UPDATE: A new video shows George Zimmerman with no apparent injuries on the night of the killing.
I get so dispirited by the state of American discourse, which all too often comes down to not acknowledging any part of the truth, or even a potential fact, that doesn’t agree with one’s current opinion.
Because of it, I have to open up this post by saying I think George Zimmerman is culpable in the death of Trayvon Martin. Otherwise, I’ll be attacked for being an apologist for a man who I think is a racist reactionary who shot an innocent boy. That said, the story is more complex than we originally believed.
Here are the facts as we know them, first those that are undisputed, then from Martin’s point of view, then from Zimmerman’s, followed up by an attempt to reconcile the accounts.
The undisputed facts:
- George Zimmerman began following Trayvon Martin in a gated neighborhood in Sanford, FL.
- Zimmerman called 911 and reported a suspicious person he was following.
- The dispatcher told Zimmerman to stop following Martin, and that police were on the way.
- Zimmerman resisted to give his name and contact information to the police dispatcher, then hung up the phone.
- Several 911 calls from neighbors record a scuffle, a man screaming for help, and a single gunshot.
- In the time between hanging up and the police arrival, Zimmerman shoots and kills Trayvon Martin.
- Trayvon Martin walked to the store for some Skittles and an iced tea.
- It was raining, and Martin had a hoodie on.
- On the phone, Martin told a friend that a creepy man was following him.
- The friend advised Martin to run, and Martin said he’d walk faster to get away.
- The friend hears a scuffle on the phone, the call drops.
- Martin is shot dead by George Zimmerman.
- George Zimmerman was driving to the store and spotted what he called a suspicious person.
- Zimmerman stopped and parked his SUV, got out, and began following Martin.
- He called 911 and reported a suspicious person. The reason for his suspicion is unknown.
- Martin confronted and assaulted Zimmerman, at which point he shot the teen in self defense.
- During the fight, Zimmerman sustained injuries, including a broken nose, and abrasions on his head, and perhaps other injuries, but refused medical treatment.
- George Zimmerman called police 46 times in the past year or so, often reporting suspicious people in his neighborhood.
- He was a law enforcement wannabe who consistently demonstrated paranoia toward others, especially minorities.
- He appears to be a racist who muttered f***ing c**ns while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.
- Martin had caused some trouble in school, including possible marijuana possession, a suspension, and excessive absenteeism.
What else matters in this case? Why? What’s been happening that, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter?