Monte Kuligowski
Is it fair to say: 'Zimmerman shot an unarmed teen'?
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By Monte Kuligowski
July 22, 2013

George Zimmerman had no right to follow Trayvon Martin. That was harassment based on race. Trayvon was stalked and hunted down like a dog. The police dispatcher even warned Zimmerman to stay put; but the wannabe cop ignored the advice and took matters into his own hands. The trigger-happy vigilante gunned down an unarmed teenager in cold blood.

That is the basic narrative of the radical left, the modern day racists in America.

Add to the narrative, pictures of a sweet looking young boy and interviews of the family, sharing personal stories of Trayvon's former good deeds and life aspirations, and you have a recipe for a race war and division.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of February 26, 2012 is being exploited for gun control by the professional race hustlers – namely, Barack Obama and his Justice Department. And no reference to race hustlers would be complete without mentioning the dynamic duo of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

The problem is that the radical left has created a victim based on skin color without facts to support victimhood. But facts do not matter so long as the liberal establishment can stir up outrage based on raw emotion.

Many articles have shown that the state of Florida was correct in its original assessment of the evidence and decision to not charge Zimmerman with a crime. Many writers have aptly shown how the Obama administration, working in concert with other race baiters and a corrupt news media, turned a tragedy into a political opportunity and irresponsibly forced a no-win criminal trial.

What hasn't been adequately analyzed is the basis for the misguided emotion: that Zimmerman killed an innocent, unarmed teenager.

In many respects and to his family for sure, Trayvon Martin was a good and innocent kid. Others who knew him might say he was a troublemaker. But both his virtues and his vices are completely irrelevant to the debate.

On the day in question Martin wasn't innocent and his actions were plainly wrong. The baby pictures of Trayvon and the stories of the nice boy that he was have no relevance whatsoever.

I have heard commentators repeat the narrative that Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager – even though they agree with the jury verdict. That is a mistake.

It's a mistake because the fact that Martin was a 17-year-old is knowledge we have now; but it's not knowledge that Zimmerman had. Zimmerman saw a large, hooded young man. Martin's appearance and movements, in Zimmerman's opinion, provided cause for suspicion.

It's better to say that Zimmerman killed someone whose age was unknown and could have appeared as an adult. And to Zimmerman, the age of the person who had broken his nose, slammed his head on the concrete and was pummeling him "MMA style," would have been irrelevant.

It's also a mistake to say that Zimmerman shot an unarmed person. According to the eye-witness testimony, Zimmerman was on his back as Martin straddled and pounded him.

At the point of the pummeling both individuals had access to the same weapon. The fact that Martin was not armed with his own weapon misses the point. The evidence proved that Martin created the situation which gave him proximate contact to the firearm.

Martin placed Zimmerman in a vulnerable position, creating a threat of imminent death. The evidence proved that Martin was violently causing great bodily harm to Zimmerman. No one knows how many more MMA style blows Zimmerman could have endured before losing consciousness.

Once Martin had equal access to the firearm, Zimmerman was forced to make an instant decision.

In full context, it is misleading to say cursorily that Zimmerman shot an unarmed individual.

In order to hail Martin as a victim, one must completely ignore the fact that Martin's criminal behavior led to his own death.

Notice that the radical leftist leaders of the black community are not talking about how Martin could have responded to Zimmerman as a respectful teenager and responsible citizen. Even though Zimmerman broke no law by following Martin the focus is on what Zimmerman could have done differently.

What about Martin? No one testified that Zimmerman used the N-word to describe Martin. But Trayvon used the C-word to describe Zimmerman (apparently believing the mixed-race Hispanic was white). Instead of getting physical, Martin could have spoken with Zimmerman. After Zimmerman identified himself as Neighborhood Watch, Trayvon could have explained that he had a right to be there. Even telling Zimmerman to go fly a kite would have been better than dropping him with a fist to the nose.

But in order to be politically correct we must completely ignore Martin's criminal behavior because of the color of his skin.

We must also pretend that covering one's face with a hood in public for no apparent reason should not evoke suspicion. Some states make such attire illegal. For example, Florida Statute 876.12 states: "No person or persons over 16 years of age shall, while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be or appear upon any lane, walk, alley, street, road, highway, or other public way in this state."

The purpose of the Florida statute is to prevent people from walking around looking like hoodlums and concealing their identities.

Wearing a bad attitude, sagging pants and a hood in public are now badges of honor for young people – and for Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill).

Apparently, only a racist would be suspicions of a suspicious-looking person if that person happens to be black. And to acknowledge the criminal acts of a black person who has been deemed an unarmed teenage victim is completely out of bounds.

Six days after the jury verdict President Obama reentered the controversy, clarifying his earlier remarks inappropriately made before charges were brought: "When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

Well, unless "Barry," as he was known 35 years ago, would have responded by violently battering a Neighborhood Watch person, no, Trayvon could not have been Barry.

© Monte Kuligowski

 

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Monte Kuligowski

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney and writer whose legal scholarship, including "Does the Declaration of Independence Pass the Lemon Test?" (Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy), has been published in several law journals... (more)

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