I guarantee you if some weirdo is following me in the rain, in the dark, I'm going to use whatever means I can to protect myself. I'm not going to wait for him to jump me, I'm going to scratch and claw, use my keys, whatever I have to do to get this guy to realize he's chosen the wrong person to follow! Trayvon did NOTHING wrong! GZ should have NEVER gotten out of his damn car. It's Neighborhood WATCH, not Neighborhood Pursue and Provoke. It doesn't make me feel one bit sorry for GZ that he will have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life wondering when that guy behind him is going to pounce. That's what he did to Trayvon and now it's his turn to see what it feels like! Get good and used to it George!
Or... you could call the cops and tell them you are being followed as you go to a convenient safe place, like the one just around the corner where you are staying. By initiating violent contact with your follower, YOU are breaking the law, and escalating the "following" to a death battle, which, dependent upon the skills and armament of the person you attack, might result in your death. Both participants in this incident made bad decisions. I agree with the president that the death was unnecessary. Of course I agree with your using "whatever means you can to protect yourself", if you have no choice. In Trayvon's case, he had options.
What I'm not understanding is people's emotional attachment to a verdict in this case in stark contrast to the evidence. Zimmerman had a legal right, if not a commitment, to report people he did not know acting suspiciously in the neighborhood. He thought malingering in the rain was suspicious. He had a right to follow to ascertain the location of the person he'd reported. He had a right to carry a gun. Since he'd been responsible for the arrest of several people committing crimes in the neighborhood, that's a reasonable precaution. He had a right, when attacked, to defend himself. He had a right, when feeling that his life was threatened, to use deadly force.
The police did not charge him for a reason. They could not prove he broke any laws, and not for lack of trying. He willingly gave and passed three lie detector tests. The timeline supported his story. His injuries supported his story. Witnesses provided little clarity. Forensics backed him up.
Only when the media cherry-picked info to create a sensation (deny it?) did the public attach themselves to what they imagined had taken place. The police chief lost his job and the district attorney were replaced, not for mishandling the case based on evidence, but because a lynch mob wave of public opinion demanded it.
No grand jury decided if the case should have been brought. The appointed special prosecutor explained after the trial that they knew a conviction would be very difficult, but that they saw their job as making sure George and Trayvon got their day in court. "We did that." It's my opinion, for what it's worth, that the trial was staged to get the real evidence in the case to the public in order to dim some of the hype. And yet here we are, with people who obviously didn't pay attention to the trial still screaming for justice, and racial agendas still being exploited though the case didn't involve any.
The media duped us pretrial, and most are still allowing it. The presentation of Trayvon as an innocent child was false. The reasons he was suspended from school were hidden. There is no evidence George is a racist. Trayvon used the only racist terms in the incident when describing his follower to his girlfriend. George's injuries were ignored. Voice "experts", willing for the press to testify whose voice was yelling for help, disappeared for the trial. Partial text was "picked" from the 911 calls to implicate George as a profiler, when he was actually answering questions from the dispatcher about the person he was reporting. The prosecution's final argument was widely distributed, while the defense barely got any media exposure.
And now that the verdict is in, all we are seeing is the negative response to it. Admittedly, I'm not watching FOX or MSNBC, but the mainstream folks and the browser news are mostly still pumping racial tension. The image I'm seeing a lot reverses the skin color of Trayvon and George (still using that picture of Trayvon from when he was twelve), asking if the outcome would have been different. And while we can't know, I believe nothing would have changed, except perhaps the amount of attention the case received.
Some black leaders are recommending boycotting Florida because of stand your ground laws, even though that law played no part in the case, and a boycott would hurt the poor and minorities as much (probably more) as Anglos who believe in Stand Your Ground.