By Scott Tibbs, July 15, 2013
I breathed a huge sigh of relief on Saturday night when the news came down that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the charge of second-degree murder and a manslaughter charge added at the last minute by politically-motivated prosecutors desperate to get some sort of "compromise" verdict. This whole episode was a shameful chapter in the history of the American criminal justice system.
Trayvon Martin's death was unfortunate, and as a father myself I can understand the pain his parents feel at the violent loss of their son. However, no one forced Martin to punch Zimmerman in the face. No one forced Martin to get on top of him and pummel him in what one eyewitness described as a "ground and pound" position. No one forced Martin to slam Zimmerman's head into the concrete - a dangerous and potentially life-threatening move.
Punches can kill or cause serious bodily injuries, and slamming someone's head into the concrete makes the situation even more dangerous. For an example, look up the story of Kermit Washington and Rudy Tomjanovich, and the severe damage a single punch did during an NBA game.
Zimmerman screamed for help, and then, fearing for his life, shot Martin at point-blank range. Forensic evidence backs up Zimmerman's story that Martin was on top of him when Zimmerman shot him in the chest. Zimmerman fully cooperated with the police, was obviously upset that Martin had died and was relieved when informed that there may be video of the confrontation. None of these reactions are what one would expect from a murderous vigilante.
This is a sad case and no one is perfectly innocent here. Zimmerman should not have followed Martin, and indications are that he was overzealous in his duties as a neighborhood watch volunteer. He should have let the police handle the situation and follow what Zimmerman believed to be a suspicious character walking in the rain - but the accusations that he is "racist" have been completely and thoroughly discredited.
Martin's death was a sad outcome of an unfortunate and avoidable confrontation, but it was not an illegal act by Zimmerman. This case should never have been prosecuted, and the fact that it was shows how much politics has influenced a case that should have been decided only on the facts and the application of the law to those facts, and the facts indicated from the very beginning that Martin's death was a legitimate act of self-defense.