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View Diary: Adventures in Online Education: Understanding Why Zimmerman is the Victim (48 comments)

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  •  Couple of points (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the response.

    A lack of evidence doesn't mean something didn't happen, but I would assume from Rachel Jeantel's comments that she heard the beginning of the fight (she heard a bump on the phone).  But for some reason she did not hear the verbal confrontation you are supposing happened.

    That Zimmerman initiated violence isn't supported by the evidence, as TM had no indication of physical violence other than the single gunshot wound, and the scrape on his hand consistent with hitting someone.

    While the lack of evidence doesn't mean it didn't happen, mind you, both of these make your scenario "B" less likely.  Could it happen as you describe in my mind?  Yes, but not likely.

    Regarding the character of TM and GZ, well, that wasn't allowed into the courtroom.  17 year olds are 70% more likely to be convicted of violent crime than are 28 year olds, and we could go round and round on this.  But let's not, because:

    A) I don't have all the evidence regarding GZ in those cases.
    B) The indicators of violence on TM's part are inflammatory at this point.

    So it isn't fair to perform a character analysis.

    Anyway, thanks for responding.  I understand a lot of people think like you do on the Scenario "B", and it's not impossible as you describe it, though in my view unlikely.

    Even still, the law says Zimmerman had the right to self defense, if he felt his life was in danger or he was in danger of severe bodily harm.  That's something Z. probably knows, and it doesn't require TM to be there to get a sense of it.  You believe it from the evidence, or you don't.  I do.

    •  Final point (0+ / 0-)

      I guess if I could summarize it all in one succinct question, it would be this:

      If we accept that Trayvon Martin ambushed Zimmerman and immediately began pummeling him violently, to the point that Zimmerman feared for his life, then the question is "why?"

      Martin wasn't out looking for a fight. He wasn't following Zimmerman. So why did he suddenly attack Zimmerman?

      And the only answer to that question that makes sense to me is that he was afraid of Zimmerman. He felt threatened by Zimmerman and felt like he had to confront the threat and neutralize it. If he jumped on him without warning, then the need to neutralize a threat was felt even more strongly than the need to understand why he was being followed.

      I don't know the exact nature of the self-defense laws in Florida at this point (does anybody, at this point?). I know that Zimmerman used lethal force and that requires that he be motivated by a serious fear of serious injury.

      But Martin was just throwing punches. If he was using non-lethal force in self defense, then I don't think he needed to have the level of fear required for Zimmerman. The threat he was confronting didn't need to be as serious as the threat Zimmerman was confronting.

      I know the defense argued that Martin used the sidewalk as a lethal weapon, but I don't think the evidence or the expert testimony at the trial supported the reality of that, even if Zimmerman may have felt he was in danger of having his skull bashed in.

      I think what it boils down to for too many Americans is the subconscious assumptions that make it difficult to empathize with Martin, but easy to empathize with Zimmerman. They have trouble seeing Martin as a frightened 17-year-old, being stalked by an older male through the darkness. Because they have this primal sense that black people own the night, that they dominate it. They walk through dark streets confident and always ready for violence. Goofy, bumbling Zimmerman, on the other hand, is a white guy who got in over his head when he tried to confront the dangerous black man in his natural environment, and they know he screamed with fear and they can empathize with his fear - the fear one feels when you realize a shark has hold of you in its jaws and is dragging you under the surface, away from the safety of the shore, deeper into the ocean of darkness from where you will not return.

      But Trayvon wasn't some dark monster from the subconscious, he was a frightened kid being stalked through the night. Zimmerman was the shark, and he dragged Martin into his darkness and killed him there.

      •  One other point to consider (0+ / 0-)

        I've heard from a fair number of people that in their view, following is a highly provocative act.  It almost always indicates the follower is intent on harming you in some way.  In their mind, that justifies TM's actions.  This could have been it, as I mention in my first post.  The confrontation was the following.  I don't know how you fix this problem, other than with the law, which doesn't make following a crime.

        Regarding the self defense aspect of it, I've been mugged, and I can tell you it is terrifying.  I was pushed over backwards into a creek, and the back of my head directly hit a rock (probably a 7 foot drop to the rock).  I saw stars, like in the comic strips, but had no bumps, cuts, or bruises.  So I can't agree it's likely Martin was not bashing Zimmerman's head against the concrete.  Also, having been in that position, I can tell you it is incredibly terrifying, especially because you have no control.  In my case, the fear was compounded because I did not know who was attacking me, having never seen them before.  I had no idea what they might do next.  Could they kill me?  Of course they could.  Fortunately, they didn't.

        I suppose I'm trying to say, I know what that feeling is like, and for sure after hearing those screams I know what Zimmerman felt like.  He was in fear for his life.

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