• Zimmerman will have a minority experience forever more


    Trayvon Martin posted this photo on his Facebook page. Some judged him harshly for this… yet others post the exact same photos with the exact same gesture and are not judged at all. Why? (Photo source: Facebook)

    I see that so very many people who were outraged when the African-American, van-driving football player was found “not guilty” of killing his ex-wife have changed their stripes. Um, those would be Zebra stripes, obviously.

    Those of us saddened, heartbroken, and/or outraged over this recent verdict are labeled as race-baiters, as being ignorant of the facts, as not having faith in the System.

    I am am amazed by the sheer numbers of people claiming to have watched the whole trial. Every minute. Every second. Really? Get a life.

    I waited to write this column because I wanted to see what everything looked like after the dust had settled somewhat. With rare exception, I have purposely not read any of the opinion pieces on the incident, particularly that written on this tragedy by my esteemed iPinon colleague, Hank Fradella. I look forward to reading it right after I click on my “publish” icon.

    I chose the picture accompanying this column for a very specific reason. A picture of me has been posted on Facebook, taken when I was a young rookie firefighter while taking a break at a training session — and making the very same salute. Nobody judged me a thug for doing so, then or now. Hmmm…

    Facts. So what do we know for sure?

    • We know that Zimmerman observed a black kid in a hoodie walking down one of the three streets in the community, and called 911.

    • We know that the dispatcher told him that “we do not need you to” follow him.

    • We know that he got out of his car, and followed anyway.

    • We know that he violated his Neighborhood Watch training by doing so, and that his actions have been disavowed by the Deputy Sherriff’s Association.

    • We know that he stated that Trayvon Martin jumped out of the bushes at him — and that there were no bushes.

    • We know that he called 911 a total of 46 times in the years prior, mostly about African-Americans.

    • The lead detective testified under oath that he believed George Zimmerman’s story.

    • No DNA evidence from Zimmerman anywhere on Martin.

    After that, the waters get pretty muddy. Which voice was screaming? Who was on top? How bad were Zimmerman’s injuries?

    Reasonable doubt? I don’t think so. Both people had a right to be where they were, but only one person was following the other. Only one person, self-described as being afraid, left the safety of his vehicle to do so. And one does not get “confused” about whether somebody jumped out of the bushes and surprised him.

    So, who exactly had a right to “Stand Their Ground” in this scenario? The dead guy.

    When somebody gets out of a car to follow somebody, to stalk them, perhaps, aren’t they responsible for things going horribly wrong? Especially after telling the dispatcher that “these assholes always get away with it!”?

    As far as the lead detective? Really? I did investigations for 25 years, and Investigation 101 dictates that you believe nobody — period. It’s doesn’t matter if it is Mother Theresa standing there.

    No exceptions.

    Investigation 101 also dictates that you bag the hands right away, that you cover the crime scene and protect the evidence against any of the elements that might compromise them, and that you isolate any suspects in the back of a patrol car.

    The people, and there are many, who claim that Zimmerman’s injuries are proof that he was attacked by Martin are idiots. Zimmerman’s injuries, whatever they were, are evidence that he got his ass whipped — nothing more, nothing less. They prove nothing about who was or was not the aggressor.

    Rain may wash DNA evidence off skin, but it does not wash blood completely out of fabric, and certainly not from under fingernails.

    What insights did I gain by waiting to write?

    I learned that the “sequestered” jury had unsupervised visits with their families, and loosely-supervised field trips, including to the mall, and that one juror contemplated writing a book from her perspective — and that of her husband’s.

    Really? Florida has a different definition of “sequestered” than the rest of the world.

    If juror B-37 is to be believed, the initial tally in the deliberations room was one guilty of 2nd degree murder, two guilty of manslaughter, and three not guilty.

    Really? We are not voting for Prom Queen here — how did three people get talked out of where they started on such an important decision? No hung jury? Was somebody in a rush to get home to hubby and the kids?

    The Miami Herald uncovered an old MySpace page of Zimmerman’s, that is clearly racist, and alludes to some criminal behavior by him — which has been confirmed by Zimmerman’s attorney as authentic. He also stated that it might tend to portray his client in a bad light.

    The attorney has also stated that, had his client been black, he would have never been charged.
    Really? While I’m sure the view is pretty nice from the balcony, not only would he have been charged, he would have been handcuffed and hauled away that very night! And it is not “even in Florida!” but “especially in Florida!” You remember Florida? Number one on the list of states that has had people ultimately exonerated after initially being sentenced to the death penalty.

    George Zimmerman went on Hannity, and stated that he has no regrets, and that it was “God’s will.”

    History is alive with people who killed without regrets, many of whom did so because they were serving their “God” — from those who were involved in the Holocaust to those that dragged Matthew Shepard behind their pickup truck and everybody in between. You can fill in the blanks with the nouns or adjectives of your choice.

    The bottom line is that any normal person who kills somebody has regrets. The most seasoned cop, any veteran of our military, even somebody who legitimately killed in self-defense will have their dreams haunted by what happened. As long as they are normal.

    Since the verdict came down, we now know that the Department of Justice has re-opened its Civil Rights investigation. Should there be a federal trial? No. Zimmerman’s motives, while very likely racial, cannot be proven. The matter should be dropped. If the family wants to pursue a civil complaint, they, however, are much more likely to prevail in doing so.

    A friend of mine who is far more advanced than me spiritually deals with feedback from his friends with “Maybe.” If it is suggested that some occurrence was a good thing, his response is “Maybe.” If somebody laments that it was a bad thing that happened, the answer is also “Maybe.”

    The point is that whatever happens in life has started some ripples, and there is no way of knowing where those ripples will lead. The short-term impact might be overshadowed by that of the long-term.

    Was justice done in this case? I don’t think so. Was the jury diligent? Nope. Was the investigation conducted properly? Definitely not — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    But, is the better answer to those questions, and any others surrounding the case, “Maybe.”?

    The ripples that started when Zimmerman opened the door and got out of his car are still spreading, are still making waves. We don’t know what boats they have yet to rock, what streambanks they might yet erode.


    We do know that George Zimmerman will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. He will now get to experience what so many minorities have experienced, and are still experiencing: an “official” status versus the unofficial one.

    It’s not God’s will. He did it to himself.

    • Excellent analysis Tom. I enjoy your writing. I assume after you wrote this you know a friend or lawyer of George Zimmerman’s sent him to an accident so he good be seen as a good guy. Got caught on that one too. I am thankful he will be followed and have to watch his back and sides forever. And I hope some civil case is filed. Trayvon’s parents are amazingly calm, spiritual people and I feel for them deep inside my heart. Also, feel for anyone who doesn’t believe this was a racial act of murder.

    • God’s will is a tough one to know all right. Otherwise, Tom, I agree with everything you said. This is absolutely one of the best pieces I have read on GZ. Bless Trayvon and all the martyrs to justice. The truth just keeps coming out. I think there will be other legal challenges he will face and LOSE. Very well said!

      • Tom Mcmasters-Stone

      • July 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you both. I really appreciate it, more than you will ever know…

      • Maya North

      • August 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm
      • Reply

      Such perception! No person with a heart should have no regrets. In fact, I seem to remember having read somewhere that even warriors should grieve for the enemies they kill — that if they do not, they lose their humanity. Zimmerman saying that he has “no regrets” communicates more about him than he probably wants the world to know. Hugs…

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