A very thought-provoking piece of journalism

Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller writes about the Reuters piece, “George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting,” published today.

The George Zimmerman narrative just got even tougher to maintain

It was so simple: A white vigilante with a gun murdered a teenager in cold blood because he was black. The racist white murderer claimed he only used the gun because the teenager was slamming his head into the sidewalk, but he didn’t have any injuries. He called the teenager a racist name in his 911 call. He said he was following him because “he looks black.” And when the police dispatcher told him to back off, he ignored the warning.

Cut and dried. Case closed.

Then the white guy became a “white Hispanic.”

Then police reports about the injuries to the back of his head turned out to be true.

Then it turned out he never used a racial epithet in his 911 call.

And when he told the dispatcher, “He looks black,” it was in response to a direct question, not an indication of motive.

And when the dispatcher told him not to follow the kid, he said, “Okay.”

But other than that.

Now the original narrative just got even more “complicated,” which is what our moral, ethical, and intellectual superiors in the media always say when they’ve failed to dumb down an already-complicated situation. […]

Here’s an excerpt from the Reuters piece, below the fold:

[…] By June 2011, Zimmerman’s attention had shifted from a loose pit bull to a wave of robberies that rattled the community, called the Retreat at Twin Lakes. The homeowners association asked him to launch a neighborhood watch, and Zimmerman would begin to carry the Kel-Tec on his regular, dog-walking patrol – a violation of neighborhood watch guidelines but not a crime.

Few of his closest neighbors knew he carried a gun – until two months ago.

On February 26, George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in what Zimmerman says was self-defense. The furor that ensued has consumed the country and prompted a re-examination of guns, race and self-defense laws enacted in nearly half the United States.

During the time Zimmerman was in hiding, his detractors defined him as a vigilante who had decided Martin was suspicious merely because he was black. After Zimmerman was finally arrested on a charge of second-degree murder more than six weeks after the shooting, prosecutors portrayed him as a violent and angry man who disregarded authority by pursuing the 17-year-old.

But a more nuanced portrait of Zimmerman has emerged from a Reuters investigation into Zimmerman’s past and a series of incidents in the community in the months preceding the Martin shooting.

Based on extensive interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers of Zimmerman in two states, law enforcement officials, and reviews of court documents and police reports, the story sheds new light on the man at the center of one of the most controversial homicide cases in America.

The 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator comes from a deeply Catholic background and was taught in his early years to do right by those less fortunate. He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather – the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.

A criminal justice student who aspired to become a judge, Zimmerman also concerned himself with the safety of his neighbors after a series of break-ins committed by young African-American men.

Though civil rights demonstrators have argued Zimmerman should not have prejudged Martin, one black neighbor of the Zimmermans said recent history should be taken into account.

“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.” […]

The entire piece is excellent and very balanced, without the race-baiting liberal/”progressive” histrionics we all love so much. A rare kudo to Reuters.

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