The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained

From Mother Jones:

Martin, a Miami native, was visiting his father in Sanford and watching the NBA All-Star game at a house in a gated Sanford community, the Retreat at Twin Lakes. At halftime, Martin walked out to the nearby 7-Eleven to get some Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea. On his return trip, he drew the attention of Zimmerman, who was patrolling the neighborhood in a sport-utility vehicle and called 911 to report “a real suspicious guy.”
Read about how the NRA pushed for the right to pack heat anywhere in America.

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher. “It’s raining, and he’s just walking around looking about.” The man tried to explain where he was. “Now he’s coming towards me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male…Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is…These assholes, they always get away.”

After discussing his location with the dispatcher, Zimmerman exclaimed, “Shit he’s running,” and the following sounds suggest he left his vehicle to run after Martin.

“Are you following him?” the dispatcher asked. Zimmerman replied: “Yep.”

“Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher warned.

Several minutes later, according to other callers to 911 in the neighborhood, Zimmerman and Martin got into a wrestling match on the ground. One of the pair could be heard screaming for help. Then a single shot rang out, and Martin lay dead.

Comments

12 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Mike K,

    Well, it explains what happened in the literal sense, but I still want to know the “why” behind it. Not exactly vigilante justice when the guy was only packing Skittles and Iced Tea. Have they found which of them originally owned the gun?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Venture Free,

      I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t Zimmerman’s gun we’d know about it by now, if only because he’d be shouting that from the rooftops in his own defense. Well, maybe crouched behind the chimney taking cover against all the people who figure it’s self defense to shoot him on sight.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • dfsf,

      why would you think it was anyone’s gun other than zimmerman’s.

      it’s been stated everywhere that the boy had nothing on him but skittles and iced tea.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Venture Free,

    Another problem with the “Stand Your Ground” law has just occurred to me. George Zimmerman is apparently in hiding due to threats of violence against him. Let’s say a stranger were to happen upon Mr. Zimmerman purely by accident, recognize him and appear angry and/or threatening. Mr. Zimmerman is by law allowed to “stand his ground” and shoot the stranger first because he would justifiably feel threatened. By the same token, knowing that Mr. Zimmerman can justifiably shoot him without further provocation, he can stand his own ground and shoot George first, especially since George has demonstrated a willingness to do so in the past. Effectively, no matter who shoots who first, the survivor is automatically off the hook because both sides are standing their ground against a definite threat.

    I’m no gun control freak or anything (honestly I’ve never given it all that much thought), but the more I think about this law in particular, the worse it seems. When drafting a law you can’t just look at the effects if it’s followed exactly as intended. You must look at the potential for abuse as well as the consequences of that abuse. This case demonstrates that the consequences of abuse of this law are unacceptably high, at least as far as I’m concerned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. Piri,

    I’m not under the impression that Zimmerman was considering this law when he shot Trayvon, just that he was looking to teach someone a lesson. Apparently he’s called police 46 times since January 2011. This appears to be a guy who wishes he was a cop and wasn’t going to let the “perp” get away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. magpie,

    I’ll hold off judgement until we see the report from the third pre-cog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Sid,

    Guns don’t kill people. But gated communities, wtf!

    “In countries with a low Human Development Index and/or high Gini coefficient, gated communities attempt to provide security to the upper class as well as expatriates.”

    Work on that Gini coefficient, and all will be fine…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Cornjob,

    I stand by my comment: “Can I just cap Zimmerman and claim self defense for the entire human race?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. Barbwire,

    If only the gun nuts would confine their shooting to each other! Sadly, they seem to prefer shooting unarmed people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. Tamtam,

    Classic case showing how dangerous racial profiling really is. If someone already has a stereotype of someone in his mind, anything can set off what he/she would consider “suspicious behavior.” This is the saddest story I’ve read in a long time.

    There is a petition going around online to sign to see Zimmerman at least stand trial:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Laura,

    What I can’t get my mind around is how incredibly calm he sounds on the 911 call, not angry enough for me to imagine what happened next. He clearly does this all the time. It’s mind-boggling to realize that just minutes after chatting with the 911 dispatcher so calmly he went and murdered a teenager he’d profiled and been stalking. He didn’t sound worried or concerned at all on the csll, like one would reasonably be when calling in a legitimate threat. He sounded like he was ordering pizza or something.

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