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Friday, June 7, 2013

George Zimmerman Trial: Is social media the predominant aggressor?

Predominant aggressor laws are most frequently applied in cases of domestic abuse where the size of the victims is disparate. In those cases, the person who used more substantial force  is the predominant aggressor.

At the time of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman was 30 pounds heavier and four inches shorter than the teen. He was also 12 years older than his victim. It's possible that George Zimmerman feared Trayvon Martin, but the teen's appearance rather than his size was most likely the source of that fear.

The question then is will self defense laws be applicable if we are frightened by our own preconceived ideas.  If the "boogie man" takes the shape of every racial stereotype, then we as a society are in trouble. However, even if George Zimmerman was the primary aggressor, he still had the right to defend himself. 

The rules of self defense state that the person defending himself can only use as much force as required to remove the threat. Only if a person fears for his life can they defend themselves with deadly force. Zimmerman did call 911. Why would he call the police if he intended to commit murder?

The facts of the case, except as dissected by social media, are not yet in evidence. Perhaps because of his buzzed haircut, more than one blogger has remarked that Zimmerman's head trauma was self inflicted, maybe he simply cut himself shaving.  Bloggers with deep pockets should be wary of portraying Mr. Zimmerman unfairly.  He is suing NBC for using the tape of his 911 call out of context.

Obviously, attorney Mark O'Mara, believes that his client has a better chance proving self defense than appearing before a lone judge for the application of Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground Law."  At hand is the issue of whether he can find 12 jurors that will be unbiased by media, especially social media.

Let's hope social media is not the real predominant aggressor. It will be unfortunate if tweets, hashtags, and indiscriminate blogging writes the story of the trial before it even starts.

Article first published as George Zimmerman Trial: Is Social Media the Predominant Aggressor? on Technorati.
cc GeorgeZimmermanTrialWatch 

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