in the cold light of day.

    And I think Zimmerman’s story sounds entirely possible. Having been in and seen a few fights in my day, “What is your problem” “now you have a problem” is just kind of stupid shit people say during a confrontation.

    We will never know. And no matter how desparately the Reason staff wants to believe Martin was a poor scared little boy scout running home to his father when Zimmerman shot him for sport, that seems unlikely to be true. What seems more likely is that Martin was typical cocky stupid violent young male who make the mistake of fucking with the wrong guy. There is a reason why young men have a bad habit of dying violent deaths, many of them ask for it.

    1. I believe one or two details of Zimmerman’s story.

      I believe that Martin saw the gun, for example.

      In fact, I bet Martin saw the gun, and that’s why he was on top of Zimmerman punching him in the head – he was trying to disarm the armed psycho who stalked and confronted him on a dark street for no reason and attempted to falsely imprison him.

      1. Great move, attacking an armed man. Seriously, does that really seem remotely plausible to you?

      2. he was trying to disarm the armed psycho who stalked and confronted him on a dark street for no reason and attempted to falsely imprison him.

        That is just fantasy. You sound like Jim Carry defending the guy who robbed the women in Liar Liar I think it was. Maybe Zimmerman who had been a neighborhood watch guy for years without a problem was an armed psycho who attacked poor little Taylor. Yeah maybe. Or maybe Taylor got pissed at being confronted and beat the shit out of who he thought was an unarmed guy. Which is more believable that Zimmerman would go berserk and turn psycho, or that an 18 year old male with a history of trouble would try to beat up some guy he felt disrespected him? I am taking the latter.

        Why have you allowed this case to make you insane fluffy? You are normally so reasonable.

        1. Taylor = Travon?

          1. Yes. Trayvon

        2. Psycho killers are always calling police ahead of time, staying on the line and waiting for them to show up when about to do their evil deeds. Especially when against the blacks.

      3. You’ve been making up details that have no basis in the evidence all along, Fluffy. No reason to stop now.

        1. It is beyond dispute that Zimmerman armed himself.

          It is beyond dispute that Zimmerman stalked Martin.

          It is beyond dispute that was dark.

          Zimmerman now himself asserts that Martin saw the gun.

          1. It is beyond dispute that Zimmerman stalked Martin.

            So followed now means stalked? And Zimmerman says he left Martin and Martin followed him. Looks to me like Martin did some stalking of his own.

            1. Followed while armed with the declared intent of “stopping” him?

              Seems fair enough to me.

              1. “Followed while armed with the declared intent of “stopping” him?”

                It seems fair but it is also a meaningless and prejudicial way of describing it. What his intent was doesn’t matter. What matters is what did Zimmerman do. And again, all the evidence suggests Martin started the fight. And regardless, it is not a crime or a justification for violence to follow someone and ask them who they are and what they are doing there.

              2. He never declared that intention. Are you taking lessons from Fluffy on fabricating evidence?

                1. We are perfectly entitled to take his statement, “Damn it, these punks always get away!”, followed by his pursuit of Martin, to be evidence that he intended to prevent Martin from getting away.

                  If I’m on the phone with you and I say, “Damn it, those punk kids always cross my lawn!” and drop the phone and run away, and later a kid is dead on my lawn, a reasonable juror could conclude that I got off the phone to stop the kid from crossing my lawn. In fact, that would be THE ONLY reasonable conclusion to draw.

                  And if I came out with some story saying I had changed my mind about following the kid, and had decided to play croquet instead, when the kid for no reason parachuted down from an attack helicopter and attacked me like a ninja, people would be entitled to laugh at my statement and discard it out of hand.

                  1. He didn’t say “Damn it” either, according to the transcript. He also said “assholes”, not “punks”. You’re at least getting closer.

                    Keeping track of someone’s location so that the police can pick him up when they arrive is certainly one way to prevent someone from getting away, and it’s perfectly legal.

          2. As John states, follow /= stalk. Z says Martin saw the gun after Martin was already attacking him. WTF is wrong with you?

      4. That’s a stretch. With Zimmerman not having the burden of proof, that argument would likely mean he walks. Well, he’s walking probably, anyway, but that would make it even more likely.

      5. he was trying to disarm the armed psycho who stalked and confronted him on a dark street for no reason and attempted to falsely imprison him.

        Martin was talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone after he noticed Z.
        If he feared an impending assault why didn’t he call the cops?

    2. There is a reason why young men have a bad habit of dying violent deaths, many of them ask for it.

      This. Horrible incidents like this one, where a stupid misunderstanding over nothing leads to a confrontation which leads to someone being killed in the street, unfortunately happen all the time in this country.

      But once again, everyone knows damn well that if George Zimmerman had been a black guy, the lowlife race-hustling gutter vermin like Al Sharpton wouldn’t have given this incident ten seconds worth of attention, and most of the country wouldn’t even know that it happened or the names of the people involved.

      1. People do stupid things. Everyone here assumes that Martin must have acted just like they would have. No it doesn’t work that way.

      2. That’s not quite true. If George Zimmerman had been a black guy, who was being prosecuted for second-degree murder, you’d have Al Sharpton and his like leading demonstrations every day and claiming that Zimmerman was the second coming of Ossian Sweet.

      3. Damn Al Sharpton bringing a poor handled tragedy to light. Wish it would have been a typical black on black crime, then no one would care and that is how it should be.

        /sarcasm

      4. “if George Zimmerman had been a black guy”

        Depending on what definition you’re using, Zimmerman *is* black.

        With his black ancestors, would he not have been entitled to list himself as black for affirmative action purposes, just as Libby Warren would have been entitled to list herself as American Indian if she’d actually been 1/32 Cherokee?

    3. Concur. I’ve been in fights, and I’ve taken martial arts classes. Even in sparring in class — in fights that I knew at the time weren’t real — I still got wound up and made mistakes and did frankly counterproductive things.

      I can easily imagine being in a fight where I was losing — and if we presume that Zimmerman is describing the fight accurately he was losing, and badly — and not taking appropriate action to actually extricate myself and turn the fight around.

  8. If Martin was using both of his hands to cover Zimmerman’s mouth and nose, doesn’t that mean Zimmerman’s arms were free to knock Martin off, or at least knock his arms away? If Martin “sat up and looked” before reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, wasn’t that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself?

    Everyone’s a flerking street fighting expert sitting in their comfy chair at a desk with a cup of coffee. Try doing it in real time while suffocating after having your head bashed against concrete a few times.

    1. Exactly. Reason just will not consider the possibility that maybe Martin wasn’t such a nice guy.

      1. “Possibility?”

        There’s actually a fair amount of evidence…

        1. What, because the kid might have smoked pot?

          Half the posters here, and I imagine most of the staff, smoke pot.

          1. He was also using other drugs, some of which have the effect of inducing paranoia and violent acts.

            1. I’ve used copious amounts of drugs and I’m . . well, not a nice guy at all. Nice is for chumps. So, what were you saying?

              1. I plead guilty on that, too, but I will say that at times when I was under the influence of them I probably was not a very nice guy at times because of them.

                1. I was raised by an 82 Airborne veteran who once in a work place prank gave another guy a heart attack with a well placed blasting cap, so that’s my excuse.

          2. No. If you haven’t paid more attention to the case than that, then why are you posting so much drivel?

      2. Whether or not he was a nice guy is irrelevant. You don’t go following people around if they’re no longer a threat to you or your neighbor. I’m not saying that Zimmerman for Martin’s death. I think most of the people who take sides in this don’t have enough knowledge of the evidence to do so. Still, we shouldn’t pretend like it’s okay to go around following people just because you think they might be a bad guy.

        1. Meant “I’m not saying that Zimmerman is culpable for Martin’s death.”

        2. You don’t go following people around if they’re no longer a threat to you or your neighbor.

          Pragmatically, I would agree. It’s not a good idea.

          But it’s not illegal or immoral.

          1. Post of that very subject over at Vololkh: http://www.volokh.com/2012/06/…..t-a-crime/

        3. It’s 100% OK to follow people around for no reason at all. It’s also 100% OK to ask someone their name, and if they live in the neighborhood. To date exactly nobody has bridged the gap between Martin being followed and a violent altercation with any explanation other than Trayvon Martin attacking George Zimmerman for doing something it was 100% legal for him to do. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether you think it was a good idea, that he shouldn’t have done it because the “cops told him not to” or or even if could be called a provocation. It was LEGAL.

          The only fact that remains is that Martin, for whatever reason- anger, fear, stupidity, attacked Zimmerman- and that was an unwise thing to do.

          If you assert that Zimmerman hunted him down and killed him in cold blood you have a serious short-circuit in the brain-pan.

          1. Plus infinity.

      3. Only one of them had a prior history of impulsive violence and it wasn’t Martin.

      4. Why must you collectivize the individual writers at Reason as if they are a singular lockstep entity?

    2. Oh man, your self-unawareness is off the charts today. It’s phenomenal. The ultimate armchair analyst has the gall to say this to others.

      You are a fucking goldmine today, Tulpa the Retarded. We’re on track for a record-breaker.

      1. Point me to the place where I said someone is lying because they didn’t act in the way I would have acted in the story they tell.

        1. Like I said, off the charts. Keep it up, dude, this is fucking gold.

  9. Please help me see the libertarian angle to this story. It’s a tragedy to be sure, but I don’t understand Reason‘s extensive coverage of the story.

    1. There isn’t one. This is nothing but a local shooting case that became part of the Culture War Reason claims to hate but loves to fight.

      1. Culture war. Right. Stupid fucking bullshit. Reason would do better to drop stories like this, in favor of more libertarian ones.

        1. It’s more like a mystery book club diversion discussing who did it, except with real people. If we can just keep the culture war aspect out of it, it’ll be much more fun instead of a bummer about race, gun control and the desensitization of violence in our society that can ruin a good plot.

    2. …but I don’t understand Reason’s extensive coverage of the story.

      Page-hits.

      1. I think this is probably the best answer. Guess I’ll go back to reading Hazlitt’s Failure of the “New Economics”. Far more interesting, and actually libertarian. So long to H and R for today.

        1. RC nailed it below. At first it was self defense etc. I guess now its about a guy getting railroaded by the state because the state screwed up and got embarrassed.

    3. The libertarian angle is:

      1. People are trying to tie this to Stand Your Ground laws, which is very much a libertarian issue.

      2. An ordinary citizen is getting railroaded by the machinery of the state for clearly political purposes.

      etc.

      1. That makes sense until you realize that Reason has been totally pro Martin in its coverage.

        1. I don’t think that’s true. They were especially opposed to the people trying to connnect SYG to this case.

          1. The media is still calling this a SYG case.

        2. I have yet to see any pro-Martin (whatever that means) piece by any writer on Reason.

    4. It started because there was a right to bear arms/self-defense angle.

      At this point, I’m not sure.

      1. The initial Reason coverage and commentary covered this like a “police excessive force” story with Zimmerman as a stand-in for the cops.

        Elsewhere, Balko caught a lot of flak from his loyal fans for staying mostly out of this.

        1. No it didn’t. There was some of that for sure, but most of the coverage was dealing with the relation or lack thereof to SYG.

          1. No it didn’t. There was some of that for sure,

            I rest my case.

    5. The libertarian angle didn’t arise until the state decided, under political pressure, to charge Zimmerman.Funny how so many “libertarians” decided to side with the state on this one.

    6. Please help me see the libertarian angle to this story.

      It’s an opportunity for metro liberaltarian journos to demonstrate their race cred to the cool kids.

  10. Just how easy is it to get out from under a person of Martin’s size? Lying on one’s back, one is in a popr position of leverage to simply knock someone off with one’s arms.

    When he says Martin sat up I take that to mean Martin had been applying weight to Zimmerman’s head witg his hands while covering his mouth. Sitting up would be necessary if Martin intended to reach for the gun while maintaining balance. If Zimmerman had moveds his head and dislodged Martin’s hands, Martin woyld have needed to reestablish balance and/or sat up to maintajn his position of dominance.

    1. Another street fighting expert. Was Zimmerman a special forces operative or something?

      Being a piss-poor fight strategist is not a crime.

      1. What? I’m talking about the simple statics of how a body is supported against gravity and how, when that support changes, the body needs to compensate in order to maintain position.

        Fuckit, I’m done with this. I haven’t read a single post here on the subject that wasn’t either TEAM ZIMMERMAN or TEAM TRAYVON.
        If people don’t want to talk about possibilities outside of simple prewritten narratives, fine. I’d promised myself a while back I wouldn’t get involved in one of these stupid threads, and I just convinced myself again. Enjoy.

        1. I don’t know if it was your intention, but Sullum and others on this thread are insinuating that because an expert fighter could have easily overcome Martin given the details of Zimmerman’s story, this makes Zimmerman’s story less believable.

          1. Only for clarification–I do not intend to get involved in further discussions of hypotheticals in a situation only the barest of knowledge of which is public–yes, I understand that. I am not an expert fighter and have only taken a few months’ worth of hand-to-hand training in my life, but it’s clear to me that Newton’s Laws still apply andif Martin were leaning into Zimmerman with his hands on Z’s face as he describes, Z’s dislodging M’s hands would throw M off balance and cause him to react most likely by “sitting up” or at least by shifting weight back to some degree.

            1. One thing is crystal clear. It is pretty easy to tell who has been in the weeds before, and who got all their fighting expertise from watching old Kung-Fu movies.

              If I get a full mount on you, unless you have some ground skills or you are twice as strong as me, you aren’t getting up until I let you up.

      2. As a skilled street fighter it is my advice to get an erection in the warm up, and then approach with arms spread out while voicing, ‘come here you big tickle monster.’

      3. That’s not what db is saying at all. (I think. I am not db.) In fact, I’d say db is actually agreeing with Zimmerman’s story. If Trayvon was leaning into Zimmerman, covering his mouth and nose, and if Zimmerman moved while he was doing that, then Trayvon would have had to have sat up a bit and adjusted, simply to keep his balance. It’s a basic chain of logic, not some attempted refutation of Zimmerman’s claim.

    2. But according to all the pictures Martin was only like 85 pounds.

  11. I couldn’t care less whether Zimmerman “might have had another opportunity to extricate himself.” And Florida law does not require him to take that level of further risk.

    Zimmerman is not required by law to be 6’5″ or a skilled martial artist who could extricate himself from any fight when on his back with a guy on top of him. That’s kind of the point of the 2nd Amendment, I think.

    1. Was this article written by Joe Rogan?

      Zimmerman should have had a better guard and used a triangle-choke to submit Martin.

      1. Not to mention that, in the MMA fights I’ve seen, SOMEBODY always ends up losing. And they ARE well-trained…

        1. MMA fighters often lose to a ground and pound strategy that Martin seemed to favor.

          1. This. Unless Zimmerman was at or near a black belt level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or some other art that emphasizes leverage and ground fighting technique to overcome an attacker from a disadvantaged position, the ground and pound strategy was going to work pretty well on him.

            1. I think Drake’s point is EVEN IF he was a trained ground fighter, that would be how he’d lose, since that’s often how MMA fights end.

      2. It’s been a while since I watched a UFC fight. Has Rogan finally moved beyond calling every single hold a kimura?

  12. First remember how fast this all happened. That’s important. Martin didn’t leisurly sit up and gloat.

    Second, if someone has their hands over your nose and mouth your arms are generally engaged in trying to get those hands off.

    Finally, theatricality enters into this–you don’t just want to beat the guy, you want to be cool doing it. Martin appears to have had the upper hand right from the get-go. He was probably feeling cocky–not scared. And he likely stayed that way until the gun was in Zimmerman’s hand.

  13. Now that any public incident could quite possible be video recorded, Zimmerman would be a fool to make up a crazy story the next day. Jacob’s suspicions are ridiculous.

  14. Details of the fight play-by-play, the entire narrative that GZ somehow hunted down TM and murdered him is utter bullshit. Just look at the timeline of what happened, and it’s clear TM was the aggressor here.

  15. “play-by-play” aside…duh

  16. To me the libertarian issue here is that Zimmerman was not part of law enforcement and therefore had no right to arm himself and accost strangers in the street to attempt to detain them.

    For doing that, he deserved a violent response. It’s too bad Martin wasn’t able to wrestle the gun away and shoot him on the spot. Hopefully he dies in prison.

    I am probably the most radical pro-gun person here. But I don’t think you have a right to roam the streets armed confronting other citizens as if you think you’re the police. I wouldn’t support an ACTUAL COP who detained Martin without a warrant or probable cause, so I’m certainly not going to support Fat Stupid Asshole Dumbass Random Guy doing it.

    1. Then you have lost your fucking mind. The public streets are just that public. Zimmerman had every right to confront Martin and Martin had no right to get violent about it. End of story. It appears that Martin is the one who started the fight. There is no evidence that Zimmerman did anything but confront Martin about why he was in the neighborhood, which he has every right to do.

      And it is funny how you claim to be anti cop, but are so appalled by anyone but a cop trying to do anything to protect their neighborhood or their property.

      Maybe some neighborhood watch guy molested you as a child. I don’t know. But you are just not being rational about this if you honestly think that Zimmerman even asking Martin why he was there gave Martin the right to kill him. You are a loon on this issue fluffy.

      1. The public streets are just that public. Zimmerman had every right to confront Martin and Martin had no right to get violent about it

        We’re not talking about somebody who wanted to hand out a pamphlet.

        We’re talking about somebody we KNOW armed himself and appointed himself arbiter of who gets to walk down the street.

        And it is funny how you claim to be anti cop, but are so appalled by anyone but a cop trying to do anything to protect their neighborhood or their property.

        Who said anything about their own property? If Zimmerman found Martin in his own backyard and this same sequence of events happened I’d have the exact opposite opinion.

        But you are just not being rational about this if you honestly think that Zimmerman even asking Martin why he was there gave Martin the right to kill him.

        If you walk up to me on a public street or in a commonly-owned area where I have just as much right to be as you, and say, “I don’t think you have a right to be here, so I’ve called the cops, and I’m going to detain you here until they get here,” I would assert that I have the moral right to use whatever force is necessary to continue on my way. Absolutely.

        You don’t fucking GET to detain me if I’m on public property, or jointly property where I have a right to be. And that’s the bottom line to me.

        “We don’t know Zimmerman was doing that!” It’s the only scenario that makes sense.

        1. “I don’t think you have a right to be here, so I’ve called the cops, and I’m going to detain you here until they get here,” I would assert that I have the moral right to use whatever force is necessary to continue on my way. Absolutely.

          You think that is what happened because that fits your fantasy. There is no evidence that it happened that way. If Zimmerman just jumped out of the Bushes and tackled him, then maybe. But that is not what happened. Zimmerman confronted him and then walked away. It was Martin who circled back and attacked Zimmerman. We evidence to indicate anything but that happened.

          You can fantasize all you like about this. But your fantasies are not evidence. And only evidence can justify your call for Zimmerman’s death in this.

          To believe your position one has to believe that anytime someone confronts you and asks you why are somewhere, you have the right to attack them and kill them. And that is just lunacy and you know it.

        2. Two words – Gated Community. It was NOT public property. It was the property of the HOA. Martin was not known to the neighbors and his father did not take the time to let the HOA know that his son was staying there. As the captain of the HOA Neighborhood Watch, it was absolutely Zimmerman’s right to question what an unknown person was doing on HOA property.

          1. If my family and your family own HOA property in common, I can grant my family members access to HOA common areas and don’t have to ask your permission to do so.

            1. Martin’s family didn’t live there dumbass. He and his father were “guests”.

              1. Yes Martin was granted access by his father’s fiance who lived there. He had every right to be in the area, whether you like that fact or not.

            2. Certainly, but they should be ready to give an account of themselves to a concerned resident if walking around at night suspiciously.

              1. They don’t have to give an account to anyone.

                1. There’s something of a distinction between declining to account for ones presence in a gated community and assaulting someone for wanting to know what you were doing there.

      2. There is no evidence that Zimmerman did anything but confront Martin about why he was in the neighborhood, which he has every right to do.

        Except that the evidence is that was *Martin* who accosted *Zimmerman*, saying “What the fuck’s your problem.”

    2. Your characterization of what GZ was doing that night is incorrect.

      1. Of course, we don’t really know what Zimmerman was actually doing, other than his own testimony.

        Whether he lost him, whether Trayvon actually started the fight, all that, is not known. There are perfectly plausible scenarios both ways, and we have nothing but Zimmerman’s word that he was pure as the driven snow.

        He might be. Who knows? Perfectly legit to take a good hard look at his credibility, though. And I, for one, have not been impressed.

        1. You are not impressed because for some bizare reason you want to believe Martin in this case. The bottom line here is that there is no way in hell any fair person could find Zimmerman guilty of anything here beyond a reasonable doubt.

        2. There are perfectly plausible scenarios both ways

          I’ve yet to hear a plausible scenario (in the sense of fitting the evidence) where GJ starts the fight.

          1. I actually don’t think he started the fight.

            I think he caught up to Martin and demanded he account for himself.

            Martin was probably rude to him, and told him to fuck off, or otherwise acted agitated in some way.

            Zimmerman then by word or gesture made it clear that he wasn’t going to let Martin leave.

            Then maybe Martin shoves Zimmerman away, or Zimmerman grabs Martin’s arm or something, and they bungle their way into a fight.

            I don’t think Zimmerman went all Chuck Norris on Martin without talking to him first, but I also really doubt that Martin launched some kind of Power Rangers ninja attack on Zimmerman from the bushes, either.

            1. There’s no evidence for this. 911 tapes (unedited by NBC anyway) contradict this story.

            2. Other than Fluffy’s imagination, what do you have to support this?

              1. This is my own best guess of the most likely course of events. People without violent histories generally don’t launch ninja attacks on each other. They end up in fights because they exchange words, then somebody gets pushed, and then people start throwing punches.

                But it doesn’t matter to my legal opinion of what happened either way. It doesn’t matter who threw the first punch.

            3. Complete speculation. The fact that this *might* have happened doesn’t translate to a conviction. (Though plausible “might-have-happened,” even if not proved, translate into acquittal if they are consistent with innocence, as long as they haven’t been affirmatively disproved. That’s what reasonable doubt means.)

        3. We have Zimmerman’s 9-11 call, which tells us he had lost sight of TM and had no idea of where he was for nearly two minutes. Travon was staying about 100 yards from the point at which he started to run. Are you suggesting that a 17 year-old, in-shape football player can’t cover 100 yards in two minutes?

          1. If Zimmerman was between Martin and his destination, he might have stood still for a while, waiting to see if Zimmerman would leave.

            We can’t ask him.

            It really doesn’t matter what Martin was doing with those two minutes, unless someone can establish that he was committing a crime during that time frame.

            1. He wasn’t between TM and his destination. TM took off running before GZ ever got out of his vehicle. I would say that it would take TM, on the outside, 15 seconds to run the 100 yards to where he was staying, yet more than two minutes later, GZ has no idea where he is.

              TM had ample time to get home. He didn’t go home, he went to fight GZ. And he died for his aggression.

        4. But we do. We have over four minutes of 911 call that records exactly what went on in that time, and in that time TM had lost GZ and plenty of time to get home.

    3. You are aware that you just made all this shit up, yes?

      1. We know Zimmerman armed himself.

        We know he stalked Martin.

        We know that he exclaimed to the 911 operator that he was pissed off that Martin might get away.

        We know he got off the phone to follow Martin.

        The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that he followed Martin and tried to prevent him from getting away.

        And if he did that, Martin was entitled to resist him with violence.

        The 911 call makes it clear to me that Zimmerman left his vehicle intending to break the law. We have only his self-serving statement telling us that’s not exactly what he ended up doing.

        1. We don’t know he stalked Martin. Also, his statement to the 911 operator is consistent with the intention of keeping track of Martin’s location until police arrived on scene. Which is not detention and not illegal.

        2. Your facts are not accurate. Acquaint yourself and repost.

          1. Which one?

            You might not agree with my conclusion, but the four facts I listed are not in dispute. Even by the defense.

            1. Wrong.

              Stalking is not true. Exclamation of being pissed off is provably untrue.

              1. You might prefer a different verb, but if you follow someone for an extended period of time, you’re “stalking” them.

                “Wah, that has all sorts of other connotations and stuff!” Too bad. You are stalking. Deal with it.

                1. The time during which Z was following Martin was less than 5 minutes. It’s not stalking, and you’re using that word SPECIFICALLY to make your argument look better.

                  1. Dude, if Ted Bundy followed your wife around for five minutes on a darkened street at night, damn right you could say she was “stalked”.

                    1. Dude, if Ted Bundy followed your wife around for five minutes on a darkened street at night, damn right you could say she was “stalked”.

                      No. Because I wouldn’t know it was Ted Bundy. It would be just the neighborhood watch guy. And I would expect my wife to act rationally and not start screaming and attacking the guy.

                      What is wrong with you Fluffy?

            2. 1. Zimmerman did not “arm himself” in the context of confronting TM. He was not on neightborhood watch patrol at the time, but he was carrying as was his right under Florida law.

              2. He did not “stalk” TM, he was attempting to keep him in sight so the police could be directed to him.

              3. He did not get off the phone to follow TM, he had long since lost TM, as the 911 call makes clear. He was headed back to his vehicle.

              There is no evidence at all that GZ exited his vehicle intending to do anything illegal. Keeping an eye on a suspicious person is not illegal.

        3. We know that he exclaimed to the 911 operator that he was pissed off that Martin might get away.

          First, there was no 911 operator. Zimmerman was talking to the non-emergency line. If you don’t know that simple point yet are you sure any of your ‘facts’ are correct?

          He said ‘these assholes(?) always get away’ under his breath–not directly to the dispatcher. He was not specific to Trayvon.

          We know he got off the phone to follow Martin.

          He was on the phone with the dispatcher the whole time he was following Trayvon. When the dispatcher tells him they don’t need him to do that, he says ‘ok’ and his breathing, which was somewhat laboered, goes back to normal.

          The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that he followed Martin and tried to prevent him from getting away.

          On the call, he actually tells the dispatcher that he doesn’t know where Trayvon is.

          It’s becoming really clear that you’ve never listened to or read the transcript of the call.

          1. He said ‘these assholes(?) always get away’ under his breath–not directly to the dispatcher. He was not specific to Trayvon.

            This is moronic.

            If I am following someone and say, “Damn it, these punks always get away,” grammatically that constitutes a complaint that this specific person might get away. It’s an inclusive set, asswipe.

            On the call, he actually tells the dispatcher that he doesn’t know where Trayvon is.

            Sure. But if I’m following you, and you go around a corner, and I race up to the corner to find you again, the fact that I briefly lost sight of you doesn’t mean that I stopped “following” you. My effort to re-establish my line of sight is part of “following” you.

            He was on the phone with the dispatcher the whole time he was following Trayvon. When the dispatcher tells him they don’t need him to do that, he says ‘ok’ and his breathing, which was somewhat laboered, goes back to normal.

            We know he was walking around. He says he was walking back to his vehicle. It’s more reasonable to conclude that he was trying to find Martin.

            He’s called the police to come get Martin. The police are coming. It really would be a stretch for me to believe he wasn’t still pursuing Martin. There’s a process he’s started here; he’d want to complete it.

            And he bullshitted the bail judge, so why wouldn’t he work the angles on his statement to the police, too?

            1. If I am following someone and say, “Damn it, these punks always get away,” grammatically that constitutes a complaint that this specific person might get away. It’s an inclusive set, asswipe.

              Except that he wasn’t following Trayvon at this point. He was sitting in his car. He got out after he said this.

              We know he was walking around. He says he was walking back to his vehicle. It’s more reasonable to conclude that he was trying to find Martin.

              Again, he says ‘ok’ when told that the police didn’t need him to follow Martin. You suggest that he lied when he said that. Which suggests that he had some ulterior motive. Which places us in supposition–not fact.

              Fact–Zimmerman respobed ‘ok’ when told that the police didn’t need him to follow Martin. Everything else you put out here as ‘fact’–like ‘Zimmerman stalked Martin’ is supposition and nothing more.

              And all of it is useless. You are dealing with your own suppositions, with motives that exist only in your head.

              Based on what we KNOW(and this excludes all supposition)Zimmerman’s story and call match the physical evidence.

    4. There is zero, absolutely zero, evidence that Z attempted to detain Martin. You’re simply making things up to align with your preexisting opinion.

      And you absolutely have the right to roam the streets confronting people, and if you’re as pro-gun as you claim you also think you have the right to roam the streets armed. So put the two together. If there was evidence Z brandished his firearm prior to the fight or made threatening statements to Martin before the fight, that would be another matter.

      1. If there was evidence Z brandished his firearm prior to the fight or made threatening statements to Martin before the fight, that would be another matter.

        Strictly speaking, even saying, “Stay right where you are! Freeze!” would violate the FL False Imprisonment statute, if you said it in a threatening way, or if a reasonable person hearing your statement would conclude that you were willing to back your statement up with force.

        “Give me your wallet, bitch!” is not an explicitly threatening statement, either. But if Zimmerman followed Martin down the street with a gun and then said this to him, he wouldn’t get to act surprised if Martin fought back against him.

        1. There is no reason to believe Z said that; there is also no reason to believe Martin knew he was armed.

        2. Stay right where you are! Freeze!” would violate the FL False Imprisonment statute, if you said it in a threatening way, or if a reasonable person hearing your statement would conclude that you were willing to back your statement up with force

          And if someone walked up and said that to you, you would be perfectly within your rights to just immediately attack them and start beating their head against the wall.

          You confuse Martin’s right to tell Zimmerman to fuck off and walk away to mean that Martin had a right to attack him. And that is just nuts and you know it.

          1. I would think that in some circumstances you’d have the right to use force against a person who said that, but they would be extreme circumstances where just ignoring the person was likely to be dangerous. There’s of course no evidence that happened here.

            1. Apparently these were in fact those extreme circumstances, since the kid is dead.

              1. WTF Fluffy? You’re making no sense.

                You don’t know Z even said what you’re claiming is justification for force. You further don’t know that Martin knew Z to be dangerous even if he had said that.

                So what if he was armed. If I’m CCWing at the movie theater and tell the person behind me to stop talking, and they kick me in the face in response, can they claim that it was justified because I was armed and ordering them around?

                1. No.

                  But a statement made to stop someone from leaving an area is specifically against the False Imprisonment statute if a reasonable person would conclude that you back up your demand that they not leave with force.

                  So if you tell them to stop talking and they kick you, you’re in the clear. But if you tell them, “Don’t you dare try to leave until I’m done with you,” and they kick you, yup, justified.

                  And personally, I think we should be able to take the fact that you were armed as evidence that you intended to threaten, whether you brandish or not. If a person is carrying a weapon, even a concealed one, when they order someone to freeze, it seems to me to be reasonable to conclude they intended to back that order up if they had to, and had prepared for exactly that eventuality.

                  1. You’re totally full of shit. There is no evidence Zimmerman said “freeze!” or ordered Martin to do anything for that matter. You are making it all up.

                    1. As I’ve repeatedly said on this subject in the past, you guys are setting the evidence bar WAY too high, primarily I imagine because you’re standing up for a gun owner, I guess.

                      We can reasonably infer his intent from his statements on the phone call.

                      If I was on the phone with the cops and told them I didn’t want my wife to leave the house, and the cops came to my house and my wife was dead, the cops, the prosecutor and the jury would all reasonably infer that I killed my wife to stop her from leaving the house. Whether anyone witnessed it or not. Whether I claimed self-defense or not. As soon as I make that statement, I better hope I don’t have to kill my wife in self-defense that day, because it wouldn’t be reasonable for anyone to believe my self-defense story after that.

                    2. you guys are setting the evidence bar WAY too high

                      In that you’re being called out for making shit up? That seems like a pretty reasonable “evidence” bar to me. As in “you have to actually have some”.

                    3. We can reasonably infer his intent from his statements on the phone call.

                      If I was on the phone with the cops and told them I didn’t want my wife to leave the house, and the cops came to my house and my wife was dead, the cops, the prosecutor and the jury would all reasonably infer that I killed my wife to stop her from leaving the house.

                      Yes, but here, it is just as plausible that Zimmerman was following Martin for purposes of reporting his movements to the police. That is the intent he says he had, and you no evidence other than your fever dreams to contradict it.

                    4. Yes, but here, it is just as plausible that Zimmerman was following Martin for purposes of reporting his movements to the police. That is the intent he says he had, and you no evidence other than your fever dreams to contradict it.

                      That’s nuts.

                      That’s like me trying to say, “But officer, I asked my wife nicely not to leave and she jumped out of the bushes and attacked me for no reason! So I killed her in self-defense.”

                      It’s not just as plausible, because they ended up in a fight. If I end up in a fight with my wife after I tell the police on the phone that I don’t want her to leave, it is VASTLY more plausible to infer that we fought because I tried to stop her from leaving than it is to infer that we fought because I did nothing and she randomly attacked me out of nowhere.

                  2. Fluffy,

                    You are such a colossal douche on this subject. First. Martin wasn’t a kid. He was 17 or 18. Old enough to know better. Second, Martin could have avoided this whole thing by telling Zimmerman, “I am at so and so’s house come with me and they will vouch for me”. That is what any rational human being would have done. But Martin didn’t do that because he was a idiot young male who thought he was a bad ass. Well that was his right. But the problem with being a bad ass is eventually you run into a bigger bad ass. It is really that simple. There is no way to have any sympathy for Martin in this case.

                    1. There you’re wrong. Any rational kid would have taken off for home or wherever he was staying and gotten inside–and maybe even called the cops on the weirdo chasing him. And Trayvon had more than enough time to do just that.

                      But he didn’t.

                    2. There you’re wrong. Any rational kid would have taken off for home or wherever he was staying and gotten inside–and maybe even called the cops on the weirdo chasing him

                      That is complete fucking horseshit. Jesus Christ any kid has been confronted by any number of mall cops and neighborhood watch and so forth. The idea that a 200 plus pound in shape young male would run in fear because some old guy was following is weapons grade stupid. And clearly Martin wasn’t afraid of Zimmerman or he wouldn’t have started a fight with him. Martin wasn’t six for God’s sake. Just stop it. You people are embarrassing yourselves.

                    3. Trayvon wasn’t 200+ pounds. Neither was Zimmerman.

                      And we weren’t talking about Trayvon–I said ‘rational’. I’ve run from cops, security guards, random adults. You only talk if you get caught. If you can get away–particularly unseen, to home, you do.

                      I was calling attention to your notion that a rational kid would wait for a stranger or talk to a stranger who was chasing them. They wouldn’t.

                    4. Second, Martin could have avoided this whole thing by telling Zimmerman, “I am at so and so’s house come with me and they will vouch for me”.

                      Yeah, but he didn’t have to do that.

                      I think that’s part of what’s going on here, actually, and why we come at this from such different perspectives. You seem to think that even if Zimmerman was being an asshole, Martin could avoid the confrontation just by explaining himself. There’s a “Damn those disrespectful kids with their baggy pants!” angle to this.

                      Disrespectful kids get to walk the streets too, dude. George Zimmerman doesn’t get to teach them respect.

                      Frankly, I wish more people would resort to GO FUCK YOURSELF when presented with unreasonable demands. Sometimes the punk kid is in the right, and really doesn’t owe you any respect, sir.

                    5. Frankly, I wish more people would resort to GO FUCK YOURSELF when presented with unreasonable demands. Sometimes the punk kid is in the right, and really doesn’t owe you any respect, sir.

                      Yeah because going around creating a physical confrontation with anyone who confronts you is such a great and rational idea. That is idiotic and you know it. Someone confronts me I will calmly tell them who I am and what I am doing there. That is called being a rational human being. If I want to be a douchebag and tell them to fuck off and try to attack them, that my choice. But when I finally run into the guy who kicks my ass or worse blows my brains out, I can’t really say I wasn’t asking for it.

                    6. Frankly, I wish more people would resort to GO FUCK YOURSELF when presented with unreasonable demands. Sometimes the punk kid is in the right, and really doesn’t owe you any respect, sir.

                      Yeah because going around creating a physical confrontation with anyone who confronts you is such a great and rational idea. That is idiotic and you know it. Someone confronts me I will calmly tell them who I am and what I am doing there. That is called being a rational human being. If I want to be a douchebag and tell them to fuck off and try to attack them, that my choice. But when I finally run into the guy who kicks my ass or worse blows my brains out, I can’t really say I wasn’t asking for it.

                    7. You’re right; he didn’t have to do that. There’s a whole range of courses of action he could reasonably have taken. None of which involve jumping Zimmerman and pounding his head into the concrete.

                  3. And personally, I think we should be able to take the fact that you were armed as evidence that you intended to threaten, whether you brandish or not. If a person is carrying a weapon, even a concealed one, when they order someone to freeze, it seems to me to be reasonable to conclude they intended to back that order up if they had to, and had prepared for exactly that eventuality.

                    This is, and I’m not exaggerating, the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen you say. You’re normally a sharp guy and express yourself exceptionally well, but you have gone full metal retard about this issue. It’s a little bizarre, frankly.

                    1. This is, and I’m not exaggerating, the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen you say.

                      Why?

                      Let’s say a guy is walking down the street dressed in a Batman costume and wearing a utility belt with all sorts of Bat gadgets.

                      And he sees you holding hands with your girlfriend and yells, “Unhand that woman, scoundrel!”

                      Shouldn’t we conclude that the fact that the guy had specifically prepared himself to play Batman meant that anyone who believed his statement included a threat of force if they didn’t comply was per se reasonable?

                      If you make preparations to play neighborhood Superman and then go out to play neighborhood Superman, isn’t anyone who thinks, “Oh shit this guy is here to play neighborhood Superman! When he tells me to stay put, it’s a threat he means to back up!” automatically drawing a reasonable conclusion?

                    2. And if Batman witnesses you in the commission of a felony, he is within his rights to arrest you. In California, he’d even be authorized to disarm you. That’s not aggressive behavior, it’s a natural right.

                    3. And of course Zimmerman didn’t see Martin doing anything felonious, but it’s a reasonable expectation that you might see a crime when you go out of your home. Preparing accordingly is not an indication of your intent to even so much as intervene in a crime; it’s just an indication of being prepared to do so.

                    4. If you make preparations to play neighborhood Superman and then go out to play neighborhood Superman, isn’t anyone who thinks, “Oh shit this guy is here to play neighborhood Superman! When he tells me to stay put, it’s a threat he means to back up!” automatically drawing a reasonable conclusion

                      No. You are being an ignorant irrational douche and you know it but have just dug yourself such a hole here you can’t admit it. I don’t care what outfit he has one. Someone confronts me I am going talk to them in a reasonable matter. I don’t make it a habit of running in fear from people or telling complete strangers to go fuck themselves. And neither do you I suspect or you would be long since either dead or in jail. You are just being ridiculous here.

                    5. Great, except Zimmerman wasn’t dressed as Superman, Batman, Aquaman, or any of the other members of the Justice League. Nor is there any evidence outside of yoru fevered imagination Zimmerman ever threatened Martin or otherwise told him to stop, freeze, cease, halt, desist or anything else that could be taken by someone as unreasonable as you to be a threat.

                      Now, moving right along, no, you don’t get to assume anyone carrying a weapon intends to use it to threaten someone anymore than you get to assume it means they were going to assault someone. By your logic, anyone with a concealed carry license, or hell, a pocket knife is automatically and forever wrong, because carrying a weapon means they intend to use it. Do you realize how retarded that sounds? How far that lowers the bar for intent? This is about 2 millimeters away from saying any many who talks to mean to a woman is a rapist, because, well, he’s got a penis, and therefore he intends to use it for rape.

                    6. By your logic, anyone with a concealed carry license, or hell, a pocket knife is automatically and forever wrong

                      Well, let’s say that there are two neighbors in a noise dispute.

                      And Neighbor A goes over to Neighbor B’s house and tells them, “You better turn that music down right now.”

                      And then there’s a fight. And Neighbor A draws a gun during the fight and someone is shot.

                      The cops come, and Neighbor B says they fought because Neighbor A threatened them. And Neighbor A says, “No way, I just told them to turn the music down. They shouldn’t have interpreted that as a threat.”

                      I’m saying that because Neighbor A stopped before leaving to arm themselves, I might be more inclined to believe Neighbor B’s statement that Neighbor A made their demand in a threatening way than I would be if Neighbor A hadn’t been armed. Even if Neighbor A didn’t brandish. Because the question turns on things I didn’t witness, like the tone of Neighbor A’s statement, their body language, level of agitation, etc. But the fact that they armed themselves before going over would make me think they were preparing for a violent confrontation and that they conducted themselves accordingly.

                      I definitely can see how that would be problematic, though. But I guess that just means there would be a downside to issuing ambiguous demands to the people around you if you were CCWing. And there probably should be.

                    7. Fluffy, just admit you’re wrong. Jesus, I’ve never seen such sophistry on this.

                    8. Funny you bring up that hypo, Fluffy. We had a very similar case in the Houston area. In this one, Neighbor A did eventually brandish. Three of the drunk neighbors’s B charged him and got shot. Neighbor A is now convicted of murder. http://www.chron.com/news/hous…..611376.php

                      FWIW, I do not agree that merely carrying a concealed weapon is indicative of a propensity to violence. I do think that the collected Reasonoids would not be anywhere near as credulous of Zimmermann’s story if he were a LEO, rather the opposite, actually. And my suspicions of how the fight started tend more toward yours and R.C. Dean’s than other peoples’ in the multitude of threads here.

                      I’d really have preferred the Sanford P.D. to be able to conduct a full series of interviews to their satisfaction, as I think they could have resolved any ambiguities in Z’s story. “Gee, we sent a lab team out to those bushes you said he jumped out of and we didn’t find any footprints, broken branches, or anything. Are you sure it was those bushes he jumped out of? Is there anything else we need to know? Why don’t you tell us again how it happened?” Etc… You know, good police work. [Continued]

                    9. As far as physical evidence, we know that M and Z got in a fist fight, Z was losing quite badly, and Z shot M at close range. Do we have any other physical evidence than that? Oh, and has it been established that M had prior violent acts in his history, or was it only Z? I didn’t know if M had committed violent crimes, but had his records kept confidential due to being a juvenile.

                      As it is, I don’t think I, as a hypothetical juror, could vote to convict for manslaughter, and I feel that murder 2 is hilarious overcharging. Not very funny for Z, of course.

                      No idea why Reason is bringing this up now, other than they’re irritated that the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare didn’t come out yet and they need to drive page views to compensate.

                    10. So Ghost if I get on top of you and start beating your head against the concrete (something that we know happened here because of Zimmerman’s injuries and the eye witness), it is manslaughter for you to shoot me?

                      Fuck no. I am baffled at how unwilling you people are to admit that it is certainly reasonable if not probable that Martin was a typical stupid young male who thought he was a bad ass and decided to beat up Zimmerman for daring to confront him. Why is that so hard to admit? Is is because Martin is black and your feel uncomfortable admitting that a young black man might be like tons of other young men in the world and stupid, cocky, and completely combative?

                    11. So Ghost if I get on top of you and start beating your head against the concrete (something that we know happened here because of Zimmerman’s injuries and the eye witness), it is manslaughter for you to shoot me?

                      It is if I start the fucking fight. (Though maybe not in FL. See below.) You never saw a manslaughter conviction for a guy pulling a knife/gun in a fist fight he started but was losing? Thought it was fairly blackletter law that the guy starting the fight lost the right to claim the defense to homicide of self-defense, unless he retreated.

                      FL, of course, has their own spin on that at FL Stat 776.041(2)(a). As has been hashed out ad nauseum here Z can claim that his use of force was justifiable, even if he started it, if:

                      “[he] reasonably believe[d] that he or she [was] in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she ha[d] exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger…”

                      Which seems ridiculous, but that’s Florida for you.

                    12. [This character limit is a giant PITA, incidentally]

                      Plenty of fact issues with trying to use that clause for your self-defense claim. Does a guy sitting on top of you, beating on you = ‘imminent danger of great bodily harm’ in Florida? I don’t know that it does or doesn’t, and I wouldn’t without looking through a bunch of FL criminal decisions.

                      Did Z try surrendering to the kid? Must an instigator do that in order to claim they’d tried every reasonable means of escaping the danger? Does surrendering become impractical if you’re armed and you reasonably think your assailant is trying to grab for your weapon? I also don’t know the answer to those questions.

                      As for the rest of your comment, dude, as on many other threads here, you’re your own worst enemy much of the time. I actually agree with you more often than not, here and elsewhere at Reason, and, if you bother to read more closely, I’m agreeing with you that Z shouldn’t be convicted. (from what we know right now.) I just think Z’s story is largely full of shit. Most criminal defendants’ are.

                    13. This is, and I’m not exaggerating, the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen you say.

                      I wonder if Fluffy would appreciate it if I stood up for him here and said that I’ve seen him say lots of dumber things than this.

                    14. This is, and I’m not exaggerating, the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen you say.

                      I wonder if Fluffy would appreciate it if I stood up for him here and said that I’ve seen him say lots of dumber things than this.

    5. “To me the libertarian issue here is that Zimmerman was not part of law enforcement and therefore had no right to arm himself and accost strangers in the street to attempt to detain them.”

      Not under any circumstances? Really?

    6. Why do you think Zimmerman tried to detain him?

      If that is actually what happened, then I think I agree with you.

      1. Because Fluffy staked out that position 30 seconds after the initial report and by god, he ain’t gonna back down from it now.

      2. Except it’s not what happened, and there is zero evidence that it did happen that way.

        1. I want you to answer one question. It’s a scenario I come back to over and over.

          If I was on the phone with the police and said, “My wife is trying to leave the apartment. That bitch always gets away,” and then I got off the phone, and later when the police came to the apartment she was dead, would it or would it not be reasonable to conclude that I tried to stop my wife from leaving the apartment and then killed her in the resulting struggle?

          I think it would be reasonable.

          Of course I could give a statement to the police saying that I didn’t end up stopping my wife because I couldn’t find her, and that I was walking back to the apartment minding my own business when suddenly she jumped out of the bushes like a ninja and tried to kill me, so I killed her in self-defense.

          But why would anyone believe that?

          This is OJ Simpson jury level “reasonable doubt” being thrown around here. It really is.

          1. By your logic fluffy, if I pick up a guy’s wallet ont he street and yell to him “hey wait a minute stay there” as he walks away, that guy has a right to assume I mean him harm and beat me within an inch of my life and I have committed the crime of wrongful imprisonment.

            YOu are fucking retarded on this and I think you know it and that is why you keep digging.

          2. I am going to regret getting involved in this quagmire, nevertheless…

            Fluffy, why couldn’t it have gone down this way: Z gets out the car, finds M, asks him what he’s doing in the neighborhood (all of which he has a perfect right to do, armed or not), and M is the one that responds by shoving him, striking him or otherwise starting the fight? This doesn’t seem out of the norm for a 17 year old who’s being stalked and confronted by some wannabe cop. It’s wrong, and a crime—Z’s behavior as I’ve laid it out doesn’t merit a physical response—but I can easily see M acting that way. I agree with kinnath in a long-ago thread: they’re all assholes at that age.

            And for the posters who wondered why M didn’t call the cops himself, he’s a 17 year old black male, in a gated community (majority white?), who doesn’t normally live there and is only there because he’s suspended from school for the week. Didn’t he have a theft accusation in his past too? Aren’t many of you the same people who give the advice in your posts to never talk to the cops? Are you surprised that he wasn’t eager to get the po-po involved? [Continued]

            1. Again, I don’t feel I could convict Z of manslaughter—just way too much reasonable doubt as to who started the fight. (Never mind the separate question of whether FL law allows the starter of the fight to use deadly force in self-defense if threatened with imminent grave physical harm. Z might be able to claim that reasonable fear too, even if he started the fight.) But his story did, and continues to, strike me as some incredibly self-serving horseshit.

            2. And for the posters who wondered why M didn’t call the cops himself

              I agree with all that. The fact that M didn’t call cops himself yields zero extra interesting conclusions.

          3. But why would anyone believe that?

            Because testosterone levels of a 17 year old males make them very stupid.

            I don’t know what happened. I don’t have any trouble believing in the possibility that Z did some embellishing. But I don’t find his story completely outlandish either. I was 17 once, and remember how stupid I was.

          4. This is truly bizarre.

  17. I would like to see this entire case thrown out simply as a fuck you to that prosecutor. I know it’s wrong, but that’s all I care about at this point. I’m never going to know the truth of what happened, as everyone covering the story has fucked it up beyond repair.

    1. I know it’s wrong

      Why is it wrong? The original DA declined to prosecute based on the facts and evidence.

      1. I should care about justice but there’s no justice to be had. There could emerge hi-def video of the incident from three different angles and it wouldn’t matter. People want the result they want from this.

  18. This does provide a good example of what I always tell my peeps when they are going testify:

    Most witnesses get into trouble because they start babbling. Answer the question that was asked, not the one you wish they asked or should have asked, and then shut up.

    1. That is why you should go with them. And tell them there is a rule, when I talk you shut up. That way when they start to go off the reservation, you start talking and shut them up.

      1. Short answers only responsive to the question, being willing to say “Fuck if I know”, and nice, long pauses to give your attorney an opportunity to stop you from saying something stupid.

      2. You don’t think I’d let my doctors be put under oath unsupervised?

        Hell, they’re lucky I unchain their leg shackles every evening so they can go home.

        1. Do you allow them to use e-mail? Because you shouldn’t.

    2. Thing is, if GZ takes the common advice and refuses to talk to the cops, he would have gone to jail that night and been charged with murder immediately. He would have been a guy standing there with a gun next to a dead kid who refused to cooperate…what do you think they would have done?

      As it was, he probably would have been home free had it not been for the junction of anti-SYG partisans and race hustlers who found his case to be a useful vehicle for their agendas.

  19. We’ll never really know the exact details of what happened, but I see nothing to remove reasonable doubt from this case. All the evidence points to a violent altercation, with Zimmerman getting the worst of it until he shot Martin.

    1. So you’re saying that we should adhere to the principles of due process, innocent until proven guilty, and the rule of law?

      OMG RACIST!!!

  20. “He was whaling on my head,”
    Great. Now the Sea Shepard Society is going to get involved.

    1. Speciesist! Like how gyped implies all Gypsies are thieves, whaling implies all whales are violent.

      1. No, it just means Martin was attempt to harpoon Zimmerman’s head. It doesn’t imply anything about whales.

  21. The believability of Zimmerman’s story is irrelevant. All of the article and all of the comments are mere speculation. I couldnt convict a man based on that. We werent there, we dont know what happened.

  22. To Summarize this case:

    Zimmerman is a colossal douchebag, but not likely guilty of second degree murder. Trayvon was an arrogant teenager worthy of consideration for a Darwin award for confronting a man who had been following him for 15 minutes.

    1. Why do people say Zimmerman was following Martin for 15 minutes? The call to the police was 4 minutes and 7 seconds and he followed Trayvon and stopped following Trayvon within that call. He starts following 2:14 in and stops about twenty seconds after that–unless, as so many here(!) suspect, he was lying to the dispatcher.

      1. Because certain commentators refuse to entertain the possibility that a young male might have thought he was a bad ass and tried to physically assault the wrong guy.

        1. Technically they’re both young(ish) males.

          Tragedy stalks young, testoterone filled males quite above average.

      2. Most of what Zimmerman says can be verified with the police, the witnesses, and the dispatcher.

        From what I heard he was on the line with the dispatcher for some time. The call ended I believe when Zimmerman had lost sight of Martin and was returning to his truck after going to the end of the walkway to check the address. Zimmerman did not say but Martin had evidently ducked between some houses while Zimmerman was walking down the sidewalk and reappeared at the point of the confrontation. Martin could have easily kept on going from what Zimmerman says and could have not have confronted Zimmerman. Somehow it needs to be explained how two guys got within close range of each other.

    2. I don’t even know that Zimmerman is such a bad guy. People were breaking into houses. I don’t blame him for not trusting strangers, especially ones who won’t tell you who they are and why they were there. It was a gated community. They had every right to have a neighborhood watch and have that person confront strangers. That is the whole point to a gated community.

      1. We do only have one side of the conversation. I imagine Zimmerman did little to de-escalate the situation (thought we’ll never know).

  23. If Martin was using both of his hands to cover Zimmerman’s mouth and nose, doesn’t that mean Zimmerman’s arms were free to knock Martin off, or at least knock his arms away? If Martin “sat up and looked” before reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, wasn’t that another opportunity for Zimmerman to extricate himself?

    Not necessarily. If Martin was pressing down with his full weight on Zimmerman’s nose and mouth, which is plausible considering Zimmerman said he couldn’t breathe, then it wouldn’t have been as easy as you might think to knock his arms away. Likewise, when Martin sat up and looked, it’s not as easy as you might think to get someone off of you.

    Leverage, location of Martin’s center of gravity in relation to Zimmerman’s, lots of things like that come into play. Not to mention it’s easy to “monday morning quarterback” several months later, but in the heat of the moment with adrenaline pumping, it’s not so easy to calmly and rationally react. Especially for someone with little to no hand to hand/ fight training (I don’t know what, if anything Zimmerman knows WRT fighting but I’m guessing not much).

    1. I don’t know what, if anything Zimmerman knows WRT fighting but I’m guessing not much

      Oh, and considering he was punked by a loud mouthed teenaged prick who even telegraphed his intentions before hand (i.e. “Now you have a problem.”), that’s probably a safe assumption to make.

  24. Of course it’s plausible. It’s hardly impossible that a young adult male took insult from being followed and let his balls do the thinking. What Zimmerman related were all things that could have happened during the fight. I actually believe the irrational bits more because that’s what it’s like when a fight goes to the ground – you only think straight in those situations with training and experience. In the end, what evidence is there to contradict the story?

    1. In the end, what evidence is there to contradict the story?

      Fluffy’s deeply held belief that Zimmerman is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      I give you credit, Fluffy. You ain’t backing down one inch, nay, one angstrom on this one.

      1. His entire argument rests on a fantasy he constructed.

        1. Goes to show everyone has a blind spot. I never expected fluffy’s to be this big.

          1. Seriously, what a disaster. I haven’t seen Fluffy this wrong…ever.

        2. My argument rests on the reasonable assumption that if someone who thinks he’s helping the police chase a “burglar” ends up in a fight with the “burglar”, it’s probably because he tried to catch the “burglar”.

        3. Seriously, this is crazy.

          There are two possibilities here:

          1. After telling the police he is following a suspicious character, Zimmerman continued to follow the suspicious character, caught up to him, got into a confrontation, and then into a fight.

          2. Martin attacked Zimmerman out of nowhere for no reason at all.

          And you guys want me to regard these two as equally plausible?

          1. Even if number one is true that in no way doesn’t mean Martin didn’t start the confrontation. Your whole position rests on the assumption that any time someone follows you and confronts you, you have an immediate right to tell them to fuck off and physically assault them. And that is just idiotic.

          2. Martin attacking Zimmerman because he’s pissed off at being followed does not constitute attacking Zimmerman out of nowhere for no reason at all. It’s not a good reason, but it’s a reason.

            1. Shorter Fluffy: ALL PRAISE TRAYVON, A LOVER OF SKITTLES AND ICE TEA.

  25. Mr. “no limits nigga” Martin talking theatrically? That’s crazy talk!

  26. Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
    From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had,
    And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
    He was big and bent and gray and old, And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
    And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ How do you do!
    Now your gonna die!!

    Look, if Johnny Cash wrote it, it’s completely believable that somebody would use it in a real street fight.

    1. Because nothing that you would find “unbelievable” has ever actually happened.

      1. I’m not sure what you’re saying, John.

        1. But after posting that, I hope you immediately douched all of that sand out of your vagoo.

        2. That the fact that you or I find the account “unbelievable” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Crazy totally unbelievable things happen every day.

          1. Who was it who said real life will always be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be plausible and reality is under no such constraint?

    2. It was actually “Now ur gonna die” in the original.

      1. Throw a “sucka” in there just to be sure.

  27. Jacob, looks like you never took wrestling if you can’t figure out how to have both hands on someone’s face and still control that person. Hint: elbows out.

  28. These discussions are more and more having to do with individual posters’ opinions of each other than the facts of the case or even the principles under which self defense may be validly asserted.

  29. It looks like to me that these two young men both made assumptions about the other’s motives and escalated things to match what they perceived as threat from the other, with predictable and tragic consequences.

    Zimmerman assumed Martin was a criminal, probably largely from his prejudices but also informed by his knowledge of recent crimes in the area.

    Martin quite likely assumed that Zimmerman was a racist looking to beat up a black guy, rather than someone intending only to keep an eye on perceived threats to his neighborhood.

    In both cases, the racial tensions of society likely helped feed the assumption of motive and malice. But that’s the society we live in — one with a bunch of racial tension and distrust.

    Was Zimmerman a racist? I suspect not particularly so. Was Martin? Again, probably not particularly so. Did racial issues feed wrong assumptions? Very likely.

    I get a feeling that a lot of people want this to be case of right and wrong, one bad guy and one good guy, and that once The Truth Is Out, we’ll see that. They want it to mean something. They want it to be a symbol of something.

    I don’t think it is. The story is a tragedy for both young men, one of whom is dead and the other likely to be tried for murder; even if acquitted, that mark will be on him for life. It doesn’t mean anything, except that (surprise!) society’s racial tensions make things worse, and that young men make foolish decisions.

    1. Martin quite likely assumed that Zimmerman was a racist looking to beat up a black guy

      Are you projecting?

  30. Did Zimmerman’s firearm make things worse? Likely, in my view. He would not have been so confident in tailing what he perceived to be a dangerous person without it, and he could not have shot anyone without it. However, there’s still a fair chance someone could have been injured or killed.

  31. Did Zimmerman’s firearm make things worse? Likely, in my view.

    Getting arrested is better than getting beaten to death.

  32. Then, too, the threat Zimmerman says Martin issued seems a little too theatrical to be real.

    hmmm…

    It is pretty obvious that any situation that occurred did not involve a cold calculating hunt for acquiring resources. Either one was a mocho man or the other was a mocho man.

    Whatever happened it was obviously one male asserting territorial rights over another male.

    The same thing happens in nature all the time. Sure two bucks displaying their antlers aggressively could be described as theatrics but it does not mean it is not real or does not happen. Male Gorillas really do pound their chest. Dogs really do piss on trees. Rabbits really do thump on the ground. Peacocks really do flair out their hind feathers….and on and on and on.

    Why wouldn’t human males not do the same thing? And why would male humans not mimic the behavior they see everyday in movies and TV? and how is what is on TV and movies not at least somewhat accurate to what happens in real life?

    Anyway every fight i have ever seen has always started with at least one of two blow-hards pumpin out their chest and spouting off before hand…usually it is both….and I fail to see how this is any different then what I see on animal planet.

    1. Cats do it too.

      http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/82610482/

      Here is a minute thirty of theatrics.

      I am pretty sure it was real. The ending proves it.

  33. Many have said this already, but I’ll say it again because Jacob Sullum should know just how many people noticed…THAT HE CLEARLY HAS NO IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE IN A FIGHT!!!

    Good for him living a decent life and avoiding violence. I wish everyone did the same. But my god, he comes off as a damn fool in that third-to-last paragraph.

    Here’s what a fight is really like: when you’re losing, someone could drop a can of Popeye’s own spinach into your lap and you might not realize it happened until a week later. At the same time you could form a completely vivid memory of some meaningless leaf falling in the distant background while your ass is getting savagely kicked in.

    Makes no sense, right? Well brains and violence don’t mix too well. The only thing remotely implausible about Zimmerman’s story is that he didn’t shit himself and pass out under those blows. The fact that he failed to magically tranform into a Jacob Sullum-level master of ground fighting escapes is…whatever the total opposite of implausible is, it’s that.

  34. The clear point of this case, if you’ve listened to all the 911 recordings, is don’t join any community watch.
    Secure your own home and family. As GZ called for help like 50 times right outside their windows, the “community” without exception cowered and called police. Let them get robbed.

    1. You know, you’ve got a real point there. Those were all people who knew there was a watch, and it was only around 7:00. And not one person went out and pulled–this is for you , Fluffy–whoever was beating up who off the other guy and stopped this cold.

      If the neighborhood watch had actually worked, they’d both be alive.

  35. “While Zimmerman’s story seems fishy, …”

    It doesn’t seem fishy at all. Perhaps you should be working for MSNBC.

  36. Zimmerman’s story can be verified by interviewing witnesses, the police, and the dispatcher.

    What troubles me is the variance in the time line he presents and the one most of the media presented. His time line of what happened is different by a significant degree from what the media was showing us in my opinion.

    The media has not presented the entire video.

    The entire video is 15 minutes long. Not 2 or 3 minutes: http://www.time.com/time/video….._0,00.html

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