What struck me the most about George Zimmerman’s interview with Sean Hannity is that he was not regretful in any way for his actions on the day of Trayvon Martin’s shooting and death. Hannity’s softball questions gave Zimmerman opportunity to make himself look like a sympathetic character, but I perceived a distinct lack of introspection or understanding of how his actions directly contributed to the tragic events of that day.
HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?
ZIMMERMAN: I feel it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it —
HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
God’s plan? Really? There is NOTHING Zimmerman would change about that day. Hannity asks if Martin may have himself felt threatened by Zimmerman’s surveillance and following him. Zimmerman felt he couldn’t speculate about Martin’s state of mind or how he might have felt. How strange that he jumped to all sorts of conclusions about the young man as he walked home in the drizzling rain, finding it necessary to both call police and follow the boy based on conjecture. Zimmerman can also think of no reason why there was outrage and a “rush to judgement” in the aftermath of the shooting:
“I can’t guess what their motives are. I would just ask for an apology. I mean, if I did something that was wrong, I would apologize.”
During the interview, Hannity suggests that Zimmerman couldn’t be a racist because he is not white. There couldn’t have been racially profiling, because only white people do that. The perception that a white guy shooting an unarmed black guy is BAD, but once people realize that it was a Hispanic guy pulling the trigger, it becomes a different thing:
HANNITY: George, there’s — the media, the special interests and the narrative, it seems, they want to make about this case is that — and you could read the articles if you haven’t already. It’s a white guy that killed an unarmed black youth holding Skittles and an iced tea.
What do you say to that?
ZIMMERMAN: Again, I appreciate you not rushing to judgment. I think that people assumed I was white because of my last name. My father is Caucasian, my mother is Hispanic. But English was my second language, believe it or not. My grandmother and my mother raised me when my dad was in the Army and he wasn’t home for a lot of my infancy. So it’s — I consider myself, first of all, an American, but a Hispanic American, and I don’t know — I think it’s fair that they rush to judgment to assume that.
Being a minority myself, and knowing many people of different races, I can attest to the fact that people of all races are very capable of bias and racism. The idea that only white people have preconceived notions about other races and cultures is so laughable that it leaves me breathless. In fact, I think the only person whose race is relative in this case is Trayvon Martin’s. It was a factor that contributed to his death, and it is a factor in the portrayal of this case. Martin’s lifestyle and clothing choices have been disseminated in the media as if this had anything to do with his death. The boy was unarmed, not doing anything illegal, and was pursued by a man with a gun. Though these should be the only pertinent facts of this shooting, people talk about his hoodie, his alleged drug-use, his Facebook profile, and other aspects of his life.
During the interview, Zimmerman expressed his apologies to Martin’s family. Not for the shooting, but “for the loss of their son.” The standard condolences if you were addressing someone who has lost a loved one. “I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily.” Hannity gives him another opportunity to express his feelings to the family at the end of the interview:
HANNITY: I asked you if you wanted to — if you could speak to Trayvon Martin’s family. I asked you if you could speak to even the American public, there’s so many people that have so many opinions that vary so much. You know, if you wanted to look into that camera and tell the American public something about George Zimmerman and about — this case with Trayvon Martin that has gotten such media attention, what would you want to tell them?
ZIMMERMAN: First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.
But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.
I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.
Was there “something, anything” he could have done to have avoided this situation? Yes. He could have followed the rules of neighborhood watch protocols that say weapons should not be carried. He could have never exited his vehicle to follow a boy that had done nothing criminal. He could have trusted that the police would soon arrive to deal with the situation. By his own account, it was only a matter of seconds after he shot Martin that the police arrived. It is evident by all of Zimmerman’s words and actions that he felt justified, that he did nothing to contribute to the death of a child, and that it was necessary for him to take his life.