Late development – See end of story…*
I cannot in good conscience sit back and continue to write nothing about the obscenity that is the citizen arrest, conviction and execution of a 17-year-old black youngster, Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. The ‘Stand Your Ground’ executioner was a 28 year old delusional, race-obsessed, paranoid ‘neighborhood watch’ vigilante, George Zimmerman. I was driven to my keyboard after reading colleague Jason Easley’s account of Limbaugh’s reaction and when I finally heard the Zimmerman ‘side’ of the story. A story that had hitherto seemed the very definition of a racist murder. Please pardon some duplication in analyzing this gruesome tale.
Sanford, Florida is a dirt-poor town of 40,000 with a third of that population being black or African-American. Sanford is in the Orlando Metro Area. The per capita income hovers somewhere around $15 grand. If you’re black, that number plummets to 10 – 11 grand. That’s stone-cold poverty. Only 10% of the population has a college degree.
The sad fact is that under-education and lack of money breeds people like Zimmerman. Bitter and frustrated, they look to lash out at their perceived ‘lessers’.
There was no readily apparent danger to Zimmerman when he gunned his prey down. But for Martin it was a different story. Being a young black man on his way to visit a friend through a certain neighborhood after a convenience store purchase of a bag of Skittles appears to have been enough to end his life in 2012, right-wing, racist America. I won’t repeat the entire sequence of events leading up to the death of Martin. The Zimmerman side has managed to pretzel them into a confusing hodgepodge of misleading statements, questionable claims and myriad excuses for a senseless killing.
The latest ‘excuse’ apparently is the fact that Martin had been suspended from school after authorities had found a baggie inside his book bag containing traces of marijuana. All readers who have ever experimented, even once, with weed please raise your hand. I said raise your hand. Oh, never mind! Pretty soon they’ll claim he whistled at a white woman.
Here is Zimmerman’s delayed story as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. This is his first public peep of any kind since the shooting, February 26th. The story reports that Zimmerman told police that he saw Martin walking in his neighborhood, but lost track of him and was heading back to his SUV when Martin approached him from the left rear.
The two had words and Trayvon allegedly punched Zimmerman in the nose, knocking him down. Martin then got on top of Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times. By definition, several is more than two. So this kid banged Zimmerman’s noggin at least 3 times onto concrete. Earlier this year a Pasco County Florida convenience store clerk died after being pushed and hitting his head on concrete. Speculation is that the brain immediately ‘died’. Concussion, Hemorrhaging, swelling of the brain, radiating and concentric fractures, nerve cell injury – any doctor could keep this list going on and on describing the nasty consequences of even hitting the back of your head once. You’ll recall the death of Natasha Richardson 3 years ago when she fell and hit the back of her head once on a beginner’s ski slope. She apparently died of an epidural hematoma.
I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened the way Zimmerman self-servingly describes the incident, but it’s highly unlikely. Like a lot of 17-year-olds, Martin was probably a bit mouthy and cocky. I was. But he was also tall and skinny. Reports vary from 6’ – 6’3 and about 140-150 lbs. Zimmerman was reportedly 100 or so pounds heavier, short (5’9”) and stocky. In any event, the young man clearly wasn’t threatening enough to prevent Zimmerman from stalking him from behind.
I’ve read the initial police reports…the bloody nose, blood on the back of his head, the wet grass covered shirt. Sanford Fire Rescue showed up to treat Zimmerman. It was too late for Martin. Zimmerman’s injuries couldn’t have been too bad; he was officially released from SFD care and did not go to the hospital.
Apparently, while being pummeled with MMA-type brute force, Zimmerman was able to pull out his holstered gun, a kel tec pf9 9mm semi-auto and fire a round into the kid’s chest from inches away. And according to the initial police report not a word about Zimmerman’s head being slammed into the concrete. Nor did that seem to be an issue with SFD. It’s also odd with all that head/concrete action that Martin’s body should be found between houses in the grass. The officer in charge didn’t even discuss the incident with Zimmerman, but an investigator later did. His report?
It’s entirely possible that young Martin punched Zimmerman, maybe even wrestled around in the grass with him. Something you might do as well, staring down the barrel of a 9mm semi-auto and its Luger cartridges.
It’s amazing that a March 21st Anderson Cooper interview has received so little attention. Cooper talked with two women who told him they witnessed Zimmerman on top of Martin. Here’s what one of them had to say.
Cooper: “So you saw Mr. Zimmerman on top of Trayvon Martin?’
Cooper: “When you say on top of him, how so?”
Guest: “He was straddling him.”
Cooper: “His legs were straddling him?”
Guest: “One on each side on his knees with his hands on his back.” The woman demonstrates the position of the hands on Martin’s back, one over the other.
Cooper: “Do you believe it was self-defense?”
Guest: “I do not…if it was self-defense, why was he on Trayvon’s back?”
And most have heard the account of Trayvon’s cell phone conversation where it was clear that Zimmerman was following him. The girlfriend says she told Trayvon to just run when he said a guy was walking fast up behind him. Trayvon turned around and asked Zimmerman why he was following him. Zimmerman was heard saying, “what are you doing around here?” Both men then repeated themselves and the girlfriend says Trayvon was pushed from behind as his headphones fell off and all cell phone communications stopped.
So here we are. A sudden burst of witnesses and a ginned-up story 30 days in the making. This is one the Justice Department will have to sort out; the Sanford gendarmes are way too timid to rile up the locals with an arrest.
Want to learn more about George Zimmerman? Might I suggest you get a copy of the 1976 movie entitled ‘Taxi Driver’. Robert De Niro plays Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle. Replace Bickle with Zimmerman and the Martin killing will become crystal clear to you.
*ABC News has been reporting that the investigator referenced in this feature filed an affidavit the very night of the killing indicating he did not believe Zimmerman’s version of events and suggested that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. The State’s Attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger refused to act on the recommendation.