Must-read coverage of Zimmerman trial

by Walter Olson on June 25, 2013

From Jacob Sullum [first, second, third, and more to come]

{ 15 comments }

1 William Nuesslein 06.26.13 at 9:30 am

Thanks, Mr. Olson.

George Zimmerman said that he wiggled under Treyvon Martin to get his head on grace. It was on cement at the time. In doing so his jacket worked up and his holster became visible. It is of interest that Zimmerman took a substantial beating, as evidenced by his cries for help. Zimmerman says that Martin saw the holster and said that Zimmerman was going to die. The race for the gun at that moment was justifiable self defence. Unfortunately the judge, in my opinion, wants a conviction and found Zimmerman’s statements to be self serving hearsay. Drat!

But Mr. West set a determinative fact for acquittal. Mr. Zimmerman wanting to tell the expected police officer “He went dataway” was a reason for Mr. Zimmerman to be in a place where he might be able to see where Martin went. Treyvon Martin had no reason to hang out in the rain, and he had ample time to go home. Martin didn’t go home.

So much is made of Zimmerman not staying in the truck, but the one with the opportunity to avoid confrontation was Martin.

2 Robert 06.26.13 at 12:59 pm

One or the other was going to die once Mr. Martin saw that gun. This case is maddening because there are practical issues (like whether it’s a good idea to engage _anyone_ if you’re carrying a gun, just to avoid this sort of situation) that are distinct from the very real issue that Mr. Zimmerman had no choice if he wanted to live.

3 Jason 06.26.13 at 1:53 pm

legalinsurrection.com has great coverage live, streaming, and followups.

4 ;a 06.27.13 at 6:59 pm

If I were zimmerman I would say whatever needed to be said to make it a case of self-defense which makes sense because his story has changed over time. I understand florida’s law is about as backwards as it comes, but he picked a fight, he brought a gun, he ignored the 911 calls and in the end a child died. Imagine that Treyvon is your 16 year-old daughter and that a man started following her at night with a gun.

5 William Nuesslein 06.28.13 at 8:33 am

Com on “;a” don’t go OJ on us. Zimmermann’s story has not changed over time. It is clear that Martin approached Zimmerman and punched him in the nose sending him to the ground. The gun came into play after Martin saw it.

Florida has easy right to carry regulations, so anybody wanting to beat the daylights out of a Florida resident assumes the risk that his victim might be armed.

The convenience store was about one mile from Martin’s friend’s house. Martin was en-route home for 40 minutes when he was spotted by Zimmerman. It takes 20 minutes to walk a mile, and it was raining. Martin and his friend were looking forward to seeing a sporting event on TV. Even after being spotted by Zimmerman, Martin could have just gone home. He had plenty of time to do so as Zimmerman could not catch up with him in his car.

6 gitarcarver 06.28.13 at 1:13 pm

I understand florida’s law is about as backwards as it comes

Wow. Then Florida and 45 other states are “backwards” as they all have the same law on self defense.

Rather than discuss this further, I am simply going to quote our esteemed host:

“Still, it’s always good to be reminded that not all readers are well-disposed and well-informed.”

7 Ron Miller 07.01.13 at 2:42 pm

Here is what happened: absolutely no one knows except Zimmerman. He did an utterly stupid thing and as a direct result someone got killed. Yet he probably can’t be criminally convicted for it because no one know what happened and it is – correctly – real hard to convict someone under those circumstances. Any of you that thing you can go all CSI and figure out exactly how it went down are just plan kidding yourselves.

8 gitarcarver 07.01.13 at 4:42 pm

If we don’t know “absolutely” what happened, then how can one say we know what he did was “an utterly stupid thing to do?”

9 William Nuesslein 07.02.13 at 4:41 am

Ron Miller makes an outrageous assumption that if someone is armed, then the possibility that the weapon would be used would severely limit the freedom of the armed person. To move around at all would be “stupid”. That, of course, would negate any reason to be armed. But Florida granted Zimmerman a permit to carry. He feared a neighborhood dog.

Mr. Zimmerman should not start a fight while he is armed, or otherwise. But neither should Martin. Zimmerman says that he left his vehicle to look for an address – house number/street sign. That is consistent with his conversation with the non-emergency operator. Martin could have simply gone home. He had plenty of time to do so. The confrontation was Martin’s doing. Since Martin has no marks on his body, it is nonsensical to say that Zimmerman, the guy with the bloody nose, threw the first punch.

To me, the beating was ample justification for the shooting. But when Martin saw the gun, it either Zimmerman used it on Martin, or surely Martin would use it on him.

10 Ron Miller 07.02.13 at 10:17 am

Gitarcarver, we don’t know what happened in the battle. We know full well what happened before and it seems there is little significant dispute in that regard.

I don’t understand much of Mr. Nuesslein’s point. The assumption you are suggesting I’m a making is a wild leap.

You think it was a good idea of follow him the way that he did because he was a black guy with a hoodie?

You make another wild leap in “knowing” how the fight went down. Have you ever been in a fight before? Let me tell you, I’ve seen – I’ve been in – plenty of fights where the aggressor does not lay a glove on the person he attacked. The idea that the attack began with a punch in the first place… you understand little about how these things happen. I know enough to know full well that…. I don’t know what happened.

11 gitarcarver 07.02.13 at 2:47 pm

Gitarcarver, we don’t know what happened in the battle. We know full well what happened before and it seems there is little significant dispute in that regard.

Okay. Great.

Then once again, your “utterly stupid thing to do” statement fails unless you think that looking out for neighbors is a bad thing.

Is that what you think Ron? You have argued previously that people have a responsibility to others and yet here, when the rubber meets the road, you call that “help” “utterly stupid.”

You think it was a good idea of follow him the way that he did because he was a black guy with a hoodie?

That is not what happened Ron.

At the time of the confrontation, Zimmerman was headed back to his truck and had lost sight of Martin.

Martin, on the other hand, had reached his father’s townhome, and then doubled back to confront Zimmerman.

Apparently the narrative that you believe is not what the rest of us know to “full well have happened.”

12 Ron Miller 07.03.13 at 10:51 am

The rest of us? This man has been charged with murder. He is on trial for his life. Yet everyone knows what happened.

Your opinions – always expert opinions, obvious – assume so many facts. Zimmerman was following that man to protect his neighborhood? He couldn’t just be an overzealous nutcase who suspected he was up to no good because he was a young black kid with a hoodie.

Take a national poll, Gitacarver. The vast majority of people believe – regardless of how they view the facts of the case – that it was foolish, reckless and unsafe and without any rationale foundation for him to follow that kid. That does not prove my point by itself. The world can be wrong. But can you save me the “all of us know” nonsense.

13 gitarcarver 07.03.13 at 11:44 am

He is on trial for his life.

I didn’t realize second degree murder carried the death penalty or even life imprisonment.

Yet everyone knows what happened.

That is what you believe and what I am saying is that many people don’t know what happened. That’s the point, Ron.

Zimmerman was following that man to protect his neighborhood? He couldn’t just be an overzealous nutcase who suspected he was up to no good because he was a young black kid with a hoodie.

Okay. Let’s assume that you are correct. Let’s assume for a second that the neighborhood had not been hit by a series of burglaries. Let’s assume that a person who is a member of a neighborhood watch program wasn’t trying to protect his neighborhood. The fact of the matter is that whether you want to say that Zimmerman was following Martin because he was black and wearing a hoodie or whether Zimmerman was acting in a capacity to protect his neighborhood means that there are at least TWO theories as to what happened and why.

Your own statements belie your belief that we all “know what happened.”

But can you save me the “all of us know” nonsense.

I have no idea why you are addressing this to me, Ron. You were the one that brought up we “all know what happened” before the confrontation meme.

On 07.02.13 at 10:17 am you wrote:

We know full well what happened before (the confrontation.)

Please don’t try and act indignant with me over what you wrote.

14 Ron Miller 07.05.13 at 6:12 pm

You begin with the petty, of course. But he is absolutely on trial for his life as the term is often used. He will go to jail for a long time, basically losing much of his life. I would consider myself on trial for my life if I could go to jail for a year. But while it is silly to get in the weeds with you on any topic, this is even more inane.

Gitacarver, somehow, you got that impression that the best way to win an argument is try as hard as you can to point out inconsistent statements. That someone, I’m inconsistent because I believe we need to protect and care for each other yet, incredibly, I think he should not have been following that kid.

We know he followed the kid for no good reason – black and hoodie and the logical choices. We know that the vast, vast majority on the American people think this was foolish. People he was on the phone with thought it was foolish. We are on a pro-Zimmerman board and I have not heard anyone yet say, “Boy, that was a good idea. What a hero!”

What he did – based on any version of the facts that has been brought out by him or anyone on his behalf – was in my opinion and the opinion of most people foolish. You can disagree. But in your world, I can’t even have the opinion.

You value consistent statements more than anyone I’ve even come into contact with in my life. You, without fail, disagree with every single word I say. Maybe you should actually ID who you are as opposed to just being an anonymous Internet troll of mine.

15 gitarcarver 07.05.13 at 10:52 pm

But while it is silly to get in the weeds with you on any topic, this is even more inane.

The problem is Ron that there are times when you say something that is clearly black and white and then demand people take your own words as being ambiguous. Then there are times when you say something ambiguous and demand people take you literally.

Don’t blame others for not making your points clear to readers.

We know he followed the kid for no good reason …..

Here we are back at this again. No, we don’t know that at all. Speak for yourself if you wish, but don’t claim to speak for all.

You had a kid that was not familiar in a neighborhood that had been victimized by a higher than average crime rate. You see Zimmerman looking out for his neighbors as “foolish.” I see it differently. I know that in my neighborhood we look out for each other and no one thinks twice about it.

People he was on the phone with thought it was foolish.

That is not what was said Ron. The 911 operator said they “did not recommend” Zimmerman follow Martin. That is quite a difference from being “foolish.”

But in your world, I can’t even have the opinion.

Where did I ever say that, Ron? What seems to bother you the most is that I and others, note that your opinions aren’t always based on facts. Just recently you talked how the protesters on Kansas weren’t trespassing. It took a few posts from others and me to convince you otherwise.

Now you try and say “people on the phone thought it was foolish.” I don’t care if you think it was foolish or not. I would never try and dissuade you from having an opinion. But when you start to make pronouncements and statements that aren’t based on reality or truth, people should say something because truth matters.

You value consistent statements more than anyone I’ve even come into contact with in my life.

Consistent statements don’t matter in your line or work?

You, without fail, disagree with every single word I say.

There you go again, making a statement that is not true.

Maybe you should actually ID who you are as opposed to just being an anonymous Internet troll of mine.

Is it being a troll to have an opinion that is different than yours Ron?

That is your definition?

My point has been and still remains that you made some statements here in this thread that are demonstrably false. I am sorry if that offends you.

You can have the last word because clearly we have wandered off the beaten path of this topic.

Comments on this entry are closed.