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A rush to judgment in the Trayvon Martin shooting

By Scott Tibbs, April 9, 2012

Note: This was submitted as a letter to the editor on April 5, 2012

The Indiana Daily Student asserts in its April 5 editorial that "the merits of Zimmermanís claim are hardly worth debating." Of course it is worth debating, because it is critical that we have all of the facts. A full and impartial investigation is needed, not a racially-charged lynch mob complete with vigilante groups offering rewards for the capture of an American citizen who has not even been charged with a crime.

Frankly it is shocking that a "newspaper" would toss aside a search for truth, especially in a criminal justice case. The fact that the IDS is a college "newspaper" is not an excuse.

The IDS editorial board asserts that "Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood." You simply do not know that until all the facts come out and the investigation is complete.

There has been a ridiculous rush to judgment in this case, and I admit to my own shame that I was participating in that rush to judgment against Zimmerman just two weeks ago.

But the reality is we do not know for sure what happened that night. Zimmerman claims Martin punched him and knocked him down, and that Martin then allegedly began slamming Zimmerman's head into the concrete. If this is true, Zimmerman's life was in danger and the use of a firearm may have been necessary to end the attack There is evidence that Zimmerman was injured and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

This is not a small child we are talking about. Martin was a 6'2" athlete, certainly capable of handling himself. It is far from inconceivable that an athletic seventeen year old standing six feet and two inches tall could be a threat to someone without a weapon - especially if he did what he is alleged to have done.

But again, we do not know what happened. We do know that an overzealous Zimmerman ignored a 911 dispatcher and followed Martin. What happened after that? That is where the facts are cloudy. If Zimmerman is guilty of murder, then he should be executed - but only after a fair trial.