Monday, July 15, 2013

the George Zimmerman roundup

Some thoughts on the acquittal of Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman, recently on trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Malcolm Pollack.

John Pepple.

Bill Vallicella.



John said...

As a non-American watching this story without any of the interest which has gripped the American media. Here is my take. Trayvon (silly name for a mother to name a child) was a gangsta-wannabe. He was lurking around an area where he didn't live dressed as a gangsta rapper. The other dude whose name I don't bother to google was a sheriff wannabe. One had a gun and killed the other without a gun. Sheriff dude shouldn't have put himself in that position. He shot gangsta-boy (without a gun). Perhaps he should have called the police instead.
In any other country, Sheriff would have gone to jail for two reasons. Firstly he was carrying a firearm and he wasn't a police officer or a hunter. Secondly because he put himself in a situation where he felt obliged to use said firearm. End of story. I will go back to watching the self flagellation of US news networks.

Kevin Kim said...


In general, I'd say Americans hold nearly sacred their right to bear arms. Sure, the meaning of this right is debated internally, but on the whole, if the government ever tried to confiscate Americans' guns, there'd be an uprising. Being arrested simply for carrying a legally owned firearm in America is unthinkable.

George Zimmerman did actually call the police, and the police advised him not to follow Trayvon Martin. I'd agree that Zimmerman was at least partially responsible for putting himself in harm's way, but Martin, too, was responsible for the beating he gave Zimmerman: he chose to attack.

Was Zimmerman's shot a justifiable act of self-defense? I'd say it was: his head was being slammed repeatedly into a concrete sidewalk while Martin (allegedly) threatened to kill him. Zimmerman's head wounds testify to how badly he was beaten.

In US jurisprudence, as you know (and as is doubtless true in New Zealand), defendants are innocent until proven guilty. In the case of homicide, the defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e., to be convicted of murder, there must be absolutely no doubt of murderous intent. Given the circumstances in this case, though, there was plenty of room for doubt, and the witnesses called to testify for the prosecution ended up inadvertently helping the defense's case—all factors that led to the "not guilty" verdict.

Charles said...

Wow. I only heard about this case when it blew up initially and there was the big hullabaloo about a young black man being gunned down for no reason. Did they not know about what had actually happened, or did the media just pick and choose which "facts" to report?

I think Zimmerman was at least very stupid, if not morally wrong, to put himself in a position where he had to do what he ended up doing, but according to the law of the land it was self-defense. So I don't support Zimmerman or think that he was right, but I do think justice was served.