|Police video enhanced by ABC|
|Crop of just Zimmerman's head|
|Zimmerman's head enlarged 300%|
We've all been litigating this entire case in the public, and people have been getting important facts wrong.
First everyone was convinced that Zimmerman was white (I said he was Latino and was roundly corrected - guess what, he's Latino).
Then we were told that Zimmerman called 911 forty-some times over the preceding two months, proving that he was a vigilante nut. In fact, the story cited as proof of this said nothing about 911, but rather seemed to suggest they were calls to the police non-emergency number, which is significantly different than calling 911.
I've also repeatedly heard that Trayvon Martin was clearly innocent of any wrongdoing because he didn't have a weapon on him. When I was mugged, and two young thugs quite efficiently tried to strangle me to death several years back, neither of them had a weapon. (And it was outside of a 7-11.)
A lot of the crowd-sourced "truths" in this case aren't necessarily true.
And perhaps the most important factual error, we were told that Zimmerman had no visible injuries to his head the night he was arrested, so he clearly lied about being in a physical scuffle with Trayvon Martin. ABC News appears to have found those injuries in a video ABC enhanced with the help of experts. (I used Perfect Resize to enlarge the ABC image 300%.) The question of proof of a scuffle goes to the self-defense claim.
As for why the marks on Zimmerman's head matter. I was told the other day that it doesn't matter if Travyon slamed Zimmerman's head repeatedly into the sidewalk, as Zimmerman claims, because Zimmerman started it by not staying in his car. Well, that's not always the way the claim of "self-defense" works in the law. In law school, we were taught that it doesn't matter if the other guy starts it if you use more force than is necessary to stop him (unless he's in your home). It may not sound "fair," but it's how the law generally works.
George Zimmerman may be guilty as sin. But we're not going to find the truth by embracing falsehoods. I agree with those who say that we were given no choice but to litigate this in public, otherwise no one would have even investigated whether Zimmerman actions were a crime. And that's true. Without the uproar the police, and Justice Department in Washington, would have done nothing, and we'd never know the truth. But what concerns me are all the "conclusions" that folks are reaching based on "facts" that we've learned from newspapers and TV shows. Facts that keep changing.
Zimmerman may be guilty as hell. But this case needs to go to a judge and a jury for us to find out what actually happened. And the uproar has helped to ensure that it will. All I'm asking is that you keep your inner skeptic alive when listening to "conclusions" about what "definitely" happened in this, or any other, case. Facts have a funny way of changing the more you learn about what really happened.