1. Did racial profiling play a part in the killing of Trayvon Martin?
2. Why did Zimmerman follow Martin?
3. How did the altercation between Martin and Zimmerman start?
4. Was Martin committing a crime?
5. Why did Zimmerman have a gun on him? The more I researched the case, the more I realized there were many points in the story that could have prevented the loss of Trayvon Martin's life. After hearing all the facts, I believe Zimmerman followed Martin based on assumptions (not necessarily of race initially) but on how he was dressed. He profiled Trayvon Martin as a criminal with no basis to go on except Martin was walking in a neighborhood where he felt he didn't belong. As a citizen Martin had every right to walk wherever he pleased.
2nd DEGREE MURDER: "The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to"
This was a tragic shooting initiated by Zimmerman's actions. Morally it was wrong, but according to Florida law was it illegal? I watched the court case and listened to the court case in its entirety. As I was listening to the facts, the number one issue for me revolved around if self-defense is valid when the party pursues an individual. Several things are clear to me from the case...
6. George Zimmerman got out of the car when he was advised not to do so
7. Zimmerman had no just cause to follow Trayvon Martin
8. Zimmerman had a gun yet says he was fearful which doesn't add up
9. Martin and Zimmerman fought after Zimmerman pursued Martin
10. Zimmerman's injuries were not life threatening
11. Martin's DNA was not on the gun
12. Zimmerman's DNA was not on Martin's hands
13. Zimmerman's story is inconsistent
I believe the case for the prosecution fell apart because of the legal parameters of 2nd degree murder. Proving state of mind is difficult. Zimmerman made several damaging comments during his calls to police in reference to who he thought Martin was, yet these statements still weren't enough to show consistent ill will. The prosecution also switched their narrative of who was on top in the fight. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution and reasonable doubt is difficult to overcome if there are any inconsistencies in the prosecution's case.
Proving state of mind is difficult. Based on this, the jury could not legally convict on second degree murder. Manslaughter on the other hand, was clear to me in this case.
MANSLAUGHTER: “the unjustifiable, inexcusable, and intentional killing of a human being without deliberation, premeditation, and malice.”
It starts with the premise of Zimmerman following Martin. Trayvon Martin was not committing a crime and he had a right to stand his ground once confronted by Zimmerman who didn't identify himself. There was no premeditation on Zimmerman's part because he didn't seek to kill Trayvon Martin but he is responsible for starting the steps that led up to the death of Trayvon Martin.
When I look at the evidence from that night, it concerns me that a young man headed home from the store not committing a crime can be followed and gunned down when he tries to defend himself. Zimmerman should have never gotten out of his car and followed an innocent teenager based on the assumption he was a criminal. The outrage in this case is not because of race, it's because of injustice. If I were on the jury, I would have fought hard for a manslaughter conviction. In the end it's tragic on both sides....Trayvon Martin has lost his life and Zimmerman can no longer live his in peace.
Martin’s analysis is great. Can you see how he started with questions? He started to figure out what were the issues, what were the concerns, and what were facts? He then did his own researched and looked at the facts.
I’ve told Martin I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusion as he left one important thing out, the Self Defense part. Self Defense is defined as “ …..” and in this case, although I agree Zimmerman instigated it, he was the one being beaten up and in fear for his life. The fact of the matter is that there was a tragic loss of life that occurred and a tragic loss of a peaceful life. Recently George Zimmerman saved a family that was trapped during a pretty bad accident after the trial, but the story wasn’t covered, why? Because it wasn’t news, his acquittal and the race war it sparked was, however his actions show a person who is committed to human life and helping people but he will never get credit for that. Were his actions wrong, maybe, were they right, I don’t know, but he was acquitted.
How was he acquitted? Through critical thinking. The jurors took the evidence, but their biases aside and listened and viewed the evidence. They saw there were holes and there were doubts. Remember in our court system, the law is clear if you have a reasonable doubt then you must acquit. There were two jurors who went in thinking manslaughter, and even I thought they would come back with it, although having watched the trial myself I had concluded an acquittal, there was justification for it. I expected it to be a hung jury after days of deliberation but they came back with an acquittal the next day. They used their critical thinking skills.
So why are people so upset? Is it the racial issues or what is it? It goes back to critical thinking. I f you analyze the situation you’ll come up to one of two conclusions, Martin or Mine. Why would you come up with two conclusions, shouldn’t there only be one? No, this is real life. Not everything is clear and a lot of times the same set of facts can lead people to two different conclusions or even more. Why is that?
Critical thinking is a way for people to analyze a situation, however we are human and are biases will affect us. We don’t live in a vacuum, and the way we are taught to analyze a situation will put a lean on our conclusions. This doesn’t mean the conclusion is wrong just that there is a fact missing. Look at my friend’s analysis, he focused on the fact that Zimmerman followed Trayvon, this led him to believe more in the manslaughter. I’m looking at the fact that a witness had Trayvon on top of Zimmerman leading me more to believe in the self-defense. We both analyzed the situation and so did the jurors and came up with these conclusions. Following the law and the way self-defense reads in Florida led me to my Self Defense because I had holes in my mind about the case. Martin felt there was more a connection to Manslaughter. Neither is wrong nor right, it is how we got there that matters.
Thus the people who are screaming for justice could be right, correct? NO, because they are focusing more on an emotional reaction or opinion. When you listen to them they focus on one aspect of the case not all aspects, they pick and choose the facts that support their cause. This is not critical thinking but this selective reasoning.
Why is selective reasoning used more and more in the media, in conversations? Easy, it is simpler to do it and use it than to critically think. Critically thinking takes work, it takes research, and it takes time. Selective Reasoning allows one to take a fact and run with it forming their own narrative and making it real. I’m not saying what happened in the Trayvon Martin case was an innocent thing, there were many things that went wrong to contribute to a horrible and tragic night.
However, what is making it worse is the reaction to a situation without using critically thinking skills. How does one acquire these? First of all it should happen in school. It doesn’t. We’re too focused on recall and passing standardized tests instead of creating a base skills of knowledge and then showing kids how to apply it, this is where critically thinking becomes advantageous. Teaching people how to analyze facts and research new ones to come up with a conclusion is important. However, we’re too afraid to offend someone by challenging their conclusions if we feel the facts don’t support it, so we let opinions be taught and become part of the mainstream.
Conspiracy theories are opinions that in some cases have taken on a life of their own. Why are they so popular? Because they have facts that support them, although they might not be all the facts, because there is doubt, or reasonable doubt, it opens up the situation to someone to propose an alternate theory which then leads to the conspiracy theories. However, if people analyze the situation and think critically about it they’ll see things don’t add up and they will then demand more facts. This is where different parties allow these things to crop up as they hide facts or change them then that leads to the doubts.
If we taught critically thinking to folks and showed them how to analyze and also how to present facts we would minimize these issues. One way this can occur is through the elimination of our mass media. When a breaking news story happens, like a mass shooting, there is such a rush to judgment and to report thing that different stations get different “facts” Now a fact is a verifiable item, yet a lot of what they report are simply statement s that haven’t been verified that they are reporting as fact. People hear these statements and they make conclusions from them assuming they wouldn’t be reported if they weren’t true. They don’t look beyond the report.
I make it a habit to never listen to breaking news. I wait till later in the day or even the next day and then listen. By then the data is usually almost accurate and then I can research through articles about what is accurate and what isn’t. Look at what happened to the news station in San Francisco after the Asianna crash. They reported names of pilots, albeit they checked with the NTSB, that were erroneous and potentially racist and defaming. Had they sounded out the names and also checked the NTSB website, where the policy is that we don’t comment on ongoing investigations and never name pilots, they may have saved themselves embarrassment.
However, they did fact check right? Yes and they were still wrong. Fact checking isn’t a science but it is necessary and sometimes one source or step isn’t enough.
What are your thoughts?