Right off the bat, I'll 'fess up to not knowing all the facts. Indeed, I don't think anyone ever will. What we do know is that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead, and George Zimmerman admits to shooting him.
Details are still coming out. As I write this, the story I'm reading in numerous news reports is that the teen was walking through a somewhat affluent neighborhood north of Orlando. He was a tall, unarmed black teen wearing a hoodie over his head after dark. Zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch volunteer. He followed Martin, and reported the "suspicious" teen to the police.
The police told Zimmerman to stop following Martin. Zimmerman kept it up, and got out of his SUV carrying a gun. An ABC report says the pseudo-cop sounded intoxicated and had slurred words.
All of the above, I believe, is probably accurate. What happened next is still fuzzy. It is not clear to me who approached whom, who said what or who threw the first punch.
Martin's girlfriend was reportedly on the phone and heard Martin ask, "Why are you following me?" and Zimmerman respond, "What are you doing here?"
That exchange sums it up for me. The teen didn't appear to fit in, so Zimmerman pursued him despite being told by police to step off. If I were a teenager being followed in the dark by some stranger, I would be defensive, too.
Zimmerman claims he shot the teen dead in self-defense. I'm not buying it. Zimmerman is the one who put himself in jeopardy. He should not have been armed. He should not have gotten out of the car. And if the ABC News report is accurate, he should not have been intoxicated.
Martin may not have been an angel. True or not, I don't think that matters one bit. He didn't do anything wrong. I'm not going to spend an inch of space blaming the victim. Even if Martin threw the first punch, I still wouldn't blame him. If someone were following me in the dark, I may very well strike the first blow as self-defense.
Zimmerman is wrong, any way you slice it. No matter what Martin did, even if he did throw the first punch, even if he had reached for Zimmerman's gun, I still say Zimmerman is to blame.
He was the adult. He did the exact opposite of what the cops told him to do. By getting out of the car with a weapon, he added the gasoline and lit the match.
Another black teen is dead. We have got to do more to protect our children.
In another column, I defended a mom’s right to blow the brains out of a druggie stalker who broke into her house. Damn right.
On the contrary, Zimmerman was a vigilante cop-wanna-be who left his home in an allegedly altered state with a loaded weapon. There ain’t nothin’ right about that.
As the rest of the story unfolds, I hope the truth comes out. Even more, Zimmerman, I hope you get what you deserve.