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Kathleen Parker: In many ways, Zimmerman trial forces us to face our own biases

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 25, 2013 6:05 a.m.

    What I see here, MOST LIKELY, would have been a routine "confrontation" between two people, EXCEPT that one had a gun.

    Had Martin had the gun instead of Zimmerman, the tables most likely would have been turned.

    Yes, guns can protect people and often do. But, had there been no gun, we may have had a fistfight, but no one in the morgue.

    Does anyone think that if Zimmerman was a trained, uniformed police officer that this would be an issue?

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 25, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    This case is nothing more than political correctness run amuck. Has anyone seen the photos of Zimmerman's face? You know, the one taken by the police that shows him all bloodied up? As a former cop, I was justified in using deadly force against an unarmed suspect if I was in danger of being overpowered and if I was in danger of death or serious bodily injury. If Zimmerman was being overpowered by Martin, as is evidenced by the photos, then according to Florida law he was justified in using deadly force.

    If a cop can shoot in these circumstances, then why not a civilian?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 25, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    "If a cop can shoot in these circumstances, then why not a civilian?"

    Who do you believe felt more threatened? Martin was minding his own business, walking down the street talking on his cell phone. He was doing nothing wrong.

    He was then followed by someone he didn't know who initiated contact.

    We do not know how it got physical, and that is a key issue, but Zimmerman was obviously the one who pursued Martin and initiated the confrontation.

    So, if I pick a fight with someone who gets the better of me, I can then shoot them?

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    June 25, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    @Mainly Me --

    "If a cop can shoot in these circumstances, then why not a civilian?"

    A cop wouldn't have been in those circumstances. That's what police training is for.

    Zimmerman is just a cop-wannabe who saw an opportunity to make himself into a hero.

    If Martin had had the gun instead of Zimmerman, there wouldn't have been an altercation in the first place. Martin had absolutely zero interest in Zimmerman. Martin was on his way home, minding his own business, until Zimmerman accosted him.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    June 25, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    "This case is nothing more than political correctness run amuck. Has anyone seen the photos of Zimmerman's face? You know, the one taken by the police that shows him all bloodied up?"

    What was Zimmerman even doing so close to Martin in the first place? Martin wasn't doing anything other than minding his own business.

    You can't stalk someone, get all up in their face, start a fight with them, get your rear handed to you, and then kill them with a gun, and then claim self defense.

    That's not how it works.

    I doubt the prosecution has enough for murder... But I'm pretty confident we will get Zimmerman for manslaughter. And thank goodness too. That poor boy should be alive today.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 25, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    It's hard to claim stand your ground when you initiated the hostility in the first place.

    This whole tragedy could have been avoided if he had simly listened to the dispatcher and not persued.

    A 17 year old kid who was minding his own business sees a guy with a gun in a confrontational mood. Fight or flight kicks in. He chose fight.

    The only self defense was the kid who ended up dead. Not the man who initiated and escalated it.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    It was not illegal for Zimmerman to watch/follow him. He had every right to do so against someone that looked suspicious. It turns out that suspicious person as a known drug abuser and had been kicked out of school for drugs.

    I too would be worried about drug users walking around my neighborhood.

    Treyvon attacked him instead of just walking home, as there was plenty of time to do.

    Zimmerman protected himself appropriately after Treyvon jumped on him and attacked him.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    June 25, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    This would never have been filed if it hadn't been so politicized. No way to prove Zimmerman did a thing wrong beyond a reasonable doubt.

    This is the state where a jury found reasonable doubt in a slam dunk case against Casey Anthony.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 25, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    @Chris B
    So if someone is following you as you walk home from a store that wouldn't make you suspicious or nervous at all? What if someone confronted you, while you were walking home, doing nothing illegal, that wouldn't make you nervous either? If someone was following you, confronted you, then left, then came back holding a gun wouldn't that make you really nervous? I know I would be scared, on edge and it would be very possible i'd go after them to try and get away.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    June 25, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    @Noodle,

    If I thought someone with a gun was following me and I had ample time to go to my house and lock the door, that is what I would do. Additionally, if I had a cell phone(as this known drug user did) I would have called the police.

    Instead, he hid in a dark corner and waited(instead of going home and/or calling police) and jumped and attacked Zimmerman.

    I applaud Zimmerman for looking out for his community. It is sad he lost his life, but anytime a known drug user is off the streets, its not entirely a bad thing.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    June 25, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    @Chris B --

    "He had every right to do so against someone that looked suspicious."

    "Looked suspicious"??

    The only thing that "looked suspicious" about Martin is that he was Walking While Black.

    "I too would be worried about drug users walking around my neighborhood."

    Zimmerman had no idea of Martin's background. And marijuana usage is not given the death penalty. This wasn't even crack or heroine -- just pot.

    And incidentally -- pot makes people LESS aggressive, not more. ;-)

    Also, according to the coroner's report, his blood level of pot was "so low as to almost certainly not be connected to recent intoxication." -- despite Zimmerman's claim that Martin was on drugs at the time of their encounter.

    "Treyvon attacked him instead of just walking home"

    Trayvon was stalked by a man with a gun. He was most certainly not the instigator here.

    Zimmerman was known to be a racist bully who "was fired for calling HR hotline so many times...he would complain about each and every manager and employee". He chronically called police to report ridiculous things like open garage doors.

    Zimmerman was out looking for trouble -- and when he couldn't find any, he created it himself.

  • UT Brit London, England
    June 25, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    @Christopher B

    "but anytime a known drug user is off the streets"

    So smoking weed should be an automatic death sentence? What about those abusing prescription drugs? I think you just condemned the majority of the US to death.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    June 25, 2013 2:47 p.m.

    What did Zimmerman do when he thought something was wrong?

    Called police

    What did Treyvon do IF he thought something was wrong?

    Hid and waited to attack.

    Treyvon had a cell phone with him.

    He easily could have called police.

    He did not

    Interesting.

    He easily could have gone home after first noticing Zimmerman.

    He did not

    Interesting

    He chose to attack him instead.

    I applaud Zimmerman for looking out for his community, calling police when seeing someone suspicious(turns out intuition was correct, known drug user), and for protecting himself appropriately when attacked.

    Its sad Treyvon chose not to call police

    Its sad Treyvon chose to wait and attack Zimmerman instead of going home, and again calling police.

    Zimmerman did the right thing.

    Treyvon did not

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 25, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    @Chris

    Additionally, if I had a cell phone(as this known drug user did) I would have called the police...It is sad he lost his life, but anytime a known drug user is off the streets, its not entirely a bad thing.

    =================

    Wow...just wow.

    The kid used marijuana. I bet, that there are more kids his age that have at least tried marijuana than have not. Even if it were otherwise, marijuana use does not deserve a death penalty.

    You also sound as if Zimmerman was fully aware of this kids history. What you are proposing is similar to the government coming to yuor home without cause, going through your stuff finding an article of contraband and saying "Good thing we checked"

    Justification after the fact just doesn't work.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    1. Antagonize a kid.
    2. Kid thinks he has to defend himself and does so.
    3. Shoot the kid in order to defend yourself from kid you antagonized.

    Does it seem smart to give anyone the ability to get in a hostile confrontation with someone and then as soon as the person reacts back give both people the right to kill the other in self-defense based on stand your ground?

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    June 25, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    @Chris --

    "What did Treyvon do IF he thought something was wrong?

    Hid and waited to attack."

    Your attempted rewrite of history is really amazing.

    In reality, Trayvon was apparently ON the phone at the time of the attack.

    The person who was on the phone with him has submitted written testimony that Trayvon called out "why are you following me?" just before there was the sound of a crash, and the line went dead.

    Trayvon didn't have TIME to call police, much less have time to hide as you have claimed.

    "I applaud Zimmerman for looking out for his community, calling police when seeing someone suspicious(turns out intuition was correct, known drug user), and for protecting himself appropriately when attacked."

    A pot smoker is not a danger to society, Chris, no matter how much hysteria you might try to spread. Smoking pot only makes you a danger to potato chips -- not to a neighborhood watch.

    And also notice that, though Zimmerman did call police, he then proceeded to ignore what they told him. He was specifically told that the police did NOT want him to follow Martin -- but he did anyway.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 25, 2013 3:40 p.m.

    I hope we're not going to attempt to try this case in comments to the opinion section of a Utah news paper. We get all together too much of that judge and jury in the Opinion section as it is.

    Fact is... none of us know what was going on in either man's mind, or every detail and motivation leading up to what ultimately happened (in any objective detail). We only know what the News has released, and that is usually presented in as salacious a manner as possible (to sells papers).

    We don't need to judge him here in the Opinion section. Let's let the jury do that.

    We don't have all the evidence, but we obviously have PLENTY of prejudice (one side or the other). Let's wait and see what the court decides. That's all that matters anyway isn't it? I mean we are still a country based on the "rule of law" (not a country ruled by mobs stoked up on racial tension a case like this will provide).

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    June 25, 2013 4:03 p.m.

    amzonte,

    Yes Treyvon was ON(good job on emphasis, although your point falls flat) the phone. Meaning it was more than accessible to call the police.

    Or are you suggesting that since he was talking to someone else it would have been impossible to end that conversation and call police?

    He could have been ON the line with police in seconds.

    He chose not to.

    It may have taken 10 seconds.

    Again, treyvon chose NOT to call police. Zimmerman did the right thing and did

    "He was specifically told that the police did NOT want him to follow Martin -- but he did anyway."

    IN typical liberal fashion we have statements that are at best disingenuous, falsehoods more likely.

    The exact words from the dispatcher were when asked if he was following this kid were "We don't need you to do that"

    Far cry from "specifically told NOT to follow" which again is a lie.

    Zimmerman was simply told he didn't NEED to.

    NEVER was he told DONT.

    It was his legal RIGHT to follow

    His legal RIGHT to CARRY

    And his legal RIGHT to PROTECT

    Good job Zimmerman! Way to protect yourself!

  • thatthatguy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 25, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    I really don't see how this had to turn into a confrontation. A better scenario would have been:

    [SCENE 1]
    *We see George Zimmerman on neighborhood watch in the cab of his vehicle, when he sees an unfamiliar figure wandering down the street. According to neighborhood watch procedure, he calls the police. Not assured by the response he's gotten from the police dispatch, Zimmerman decides to take the law into his own hands...*

    Zimmerman: Excuse me, I'm [name] with the neighborhood watch. Do you live around here?

    Martin: My dad's house is right down there. Why are you following me?

    Zimmerman: There have been reports of prowlers in the area, and I just want to make sure you get home safe. Can I offer you a ride?

    Martin: No, I'd rather walk.

    Zimmerman: Have a good evening.

    Martin: Thanks.

    *Zimmerman makes a note of the time, location, and description of the young man he met.*

    [END SCENE]

    So, what went wrong?

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    Zimmerman will go to prison because of a lack of common sense on his part. Those who defend him do so only because they worship at the alter of The Gun. Anyone who defends his actions show they do not have enough common sense to carry a gun. He was in no danger, he initiated the confrontation. And the only one who is saying the kid attacked him is Zimmerman. We can't ask the kid because he is dead.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 25, 2013 7:46 p.m.

    This is pathetic! Anyone who is quick to rush to judgment against Zimmerman needs to take a deep breath and change the channel from MSNBC, CNN and watch a Disney movie.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    June 26, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    @Christopher B --

    "Meaning it was more than accessible to call the police."

    Meaning that it was pretty obvious from the words he said that he didn't actually have *time* to call police.

    "The exact words from the dispatcher were when asked if he was following this kid were "We don't need you to do that""

    That is correct.

    Now, go to your dictionary and look up the meaning of the word "need".

    "Far cry from "specifically told NOT to follow" which again is a lie."

    Good thing I didn't say that, then. :-)

    In any case, "thatthatguy" is correct. There was no need to turn anything into a confrontation. Zimmerman did that.

    I'm confident that Zimmerman will be convicted -- I don't know *what* he will be convicted of -- manslaughter, murder 2, whatever -- but it was due to his actions that a young man walking home from a store is now dead. Reckless conduct? I'd have to look up all the legal definitions for Florida laws to have a better idea. But in any case, Zimmerman created his own trouble.

    Now let's see how the case plays out.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    June 26, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    I'm surprised at how many people support vigilantism. It's not entirely surprising though considering the gun fascination and daydream people have of getting to take out a bad guy with their precious guns. Thoughts simply lead to actions.

    We have enough trouble with the 1 or 2 percent of the police force that are deranged and looking for violence, we don't need untrained vigilantes.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    June 26, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    I'm not a lawyer, but from what I'm reading, many of you are "assuming facts which are not yet in evidence." Like, Martin was just minding his own business. May be true, but we don't yet know what the evidence will show. Let's wait for the case to unfold in court before judging either of these guys yet.

    Mainly Me

    I don't watch MSNBC OR CNN, but if those so called news outlets are already taking sides, then shame on them. At least Bill O'Reilly on FOX, and others are waiting before "rushing to judgement."

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 26, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    The only thing I know for sure is... that this whole incident is a tragedy.

    I don't know for sure how much of it was RACIALLY motivated (and neither do any of you). But we know for sure that the end result was a total tragedy for both families.

    But how does putting someone who THOUGHT he was defending his life (even if he got in the situation by less than intelligent actions)... fix the tragedy? It doesn't!

    I think we have all learned something from this tragedy. I don't think Zimmerman would do the same thing if in the same circumstances today (or if he knew how it would turn out back then). I think anybody who has followed this case has learned not to do what Zimmerman did (follow Martin and confront him). If you ask me... that's the ONLY good thing to come out of this tragedy. And putting Zimmerman away for life will not make it any less a tragedy. Maybe just make even MORE tragedy out of a terrible situation.

    You can judge him as a "Murderer" or a "Racist". But the jury will have to decide that.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 27, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    For me it doesn't come down to race or to profiling. It comes down to the fact that Zimmerman's head was knocked repeatedly on the hard concrete. And he has the wounds to prove it. He has a right to defend himself to stop the brutal attack on himself from happening. In other words he had the right to shoot.