The tragedy here–other than the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin–is that George Zimmerman is even on trial for the death.
I have no joy over the demise of the 17-year-old Martin. I do not celebrate the pain of his parents or family.
It is easy to see where one would want someone to pay for this, as everyone wants answers anytime a teen dies the way martin did.
At the same time, the evidence is what it is, and–like it or not–Zimmerman, who is rightly under scrutiny, is entitled to Constitutional protections over which we fought a war to guarantee to the accused.
The evidence favors George Zimmerman. It’s not even close.
The Constitution requires that the prosecution prove that Zimmerman is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The “reasonable doubt” is so long, deep, and wide that I could land a Boeing 777 on it, at San Francisco International Airport, on my first try, without a flight instructor, without damaging the plane.
(1) Zimmerman was within his rights to follow Martin, even though the 911 dispatcher said, “We don’t need you doing that.” He was a neighborhood watch captain, and he was merely doing his job: he was following and watching. There is no law against that.
(2) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry a firearm. Aside from the Second Amendment, he had a valid concealed carry permit.
(3) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry his firearm “hot”: fully-loaded, with a round chambered. If he was concerned that he could be put into a situation where he needed to get a shot off–not having time to rack the slide–his approach was reasonable. That his Kel-Tec 9mm was a double-action pistol provided a modicum of safety.
(4) While it is understandable that Martin could have felt threatened by someone following him, that still would not be cause to escalate a confrontation. If Martin ran, then the evidence does not support Zimmerman–an obese tub of lard–pursuing him.
And that is what it comes down to: WHO escalated the confrontation from verbal to physical?
If Zimmerman did that–and evidence supports it–then he is guilty. Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.
If Martin did that, then he is liable: it means he made a very tragic mistake–picking a fight with a grown adult.
But what does the evidence say about the confrontation?
(1) We cannot establish–from witnesses or video–who started the fight.
The eyewitness accounts–and hard evidence–points to Trayvon Martin being on top when Zimmerman shot him.
The wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head are consistent with him getting his head bashed into the concrete one or more times.
The wounds on his face indicate that he was punched. There is no evidence that Zimmerman even landed a blow on Martin.
The forensic evidence–from clothing to bullet path–is consistent with Martin having the upper hand at the time the shot was fired.
While none of those things establish who started the fight, they do back up Zimmerman’s account and not the prosecution’s theory.
In the absence of other evidence, this is clearly ADVANTAGE: ZIMMERMAN.
(2) In the absence of other evidence, the prosecution had to be able to make the case that it would have been in Zimmerman’s character to start a fight. They failed.
Zimmerman is about 5-foot-7, overweight, and not athletic whereas Martin was almost 6 feet tall and very athletic.
If Zimmerman started the fight, then that means he initiated a physical confrontation with a man who was almost a half-foot taller than himself, and who had a serious physical advantage.
Is that possible? Yes.
Is that rational? No.
In other words, in order to show–beyond reasonable doubt–that Zimmerman started the fight, they needed to show that (a) Zimmerman was prone to get into fights, and (b) that Zimmerman had a track record of being less than rational.
And yet, the portrait from the prosecution of Zimmerman was that of an otherwise intelligent, rational person who otherwise had no track record of getting into fights. They failed to produce one drop of evidence that showed irrationality. (This hurts their attempts at manslaughter as well as murder 2.)
That this case is even in court is the mother of all travesties.
Who needs to be on trial here: The judge and prosecution. They are in the same league as Mike Nifong.