I wasn't going to wade into this particular debate, because so many others are covering the issues so thoroughly--from traditional news to the blogosphere. What more can my small voice hope to add? ...Of course, when has that stopped me?
I thought I'd just offer a few quick observations regarding this. Based on the initial reports out of Florida, I was as infuriated as anyone at the situation. What possible justification could there be to shooting an unarmed youngster? I, more or less, accepted the media's presentation without question until other issues came to light recently. Don't you hate it when our preconceived notions are shown to be--just maybe--not the whole story?
From how the incident was initially described, George Zimmerman appeared to be "shaking" Trayvon Martin. This refers to police field contact of a suspicious person. While private security is within its authority to make contact with individuals on private property, it's a little different when a Neighborhood Watch volunteer makes such a contact in a public place. If that is what occurred, it certainly would suggest poor judgement at the very least. When this is combined with some of the language on the 911 recording, it's hard to feel a lot of pity for Mr. Zimmerman. He went against the instructions of the dispatcher, after all.
Still, the fact of the matter remains...are we innocent until proven guilty? New information suggests that it's at least possible that Trayvon was striking Mr. Zimmerman's head repeatedly into the concrete. Yes, it may have been foolish for him to approach this situation the way he did in the first place, but I suggest everyone give some thought to how you will feel and act if the evidence ultimately finds the shooter innocent of wrongdoing. Are you going to apologize to Mr. Zimmerman?
My mind goes back to one of my early jobs. I was working security in northwest Washington State one night when I happened upon a scene where a man's head was being slammed repeatedly into the concrete by assailants. It was early morning in this downtown coastal town, and there were no helpful policeman ready to come and assist me. I knew that I had to take some personal risk to stop the attackers, or this man would probably be killed in front of me. Fortunately, I was able to stop the attack with a non-lethal device, but I can sympathize with someone being brutally attacked in that manner. If it's indeed true, perhaps his final action is more understandable in this light--if not the actions preceeding it.
Whether, or not, that's the case, however, I think it's even more important that we bear in mind that Mr. Zimmerman has not yet been charged with a crime--so far as I know. Furthermore, even if he had been, he remains innocent until proven guilty. Don't let the media be the judge and jury.