Trayvon Martin was killed on February 26 because of a vigilante in his neighborhood. The 17-year-old kid had been on his way home from the corner store with a bag of Skittles and an iced-tea. The local "rent-a-cop," George Zimmermann, decided that Martin looked suspicious, and so he called him in. The police told Zimmermann to NOT follow Martin. Zimmermann followed Martin. And shot him to death.
Zimmermann was a cop wannabe. Zimmermann had called in over 50 reports in a 2-month time frame. Zimmermann was obviously upset by "suspicious-looking characters" roaming around his 'hood. As he said in his recorded phone call to the police after they told him to back off in this case: "These assholes. They always get away."
It's clear that Zimmermann had an agenda. To catch who he perceived as being "wrong-doers" in his neighborhood. To him, Trayvon Martin, with his hoodie and "something in his hand," looked suspicious... And so Zimmermann chased him. And so Martin ran (after asking his girlfriend on his cell-phone what he should do since he saw a weird guy following him... she said, "Run!" He said, "No, I'm not gonna run..." He ended up running...)
The two ended up in a scuffle on the ground. Martin yelling "Help!" (as multiple calls to 911 from bystanders revealed). But Zimmermann also ending up with, according to police reports, abrasions to the back of his head and a bloody nose.
I'm guessing that Zimmermann chased Martin, confronted him, then the two ended up in a scuffle, Martin finally getting Zimmermann down on the ground. (The abrasions to the back of Zimmermann's head and bloody nose indicating that Martin was on top of him.)
At this point, Zimmermann got scared for his life and shot Martin to death.
I don't think this is an example of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, passed in 2005 (in which you have the right to defend yourself if someone threatens your home or being). Zimmermann clearly chased after Martin, which disqualifies him from the "Stand Your Ground" provision.
Nor do I think this is an example of a hate crime. Some media outlets have been playing and re-playing the tape of Zimmermann calling in his report to the police, in which he allegedly says "fuckin' COONS." Or he could be saying "fuckin' PUNKS." (After listening to the murky recording, the latter "punks" sounds more plausible. Plus, what actual racist today refers to black people as "coons"? "Coons" -- a pre-1960 term -- not exactly on the lips of today's younger racists.)
Zimmermann = probably guilty of manslaughter.
What bugs me, on a shallow level, about the whole media coverage, though:
(1) The cable media keeps showing photos of Martin as a junior-high kid. He was 17 when he was shot to death, not 12 or 13, as he's being shown in the photos. At 17, you're bigger. And perhaps more threatening in appearance to paranoid neighborhood-watchman Zimmermann.
(2) In the cable media, Zimmermann is constantly referred to as being "Hispanic." Hispanic? Zimmermann?