Wake Up Conservatives! Zimmerman Case Not About Legitimate Self-Defense

The concept of legitimate self-defense has been turned on its head and is now a caricature of itself.  In the Zimmerman case, it has morphed into the kind of lawlessness conservatives used to decry.

“…And if I die in Raleigh at least I will die free…”
-Old Crow Medicine Show 

A black teenager, Trayvon Martin, is accosted while walking home.  He is guilty of no crime, suspected of no crime. He has every reason to be where he is.  He does, however, look “suspicious” to a mania-driven neighborhood “watchman” with a Rambo fantasy. (What exactly looked “suspicious” was never explained.)   This gun-toting Good Neighbor, George Zimmerman, has decided there will be a confrontation if he has to instigate it himself.   Zimmerman stalks the teen for ten minutes—in a car and then on foot—and shoots him square in the chest when Martin finally reacts. The killer is hailed a hero, the teen is relegated to the ranks of all the other “suspicious” black men we are lucky to be rid of.   No harm, no foul.
What about the good-hearted neighbor with such benevolent purity of intention?  His history reveals a credible accusation by a relative of sexual abuse; documented domestic violence with an ex-fiancee; and documented harassment and racist taunts toward a former co-worker who was so happy when Zimmerman left his job he threw a party. Zimmerman also has a record of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.  We are asked to believe that a man of such demonstrably low character would then make the judicious decision that it was necessary to kill an unarmed teenager because of an  “imminent threat.”  It  doesn’t pass the smell test.    
The concept of legitimate self-defense has been turned on its head and is now a caricature of itself.  In the Zimmerman case, it has morphed into the kind of lawlessness conservatives used to decry.  This new paradigm permits one individual to forcibly engage another in a public venue—to restrain, intimidate, and harass him—until a physical altercation finally occurs and it becomes “necessary” to kill. This new paradigm manifestly declares,”You are not free.  You must assent–or prove why you shouldn’t.”  Failure to comply is now a reason to be killed. 
Anyone who professes to care about freedom should be mightily disturbed.  Every presumption in this case was given to one side.  Every benefit of the doubt was given to one man-the man throwing his weight around, the one intent on inciting a confrontation, the man who believed his superior status justified his aggression.  Why?  Because his omniscience told him another free citizen looked “suspicious.”  
In the Zimmerman school of constitutional law, looking “suspicious” is reason to suspend probably cause and get straight to the business of detaining another human being by force, just because you feel like it.  You don’t even have to be a cop.  And God forbid the person being harassed should react in any significant way.  It may be the last thing he ever does.     
Trayvon Martin himself was operating under a faulty presumption: that he had the same rights as any other law-abiding citizen.  That he had the right to keep walking, to direct his own movement, to determine his own associations.   That he had the right to defend his personal space against hostile intrusion. That he had autonomy over his own person, the right to refuse communication with an unidentified stranger without having to explain himself.  That he had the autonomy we’re supposed to grant even tall, black teenagers wearing hoodies, or tattoed counterculturists with eight earrings in one ear, or anti-social old men in dirty shirts who just want to be left alone.  He was wrong.     


George Zimmerman is not behind bars, but he will never be free.  Poetic justice for a man who, in his colossal hubris, appointed himself the last and final arbiter of another man’s liberties. 
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5 comments to Wake Up Conservatives! Zimmerman Case Not About Legitimate Self-Defense

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the facts of the case have shown to be the exact opposite of what the writer of this article argues. Trayvon Martin was not accosted by Zimmerman; he lay in wait for him and attacked out of the darkness. The FBI was not able to pursue a hate crimes charge against Zimmerman because of the preponderance of evidence that he was not a racist. Trayvon was not killed by a “stand your ground” law. He was not a victim of vigilanteism. He was killed by his own hatred and homophobia, when he profiled a Peruvian and decided to mete out his own brand of vigilante justice…gay-bashing.

  • Anonymous

    What a joke your commentary is. First of all, Zimmerman’s past record is by no means completely negative. You cherrypick a couple of incidents, but ignore the many good aspects of his character. I’m not saying either are dispositive, but your approach in this regard is a joke.

    You also claim to know Martin’s motives. In fact, he went to the store to buy the making for “purple drank” – skittles and watermelon flavored drink combined with DMX or Codeine if he could get his hands on it. As well, Zimmerman’s attention was drawn not because Martin was just walking along but rather because he was lurking about, seeming to look in windows. You also ignore that it’s now a proved fact that Martin was previously apprehended by the police with jewelry stolen from the neighborhood. So her failure to accept facts not in dispute and then Zimmerman’s claimed reason for keeping an eye on Martin reveal a real hostility finding truth here.

    Last. Physical and eyewitness testimony support Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. Contrary to what she seems to want to imply, there is no evidence Zimmerman instigated a physical conflict – none. He also does not invite assault by following someone or asking them a question in a public place.

    I could go on, but really, if you are going to preach to us, sweetheart, you really need to do better than this dreck.

  • Anonymous

    As if the above comments weren’t enough, there is nothing to prove the allegation that Zimmerman sought to detain Martin. Rather, maintaining surveillance was all that can be said of him. What’s more, there is no evidence that Zimmerman even had the opportunity to speak first to Martin when they did come face to face, let alone question Martin in any way. Indeed, there is no evidence, only speculation by some, that Zimmerman was guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who believes this article should watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrp8A2x2oN4

  • Patrick Mulligan

    “This new paradigm permits one individual to forcibly engage another in a public venue—to restrain, intimidate, and harass him”

    If this was actually the case, this might be a worthwhile commentary. Since no facts were ever shown at trial, or at any other time, that support any of those assertions, it’s an irrational diatribe.

    Attempts at character assassination do not negate the presumption of innocence in our justice system, nor do they say anything about the actual facts of what happened during the incidence in question.

    Although it’s not worth even addressing because of its utter irrelevance, Zimmerman also publicly called for the resignation of the police chief over the failure to investigate and prosecute the white child of an officer who killed a homeless black man, tutored black children, and whose black friends testified on his behalf during trial. So the race hustling crap is, at the very least, very selective and one dimensional.

    This site has become a joke anymore.

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