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July 15, 2013 - Jim Anderson
The jurors believed George Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

Against, as Eugene Robinson put it today, “murder-by-sidewalk.”

In a column in the Washington Post, Robinson offers this: “To me, and to many who watched the trial, the fact that Zimmerman recklessly initiated the tragic encounter was enough to establish, at a minimum, guilt of manslaughter. The six women on the jury disagreed.”

We’ll never know for certain what took place. And "beyond a reasonable doubt" is a high standard in proving guilt.

But, in a sense, it was Trayvon Martin who was found guilty. Zimmerman claimed that Martin attacked him viciously, without apparent cause, and threatened to kill.

Explanations for that alleged, terrible outlash are mostly vague. “Anger and hostility, and ill-will, and spite” is how one member of Zimmerman’s defense team put it. Just mean, but don't ask why.

Robinson’s take is that the authorities initially accepted Zimmerman’s account, few questions asked. Only a national outcry forced authorities to investigate the case seriously.

Robinson writes:

“The assumption underlying their ho-hum approach to the case was that Zimmerman had the right to self-defense but Martin — young, male, black — did not. The assumption was that Zimmerman would fear for his life in a hand-to-hand struggle but Martin — young, male, black — would not.

“If anyone wonders why African-Americans feel so passionately about this case, it's because we know that our 17-year-old sons are boys, not men. It's because we know their adolescent bravura is just that -- an imitation of manhood, not the real thing.

“We know how frightened our sons would be, walking home alone on a rainy night and realizing they were being followed. We know how torn they would be between a child's fear and a child's immature idea of manly behavior. We know how they would struggle to decide the right course of action, flight or fight.

“And we know that a skinny boy armed only with candy, no matter how big and bad he tries to seem, does not pose a mortal threat to a healthy adult man who outweighs him by 50 pounds and has had martial arts training (even if the lessons were mostly a waste of money). We know that the boy may well have threatened the man's pride, but likely not his life. How many murders-by-sidewalk have you heard of recently? Or ever?”

This is the first, I have to agree.

At the American Spectator, meanwhile, George Neumayr says the prosecution’s weak case was based on nothing more than “unproven hunches.”

“With egg on her face,” he writes, “Florida state attorney Angela Corey appeared before reporters on Saturday night to say that ‘common sense’ drove her decision to prosecute. She still can’t understand how people, even ‘some with law degrees,’ could have questioned her decision. After all, what could be more commonsensical than thinking a neighborhood watch volunteer called 911 before committing second-degree murder, somehow managed to manipulate conditions so that he sustained self-defense wounds, and then craftily complied with all police questioning without benefit of a lawyer afterwards?”

By Neumayr’s reckoning, Zimmerman was correct to profile Martin as a budding thug.

Anxious, the reasoning might follow, to commit his first murder-by-sidewalk?

In fairness, yes, Zimmerman emphatically claimed the unarmed Martin was about to take his gun, threatening to kill.

But why?

The defense hardly tried to explain. The allegation was sufficient.



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