I was not going to address the George Zimmerman trial on this blog, until I was forwarded this essay from “Mormon Iconoclast.” The post gets almost everything important wrong, but I think it is instructive because it explains a lot about modern culture and why we have so many problems in the world. Bottom line: a lot of smart people, including the author of this post, are simply incapable of logic and critical thinking, and it is truly a sad thing to behold.
Let’s start, however, with a two things that the author, by accident apparently, gets right. He agrees that the verdict was correct, ie that George Zimmerman was not guilty. So, even a post as bad as this one can get that basic point right. And he points out that Zimmerman’s actions, i.e. killing another man, will cause the person doing the killing a lot of grief. Again, this is true and fairly obvious. Zimmerman will be a marked man the rest of his life.
Let’s go through the Mormon Iconoclast post point by point looking at actual facts and evidence, as opposed to the emotional blather we get in the post.
The author starts out with the point that a person getting a concealed carry weapon permit must not act aggressively. The author has already shown his cards in a way that does not reflect the facts of the case. His point is: George Zimmerman acted aggressively when he should not have! Only one problem: there is zero evidence of this. Absolutely none.
It is true that people with a concealed carry permit must be aware of the power of the weapon they have. The evidence indicates that George Zimmerman was extremely aware of this power. In fact, he was so aware of this power that he did not pull out his gun until there was a strong young man on top of him beating his head into the cement and threatening to kill him. Zimmerman testified that Martin reached for the gun and it was then, at that moment, that as a last resort to protect himself from death, that Zimmerman pulled out the gun and shot. It was the prosecution’s witness who testified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman in an MMA position, raining blows on him. So, the evidence is, contrary to the post on Mormon Iconoclast, that Zimmerman showed extreme restraint and *acted exactly as a person should act who has a concealed carry permit.*
We can see from the very beginning of the post that the author’s presumptions — that Zimmerman was somehow the aggressor — are simply factually incorrect.
Let’s take a step back and discuss for a second the whole concept of self-defense when it comes to carrying a weapon. Why would somebody have a concealed carry permit in the first place? Guns are the great equalizer. A smaller, weaker victim can defend himself or herself with a gun against a stronger, larger or more skilled opponent. In addition, a gun can help save your life if somebody attacks you with a knife or with another gun. It is true that in concealed carry classes you are drilled to show extreme restraint, and this is exactly right. You are only to use the gun if you are attacked and your life is in danger. But if that happens, you have the right to pull out the gun and shoot.
The concept of self-defense is central to this case. Either Zimmerman acted in self-defense or he did not. Either he was being beaten and threatened by a more skilled and stronger opponent or he was not. And all of the evidence indicates that he did act in self-defense and that he was being severely beaten by a more skilled and stronger opponent.
Check out this video and report from ABC on Zimmerman’s head injuries:
Zimmerman’s face was also bloody, and Trayvon Martin’s fists were bloody and bruised in ways consistent with beating up somebody else. But this is not all. The jury was not allowed to see the texts in Martin’s phone, but they have been released. In his phone, we see several texts referring to Martin as a great fighter. In fact, Martin’s older half-brother asks the 17-year-old to give him fighting lessons. Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s martial arts instructor said he was soft and a very poor fighter.
So, the evidence clearly indicates that we have an encounter between an aggressive, troubled young man who is a good fighter against a soft man who is a poor fighter. This is exactly the kind of scenario where the soft man would be expected to use a gun if his life is in danger.
We do not know exactly what happened when Martin followed Zimmerman. But, based on the evidence, it is logical to assume 1)Zimmerman did not punch first and 2)Martin did not know Zimmerman had a gun until the end of the battle. Zimmerman testified that Martin attacked first and that he was held on the ground and was being pummeled. He said Martin then saw the gun, which was under Zimmerman’s shirt, and he reached for it. Zimmerman testified that he was choking on the blood from his bleeding nose and that Martin was pounding his head into the sidewalk. It was at this moment, when he feared for his life, that Zimmerman pulled out the gun and shot.
This is as clear-cut a case of self-defense as you can imagine.
Here is what the Mormon Iconoclast says about Zimmerman’s actions:
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch guy, and he saw Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, walking down the street. He called 9-1-1, and was told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away. Instead, he followed Martin in his car. Got out of his car, confronted Martin, which led to an argument,which led to a fight, which led to a gun being fired and Martin’s death.
This paragraph is filled with factual errors.
1)Zimmerman was not “told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away.” Zimmerman was told: “We don’t need you to do that” by a police dispatcher, ie you do not have to follow Martin. In addition to getting the words wrong, the author completely misses the point of the dispatcher’s advice. Dispatchers are worried about liability. Then can never tell people to act, even in the most extreme circumstances, because if they do the police may be sued. So they are trained to tell people to let the police handle things. But the police took 15 minutes or more to get to the scene. There are literally thousands of recorded cases where people call 911 and are told not to do anything and still act in self-defense and are justified. Police records are filled with women who are told to run away, to hide, not to act, but who use their own initiative to protect themselves and their families and end up shooting home invaders. And the police almost always agree that the people involved know more than the dispatchers and that they can and should act in self-defense if necessary. In addition, when did people become drones who always obey orders from some government overlord over the phone? In a free society, a policeman who is not there cannot and should not be expected to give orders to somebody who is actually there. Situations change and become fluid. A police dispatcher who has limited information is not the ultimate arbiter of your safety and the safety of those around you. You are. So, the claim that Zimmerman should not have acted because the police told him not to is illogical and irrelevant to the final disposition of the case.
2)There is zero evidence — none, zilch, nada — that Zimmerman got out of his car and confronted Martin. The Mormon Iconoclast simply made this up. It is factually untrue, and he should correct this forthwith. Even the prosecution never claimed this. Zimmerman said he was looking for an address and he was attacked by Martin who was hiding in the bushes. There is no other evidence to contradict this claim. (It is of course possible that things went down differently than Zimmerman claims, but the point is there is simply no evidence that Zimmerman confronted Martin.)
3)There are no laws against following other people. Sorry, there are not. You can follow somebody else on public property, which is what Zimmerman did. You have freedom of movement. You cannot follow somebody onto private property, but Zimmerman did not do this. Following somebody is not necessarily aggressive. Private detectives are hired all the time to follow other people around. You may not like being followed, but the solution is not to go and attack the guy who is following you. It is to go to private property (like the house where Martin was staying) and if the person following you continues to follow you, you should call the police. Martin did not do this. All of the evidence indicates (based on the jury verdict and the comments by one juror so far) that Martin confronted Zimmerman and was the aggressor in the fight. So, there is a person who is culpable in this case, and it is not Zimmerman.
We constantly hear that Zimmerman was stupid for following Martin. No, he acted as a neighborhood watch person should act. He called 911 and followed a person whom he found suspicious. I find his actions eminently reasonable. We never hear how stupid Martin was. Why didn’t he calmly talk to Zimmerman and tell him, “look, my friend, I am staying right over there.” If he had done this, there never would have been a confrontation of any kind. I am continually surprised that nobody seems to consider that attacking somebody who is following you is not the best way to avoid confrontation.
The rest of Mormon Iconoclast’s post is based on the faulty logic and factual inaccuracies presented in 1-3 above. If we change the assumptions based on the actual evidence, the rest of his post falls to pieces.
His claims that Zimmerman was wrong in steps A through D are nonsensical and counterfactual.
Mormon Iconoclast also makes what I will call a “typical liberal” logical fallacy when he brings race into the picture. He claims that Zimmerman profiled Martin because he was “The Other,” i.e. Black. In fact, what Zimmerman saw was a person whom he didn’t know walking around the neighborhood acting strangely. Martin was high at the time. We don’t know exactly how he was acting, but Zimmerman said several times in the 911 call that he was acting strangely. Excuse me, Mormon Iconoclast, but do you not know that people who are high on drugs often commit crimes so they can get more drugs?
But the Mormon Iconoclast becomes even more irrational when just a few sentences later he backtracks and says well perhaps it was not because he was Black. Perhaps Zimmerman would have acted just as badly if he had seen a white guy with tattoos walking around. The point being that Mormon Iconoclast is saying, with typical liberal illogic, that Zimmerman is just not “tolerant.” He doesn’t like people who look different. Excuse me, Mormon Iconoclast, but do you not know that Zimmerman came from a mixed-race family, lived in a fairly integrated neighborhood (20 percent black) and showed no evidence of racism? Sorry, this case does not fit your typical liberal biases.
In summary, this post by Mormon Iconoclast is one of the most illogical, factually inaccurate and frankly repugnant pieces of writing I have read in a long, long time. The fact that it was written by a fairly smart person is alarming to me. And the fact that some people whom I respect found it worth posting on Facebook is frankly appalling. But it does explain a lot about the general state of society around us and why we have the government we currently have. So there is that.