It will be interesting to see why the prosecution team is seeking second-degree murder charges in the Trayvon Martin case. What’s in this Reuters article suggests that they could easily nail Zimmerman for manslaughter, but that claiming Zimmerman had “no regard for human life” (part of the definition of second-degree murder in Florida) is a bit of a stretch.
Here is a guy who, when trying to get a pit bull dog in the neighbourhood not to threaten his wife, was advised by the police that pepper spray would be inadequate to the task, and he should buy himself a gun. (It was at that point, in fact, that Zimmerman did so.) He didn’t have a gun because he was possessed with a burning desire to gun down black teens. He had one because the Sanford “police” told him to get one.
The article notes that there was a perception, even among black residents in the neighbourhood, was that there were “black boys robbing houses” there. (Not “some” black boys”…”black boys”, as if this were a category of humans 100% criminal in its composition.) Zimmerman himself had a bicycle stolen. The article also makes it clear that Zimmerman chose to pursue Trayvon Martin, against the instructions of the 911 dispatcher, because a similarly young, black and male individual (in this case with a rap sheet a mile long) had been seen in the neighbourhood a couple weeks earlier and Zimmerman called him in to the police, was told not to pursue him, and didn’t – and the police didn’t get there in time to make the arrest. (They did catch the guy four days later, though…not sure whether Zimmerman knew that or not.)
So are you starting to get the picture, folks? Here’s a guy who has seen the police in action and found them decidedly wanting, who has actually been advised to defend himself with firearms even against a _dog_, never mind human beings, and who clearly has it in his head that anyone young, black and male is prima facie a potential house robber…and even black residents in his neighbourhood were as likely to encourage that perception. (The article glosses over the fact that no one would have accepted it if Zimmerman had shot a white person on mere suspicion of criminality, even if there had been “white boys robbing houses” in the neighbourhood.)
Is it any wonder this ended the way it did? That he used a gun, that he took the law into his own hands, that a judgment about appearances was all he needed to make a deadly decision?
This article is written like it provides new information which will make Zimmerman seem more sympathetic, but in fact, it demonstrates how full of garbage his head was, and how he never should have even had that gun he used that night.