“I told you so!”
The temptation to say just that is big after George Zimmerman’s arrest Monday on charges of aggravated assault, including pointing a gun at his girlfriend.
This week’s arrest comes on the heels of his former wife calling police to report Zimmerman had threatened her with a gun.
Four months ago a jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. There was not enough evidence to show that Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense.
But now what we are seeing is a pattern emerging showing Zimmerman as a man with serious anger issues, who lacks self-control and has a penchant for using guns to threaten people.
Taken together these recent cases open a new window on the February 2012 case when Zimmerman followed, fought, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a black teenager walking home from the corner store with candy and a can of iced tea.
All the arguments about Zimmerman’s rights under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and his right to defend himself in a fight with a teenager fade in light of Zimmerman’s recent behavior.
All the arguments about gun-control advocates trying to use this case to deny Americans’ their right to carry a gun have lost their relevance.
Zimmerman’s presentation of himself as a public-spirited “Neighborhood Watch” volunteer who was legitimately concerned about a strange young man in the neighborhood now looks like a cover story for a vigilante looking to excuse actions that led to the young man’s death.
It is eye-catching that Zimmerman’s girlfriend told police he had both a shotgun and an assault rifle and he initially barricaded himself inside her apartment as if primed for a shoot-out with police.
The jury in the murder case had no idea of Zimmerman’s volatile temperament. They never heard any testimony from him.
The prosecutors had little support at the time to bolster the argument that Zimmerman’s personal issues, his rage, caused him to ignore a police dispatcher’s instructions to stop following the youngster.
Not only did Zimmerman continue following him but Zimmerman got out of his car to confront the young man, fight him and fatally shoot him.
The conservative and liberal media as well as race-baiters immediately picked sides in the fight and put their own agendas on the tragedy.
On the left, critics claimed Zimmerman racially profiled the youngster as a criminal and was not charged by police because of indifference to the death of a young black person.
On the right, commentators said Zimmerman had every right to carry his gun and even without the Stand Your Ground law he was within his right to shoot Martin because the young man may have been beating him up.
Polls also show a racial divide with a majority of black Americans alarmed at an unarmed child being killed while a majority of white Americans took Zimmerman’s side. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found 86 percent of blacks disagreed with the verdict while 51 percent of whites approved of the acquittal.
There was an even split among all Americans as to Zimmerman’s guilt.
Forty-one percent of Americans polled by Washington Post/ABC News believed Zimmerman should have been found guilty of something and another 41 percent said he should not have been convicted of anything.
But now with the repeated incidents of threats involving guns by Zimmerman there has to be doubt on every side, among blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives, that reckless behavior lit the fuse that led Zimmerman to tragically kill Martin.
Now there is new power to the idea that a skinny teen-aged boy felt threatened by a man who was stalking him for no apparent reason.
Now it makes sense to think that Martin felt insulted, even challenged to fight as a natural reaction to Zimmerman’s pursuit and confrontational tone. This lends support to the idea that it was Martin who was acting in self-defense.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for gun rights advocates to discuss whether Zimmerman should have a license to carry a gun.
And don’t wait to hear the left admit that given his pattern of behavior Zimmerman was a threat to people of all colors and not only young black men who could be racially profiled.
The truth is coming out slowly. It does not fit all the political agendas imposed by the left and the right. And it can’t stop the impulse from either side to say “I Told You So.”