In an amazing display of political correctness, major media correspondents and lay commenters, including regulars in the CNAV comment space, still misconceive the Zimmerman case. The original case narrative was a cut-and-dried story of a member of a gated community spotting a probable trespasser and, perhaps against his better judgment, facing him alone, with a tragic result. The mainstream media have rewritten the story to say that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin out of spite, and that the Sanford (Florida) Police did not investigate as they should have. The public record, and the story of the one impartial witness, support the original version.
Background on Zimmerman
George Zimmerman lives in The Retreat at Twin Lakes. This is a gated community, that usually no one is supposed to enter if he does not live there. Sadly, the security in that community seems to be woefully inadequate. The Sanford Police Department has a long list of reports of burglaries in that community.
Sanford, Florida does have a Neighborhood Watch program. The city also publishes a 17-page handbook for neighborhood watch members and captains. According to that handbook, the police offer to train neighbors in watching their neighborhoods. But they do not forbid a neighbor to keep such watch without this training. Neighborhood Watch is not an official licensure program. Nor is it a posse comitatus. No one has to swear any oaths to take part.
The handbook reads like a recruiting tool. Half of it argues for the concept, by saying that those who take part in Neighborhood Watch are not mere busybodies or tattlers. The authors know that they are fighting an attitude that most people develop while in grade school. That is: the authorities are not their friends, and what anyone does, even to someone else, is nobody’s business but that of the doer and the “do-ee.”
In this context, George Zimmerman seems to be the only member of that community who cared enough to do something about the rash of burglaries that the community had suffered. Perhaps the neighbors assumed, incorrectly, that the community association would handle security. But as mentioned, their security was a disgrace. George Zimmerman knew it, and wanted to act. Sketchy reports say that Zimmerman read what he could on crime prevention and how to observe people. (Why he did not accept the city’s Neighborhood Watch training, or whether he actually did or not, no one will say.) And for eight years he acted as the one-man Neighborhood Watch force for The Retreat at Twin Lakes. In those eight years, he made about forty-six 911 calls. At least one of the officers who would respond to his February 26 call, answered some of those earlier calls.
Background on Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin, age 17, was not a regular resident of The Treat at Twin Lakes. He was staying with his father at the time. He did have a Facebook page. This screencap shows that he had a “friend” who had “business” to discuss with him three weeks before the fatal date.
Background information on Martin is sorely lacking. This site fills in some details that the media, conveniently, leave out. For instance, The Kansas City Star reports that, a few days before the shooting, his school suspended him for ten days. The report says that school authorities caught him in an area of the campus that he shouldn’t have been in. Why that alone would rate a ten-day suspension, no one will say. (Nor is anyone likely to find out; the Martins’ lawyer has sealed the school records.)
And if Martin was not a violent person, why did he name his Twitter account with a racial slur that he seemed to want to throw into people’s face? And why did he assault a bus driver a few days before he died?
What happened on February 26
On February 26, Zimmerman called 911 after he saw someone, whom he did not recognize, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, walking alone in the rain and looking at some of the townhouses as if he were trying to spot their weaknesses. He spoke to a dispatcher who advised him to stay back from this person and not follow him. This dispatcher was not a police officer. So his advice, good or bad, did not have the force of an order to stay clear.
Zimmerman did not stay clear. He got into his car and drove up to Martin. He got out. The two started arguing. This happened shortly after 7:00 p.m., as the police report suggests.
Officer Timothy Smith was on his way. Then the police dispatcher told him that several other neighbors called 911 to report shouts of “help” and gunfire. When he came to the scene, he saw Martin lying face down on the ground and not moving, and Zimmerman standing over him. Zimmerman told Smith that he had shot Martin. Smith put the handcuffs on Zimmerman. Soon afterward, Officer Ricardo Ayala drove up, talked to Smith, then tried to resuscitate Martin using classic “cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.”
All attempts to revive Martin failed. But the report also clearly says that the back of Zimmerman’s shirt was wet and showed grass stains. Zimmerman was also bleeding from his nose, and from a scalp wound in back. Officers and Sanford Fire Department paramedics gave Zimmerman first aid at the scene, and then the police took him to headquarters.
This is the part that all the mainstream media have missed. Investigative detention is not the same as arrest. So, though the police never place Zimmerman under arrest, that did not mean that they merely let him walk quietly to his apartment that night. They took him to headquarters for questioning. The media could have reminded people of that fact, but never have. By repeating, often loudly, that “George Zimmerman was never under arrest,” they imply that the police took his word for what happened and did not talk to any other witnesses. The police report clearly says that the police did talk to the other neighbors and did question Zimmerman at their headquarters.
More recently, one of those neighbors has since told a local television station, and the Internet site WND, that he saw Martin lying on top of Zimmerman and pummeling him with his fists. He yelled at Martin to stop, and warned him that he would call police. Then he rushed upstairs to pick up his own telephone. He heard the shots, looked out, and saw Zimmerman standing and Martin lying down and not moving.
The mainstream media have no excuse. The City of Sanford keeps a separate Web page with most of the links that CNAV uses here. That none of the media had access to this treasure trove of evidence is utterly inconceivable. Only two media organs seem to be doing their jobs at the time of posting.
The comments on CNAV‘s earlier article bespeak ignorance of the Neighborhood Watch program and concept, the true background of Trayvon Martin, and the crime history of the community where Zimmerman lives. At least one regular commenter comes from a society in which even regular law-enforcement officers do not carry firearms. This society does not recognize the American right of the people to keep and bear arms. To such a person, no person carrying a firearm can mean anything but ill toward his neighbors or anyone he meets.
Today a special Florida State’s Attorney is investigating this case, to see what evidence to take before a grand jury. Sadly, another outside group has made a deadly effort to take the judicial process into its own hands. If that effort goes beyond the “big talk” stage, the mainstream media will have none to blame but themselves.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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