Thursday, March 29, 2012

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet -- NOT!

"Looks like you were wrong about that Trayvon Martin kid," Mr. 60s said to me at Starbucks today. "Heard on TV he attacked Zimmerman and broke his nose. Snuck up behind him and punched him in the face. Zimmerman had to shoot the kid in self-defense."

What Mr. 60s had heard was a police leak of George Zimmerman's statement. I suppose it's easier to accept the killer's version of events when the only other witness lies dead at his hands. Dead men tell no tales, as the saying goes. I'd be slightly more inclined to believe Zimmerman's account if he had gone on TV, or YouTube, and told his story. Since he was not arrested and is unlikely to be, there's no reason not to present his side to the public, if only to clear his name and salvage his reputation... unless he's afraid he can't bluff with a losing hand.

"How do you sneak up on someone who's chasing you?" I asked. "Especially since there was only a 60-second gap between the end of Martin's phone call and police finding his body. Do you mean to tell me, in that 60 seconds, he doubled back around the block and surprised Zimmerman? Hard to surprise someone while you're talking on the phone unless the other guy is deaf. Then there's Martin's girlfriend, on the other end of the phone. She says Martin didn't say goodbye and hang up. She says the call ended abruptly and it sounded like his headset had fallen off his head. That would make sense if Zimmerman had been the one to surprise Martin."

"It was self-defense," Mr. 60s replied. "The boy hit him."

"If Zimmerman is telling the truth, which seems implausible, you may be right," I said. "But if so, the one acting in self-defense was Martin."

Mr. 60s frowned. "How you figure that?"

"I'm a teenager. A strange guy is following me in his car. He gets out of the car and he's 10 years older and a lot bigger than me. And he's got a gun. Now I'm getting scared. I try to act normal, keep talking on the phone, but I'm walking away fast. I want to put some distance between us. He keeps stalking me, but I think I've lost him. That's what I tell my girlfriend. Then, I hear him behind me again. He's huffing and puffing, but he's just a few feet away, holding that gun. He's too close now. If I run, he'll shoot that gun he's holding, and at this distance he can't miss. Too late to run; I'm not faster than a speeding bullet. He's going to kill me. I don't have a gun or a knife. All I have to defend myself is my fists. I'm going to pop him in the face and...


Mr. 60s grimaced.

"If Zimmerman had been facing you down with a gun, what would you have done?" I asked.

"Why, if anyone pulled a gun on me, I'd beat the basta..." He paused.

I nodded. "Because you'd be defending yourself... from an armed man who had stalked you, chased you, and put you in fear for your life. Self-defense is for victims; not those who stalk them, chase them, and kill them." I sipped my Frappuccino.

Mr. 60s was silent for a moment. Then he spoke up. "You said you think Zimmerman's getting off?"

"Zimmerman's not going to be convicted because the police have botched up this case so badly a prosecution would never stand up in court. They didn't test Zimmerman for alcohol or drugs, didn't confiscate the gun and run forensics on it, didn't interrogate all the witnesses who called 911 to report the incident, have no record of having properly canvassed the scene... I could go on, but you get the point. Zimmerman admitted he killed Martin, but cases require evidence and it's too late now to collect the salient evidence. Chris Serino, the lead homicide investigator, wanted to charge Zimmerman at the time, but now..." I shook my head. "They can have a trial, but he won't be convicted."

"I still think he deserved to be shot," Mr. 60s said. "I heard the boy got suspended from school. Sprayed graffiti at school. Maybe smoked pot. Got caught with some jewelry in his backpack once."

"I don't know what he did in the past. All I know is, the night he died, he didn't have pot or jewelry, only an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. The only thing that's relevant is, on that night, an unarmed boy walking down the street was stalked, chased, and killed by an older, larger man with a gun. You can pick anyone walking down the street, shoot them, and then find something they've done in their past to make them look bad. But all that matters is what happened that night."

I stood up, pulled my hoodie over my head, and turned my back to Mr. 60s as I headed to my car.


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