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Zimmerman’s Gunshine State: White Man’s Verdict, Black Men’s Burden

| July 13, 2013

He walks.

He walks.

I was not in the jury room during deliberations over the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman. But my recollection of jury duty, from a lone trial a long time ago, is that a diverse group of citizens, called to pass judgment on a fellow citizen, take their responsibilities seriously. Most jurors check their biases, personal grievances and preconceived notions at the courthouse door, and do their level best to arrive at a verdict based on the facts presented to them. So I can only assume that, in acquitting Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Zimmerman jury did the same, adhering to Judge Debra Nelson’s instructions, weighing the evidence and arriving at a conclusion they believed in.

Clearly, the jury was not convinced by the prosecution’s argument that, in the words of Assistant State’s Attorney John Guy, “The defendant didn’t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him because he wanted to.” Had the jurors accepted that argument they would have returned a guilty verdict of second-degree murder.

Nor was the jury buying a case for manslaughter, for which prosecutors only had to show that Zimmerman “intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin,” in the words of Judge Nelson’s jury charge.

Instead, the jury believed Zimmerman’s account of that evening’s events: That 17-year-old Trayvon Martin overpowered him, slammed his head into the pavement, and would have killed him or seriously injured him with his fists if Zimmerman had not managed to fire his gun into Martin’s chest. Under Florida law, that shooting is a justifiable homicide.

That’s the way this jury saw it, and it marks the end of the criminal case against Zimmerman. But it’s not the finale of this saga that we need to focus on. It’s the beginning.

In the eyes of the law, George Zimmerman is not guilty of any crime stemming from the altercation he had with Martin. Yet there would have been no altercation, no cries for help, no gunshot, had Zimmerman simply waited in his car for a police officer to arrive. And Zimmerman would not have gotten out of his car had Trayvon Martin been white. I know it, you know it, and George Zimmerman knows it.

Angered by a series of burglaries in his neighborhood, Zimmerman assumed the young black man in the hoodie was casing houses. From the very moment he spotted Martin, Zimmerman took action based on a faulty, fatal premise–that the young man in the hoodie was a danger, a threat to him and to his neighbors. Zimmerman was more concerned with avenging the burglaries than with ascertaining the reason for Martin’s presence in the community.

Everything that happened in the ensuing minutes sprang from Zimmerman’s warped notion of who Martin was. And that notion was, in itself, an act of prejudice and aggression that ended in a death.

The jury verdict validates the premise that, in Florida, the person who initiates a confrontation—in this case Zimmerman—does not always bear responsibility for what happens afterward. The jury was left to conclude that in pulling the trigger Zimmerman acted in self-defense. But Martin would be alive had Zimmerman not set out in pursuit of him, a pursuit based on prejudice.

Back in May, I concluded a column by saying that, whatever the verdict, no one should be cheering. In the days to come, we’ll undoubtedly hear politicians echoing that refrain, but their words will be meaningless unless real action is taken to prevent more encounters like the one that ended with Martin’s death.

For starters, anyone who volunteers for a neighborhood watch group should be armed with nothing more lethal than a cell phone. Most volunteers are well-intentioned and are not looking for confrontation; they are simply another set of eyes and ears for their local police. But those who like to flatter themselves that they are peace officers, and who arm themselves on patrol, are a danger not only to themselves but to their neighbors. Lacking proper training, and often motivated by the sort of unfocused anger that Zimmerman displayed on his 911 call to police–“These assholes they always get away”—they are emboldened by the gun on their hip, and a bad situation only gets worse.

If a volunteer thinks he sees a bad guy, his best weapon is to lock his car door, and use his cellphone to dial 911. That ought to be the law. Had Zimmerman not been armed that night, I think it highly unlikely that he would have left the safety of his car to pursue Martin. He’d have waited for an officer to arrive, and the world would never have heard of either George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin.

It’s also time for the gunslingers who inhabit our legislature to take a closer look at the imbalance between those who are armed and those who are not. And hold the angry email: I’m not talking about defending one’s home and family with a firearm. Having the means to use lethal force in an argument or confrontation should carry with it the responsibility to try to defuse or leave a tense situation. A man or woman with a gun should be expected to avoid places and flee situations where there is the potential for violence. If an armed person wades into trouble, the burden should always be on the shooter to justify his actions.

A person who shoots an unarmed man or woman should never be given the benefit of the doubt, as was the case early on with Zimmerman and the Sanford police. There has to be some accountability for shooting and killing an unarmed man. In short, we need to reexamine the definition of self-defense and the odious “stand your ground” statute.

Zimmerman is a free man, but his legacy should not be that he was “right” to do what he did. He should be viewed as the sad, angry embodiment of the fear and paranoia that would have us believe that owning a gun and using a gun are equal and inseparable rights.

Steve Robinson moved to Flagler County after a 30-year career in New York and Atlanta in print, TV and the Web. Reach him by email here.

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90 Responses for “Zimmerman’s Gunshine State: White Man’s Verdict, Black Men’s Burden”

  1. PC Mom says:

    Wow….Someone left their cooth at home. That’s how you headline the story?? No wonder this country is in trouble.

  2. Moe Syzlak says:

    Thank god justice was served.

  3. Jon Hardison says:

    Amen to that Brother!

    I said this in another comment, but we are held to a higher standard and expected to actively avoid trouble. It has already been proven that he did not follow the guidelines on which is right to posses a firearm are based. I sincerely hope the state has already revoked his right to carry.

  4. Well, for what it’s worth, if you have a legal carry permit in the state of Florida, it rather specifically stipulates that you MUST NOT ENTER into situations that may result in violence with your weapon (i.e. sporting events, bars, etc.) or that you must do your best to avoid such situations should they arise unexpectedly. Zimmerman did exactly the opposite of what a responsible gun owner should have done, never mind everything else (the slurs, the ego, the bigotry).

    Amazing, truly, that after all these decades we still leave in the world where a what you wear, the way you walk, the skin tone et. al. dictate how you live, and at times, whether you live at all.

  5. TyCobbHimself says:

    Zimmerman is white? I mean since when did someone that is 1/2 white become white in America? Face it, race was injected into this by race baiting folks like you! Thee end!

    • Bunnell Resident says:

      I have to agree with you. Obama is half white but no one would classify him as white.

    • JimC says:

      Racial profiling is the reason GZ felt threaten and followed a young teenager who he thought was casing homes in the neighbor. The sad fact that TM actually lived in the neighborhood ( or close to it) and was consider a threat is fear cause by what he thinks a burglar looks like.( which is simple minded to begin with). This so called intrusion into “affluent” neighborhoods also happens in gentrified areas around the country. If the “locals” of the area were to react in fear of their new neighbor many people (and college students) of all colors would be dead right now. When people stop being afraid of the unknown and began seeing each other as their neighbor(and equal) then you can stop talking about race.

  6. Noyb says:

    “Instead, the jury believed Zimmerman’s account of that evening’s events:”

    All the jury decided is that the state did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

  7. AMOS says:

    Hey Steve, its Obvious By Your Commentary Above That You Have a Difference of Opinion Than That of The “JURY” !!!, Sorry About That But It is What it Is!!!The Could Have, Should Have, What if Theory is Nothing More Than Second Guessing Something That if You Were NOT THERE, YOU DONT KNOW WHAT WENT ON !!! , The State Did NOT “PROVE ITS CASE” To The “JURY” Both sides Chose & Thats The Bottom Line!

  8. Exton says:

    The facts do not meet the lies give here. It took Martin almost 30 min to make the 10 min walk back to his house, why on a rainy night was he looking in people’s windows and anywhere but at home? Martin punched George in the nose, knocking him to the ground, Why did Marin not stop there? The only reason to sit on George was to either kill him or F- him up good.
    Also why all the rage against Whites? Blacks kill each other and Whites more than any other race. Just today there were several stories about three Blacks beating a White man and leaving him in the middle of the highway were he was hit by a car; two Black beat a white kid at a rec center to steal his shoes, and more stores of Blacks playing the Knock out game or Polar Bear hunting where they go after defenseless Whites. The real outrage is why Blacks are acting like animals and not civilized citizens.

    • DisgustedinPC says:

      All these facts you claim, were GZ’s words.

    • Michael Schottey says:

      “acting like animals”…You could have started with that statement so people didn’t have to read the whole thing to figure out your motive.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your’re right. Animals wouldn’t act that way. Beating a kid in the middle of the road, leaving him to be hit by a car, beating a person just to steal their sneakers? really? No, sorry, only humans do that – uncilized ones at that.

    • A.S.F. says:

      The fact that there are (so far) 63 “likes” posted in response to this comment is as disgusting as the comment itself is frightening…and you have the gall to ask, “”Why all the rage against Whites?” Seriously??? Why don’t you open up an American History book sometime and read it, instead of listening to hate-mongers like Rush Rimbaugh and friends? if you could manage that, maybe you could begin to understand why some people might be upset by a comment like your’s, let alone this verdict. I can only hope that Mr. Zimmerman, as he Thanks his lucky stars, will learn something from this that will fundamentally change him for the better. I Thank God that the protests and rallies that have followed this trial have been as peaceful as they have been up to now.

    • The Truth says:

      Was Martin under a time limit for when he needed to get back home? He has every right to walk around the neighborhood since his father lives here. According to George Zimmerman, he was a suspicious black boy looking into everyone’s window. Was he planning on robbing someone with his bag of skittles?

      Your logic is just as skewed as Zimmerman’s. Perhaps the racism you have built up inside your body needs to be released and maybe you can think more logically. The fact is that the “three blacks that beat up a white man” have nothing to do with Trayvon Martin or any other black man. Crime’s are committed each and every day by all races and nationalities. By labeling an entire race “animals” just because some are committing ridiculous acts shows how close minded and incompetent you are.

  9. m&m says:

    True Justice has prevailed..

  10. Ray Thorne says:

    ” And Zimmerman would not have gotten out of his car had Trayvon Martin been white. I know it, you know it, and George Zimmerman knows it.”

    The issue that has been prevalent during this trial was the injection of feelings and speculation by a media fed public acting as if they were there and clearly know all the facts better than a jury to who the real facts (not media hyped facts) were presented. It is ignorant in my opinion to read or hear comments from people who really don’t know what happened (neither do I) but “feel” this was a wrong verdict.

    • biker says:

      Really? Did you follow the facts of the case? There never was a case. This case was brought with no evidence. And the jury who had all the information in front and of them came to the conclusion that Zimmerman was the victim here.

  11. elaygee says:

    Feel free to stalk and kill black children in Florida with no consequences.

    • tom jack says:

      come on really? it took martin over 30 min to walk home, what was he looking for all that time?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you need to take a look at the stats on this – killing kids? Lately, parents seem to be doing a good job of it – starving their kids, throwing them against the wall, etc. Even cases where their parents are uninvolved in raising their kids, letting them run loose to terrorize other people.

  12. Tom Henderson says:

    “A man or woman with a gun should be expected to avoid places and flee situations where there is the potential for violence.”

    Why? Why should someone who is presumptively innocent have to flee if an aggressor threatens his life, or his safety, or his family’s safety? What is the justification for this? If someone threatens your loved one, wouldn’t you want to defend them rather than running away? What if the aggressor runs faster than you, or your love one, can?

    “If an armed person wades into trouble, the burden should always be on the shooter to justify his actions.”

    Self-defense is a well-established doctrine. You are basing your call for reversing the burden of proof simply because someone is armed. This is a radical change. Consider: What if an armed aggressor is pursuing an unarmed victim twice his weight and an expert in the martial arts? If the armed aggressor is killed, shouldn’t the unarmed victim also have to bear the burden? What is it about “arms” that makes you so sure that the burden should be reversed, and who gets to decide in such situations? What constitutes “arms,” anyway? Firearms? Knives? Throwing stars? How about an axe?

    In any event, self-defense as a defense is subject to the burden of production, though not of proof. Your statement that an armed self-defense should be held to a higher requirement (i.e., that it be subject to a burden of proof) stands the law on its head and makes a mockery of the requirement that a defendant, such as Zimmerman, must be presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Please stop making the law an instrument of racial prerogatives.

  13. Sgt Saber says:

    The RIGHT judgement was given ! I knew it all along and said so. Now you liberal whiners can put your Big Boy pants on and DEAL with it !!!

  14. Robert says:

    A Black lady who is a native of Florida told me that among Blacks there is a saying.
    “You cannot get any further South than Florida and if you are Black you understand its meaning.”

    Another person, a very old one, said that Sanford was known as the town where they were planning to murder Jackie Robinson.

    It has another distinction now.

  15. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    George Zimmerman appearing to be Hispanic or not showed he lived and benefited from the privileges white America sometimes it forgets it has. His defense attorneys tapped into the Juries feelings of just that. If ONE is scared of another they can act or react as they please, because they a “scared”. Americas prisons would be empty if the poor, black and brown got the benefit of the doubt. I challenge all to find a case in this state where a black man or teen was acquitted in self defense against a white person under these circumstances. The laws are set up just like everything else this country was built off of – just to help those they allow it to help. Their are people doing life for far less. A legal killer now walks the streets again, clutching the tool of death that empowered him escalate a situation that didn’t have to happen. George Zimmerman, had a vehicle, a phone, the police in route, age and experience, two flashlights, a fully loaded gun, familiarity of location. This dead kid had nothing. All Zimmerman’s defense team did is play into the fears of white America that when needed “all black men are suspects.” That’s the race card of all race cards.

    • Debbie Blabbermouth Slutz says:

      Lesson: Don’t bring fists to a gunfight. Got it?

      • Anonymous says:

        What gun fight? Zimmerman brought a gun to a fistfight! Trayvon was not armed to begin with…….so therefore you sad comment is completely MOOT! If Trayvon Martin had been white, and Zimmerman black……Zimmerman would now be a resident of Florida’s DEATH ROW…….period! End of discussion!

  16. Gia says:

    A fair verdict.

  17. Ayn Rand's Spleen says:

    Regardless of how you feel about the verdict, some things should be acknowledged:

    1. “Justice” and “morally correct decision” are not and have never been the same thing, and there are literally thousands of examples of this in the judicial system each and every day.

    2. Amazingly enough, in this case, the legal system successfully defended a minority against prosecution by the state. Zimmerman is hispanic, so I guess that’s a positive at least. I’m sure that many will point out that “no, he’s HALF WHITE and therefore white” but hey, Barack Obama is half-white and no one questions his ethnicity as “black”.

    I personally think the decision made by the jury was correct under the definition of SYG, but I think SYG is a stupid law for exactly the reasons why this incident happened. So, justice was in fact served, even though I think it’s reprehensible that a grown man felt the need to shoot and kill a teenager as a result of his own actions.

    Now, that said, the blame for all of this should be set at the feet of the people of Florida and its politicians. The politicians, because they feel a need to put forth and pass legislation that has not been thought out at all, e.g. the internet casino ban that also bans computers and cell phones, the zero-tolerance gun crime law that places a 20 year minimum on anything involving a gun, the stand your ground law, and so on. The people, because you voted them in and you tolerate them enough to continue to do so.

  18. Magnolia says:

    How very sad that in a case like this one there is always somebody who wants to politicize it.

    How about the hundreds dying in Chicago, Mr. Robinson? Most of them are young black children. Where are your stories on that? Why isn’t the President commenting on those needless deaths? It’s his town. Who is responsible for that? Guns are illegal there.

    I think that frankly everybody should allow this family time to grieve right now.

  19. Anonymous says:

    “And Zimmerman would not have gotten out of his car had Trayvon Martin been white. I know it, you know it, and George Zimmerman knows it.”

    I mostly agree with this article, however, I don’t agree that the profiling was strictly a black versus white issue. Martin looked like a thug (whether black, white, or any other skin color) and he looked like a thug because he wanted to represent himself as a thug through his appearance, style, and lifestyle. He brought himself unwanted attention from a guy (Zimmerman) who was naïve enough to believe that he was indeed a thug and was about to rob his community. The actions Zimmerman took that evening were wrong and unfortunately both were not smart enough to avoid the tragic fate of that evening.

    Now on to Ms. Corey… that lady needs to be relieved of her duties. And her right hand lady, Cheryl Peek belongs in jail. Another example of a wrongful termination within a government department. Retaliating against Kruidbos because he did the right thing in a public interest case. Does ethics exist in government anymore?

    • Anita says:

      Trayvon Martin looked like a thug only to someone whose notion of a thug is a tall, skinny, brown-skinned seventeen year old in a red hoodie. Zimmerman never saw pretend gangsta photos of Martin, nor did he have firsthand knowledge that Trayvon had been suspended from school. Even so, “appearance, style and lifestyle” are not reasons to take an innocent life. Suspicion is not a reason to take an innocent life. Trayvon Martin broke no law!

    • Rocky Mac says:

      Regarding Ms Corey, she had just come on the job prior to my niece’s murder in JAX Beach. The prosecutor’s office and the Sheriff dept allowed two cold blooded murders to plea a lesser charge without consulting my brother and wife AND the judge. Two scum of the earth are walking the streets as my niece lies in her grave and her son grows up without knowing his mother. Now that is a travesty.

    • The Truth says:

      He looked like a thug? It sounds like you are just as naive as Zimmerman.

      Last I checked, it wasn’t Zimmerman’s responsibility to act as a police officer and pursue ANYONE, regardless of how they look. Of course, Fox News and Zimmerman’s followers fail to understand this aspect.

  20. justme says:

    wow.. talk about a biased article!!! The media, again, has turned this event into a race issue. It is a stand your ground issue. Although, it is heartbreaking that a young man has lost his life, the two parties involved both made mistakes, Im tired of hearing the race card on every excuse there is. Look at the another article with the individual that received 40yrs for robbing a liquor store clerk. Again, using the poor me, im black issue, i was railroaded per his words His own friend is the one that identified him at the burger king, not a video! As a white woman, im sick of being labeled consistently on every turn. If I was to have a white college reunion, a white week, a song, or whatever, i would be labelled a racist!! Paula Deen spurred hateful words 30 yrs ago, from my understang, during a robbery. I can guarantee you i would have said worse during such an event!! I will defend any individual, no matter what race, that is humanity… enough already of feeding into the frenzy of racism.

  21. tom jack says:

    the only reason charges were brought in the first case was because of political pressure. the prosecution continually with held evidence from the defense in their effort to convict zimmerman. was this fair to the defense? this was a rigged court that still could not convict zimmerman of anything wrong. does anyone really beleave charges would have been brought if the races were reversed? i think not.

  22. Hypocracry says:

    I completely disagree with an ordinary and untrained citizen trying to confront anyone he feels is “suspicious.” That is what we have police for and that is why we make sure they are trianed. With that being said this case was never about race until the NAACP made it about race. Zimmerman was never heard making a single racial slur or indicating that he found the person suspicious just based on his race. In fact the only person ever heard making a racial slur was Trayvon. The police didn’t clear Zimmerman because because he was white and Trayvon was black. They cleared him because they felt they could not prove the case. The NAACP eroniously determined that Zimmerman was not charged because Trayvon was black and they made that conclusion without hearing all the evidence. If you change the skin colors of everyone involved the case does not get clearer. You have someone who was clearly getting beaten up by another and shooting the offending party to stop the attack. That’s a tough case no matter what color anyone is. For the NAACP to make a claim that this was a clear cut case of murder and nobody getting charged was based entirely on the color of their skin is not only irresponsible it is counterproductive to their mission. Crying racism when the evidence isn’t there polarizes people. It makes people think that the black community will claim anything that does not go their way is racisist. And that makes people view them as racisits. It would have been a much better approach to review the case in it’s entirity, listen to all testimony and then make a determination if the lack of charges was based on race.

  23. Look Out There says:

    Based on comments here there appear to be a number of George Zimmerman sympathizers/wannabes. That being the case, people of color had better be careful, extra careful, in their travails here in Flagler, Palm Coast or for that matter in all of Florida.

    After the verdict I read that attorney Baez ( Casey Anthony) stated that George Zimmerman’s troubles are far from over, a long way from being over.

    Things have a way of working themselves out. Many thought that the police who beat Rodney King into brain damage got away clean. Well at first they did. Even after their convictions they paid a dear price. Some went to jail, some lost their homes, their jobs, divorced, bankrupt etc. George skated on this one. He probably won’t be so lucky in a civil trial, OJ wasn’t. In a civil trial G Zimm will have to get his stories straight, pick one and stick to it. And yes he will have to get on the stand.

    Last, the Feds can, if they chose, charge him. It makes no difference if the Feds win or lose. Life for a defendant facing the criminal justice system is a nightmare, mentally and financially. If he is broke then he will get public assistance with his defense. So all of you that despise those who receive any form of public aid can once again contribute to his defense.

    Folks of color be on the lookout for the AWM.

  24. RG says:

    Something that you failed to mention in your story. Why was this young man, who was on suspension from school. Not properly supervised by his father? In this situation a parent is responsible for making sure that their is a disipline. Out at night alone unknown to father since father was not home? What negligence of parenting and care. Im sure Trayvons mother reamed Tracy Martin for his negligence. This young man was acting stupid as some teens do thats why they must be pulled closer in and supervised. Striking and punching a stranger is not innocence but signs of proggressive delinquent behavior. Its aiken to leaving a small child with a lighter alone at home. Its a hard lesson to be learned by Tracy Martin and to late. We need to look at the real truth, dont blame anyone but the parent guardian who let his guard down. If not GZ it might of been another person that may have taken his life. Please leave Racial blame out of it parent your children keep them safe.

    • Anita says:

      Another thing not mentioned in this story was George Zimmerman’s attack on a police officer, an act that for some would result in immediate death, but oddly enough, charges were dropped. Or, take the case of his arrest for spousal abuse, or his fight with a bouncer. Perhaps mamma and pappa Z. had better have a talk with their son about keeping a low profile, but I doubt that will help. He got away with murder once; I suspect his ego will get him into trouble again.

    • A.S.F. says:

      Yes, by all means, let’s blame this terribly negligent father who had the audacity to allow his seventeen year old son walk to the store to buy skittles and iced tea while wearing a hoodie. Boy, was he ever asking for it! How many white teenagers do we see everyday hanging out at night on the streets of Palm Coast , Flagler Beach and Bunnell. Perhaps we should call our local self-appointed neighborhood watchmen and instruct them to mow these kids down if they think they look threatening or out of place, especially if they’re gansta enough to be wearing a hoodie. Really–Any white parent of a teenager in Flagler County who makes a comment like RG’s better hope that Karma is not the B***ch we all know her to be sometimes.

  25. FlaglerConcernedCitizen2 says:

    While the death of any 17yr old is a tragedy, the amount of commentary on each of the TV station is way too much………..Where do they find these people. Has the media no concern other than to fill their air time. I have seen no one “protesting” for any good reason other than their 30 seconds on TV. Shame on the major nextworks, and the cable stations. The way to heal is NOT to continue to have fanatic fringe people who soul purpose is to incite the crowd. It is time to make this end. As an old spiritual hymn states, “red or yellow, black or white, we are precious in his sight” May the soul of Trayvon be precious in his sight……..but it is time to move on.

  26. DMD Liberty says:

    Zimmerman has responsibility ffor the death of this child. However, the State failed to obtain justice. One can speculate why, but the State failed at its job. The system works. A prime example is Casey Anthony. The state failed to prove first degree murder. The state was over zealous.

    According to the jury instructions posted, to prove Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    1. Trayvon Martin is dead
    2. George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.

    George Zimmerman cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide:

  27. biker says:

    Ms Corey as well as the Governor need to be held accountable here. Corey intentionally with held evidence and the governor wrongfully appointed this incompetent attorney as special prosecutor.

  28. Phil McElrath says:

    The racism displayed by this headline indicates where more of a problem exist. We will never have racial equality in a country where tripe like this is constantly in print, rehashing old thinking and feeding a mentality of two to three generations ago. The progress made never seems acknowledged, and the progress still in motion is impeded by this kind of senseless print.

    Dr. King want everyone judged by the content of their character. What does this headline say of the character of the author, and of this publication?

    Phil McElrath
    Palm Coast

  29. Marissa says:

    It seems everyone, well, just about everyone has a gun in Florida. That 70 year old man or woman walking down the street may just have a gun on their person. People have a right to protect themselves on the street and in their homes.

    This case was made out to be racial. The jury acquitted according to the law and rightly so. Can George Zimmerman have his life back now?

  30. Edith Campins says:

    A terrible failure of the justice system.

    An unarmed young man walking along…

    doing nothing wrong

    A self proclaimed vigilante…

    not a member of any legitimate crime watch group

    with a record of violence against others


    is told to stay away

    not defending anything

    starts a confrontation and commits murder.

    Then smiles when he is acquitted.

    • brian says:

      when will you people understand he was NOT or ordered told to stay away, your info is bs…he was attacked by treyboy, who was lying in wait behind a building, after calling zin a CRAZY ASS CRACKER defended himself and now the thugg is dead..

  31. Maryjoe says:

    “And Zimmerman would not have gotten out of his car had Trayvon Martin been white. I know it, you know it, and George Zimmerman knows it.”

    Well, I don’t know that, lol. Personally I think it happened because it was an unknown young man. I don’t think color had anything to do with it. I know it wouldn’t on my street. We make note of everyone we don’t know. Habit.

  32. Ben Dover says:

    This report is false in my opinion , first off, if blacks hadn t been coming into the complex and invading and robbing homes , Zimmerman never would have had to of formed a watch,or had to call police , black people get angry , but its themselves they should be angry with , teach your kids to stop robbing , car jacking , beating and shooting other people and their will be no profiling, but when you pick up the news journal everyday and there are three black mug shots staring back at you for these exact crimes day in and day out , I mean cmon when is it gonna stop.Trayvon had plenty of time to just go home , he didn t run away he ran in a circle to come up behind Zimmerman and sucker punch him in the nose , all Zimmerman asked is what are you doing here , that is reason to beat someones head against concrete? the dispatcher asked Zimmerman to keep an eye on him till police got there ,thats why he got out of truck he was following instructions or thought he was anyway,he asked for police to come as fast as possible ,no ones gonna plan a murder and ask police to come its common sense , he did what he had to do

  33. anonymous says:

    I guess it’s okay for George Zimmerman to get lost in his own neighborhood but Trayvon Martin can’t while doing what he was supposed to do which was to get away. I’m still trying to figure out why white America is so mad at black people??? I want to know what great injustice has been done to the white race by African Americans??? Every time black people VERBALLY stand up for themselves the peanut gallery with guilty consciences always try to shut them up like it’s all imagined and no race, prejudice or bias is involved in everyday life. I guess you need somebody to keep beneath you otherwise your internal fears are useless and unfounded. George Zimmerman was a political gun advocate tool. Had it been Clearance Thomas, Alan West or Herman Cane, the powers that be would have made them just as white to fit their agenda just like they made Zimmerman white. Being included in white or majority culture can surpass skin color, especially when politics are involved.

  34. AMOS says:

    Just Wanted To Remind Everyone What The Head Prosecutor Stated To The Court Room after The “VERDICT” was Read!!!! He Said His Team was “DISAPPOINTED” But Its NOT About What They Think, Its What the JURY THOUGHT !!!!!!! God Bless ALL of the Residents of The Sanford Area & The Family’s of Both Sides, Who had to Endure 17 Months of This Tragedy !!! There are No Winners Here, Regardless of the Outcome !!!!! The NON-VIOLENCE Sends Out a Clear Message that No Matter What Your Belief Regarding This Case was, It Was up to the “JURY” to Decide & Like it or Not its Done !!!

  35. Anon says:

    I understand people question if he was in danger, but there were reasonable doubts. This was not a stand your ground case. They didn’t have a stand your ground hearing.

    Everyone is forgetting what the last defense witness testified. This explains a lot of what was going through Zimmerman’s mind. One home invasionwas committed by a resident, who happened to be young and black. His accomplice, I believe, wasn’t arrested.

  36. Wel... says:

    The State of Florida had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman was guilty of 2nd degree murder or the late-added manslaughter charges. The state did not meet their burden. Did Zimmerman kill Martin? Yes. Did the state prove that the manner in which Zimmerman killed Martin satisfied the requirements necessary to establish 2nd degree murder or manslaughter per the legalese stated in Florida statute? No. Similarly to Casey Anthony, the state could not prove that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter and there was reasonable doubt that resulted in her not-guilty verdict(s). It is a shame that someone had to die, but where is the outrageous euphemisms at the thousands that die from murder in this country where people are never tried? Where is the outrage that parts of Chicago and other cities engage in urban warfare regularly? Where is the outrage over children in other parts of the world being forced to carry weapons and kill people? I didn’t know Martin and I don’t know Zimmerman therefore my life is not affected either way. However, there certainly is a double-standard in this country and that double-standard is determined by the MSM. They devoted countless hours to this case, thereby ignoring all other cases of similarity across the county and they did so because Florida has a concealed carry law and a stand-your-ground law. Cases such as this happen all over the country. Many are open and shut whereas others are never tried because there is not enough evidence. I kept hearing throughout that our justice system, while flawed, is still the best in the world, almost as if the MSM was hitting me over the head to remind me of that fact. The real fact and the real truth is there are only two people that know what happened that night, one is dead and the other isn’t talking and if he is no one believes him because there are many versions of his story and not just one. Is Zimmerman a liar? Sure but being a liar does not make you guilty of 2nd degree or manslaughter otherwise I would be serving hundreds of consecutive terms for the amount of fibs I have told over the years. The point is, the state didn’t prove their case to a jury of peers that Zimmerman was guilty of the charges he faced. The jury obviously took their job seriously and did not let emotion cloud their duty, which is to decide by rule of law, if the state met their burden. The state did not. The jury spoke. Now I’m waiting for the next side-show the MSM latches on to that takes away our attention from the issues that really do affect our lives.

  37. devrie says:

    What’s unfair is the assumptions of what Trayvon was doing or not doing. Rachel Jeantel says her phone reconnected with Trayvon when he said he was by the mailboxes. That phone reconnected at around 6:56. No one knows whether or not Zimmerman was already watching Trayvon at that time. The fact that her account from the phone call matches up to the time it should have taken Trayvon to get there is lost. Either she’s a master genius liar, or she’s being honest, and at the very least, the phone records don’t lie.

    The assumption that Trayvon landed the first blow is based on a a wild account of George Zimmerman himself, who could not reasonably articulate how he got punched at the top of the T and fell backward yet ended up 30 feet forward.

    None of that even mattered though. What mattered was the actual struggle. The defense made that case, and the jury listened. There was no reliable evidence as to how this all really started, other than George called the cops on a kid he said was “looking at the houses.” He didn’t say he was looking in the windows, and in fact, when he went on Hannity, he said Trayvon was walking the entire time. So we can’t say Trayvon was “looking into windows.” That’s a stereotypical analysis, and it doesn’t matter.

    Trayvon was shot and killed less than a minute from his home. He was shot and killed on the grass, away from the cement. George Zimmerman’s injuries were minor, and even if we agree that they didn’t have to be serious for him to invoke deadly force through the perception of self-defense, his OWN testimony puts his fragile head on the grass at the time he pulled the trigger. George Zimmerman knew the police were coming because A. he called them, and B. he reiterated his knowledge that they were coming to a witness.

    Zimmerman pulled the trigger on a gun pointed squarely at the heart of this kid–aggressor or not, while no longer in any danger, while in knowledge that the police were coming. He did not have to pull the trigger, and the prosecution dropped the ball by focusing on the entire scene with George’s inconsistencies and with the unexplainable time frame from the time George hung up the phone to the time the struggle ensued. They knew George was leaving something out, and they wanted the jury to see that. The defense floated all around how they got from the T to the where Martin was shot, why? Because all that mattered was what happened when George pulled the trigger. So they used a block of cement to show that Zimm was in fear of his life.

    That’s when the state should have reminded the jury that Trayvon was, by GZ’s own admission, no longer armed with cement, that Trayvon’s DNA was not on the gun, but GZ’s was (so if it were wiped away, why was GZ’s there?), and that GZ knew the police would be there soon and therefore did not need to use deadly force.

    Considering Trayvon did not see GZ leave the vehicle, it’s more reasonable to assume from GZ’s statements about “they always get away,” show his intentions to restrain Martin than it is to assume Martin ran toward the courtyard leading to his home, hid in anticipation of being followed (but wasn’t really followed), ambushed GZ, but stopped and announced himself by asking, “do you have a MF problem,” and sucker punched GZ who looked down to get a cell phone he just had in his hand while talking to the dispatcher.

    • Anita says:

      Pity you weren’t lead prosecutor, however, I’d like an explanation from Angela Corrie detailing the reason(s) for her stated “pride” in the way her team handled the case.

  38. jp says:

    Guilt or innocence?..know what your are writing about……….The US justice system doesn’t have an innocence verdict. Just guilty or not guilty…They didn’t say he was innocent, just that they couldn’t prove him guilty with the evidence….

  39. confidential says:

    One more time when justice was NOt served!

  40. brian says:

    perhaps if the black man didn’t attack zim, he would still be alive…but he was a thugg and was treated as such..good riddance!!

    • The Truth says:

      Why is it okay for Zimmerman to defend himself but it’s not okay for the “black man” to defend himself? The “black man” was being followed by Zimmerman which was PROVEN by the 911 audio. He even RAN from him at one point yet Zimmerman continued to follow. What should the “black man” have done? He was in an area he did not know very well and was trying to get away from the “hispanic man”.

      Last I checked, Zimmerman was not a police officer. Perhaps if he understood that instead of trying to be a hero then the “black man” would still be alive.

      • Anonymous says:

        You obviously did not watch the trial and heard what was going on. You seem to suggest zimmerman chased martin down – he didn’t. Also, nothing stopped Martin from calling the cops. He had the time and the cell phone – he didn’t. All the evidence seems to suggest that Martin circled around and confronted zimmerman physically.

        • A.S.F. says:

          I listened to the “911” tape often enough to know that the “911” operator herself CLEARLY told George Zimmerman to stand down and NOT follow Martin. Perhaps you have selective hearing (as did George Zimmerman, unfortunately.) I also watched Martin’s parents as they sat in the courtroom, listening to the agonizing testimony of how their child died, with unbelievable composure, courage and grace. I saw the most obnoxious expressions of defiance on the faces of George Zimmerman’s parents. THEIR child is, at least, alive and he is responsible for the death of another human being under questionable circumstances. Those pictures on the news said all there is to say about those two families. My condolences and apologies to Trayvon Martin’s family and friends. I hope they realize how many Americans of ALL colors are grieving with them and feel outraged by this verdict. I wish the state could have done a better job so justice could have been better served. I guess we can only wait and see what the fallout from all this will be now.

    • Rocky Mac says:

      Brian: Your remark is very disturbing. I hope that you never have to go through the heartache of losing a loved one so tragically. Thank God your type is in the minority in this country. To think otherwise is frightening. I worry for our future with likes of you walking the streets.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Zimmerman could have been (Scott Mullner), a man beaten to death. Mullner would stil be alive if he had had a firearm. A fair verdict was delivered.

  42. Magnolia says:

    For those of us who are parents, we must make things better so that this does not happen again. My children are not out unsupervised after dark. It is not safe, for anyone. If you are out and something like this happens, head for home or use your phone to call for help. Call the police, call a teacher, call your parents. Parents, do your job and supervise your children. Keep them in after dark or accompany them to where ever they are going.

    I don’t believe this was a racist attack; I believe it was an unbelievable tragedy that could have been avoided.

  43. Binkey says:


    Or you could say if Trayvon didn’t decide to stand his ground (you have that right in Florida) when he felt threatened by the guy chasing him, Zimmerman would not have had the opportunity to kill him.

    The verdict did not surprise me. The state did not do a very good job. Their star witness (I don’t remember her name) was not prepared to go through a court experience and I felt her testimony helped the defense more than the prosecution.

    • Jennifer S says:

      The overwhelming blood lust of so many of those commentating is sickening. You’ve missed the main point of the article because of your own ignorance to the fact you do not now, nor will you ever be the all knowing, all seeing spotless being that seemingly possesses you to comment & think the way you do.

      the entire point of the article is to ask the greater question…why should anyone have to die in scenarios like this? why can’t our laws be written in such a fashion where perspective and legalese finagling (at an exorbitant amount hinged off the back of the tax payer) has to be utilized to JUSTIFY KILLING ANOTHER HUMAN?

      i truly pray for all of those who cannot see the injustice heaped upon our humanity, by this. i also pray you will challenge your thought process. i pray you won’t find out the hard way from someone you love dying because they were on the receiving end of a bullet, knowing there were innumerable other manners in which the scenario could have played so a moment did not undo a life and all those entities connected to him or her. i pray for all of those quick to claim their uninhibited ability to fire a weapon at the expense of another life should the situation present itself. and finally i pray for those who whether it be from war, or defense, or countless other means, whose weapon has taken a life .. regardless of how correct your decision may have been.. the life-long burden such knowledge brings you.

      As to those who whine so, so, so much about the race card. quit bringing it up if you are just so,so,so over it. it is an issue because YOU, yes YOU continue to bring it up to point out how much you are tired of hearing of it, thus- & effectively so- feeding the very beast you protest to hate. you are self-admitting you still recognize its existence, by commenting to the like. if you were truly over the race card & color blind- in that abstract sense- like you think you are, it could be as banal a descriptive as me telling you i have finger nails. everyone has skin. the color is clearly important to you.

  44. Linda says:

    July 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    “Zimmerman’s warped notion of who Martin”
    You can’t be serious.

    Like it or not, Zimmerman’s reaction and mindset are unknown to us. Yet if we accept that he was racially profiling, then I say he is only human. Look at our own community and the horrible crimes reported in this very paper every day -more, sadly, by black males.

    Even Jesse Jackson said, ““There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Likewise, Obama’s own grand mother said she feared black men.

    That said, as a woman, I personally feel that I am color blind. I see every man, when I am alone, day or night, as a possible Zodiac killer or Ted Bundy. Black or white – all men. It’s how I protect myself. Most women I know agree with that premise.

    And with all the road rage, if a person feels safer carrying a weapon, let them get their permit to carry.

    Lastly, I got pulled in by the media on this case, hook, line and sinker. Then I watched the trial. I was stunned by the defense evidence. I changed my mind about the events and about George Zimmerman.

    The race conversation must continue. But George Zimmerman is not part of that conversation for me.

  45. honestly says:

    No one is a winner in this case. Zimmerman will have to live with fact that he was responsible for taking the life of a teenager. This could have been avoided if he would have listened to the dispatcher. Travons family have suffered a tremendous loss and my prayers for his family. I am just so tired of hearing the racial card being pulled out every where. Get over it. All i have to say is that the person that wrote this article sounds like follwer of Farrakhan.

  46. Jeremy says:

    The title of the article is very proper and says it all.

    Now skin me you Floridians!

  47. Dave says:

    The people demanded George be arrested and tried by his peers and they got just what they wanted but now that Mr George has been cleared of the charges the same people that demanded his arrest are now yelling it was a bad trail , I am sorry people but I do not believe it was a race issue and I am sick and tired of hearing about , what is the sense in taking to the streets ? nothing good is going to come from it and in the end it will only lead to more people being arrested because a lot of these protest are proving to be out of control.

  48. Matt says:

    Everything on here is incredibly biased and gives the readers an obvious view of the side you were on. You capitalize on any situation involving a black to be racist. Lets not forget your article about the man being tased in Bunnell by PD.

  49. Karma says:

    This is what happens when you have a press that insights hatred. Now we have a federal government that’s fueling the fire. (Reid, Holder) Even the President had to inject race in this case very early. If he truly cares about all people of crime, he may want to speak about his hometown. Four people were killed in Chicago including a eight year old child while the Zimmerman jury deliberated. Not a word about any of these tragedies in any MSM outlets. WHY?

  50. E.C.H. says:

    How about this commentary:

    Fomenting racial division can lead to more violence Mr. Steve Robinson.

  51. Al says:

    So why is he so popular now? He sure was not before! Meaning Trayvon… know why? OBUMER He alone Started this whole mess.

    If I had a son….lmao what a joke!

  52. A.S.F. says:

    This has nothing to do with OBAMA (use his given name, why don’t you–He IS the President of the United States and deserves some moldicum of respect, even from his most ignorant detractors.) This whole incident was about the tragedy that results when an immature bully of 30 years of age appoints himself God’s gift to the neighborhood, makes the fatal mistake of thinking he can confront anyone he wishes, whenever he wishes, for whatever reason he wishes, and then reaches for his gun when he finds himself in over his head. You obviously feel no sadness over the fact that an unarmed teenager is dead and that his loved ones will now have to wonder for the rest of THEIR lives what his future might have been if only he hadn’t crossed paths with a misdirected, self-styled (and, unfortunately, armed) man-on-a-mission. What is really disturbing is that there are so many out there who appear to be taking satisfaction in the death of one Black teenager, as though that somehow sets their world to rights. We have evolved to a place where we can elect a President of color because he was the best man for the job–twice! Get over it or find people to run next time who aren’t as totally obnoxious and clueless as the candidates you managed to scrounge up the last time.

    • dlf says:

      You earn respect. it is not given to you because of your position in life, the color of your skin, or how much money you have, Hussein has not earned his yet, if he resigns he may then be respected.

  53. Karma says:

    Hey Steve
    When can we expect to see a story about Antonio Santiago?

  54. Bunnell Resident says:

    Shame on the writer of this article. It is nothing but race baiting. The writer should have used this as an opportunity to reinforce the American Justice system That everyone must be proven guilty and that we should all respect the rule of law. There was no arrest originally in this case because prosecutors knew there was not enough evidence to convict. The prosecution team at trial must have gone to work every day feeling like complete idiots for being forced to prosecute a case they could never win.

  55. BW says:

    This situation is tragic to say the least and for a lot of reasons. The loss of a life at 17 years old. The loss of another’s freedom and the tragedy he must live with for the rest of his life. The loss of trust in one another and more division in our society.

    But it’s more than that. It’s also tragic because violence continues to escalate in our country. Respect for one another is at an all-time low. And a sense of life being sacred is disappearing right before our eyes. Yet very few care.

    People are frustrated. No one should have to be concerned of homes being broken into. Many of the break-ins in our community here are by young people. And I will be honest with you, when I see any teenager walking our streets in my neighborhood at night I’m slowing down too and watching them getting as much detail as possible and watching where they go.

    I don’t think this situation was as much about race as people would like it to be. They want to be lazy and not think further and delve into the real truths that are front of them. They want laws to protect them when it works for the outcome they’d like to have, but they don’t want those same laws to be fair for others or situations they are opposed to. George Zimmerman had every right to question a suspicious looking person walking around at night in a neighborhood that has been plagued with break-ins. He has a right (unfortunately) to carry a firearm and unfortunately felt as though he should (and many others do to in this day and age). What happened next with that encounter only 2 people actually know and one is dead. I don’t think that encounter should have ended in such violence but it did and one can deduce that the conversation and actions on both sides was filled with pride and “manning up”. Just imagine what that outcome could have been had respect and decency for one another been there.

    This wasn’t about race. This about a society that is losing fundamental values every day and we’re too lazy to truly own up to that. People can protest and call for further lawsuits galore, but at the end of the day nothing has been solved and no progress will have been made. If anything we will have gone backwards. We will not solve anything in this country until we admit the problem is our lack of respect for life. That’s what all other problems stem from, and if you can’t see that you’re blind. As blind and lazy as the person who simply thinks this situation was because of race.

  56. RG says:

    The biggest mistake in this whole incident was the failure of the police operator to keep GZ on the phone till police got there and in contact with GZ.

  57. dlf says:

    While the Zimmerman trail was taking place, 54 people were shot in Chicago and 14 died. None of them were Obama’s sons, at least that we know of. He was a community organizer in the Chicago area, so it could be possible. Where were all of you Travon fans when this was going on, oh I forgot it was in most cases black on black and no one cares about that kind of crime.

    • A.S.F. says:

      The Chicago card again…A new (and even more ridiculous) ploy to smear President Obama while whining about how everyone else besides you, and your Tea Party buddies, is guilty of race-baiting. Your prejudices couldn’t be more apparent if you were wearing them plastered on a tee-shirt while walking up and down Palm Coast Parkway with a bull-horn accusing Liberals of being guilty of anything and everything that might be pissing you off today, including the weather.

  58. RG says:

    To: A.S.F.

    Dont jump to conclusions as to some ones comment as to thier race. Not all dark skinned people are jumping on the Trayvon is an innocent little boy syndrom. Every criminal case is unique in its own way and to piggy back this case onto other civil rights cases is ignorant. Their are thousands of people in prison that made bad choices and many repeated bad choices to end them up doing hard time. My kids are grown now
    and disipline and supervision has not always kept them out of jail and trouble. But they new one thing that there is a price to pay when they broke the law. There is no,its the other guys fault. We all bleed the same when we are cut what ever color we are. Young Tryvon played with fire and got burned. You go ahead and jump on the Civil rights band wagon maybe your right to defend the Black cause of civil rights abuse but your not representing the majority of us the saw it as as a not guilty verdict. You have not been assaulted in such a manner where you had to defend your life or you would not be so quick to judge. violence begets violence and Tryvon started a (physical) fight that cost him his life. Do you really believe that tryvon was was good little boy ok but bad acts sometimes have bad outcomes.

  59. DLF says:

    I don’t understand if Travon was in fear of his life why did he not call 911? He chose instead to talk to that girl,wonder why. From her testimony I would think it was a one sided conversation .

  60. He is what he is says:

    Trayvon was not a child. He was months away from being an adult MAN! There are criminals that have been tried as adults that were The same age as Trayvon. Trayvon was not the cute little baby face 12 year old that the media insists on showing on TV, he was man size. If his real identity had been shown all along, some may have different opinions about this case. “Child’s” should not be smoking dope and be left unsupervised.

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