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

George Zimmerman Acted In Self-Defense Against Trayvon Martin

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2014 Category: News
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,906 times Debate No: 51682
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




I will not be making my opening argument this round which is something I don't normally do when I debate. I will merely say that I watched the majority of the George Zimmerman trial (I'm a Florida resident, it was on local news), and I think the evidence was overwhelming that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. I would personally like to debate with someone who actually watched the majority of the trial (a few clips does not count). I would also ask that any racial prejudices be cast aside in this debate if there are any. To whoever accepts my challenge I wish the best of luck and I hope we have a good clean debate.


I'd like to argue that he at least committed manslaughter.
The prosecution did not go for manslaughter because they wanted a heavier punishment and ultimately failed their gamble.

The facts are simple. He created the situation in which Trayvon Martin was killed. Any degree of escalation of the situation that lead to Trayvon Martin's death was ultimately his responsibility and fault. Trayvon Martin was the one acting in self defense, not George Zimmerman.
Debate Round No. 1


Psyduck, late in the trial the prosecution did in fact go for manslaughter seeing that they most likely were not going to get a second-degree murder conviction. As the trial continued the prosecution also charged Zimmerman with felony murder and child abuse, but when the verdict was given Zimmerman was found not guilty on all counts. Your argument that Zimmerman escalated the situation is one I have heard a lot. Zimmerman made a non-emergency call when he dialed 911 that night. After Zimmerman explained the situation to the dispatcher, Sean Noffke, Zimmerman said that he was going to follow Martin. Here is where everyone loses me in accusing Zimmerman; that Noffke said "do not follow him". That is not true at all, Noffke said "we don't need you to do that" which Noffke explained during the trial as a suggestion not an order. Noffke also pointed out that Zimmerman did not sound hostile or angry in any way during the call. Noffke also asked Zimmerman "which way did he(Martin) go" which he said could be interpreted as go and see where he was heading. Zimmerman did follow Martin, but the defense used several visual aids that clearly showed that Martin had more than enough time to go home during Zimmerman's phone calls. Instead he chose to confront Zimmerman in which if he was the one confronting Zimmerman he obviously had something harsh to say to Zimmerman. Once again Zimmerman was said to have been very calm when he made the phone calls and did not sound hostile. If Martin acted in self-defense why did he confront Zimmerman? The autopsy showed indication that Martin was indeed over Zimmerman assaulting him and that the gunshot that killed Martin came from underneath him. There was also no indication from the autopsy that Martin had taken any blows to the face from Zimmerman. Every witness that the defense put forth testified the screaming from the phone calls was Zimmerman. While one of the key witnesses the prosecution had, Trayvon's father, testified that the scream did not sound like Trayvon's and that it probably wasn't him. If Martin confronted Zimmerman and then assaulted him and was endlessly beating him and Zimmerman shot him that means Zimmerman acted in self-defense. When someone is bashing your head into the concrete and punching you in the face you would probably be terrified and would start to panic. Zimmerman was afraid for his life and felt the only way out was to shoot Trayvon. I do not think Zimmerman meant to kill him, but I believe he had no choice and anyone would have done it.


The operator was under a bad policy to not give direct orders. So "we don't need you to do that" is the most forceful way he's allowed to say "don't follow him." In no way was he advised to get out of the car and follow the suspicious person. The defense made claims that asking Zimmerman which way the suspect fled could have been reasonably misinterpreted as an order to follow. However, this is immediately negated by the "we don't need you to follow" phrase, which was stated after asking Zimmerman which way the suspicious person went.

It's a situation where the police are on their way and the suspicious person is leaving the neighborhood. There had been no crime committed. There was no reason to follow him. The moment Zimmerman left his car was the moment when Zimmerman was creating a dangerous situation: a confrontation between two scared strangers in the middle of the night. Let me repeat, there was no reason to follow him. This is what makes him responsible, because it was his conscious decision to leave his car and create a dangerous situation. To not understand that a person would be scared from a stranger following him in the middle of the night is an act of extreme stupidity. It's reasonable to expect that a conflict would emerge from this vigilantism. To not is a mistake, a mistake that turned out to be deadly. A mistake that was Zimmerman's
Debate Round No. 2


There had been a series of robberies in that area before that night, and Zimmerman thought Martin looked suspicious. He made two non-emergency calls. Trayvon was staying with his dad that night who lived in that neighborhood. So he was not leaving the neighborhood. While I do think Zimmerman should have left it alone after he called the police, I think that is the only mistake he made. When someone is following you the first thing that should be done is to get home which Trayvon had plenty of time to do in which he didn't. He did in fact confront Zimmerman and assaulted him. The second thing you should do if he is still looking for you is call the police, and Trayvon did not do that either. Trayvon was just as responsible for his death as Zimmerman was. Zimmerman did not at all think Trayvon would actually come and find him. That is not normal behavior for someone who is trying to get away from the guy who is following him. If Zimmerman wanted confrontation why didn't he just punch or shoot Trayvon outright when they interacted. I already pointed out Trayvon's autopsy showed that he didn't take blows to the face. The only person who actually wanted confrontation was Trayvon when he went to go find Zimmerman instead of going home like he should have done. You don't go up to the person who is following you unless you want confrontation.


He left his car carrying a weapon. You claim that Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman, but how close did Zimmerman get before that happened? You don't chase down people in the middle of the night with a gun. There was no possible way that such a course of action would turn out for the better. He was recklessly endangering both himself and the stranger.

Also, during this encounter, George Zimmerman failed to run away. If he was trailing Martin from a long distance, then how did he not see him coming and run away? Even brandishing the weapon in warning would've been better than letting him attack you until you had the claim of self-defense.

In a court of law, once someone has admitted to using violence in self-defense, the burden of proof falls upon the defense to establish self-defense. Trayvon clearly attacked Zimmerman. However, that act was in self-defense, which means that it must be proven to be self-defense. That's where the case was lost. How was the prosecution supposed to prove Trayvon's self-defense without his testimony?

There was no conclusive evidence that Zimmerman directly confronted Martin, and the jury decided that was enough to let him go. But the act of stalking someone in the middle of the night with a gun in a clumsy enough manner to get noticed, and then failing to run away is reason enough for manslaughter.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Quantumhead 6 years ago
I just noticed that spedman apparently "won" this one, too. Lol. Special Olympics anyone?
Posted by Quantumhead 6 years ago
Lol. Jesus, I swear to God Americans are just so stupid it's hilarious. It's the only country in the world where you can shoot an unarmed kid to death and lie your way into a self-defence plea.
Posted by Technition 7 years ago
Would that mean George Zimmerman was a good neighborhood watchman?
Posted by Spedman 7 years ago
Tiki, yes I will be using evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense to show why he was found not guilty. I honestly don't know if anyone will accept my challenge because a lot of people who were against Zimmerman did not actually watch the trial.
Posted by Ragnar 7 years ago
Good luck on this. I personally think he may have acted in a foolish manner, but such is not illegal. The wound patterns are clearly indicative of who was attacked.
Posted by The_Scapegoat_bleats 7 years ago
The US do have some laws I - coming from Europe - will never be able to understand.

I stand corrected. Thank you.
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
This is not libel. In US law, to qualify as libel, the prosecutor (in this case, Zimmerman) would have to prove that the defamation was done without adequate research and caused harm to him.
Posted by donald.keller 7 years ago
Only difference is the self defense is "Self-Defense"
Posted by donald.keller 7 years ago
Wow. Same title as my very first debate... Hm.
Posted by The_Scapegoat_bleats 7 years ago
Folks, this is NOT okay. A verdict was passed, which has to be accepted as truth. Arguing Con would be libel. I advise you to cancel this immediately.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Travyon initiated the confrentation, and Con gave little information showing that Zimmerman initiated it, beat himself, killed Travyon out of hatred, etc. following Travyon wasn't by any means a crime and Zimmerman had the right to defend himself although I think if he was older, stronger, more mature, etc. he may have been able to think the gun wasn't needed while he was being assaulted "ground and pound style" or "mma style".

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