(1)…a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands… I say: We cannot know that the depth of him “wanting to” so it is not the “bottom line”. The depth of punishment for what he IS responsible for is the bottom line. Maybe Zimmerman was deep down itching to shot someone or it could be more innocent than that, but at a minimum I think it fair to say he was itching to get into a conflict, which seems quite evident and undeniable. Maybe he was simply scared, being in over his head once the conflict began, but either way he is the initial cause which lead to this young man’s death and has some responsibility here…but how much is what is hard to say. So the questions at the heart of the matter are… Should he get a slap on the hand, has he been through enough already? Should he be completely forgiven for his actions or should he be made an example of? Would it be just for his actions to be completely forgiven and no punishment given? What if it was your child, would you satisfied if someone like this, that put himself into a situation that got out of hand was allowed to be completely excused? And what about Martin, he wasn’t the initial cause but he very well might have been a strong secondary cause. If Martin was an overwhelming secondary cause does that shift ALL responsibility over to him alone? Martin certainly paid his price for any secondary cause. This is done, Zimmerman took care of that. Did Zimmerman irrationally fear for his life and go overboard just like he irrationally got himself into this situation? Or did he suddenly act completely rational when this young man uncontrollably attacked him or was it that Martin began on his own role playing and Zimmerman innocently misjudged how severe the reverse situation now was? (2)…a well-meaning volunteer who feared for his life in a struggle with the unarmed teenager who was slamming his head into concrete. Did Martin start the violent event, single handedly, or did Zimmerman have a part in that too? We don’t know all the facts and Martin, unfortunately, isn’t here to tell his side. Would it not be reasonable to believe that Zimmerman has at least some responsibility here too in this conflict becoming violent? Or was Martin so radically immoral that for someone to merely approach him would set him off into a violent attack after being totally unprovoked? Is it reasonable to believe that Zimmerman also had at least some responsibility here also adding to the depth of his part in this?… I don’t think we can know the bottom line according to the defense of whether or not Zimmerman “wanted” to shot someone. It just isn’t clear enough to put it that simply and there were many extenuating circumstances that led up to the fact that he did shot someone. It seems to me, given reasonable doubt and assuming innocent until proven guilty that the exact intent will not be able to be proved without a doubt. I wish we could have been there and looking into the minds of these people to know all the facts but unfortunately we are left with this “bottom line” regarding Zimmerman’s actions: Some responsibility or no responsibility. If there is to be any justice this must be answered honestly as the only reasonable bottom line we are left with. On the side bar: Then, if responsible how much punishment should there be? That is the hardest question for me. Not that Zimmerman did not have at least some responsibility as it seems clear that he holds some responsibility is undeniable. I see no justice in this for the family of this young man if Zimmerman is set completely free. But on the other hand I would not want to see an injustice of too harsh a punishment based on merely assuming his unknowable exact intent to be the worst. Therefore, since I am willing to say there is at least some responsibility on Zimmerman’s part and there should be at least some punishment. The biggest problem is to judge how much punishment. Frankly, and unfortunately, if I had to decide this matter I would probably feel the right thing to do is consider the middle of the road between life at a maximum and maybe a couple years at a minimum and honestly, I would probably go on the lighter side of the middle and give him the reasonable doubt on his exact intent. I’ve been messing with some here on the issue of intent and motives because it seems there is some unbalanced thoughts because of the politics involved, but in reality my heart goes out to Zimmerman in that I believe there could be some innocent factors in this that others are trying to pin him on. IF I were to be on the jury, I believe I would see some responsibility. As a judge, I suspect that in prayer and considering grace I might consider something like 5 years and leave it in God’s hands, but, I must say heart also goes out to the family. However, IF I were that young man’s father I may consider this guy a menace to society that irresponsibly placed himself in this situation and thereby willingly took this responsibility on himself that ended up taking my child’s life and would want a much longer sentence and leave that in God’s hands.