Zimmerman vs. Martin: Racist vigilante vs. street wise thug?

The truth can be very inconvenient; especially for those who have an agenda. Photo: George Zimmerman / AP

FLORIDA, June 14, 2013 — Offering any defense to George Zimmerman, even if you are his brother, can create controversy on both sides of the debate over Trayvon Martin’s death. 


SEE RELATED: Asking Robert Zimmerman: Who is George Zimmerman?


The facts are very difficult to refute. Contrary to the media’s image of Martin as a typical teen, text messages written by him show that he was suspended from school for truancy, discussed obtaining firearms in detail, and admitted to handling marijuana.

More is mentioned in the messages, and disturbing photos on Martin’s phone have been made public.

This week, George Zimmerman enters the spotlight as his trial begins. What we do and do not know is telling.  We don’t know if Zimmerman was a homicidal, trigger-happy neighborhood watchman or if Martin was a brutal thug killed in self-defense.

We know only that Martin is dead and that Zimmerman shot him. 


SEE RELATED: Robert Zimmerman on media bias and the Trayvon Martin shooting


Whatever the case, it was assumed early on that Zimmerman was white, and due to his last name, perhaps of Jewish background. As time wore on, though, facts came to light which illustrated his Latin American heritage and Christianity — for starters.

Interestingly enough, Zimmerman is not only a minority, but the same kind that Martin was. Apparently, an old family photo shows that one of the man’s great grandfathers was Afro-Peruvian. Furthermore, for all of that talk about Zimmerman being a far-right racist lunatic, he is a registered Democrat.

Last year, the Miami Herald managed to dig up Zimmerman’s Myspace page, which has not been updated in roughly eight years. Nonetheless, there are more than a few very interesting things written on it by, barring an unlikely act of computer hacking, George Zimmerman himself.

Let us begin with his opinions about his hometown of Manassas, which is a prominent suburban community south of Washington, DC: “Moved out of Manassas VA (d.c. suburb) about 4 years ago, alot of people say they hate it but i cant ever say i hate home. Miss my boys from back home, no one is gonna have your back like your boys who grew up with you and are as scared of your momma as you are! You know who you are, the same ones that would come ova and have my pops tie your tie before every school dance and interview. I know alot of yall hatin cause im out and aint ever goin back, i used to look at people like me the same way. Can you really hate on someone for improving thier life?”


SEE RELATED: Guns, weed and more: The inconvenient truth about Trayvon Martin


Of course not. 

Moving on: “I love the fact that I can still go back home and crash on my boys couch as if i had never left, I can hit my boy up to handle a lil somethin with my sister and he’s at my house with his boys on bikes before i hang up with her! They do a year and dont ever open thier mouth to get my ass pinched. My cousins the cruzado’s damn i love yall, shirley and frank DONT PLAY! I gotta be honest I miss that.”

Now for the bit about Mexicans: “I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!”

It sounds like he was caught in a warzone on the Texas border rather than residing a few miles south south of the Potomac River; hence the problem with stereotypes.

Anyhow, he had a few things to say about entrepreneurship: “Im down here now opened my own insurance agency, small but its mine. I put my grandma’s name on it so that she could see its hers too, who knows where i would be with out her.”

That sounds sweet, though calling his former girlfriend an “ex-hoe” does not.

Friendship, it appears, means a great deal to Zimmerman. Perhaps this is why he says that the people he wants most to meet are “Friends, let me be specific…. Tru friends”. He also mentions that he is “Single”, “Straight”, “Latino/Hispanic”, “5’ 10”” tall, “Roman Catholic”, aspiring to have children, a drinker but not a smoker, “High school” educated, and last but not least, at an income level of “$45 to $60,000”.

Zimmerman appears to be as anything but a psychotic bigot with a propensity for casual murder. He represents, in essence, the average American guy. Not perfect, not always rational — really now, how acute must one be to realize that posting what he did on Myspace is a terrible idea — or even level headed, but despite all of this, the kind of man that would reflexively have the back of his loved ones through thick and thin; these loved ones not only being family, but friends and neighbors too.

Zimmerman’s story is a tragic one, to put it mildly. However, after learning a fair deal about him through his own words, it should become all the more apparent that the press and social activists — both of which have the tendency to form a combined entity at times — have absolutely no place judging his fate. 

Indeed, this is a matter so delicate and quintessentially complex that the only place suitable for it is a courtroom.

At least, regardless of anybody’s personal opinion, justice will be served there and nowhere else; one way or the other. That alone proves, despite its countless flaws, the legal system does indeed work. 

For this, every last one of us ought to be thankful.  


Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 




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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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