Enough of the tut-tutting on Zimmerman
One annoying thing that keeps popping up in the conservative commentary is the "now, to be sure Zimmerman is no angel" meme. I shall cite but two examples of this, though I've seen more. The first is by National Review commentator John O'Sullivan, who, in an article commenting on President Obama's ostensibly impromptu July 19 homily on why blacks are so incensed over the verdict, cautioned, after excoriating the media for "journalistic sloppiness leading to a false picture of reality," that "That is not to say that Zimmerman was guilty of nothing. His overzealous amateur sleuthing set in train a series of reactions that led to Martin's death."
In the second, while taking to task those who are making a "scapegoat" of the erstwhile neighborhood watch captain, the Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto tut-tuts that:
"Zimmerman is not without sin. The facts of the case seem consistent with the view that he was an overzealous wannabe cop, and it seems to us that he exercised poor judgment in following Martin after the 911 dispatcher urged him not to. There is no denying that the results were tragic. And even if the shooting was justified by self-defense -- the jury verdict affirms only that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not -- Martin did not deserve to die. While private citizens have a right to the defensive use of force, its punitive use is rightly left to the state."
Biased as only a white survivor of a bloody beating during a home-invasion robbery by two young black men can be, I feel that in the main, Zimmerman's defenders are doing a creditable job of refuting those who want him shoved into a federal slammer on snivel-rights charges.
Knocking Zimmerman for his supposed "overzealousness" ignores the fact that he was doing a job he had volunteered to do: supporting law enforcement by serving as a neighborhood watch captain. His community had experienced a rash of property crime that prompted, according to a report in The Daily Beast, his neighbors' "decision last September to start a neighborhood-watch organization, which was initiated by Zimmerman himself. The burglary of Olivia Bertalan's home was just one of at least eight reported over the previous 14 months-several of which, neighbors said, involved young black men."Slagging his efforts as "amateur sleuthing" is like calling an attempt to extinguish a home fire with a garden hose "amateur firefighting."
As to the "series of reactions" it "set in train," at whose door may most of those reactions be laid -- principally, the decision to initiate physical violence in the first place? On no one other than Trayvon Martin. As Jack Cashill noted in a recent American Thinker piece,
"Martin was not the innocent little boy that the media relentlessly and corruptly portrayed him to be. At the time of his death, he was five feet, eleven inches and weighed 158 pounds. To put this in perspective, legendary boxer Tommy 'The Hitman' Hearnes was six feet, one inch and 145 pounds when he first won the world welterweight title as a twenty-one-year-old." And text messages recovered from Martin's cell phone reveal that he was a habitual, enthusiastic, and sadistic brawler. About one defeated opponent, he texted, 'im not done with fool..... he gone hav 2 see me again ... he aint breed nuff 4 me, only his nose.'"
This is who, according to Zimmerman's account as recorded in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement interview with one of his neighbors, got into the watch captain's face and said, " 'Do you have a problem, Mother Fucker?' Zimmerman said he responded, 'No, I don't have a problem.' Martin then allegedly said, 'You do now,' and struck Zimmerman in the face. Zimmerman reported seeing 'stars,' and 'fell back first onto his butt and then on to his back.' As he struggled on the ground with Martin, the teenager ... sat atop Zimmerman in the 'mounted position' and punched the neighborhood watch captain in the face and head and slammed his head on the pavement.'"
The pictures of Zimmerman's injuries, which may be seen here, bear out his account of the ordeal he was undergoing and indicate that, contrary to Taranto's assertion, Martin did deserve the fatal blow he was dealt -- because the latter was in the process of killing the former. Martin had completely subdued Zimmerman, but not satisfied with his thuggish triumph ("he aint breed nuff4 me"), he jumped on his hapless victim and subjected his head to blunt-force trauma with deadly weapons: to wit, his fists and the hard concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman endured nearly a minute of this before he acted. His shot was not "punitive," but preventive. He was quite reasonably convinced that his death was at hand.
He was being murdered -- and he stopped it.
These refined gentlemen in their comfortable offices need to cease their unwarranted criticism of an innocent man who has already been through too much - and who is sure to go through more. They're simply echoing the calumny of lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, who in his closing statement declared that Zimmerman "[has] got a gun, he has the equalizer, he's gonna take care of it, he's a wannabe cop."
Wrong. George Zimmerman was an ordinary citizen trying to perform a service to a community with a crime problem.