by Wilbur Witt
You know, the very moment you say you’re not getting involved in something Murphy’s law kicks in and that’s the very next thing you get involved in. So it is with the George Zimmerman trial currently ramping up in Florida. I began to read and watch as the lawyers positioned themselves for what appears to be a trial that will make the Jodi Arias run look like “Singing In The Rain.” at least with George wearing his bullet proof vest we won’t have to put up with his nipples protruding through a sweater.
I’m not presenting myself as an expert, but I am saying I have experience with this sort of thing, and a whole lot of common sense. There are many aspects in this event that flow in very expected directions. Let’s look at the actors. Martin, seventeen year old high school kid. He was a troubled kid, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve generally noticed that there are two kinds of high school kids. The Valedictorian, and the rest are troubled. Teenagers are besieged by peer pressure, and work hard to assert their identity within the group. The cool guys get the girl. Cool is qualified in a large part by the media. Trayvon probably never had a political thought in his entire life, but MGM did, and they produced the rappers, and they rappers distributed their beliefs at great profit to eager ears looking for direction in a new, and confusing world. And this is not new. It’s not a “black” thing. When I was growing up in the 50’s there was a TV series called, “The Tall Man.” The two characters were Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Me, and all my friends were soon swaggering around acting like the actor that played Billy the Kid. High school students strive to fit in.
Our perception, as adults, of Trayvon Martin, and a high school girl’s view of him will be exactly opposite. If he wore his pants low we would think it looked silly, but a 16 year old girl would think he was normal and fit right in. If he wore an ivy league sweater he may please the teachers, but he would sit alone on Saturday night because he would be a nerd. I have found from experience that as life takes its toll the pants come up, the hair gets shorter, and the attitude tends to mellow in most cases. Did his parents have issues with him? Well, yeah. Did he fight at school? Probably, but one picture drew my attention recently. It was published in an attempt to show Trayvon’s violent side, however it was pointed out that the boy in the middle was Trayvon, separating two other boys about to fight.
Point being, Trayvon fit into his society. His actions, words, and mannerisms were what was considered normal by his peers. Did he have a jaundiced view of white society? Probably, but not so skewed that he couldn’t calmly purchase Skittles and an Iced tea at a neighborhood convenience store. And, if you will note, none of the other patrons ran for the door when Trayvon walked in. I’ve seen a lot of black men wearing hoodies. Every night I drive to a local store to buy cigarettes and beer. I park my Mercedes right outside the door because I have a limp. Most times some hooded black kid will hold the door open for the limping, old white man. Of course this IS Texas, I don’t know how they act down there in Florida. And im sure the car plays in. I’m cool. Trayvon’s attitude and actions were given to him by the societal model he had been programmed with. With age, and experience he would have most likely molded this image to fit his particular circumstance. A boy growing into manhood has to start somewhere.
Now, let’s look at George Zimmerman. George’s image of himself was that of protector. He was a volunteer with the neighborhood watch. Let’s analyze that. Back in Berry Creek we had a neighborhood watch. We had signs up letting everyone know we had one. What this does is alert perpetrators that if they try to commit a crime the chances are they will be seen, and the person observing them will call the police without a second thought. Our watch consisted of old people, riding around in their golf carts after dark with a cell phone. If they saw something that didn’t register they simply called the cops. Most of the time the criminals were teenage girls egging some boy’s car. My son, returning from patrol as a police officer one morning before sunrise came upon this very scenario. Six girls righteously screwing up the paint job on some kid’s BMW. He had them cuffed and sitting on the curb when the police arrived, who then took control of the “crime scene.” My point is we never stopped a burglary in progress. We never prevented a murder. A kid in a hoodie walking among houses usually doesn’t amount to much. The police scare the hell out of them and that’s part if that learning process I told you about where they temper what the rapper is saying with reality.
George saw himself as that thin red line between the drug cartel and his poor defenseless neighbors. And, please excuse the expression, but he saw everything in black and white. Ask yourself, would he have approached a man in a Brooks Brothers suit, driving slowly, eyeing houses for an address in a sports car? Now just imagine that man is Paulo Ginovilli from New York sent by his boss to collect a debt. No, he would drive on by. But he didn’t drive on by Trayvon Martin!
If you are licensed to carry a concealed weapon you must play the role of the coward. The very fact that you, and only you know that you have a gun gives you the distinct advantage. All this “stand your ground” crap is just that . . .CRAP! You don’t excite, you don’t instigate, and you don’t provoke because you know, in the final analysis, you will prevail. You endure all insults, and threats without changing the expression on your face. You don’t even draw back your coat to display the handle of your weapon because this will negate the element of surprise and that is your biggest tool.
George observes Trayvon walking home. His mental position is readily apparent by his words on the 911 tape, “They always get away!” That was paramount on George’s mind. THIS one wasn’t going to get away. Get away from what? In that same store that I buy cigarettes and beer, the same hooded young man who just held the door for me goes to,the rear of the store and takes a long time choosing his beer as he rocks back and forth from one foot to another. Am I intimidated? No. I don’t expect a civilized human being to do something rash. I’ve seen rash, folks. I’ve seen the bodies come out of Luby’s and get placed in an ice truck. I’ve seen George Hennard. LeRoy picking a beer is not high on my list of threats. What do you do if the man does make a threat? First you gauge the threat. Does he have a gun, or a tire tool? If he has a gun you try to avoid getting that gun aimed at you while you wait to draw your weapon. Simple fact is most people waving a gun around do not know how to use it. Three things figure in a gun fight. Having a gun, knowing how to use it effectively, and the willingness to do just that! Ok, he has a gun. He’s probably “cowboying” it, waving it around and yelling. You play the coward. You act like the little old man buying a six pack. He does not perceive you as a threat, worrying more about the clerk. Your advantage? You know you have resistance right under your coat. The very instant his gun is aimed anywhere but you, you pull your weapon and neutralize the situation. He will never hear the shot. Thats the hard part. If you draw your weapon and use it as a threat you will most likely get shot. Look at the OK Corral. Who got killed? They guys running their mouths while the Earps and Doc Holiday took aim. So, you shoot someone. It’s nit like in the movies. You will most likely be taken downtown. Your license and gun will be confiscated by the police. You will have to justify the use of deadly force. Even police officers must do this. Ever hear of “administrative leave?” It’s not because the officer did anything wrong. It’s so careful, logical minds can find out why someone got shot.
Ok, let’s say the perpetrator has a knife, or tire tool, even just a hammer. You still play the coward. Retreat. Now, don’t allow him to harm the clerk, but if the money changes hands with no violence there is no reason for the robber to ever know you are packing. There will be survailance cameras and at least two witnesses. The police will get him. That’s what they do. It’s only money, and with the way most connivence stores operate this idiot just traded ten years of his life for less than fifty dollars.
If the bandit does begin to make a move to harm the clerk you draw your gun and shout, “Stop!” You don’t go into a long oratory, you don’t come up with some cute line, just one word, “Stop!” At this point the man is going to do one of two things. He is going to piss his pants and drop to his knees, or he’s going to piss his pants and run. It’s not like in the movies. When you see a gun aimed at your face and realize you are less than a second from the Pearly Gates you change direction immediately, and that direction is NOT charging at YOU! In this circumstance you have the total advantage.
As you can easily see, this was not the situation that rainy night in Florida. Trayvon Martin posed a threat to no one. No one except George Zimmerman. What would have happened if George hadn’t driven down that road? Trayvon would have walked home, given his little brother the Skittles, and drank his tea. Trayvon Martin did not possess burglar tools on his body when they zipped up the bag. George Zimmerman broke every rule of a responsible license to carry party. He profiled the kid. “They always get away!” He disobeyed the instructions of the 911 operator. “We don’t want you to do that.” He didn’t just stand his ground, he stood Trayvon’s ground, and the ground of every member of the home owner’s committee. He was a ground standing son of a bitch! He displayed his weapon needlessly. He claimed Trayvon grabbed for his gun. How’d the kid know he even had one? Ask yourself.
Let’s look at the 911 “howling” tape. Now, you’re going to hear all kinds of expert talk about who that was screaming. It’s all crap, use your common sense. Do you know how difficult it is to aim and fire a pistol in a fist fight? I’m a pretty hard ass old bastard, but if you’re whipping my ass I’m going to be hard put to place a good shot. And I’m good! When I qualified on the range for my gun permit my target had a big old hole right in the center. George Zimmerman executed a perfect torso shot. One shot to the heart. So, was screaming? Not the man taking careful aim at a teenage boy. Not the man in a fit of rage with anger written all over his face. If you will note the screaming stopped immediately after the shot. No crying, no sobs, no more calls for someone to come out and help, just silence. Damning silence! Did Trayvon hit George? Probably. He had been stalked by the very creature he had come to beware of. Trayvon did retreat, and as a last resort he stood his ground. His only mistake was he was facing a man who perceived himself to be a hero with a gun!
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were drawn into history that night. They both played roles given them by the societies they had chosen. George fully expected to drop by the country club the next day and get a pat on the back for “saving the neighborhood.” Trayvon expected a fight like in school that he would tell his friends about, and in time move on to other things. Instead he died begging for his life as a man took aim at his chest.
You will hear testimony that will try your patience. You will hear experts contradict each other endlessly. You will see drawings and photographs that try to explain trajectory. Lawyers will split hairs on what ground was being stood that night. The final truth will never be arrived at. That truth lies between two young men on a rainy night in Florida.