Why Trayvon Martin Hit George Zimmerman, In Zimmerman’s Own Words

I don’t know what was worse, George Zimmerman picking Sean Hannity and Fox for his one and only television interview, his lawyer allowing him to do it, or Sean Hannity pretending this was a real interview and not merely an extension of Zimmerman’s legal defense, which, by the way, he appeared to have actually harmed (read the whole thing and you will see).

In any case, despite Hannity’s embarrassing performance, it is fairly easy to see why Trayvon Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman. After calling police and then pursuing Martin (Zimmerman initially said he wasn’t following him and said he only moved “approximately 100 feet” from his car, but even from this interview it is clear he was following him—he eventually tells Hannity he doesn’t regret doing so and then contradicts himself later), Zimmerman made it sound like Martin just materialized right before his eyes and he revealed just why Martin felt the need to punch him:

HANNITY: OK. And so at that point, Trayvon is — all of a sudden you turned around and there he was?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: What happened next?

ZIMMERMAN: He asked me what my problem was.

HANNITY: Expletive problem?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir. And I was wearing a rain jacket, and I had put my cell phone in my jacket pocket, as opposed to my jeans pocket where I normally keep it. And I immediately went to grab my phone to this time call 911 instead of a non-emergency, and when I reached into my pants pocket — because that’s where I keep it out of habit — it wasn’t there, and I was shocked. I looked up and he punched me and broke my nose.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

HANNITY: So he said to you, you have expletive, you have a problem. Those are the exact words used. You remember it?

ZIMMERMAN: “Do you have a problem? What’s your problem?”

HANNITY: What’s your problem.

And you said to him, “I don’t have a problem.”

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: You reached for your phone?

ZIMMERMAN: I reached for it as I was saying, “No, I don’t have a problem.”

HANNITY: And at that point you just got hit?

ZIMMERMAN: He was already within arm’s length from me.

Now imagine Trayvon Martin’s mental state through all this. At one moment he was walking in a place where he clearly belonged, minding his own business, and the next moment this big guy starts following him. At some point, Martin asks this big man what his problem is, which causes the big man to reach into his pocket.

I can only tell you what my reaction would be at that point: I would have done the same thing Trayvon Martin apparently did. I wouldn’t wait to see if it were a gun Zimmerman was reaching for. I would have hit him square in the face and I would quite likely have attempted to disable him in some way. In that sense, it is Trayvon Martin who deserves the benefit of the stand your ground law in Florida, not Zimmerman.

So, it is clear to me from Zimmerman’s own mouth that at the very least he deserves blame for escalating what should have been a non-event into the death of a teenager, if not a conviction for second-degree murder. And it is also clear to me that any normal person would at least have second thoughts about his role in this tragedy. But, incredibly and bizarrely and outrageously, Zimmerman doesn’t:

HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?

ZIMMERMAN: I feel it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it —

HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

God’s plan? Not for him to second guess his own actions? Even those of you out there who think what Zimmerman did was perfectly okay have to concede that a brain that could utter the words above, given what happened to Trayvon Martin, is a sick brain, one in need of some serious rehabilitation.

Now, it is true that later in the interview, after much time had passed, Zimmerman was obviously told by someone, either Hannity or his ought-to-be-fired attorney who was present, that his answer above would not play well with the public or with a potential jury:

HANNITY: I asked you if you wanted to — if you could speak to Trayvon Martin’s family. I asked you if you could speak to even the American public, there’s so many people that have so many opinions that vary so much. You know, if you wanted to look into that camera and tell the American public something about George Zimmerman and about — this case with Trayvon Martin that has gotten such media attention, what would you want to tell them?

ZIMMERMAN: First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Stanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.

I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.

Go back and look at Hannity’s original question. It was clear what he was asking and it remains clear that Zimmerman still doesn’t get it. In his revised answer he states,

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life.

To anyone, even the most ardent Zimmerman supporter, there was plenty he could have done that night to avoid what happened. And the fact that he, and his legion of mostly right-wing supporters including Sean Hannity, won’t simply come out and admit that obvious if disturbing fact, tells us much about the state of their minds and their level of decency as human beings.

7 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  July 19, 2012

    This case is one about crime and punishment, not politics, or at least it should be such. Let the law proceed as the law is required to proceed is my call, an earnest call.

    Anyone charged with a felony is crazy to “go public” in his own defense. That is what lawyers are suppose to do. So why did Zimmerman “go public” on a right wing show. You know as well as I do that motive. It was to raise more money for his defense.

    He certainly would not do so on MSNBC.

    But here comes Duane trying to act as a lawyer or a member of a jury to give us his clear thinking on this matter. I don’t give a damn what Duane or anyone else thinks about this case right now. It is a matter of Law, again, not politics.

    Who exactly politicized the issue? You know who for sure. It was the black community, lead by Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus and even the New Black Panthers seeking vengence, a terrible politcal motive.

    Duane leapt into that political fight from the start and came out of it with some egg on his face. Even above it seems like Martain in FACT “threw the first punch” and Duane does not now dispute that. Rather he now tries to rationalize WHY Martain might have thrown the first punch.

    We know who “followed whom” probably. But we seem to accept now who escalated “following” to actual fighting, placing Zimmerman in fear for his own well being.

    Well that tangled web is for lawyers to argue and juries to decide. Why should we waste our time doing so at this point in time.

    But I guess Duane thinks Zimmerman is already a “cockroach” that just needs “squashing” legal views and decisions be damned. He seems to forget that NO cockroaches get squashed until a jury decides and judges so direct such action.

    Anson

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  2. janice reed

     /  July 19, 2012

    Anson, I have news for you. It is not politics for people in this country to be concerned about whether justice is actually being served by the criminal justice system. It is not as if they have a crystal record of always being fair and just. Nor is it necessary that just because the victim was black, that the country should be polarized by only the black community looking for vengence. Any citizen of ethics and sensitivity should be moved by the sweet youthful face of that victim, knowing he was only 16 years old, unarmed, except for a soft drink and a bag of Skittles and now lay dead in the rain because some idiot, who shouldn’t have, was carrying a gun.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  July 19, 2012

    Well Janice,

    How many unarmed youngsters with “sweet youthful faces” lie dead in gutters in ghettos all over America every day????

    Justice must be blind to skin color and how “sweet” a face might be. Who did what to whom and why did they do it is the course of justice. And such decisions should be made in accordance with a system of justice. Justice is proceeding in the case of Martin and Zimmerman so why not just sit back and let it take its course?

    I have no stake in this “fight” at this point. I did initially when I saw the “black outrage” seemingly trying to circumvent our system of justice. But that has now faded it seems expect when “rants” like this blog come into play again.

    I will not celebrate or morne whatever the outcome in this case. I believe justice will be served appropriately and leave it to the professionals in the system to make such decisions.

    Remember when this first came into the public domanin there were screams for presecution as a hate crime and accusations of “shooting down in cold blood with no provocation”.

    The last time I check “following” someone is not a crime. And now we seem to agree “who threw the first punch”. And there it went to death, rather quickly. NO WAY can I assess guilt or innocence of a crime at this point.

    I have to wait and see how it all turns out. You and Duane have already reached your own personal judgments in this case and at the heart of it, I think you both believe it was all caused by racial differences. “poor little black kid” that in fact was bigger than his assialant and had been kicked out of schools for “slogans” on the wall and other misdeeds reflecting his own racial concerns. But I am not ready to judge either man, yet. I will let the courts do so.

    But I will agree with you and Duane on one point. Zimmerman should not have been legally authorized to carry a gun, period. Nor should any other American citizen be so authorized at least for a hand gun. Only law enforecement authorties should be so authorized. But to achieve “our” goals we must change the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, constitutionally. I will vote for that for sure.

    Anson

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    • Nor should any other American citizen be so authorized at least for a hand gun. Only law enforecement authorties should be so authorized.

      You have this backwards, Anson. Cops are exactly the type of egomaniacs we don’t want carrying loaded weapons around. Of course we don’t want them wearing badges either, and they probably need to be locked up in a sanitarium but all the level-headed people who should be cops would never want to be so we’re kinda stuck with ’em.🙂

      Seriously though, what makes you think the average American citizen can’t be trusted with a firearm?

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      • ansonburlingame

         /  July 20, 2012

        Rawhide,

        This case makes that point rather clearly. As well go back to the AZ shooting. Then go look at the slaughter in our streets on a daily basis it seems, particularly in areas with lots of poor people.

        I have long been an advocate of hand gun control, actually handgun prohibition for anyone other than law enforecement. Look at shooting statistics in places like Japan and Great Britain where guns are essentially outlawed.

        I had the good fortune to meet Sara Brady long ago. Recall her husband was disabled by the hand gun during the Reagan shooting and she launched a major campaign against such weapon in the 1980s. She convinced me then and I remain convinced today.

        That is ONE of the reasons I call myself an independent conservative. I am Pro-choice as well!!!

        Anson

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        • You’re confusing “the average American citizen” with “the common criminal.”, an unfair comparison.

          I’ll raise you one, I’m Pro-abortion!

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  4. oenwepniow

     /  December 15, 2012

    It’s not illegal to follow someone, or call the cops on someone (that particularly seemed to ennrage Martin), nor is it illegal to reach into one’s pocket for a cell phone. Martin didn’t know Z was armed, nor did he have any reason to think that he was, or that that Z was about to draw his weapon. M was angry because Z followed him (or tried to follow, since M seemed to have given him the slip before he doubled back to assault Z) and called the cops. Snitches get stitches, and sometimes thugs get bullet wounds.

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