Instant Justice Isn’t Justice – The Trayvon Martin Case

by Diane Dimond on April 2, 2012

Do We Really Know All the Facts Yet?

There are two sides to every story. So, why do the media sometimes run whole hogged with the most sensational version of events and why do we eat it up like candy?

It is time for some critical thinking about a widely reported crime story currently in the news.

More than a month ago a tragic incident occurred in a gated community in Sanford, Florida when a Neighborhood-Watch volunteer shot and killed a 17 year old young man. The teen was black, the man with the gun was mixed race Hispanic. The teen was walking back from the store, the adult was in his car going to the store.

When I read the first accounts of how young Trayvon Martin died I was outraged! Seemed as though a 28 year old, gun-toting man named George Zimmerman – a guy who had called 9-11 dozens of times over the last year – was one of those modern day gunslinger types who went around his neighborhood hunting for suspects to bully. Several news accounts called him a, “cop wanna-be” who likely targeted the hoodie-wearing teen because of his race.

Was He Targeted for His Hoodie Look - or Race?

TV news played a 9-11 tape on which Zimmerman was heard reporting the suspicious activity of young Trayvon and even though the operator clearly told the older man not to leave his car to follow the suspect, Zimmerman did so anyway. The media reported Martin was on his cell phone telling his girlfriend that a man in an SUV was following him and she told him to run away. Within minutes the defenseless teenager was inexplicably dead with a bullet in his chest. Zimmerman was not arrested and there was much speculation that it was because Florida’s controversial Stand-Your-Ground law (which allows threatened people to defend themselves with their guns) was the reason why.

I was left with so many questions! Common sense told me Zimmerman didn’t stand his ground anywhere. He had obviously gotten out of his vehicle and followed the kid, so, was there another reason he wasn’t arrested for the shooting? And, if the Stand-Your-Ground law was the reason there had been no arrest why was Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee forced to step aside? He didn’t pass the law – the state legislature did. Shouldn’t the anger have been focused on lawmakers, not police?

Shooter Showed No Apparent Sign of Injury at Cop Shop

Finally, five weeks after the February 26 shooting I opened the paper to learn that there was more to this story than an overzealous adult stalking and killing a black kid.

The new perspective came from the original police report which noted Zimmerman had a bloody nose, gashes on the back of his head and grass stains on his back. Obviously there had been some sort of fight. Zimmerman had told police that as he moved to go back to his vehicle the teenager asked him if he “had a problem.” When he answered, “No” and reached for his phone to make another 9-11 call Zimmerman said Martin declared, “Well, you do now,” and knocked him to the ground. The young man then bashed his head into the concrete several times and in the scuffle, Zimmerman claimed, he shot Martin in self-defense. An eyewitness backs up this account saying the person in the red shirt (Zimmerman) was being beaten by the person in the dark hoodie (Martin).   ABC News then broadcast grainy video of Zimmerman arriving at the police station in handcuffs and none of the injuries listed on the report were visible.  Days later, ABC enhanced the footage and apparent head wounds were suddenly visible.

"Race Hustlers" with Trayvon's Parents

Look, I don’t know the complete truth of what happened that awful night when Trayvon Martin died. And neither do the loud mouths that have descended on the scene to demand “justice.”

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led a protest in Sanford, they had their picture taken with Trayvon’s grief stricken parents and demanded that the city arrest Zimmerman or risk “… going down as the Birmingham and Selma of the 21st century,” as Sharpton put it.

The New Black Panther Party said it was mobilizing 10,000 black men to capture Zimmerman who has been in hiding since the shooting and is reported to be extremely distraught after several death threats. The Panther Party’s Hashim Nzinga announced on CNN there was a 10 thousand dollar bounty on Zimmerman’s head. Another party member, Mikhail Muhammad, said of the shooter, “He should be fearful for his life. You can’t keep killing black children.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that the groups so eager to brand Zimmerman as a vigilante are engaging in similar activity.

Rev C.L. Bryant, Former NAACP Official

Reverend C.L. Bryant, a onetime NAACP official from Texas said what I was thinking about these self-aggrandizing vigilantes. He called Jackson and Sharpton “race hustlers” and said they are “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.” The facts show there is no epidemic of whites killing black children in America. As the conservative Rev. Bryant put it, “The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are (other) young black men.”

The bottom line to this case and the media’s coverage of it is this: None of it feels like it is leading us down the path to true justice. It feels like a mob of uninformed, hot-headed people playing to the cameras is leading the way.

A young man is dead and his pitiable parents, instead of being allowed to grieve, are being paraded around by opportunists demanding unattainable instant “justice.” This is not the way our justice system works. It should be slow, deliberate and fair to everyone involved. There are always two sides to every story.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Good Job! April 2, 2012 at 1:49 am

Hi Di,
Okay, the guy who wrote the law was actually interviewed (so sorry I 4get his name) and said Zimmerman had no grounds. The law is for PERMITED GUN OWNERS to be able to carry guns to defend their self if being attacked. Not when you’re told NOT TO FOLLOW. Get to that in a second. (which I thought all Americans had right to carry guns if legal and defend their self) You’re missing some key points here:
1. Did you not hear the beginning of the 911 tape Zimmerman saying, “Fucking Coons, Fucking Coons” Pardon the explicit language, just repeating. I thought everyone learned that lesson when you call 911 the second you hit that second 1 you are being recorded rather the dispatcher picks up or not from the CA trial. (Remember Cindy had Casey in the car etc. of course you remember lol) So he is heard saying that, then while he is on the phone he is driving, REMEMBER THEY LIVE IN A GATED COMMUNITY, the 911 operator tells him not 2 follow. Remember Tray was killed practically in front of his house. Zimmerman don’t live by him. So why was he out side of his car by Tray? Tray was on the phone w/ his girl friend. There also was a second 911 call made by a witness who said there is a fight and someone is crying then she heard a gun shot and it stopped. Diane, come hon! BTW, there were 48 911 calls, not a couple dozen.
I do agree that Al and Jesse Jackson are making this about race which is crazy. Then you have Spike Lee RT a tweet w/out checking to see if it was REALLY Zimmerman’s address, which it wasn’t and the poor couple was forced out of their house. Also, you have the Panthers (after taking a bounty down due to criticism) now offering a reward for a citizens arrest. That a publicity stunt. Where do you take Zimmerman if you make a citizen arrest? LOL, the cops knows where he is at, that was part of the condition of releasing him that night. I know so many people who know what’s going on and it makes sense. Yes, real sources, not bloggers who blog on reality shows either. My african american friends say that Jesse and Al are often are a nuisance anymore than they are good! THE WHITE cop wanted to arrest Zimmerman but the DA said they wanted to investigate further. Never said there was no evidence etc. The media said that. Also, anytime you have a nose bleed, you have 2 stop it asap so that don’t surprise me that Z had no blood on his face. Was ambulance there to clean him up. (The bruised he has, is nothing) But Diane, not a couple dozen 911 calls there were 48! He was a wanna be cop, he failed the PD Academy. I’m so frustrated.
I’ll stop here, who knows if my comment will be posted.

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Omar Mullah IV April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Don’t obscure the issue. This is a miscarriage of justice. If I was black I would react like Sharpton or Jackson. The US has become an international joke when it talks about human rights and justice. This is the view from Medina SA. Mullah, Bullah.

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

Reader Steve Sinn writes:

“Your column about the Trayvon – Zimmerman mess was well written and stated.
It is way too bad that people like Sharpton and Jackson have shown up to throw gasoline on the already wild fire. I also blame Obama for his comments. All he did was paint Trayvon as a nice kid thus giving so many permission to raise holly hell. Maybe Trayvon was a nice kid, but none of use know that “yet”. Maybe Zimmerman was the bad guy, but we don’t know that yet.

What a mess.

I fear that if the police do not arrest Zimmerman for just cause then the Black Community may have a melt down resulting in some riots and perhaps additional deaths. But of course if the police do not
have just cause to arrest Zimmerman they should not and let things play out as they may.

Let us hope sane heads somehow prevail, but I have little hope they will.”

Steve Sinn
Manitou Springs, CO

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 10:59 am

ABQ Journal Reader Harold Melnick writes:

“You said what I’ve been thinking, better than I could have said it.

I still remember Sharpton and the Tawana Brawley incident and I’ve no respect for the man ever since.”

— Harold Melnick
Santa Fe, NM

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

Reader Rod Nixon writes:

“I just got finished reading your article on the Trayvon Martin shooting, and I have several problems with it. You’re right that we don’t know exactly what happened. But we do know that Zimmerman outweighed Trayvon by approximately 100lbs. We also know that Zimmerman had a gun and Trayvon did not. I have a hard time believing that he just knocked Zimmerman to the ground. I do believe, however, that he probably did cause some injuries to Zimmerman. I’m sure he was scared for his life as well. After all, a much larger man was following him with a truck, and he also had a gun.

Imagine for a moment that these two met over the exact same circumstances, but Trayvon had a gun and Zimmerman did not. Suppose Trayvon had killed Zimmerman. Do you honestly think that Trayvon Martin would be free under Florida’s stand your ground law, or would he be in jail right now. That’s why people are so upset. We know how this would end if the situation were reversed. We know because history tells us so. The young black teenager always go to jail.

As far as the “loudmouths” being uniformed, hot-headed, and just playing for the cameras. Perhaps you should revisit some of your coverage prior to the OJ Simpson trial.”

Sincerely
Rod Nixon

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

Dear Mr. Nixon,
Before my OJ Simpson coverage (1994) there were many, many stories I covered. I’m assuming you are referring to my 1993 work on the Michael Jackson, suspected pedophile story. If that is what you were referring to I can only say I stand by my coverage of that case – from 1993 through the criminal trial in 2005. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

Reader Tom Arriola writes:

“I too believe that all the facts must be gathered prior to condemnation…however…the acts of protest by civil rights activists in no way can be compared or defined as vigilantic acts…especially when other acts of people taking the law into their own hands under the guise of Stand Your Ground legislation have been recorded for public…perusal, your piece smacks of a leaning toward acceptance of in one hand legalized “vigilantism” and a lean toward a distaste for protest and demonstration of our rights to free speech!”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

Mr. Arriola:

Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not, nor will I ever condone ‘legalized vigilantism’. In fact, I think that is an oxymoron. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Reader Hairston writes:

“I love what you wrote.I have just one question ,why would a guy with a gun scream for help?”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Harry Hjalmarson wrote to the paper’s editor:

“Being very interested in the Trayvon Martin case, I read the column on this matter by Diane Dimond on March 31. Usually, I avoid many of your right-wing columnists because they are so predictable. Cal Thomas just does a right-wing rant without even bothering to read the facts; Victor Davis Hanson finds Obama and liberals to the problem for everything, perhaps even the sinking of the Titanic.

The Dimond column raised concerns about the treatment in the media. It was the sort of thing Cal Thomas would write. At the end, she is concerned that the parents are being paraded around by opportunists who demand instant justice. And she states “This is not the way our justice system works. It should be slow, deliberate and fair to everyone involved.”

Her statements reveal that she has missed the essence of the problem with the Trayvon Martin case. The problem was that justice was denied. The only reason that justice may play a role is the publicity that arose when a few people started complaining about the lack of justice. If it hadn’t been for the outcry, none of the facts would have been known to the family and their attorney. Once some key information became known, it was so embarrassing that it led to a new look at the investigation and evidently the start of the judicial process.

In summary, Diane Dimond has ignored the basic facts of the Trayvon Martin case, but seems to have focused on whatever she heard on cable TV. As a consequence, she has accidentally taken a position in opposition to justice.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

“Mr. Hjalmarson,

Naturally, I disagree that I am a – to quote you – “ A right wing columnist.” While I met Cal Thomas during my days covering Capitol Hill years ago I do not know him or Mr. Hanson and I do not align myself with them in any way. I always take pains to explain in my columns I am a registered independent voter and I always have been. I think it is important to mention my affiliation (or lack thereof) because I detest the way public dialogue these days has slipped into a RIGHT vs. LEFT, a REPUBLICAN vs. DEMOCRAT, a LIBERAL vs. CONSERVATIVE. The need to immediately label people bores me, frankly, as do snide politically tinged remarks.

You make my point for me exactly when you declare that I “…missed the essence of the problem with the Trayvon Martin case. The problem was that justice was denied.” True justice, Mr. Hjalmarson, takes time…that was my point. People who demand IMMEDIATE justice, or justice by their own timetable probably are more interested in having their own opinion validated than anything else.

Because I cover the crime beat I can recount for you dozens and dozens of cases, nationwide, in which a suspect wasn’t arrested for months, sometimes for years after the crime occurred. That doesn’t mean justice is has been denied. It does no one any good to swoop in, make an immediate arrest and then have a judge toss out the case because the prosecution wasn’t fully prepared.

This may never happen in the Florida case because of their wacky STAND YOUR GROUND law. But, in my humble opinion, it is far too early for people to start stomping their feet, pounding their fists and declaring that justice has been ignored.

We agree that if it hadn’t been for the media reporting the public outcry the state of Florida might never have taken another look at the Martin/Zimmerman case and their Stand Your Ground law (which by the way has been a point of contention since 2005 when it was passed despite warnings that just this kind of case might result) … but I cannot see where it does any good for vigilantes to offer 10 thousand dollar bounties for someone’s capture or for professional rabble-rousers like Al Sharpton to scream into microphones about vengeance. Sharpton and his ilk have been so wrong about other racially tinged cases (look up the Tawanna Brawley case in upstate New York) that I refuse to anoint him a leader in any cause.

Should George Zimmerman have been arrested and jailed on the spot? In most states of the union he likely would have been…..and he still may be. BUT JUSTICE TAKES TIME. ~ DD

From: Harold Hjalmarson [mailto:hphphys@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 11:01 AM
To: Dan Hererra
Cc: diane@dianedimond.net; Harold Hjalmarson
Subject: Dimond column on the Martin case

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Reader Jayne Shayne writes:

“This is such a total tragedy! First, there’s Zimmerman with some verified history of violence and anger-management issues, strutting around with a loaded gun and provokingly stalking a black teen. The there’s a probably very-frightened black, male teen who, in all likelihood, mouthed off in bravado mode so he wouldn’t seem like a victim. That MAY have led to an alleged ‘scuffle’ -which, in any case, should never have escalated to a fatal gunshot. Yesterday there was (NBC Nightly News)discussion of reliable voice analysis of the 911 call screams, whimpers, shot which insist the whimpers did NOT come from Zimmerman (Zimmerman’s attorney then said on-camera a terse “no comment”).

Sharpton & Jackson are always going to sound like evangelicals – and will incite to vigilantism as bad as the, at best, totally misguided vigilantism originally perpetrated by Zimmerman!!!! YIKES!

Great example we Americans are showing the rest of the world (ya know – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria…… great fodder for Iran, N.Korea propaganda against us)”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Reader Kevin Park writes:

“Hi Diane,
You know, a little reason can totally ruin a perfectly good lynching. Nice article.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Reader Kimberly Fran of Tennessee writes:

“I have followed your career for years and always felt you to be a dynamic and fair correspondent/writer. I stumbled upon your article about young Trayvon and Mr. Zimmerman and for the first time, I felt compelled to speak out about this tragedy.

First, let me just say- your article is the first article I have read that used common sense, good judgment AND most importantly- integrity. I may only be one small part of society as a hard working white, single mother of a 17 year old young man, but; I do have a voice. However; like most of “Society” I have chosen to keep my voice silent for the most part and keep my priorities on my children and keeping them safe with a roof over their heads. This situation that is escalating in Florida has unfortunately brought out even my voice. As weak as it may be.

You see, like your article stated, why is everyone so quick to judge both Trayvon and George Zimmerman? I am positive there are SO many more children out there that have been killed needlessly and shamefully. I am also equally sure each one of their parents would have been immensely grateful for ANYONE who would have “stood their ground” for JUSTICE against the perpetrator who killed their child. Yet nobody ever came. Not for the Black child, the Hispanic child, the Asian child, Middle Eastern, American Indian or even White child. SO many young children killed innocently and yet there were no “rallies”, no “Guns for hire”, nobody in the Media or streets screaming “JUSTICE for MY CHILD”. Why? Because that child didn’t represent an agenda for those who search for the “right” message they want to start an up-rising with. People like Mr. Jackson and Sharpton.

The media makes a lot of money off of keeping the public’s eye tuned to their station. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the other Media hounds make a lot of money by STAYING in the media. So this situation in Florida has brought many a marriage together for those searching for the right “agenda” to come along. The so-called “Black Panthers” have an even more devious agenda I’m afraid.

This poor young man AND his parents, along with George Zimmerman are only pawns in their game. These people don’t care a thing about Trayvon, his parents or Zimmerman. They care about ratings and numbers. Some even care about in-sighting a riot in order to further “their” agenda.

The “Truth” as you put it so eloquently, is NOBOY but the police, the EMT’s, the witnesses, the doctors and Mr. Zimmerman know what happened that night. Everything else is pure speculation and conjecture. How someone can set in “judgment” of another human without having ALL of the facts is beyond me. Especially when you wear the title of “Reverend”. Unless you were actually AT the site, spoken to ALL involved and KNOW what happened- how can you make an “intelligent” judgment call?

Let the courts handle the judgment of a man. Not the mobs.

This is what we seem to know:

1. We know the witness saw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman, hitting him and he said “The one in red was yelling for help”.

2. We know Trayvon was shot in the center of the chest at a close range per the Mortician who took care of Trayvon.

3. We also know, according to witnesses and the police report that Trayvon was lying face down in the grass. Common Sense tells us a man doesn’t get shot in the chest while laying on their back screaming for “help” and then roll over AFTER it’s shot so he’s face down in the grass. I can’t see Zimmerman shooting the young man and then roll his body over. He was in shock and too many people said they came out as soon as the screaming stopped and the shot was heard and saw Trayvon face down.

4. Zimmerman is heard saying “OK” when the dispatcher tells him not to follow Trayvon. So why do they keep saying he continued to pursue the young man? He said he was trying to find the road name in order to tell the dispatcher where the last place was he saw Trayvon.

5. Pictures of Trayvon at 12 years old do not depict the 17 year old, 6’3”, 160lb young man his principle stated he was. Who was manipulating us with this?

6. One paper reported Trayvon had been suspended for having a “pot pipe and women’s jewelry” in his back pack at school. He would not tell the authorities at school where or who gave him the jewelry.

7. It’s a matter of record there were 8 robberies in this “gated community” in 15 months (that were reported) and Mr. Zimmerman had reported the suspicious young men involved to the police and called his neighbors to warn them. Many of his neighbors were grateful for his keeping an eye on the community. It was reported all of the young men arrested for these break-ins were young black males. None of which Zimmerman ever pulled a gun out on.

8. It was raining that night and Mr. Zimmermen was on his way to Target for his wife when he saw Trayvon walking in the rain and “acting” suspicious. After so many burglaries in their neighborhood, I can’t say our neighborhood watch folks in my neighborhood would not have followed in their car as well when they saw someone they had never seen before walking in the neighborhood IN the rain at night. And I can assure you many of the men in my neighborhood would have followed the suspicious person as well. (After so many burglaries) It seems very plausible when you stop and think about it. And at NO time did Mr. Zimmerman say “Stop- I have a gun” and “stalk the young man down”. He kept his weapon (for which he had a permit) hidden under his coat in a holster. And from the sounds of it, (although I dislike guns) this city warrants more people with permits carrying guns.

9. The Police surveillance video of when they brought Zimmerman in has now been enhanced and one can clearly see the gashes on his head and a police officer looking at the back of Zimmermans head. This would support what the witness and Mr. Zimmerman’s statement said.

10. They say the screaming for help on 911 tape does not represent Mr. Zimmerman’s voice from the original 911 tape. However, how does one decipher the sound of a man who’s talking directly into a phone to the dispatcher and out of breath to a man who is screaming off in the distance for his life as his head is being bashed into the sidewalk? When I scream for my children upstairs to come to dinner downstairs- my voice automatically goes to a higher pitch. I guaranty if I were in a great deal of pain and fighting for my life, I KNOW my screams would be MUCH higher in cries than my normal voice. On another note- Mr. Zimmerman’s brother was on CNN and he has a higher pitched voice, as did George Zimmerman’s voice mail when he called his friend to say “thank you”.

With all of these questions, how can a rush to judgment make any sense at all? Like you, I too was furious when I heard a child walking home with an ice tea and skittles had been gun down in cold blood. Especially when I saw the sweet picture of this child. But when you get another piece of the puzzle every day and you start to place those pieces in place- you start to ask questions and the answers (not the assumptions the media wants you to jump to but the actual answers) are simply not adding up to be “cold blooded murder” as the Media would have us to believe. I don’t believe this is as simple as that.

We have GOT to stop being judge and jury and allow the system to work. And the “agenda” hounds need to stop looking for innocent grieving parents to use as their disciples as they spread their ignorance and hate across our land. Until we start to take care of each other and stop trying to destroy one another- we ALL will be living in fear of this mob mentality. Including MY 17 year old “white” blonde headed- German/Lebanese son.

Thanks again Diane! Keep up the good work!

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Facebook Friend Edward Lozzi writes:

“Terrific article…..jesse and Al…they are such clowns and must do what they have to do even knowing they are on thin ice here. Sad.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Facebook Friend Kenneth R Melvin writes:

“I agree the family and protestes did win by getting a investigation started by the states atty. Now with cool heads we need to let it legally play out.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Facebook Friend Ron Jackson writes:

“Wait for the facts. And NEVER listen to Jackson and Sharpton and Toure.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Facebook Friend Rebecca Gay writes:

“They think they can protest a person into jail….. WRONG. The facts have to be laid out and a crime, a real crime, must be proven to have been committed. It is VERY difficult to see facts when a person’s vision is clouded with emotional outrage and a media skewed perspective. Just my .02 for whatever it’s worth…..”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Facebook Friend Ron Jackson (succinctly) writes:

“Vigilantism is to justice, what a booty call is to love.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Facebook Friend Kim Winton writes:

“Zimmerman took a leave of absence, therefore making it impossible to charge him. Whatever that means, but nonetheless he is obviously lying and playing a game. That kid had iced tea and skittles on him, not a lethal weapon. There’s something askew here, but it will play out as it needs to. They are investigating as their standards allow.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Facebook Friend Ron Jackson writes:

“How many young black kids have been killed since the Martin death and Jackson and Sharpton have ignored because they were killed by blacks?”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Facebook Friend Louie Bookout-Big Lou writes:

“Isn’t what Sharton and Jackson are doing is the equivulant to “Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater???”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Facebook friend Denver Fisher writes:

“I find it Scary That African Americans are so vocal on this because of Zimmermans race but have not showed any outrage over the countless other black on Black murderers that have Occurred since then or Attack of White man By four black men in our own area.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Facebook Friend Darryl DuPont writes:

“The key word came in your last graph– opportunists. I have never seen anything like this, there’s a St Pete Times ‘TV critic’ who suddenly has now become a Trayvon Martin expert bragging on FB how all of the CNN shows are booking him. Lost in all of this race hysteria is the facts about the police, prosecutors and how they handled this, that may be a bigger issue than just Zimmerman. & while I;m here 🙂 –how come there is none of this outrage when an unarmed teen dies in Miami, orginally reported shot by a security guard at Aventura Mall then the story changes ( fears of Martin hysteria) saying the kid jumped off the Bloomies parking garage to commit suicide (despite having a gunshot wound). Then 12 people including a 5 year old are shot at his viewing. 2 died. the Miami Hearad called it a gang “Tiff” . I guess people dont think there needs to be justice in “tiffs”. No one charged in either shooting.”

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Diane Dimond April 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm

DD Web site Reader Dwight Hanna writes:

“DD,

This issue is much more complex than Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, instant justice, or vigilantism.

First, I neither think Rev Sharpton nor Rev Jackson define or determine this or any other issue. I think both may come from a perspective that provides a piece of the total picture worthy of consideration if only because of the historical way crimes against Blacks have been treated.

The publics”s general perception of Black males because of many stereotypes that have been promoted and accepted by all demographic groups to different extents. There are many Blacks, whether they admit it or not or afraid of a Black male in a hoddie at night. They may just resort to avoiding him, locking their doors, and/or going in a different rather than following him and then shooting him.

I think the culture of law enforcement (Black and White officers) is a factor. This maybe a case of inadequate investigation by law enforcement and would have been the same if the kid shot was White and/or the shooter was Black. I believe there is a general effort by law enforcement to support other law enforcement folks.

So there are many more aspects to this case than Rev Jackson’s or Rev Sharpton’s point of view.”

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Diane Dimond April 3, 2012 at 7:57 am

Twitter Friend Aurora Cooper ?writes:

“@DiDimond Great article about the tragic Martin case. I wish more people would let the wheels of justice turn!”

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Stacy April 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Diane,

It’s interesting because I’ve been engaged in this same debate, as have many I’m sure. There are several points you point out and still others that go to this story. The first is that black youth pose as greater danger to other black youth as anyone else. This is very true and this is really what those media hounds (to be nice) Jesse and Sharpton won’t tell you or have themselves been blinded by their hate they just refuse to see it. While it seems, based on all I’ve heard of this, Zimmerman should have already been arrested, the media is allowing the media hounds to drive this story and ultimately, Zimmerman will be charged in large part due to it. And, as far as this hoodie protest, the problem with that is that too many young people, black or white or whatever, who walk around with them on, have themselves shown the type of behavior that would sound the alarm of suspicion. There should be nothing wrong with wearing a hoodie, but too many have demonized it and we all must step back and realize whether we like it or not we are making ourselves a target because of what we choose to wear. It’s a shame to be sure, but it’s life in 2012.

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mel April 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

First of all, I often wonder about people who say Sharpton and Jackson are throwing gas on the fire. First, it was a wildfire before they got there. Thank God for these men who are willing to use their influence to speak for those whose voices would not be heard otherwise.

This whole matter would have never come to the forefront without the collective call of voices that have demanded a thorough investigation. Diane, with you not being a black male you don’t have even the mildest concept what its like to deal with white officers.

Sure most officers are good people, but far too many want to treat all blacks as criminals. But back to Sharpton and Jackson. Thank God for the many times they have stood for those who had no influence. A good example is the Jena 6. Had both of them along with black bloggers not spoken up those boys would be doing 26 years for a schoolyard fight. Now they’re in college, and at least one is entering law school. Do you remember when Jesse Jackson “twice” gained the release of American servicemen who were held as prisoners of war.

I agree we want to hear the other side, but the other side isn’t talking. I agree we need to get to the facts, but it’s the uproar that got us to a point where people are asking for the facts. Without the uproar, Sanford would have long ago moved on to the next thing and Florida’s dumb law would not be in the spotlight.

In fact, you, Diane, a white female have much to thank Mr. Jackson for. As talented as you may or may not be, your position would not be available in the pre-1960 America that Martin Luther King (with Jackson as one of his aides) fought to change. Thank God changes were indeed made. People shouldn’t become your enemy because they tell you the truth.

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Diane Dimond April 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm

No one mentioned in my column is my enemy, Mel, so your last line is completely misleading.
And,no,- as you rightly notice I am not a black male.
But that doesn’t mean I lack wisdom after making the issues of crime and justice my field of study for so many years. In fact I DO have the “mildest idea of what its like to deal with officers” – both black and white. For you to dismiss my ideas simply because I am a white female smacks of … well, you fill in the blank.
I also disagree that the other side (that being the side of George Zimmerman) isn’t talking. Perhaps you aren’t listening – as Zimmerman’s attorney, his brother and his father have all granted interviews lately about the shooting.
And, Florida’s “dumb law” as you put it was first spotlighted back in 2005 when it was first proposed. Again, perhaps you weren’t paying attention. Its clear that the Florida state legislature was not as it went ahead and passed the dumb Stand Your Ground Law. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Huffington Post reader Sue Scheff writes:
“KUDOS – to the first story that is truly “fair and balanced!” – I don’t like commenting on this story since it has been so one-sided – and petrified I would be put on the cutting block – I have been saying, since I live a few hours from this area, in Feb this was a tragic teen death (incident) after Al Sharpton was done with Whitney’s funeral and his mother’s, it suddenly became a “black teen’s murder”. Great article Diane!!!! Hope it goes viral!”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm

DD Web Site Reader Maureen Langan writes:

“DD – Another well-written piece.

While I am not a fan of Sharpton and Jackson grandstanding (though the Chair of the Florida NAACP, Roslyn Brock, spoke beautifully at the rally in Sanford. ), they have brought much needed attention to a case that probably would have been closed if not for their outrage and the outrage of so many Americans.

Roland Martin of CNN brought up an interesting point. He wrote on CNN.com: For everyone who has condemned the numerous protests, rallies and vigils demanding justice for Trayvon Martin….. Shut up!

I don’t want to hear the nonsense to let the system run its course. Others say, “Let’s not do anything until all of the facts are in.”

Let’s cut to the chase: There would be no special prosecutor had thousands across the national not mobilized, organized and took to the streets to demand justice for Trayvon.

Would a grand jury be convened on April 10? Not a chance.

Would the 911 tapes be released showing admitted trigger man George Zimmerman calling Trayvon suspicious, and owning up to following him? No. And he goes on….”

MO

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

DD Web Site Reader Stephen Doran writes:

“Listen to Sharpton… 🙂 i know we disagree on everything political but i will always love you! Sd”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Stephen:
And, I love you too! (you poor misguided soul, you!) 🙂

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Facebook Friend David Wohl writes:

“Ironically the same people who complained of a “rush to judgement” in OJ are demanding that Zimmerman be arrested immediately—even IF the investigation is not complete. Hypocrites.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Huffington Post Reader ennis438 writes:

“There is one key fact in this case. Not involving rumors or anything else. Zimmerman was ordered NOT to confront this person and he did anyway. That is a direct disreguard of orders. Like a private in the army , ordered by a major to stop firing, but he still fires. If you are a neighborhood watch person, then you are not allowed to run around and disobey orders from a superior if you feel like it. I don’t know if this man is a racist or not, but I do know he disobeyed orders from the 911 operator and that is good enough for criminal charges.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Huffington Post Reader Scott Alt writes:

“The 911 operator did not “order” Zimmerman to stop following Martin, he said “we do not need you to do that.” Zimmerman then said OK. There has been no evidence disclosed to the press that Zimmerman didn’t stop following Martin at that time. Zimmerman’s dad claims he lost sight of Martin at that time and was headed back to his truck when Martin reappeared and attacked him.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Huffington Post Reader Margaret Blough

“So much for a balanced presentation. Exculpatory information for George Zimmerman was in this article, but little for Martin. Witnesses giving immediate post-shooting statements said the investigating officer argued with them, telling them they heard Zimmerman call for help, not a kid, as they remembered. As for Zimmerman’s condition, for a man who not only was allegedly having his head pounded into the pavement but would have, under his account, have had to be shooting at almost point blank range when he shot Martin (BTW, the police themselves have referenced the Stand Your Ground law as a reason for investigation being pointless) he was incredibly neat and clean. If, BTW, the paramedics had cleaned him up, they would have been destroying evidence.
A great source of offense was the Sanford PD’s apparent disinterest in investigate Zimmerman’s account in any way but the most cursory, including, as seen on the video, apparently not protecting any forensic evidence, especially blood spatter and claimed injuries, on Zimmerman that could support or contradict his story.
Ms. Diamond ignores the fact that if Zimmerman had followed the rules that the Sanford PD gives to ALL neighborhood watch groups (the Sanford PD neighborhood watch coordinator said that Zimmerman was present at her briefing), Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Volunteers are not supposed to leave their vehicles or carry arms while acting as part of Neighborhood Watch. They are to be extra eyes and ears for the Sanford PD. NOTHING more.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Huffington Post Reader Sky Captain writes:

“A paramedic’s job is not to “preserve evidence”, it’s to provide the necessary treatment to a victim in need. If Mr. Zimmerman’s head was bleeding, they are supposed to stop the blood and clean the wound to determine the severity. By your reasoning, a person in a car accident shouldn’t be treated if the police suspect it is alcohol related.

If you listened to the (undoctored) 911 tape, you would have heard that Zimmerman didn’t even know the kid’s race. Rather, when asked by the 911 operator, he replied “He looks black”.

Let’s discuss the media’s constant portrayal of Martin as an innocent little 12 year old. The photo that is still in circulation today is one distributed by the family of a 12 year old Martin, not the 17 yo version. By his own Twitter page, Martin showed that not only was he considerably larger than his 12 yo frame and dressed as a thug with gold krunk in his teeth, but also appeared to sell “bud” and “plant” to his buddies. The only reason he was even THERE was because he was on a five-day school suspension. Of course, you don’t really see this in the media.

ALL the media coverage (including Obama himself) thus far has been in support of Martin without knowing any of the facts or choosing to blatantly ignore them. Instead of pandering to the media portrayal of innocent little Martin and mean ol’ Zimmerman, look at ALL the facts and then decide.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Huffington Post Reader pezmusic writes:

“Actually factual error in this. The 911 never told him to stay in the car. When they heard the dinging of car door follow followed by wind whistle that indicated he was following. The 911 asked if he was following he said yes. They said we do not need you to do that to which Zimmerman says OK. The wind whistle ends and voice returns to normal within 8 secs of saying ok. He talks for another 1 minute 20 sec in normal voice.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Huffington Post Reader skibum415 writes:

“Adding to your astute points, he also says he’ll be waiting by the mailboxes and is waiting for the police to call upon their arrival on scene. It’s hard to be running after someone while also hanging out in the vicinity of mailboxes but apparently Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson have super cloaks enabling this ability – or they simply choose to ignore facts and make this a racial issue when it isn’t. Zimmerman upon being asked, “Is he white, black, or hispanic” responds, “I think he’s black.” Don’t you think a racist would have initiated the call with something like “Hey, this black guy is acting real suspicious over here.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Huffington Post Reader StrickZuluX writes:

“I totally agree with Ms Diamond until the point where you stated that new things are coming in.
Regardless of if he was fighting for his life or not, he caused the conflict.
Two questions. Would Mr. Zimmerman had followed this “suspicious person” if he didnt have a gun? Secondly, If a confrontation occurred and it was self defense, who was defending who? If I’m walking down the street unarmed, and a man approaches me with a gun. Wouldn’t it make sense to fight for the gun so tht this man doesnt shoot me first? Wow people! The kid reacted to a scary situation. This is not about Zimmerman fighting for his life. This is not about racism. This is an overzealous man taking the ultimate risk, and causing a tragic event to occur. He should take himself in and man up! You caused the incident and lived. Manslaughter is the verdict, and be a man and deal with it. A tragic mistake occured but you caused it and lived. You were not fighting for your life…you were fighting against your ego!”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Huffington Post Stem Cell writes:

“If, as Zimmerman claims, he was leaving the scene and Martin attacked him, Zimmerman would have the right to defend himself. The fact that Zimmerman followed Martin in the first place would not authorize Martin to pick a fight with someone who was already retreating. If he did that, he did so at his own peril. No evidence has been produced so far that Zimmerman brandished a gun before the altercation, nor that the two were even fighting for the gun. That is just your unsubstantiated opinion. Ms. Dimond’s point is well-taken. You were not there, and therefore you do not know what happened. When the evidence is all in, the justice system will do its job. Your effort to play judge, jury and executioner — especially with an incomplete record of the evidence — is reprehensible.”

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Diane Dimond April 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Huffington Post Reader JhNY writes:

“”Within minutes the defenseless teenager was inexplicably dead with a bullet in his chest.” Not true!!!

I can explain it!

Martin died because George Zimmerman shot him in the chest. But part of the sentence is correct: Martin was defenseless, unless the author imagines it’s a good idea to take skittles to a gunfight.”

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nessysuperstar April 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Diane,
You always make me think and question why I feel the way I do. Thanks for your keen observations and your ability to help us readers see beyond our own perceptions. That you do this in a way that is entertaining and thought provoking is a gift.
This case has me sadden and angry at the way America is using the tragic loss of his parents.
Keep up the good work Diane!!!

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Diane Dimond September 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Santa Barbara Noozhawk reader publius on 04.01.12 @ 01:16 PM

Good column. In Reagan’s time, the whole East Coast establishment went bonkers about the rape and beating of a teenage black girl.

Except it eventually turned out she’d made the whole thing up so she wouldn’t get grounded for ditching school.

Everyone knew Richard Jewell was guilty of the Atlanta Olympics bombing – until it turned out that he wasn’t, and was one of the few who’d actually behaved well in the incident, and might have been the “hero”.

Until we get concrete, professionally screened evidence, it’s too soon to know what actually happened that night.

Yet we can also wonder:

If Zimmerman hadn’t been carrying, emboldened by his loaded gun, would he have ignored Police dispatch request not to intervene until the Police showed up?

If Zimmerman’s victim hadn’t been a young black male in a southern state, are there any other probable circumstances where the shooter would not have been held for “investigation”, and bound over for a criminal grand jury review?

Obviously, the rural Florida police chief and DA were more than willing to waive any action or investigation … until the parents and press raised questions.”

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Diane Dimond September 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Santa Barbara Noozhawk Reader Lynnda Rae writes:

“Well, here are some facts! The victim had an ice tea drink and a pack of candies in his hand! CASE CLOSED!

There is always two sides to a story! But this time there is only one side! Hey the video with close up pictures shows Z without a bloody nose! No injury!!! A picture of this creep who perhaps has a scratch on the back of his head~YEA it appears that Trayvon was fighting for his life to get away! The people who think other wise probably on the jury for the police of Rodney King….”

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Diane Dimond September 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Santa Barbara Noozhawk Reader Rambler writes:

“It sounds like Zimmerman has been on this trajectory for quite a while. He stalked this kid, and it was the kid who “stood his ground.” Neighborhood Watch should not be allowed to carry weapons. This is exactly why open carry is a stupid idea.

Zimmerman is simply a stupid man, emboldened by a pistol. He should be convicted of stalking, harassment, and manslaughter, and if he thinks he’s distraught now, just wait until he starts his sentence.”

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