Welcome to the new commentators here, many of whom seem to feel that Zimmerman started the encounter, a concept that concerns many of our regulars as well. Whenever there’s a fight, no matter the degree of consequences, the first question is always “who started it?”
Zimmerman took the first action, calling police when he observed Martin. He said that he was concerned because the man in the hoodie appeared to be wandering slowly and aimlessly in heavy rain. This is more consistent with what might be called “casing the joint” than with someone in a hurry to get somewhere dry. He didn’t mention Martin’s skin color until expressly asked about it by the call center operator.
The evidence indicates that Zimmerman didn’t get out of his car until the operator asked where the suspicious person was, and where the police should meet Zimmerman, the complainant. Taking that as a request for information, Zimmerman obligingly got out of the car to gather the intelligence that seemed to have been implicitly requested of him. He was, after all, the elected (not self-appointed) captain of Neighborhood Watch, and his function as Eyes and Ears of the Police had been drilled into him and the other Watch members through the Police Department itself. When the call-taker asked if he was following the man, Zimmerman replied in the affirmative. He was then told, “You don’t have to do that.”
The evidence indicates that he stopped following Martin at that moment. His former rapid breathing returned to normal and wind noise from his phone stopped, consistent with his testimony that he stopped following and had lost sight of Martin. The dispatcher did not “order” him to stop following, and later admitted in court that he had no authority to do so. Nonetheless, it was clear that Zimmerman was simply following Martin to keep him in sight and report his whereabouts, not “pursuing” with any intent to “confront.”
Putting together the timelines of the calls – hard evidence – and the testimony of the prosecution’s “star witness” Rachel Jeantel. When Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, the latter was a very short distance from home. Yet in the four minutes thereafter, he had to have left that location and gone toward Zimmerman’s. Even Jeantel admits that the first words of the confrontation she heard were from Martin, before the phone went dead.
Keeping an eye on someone from a distance is not against the law. Leaving the safety and mobility of your vehicle when suspicious unknown people are around may not be the best tactical move, but is no evidence of wrongdoing or intent to confront.
Who struck the first blow? Virtually all the evidence supports Zimmerman’s account; no evidence contradicts it, and no evidence supports the theory that Zimmerman assaulted Martin first, in any way. If as some conjecture Zimmerman had drawn the gun at the first, why did he wait until his scalp had been split open on the sidewalk and his nose smashed before he pulled the trigger? And if Martin really believed he was in danger from the man watching him, why didn’t he simply call the police from the phone he was already speaking on?
Within the totality of the circumstances presented in court by the prosecution itself, it would seem that saying “Zimmerman started it” is like saying that a woman was raped “because she asked for it.”
It’s about evidence, not about “what-ifs.” The simple fact is, no matter what some want to believe and no matter how much the brainwashers of the media have twisted the facts, there is no solid evidence to support any theory other than that Martin didn’t like being watched, attacked Zimmerman violently, and was shot in self-defense by the man whose head he had been smashing against the sidewalk with potentially lethal effect.
There are more issues, of course, and we’ll explore them here shortly.