There’s a pretty decent description of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seattle Times that adds a little detail I hadn’t noticed elsewhere. Maybe you’ve seen it, but I missed it.
Apparently on the call Zimmerman made to report a suspicious person, at 7:13 or just after there’s a beeping sound indicating a car door is opening. That’s likely when Zimmerman got out of his truck. Here’s the newspaper account —
“When he say this man behind him again, he come and say, this look like he about to do something to him,” the girl told ABC News. “And then Trayvon come and said the man was still behind him, and then I come and say, ‘Run!’ ”
Trayvon did just that.
At 7:13, two minutes into Zimmerman’s call, he tells the police operator: “S — , he’s running.”
A beeping sound is heard, indicating that he has opened his car door. Zimmerman went after Trayvon and, out of breath, muttered profanities. He lost sight of him.
“Are you following him?” the operator asked.
“OK, we don’t need you to do that.”
Zimmerman spent almost two more minutes offering directions to the operator. He said he’d meet police by the mailboxes and then, just before hanging up, apparently thought better of it. “Actually, could you have him call me, and I’ll tell him where I’m at?” he said three minutes and 50 seconds into the call. At 7:15, he hung up.
According to CNN, Martin was shot and killed at 7:25. At that point, Zimmerman had been out of his truck for about 12 minutes, and part of that time he was running after Martin. The confrontation between the two took place in a a common backyard area in between two rows of houses, not on the street where a truck might have been parked. The original story, that Zimmerman had just gotten out of his truck briefly to check the address, and that Martin had jumped him as he returned to his truck, is obviously bogus.
The bigger issue here is the “stand your ground” law, and ALEC. To my mind Zimmerman is a victim too, of bad law. As I wrote a few days ago, I have big issues with the idea that anybody should be able to carry a firearm anywhere he wants. And my issue is that a big chunk of humanity doesn’t have the sense God gave mushrooms.
Zimmerman may actually have meant well by his zealous amateur policing of his neighborhood, but it’s obvious he lacked sensible judgment and was not someone the world needed to be carrying a firearm everywhere he went. And I suspect that is true of a large portion of the yahoos carrying guns in America right now. Add to that a law that makes self-defense so ambiguous as to be just about whatever the shooter says it is, and you can pretty much count on there being more stupid, senseless shootings that should never have happened.