My Zimmerman-Martin Moment: On a vastly smaller media scale

23 Comments

18 July 2013

I am hypersensitive to legal/media cases like this because I was involved in one.

At 19, I was attacked, unprovoked, by a 23 year-old troublemaker who had three other run-ins that day. He also had been fired from his restaurant job after wrecking the kitchen.

He said he would kill me.  I did everything possible to avoid the fight.  I even bought him a drink.  (Mistake -- this rewarded his bullying.)

There were many witnesses. He attacked me and I punched back and he died.  I believe the entire fight lasted about two seconds.  A witness said four.  I did not kick or hit him after he crumpled.  I left.  I was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Assault with Intent to Murder and went to jail. My attorney said the only reason I faced charges was media pressure because I was a "Green Beret."

I read all the witness statements and there was not a word against me.  All the statements -- even from his own brother -- were against him.  Later his mother was in the news, defending him as mothers can be expected, saying I killed her son because he made fun of my haircut. False and defamatory, but I said nothing.

From my book Danger Close:

“A year later, a newspaper article would quote an eyewitness who had seen the man: “He seemed crazed.” A young female acquaintance said that his behavior “scared me.” He had cut a swath of fear that day. His scraggly brown hair contrasted with our clean-cuts, maybe reinforcing the idea that we were easy prey. He was there with some friends and his younger brother who, according to later reports, had also felt his unfettered hostility that day, but they were peacefully occupying a table.”

In a scene straight from the movie Con-Air, I was off to jail.  Some folks later wondered if the movie was based on my case.    The charges were reduced to involuntary manslaughter and I was released but for six long months I faced the terrible specter of prison.  During that time I continued to train with Special Forces at Fort Bragg.  My charges derived from social pressure, such as we are seeing in the Zimmerman-Martin case.   My attorney was clear that if I had been a college student instead of a “Green Beret,” it is unlikely that I would have been charged because all the evidence was in my favor, including all the witnesses.  Unlike the Zimmerman case, there were eyewitnesses.  There was nothing whatsoever, not a shred of evidence, that I had committed murder, while there were buckets of evidence that it was self-defense.

Poorly researched, inflammatory words were damaging my life, just as they have done on a far greater scale with Mr. Zimmerman.  I know the feeling though Mr. Zimmerman has had it far worse.  For me it was partly, "Wow...the country I will fight for is flogging me due to social pressure."  Zimmerman was trying to protect his neighborhood.

I remember well, and never trusted the media or prosecution in high profile cases since.  This was the first clear germ of my future writing career and why I take cases such as Zimmerman-Martin so seriously, realizing that once the media shines too bright a light, justice can be warped.  It can be especially warped by a mass hysteria that collectively forgets that we know how the story ends, but at the time, the defendant had no idea how it would end.  Some school-trained journalists to carry a baggage by trying to balance too many stories as if they are 50-50, as if there always are two sides to the story and both are equally valid, or characterizing an ongoing fight between people as a feud, when in fact one side simply is the aggressor but it looks like a feud.

In my upcoming book “The Bomb Boys,” there appeared to be a feud between two neighbor women.  One of the women moved across the country, and then came back with a pipe bomb and tried to blow up her neighbor but accidentally blew up herself.  She was insane and using meth.  But from the outside until that moment it looked like a feud.

This was true in my case, which naturally was characterized as a dispute, as if this was a 50-50 disagreement between two men who both willingly engaged in a fight.  Many people use shortcut thinking like “it takes two to tango.” Not true.  The tango is a dance that both wish to participate in.  I did not want to dance.  If I lost I could be dead, and if I won I would be kicked out of Special Forces, and I did not want to fight him to begin with.  There was nothing to gain by fighting a random crazy man.

Imagine how this played out.  "Newly minted Green Beret weapons specialist kills man in bar," was the gist of it.  The reality was that during Special Forces training they warned us a hundred times not to get into any sort of trouble.  If you cannot control yourself downtown, there is no place for you in Special Forces. They were not looking for "Trouble Forces" but people who would rock steady.  I thought my time was over.

The man dropped from outer space into my life, forcing me into a problem solving mode.  I bought him a drink and that was an error, but I did not know that at the time.  Zimmerman got out of the car and we can fault him for that because we know the story ends with Martin shot.  Mr. Zimmerman did not know that at the time.

Often one party simply is the bad guy, and the man who killed him actually is the victim, and even if the victim made mistakes, he still is the victim who was pushed or pulled into making mistakes that if he had to do over, he would change.  But we only know that after we know how the story ends.

If you knew you were going to have a car wreck today, you would stay home.  Imagine being prosecuted, and the prosecutor demands, “Well why did you drive that day at all?”  Answer, “Do you think my eyes are crystal balls?”

If Zimmerman could replay those events, surely he would not have stepped out of the car, and I would not have bought my attacker a drink.  In retrospect and with more experience, I realize how dumb that was.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Zimmerman probably has said the same to himself a thousand times.

The journalists, prosecutors and public have the advantage of knowing how the story ends, and they get to analyze it using 10% of the facts and a great deal of secondhand misinformation, all while their adrenaline is not pumping, and it is quiet and no lights are flashing, and they are not in fear for their lives. These cases become television soap operas where everyone seems like actors.  These are real people on the line.  I wish the best for Trayvon's parents, and for Mr. Zimmerman.  Bad things happen to good people.

For the events in my case, please see the chapter with the fight:

Danger Close: Chapter One

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    ToniMarie Rigsby · 5 years ago
    I wish that chapter was required reading for everyone before they were allowed to speak on any such cases. Thank you
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    Nathan Leach · 5 years ago
    I read the book, and it is a good read. But what would have happened? Had not been convicted? Would you still have become a journalist? You do really GREAT work Michael! But you would have been a Kick-Ass solider as well... I don't know all the in's and out's of the Zimmermans trial, but I bellieve everyone has a right to protect themselves, especially if they fear for there life, or there family's life.
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    Benefit of the Livin · 5 years ago
    Michael, while it appears that the circumstances in your case are much different, I can see your perspective. However, I find it disturbing that an armed adult can exit his vehicle upon seeing and reporting to police operators a "suspicious" individual. Follow that individual and get close enough to enter into a physical altercation with that individual - mind you a minor - not another adult. And upon realizing that he has put himself in grave danger by entering into a close quarters combat situation with a allegedly far superior combatant - he can pull a weapon and kill the combatant - a minor. It is not surprising to me that a "Jury of His Peers" found him innocent, but it is very disturbing.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Jim,MtnViewCa,USA · 5 years ago
      The media reports make it sound liket a white guy hunted down and killed a black teenager.
      The evidence in court said the black teenager snuck back and attacked the black/hispanic defendant. While it's true we only have one side of the story, the actual evidence was pretty one-sided. The jury had no trouble coming to a conclusion of not guilty on all counts.
      Skepticism of media reporting for this case would seem to be in order.
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        Benefit of the Livin · 5 years ago
        Do you really think that makes sense that a black teen would "sneek back around" and attack someone without any provocation? Most black teens are pretty street smart, I find it hard to believe that a teen, not known for violence, would "sneek back around" and attack someone that they don't know anything about - independent ops is not their normal modus operandi. That an adult, armed, self proclaimed neighborhood watch person - who by the way trained in martial arts for a significant period of time - was over taken by a 17 year old - You believe that this adult is innocent of pulling a weapon and shooting a teen in the heart - point blank?
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          Denise · 5 years ago
          Travyvon WAS know for violence. Zimmerman was not a self proclaimed" neighborhood watch guy- He worked fo the Home Association and the head of that office said Zimmerman was very good at what he did. He testified to that fact. You did not watch the trial you have no facts- best you just be quiet, Yes, Zimmerman is innocent- what part of the verdict is not clear to you ?
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          John - Capt in ANG · 5 years ago
          @benefit, watch some street fights on YouTube. Start the video, and then pause just before the first punch. Choose who you think will win. Who has the best stance. Who looks trained. Who is the aggressor. Use your judgement as best as you can. Now hit play. Doesn't usually go the way you think, does it? A kick is a kick. If you've trained every day for your life, or never thrown a punch, if the punch lands correctly for whatever reason, the person can die or be knocked out.
          I'm not in the US, but a friend said Zimmerman was likely on the bottom and reportedly having his head beaten against the ground. It doesn't matter at that point if you've trained all your life or what your age is. You are in very serious grave danger of critical injury at that precise moment. The human skull wasn't intended to win in a physical confrontation with asphalt or concrete, and it doesn't take many blows to cause life altering damage. Also, when "Fight or Flight" adrenalin kicks in, you have no idea how you will react until it actually happens. If Martin was indeed on top, and was indeed slamming Zimmermans head against the paved ground while making threatening statements, then I don't find lethal self defense troubling in the least bit.
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        Kathryn McMorrow · 5 years ago
        Lapsus clavis or bias? "..black/Hispanic defendant (sic)."
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      Denise · 5 years ago
      That is not what happened. Zimmerman was doing his job. He did not persue Martin after he spoke with 9-11-- Martin circled back. This minor was 6'2 175 Lbs. Martin went for the gun first when he saw it in Zimmermans waisteband. It was a 50/50 call on who was going to be dead. " You are going to die tonight" is pretty compelling evidence that something bad is going to happen as that was Martins intent. Facts of a case matter.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Benefit of the Livin · 5 years ago
        Facts of the Case? The facts presented are those of the defense team that was trying to keep Mr. Zimmerman out of jail Truth cannot be discerned by the so called "Facts of the Case" You don't really know what the truth is and it is interesting that the facts bear out that an armed neighborhood watchman killed an unarmed teen and that the shooter was found not guilty.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Denise · 5 years ago
          Nonsense. These are undisputed facts that even the Prosecutor supports. Your comment is so void of facts that you should be embarrased. This should have not even been sent to trial.
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      Scotch7 · 5 years ago
      SP, I really think you need to update your fact base and re-evaluate your conclusions. Wikipedia is pretty fact-rich on this topic and the page is currently locked.

      Did you know Trayvon Benjamin Martin had been suspended from high school three times the year of his death in February? Did you know he was on suspension at the time of his passing?

      This may be racist, but naming the baby something outside of the top 1000 USA baby names can be seen as a set-up for a life of petty racist insults. I mention his middle name above to suggest that at least one of his parents wanted him to have a race-neutral option to choose as an adult. "Benjamin Martin" carries a completely different note, doesn't it?

      We do know that Zimmerman's immediate reports to police matched 95% or better with 911 tapes and witness descriptions, Trayvon's side of the story is filtered through his semi-literate girl-buddy who didn't really want to testify.

      Thanks for calling him a minor. I'm confident he would have objected to being called a 'child' even though he was just a few weeks past his 17th birthday. We do know that he was a 5'11" and in GREAT shape with a passion for 'cage fighting.' He had canibis in his blood, which proves that his judgement was still maturing. It is easy to believe that feeling insulted or threatened he punched first instead of saying "Back off man, I'm a guest in unit XXX of this gated community."
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      Rudy · 5 years ago
      Actually, no dude.. there was a 4 minute gap between the intitial engagement and the shooting (post-grappling).. the kid had plenty of time to leave the area (and any smart person would) - Zimmerman (the other idiot) exited his vehicle to make sure that the alleged perp was not in the immediate area - Zimmerman was jumped and beaten.. read much???
    • This commment is unpublished.
      cbravo · 5 years ago
      The event took place at night, in the rain. How could Zimmerman possibly have known the person he was following was a minor? Let alone a minor less than a year away from being (quite suddenly) an adult! This narrative, "He hunted down and shot an unarmed black child", is wholly inaccurate and contributes to the tensions over the verdict.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Thomas · 5 years ago
      Zimmerman didn't know Martin was a minor, you have the benefit of hindsight (one of Michael's points). Zimmerman saw a person, 5'11"- 6'2". That doesn't sound like a readily identifiable minor. Quite acting like Zimmerman saw the 12yr old Martin is so often pictured as.

      Zimmerman didn't "get close enough" as you say. He saw the suspect go down between the buildings and went to look around the corner to see where it went. He got there and couldn't see the suspect anymore (listen to Zimmerman's call to the police). That's when he was told they didn't need him to follow, and he said the suspect had got away. He then headed back towards the vehicle, making plans to meet the police.

      As he's retreating, Martin confronts him and knocks him down.
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      common sense · 5 years ago
      IT IS STARTING TO SEEM THAT BLACKS ARE GETTING A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD WITH THE MEDIA AND LIBERALS OF THE HOOD .SOONER ARE YOU A HOODALIM...
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    GrammaSheila · 5 years ago
    Michael, I attended a majority minority high school in Kansas City in 1964. I was in the 8th grade, 11 years old when the school term began, 4'10", 85#.
    I missed 64 days of school that year. I wasn't "sick" but I told my mother I was. I was TERRIFIED to go to school because of the daily bullying, violence, and threats from black students, boys and girls both. I don't see that much progress has been made.
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      Really? · 5 years ago
      Poor you. 1964 Kansas City. Blacks treated white people so unfairly back then.
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      Really? · 5 years ago
      BTW have you ever watched the documentary Bully? Just about all those kids on there were white. Guess all those white kids must've learned it from their parents. Who would think that 11 yr old kids bully and tease other kids? Shocking.
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    Daniel Ward · 5 years ago
    Trouble with life is that, what a "Good" or "Bad" thing truly is, is usually discovered over time; the old unintended consequences (plus other things) as we go thru life without our "crystal balls". Hopefully, we will travel thru the acquisition of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom and will then use the terms "good" and "bad" (or "evil") sparingly. After all, we are just men.
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    Jerry Fullerton · 5 years ago
    Zimmerman, being the little coward that he is, saw a young 17 year old black man, he thought he could bully. He picked a fight and soon found his fat ass being kicked by said child. So he pulled out his big gun and shot him. Zimmerman was a coward then, he is a coward now and will always be a coward.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Denise · 5 years ago
      YOU have ZERO facts of the case. Comments like this just make you look and sound ignorant.
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        Michael Moore · 5 years ago
        I don't know exactly what happened because there are so few FACTS. But we do know that Zimmerman. armed, was following Martin after he was told "we don't need you top do that" . A better choice would have been to offer him a ride home as it was raining.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Denise · 5 years ago
          Zimmerman did NOT follow after he spoke with 911- stop listening to the media.
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          Sun Tzu · 5 years ago
          It's Michael Moron of the Idiot Parade!

          Got any anymore words of doltish with which to bore us into giving you more negative responses!!
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          Roland Gunner · 5 years ago
          Evidence in the case suggests that the Zimmerman didn't continue to follow Martin after he was told that he didn't need to. But even if he had, so what? Zimmerman has as much right to be walking in his neighborhood as Martin.

          All the evidence in the case - including that from the State's own witnesses - indicates that the it was Martin that initiated the confrontation, that it was Martin that turned it into a physical altercation, and that it was Martin that turned the situation deadly.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      jkaram1 · 5 years ago
      Oh, so you were there, Jerry? You saw all this, and you could also read Zimmerman's mind? If not, on what evidence do you base your ridiculous comment?
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        Jerry Fullerton · 5 years ago
        Just my opinion. You have to admin that if someone looks and acts like a fat coward...he likely is!
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          Denise · 5 years ago
          You mean just like when someone acts like a moronic blowhard it is likely they are one ?
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          Roland Gunner · 5 years ago
          There's no evidence to support your opinion. You're just making stuff up.
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    Ted Thomas · 5 years ago
    Life is not all about what happens to you ... it's about what you do in response. In your case, a punch that normally would not have killed, did. Years later, the U.S. Armed Forces have a most fearless (but not stupid) journalist who has advocated for them constantly, and even forced policy changes as an advocate. No soldier could do what you have done, because they are under orders, and you are not. They have been well served, and you did the right thing with what you had.

    True character may sometimes be revealed in the tragedy, but it is always revealed in the "... next".
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    Al Myska · 5 years ago
    Funny thing, Jerry, is that I did not see in any of the media reporting that you were present throughout the events in Sanford and witnessed the entire incident. I certainly did not see ant coverage of your eyewitness testimony in court. In short, you, sirrah, are talking out of your butt. Martin was not a "child", but a 17 year old football player with a history of physical violence. You're entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
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      Apple in AZ · 5 years ago
      No history of physical violence. That was Zimmerman. Clearly.
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    Austen Lennon · 5 years ago
    I had a debate about the Zimmerman case on my Facebook page and some of the comments where similar to those above. The SRW people are outraged by the fact that the law didn't take their side and further absolved them from the forefathers sins. Little do they realise that what are saying is 'yes, I am a racist, but I am a good racist who wants to punish those terrible white people for their previous sins'

    I watched a black Pastor speak today on the case and he made a very valid point. He said to his congregation, who were mostly black, stop looking through black eyes at the world but look thorough human eyes.

    Those outraged pink skinned liberals who bleed for every cause need to remember that they too need to heal and not call for revenge and try looking through their eyes as humans not white crusaders.
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    Ridiculous · 5 years ago
    The two stories don't exactly equate to the same thing. In your case it was a fist fight between two adults. One doesn't normally expect a death to result from fist fights. You had plenty of witnesses that saw what happened. In the Zimmerman case there were no witnesses that definitively saw what happened. Martin was unarmed and Zimmerman was. You have an individual with a weapon who felt a little bit bolder about confronting this kid and shoots him because he was getting his ass kicked. The circumstances are different and I can make my own decision based on the facts not what the media says.

    It's inconceivable that Zimmerman would be able to walk away scott free in a case like this but apparently the laws in FL are all screwed up. Basically nothing else mattered that night just the fact that the fat guy felt scared of dying. Apparently he hasn't been in too many fisticuffs or physically demanding situations. Who knew all those times when I was younger I could've just gotten a CCP and shot somebody after provoking a fight with them. How bout that?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Denise · 5 years ago
      The gun was only used AFTER Treyvone tried to grab it and said to Zimmerman " You are going to die tonight".
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        Ridiculous · 5 years ago
        That is about the most absurd thing I've heard in that trial. I didn't find it credible. A 17 yr old boy reaches for his gun and says some cheesy line from a movie. Utter bullshit.

        So let me get this right? He had a full mount on Zimmerman. Was slamming his head into the ground. Then reached for the gun which would've been under his left inner thigh. Somehow Zimmerman is able to get the gun away from him in that straddled position and shoot him. Doesn't add up. Hell he probably had that weapon out already. In which case if I'm Martin I'd be in fear of my life. Some stranger following me in the rain. No telling what he's up to. And now a weapon is involved. Adrenaline kicks in.
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          Denise · 5 years ago
          It does not matter what you think. It matters what the jury believed based on facts presented. Yes, the trajectory of the bullets says that is exactly what happened. It was at close rage in an upward position. Your thought process is rather weird... If Zimmerman had a gun out as you claim ( which is total BS) and Martin saw the he had a gun do you actually think Martin would have gone after him ? Serioulsy ? People like you who did not watch the trial are so obvious.
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            Ridiculous · 5 years ago
            GTFOH! If they were in close proximity to each other and he drew on Martin he very well may have tried to grab Zimmerman to defend himself. If it doesn't matter what I think then keep quiet and drive on. The trial is over anyhow. The trajectory of the bullet confirms the position of the gun when fired. It doesn't explain what happened before the shot was fired.

            Zimmerman pursued Martin. Nobody knows for sure what happened because we only have his side of the story. I'll bet my bottom dollar that a lot of the Zimmerman supporters were against Martin as soon as Sharpton got involved. Some of you see what you want to see. Not necessarily saying you since I don't know what your story is.
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              Denise · 5 years ago
              You are dumb as a brick. The Police said he found Zimmermans statement '"Truthful" . I saw the FACTS of the case you did not. I have no story. The jury did . NOT guilty. Move on with your life.
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          Sun Tzu · 5 years ago
          The only thing Ridiculous here is your Ridiculous biased uninformed asinine comments

          If this had occurred in Texas there never would have been a trial and another black thug would missing from the planet, period!!!
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    JimboJim · 5 years ago
    Zimmerman stated that he wouldn't change anything about that night, that it was God's will.

    So I think Yon is doing himself no favors by identifying with Zimmerman.
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      Denise · 5 years ago
      Again this is a misleading statment. If you believe in God- believers know that they are in the palm of God's hands and that whatever happens God Allows for his own purpose. So in that sense it is God's will. Michael is identifying that the situation that had some common points - read the darn article he wrote. Anyone can indentify with Zimmerman that has been unfairly targeted.
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    JOSE THE GRASS CUTTE · 5 years ago
    :D AFTER MANY YEARS IN LAWENFORCEMENT,THUG TRAYVON GOT WHAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR,HE WOULD HAVE KILLED ZIMMERMAN
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    Grung_e_Gene · 5 years ago
    Zimmermann tried to protect his neighborhood from a juvenile who had committed NO CRIME. Zimmermann profiled Martin because he was black and that automatically meant he was guilty of something.
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      woodNfish · 5 years ago
      You're not very bright are you Grung? Stereotypes exist because they keep us alive. Jesse Jackson said that if he was out walking at night and he was followed by black youths, he would be nervous and cross the street to avoid them. If they were white, he didn't worry about them. That is good information to keep in mind.

      Read some of the stories that came out of New Orleans after Katrina if you think it is wrong. Open your eyes and quit being a useful idiot.
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      Denise · 5 years ago
      Wrong. Treyvon was caught with STOLEN loot in his locker at school. He was no innocent. He was such a " Angel" Both parens threw him out of the house.
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    woodNfish · 5 years ago
    Trayvon Martin got himself killed because he believed popular Black culture. Martin thought he as a bad-ass gangsta when he was a middle class kid with no ghetto street life experience at all. He is like thousands of other delusional Black kids who believe their cultural lie.

    Now Martin is dead because the lie failed him, and Zimmerman is the victim who's life has been taken away.
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    Wesson · 5 years ago
    No he wasn't trespassing. The girlfriend lived there. The father and son were guests of the girlfriend.
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    Robert Gonzalez · 5 years ago
    I'm so sick of people saying Trayvon was armed with only Skittles candy and ice tea. He was fixing to make a hip hop drug concoction called "Lean," which is made with Skittles or Jolly Ranchers, a sugary drink and codeine cough syrup. Trayvon talks about it on his Facebook page. Ben Crump, the Martin family lawyer, changed the description of the drink from Arizona Watermelon drink to Arizona ice tea to conceal this fact. Evidence photos show the can. Trayvon is not the little 12-year old angel in the MSM's photos. He was a wannabe gangsta. I'm not saying he deserved to die for that, but let's keep it real here.
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    Michael Yon author · 5 years ago
    I have asked my webmaster to delete it as he sees it with no need to consult me. Childish talk is welcome by milbloggers such as Blackfive and Matt Burden (founder of Blackfive), but is unwelcome here.
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    Gismo Fly · 5 years ago
    The Martin vs Zimmerman case has been a revelation to me - an outsider. I get the impression that the black population of America are a parallel nation who would much prefer to run their own republic and exclude whites and any other race from living there. I think the USA needs to do some serious attitude changing amongst this particular minority. You may have left it too late. Good luck.
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      Denise · 5 years ago
      That is an interestng comment. I think the media gives that impression. I am not saying there are no race issue in America- I am saying the media blows it out of proportion especially in the Treyvon Martin case.
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      Englenook · 5 years ago
      The "loudest voices" are often the extremes. Bigotry, bias, and prejudice are products of ignorance mixed with fear and have been with us since the beginning of time. This country is made up of people who come from hundreds of countries and ethnic backgrounds. In our locales, we can shut out those who make their living ensuring racial animus lives. Don’t be fooled into thinking vocal black voices you hear (i.e., Sharpton, Jackson, NAACP) define all black America. Not saying there are no problems or racism does not exist. I am just saying don’t buy the race baiters line lock, stock and barrel.
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        woodNfish · 5 years ago
        Prejudice, bias and are normal elements of being human. You like one shirt brand more than another, you are financially conservative, but mostly liberal in your social outlook. The same is true with peoples' use of stereotypes, which people use to decide who they want to be friends with and who they choose to ignore. Even bigotry is a normal human characteristic as in people who prefer Macs over PCs.

        It is only since the media, government and educators, all posing as social engineers, have decided that these characteristics are bad that they have taken on a negative aspect. Even the ridiculous mantra that it is wrong to judge others. It isn't, and not doing so leads to social disintegration by allowing moral ambiguity to destroy the traditional values needed to hold a society together.

        It has nothing to do with ignorance and should not be characterized as such. It is what makes us human and anything can be taken to a negative extreme.
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          Englenook · 5 years ago
          WoodNFish: I believe you have prejudice and bias confused with preferences. Certainly we all have our likes/dislikes .......... our preferences. However, I would hope that people do not treat those who prefer a MAC over a PC or a red t-shirt over a blue one with hate. Look at the definitions - per Mr. Webster.

          Prejudice: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics; an attitude that always favors one way of feeling or acting especially without considering any other possibilities

          Bias: an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice

          Preference: the act of preferring where prefer means to like better or best

          Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

          Look, I don't know your age. In my lifetime (71), prejudice has always been painted as bad. This is from one who didn't watch tv until they were over 10 but knew prejudice existed and was bad.

          One can judge others and not be bigoted or prejudiced. This can be done objectively. The acts of judging, preferring, selecting, etc. do not fall under a category of bias/prejudice/bigotry unless all objectivity is lost and those who disagree are treated with hostility and hatred.
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            woodNfish · 5 years ago
            All you've done Parallel is swap one word for another with the same meaning - preferences and biases - same thing. And you proved my point while you were at it. To you the word "preferences" has less negative associations than biases, so you prefer to use that word, but there is no difference. And the definition yo chose is only one of several choices.
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              Englenook · 5 years ago
              WoodNfish, if you really feel that preference and prejudice are interchangable, then bless you. While I could get into a deeper discussion of word meanings and usages, it would add nothing to the discussion.

              BTW, I am assuming you were referring to me. If that is true, I am Englenook - not Parrallel.
              • This commment is unpublished.
                woodNfish · 5 years ago
                Sorry Englenook, my mistake. I said preference and bias are interchangeable, not prejudice.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Big Bear · 5 years ago
    I have been in civilian law enforcement for over 15 years in Texas. There are some simple facts out there that most people do not want to admit. One is that it is your responsiblity to protect yourself and your home. Do some research on the law and how much of self preservation is up to you the individual. Second, when you go looking for trouble you will find it. Whether you get out of your vehicle armed doing your job, or if your sneaking around in the middle of the night wearing a hoodie covering your face.... anything that happens will end up bad. The only win / win here would have been if Mr. Martin had just stopped and removed the hoodie from his face and asked why he was being followed. Sadly it did not end up that way. And finally just remember that when seconds count help is only minutes away.
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      Robert T Levin · 4 years ago
      Trayvon martin did " had just stopped and removed the hoodie from his face and asked why he was being followed" and then the crazed Zimmerman, hopped up on drugs, pulled his gun.
      trayvon knocked him over and tried to take the gun away, only to be shot.
      two days later zimmerman had his brother injure the back of his head and take a picture to pretend like he was the victim.
      my story is just as likely as yours. maybe you should stop listening to fairy tails
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Toaster · 5 years ago
    A lot of interesting discussion but also a lot of hearsay.. If anyone is still reading Wikipedia has a great summary of the evidence, case, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Florida_vs._George_Zimmerman
  • This commment is unpublished.
    obeone52 · 5 years ago
    their always two side to every story.In the media you hear of the marin side and how he was mistreated but you know we were not there
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    Roland Gunner · 5 years ago
    The media stoked mob got the charges they wanted and the trial they wanted and they still can't accept that the evidence does not support the outcome that they wanted.

    So the drumbeat continues for "Justice". It's clear that these people will not get the outcome they want unless they can strip us of fundamental rights. Innocent until proven guilty, or the right of self defense - take your pick because one of them is going to have to go for Trayvon Martin to have "Justice".

    This plays nicely into the hands of the leftists who would be happy to have us all reduced to sheep who are dependent on the state for protection along with everything else. Soon we'll only have the right to take our beating and hope that the local paramilitary forces can arrive before we're dead.
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      Englenook · 5 years ago
      Regarding "Justice for Trayvon": The leaders of this movement are perverting the meaning of trial justice on purpose. (I truly do not believe they are that ignorant and believe they are on a marketing campaign.) Trial justice is not just for the perceived victim. It is for the victim, the accused and the citizens. These so-called leaders are not only making a mockery out of our justice system, they are treating their followers like blind mice. Instead of such actions, they should be educating them and helping them understand the system and how to use it to their benefit. Instead they create false hopes and take advantage of their discouraged followers when their hopes are crushed.
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      Robert T Levin · 4 years ago
      trayvon martin had a right to self defense. zimmerman started something he couldn't finish without killing someone.
      no matter who zimmerman starts a fight with he will lose without his gun. he looks for trouble with the intention to kill. he will kill again, he already has a new gun
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Rudy · 4 years ago
        Levin - you are clueless - jews without weapons??? U r a secular humanist fascist - go back to Europe :-)
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Robert T Levin · 4 years ago
          anti-semitism? where did that come from?
          Secular humanist? when is that an insult?
          fascist. finally we get to an insult that actually is insulting to me. but how does that insult actually apply to me? how is what I said "a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views"?
          • This commment is unpublished.
            Rudy · 4 years ago
            Levin, you answered your own question - people with extreme right-wing views are fascists??? Hilarious shit -you are liberal!!! Note that history reveals that ALL fascists are left-wing extremists who don't value life (certainly not the unborn in the womb), whatsoever - you are a funny guy if you think convervatives (Hitler was not a conservative) are fascists - we wouldn't be so demonstrative in our quest to be free if liberals like you could just stop putting your paws into our wallets and quit trying to take our weapons from us - they are not primarily for sport or for self-defense - the primary function of our weapons is for the sole purpose of bringing down tyrannical governments, bud.
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              Robert T Levin · 4 years ago
              http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fascist
              i don't write the dictionary i just read it. you are wrong. it is just that simple words have actual meanings and facism is a right-wing activity.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barbara Lawrence · 5 years ago
    Jeez, MY just wrote a great article about how a confrontation goes down in seconds, and people are still doing the "well, if it was me, I would've done X". The truth is we don't know what we would've done, unless we've been in a fight for our lives. And he's right about not having time to think about it, we just do what's necessary to survive. It's not like TV where fights go on for ten minutes; they're over in seconds.

    How many times have we done things where we later said,"Wow, I wish I'd never gone there!", but we did, so that's just fanciful thinking. We dealt with the consequences instead of wallowing in the past.

    There are no winners here. Martin is dead, his family is in mourning, and Zimmerman's life is ruined. This became national news because the national media chose to make it news. Why is a black man's death only meaningful when killed by a non-black? Using the Bureau of Justice statistics, there were over 11,000 black-on-black homicides from the time of Zimmerman's arrest to the time of his verdict. Where are the marches and outcries for justice for them from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Why isn't Pres Obama weeping for his hometown of Chicago with its horrific murder rate, almost exclusively black-on-black crime? Where is justice for them?

    This isn't about race. It was made about race. The usual racial ambulance chasers can get face time on CNN and msnbc with mock outrage, lining their pockets with the money of Guilty White Liberals and susceptible blacks. I'm outraged that the President would inflame the situation further by exposing his own racism, rather than calling for calm. If there is further rioting with injuries and deaths, the blood is on his hands.
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      Denise · 5 years ago
      Barbara, once you understand that Obama does not care it all makes sense....This is what Obama does- He knew the reaction there was when he said "if I had a son he would look like Treyvon" .. so he double downs on his second comment. Deep down Obama is still a ' community origanizer...who has not done one thing to calm this this thing down, He does not want it calmed down.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Laurie Swierat · 5 years ago
      Barbara I agree with you on all counts. MY's article was very thorough and thought provoking. He has a perspective that none of us have. We look at this situation with 20-20 hindsight. Easy to make a decision when you have fore knowledge of all the variables.

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