The death almost a month ago of 17-year old Trayvon Martin at the hands of appointed neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman has become a cause célèbre that has even drawn the notice of our President, who notes that if he had a son he would probably look like Trayvon.  I’m seeing some defending Zimmerman, and most demanding his head on a platter, and a whole lot of people who don’t understand how the justice system is geared to approach these things.

As I’ve said earlier in this blog, in answer to reader query, we don’t know enough about what happened to rush to judgment yet, whether that judgment is justified self-defense, murder, or manslaughter.  The police have made it clear that there is evidence that has not yet been made public, and may not be put forth until the Grand Jury examines the case next month.  Some issues:

The autopsy results, including toxicology screen, have not yet been released. If it turns out that the young man who died was fueled by drugs known to cause violent behavior, could that change our perceptions? That knowledge is not yet in our hands. (Reportedly, Zimmerman was not tested, and police indicate that he showed no signs of drug or alcohol impairment.) My advice to YOU if YOU’RE ever involved in a shooting: request to be taken to a hospital to have a blood sample and toxicology screen taken. A “negative for everything” result will prevent false allegations later that you were drunk or drugged-up when you pulled the trigger.

The death weapon was a Kel-Tec PF9 semiautomatic 9mm pistol. It has been reported that the gun was recovered with a full magazine and that only the chambered round had been fired. This is a condition we associate with something preventing the gun from cycling a fresh round from the magazine into the chamber after the shot was discharged. One thing that can cause that is another man’s hand wrapped around the pistol, retarding its slide mechanism.  This would indicate, as could certain gunshot residue patterns or cuts in certain places if found on Trayvon Martin’s hand(s), that a struggle for a gun was taking place when the fatal shot was fired. This would clearly change the shape of the case. But – WE DON’T KNOW YET.

Both men, according to initial reports, were “squeaky clean” in terms of their background. We now know, meh, not so much.  There were allegations of domestic abuse against Zimmerman, and a conviction for resisting arrest, in his past. Young Mr. Martin was in the complex in the first place so his dad could straighten him out after being kicked out of school for a week…for what, we don’t know.

Pundits who don’t all seem to understand the concept are tying this shooting in to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law much more than they should. There is conflicting evidence/testimony as to whether Martin approached Zimmerman or vice versa in the penultimate moments before the physical fight that led to the fatal shot.  There is, in short, not yet enough information for any of us outside the investigation to formulate a solid opinion.

Update: Turns out that the Trayvon Martin Facebook page mentioned here last night was the wrong Trayvon Martin; that has been deleted with my apologies, and thanks to those who flagged me to the error.  Also, HuffPost reports that Trayvon had been suspended for chronic truancy, but another source notes that his school’s posted rules do not prescribe that length of suspension for that minor an offense. Meanwhile, the college George Zimmerman had been attending has suspended HIM, due to the current controversy.

My advice? Let’s all “stand our ground,” not participate in the rush to judgment, and wait for the facts and the evidence to become available to us 300 million jurors in the Court of Public Opinion.


  1. We need all the facts in.

    All the people condemning the stand your ground law are ignorant and haven’t the first clue as to what the law actually does, if he chased him down he wont be able to hide behind that law, it was written for the benefit for the person in defense, not the aggressor.

    whether or not this incident was motivated by racism (which has yet to be determined) people need to calm the comments.

    The media isn’t helping referring to Zimmerman as “White Hispanic” all in an effort to fuel a racism angle.

    The “new” blank panther party isn’t helping putting a “bounty” on Zimmerman head.. it sounds to me like a public contract on his life.. most other people would be in prison for it.

    When the racism boils over im sure Martin will be oh so happy that violence is done in his name. /sarcasm

  2. “rush to judgement”, Mas, is standard play on the news. The idea is to make as big of a story as possible with very little information.

    Everything is treated like “Name That Tune”.

    First note: Shooting in Florida

    Second note: Black child dead

    Third note: Whitish guy was the shooter

    I can name that tune in three notes! We’ll go with “Racist Child Killer” as the lead for the news!

  3. Every politician, from the WH down, who has commented on this story, has done noting but flame the situation for their own self promotion.

  4. Why has the media continued to show an old pic of Trayvon, making him look like a young boy? Why the white-wash of his background by the media? Why? For ratings? To agitate the public?
    Why has Trayvons mother submitted application for trademark of her sons name to market T-shirts, dvds, etc? WTF?????

  5. The facts continue to slowly dribble out!
    MULTIPLE suspensions paint complicated portrait of Trayvon Martin

    Not that this will have any bearing in a trial if there is one, but he’s slowly looking like less of an “angel” than the media has portrayed him (is anyone surprised?).
    It also only seems fair since only one side has had the field when it comes to using Zimmerman’s past record against him (not that his record will matter any more than Trayvon’s).

  6. The Miami Herald is reporting that Trayvon Martin was suspended for violating their zero tolerance drug policy, as he was found in possession of a bag with marijuana residue. That’s not particularly damning of him. What is, however, is the report that he was also caught vandalizing school property, trespassing, and was in possession of both a burglary tool(a long flathead screwdriver, which would have earned him a weapons expulsion in most schools) and a bunch of women’s jewelry. He had wedding rings, diamond rings, necklaces and a watch, which he claimed “a friend” gave to him, but he didn’t name the friend. There is also a Tweet from his brother on the link I provided earlier in which his brother asks “You didn’t tell me you swung on a bus driver”.

    It appears Mr. Zimmerman was confronted and sucker punched by Martin after he returned to his vehicle, and was being pummelled at the time of the shooting.

  7. Zimmerman was clearly being attacked…read the police report linked below. Grass stains on his back, bloody back of his head, bloody nose…corroberates his account of shooting in SD.

    At the 2:00 minute mark of the video below an eye witness, who just happens to be black(only mention since race was already brought up), says he saw zimmerman on his back.

    Not sure of how everything un-folded leading up to the altercatoin…that’s what this hinges on. But the skinny football player could’ve avoided the older heavier guy if he really wanted I’m sure.

  8. I regret that “Joshua took offense to my opinion about liberals. However I don’t write with an eye towards being politically correct and call things what they are, not what the masses prefer to hear.

    Sure, there are liberal guns owners, but they are not on our side. Examples include “Hanoi” Jane Fonda and Diane Feinstein, who is licensed to carry a gun in California, but wants to disarm the rest of the population.

    Fiery rhetoric and using terms like “n***ers” and “bullshit” doesn’t go well with presenting yourself as being calm and rational. You may be a passionate chef, but I’ll never call you a “wild-eyed cook”!

  9. OK. I’m going to say something pretty radical here. The RKBA movement in general will be better served if Zimmerman does 10+ years in prison.

    If that happens, it will be obvious to even the most dense sorts that the FL “stand your ground law” had nothing to do with this.

    Another factor is Zimmerman’s history of making 911 calls on “suspicious black males” along with phrases (by Zimmerman) such as “I don’t know what they’re doing” – in other words, the sole point of suspicion seems to be race. Those are going to cream him in civil court, and could very likely be a factor in state or federal criminal court. This video is “slanted left” in a major way, but it does accurately quote from his previous (and numerous) 911 calls:—zimmerman-paranoid-about-black-males

    From everything I can gather, Zimmerman is what most police departments call a “strange ranger” – somebody who wants to “play cop” but likely couldn’t pass the psych eval. We do not ever want to mix the concepts of “CCW holder” and “strange ranger” and I’m sorry but Zimmerman did on a bunch of occasions.

    I hope it ruins his life.

  10. The media and the court of public opinion have never been wrong about anything except for the 2006 Duke lacrosse scandal and Richard Jewell being the Atlanta Olympic Bomber and ___________________________. Lets get all the facts first!

  11. Marcus is right about the Duke case. That was too good not to be true to the media and the race hustlers. It was just the case they dreamed about, only the evidence was to the contrary, which was of no concern until the defendants lawyerd up.

    In this case, it is too good not to be true to the media, the gun grabbers, the race hustlers, and the current admin that is trying to distract from an epic fail first term.

  12. Mr. Marsh,
    Using my handy-dandy Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States by Mitch and Evan Vilos, under Florida Law, in self defense claims, a probable cause hearing is necessary before an arrest. Unless a judge rules in that probable cause case that Zimmerman may be arrested, he is immune from a civil suit for the shooting (See FSA 776.032 –page 110-111 in Vilos book.

    Btw, I highly recommend the book if you are interested in plain talk about states’ various self defense laws.

  13. I think that GZ had the greater responsibility in that he was carrying a gun. He had deadly force on his side, was in a vehicle and was specifically told by the ‘police’ to NOT follow the person. GZ chose to ignore the advice, leave the safety of his vehicle and so follow TM.
    He then got into an altercation with the 17y/o and ended up shooting after initiating the encounter.
    Would Zimmerman have left his vehicle if he were unarmed? Did having the Kel-Tec make him feel safer/give him courage to follow an unknown individual? He had no idea that this would turn out to be a teenager. Could have been an armed career criminal. Stupid, careless and negligent. Impulsive at best.
    IMO there is no way that GZ does not have the ultimate responsibility for this tragic occurrence.
    And here is that scenario. GZ gets out of the car and follows TM, taking his gun out ‘just in case.’ TM sees the gun and panics, grabs at it, hits and knocks GZ down, gun goes off and kills TM.
    I don’t know what that charge would be nor do I know what happened. We don’t have enough information and likely never really will.

  14. Vey fair and balance article, I have always said wait to see 1st, then you have the media sensationalising and race baiting. The whole thing is sad. I will keep my personal opinion to myself, thanks for a great write-uo.

  15. Let’s get this strait about the weight thing. Zimmerman’s weight was a 170 pounds and trayvon’s weight 140 pounds. You know what is stupid about all this is know about 90% of all these people running around with there hoods up i know for a fact that none of them know what even happend. and where in the hell does racisim fit in here i just don’t see it. It would of went down the same know matter what the color? They keep acting like trayvon was a little kid that he was not. I don’t even know what happend know body does yet. All these black adults up running around like they know something we don’t no know more than the rest of us.

  16. A few names from here in the UK for you. James Kousaris, James Cooper and Shawn Tyson. The former two names were friends from the UK having a holiday in Florida. Shawn Tyson then 16 robbed the two friends at gunpoint, made the strip in the street then shot them both in cold blood. This hardly touched the US news but then Shawn Tyson was black and the two victims were White. No allegations of racism here just the realisation that Tyson was all ready a habitual criminal. David Cameron our prime minister did not state that his sons look like either if the poor victims, presumably he has not asked Obama if his son would look like Shawn Tyson. The families of the victims have wrote to Obama 3 times and as yet have had no reply. You really do have to wonder why! Shawn Tyson has been found guilty and justice and reason has prevailed. In the treyvon/Zimmerman circus though I severly doubt it will. In passing, I do not believe the KKK or similar ‘orginisations’ have ever offered a reward for someone to get Shawn Tyson. Undoubtably had they done so the FBI would have, quite rightly, had them locked up before teatime the same day!

  17. Lot’s of leaps here. Let’s clarify that the police never ordered GZ to stop following according to their records. Rather they made a recommendation, which, it appears he followed. If he had the gun out it is likely that TM would have just fled. Regardless, based on physical evidence and witness testimony no charges were brought.
    GZ had been functioning and was recognized as a neighborhood watch volunteer for years in a gated community that is mostly made up of minorities. He mentored two black children, during the same years.
    At this point there is no evidence supporting a criminal charge.
    There is no evidence that GZ’s action was racially motivated.
    It is likely, if he survives, go to a civil court, where negligence demands a much lower threshold of proof.
    While the Feds may wish to collaborate in the investigation (and it might be helpful at this point) they have no credibility if they don’t also investigate the New Black Panther party and others for conspiring to deny GZ his civil rights.

  18. Did you ever hear about the one were a guy was walking thru an apartment complex and some guy jump out and shot him then yelled it was self defence?

  19. Massad, You should post another update. While you had the wrong Facebook Trayvon Martin, The Daily Caller has located Twitter photos of the correct Trayvon Martin. Coincidentally, the language and posturing of the correct Trayvon is the same as that of the other Trayvon. His Tweeter comments are quite disturbing as well. Morover, we now know that Trayvon was suspended three times from school, and the most recent time (the suspension he was serving at the time of the shooting) was for having an empty marijuana baggie in his book bag at school. The book bag also contained several pieces of expensive women’s jewelry for which he had no explanation. The point of discussing Trayvon’s character is to address the question: was he an innocent 14-year old child (in the photos released by his family) who was simply buying some candy that night, or was he a young man with the temperament to attack someone he saw following him, as Zimmerman claims? We will probably never know who attacked whom. Without testimony to the contrary, there does not appear to be any evidence to justify charging Zimmerman. Others have commented that Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed Trayvon. True, he shouldn’t have. But it was legal to do so, and he claims he was returning to his car at the suggestion of the dispatcher (and he says “OK” on the 911 call after the dispatcher’s comment). The issue is who became aggressive first.

  20. Truth is black people are more racist than white people!!! I got bad news but slavery has been gone a long time but the black parents teach there kids that white people are bad and tell them what we used to do to them. so they grow up thinking white people are bad and racist and that we all owe them something. Problem with that is i wasn’t around back then when they was treated that way and im glad i wasn’t. there thinking just hasn’t changed. they are racist around white people you see it all the time even on tv. sorry but i don’t owe nobody anything because im not racist.


  22. all this hysterical hype! Let the judicial process take its course and THEN, when FINALLY in possession of ALL the facts, lets ALL make an informed assessment of the case. So far all I see is a lot of posturing from professional media whores and questionable political i.e. black leaders. Where does it say that when a white person commits violence on a black person its racist? How about when a black person does it to a white person? Social justice? we seem to have our values all mixed up. Lets be frank with each other. A black person can easily walk through a white neighborhood in safety. However, just take a stroll through a black neighborhood and see what happens. Lets cut the crap. Real race hatred usually come from the black community.

  23. While I agree, we need to step back and let justice take its course, also agree that no one seemed to be ready to bring the question of justice into the matter until the public outcry. There seems to be a flaw in Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, or the impliment there of. Florida police seem to be willing to take the shooters word that it was self-defense and walk away. That is making this all fodder for those who promote anti-gun legislation.

    removing all the hype; it seems Zimmerman was told NOT to follow the boy. Zimmerman was IN a deadly weapon and had the protection of his vehicle, which also provided him with a means of escape. For him to be out of his vehicle, with a gun in his hand, was itself confrontational. That left the kid to “stand his ground”, and for it, he was shot.

  24. Personaly I am sick of this case. Im turning my tv off for a week. I remeber when I was in the Army when Dr King was shot. Black soldiers on post were actually going around and beating up white people in retaliation. I know because I was there and got beat up for no reason. You wont find that in the history books anywhere. I now live in Montana where there are less than 5,500 blacks total and few hispanics. Here we dont put up with that EEOC crap. Here the better man gets the job!

  25. Massad,

    I was surprised that you didn’t immediately question Zimmerman’s actions. The man actively sought out a confrontation. While armed. He followed Martin first in his vehicle then on foot, the latter after being specifically told by a 911 Operator not to do so. I have taken several courses from you in the past and have always had nothing but the highest respect for your opinions on the realities involved with carrying a firearm and the justification of the use of deadly force. I understand the “facts” were not fully available, they still aren’t even though he has now been charged. But the FACT he INSTIGATED the altercation has been clear from the first.

  26. Massad,

    as there is no edit function I’d like to amend my comment. I STILL hold your opinion in the highest regard!


  27. Great post Massad!
    We certainly should wait for all the facts before lynching Zimmerman! And hopefully as the madeup “facts”created by the main stream media will be discounted.
    · What do we think we know about George Zimmerman? He is about 5’9″ and 170 lb. He worked as a security volunteer for his housing area without any problems for 11 years. He called the police department to report Trayvon’s suspicious behavior and tried to follow Trayvon so he could inform the police of Trayvon’s location. Zimmerman lost Trayvon and was on his way back to his car when he claimed Trayvon knocked him down and was slamming his head against the concrete. Fearing for his life, Zimmerman shot Trayvon. Police records of Zimmerman’s head wounds and his wet, grass stained back substantiated his account.
    · What do we think we know about Trayvon Martin? He is about 17, 6’2” and 170lbs. He has been expelled 3 times from school for a variety of reasons, including defacing school property and having a marijuana bag and 20 pieces of jewelry in his backpack. Trayvon’s twitter account records read like a gangster wannabe. His twitter account reveals an angry, rebellious boy who showed little to no respect towards anyone or anything.
    · 93% of the young black men murdered in the USA are murdered by other young black men. If Trayvon had been murdered in the same place by a young black man, Sharpton, Jackson, and Obama would NOT have said anything. Just as none of them have said a thing about the 600 other young black men who have been murdered by young black men since Trayvon was killed. If Zimmerman were black, this story would NOT get any news coverage!
    · The police took Zimmerman to jail in handcuffs, but they didn’t arrest him because his explanation of being attacked by Martin fit what the police saw when they picked Zimmerman up. His nose and the back of his head were wounded and require medical attention. His back was damp and grass stained from the damp grass he was on while Trayvon banged his head on the concrete sidewalk that ran between the backyards of the buildings. I believe the screams were screams of agony as Trayvon bashed Zimmerman’s head against the concrete. When Zimmerman was able to pull out his gun and shoot Trayvon, the screams stopped. Zimmerman had worked as a volunteer security person for 11 years without any problems and he had called the police and was waiting for them to come check out Trayvon. It is highly unlikely that Zimmerman attacked Trayvon, but the hotheads should at least wait until all the facts are in before calling for a lynching.

  28. M Ayoob says in his article to not rush to judgment and what do some of the commentators do?

    Rush to judgment.

  29. I am waiting for the evidence to determin whether this was a justifiable use of force or not.

    However, there is several things that can be learned from this case by those of us who choose to carry a deadly weapon.

    1. A firearm is not an accessory to be displayed like jewlery. when you choose to carry, you become a gunfighter. You can no longer engage in horse play or social violence. If you get into a fight and you are loseing the fight, you may have to use the weapon to retain it.

    2. Anything you say or post on the internet, any sign you post or bumpersticker you put on your vehicle will be used to show that you had a depraved indiffrence regarding the taking of a human life and that you were just itching to pull that trigger.

    3. Any statements you make to bystanders or police in an excited state of mind will come back to haunt you. You need an Aty whether you think you do or not.

    I was a Deputy Sheriff and I can attest that almost everyone that I ever put in jail, talked their way into jail.

  30. I’m not sure where you got your false information but the police reports that have been released, very clearly state that there 7 rounds recovered, 6 in the magazine and one loose from the chamber, one shell casing. So much for your theory about a struggle for the gun. Zimmerman is guilty as sin.

  31. Hey, another Joey!

    The information came from the Orlando newspaper, pretty much the “journal of record” on this incident, a few days before the blog entry.

    Joey, tell us why you feel the defendant is “guilty as sin.”

  32. WOW, you read through the comments and they are quite diverse. I have read responses from so many of you who are name calling, defending one or the other or attacking one or the other. Based off of everything I’ve read and seen in the media, there are a lot more questions then answers regarding this case and I don’t see how so many of you could have made up your minds about the guilt or innocence of either of these men. I’m curious how Zimmerman will ever get a fair trial if this is the climate of the jury pool.

    I haven’t made up my mind but I will present these statements to the crowd:
    -Should an individual have to wait till their attacker has actually had the chance to cause irrepairable damage to them or worse before they defend themselves? (heck no!)
    -As for comments by at least one of you about how much damage a 140 lb young man can do, get in the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr and find out and then come back with your comments. That being said, the Autopsy stated that he was 5′ 11″ tall, 158 lbs. Although Zimmerman was older and heavier, Trayvon had about 4 inches on Zimmerman.
    -A beer can or any other hard object can do a significant amount of damage, up to and including kill a person. (every one of you has watched enough TV to understand the term “blunt force trauma”

    I know it sounds like I’m defending Zimmerman but I’m really not. He might have shot Martin in cold blood but I don’t know that, nor do any of you. You may have decided that but not based off of anything more than speculation.

    If Trayvon Martin was approaching Zimmerman acting intimidating or threatening in any way, should George Zimmerman have run away or accepted whatever violence the young man wanted to act upon him?
    If you say yes then you’re not being honest.

    Now, if Zimmerman executed Martin for no reason, which seems rather unlikely although possible just as anything is possible, then I hope that it is realized during the investigation and trial and I hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law but the armchair investigators of America need to stop frying him in their little mental electric chairs. Retract your claws and understand that a case like this where two individuals where know little to nothing about the other are involved in what seems to be a random violent encounter, the investigation can be very complex and things are rarely what they seem.

    I am not quick to jump against Zimmerman mainly because he was part of a neighborhood watch program. A proactive group of people who volunteer to keep an eye on their neighborhood for the good of the community. That volunteer duty could likely put them in harms way if not put their lives at risk and at least as far as this case is concerned could threaten an individuals freedom. I suppose that allows me to at least think of him (Zimmerman) as being a decent citizen. Now, I’m not ignorant enough to think that decent citizens don’t end up commiting crimes but I tend to think they do it less often and that they are less likely to have bad intentions. I know little to nothing about Trayvon but I have seen enough to take from it that he wasn’t a model citizen.

    Leave this matter to the REAL courts.

  33. Assad, you are always so level-headed. I sure am glad that you’re sill around and doing what you do.

  34. Louise Cate in your above post (on April 11th, 2012) you applauded Mr. Massad for a great post because he opined not to rush to judgement about this case or assume facts not in evidence. You were right to applaud Mr. Massad but didn’t get the spirit of his blog. Why do I say that? Because now that discovery in this case has been released by the prosecutors (information they will use to attempt to prove there case), we know that most of your assertions in your post are wrong.
    As examples of your misstatement of facts: Trayvon was 5’11 and 158lbs according to the autopsy and GZ was a renter in this neighborhood where the neighborhood watch had only been in effect for less than a year (not 11 years as you suggest…that would have made GZ 17 years old when he supposedly started NW).
    If you really believe what Mr. Massad has blogged about above, you must also not spread false information about this case and leave it to a jury to decided (after hearing ALL of the evidence) whether this was an act of Justifiable Homicide.

  35. What is the latest on his case. Since it is not being showed on the news now we don’t know what is up on the trial. Seems he Zimmerman is being railroaded still and is having to deal with this for over a year now. If this was truly self defense we have a real problem in our nation. Massad, can you tell us what you know as of today?

  36. I know this is a pretty old thread, but the trial starts in five days, and honestly, I am a little worried. I’m not sure as to how hot things will heat up with Trayvon Martin back on everyone’s mind, but I am a little afraid when the verdict comes down. There will be more protests, but this time it will be 10x worse, probably ending in riots. Zimmerman will probably have to go into hiding for the better part of next decade. After reading up on both sides, I think the physical evidence is in favor of the defense. If Mr. Ayoob is called in to testify, I think the prosecution should go ahead and throw in the towel.

    Zimmerman will most likely get an acquittal, unless the jury is comprised of black mothers.

  37. Mas,

    Have you been following the news about the trial? Just wondering if you plan on giving us your two cents or if you plan to wait it out. I’ve been monitoring the trial, and I must say, from my perspective, I don’t feel that the judge is being neutral. Maybe it’s just me.


  38. Interesting, in the extreme, all the assertions made early
    on in the thread, that turned out to be utter and complete BS.

    The Miami schools, the prosecution team, the politicians…from outright fraud to completely schizophrenic delusional.