1. Mas’ blogs are still the best information I’ve seen on this case. I’ve been following it passively, examining information as it came my way from the TV news, talk radio and print. Didn’t this incident happen almost a year-and-a-half ago? Look at how difficult it is to get to the truth! There are three primary sources for truth here, George, Rachel and the dispatcher (plus witnesses). Then the info gets processed by journalists. Any of these sources or journalists can, 1) tell the truth, or 2) accidently give wrong info due to speculation or distorted perception, or, 3) lie. If everyone involved simply told the truth (following the Ninth Commandment) we could figure out exactly what happened much sooner. Instead, we have to wade through a swamp of deception.

    Another thing; we are used to scientific precision with our machines. Rare human encounters like combat are messy, emotional, imprecise events. I’m reminded of the phrase, “the fog of war.” We Americans are too concerned with perfection when it comes to mortal combat. We want everything done in a perfectly legal manner, and we don’t want any innocent bystanders to get hurt (some misguided people don’t even want criminals to get hurt). It’s nice to have those goals, but we need to be reminded that they are unrealistic. Machines can be clean and neat, human affairs are a mess.

    GZ followed the strict rules as best he could (being human, not a droid), survived an emotional, messy, violent confrontation, went through a lengthy, unnecessary trial brought by America’s enemies, and now his life is ruined. He is being stalked by a lynch mob. He has to hide from danger and news hounds. I hate seeing good people get punished. I’ll be glad when this world finally ends. King Solomon was right, “All is vanity (emptiness, futility).”

  2. Having heard the neigbors’ 911 calls, Zimmerman really didn’t want to shoot Martin. Just the time on the 911 call hearing screaming in the background (not counting the time it took neighbors to realize something was wrong, go to the phone, make the call, dispatcher to answer, etc.), he took a beating for what probably seemed to him like an eternity before he shot Martin. That alone, even without the threat of Martin taking his gun and using it against him should be good evidence of self defense.

    If he stalked him because he wanted to shoot him, why did endure the ass whoopin’ for so long?

  3. Mas, William here, I’ll be checking out now.
    Thank you for the opportunity to express some views and to vent some.
    I have been wasting way to much time following this story, and this chapter has run its course anyway.

    I certainly hope you don’t think people like me are haters just because we don’t agree with you, on every issue about this case.
    I will return when the Backwoods Home page moves on, back to its previous format with its diversity of topics and your fantastic insight.

    “21-50 out”

  4. To all the thugs who’ve been vandalizing property, assaulting and robbing innocent people, and generally attempting to instigate chaos here in LA lately while wearing “I Am Trayvon” shirts, I have this to say: Well, right you are. They must make Martin’s stepmother a killing in copyrights since she trademarked Trayvon’s name less than a month after his death, by the way.

    This event has been exploited for political and personal gain to such an extent that it’s easy why people can’t think more clearly about it. Beginning with Obama injecting race into it by saying that he could have a son who would LOOK like Trayvon, instead of one who would be of the same age or who would dress the same way. What pandering. Martin was a ‘child’ like most bangers used by antis to inflate stats on kids killed by gun violence are.

    And props to the defense team for using such restraint (instead of pushing for a closer look at Martin’s ‘character’) – they probably rightly gambled that demonizing the other side wasn’t worth the potential backlash and that the facts of that night alone should win the fight. Meanwhile the prosecution played on the only thing they had: emotions. Misguided, silly emotions. Given how dumb people are these days, I’m surprised it didn’t work.

    Zimmerman was well within his rights to act the way he did, and to carry a gun doing it, as juror B37 stated. The lesson he’ll take away is his – mine is that, as Mas has always warned, not only the responding officers, witnesses, and the courts, but the whole country will feel entitled to examine every word I ever uttered and second-guess every action I ever took if I’m unlucky enough to have to use deadly force. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Thanks for the reinforcement, George. As Morgan Freeman’s weary cop character says in Se7en: “Apathy IS a solution.” Because care about your community and watch them climb on their high horses to hang you better.

  5. “Totality of the circumstances” – I wish I knew who coined that phrase, I would buy them a beer. It clearly outlines the parameters of the scope of examining any police or civilian use of force situation. Narrowly reviewing ANY shooting situation, from the right angle will give the appearance that it is wrong. The totality of the circumstances, when examined from a neutral position will give the best view of what – and most importantly – why something happened. Great review Mas, hope all is well with you and your family. Stay safe my friend.

  6. I’m on no ones side of the argument… just some thoughts… 1) it seems plausible the roles of pursuer/aggressor were interchanged during the final terrible confrontation (re witness stating Mr Martin was observed to be ‘on top throwing punches’..) … 2) the only injuries sustained were on Mr Zimmerman.. 3) the prosecution never applied ‘Stand Your Ground’ rules to Mr Martin?! .. I believe , based the on the evidence presented, it could not be upheld due to Mr Martin returning to confront Mr Zimmerman.. 4) the prosecutions expert witness, primary Detective (name here) stated he believed Mr Zimmerman to be telling the truth! … 5) the County Sheriff & the State Prosecutor were forced to step down, or were essentially fired for not submitting to Gov Scott’s demands… 6) understandably pressured by the self enfranchised Media (sell TV time/papers), Gov Scott showed his lack of backbone by pandering to the radical press/’public’ opinion, keeping this tragic event alive… to the point our questionably opinionated/politically influenced DOJ Attorney General is possibly pursuing a ‘racial’ offense, even though the FL States’ Prosecutors argument/as well as the jury verdict held NO RACIAL PREJUDICE was involved!! … 7) without asking for an explanation for FAST & FURIOUS… I’m left wondering…. tx

  7. Zimmerman followed a child at night in the rain while he was on his way home. He followed martin and by his own account he never stated who he was or his intended purpose for following martin, when martin asked “why are you following me?” Zimmerman admittedly lied to martin and said “i am not following you” and reached in his pocket. It is believable that martin assumed he may have been trying to pull out a weapon in an attempt to rob him. There had been a few break ins in that community, you know.

  8. As sad as it makes me feel I believe Fatman may have hit on the real reasoning behind the attack on Stand Your Ground. If you are a white American I almost guarantee you have been or felt intimidated at some point in life by a black American. It may only be a feeling or an actual threat, but the felling has been there. Stand your ground laws try to level the playing field so to speak. Intimidation is not reason to respond but retreating in the face of intimidation could be deadly. Just as running from an animal attack could prove deadly, turning your back at a confrontation may just signal the weakness the predator is looking for. I grew up in NYC and I am amazed at the things people miss in their day to day life. In an urban environment you become very aware of your surroundings or you may suffer consequences. At the very least the Stand Your Ground laws intent is to allow self defense if it should be the last resort. All citizens, white, black, Hispanic, whoever ALL benefit from Stand Your Ground laws as they apply to ALL AMERICANS. Jeff Cooper said we should try to always be in what he termed Condition Yellow. Alert and aware of our surroundings, ready to respond if conditions warrant.

  9. William Says:
    July 18th, 2013

    Also, on another point, GZ originally told police he was struck, fell down, and was mounted, at the top of the T of the sidewalk.
    For a sidewalk that is approx. some 350 feet long, THAT COULD well be what he meant by “the top of the T”.

  10. Mas, could you take this into a discussion on provocation? I’ve read several discussions on this and it seems to be the part that confuses most people. The Volokh Conspiracy had a discussion on the legal aspects of provocation on the Zimmerman trial, but I would greatly appreciate your incite.

    I personally don’t see how a reasonable person would see Zimmerman’s actions as provocation to attack in the manner Martin did. I could see a confrontation verbally, but no justification for what happened. I think you touch on that in this entry.

    Thanks for the series on the topic. Very instructive with relations to a real life event.

  11. Outstanding article. There is no proof that Zimmerman went up to Martin. The girlfriend said Martin ran and made it back the the fathers house, out of breath. His voice then went low whisper. His fathers house is at the other end of the houses from where the fight happened so that proves that Martin went back to where Zimmernan was at and started the fight.

  12. In the days between when this became national news, and the decision by Angela Corey to lynch George Zimmerman, I remember seeing a map on one of the Florida news sites that showed tracking data from Zimmerman’s phone. It showed him going down the sidewalk to a stopping point 2/3 of the way down the sidwalk, and then returning aproximately 1/3 of that distance to the end point of the call. That to me would suggest that he followed St Skittles, and when told he did not need to follow, stopped, and was returning to his vehicle. That is coroborated by nearly all the evidence.
    People keep making up stuff that maybe George punched Travon, but even a half cocked autopsy would have uncovered evidence of such a blow unless Zimmerman is a total wimp.
    My last though centers on the pistol. IIRC, the spent round was still in the chamber. Thats mighty hard to do. That gun either was held TIGHT to his chest, or there were multiple hands on it. I’ve been hit by the slide of a 22, and it hurt like a bitch. I would expect such a blow to leave a serious mark on George. The Police photographed his injuries, was there a pic of a slide bruise on him? I’m not gonna try to sort through all the stuff Corey supressed.
    At this rate, by 2020, the left will have more martyers then Christianity. St Pancake, St Skittles…..
    Thank you Mas for your excellent blog. You are on my blog roll.

  13. Mas, I’ve carried a concealed firearm for decades and have had the privilege of taking several LFI Courses over the years. But I disagree with you on this.

    It’s my opinion that Mr. Zimmerman allowed his ego to dictate his actions. It’s my opinion that when he chose to go forth armed he had a moral obligation to avoid getting into a physical altercation if possible. The man was CLEARLY playing Cops and Robbers, but with a very real and very deadly weapon. As you know Neighborhood Watch organizations never advise their members to go forth armed nor do they suggest they challenge any suspects. They are to advise LEO’s of suspicious activity they SEE.

  14. Addendum;

    It also occurs to me that the injuries Mr. Zimmerman suffered were quite minor, in fact they were relatively insignificant. Certainly nothing more than would be expected from a MINOR fist fight, and certainly not rising to the status where a reasonable man would be in fear of his life or SERIOUS bodily injury.Hell EMS didn’t even apply a bandaid.

  15. By all evidence and accounts, TM was headed for trouble, if not that night then sometime. And regardless of what came before, a vicious physical attack with apparent intent to kill should be met with deadly defense.

    So the killing was justified, legally, morally, and by every standard applied by anyone without ulterior motive to claim otherwise.

    But did it have to happen that night? Did it have to be GZ that took that life and in the process ruined his own? No.

    Consider as an imperfect parallel the pursuit of a vehicle by law enforcement. Once a pursuit is initiated, criteria are examined. Why is the vehicle being pursued; traffic offense, citizen report, suspected serious crime? What speeds are involved, what type of control is exhibited, what type of area and traffic congestion is there? All of which logically leads to a decision of whether the threat to innocent citizens on the road is justified. And if not, the pursuit is discontinued with the information such as vehicle description, tag number, etc. to be used at a later time to further investigate.

    Did the suspicious behavior of TM justify what amounted to a police pursuit?

  16. Mas as GZ is the only living witness to what occurred during this confrontation why do you assume he is being truthful regarding the four minutes after he ended his call to the dispatcher. Isn’t it just as likely that GZ continued to follow Martin and then Martin instead of walking towards him stopped and asked Martin why he was following him. Your assertion is that Martin turned around and walked towards GZ with the intent of starting a confrontation. No one really know what happened as I have told many people except for the 2 people involved and one is dead. This is a story that certainly has 2 sides and when only one side can be told we certainly shouldn’t assume that it is 100% truthful especially since the survivors freedom was on the line.

  17. cont.

    The answer would seem to be no. And in hindsight, if asked, GZ would certainly concur; he should have called off the pursuit and provided the information that he had to help deal with the activity that this wannabe ‘banger would have almost certainly engaged in. TV would still be alive, at least for the time being, and GZ could continue with the decent life that by all reports he had been trying to lead.

    This was a tragedy that did not have to happen. And make no mistake, the actions of GZ and the entire sorry episode is more harmful than helpful to the purposes of those of us who believe in the right of decent human beings to protect life and limb by whatever means is necessary, but with deadly defense as the final unavoidable and horribly regrettable action.

  18. Several comments here indicate Mr. Zimmerman’s actions did not pose a credible threat to Mr. Martin. I disagree. I’m a man in his mid 60’s who is not in the best of physical health. Unlike the typical teenager who is somewhat resilient, even a minor altercation with a man such as Mr. Zimmerman could pose the risk of serious physical harm to me.

    If I had been walking home that night and noticed an unknown man following me in a vehicle I would have been on high alert. As I’ve mentioned I have carried a concealed firearm for decades. And as a devotee of Mr. Cooper carry it in Condition One. I favor a SOB Galco for my HK45 and if I noticed that man then had his vehicle and approached me on foot I would have surreptitiously had my hand on my pistols grip prepared to deploy it if the situation warranted it.

    We have absolutely no way of knowing exactly what transpired when Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin first made contact with each other. Perhaps Mr. Zimmerman questioned why Mr. Martin was walking where he was. Perhaps he dis so politely, “Excuse me, my name is George Zimmerman and I’m with the Neighborhood Watch here, may I ask where you are going?”

    If he had approached ME in that fashion I would certainly not have felt disposed to remove my weapon from it’s holster. But given the language and tone of Mr. Zimmerman’s comments on the recordings I think it at least conceivable he might have confronted the young man with less tact. Again, his actions appear to me to CLEARLY be dictated by his ego. It’s my opinion his actions were colored so much by Mr.Martin’s skin color as by his age, his dress, and his demeanor. (No pun intended)

    Again we have absolutely no proof of who made first physical contact. But it’s a certainty that if Mr. Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle as suggested by the Dispatcher the likelihood of a physical altercation would have been substantially reduced. Again, it’s just my opinion, but given what we DO know I think a case could be made that Mr. Zimmerman was in fact eager for a confrontation.

    Mr. Ayoob I would VERY much appreciate your taking the time to address the my views on Mr. Zimmerman’s moral obligation, given the fact he’d chose to exercise his Second Amendment Right.During all of the discussions I’ve watched, heard , or read, about this event there has been a plethora of talk about “Rights” What about his Responsibilities?

    Please don’t think I’m trying to be confrontational, the truth is I happen to think quite highly of your expertise and opinions.


  19. Ernest, Zimmerman passed a lie detector test (voice stress analysis). The physical evidence supports his account. Listening to the testimony of the state’s star witness, it appears that Mr. Martin uttered the first words of the final encounter…all consistent with him, and not Zimmerman, being the aggressor in the key moments.

  20. My take away from the Zimmerman case is that if you have to shoot somebody and there are no witnesses then you better make sure they’re dead. You don’t want a jury hearing two versions of what happened, you want them hearing YOUR version. Keep your mouth shut until after you’ve talked to your lawyer, then the two of you can craft a plausible story that will keep you out of jail.

    What actually happened doesn’t matter, it’s what the jury believes happened that matters.

  21. At Ernest:
    “And when only one side can be told we certainly shouldn’t assume that it is 100% truthful especially since the survivors freedom was on the line.”

    Actually, our justice system is founded on exactly that principal, innocent until proven guilty. If you look at the entries here you’ll see that Zimmerman’s testimony is generally consistent with hours of expert testimony (some of which was even given by prosecutorial witnesses), forensic evidence, and the audio record.
    Frankly I’m tired of hearing over and over again that Zimmerman is/could be a liar. That was precisely the line that the prosecution used to try and put him in jail for 30 years to life. No evidence, no credible alternate scenario to Zimmerman’s story, just mights and possiblies. Martin’s female acquaintance admitted to having lied multiple times throughout the aftermath. Martin’s own father changed his testimony. It really bothers me that the public is willing to blithely go along with Zimmerman as a lying vigilante. Could he be the predator that the media made him out to be? Possibly, we don’t know. What we can say is that after an FBI investigation, a 2 week trial, and exhaustive public scrutiny, the strongest objections to Zimmerman’s version of events come down to hypotheticals for which there are little to no supporting evidence.
    This isn’t television. There isn’t always a clear cut villain and hero. There aren’t always incontrovertible scientific pieces of evidence that nicely dovetail with the “truth.” Sometimes good people do bad things for good reasons and sometimes there just isn’t an easy way to package a crime so that the public can live with it.
    In my not-so-humble opinion, when we spend over a year discussing how a man can be found guilty we do ourselves and Zimmerman a grave disservice. Way too many people wanted Zimmerman to be guilty of something. The media edited video towards that end. The prosecutor who swore out Zimmerman’s arrest warrant has been shown to have withheld exculpatory evidence in order to obtain that result. Law enforcement procedures were flatly ignored by the city manager when playing the 911 call for Martin’s family…even so far as to deny police presence at the presentation. There have been many lies, mistruths, and massaged accounts of events and most of them have come from those who wanted Zimmerman in court regardless of whether he should have been there or not. That’s fact, not supposition on my part.

  22. One nuanced piece of evidence that I have not yet seen presented is that when the 911 operator asked, Zimmerman stated Martin “…looks black.” Notice he didn’t say he was black. I know, I know, semantics. But, a few moments later, as Martin was walking toward Zimmerman, who was seated in his vehicle talking to the 911 operator, said “…yeah, he’s black”

    This appears to indicate that Zimmerman wasn’t quite sure of Martin’s race at first and only became certain that Martin was black when he (Martin) walked closer.

    If, as this seems to suggest, Zimmerman wasn’t initially sure Martin was black, it would clearly refute any racial profiling by Zimmerman.

  23. I have seen it asked here and elsewhere: “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?” …but not answered.

    The answer is that punks, thieves, dopers, and brawlers don’t call the police. They see police as part of their problem, not a solution.
    The question in a courtroom or discussion of the legalities is rhetorical. That type of person does not want the police in his life.

  24. Very good information, I have learned a lot. No racism done by Zimmerman Has anyone heard it the criminal problems stop in that gated community after the Zimmerman shooting?

  25. Probably one of the most frustrating things I run into regarding this case is the rampant ignorance of people regarding the order of events and claims that the police told him to stay in the vehicle. It seems like 80% of people think that the cops told him to stay in the vehicle and Zimmerman ignored them and got out to chase after Martin. This irks me no end. The police NEVER told him to stay in his vehicle. The police actually inadvertently triggered Zimmerman to get out of his vehicle. When the police realized what happened, they ADVISED Zimmerman this was not necessary. He not only acknowledged this advice, but appears to have complied with it.

  26. Mas — I carefully reread the previous entries and I believe your reporting is on the mark. I do understand better what the case is about. And I understand what the jurors had to decide.

    However, I still see the incident as a sad event. Okay — Martin was a punk. Okay — Martin was wrong. So was Zimmerman. Now, if Zimmerman had been going about his business and Martin had set upon him with intent to maim or kill, then yes defense is called for — in the extreme. But we all know that’s not the way it went down. Yeah Zimmerman is a good guy — who made a big mistake but won’t admit it.

    I will always support the 2nd Amendment and I will continue to own and practice with firearms. I will keep my CWFL for as long as I can. And I will defend myself and those I love if and when the time comes.

  27. Jim,

    There is a big difference between making a mistake and being in the wrong.

    Both parties made mistakes which ultimately culminated in Zimmerman shooting Martin in self-defense, but the only person in the wrong was Martin, who doubled back, confronted, and assaulted Zimmerman in what appears to be a racially motiviated attack by Martin (he used a racial slur regarding Zimmerman prior to the attack).

  28. I Stand corrected. If, as I understand it that Zimmerman did not on his own escalate the situation, then clearly, he acted, justifiably , in self defense.

  29. May be the truth is somewhere in the middle. This has become more like a yankees/red sox series than a search for the truth. Lots of confirmational bias going on…

    May be it’s just a situation where we had one wise ass street punk and a neighborhood watch guy with Bickle-Blart disorder. I would tell Ayoob that the dispatcher also explained why they don’t give orders. He said he didn’t have to do that, instead of don’t do that. From what I gathered from the testimony, he didn’t want Zimmerman to interdict martin. Also, the person that trained Zimmerman said that they are trained not to interdict people, but call the cops and wait.

    I have to wonder if Zimmerman wasn’t armed, if he still would have gotten out of the car. I think we had to people here trying to prove something: Martin wanted to prove he was a man with street cred and attitude and Zimmerman wanted to be the hero. Both lost.

    I’ll also add that I don’t think Zimmerman gave all the facts in his police deposition. I bet there were some words before the punch was thrown. Now, did Zimmerman have a right to defend his life? Yes, but he did everything to make that situation happen.

  30. “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?”

    Or more pertinent, if Zimmerman had approached with gun drawn, and if Martin had considered the situation so desperate that an unarmed assault against a gunman was his best hope — why would he have ignored the gun in Zimmerman’s hand to spend so much time beating Zimmerman about the face? It seems to me that taking the gun away would have been his _first_ priority.

    The speculation that Zimmerman approached with gun in hand can only be believed by one who assumes that Martin was mentally retarded. Talk about racism!

  31. Haters keep on hating…

    Nobody posting here was in the courtroom (am I wrong?) so there is just conjecture at best. The jury heard ALL the evidence presented at trial, not one of us commenting here.

    Accept the verdict and stop hating.

  32. I virtually was in the courtroom. I streamed the trial from “gavel to gavel” on my big screen from the Orlando Fox station (35) over the internet and listened as intently as the jury….and fully agree with Mr. Ayoob. I find it sickening, not humorous, that the dumba$$es that think George was in the wrong all get their info from the Nancy Grace’s, Chris Mathews’s, Rachel Maddow’s, and Shahrazad Ali’s of the world……

  33. Some people question why GZ didn’t let he law handle the situation and yet don’t apply the same logic to Trayvon. At least GZ actually did call the police while Trayvon called who? Its hard to argue STYG for TM when he was close to home and had to doubleback to initiate with GZ unless your the type of person who thinks GZ somehow transported himself in front of TM. Another tenant where Self Defense becomes assault is when the threat is neutralized (GZ screaming for help). TM had a legal obligation to cease the attack when the threat was neutralized.