Scoot Blog: Did George Zimmerman Profile Trayvon Martin?
Opening statements in the murder trial of George Zimmerman included the prosecution using the F-bomb to paint the defendant was a man who had profiled 17-year-old Trayvon Martin before getting out of his car.
Prosecutor John Guy said that while talking to a police dispatcher Zimmerman said of Trayvon, “F---ing punks, these a—holes, they always get away.” Those words could suggest that George Zimmerman possessed a vigilante mentality as a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch volunteer who was more interested in seeking revenge against a stereotype than in providing protection for his neighborhood.
The opening for the prosecution was powerful. George Zimmerman made a decision to arm himself and patrol his neighborhood. If he also profiled Trayvon Martin before even getting out of the car in pursuit, then does this show that there was predisposed frustration and anger prior to the shooting?
I don’t know exactly what happened that night in Sanford, Florida and I respect anyone’s right to defend himself but I admit I have had a problem with an armed man getting out of his car and following a young man after a police dispatcher recommended he stay in the car until police arrived. That seems to signal a man who is looking for a confrontation. And if Zimmerman’s words suggested a negative attitude toward his suspect before the shooting, does it not seem as if he got out of his car anticipating a confrontation.
I am not ready to declare George Zimmerman ‘guilty’ and I have followed enough high-profile trials to know that one has to hear both sides of the case, but there are a few things we do know as this murder trial gets underway. We know that if George Zimmerman had acted as a neighborhood watch volunteer and alerted police about a young man walking through a neighborhood and had remained in his car, then Trayvon Martin would not have been shot to death that night by Zimmerman and Zimmerman would not be on trial for second-degree murder.
What motivated Zimmerman to ignore the police dispatcher’s recommendation to remain in his car until police arrived? The prosecution is trying to establish that his words to the dispatcher reflected an aggressive attitude toward the suspect and that could lead you to conclude that Zimmerman was more of a vigilante than someone who was truly concerned with protecting his neighborhood. And we can all speculate whether Zimmerman would have even gotten out of his car if he had not been armed. There has never seemed to be any question that Zimmerman had a legal right to be carrying a gun, but did he feel a need to carry a gun in hopes of enforcing the law?
There are countless stories in the news that seem to indicate that some gun owners like to have their guns for more than just protection – they relish the new confidence they gain from carrying a gun. I do believe that George Zimmerman felt threatened during a confrontation, but the question is did he, through his actions, create the threat? And if that can be established in court, then would George Zimmerman be viewed as the aggressor?
Regardless of the ultimate verdict in this trial, the lesson to be learned is that guns should never be possessed for added confidence, only for protection and in this case it may be shown that there is a big difference between ‘confidence’ and ‘protection.’
As for the use of the F-bomb in court – it was not obscene - it was the appropriate way to define the attitude of the defendant. One of the major news networks let the word go out live on the air during coverage of the opening statements and has since apologized. Though the audience wasn’t expecting to hear profanity, we need to remember that we are watching ‘live’ coverage of a trail that is not beholden to the FCC. The network’s apology should be sufficient.