Category Archives: self defense laws

Technically Justice/Still a Travesty

I am sad. I am so sad that Trayvon Martin got no justice after this long and formally correct trial. And we could all see that he would not get justice because the prosecution did not present their case in as powerful a way as the defense. They did not have a picture of events at that “T” when Zimmerman and Martin finally met that reflected the fear that Trayvon Martin was feeling. They did not present any alternatives to the image of Zimmerman on the bottom and Trayvon on the top throughout the entire confrontation even though the evidence of the eye witnesses was hardly clear in this regard. They did not stress the evidence from Rachel Jeantel about the fears Trayvon expressed to her as he was being followed. And they did not make us keep paying attention to all of the events of that terrible dark, rainy evening, as opposed to just what happened at the “T”. For example, what if Zimmerman pulled his gun when Trayvon disappeared temporarily for those 4 minutes we measured out with silence during the trial and what if Zimmerman followed him onto the grass? What if Trayvon got trapped on someone’s patio behind those short bushes that delineated each patio? What if the only way he could get home was by passing Zimmerman again. What if he waited four minutes hoping George would leave and when he finally took his chances on continuing his journey home he was presented with a Zimmerman who was holding a gun. That might explain the punch and the desperate fight that followed. This could have happened. It is just as reasonable as any other set of events because no one except George Zimmerman really knows what happened.

As a result, Zimmerman got off on a technicality and that technicality involves the way the law defines self-defense. I will let this go after writing this article because it will not do any good to dwell on it. But I will feel sad forever about what this family and this young person lost and I will hope that George Zimmerman does eventually arrive at some remorse and that that remorse becomes a part of his character.

The racial part of this is unimportant to me in a way. The fact that we are talking so much about Trayvon’s race proves that we are so not color blind, but I would be sad if this happened to any child in America who set out to a convenient store and ended up dead. A friend of a family member implied that if his boys were in this situation and they attacked the man who was following them and were killed he would accept that this person did not commit murder because he had to defend himself, but I would submit that he is wrong; he is lying to himself, and he would defend his son/s as long as he had breath in his body. It is, however, also transparently true, however much we might like to deny it, that such a white teen would probably not be presented with such a situation even if he was wearing a hoodie. That’s racism. But racism is not why I believe Zimmerman should have been convicted of murder. An innocent young person is dead and it was considered inappropriate for this teen to defend himself with his fists, but perfectly acceptable for this grown man to defend himself with a gun.  If there is no law to cover this situation, then perhaps we need a new law. The self-defense statutes in Florida and probably elsewhere are responsible for this travesty, and the prosecution, with its lackluster performance also bears some blame for this travesty.