The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Trayvon Martin equally acted in self-defense against George Zimmerman

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,578 times Debate No: 35811
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




A 17 year old in a dark lonely alley is chased by a well-built adult with a gun.

This is not a troll and the topic is correctly stated as it is.

1st round is acceptance.
Debate Round No. 1



  • Dispatcher Sean Noffke, in a 911 call prior to the altercation, described Zimmerman’s language towards Trayvon Martin as hostile. An example of language used by Zimmerman was “F@ck1ng p@nks, these a$$holes always get away”.

  • The reason provided by George Zimmerman for pursuing Trayvon Martin was to look for street signs and determine which street Trayvon Martin was going despite that there are only 3 streets in the same neighborhood that Zimmerman also resides in.

  • Prior to the gunshot but upon hearing loud noises, a witness saw two figures standing with their hands flailing. The noises were heard moving from one direction of the T sidewalk to another although the general direction was not known. One eyewitness testified that there is a gap of 5 to 10 minutes between an initial loud voice and a later argument and fight.

  • It is a conclusion of the trial there was an initial verbal confrontation between the two men prior to the altercation and gunshot. This is corroborated by Rachel Jeantel’s testimony that Trayvon Martin decided to lose George Zimmerman after fearing for his safety but Zimmerman continued to re-appear and started to confront Martin. In the start of their confrontation, Rachel Jeantel heard Trayvon scream “Get off, Get off”. His phone was then heard to drop on the ground and to be cut off.

  • Eyewitness accounts contradict George Zimmerman’s testimony that he gave up his pursuit of Trayvon Martin and while returning to his vehicle, the latter launched at him unexpectedly from the bushes which caused him to topple under Martin, and for him to shoot Martin above him.

  • Zimmerman willfully violated cardinal Neighborhood Watch rules –
    • Never pursue anyone suspected of wrongdoing.
    • Not to carry a gun. While he is licensed to carry a firearm, the rule for participating the neighborhood watch is that firearm should not be carried even if one had acquired licensed to do so.


Both Trayvon and George acted in an altercation but this is only after George continue to re-appear despite Trayvon;s attempt to lose his trail of pursuit.

The pursuit happened in the dark while raining which caused Trayvon to fear for his safety as indicated in his phone call with Rachel Jeantel.

Zimmerman's decision to ignore neighbohood watch rules and pursue Trayvon on his own is a reflection of his state of mind. While he never committed any crime in pursuit of another person, if he intended the police to capture Martin, he would have followed their instructions. Zimmerman's decision reflects the desire for him to apprehend and confront Martin himself. And when combined with Jeantel's account that Martin shouted "Get off Get off" prior to the start of the altercation which caused Martin's phone to drop, shows Zimmerman instigated the altercation.

Trayvon Martin may have "bested" George Zimmerman in the altercation, and that George Zimmerman may have inadvertedly put himself in a deadly situation but this is with an advance knowledge that he had gun which he can use in such situations against any "f@ck1ng punk" opponent.

As conclusion, this is evidence that Trayvon Martin was right to have feared for his life to begin with.

While the Jury is to be commended for making the right call that evidence is not sufficient to fit the 2nd degree murder charge, it was worth noting that the Judge and defense blocked the prosecutor's request to include the minor charge of manslaughter and child abuse. The jury was instructed not to include verdict for these lesser charges as they have been introduced late in the trial eventhough no court rules prohibit such addition from being made.


I am going to keep this simple and just break it down with logic. First not myself but an entire panel of people saw fit that George Zimmerman was assaulted. Not just the jury itself either, the judge and everyone else who was associated with the case. While most of this evidence is based off of eye witness accounts, all the different eye witnesses have contradicting evidence so it is quite subjective.

First the claim that Zimmerman was not suppose to be following trayvon. This in fact was an act of self defense within it self by Zimmerman. Trayvon was in a Gated community where he did not belong. Zimmeran would quickly notice this seeing as how he is a regular and resident there. No rule was ever specified to show that he was not allowed to carry a gun, while different articles and stories will ague this with bias. It was recommended that they be careful with carrying guns because it would have been a better idea to call the police department. Zimmerman being licensed to carry a gun had no fault in this. It was also a commonly accepted rule to generally not follow someone. If this were always the case what would be the point of a watch. Zimmerman could have just left it alone, and called it in and trayvon could have robbed and killed someone. It can be construed as Zimmerman making a heroic act by taking it upon himself to make sure know one was injured. Which we later find out, that he was unknowingly justified by this because of trayvons track record. Suspension because of multiple vandalism accounts. Its not as if we are discussing George Zimmerman killing a catholic nun, we are discussing George Zimmerman acting in defense to a teen with a big track record and bad temper. So by all logical accounts of the evidence we can assume Zimmerman approached him. Then by the 911 calls we can also assume the got in an altercation because trayvon was mad that he was approached(All while in a gated community that he had no place being). So I am pretty sure we could be safe to assume Zimmerman asked him to remain still while he called the cops or someone was brought there to investigate it. As we can tell by the scars on Zimmermans head treyvon did like that. This next part is subjective, but we can only assume. At any point if trayvon was on top of Zimmerman hitting him, and George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger because of it being smashed on a side walk. He had the right to defend himself. This includes a normal assault. If someone walks up to you with a knife or threatens to kill you and grabs you, under Florida state law you are permitted to end their life to save yours. I will say this. Imagine you have a Gun and were on the way back from the store. Some guy is walking in your yard. You walk up to him and ask him to stand still while you call the cops to see what he is doing there. This guy who is breaking the law by being in the wrong place, then gets mad and assaults you. If you have a gun handy, you may feel the need to use it because your family and everyone else is inside that house. You also have no idea what this man is capable of but you can see he will assault people due him bashing your head on a sidewalk. It is not just me who shares this opinion it is an entire jury and courtroom who ruled in favor of this. People get so upset and tag the word racsim on it because its easy to do. If i had a quarter for every time that there was an altercation between a black man and a white man, and the white man ends up dead I would be retiring right now. None of these cases are pegged as Racism. I think it is quite clear to assume, Zimmerman had every right to follow him and every right to defend himself even if it mean the life of a later exposed criminal.
Debate Round No. 2


Zimmerman acted in self-defense…but so was Martin
It is already established that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and this is not in contention.
The proposition of the debate is that Martin equally acted in self-defense. Unfortunately, the con only argued for Zimmerman’s right and never provided concrete arguments as to why Martin should be denied the same right especially that evidence showed that Martin feared for his life after being persistently pursued by a stranger, who instigated an altercation despite warnings to “Get off get off”.
If Martin has killed Zimmerman instead, is he guilty of 2nd degree murder?
The pro argues NO. When Martin banged Zimmerman’s head, he was merely exercising his right to stand his ground (albeit with a “legal disadvantage” since he does not have a gun).
The fact that Zimmerman unwitting threw himself into a life threatening situation does not in any way diminish the fact that Martin acted too in self-defense.
The only reason why the situation was life threatening for Zimmerman is because he was in fact at the receiving end of self-defense and “stand your ground”.
The reason I started this debate is to highlight that a person acting in self-defense (Martin) may get killed but the provocateur can use the same defense to escape conviction.

Zimmerman as the Watch has responsibilities, but used authority to be the instigator
Zimmerman’s decision to continue pursuit despite this being against Watch rules and despite being warned is a reflection of his state of mind and determination to take matters to his own hands.
Martin has given Zimmerman multiple opportunities to avoid confrontation, first, by trying to lose his pursuit, and second, by warning him to “Get off get off”.
If Zimmerman’s exercised his responsibilities, he should explain to visitors/strangers who he is, and that he meant no harm. Even though it is a gated community, Zimmerman has no authority to deny anyone passage.
Instead, he over-exerted his power and grabbed Martin which prompted the latter to shout “Get off get off”. It is obvious that he wasn’t just telling Martin to stand still.
The pursuit and initial confrontation are CLEAR indicators that Zimmerman is the trigger of the altercation.
So while it is true that George Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin, this is in response to his provocation, and nothing but a rightful act of self-defense on the part of Martin.
Martin should equally be given benefit of doubt since it was dark, it was raining, and no person other than the police has business to eerily pursue another person persistently, grab them confrontationally and instigate an altercation.

Zimmerman is hiding something…and not just his gun
Zimmerman argued that he was only looking for street signs and that he immediately return to his car only to be attacked without from behind the bushes by Martin
The jury has obviously miscalculated the relevance of this false testimony that differs wildly from all witness accounts. The testimony from Jeantel is STRONG indication that Martin did everything he can to avoid his pursuer and had no choice but to resort to self-defense when he was apprehended by a person who has no business to do so.
To give a testimony that STRONGLY contradicts multiple eye witness accounts, and those captured in the voice call with Jeantel is an willful attempt to obstruction to avoid incrimination, which should not be necessary if Zimmerman is sincere with his defense.


The way that pro is defining the world self-defense is kind of bollocks. If you look at it from that perspective anything can be self defense.

Example: I punch someone in the face. I started the fight. They act in self defense. Now sense they are acting in self defense, I have the right to act in self defense.

This type of thinking is at the most a failure in logic.

I will not contest this much due to the fact Con is mumbling the same things. He also concedes that martin was the one who started the physical aspect of the fight. As far him Zimmerman baiting him when the fight started, I have explained why he followed him.

Zimmerman was not baiting martin into a fight. He was worried that a criminal with a hoodie was wrongly in the gated community where he lived. He was right. When someone confronts you to ask "hey let me call the cops because you don't belong here", and then you see fit to bounce their head of the sidewalk like a ball. This is not self defense it is stupidity, and initiating the fight at which point Zimmerman had the right to act in self defense.

Cons logic is what I would could faulty.
Debate Round No. 3


CON: The way that pro is defining the world self-defense is kind of bollocks. If you look at it from that perspective anything can be self defense.

In Runyan v. State, the court stated "When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justiciable."

In common law, assault is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.

In Trayvon Martin's perspective,

* Prior to the altercation, he has not committed any fault
* Prior to the altercation, he has a right to be where he is
* Zimmerman made persistent pursuit followed by apprehending and instigating an altercation with Martin
* Martin has every reason to fear for his life after being persistently pursued by a stranger who is not a law enforcer and did not attempt to provide clarity of intention. Testimony by Rachel Jeantel corraborate that offensive contact immediately followed after Martin warned Zimmerman to "Get off get off" which caused the former to drop his phone.

While the con persistently argue that Martin should abide by the will of Zimmerman based simply on suspiscion, there is no legal basis why Martin should comply unless Zimmerman is a law enforcer. The con merely but wrongly insinuate that every person in America should simply oblige at the whims and demand of every stranger you meet in the street, and if not, is automatically deemed complicit even if the stranger has no real authority.

A person has a right to ignore a stranger, and flea if they wanted to. This is the golden rule handed down to kids in kidergarten and Martin prior to the altercation did exactly the same. If a child, Martin or any person was apprehended by a stranger, they have every right to resist and defend themselves regardless whether men like Zimmerman are innocent and kind, or a sexual pervert.

The right to resist and flea is NEVER dependent on whims and judgement demanded by men like Zimmerman.
But since he insisted that Martin comply to him, he was merely asking for it. The fact that Martin incidently was better skilled at self-defense does not diminish the fact that Zimmerman acted similarly to how sex perverts and predators do....pursue persistently, then apprehend your victim.

To say that Zimmerman has every right to do this since he is volunteer Watch is prejudicial.

In Zimmerman's perspective

* He is at fault for apprehending Martin
* He has no right to invade Martin's space
* While he was assaulted, this was due to his provocation in his attempt to apprehend Martin without sufficient cause and authority and having started and instigated the altercation that ensued.

The PRO has reasonably given Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt by arguing the case that Martin has equally applied self-defense
but it is worth noting that Martin is rightfully more deserving of its application.


I will leave this round with only closing statements because Pro is now taking the stance that he did not deserve death. This is not the topic of the debate. The topic is did he act in self defense

Where as there is nothing to respond too I would like to thank my opponent for his time. I think I have more than demonstrated that trayvon martin was not acting in self defense due to the situation.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by PaulMcClancy 5 years ago
I'd like to remind both debaters that Zimmerman called a non-emergency number (NEN) which is not 911. Second, I will suggest to the Con to be wary of two things: 1) Even though the dispatcher testified in court that he gave NO orders, it was still a suggestion which may or may not have been followed by Zimmerman, and 2) avoid using the double back theory which states that Martin had plenty of time to head to his father's fiance's house, but didn't thereby creating the likelihood of Martin confronting Zimmerman. The double back theory is used by Zimmerman supporters to nullify Martin's "reasonable fear" of self defense and justification of "SYG".

Read this article on the double back theory:

Good luck to the debaters!
Posted by DT 5 years ago
Worth a look -
Posted by DT 5 years ago
People forget that altercations happen all the time, and the first to use the deadly force is the one who is almost always convicted.

It is easy to say that one acted in self-defense and in many cases, due to insanity. But these pleas are always subject to scrutiny especially if evidence is not in support of them.

In what world is a bloody nose life-threatening and warrant self-defense?

This case sets a dangerous precedent that you can kill anyone in self-defense in any altercation regardless whether injury support your claim.

If not for injury, what factors should make an altercation life-threatening?

In American culture, one factor is if you have an altercation with a black person. To say that Caucasian Americans NEVER lock their car doors when a black person passes by in front of the grocery car park is bewildering.

Even the president support the claim that there is prejudice against the black community.

Yes, of course this is racist.
Posted by Mikal 5 years ago
That is way to subjective lol. Remember Zimmerman was a regular in the community so probably was aware that he was not a resident. Saying he followed him because he was black, is a racist statement within itself.
Posted by DT 5 years ago
It is a scary notion that in America, use of deadly force can be justified in an altercation. Before the gunshot, the incident between Trayvon and George is what it is, an altercation.

From George Zimmerman's injuries, this is a mild form of altercation compared to one may see in a pub, in a street or in a basketball court.

I experienced worse but never did I thought it was life threatening to warrant me to end the other person's life.

Is it really life threatening as George Zimmerman describe it to be despite this being inconsistent with injuries he sustained?

The president puts it in a very nice perspective when he said that people lock the doors of their cars when a black man passes by in fear of the worse. A reflection of American culture. A caucasian would not have solicited a response, and so if Trayvon Martin was caucasian, it is evident that George Zimmerman would not have considered their altercation life threatening.

It should have been just another day in the basketball court, in the street, in the pub.

As one poster implied, a gated community should have sent an impression of safety for Trayvon...But not for George. Oh no, not for George.
Posted by Fictional_Truths1 5 years ago
Pfft. I'm not a fan of noob sniping, so I won't take this. However, Trayvon didn't know Zimmerman had a gun, and was walking through a gated community. I do agree that Trayvon was probably scared, but the saem could be said for Zimmerman.
Posted by donald.keller 5 years ago
One should understand that (as the Resolution also describes) just because Trayvon might have acted in self-defense does not deteriorate the claim that Zimmerman also acted in self-defense.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con pointed out that if Pro concedes that TM started the physical altercation (which is actually a far from truly established point, and would have made a more lively debate with more chance for Pro) that self-defense does not apply. Pro failed to adequately counter this, and misunderstands the word "imminent". Arguments to Con. Neither side sourced, and I feel they both should have (Pro did note a court case, but gave no actual sourcing for it, which should have been easy). S&G and Conduct were close enough to be equal.