Misleading Stand Your Ground Ad

Allahpundit posted this Tuesday at Hot Air:

This ad uses George Zimmerman’s voice from the 911 call he made to police and shows a man in a red jacket like the one he wore the night of the shooting. But from that point the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence decides to invent their own version of events.

In the ad, the Zimmerman look-alike sees someone up ahead, illuminated by a streetlight, and reaches down his back for a gun. The ad then cuts away so that we hear screaming and then a gunshot. When we cut back outside we see the bodies of dozens of victims in hoodies.

First of all, Zimmerman claimed Martin surprised him in the dark from a location in between a row of houses. He was not at the end of a street under a streetlight. Both George Zimmerman and Rachel Jeantel agree that Martin initiated the verbal and physical confrontation, i.e. threw a punch. And no one ever claimed that Zimmerman pulled his gun before he was on the ground being beaten. Finally, Zimmerman did not keep his gun in the small of his back. He had a legal, inside the waistband holster at his side.

The video also uses the screams recorded on the 911 call to suggest, without saying so, that Martin was the person screaming for help. If you watched the trial you know that three people claimed it was Martin’s voice on the stand. One of those, Martin’s brother, had earlier told an interviewer he wasn’t sure. Another, Martin’s father, initially told police it was not his son and later changed his story. Only Martin’s mother was certain.

Meanwhile both of Zimmerman’s parents and others identified the voice as George Zimmerman. And the only eyewitness to the beating said he believed the cries for help were coming from the person who was on the bottom being beaten, i.e. George Zimmerman. And of course this is the story that Zimmerman himself told from the first moments after the shooting, well before he knew that anyone had a recording of his cries.

This misleading ad is using the cries of a person who defended himself from violence to argue for more gun control. If the ad were to show the Zimmerman figure lying on the ground being beaten and screaming for help, rather than cut away, the core of their emotional argument would collapse.

And of course all of this is in the service of opposing a law which was not really part of the defense case. Zimmerman waived his right to a pre-trial hearing on Stand Your Ground. It did not apply because, as the physical evidence presented in the trial confirmed, he was on his back with Martin leaning over him at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman had no possibility of retreat even if the law had said he had a duty to do so.

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