George Zimmerman may avoid being convicted of murder or any other major criminal charge, but he still did wrong. His defense team did a fairly good job of demonstrating Trayvon Martin also did wrong when he over-reacted to Zimmerman’s stalking behavior by attacking him rather violently; however, Zimmerman is still responsible, because he set in motion the events that lead to the shooting of Martin. Just as a drunk driver is still held responsible for an accident he did not directly cause, yet he could have avoided, Zimmerman is responsible as he continued the pursuit of Martin that made an encounter a near certainty.
Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin any farther by a 911 dispatcher. Zimmerman may have had the right to use his gun to defend himself against an attacks, but Martin also had the right to defend himself against the potential threat the armed Zimmerman presented. In turn, Martin may have been overly aggressive in his response, though he is not here to defend himself and hindsight is 20/20, yet Zimmerman overstepped his boundaries when he failed to yield to the commands of the dispatcher.
Looking at a less emotionally charged example, consider some guy in need of a car repair who does not want to pay a professional or does not have the money at the time. He goes to a home mechanic who he knows will do a good job, needs the money, and is easily manipulated into taking next to nothing, because he believes everyone is poor like him. The guy also knows the mechanic often takes a long time to get things because he works at his leisure, which is a wrong on his behalf though it also likely passive-aggressive way of dealing with people who have ripped him off in the past or some other dysfunction, and he does not have a properly equipped garage. When the work is finished, the guy hands the mechanic a pitiful amount like five to twenty dollars in total; he and others do this multiple times.
Later accused of exploiting the foolish mechanic by others, the guy legitimizes his underpayment by claiming he did not have the money at the time or brings up the fact that it took the mechanic too long to get the job done. The proper course of action would have been to pay the mechanic a fair sum, which could have been smaller yet comparable to a professional, like half, or made payments, which is a big favor, instead of a lump sum then explain to the mechanic that he could expect future work only if he would get things done in a more timely manner. (Incidentally, a good way of identifying swindlers is by such persons’ impulse to deny any form of personal responsibility in order to avoid financial liability and a tendency to interpret the actions of others as an attempt to rip them off. Also, they will never give an upfront estimate for work they want done or will do, i.e. avoid details.) Moreover, the guy in need of the repair was in the wrong and did exploit the mechanic, because he was aware and used the mechanic’s dysfunctional behavior to get his work done for next to nothing.
Similarly, Zimmerman was aware that his actions could result in a violent encounter and failed to act cautiously, i.e. he created potential hazards to his person and the general public. Quite frankly, both liberals and conservatives on the national level misused this incident to push agendas focused on racial profiling and Second Amendment freedoms. The shooting is an issue for the families and the local community. The only reason this case should have received national attention is if racial profiling lead to an injustice or public safety was so being undermined by local and state laws. As such, the attention of public officials and media outlets should revolve around the need to address serious loopholes in public safety laws as a strong case for racially motivated negligence on behalf of the police has not been thoroughly demonstrated. The Law should ensure people like Zimmerman are liable for failing to obey the commands of 911 dispatchers and the so-called stand-your-ground self-defense laws should not protect the right of individuals engaged in criminal activities to defend themselves when their criminal activities resulted in the need for self-defense. Moreover, the Trayvon Martin incident is about a failure of government to write the best public safety laws possible and a man who killed a teenager, because he made a series or errors in judgment.
*It has been pointed out to me that it seems as though I am suggesting Florida law holds individuals legally responsible for failing to obey the orders of 911 dispatchers. I am not. I am simply expressing my opinion that the Law SHOULD hold Zimmerman legally responsible for his failure to obey the dispatcher's instructions. Prosecutors may have options in charging people like George Zimmerman for causing public safety hazards, but there should be more direct laws giving 911 dispatchers a well-defined authority to issue legally binding orders in similar situations. I apologize for the confusion.
Read old posts