In this page:
- Something that Zimmerman may have unconsiously let slip
- Some (informed) speculation on Zimmerman’s frame of mind when he got to the central pathway area – deduced solely from what we hear in the recording – and something that is built into every single human
- Some darker speculation based on things we have of Zimmerman’s history
- Something on how they might have encountered one another.
- Some indications
First: A thought came up in the Frederick Letterman blog
There is an interesting moment in the video of the Voice Stress Test conducted on Febrary 27th, the day after the shooting.
There is a long section before the test actually begins. Time is being killed, not in interrogation but in "How was your day". Zimmerman maybe feels that he's amongst his own. He's the good guy. He want to be in law enforcement. He's chatting with a female detective Doris Singleton.
There's a YouTube of it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjRp-vIvTNg
The video is incorrectly labelled as:
"George Zimmerman Sanford Police Interview [Lie Detector/Polygraph] (February 27, 2012)"The test to be conducted is a Computerized Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA). This is neither a Polygraph or a Lie Detector. It's pseudo science.
To quote the National Institute of Justice http://www.nij.gov/journals/259/voice-stress-analysis.htm VSA is "no better than flipping a coin when it comes to detecting deception".
It was Zimmerman who asked for this particular test to be done. You will see that confirmed at 15:15 in the video. "I understand that you want a CVSA". He's being studying criminal law and wanted to be a cop. C'mon. He knew it was a scam. Anyone studying police procedures would know.
What such tests are good for is intimidating someone who does not know that the test is "no better than flipping a coin when it comes to detecting deception".
Before that test starts however, there is that very interesting conversation with Singleton.
At 4:40 in the video:
Zimmerman has described his day. He describes visiting his psychologist.
"And I think the psychologist was when it hit me...hardest."
There is a long silence. Clearly he is thinking about the fact that he shot Martin, because
Zimmerman: Have you ever had to shoot anybody?
Zimmerman: Good for you
--Silence about 8 seconds-- 'Full-time cop - never had to shoot anybody. Hmmm'
Zimmerman: You're probably stern enough to get the point
Zimmerman: You're probably stern enough for it… to get the point.... You got that …authoritative, commanding presence
Zimmerman: I wouldn't question your authority.
Perhaps Zimmerman is thinking that he should work on developing a stern authoritative commanding presence, so that people wouldn't question his authority.
That way, if he went to detain some burglar punk until the cops arrived, the punk wouldn't question his authority. He wouldn't have to get involved in a struggle, and end up shooting someone.
Everything that Zimmerman did that night – up to him getting out of the truck - was in accordance with best practices recommended by Neighbourhood Watch and police.
I know that this might go down like a fresh rat-burger with some readers, but that’s the case.
Getting out of the truck is where Zimmerman parted company with NW procedures.
NW volunteers must "observe from a safe location". Going into a dark area on the heels of someone without having continuous view of that person is not "observing from a safe location". It is to risk encountering them at close quarters. Carrying a weapon of any kind while on NW activity is also a big no-no.
Zimmerman's truck was "safe location". He left it.
The Miami Herald carried a report that included:
Police volunteer program coordinator Wendy Dorival said she met Zimmerman in September at a community neighborhood watch presentation.
“I said, ‘If it’s someone you don’t recognize, call us. We’ll figure it out,’” Dorival said. “‘Observe from a safe location.’ There’s even a slide about not being vigilante police. I don’t know how many more times I can repeat it.”
As I point out in the Maps page, the location where the truck seems to have been parked might appear strange, but it is the optimum position from which to safely monitor anyone passing between NW and SE along the pathways and lake area behind the townhouses.
This would support indications that Zimmerman had spotted Martin entering the development at the pedestrian ‘short-cut’ in the NW and moving behind the townhouses on Retreat View Circle.
So far, so good.
Zimmerman may have been expecting Martin to move down SE towards the back gate. Instead, Martin appears near the Clubhouse.
That truck position and West (Clubhouse)-facing orientation
- based on what Frank Taaffe says that Zimmerman told him,
- confirmed apparently by analysis of CCTV footage from the Clubhouse
- confirmed as possible by analysis of times and events in Zimmerman's narrative during his NEN call
was contradicted by Zimmerman in his Walk-Through video. He says that he began the call at the front of the Clubhouse, that Martin passed him there, that he drove into Twin Trees and parked facing East.
That story is problematical, as it can't be made to match the timings of his narrative in the NEN call.
Nevertheless, however he got there and whatever direction the truck was facing .......
Then something really unexpected (by Zimmerman) happens.
The punk walks straight at the truck.
Listen to the recording from 1:00 Pay attention to the tone of his voice changing.
Zimmerman: Yeah, now he's coming towards me.
Zimmerman: He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male.
Dispatcher: How old would you say he looks?
Zimmerman: He's got button on his shirt, late teens.
Dispatcher: Late teens. Ok.
Zimmerman seems fairly OK up to now, but next he’s showing clear signs of concern
Zimmerman: Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he's coming to check me out, he's got something in his hands, I don't know what his deal is.
Then he has a big reaction
Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything, ok?
Zimmerman (breaking in over the Dispatcher’ last sentence: (unclear) you can get an officer over here.
He breaks in around the "just let" part of what the Dispatcher is saying. There is urgency here.
Zimmerman also claims that Martin had actually approached and circled the truck at this stage.
Zimmerman has reached a crisis point.
Fight or Flight
WikiPedia has a longer explanation, but the short version applicable here is contained within that.
In the human fight or flight response in prehistoric times, fight was manifested in aggressive, combative behavior and flight was manifested by fleeing potentially threatening situations, such as being confronted by a predator. In current times, these responses persist, but fight and flight responses have assumed a wider range of behaviors.
The punk has walked right at him. He's got his hand in his waistband - he's got something in his hands - don't know what his deal is.
And then….after all that build up to crisis point ......
....................................................The punk just keeps on walking.
There is Zimmerman, turning in his seat to watch the punk departing.
His ‘flight’ would have been to simply drive away, safe inside the locked doors of his truck.
His body has done what any animal or human body would have done. He’s pumped with adrenaline. His heart rate is up.
‘Flight’ has disappeared. Nothing left in his body but ‘fight’.
One of the many sources on the function of adrenaline is a page on WiseGeek.com
When a person encounters a potentially dangerous situation, the hypothalamus in the brain signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and other hormones directly into the bloodstream. The body's systems react to these hormones within seconds, giving the person a nearly instant physical boost. Strength and speed both increase, while the body's ability to feel pain decreases. This hormonal surge is often referred to as an "adrenaline rush."
Side EffectsIn addition to a noticeable increase in strength and performance, this hormone typically causes heightened awareness and increased respiration. The person may also feel lightheaded, dizzy, and experience changes in vision. These effects can last up to an hour, depending on the situation.
When there is stress but no actual danger, a person can be left feeling restless and irritable. This is partly because adrenaline causes the body to release glucose, raising blood sugar, and giving the body energy that has no outlet.
Back to Zimmerman:
Suddenly, any trace of concern or fear have gone from his voice.
Zimmerman: Okay. These (expletive) they always get away.
He’s still in the truck, watching out through the window.
Then comes the trigger. “He’s running”
You can hear Zimmerman reacting immediately. The door chimes.
He’s out of the truck and moving.
This is the point at which good practice and wisdom leaves the picture.
Zimmerman: F***ing ****s
Much has been made of what exactly the word was, but it’s not actually the most important thing. The tone indicates that Zimmerman is still in ‘fight’ mode.
As I have illustrated on the Map page, by the time Zimmerman gets out of the truck, he can no longer see Martin.
“Observe from a safe location” - Safe location was and is the truck.
If the punk is believed to be headed for the back gate, then “Observe from a safe location” on a dark overcast night means driving down to near (but not too near) the gate and observing.
Zimmerman is headed up the path into a dark area. He has no guarantee that the punk who had the balls to walk right up to his truck and eyeball him, is not lying in wait around that house corner.
When he gets up to that corner he seems to slow and stop. He completes the call.
He is clearly aware that the punk might not have continued going. We know this from the recording.
Standing there, he gives his name, phone and home address to the Dispatcher. Then he realises, and says “Oh crap I don't want to give that all out. I don't know where this kid is.”
The kid might be close by in the dark, and overhearing his address +. That could spell trouble for Zimmerman down the line if the local punks want to target him.
By rights, the realisation that the punk could be close to him in the dark should have Zimmerman going back to a “safe location”.
But he has lost the ‘flight’ impulse. The ‘fight’ has taken over. He does not seem worried now by the thought that the punk could be near him. Two minutes earlier he had basically freaked (while safe inside his truck) at Martin's closest approach point. Now he’s just worried that the punk has learned his address.
The Dispatcher suggests that he meet the incoming patrol at the mailboxes. Zimmerman agrees.
This is safe and reasonable.
And then, at the last moment, he breaks in over the closing words of the Dispatcher.
3:45 Dispatcher: Alright George, I'll let them know to meet you around there, okay?
Zimmerman interrupts just before the “okay”. He’s had a sudden thought. It’s so important to him that he doesn’t wait for the Dispatcher to finish.
“Actually could you have them, could you have them call me and I'll tell them where I'm at?”
Listen to how his voice has changed there.
He’s perhaps noticed something.
He’s still in ‘fight’ mode.
He has a formed a plan. It's come to him suddenly. He breaks in over the dispatcher's words to change the agreement.
Up to release of the Interviews videos and Walk-Through, Zimmerman could possibly have been standing at the T-junction when he finished the call. His new plan could have been to continue to get an address on Retreat View Circle. As I show on the Ground page, that mission would not make any sense whatever. It also would not account for the missing minutes.
In the Walk-Through, Zimmerman says he was at Retreat View Circle when he ended the call. If he actually had some idea of getting a house number, he had reached his goal.
The only alternative plan can be one of looking for Martin.
Such an intention would totally at odds with reasonable behaviour, Neighbourhood Watch procedures – and anything that Zimmerman did up to the time he parked in Twin Trees at a particular spot that afforded good sight-lines over the central pathway area.
That truck was parked in an optimal “Observe from a safe location” position.
Zimmerman in both making the call and in parking there was observing best practice.
The moment he stepped out of the truck, he left good sense behind and ran into a vortex.
What happened to make him totally abandon reasonable behaviour?It was the Fight-Flight extreme that you hear in his voice. The ‘Flight’ influence disappeared suddenly and left him with all the adrenaline.
There are three darker builds on the simple/natural Flight-Fight reasoning.
1. There's something about GeorgeThink Progress is one on-line source of an interview with a former work colleague of George Zimmerman
Among the evidence in the Trayvon Martin case released by the Florida state prosecutor yesterday was a 15-minute interview with a former work colleague of George Zimmerman. The man, who is not identified by name, says that Zimmerman relentlessly bullied him at work.It struck me as I listed to that audio and read some more about Zimmerman in general that I was looking at what in layman's terms is "control freak".
After a few months, Zimmerman was terminated. According to the witness, “he was fired for calling HR hotline so many times…he would complain about each and every manager and employee.”
The WikiPedia entry for Control Freak includes a summary of one aspect of that sort of personality.
Control freaks are often perfectionists defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities, in the belief that, if not in total control, they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood angst. Such figures manipulate and pressurise others to change, so as to avoid having to change themselves; use power over others to escape an inner emptiness. When a control freak's pattern is broken, “the Controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness … But feeling their pain and fear brings them back to themselves”.
This 'power over others' urge is instanced in Zimmerman's bullying at work and in his taking to task the police officers that he had a "ride-on" with, amongst other stories.
Control freaks hate situations in which they are exposed as weak or in error. They will go to enormous lengths to cover up and deny. They are practised and very convincing liars, rationalising even the seeming incredible.
In 2005, Zimmerman, then 20, was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” both which are third-degree felonies.
The charge was reduced to “resisting officer without violence” and then waived when he entered an alcohol education program.
Contemporaneous accounts indicate he shoved an officer who was questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking at an Orange County bar.
In August 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence.
Zimmerman counterfiled for a restraining order against Zuazo. The competing claims were resolved with both restraining orders being granted.
Then there was some report of problems from his time working as a bouncer
“Usually he was just a cool guy. He liked to drink and hang with the women like the rest of us,” he said. “But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped.”
The source said Zimmerman, who made between $50 and $100 a night, was let go in 2005.
“He had a temper and he became a liability,” the man said. “One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted,” he said. “It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage. She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out.”
3. DrugsNo. Not pot / blunts / etc.
Adderall, Temazepam, Mirtazapine
Zimmerman's medical records were part of the files released.
The Huffington post carries the recordings and transcripts of Zimmerman's jail phone calls.
Apart from discussing arrangements for transferring money donated for his defence into clearing credit card debt and transferring funds in under-the-radar amounts to his wife's accounts (in bad code) , he mentions the medications he's currently on.
In layperson's terms,these are drugs for people with messed up thinking.
They are prescribed in order to try to moderate alarming symptoms, and in turn can have equally alarming side effects.
I have seen Zimmerman/Martin 'discussions' in which one side asserts that these drugs are not an issue as they were on prescription. This is to completely ignore the fact that (1) they are prescribed for a reason (2) they have side effects despite being on prescription and (3) they are not magic Smarties/Skittles that simply turn off whatever they were trying to treat.
Our bodies are complex things. Adding cocktails of drugs does not produce binary on/off effects.
I know people in my community who suffer from varying levels of depression, ADHD, etc.
I would find the thought of such people wandering around with guns to be really, really, really scary.
It would be bad enough for them to be just wandering around.
To have them patrolling and on the lookout for problems would be absolutely insane in my view - and I think in the view of any reasonable person.
For some reason, Zimmerman was not tested for drugs/alcohol on the night. It might have been interesting to see what levels of what were in his system.
Whatever state his system started off in, add a massive dose of Adrenaline when Martin walked by close to the truck
2005 seems to have been a bad year for Zimmerman.
Since then, he seems to have had a quieter life.
But maybe something is brewing.
His neighbour and friend, Frank Taaffe, after describing the problems in the area with break-ins, says of Zimmerman:
“I think he had fed-up issues. He was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.”
What happened to 'this' Zimmerman in Twin Trees?He was mistaken in thinking Martin was up to no good. Nevertheless it was in order to report his suspicions to the non-emergency number. That's what it is there for.
Assuming that he chose that particular spot to park so that he could observe the sightlines safely and from a distance, he was doing the kind of thing that Neighbourhood Watch would strongly recommend.
Then something very unexpected happened.
Martin walked straight at him. That's not supposed to happen. Punks are meant to flee.
You can hear it in his voice. He watched as Martin "Coming to check me out", and as Martin got right up to him, he suddenly freaked for a moment.
As Martin passes and continues onwards, Zimmerman makes a quick recovery. He's straight back into the mindset where the punk is fearful of him. He remarks to the dispatcher - "These assholes, they always get away."
He is still shaken. Although it seems he had some problem with visualising spaces - spacial cognition, he seems to be so shaken that he makes a complete mess of giving directions. He knows he is messing up and the frustration and embarrassment in his voice is clear. If the confusion is actually due to a cognition issue that he is aware of he, he will feel exposed by this weakness in his image.
It also seems clear that he does not know the name of the road his truck is on. In two separate sets of directions. He does not name the road. If he needed a house number, the first house on Twin Trees is closer than the first house in Retreat View Circle. The Neighbourhood Watch 'captain' does not know the name of the road that cuts through the middle of the community.
Control freaks absolutely hate that. He has become exposed to the dispatcher by showing fear, by showing incompetence and perhaps by exposing a condition that impairs him. This is a state of pure Hell for control freaks. He will have to compensate and misdirect/distract.
I believe that if Martin had not passed close to him like that, Zimmerman would never have left the truck.
"He's running" probably triggered an impulse to redress the balance.
The punk is now behaving as he should be. Zimmerman feels the power coming back.
He follows. By the time he gets out of the truck, Martin has disappeared.
Zimmerman is still in power mode. He rushes to the top of the central footpath area to see where the punk has got to.
He does have another moment of insecurity after he gives his address to the dispatcher. He realises that the kid might be within earshot in that dark space, with all those dividers between the back porches. Again, he might be looking foolish to the dispatcher, and to a listening punk.
He's having more failure sensations. It seems his flashlight battery is dying or dead. He keeps slapping it. Now he looks a fool to anyone watching - including that punk who might be nearby - and who might have overheard his address and mobile number.. He would be getting frustrated. Cops are on the way - and I'll bet they had to sense to check their flashlights before venturing out.
He will recover fairly quickly. None of the errors will be mentioned by him to anyone. They won't actually have happened. Control freaks believe their own propaganda.
He will live in fear of the dispatcher mentioning his performance during the call.
He's still in a foul and dangerous state.
That was the 'film noir' version, as opposed to a simpler Flight-Fight version.
How did they meet?No idea. It's conjecture.
There is a gap of about 4 minutes between Zimmerman arriving into the dark central pathway area and the first 911 connecting. He had plenty of time to roam.
He says he walked Eastwards straight through to the end of the path on Retreat View Circle. This he says was to get a house number there.
He says he ended the call while standing there on Retreat View Circle and then headed stright back for his truck. He still had 2.5 minutes before the first 911 call connected. His walk to the point at which he says he was attacked would have taken him 30 seconds at maximum.
What is interesting is that at the very end of the call, he interrupts the dispatcher to change the plan.
Disregarding the fact that he had not given the dispatcher the house number that he says he went for ...
He seems to have noticed something. He changes from an agreement to meet the incoming patrol at the mailboxes. Now he asks that they ring him on arrival to find out where he is at.
During all of this time, Martin had been in a phone conversation with a girl. The calls dropped and reconnected. It is possible that Zimmerman noticed a light from the phone or a ring tone, and decided to investigate.
Zimmerman is wandering about, moving down the path and cursing his flashlight, He may now just have a small key-fob light. Maybe he walks South and passes Martin, which could turn a chase into a South to North track ending where the scuffle broke out. That scuffle took them South again.
That's conjecture, based on not much other than the circumstances leading up to this, Zimmerman's sudeen change of plan and the unexplained time gap.
Maybe Martin does get fed up or feels cornered and goes to ask Zimmerman "Why are you following me?"
Maybe the line dropping and the call starting again results in a noise that Zimmerman hears.
We simply don't know.
Zimmerman knows, but his story is that he was attacked.
Even from his parents (albeit a second hand account) allows that he was attacked because Martin saw when close up that the guy who had been following him had a gun.
Where did Zimmerman keep his mobile in relation to the holster in his waistband?
Taaffe for example, in that video mentioned in my Maps page seems to have it on his right hip.
Was the gun actually concealed?
If it normally was, did Zimmerman have it eased slightly out of the waistband just in case?
What is behind the stories from the Zimmerman family about Martin seeing the gun when Zimmerman reached for his phone?
The gun is small and expressly designed for concealed carry.
Zimmerman had a holster for in *inside* his waistband. It's concealed. i.e. not visible.
Did Zimmerman simply go for his gun when he found himself face to face with someone he believed to be a punk that he had been following? Did he in fact already have it out?
Did Martin try and take the gun off this stranger - who was following him in the dark for no good reason that he could think of? Did Martin scream for help as the struggle moved around the area until he managed to get Zimmerman on the ground - and kept screaming until the shot ended it?
Did Zimmerman invent a story of Martin putting his hand over his mouth and nose so that people would believe that it was he, and not Martin, who was screaming? Did he embellish that by describing Martin as saying "Shut up"
Was Zimmerman in the ultimate control freak Hell, and screaming for someone to make it stop?
What of that leak from a police source reported in the Daily Beast?
“According to the source, Zimmerman told police he didn’t realize that Martin was seriously injured, and that he lunged to get on top of him after the teenager fell to the ground.”
If they were struggling over the gun, both had an equal reason to be screaming for help.
Both would continue to scream until there was no further reason to scream, or they were unable to do so.
If Zimmerman did not realise that Martin was seriously injured, then Zimmerman would still be looking for help.
We don't know, and very likely never will.
A few things seem clear:
- By the time Zimmerman got out of the truck, he could no longer see Martin.
- He was still on the road in Twin Trees and at best had just set foot on the start of the path leading up to the T-Junction when he responded with "OK" to the dispatcher saying "We don't need you to do that".
- He headed up the path with no guarantee that Martin was not waiting for him around the corner.
- Any story that Martin circled the truck while Zimmerman was on the call simply can't stand up. His voice and the seconds ticking in the recording betrays him.
- This strange story of going to Retreat View Circle to get an address at which he would meet the incoming patrol car does not stand up because he says that (a) he was leaving that address and intending to return to his truck when accosted, and (b) He would have had to spend almost 2 minutes just standing at Retreat View Circle doing nothing if he was going to be accosted as he returned past the T-junction.
- If he wanted an address on Retreat View Circle, all he had to do was walk 100 feet North. Instead, he says he walked to a part of RVC that was 250 feet away - and one that would take him into a dark area where Martin had just passed out of sight.
- The address that he was asked for was the address outside of which his truck was parked. As he was unable to supply that address, the dispatcher instead asked him to meet the patrol at the Mailboxes - and Zimmerman agreed. Then at the last moment asked for the patrol to ring him on arrival. This would mean that if Zimmerman wants an address, it's an address that he will be standing at for the patrol to meet up with him. The problem is, he was, by his own account, standing just by such an address when he finished the call - so he could have given it to the dispatcher.
- Could it be that this house number quest is a story that he came up with when someone asked him - "George. WTF did you think you were doing following that guy into the dark? Did you not listen to our guy telling you not to?" The quest for an address is what the Zimmerman camp offer to make it look like the actual quest was not Martin.
.... and then there is the small matter of the body being over 40 feet South of the junction. This is remarkable when the story was that Martin immediately punched him to the ground and then straddled him.
Was it a racial matter?In other words, was it all about Martin being black?
I don't feel that this was so.
I feel that Zimmerman simply saw Martin as conforming to a general type of housebreaker. Martin could have been any race or colour.
I also wonder if Zimmerman would have even got out of the truck had not something extreme happened that broke the pattern that he expected.
Zimmerman made a call in deciding Martin as suspicious.
He made a call to Sanford PD, that was reasonable to make.
Then he made a series of disastrous calls.
Martin's death was entirely avoidable.
Zimmerman will make himself believe that he had no reasonable means of extricating himself and not shooting, and that he was not actually following Martin.
It may be that Zimmerman's inability to admit that he screwed up led him to tell careless lies in his immediate statements and in his video re-enactment.
It may be that there is physical evidence that trips him.
Without a trial, Zimmerman's statements and the evidence gathered may never see the light.
Comments:It would be nice if comments stayed on the question of throwing light on what happened on the night of the shooting.
There are other controversies and debates around the affair, such as:
- The performance of the police, the prosecutors initially and those that replaced them.
- The whole Cory thing, overcharging or not, plea deals, politics
- The race thing
- Stand Your Ground laws
- Gun laws
~ Sling Trebuchet