Debate Magazine

Zimmerman - Authority Personality, Rape and Intimidation

Posted on the 18 July 2012 by Mikeb302000
One of the witnesses against George Zimmerman, a person who has known him for years, claims not only Zimmerman but his family routine made racist remarks disparaging black people.  She also claims sexual molestation by Zimmerman.
While the two kinds of behavior, racism and molestation, appear to be very different, Slate magazine has an an article that shows very well the relevance of the two behaviors to the Trayvon Martin shooting. 
Further, the behavior described by witness #9 is consistent with the behavior described by a former co-worker of Zimmerman, who does not so far appear to have any connection or knowledge of witness #9, which would mean these observations about the character of Zimmerman are independent of each other, which would give them more credibility, and would also be consistent with Zimmerman attempting to mislead the court about his financial status in the bail hearing.
from Slate:
George Zimmerman Molestation Accusations Are Relevant
The George Zimmerman trial rocketed to the top of the headlines again with the revelation that a witness, deemed only witness #9 in the press, has accused Zimmerman not only of being a racist but also of having molested her for 10 years, from the time she was 6 until she was 16. (He is two years older than she is.) The defense repeatedly motioned to have the molestation testimony blocked, with no success. Now that the accusation is public, Zimmerman's attorneys have signaled that they intend to try to discredit the witness, which most likely means running the standard issue rape defense strategy of putting the victim on trial to convince the jury she was asking for it. The reaction to this news has generally been: It's irrelevant. That's what Jonathan Capehart* argues, reasoning at the same time that other accusations against Zimmerman—like his 2005 arrest for resisting an officer with violence, or the restraining order his ex filed against him for alleged domestic violence—are germane. That mentality—that sexual abuse is somehow less of a crime, or more of an anomaly than part of a pattern of violence—is totally wrong-headed. In fact, accusations like these are completely relevant for two major reasons. The first is that, as feminists have been saying for decades now, sexual assault isn't really just a matter of someone's horniness overtaking him and causing him to pig out on a woman's body as if he hasn't eaten all day and she's a piece of cake shoved in front of him. Sexual abuse is a form of bullying, a violent crime whose pleasure for the attacker is far more about enjoying their power and dominance over the victim than it is about sexual urges. Subsequently, sexually violent men tend to be more violent generally, particularly against people they believe are lesser or weaker. If you're trying to establish that Zimmerman had it in him to hunt down and murder a teenager who is much smaller than himself, than a history of sexual assault does help demonstrate this.Also: A lot of the prosecution's case depends on establishing whether or not Zimmerman is a glib liar who is capable of viciously attacking people and then playing the innocent "who me?" card while insinuating that the victim was asking for it. Pretty much all men who sexually assault women have developed an ability to do this; part of the routine of a rapist is terrifying and hurting someone only to convince the community to embrace him after the fact and write off the victim as hysterical, a liar, or a slut trying to cover her tracks. We know that most sexual assailants are repeat offenders—indeed, this is what the accuser in this case is claiming of Zimmerman—which means they have a lot of opportunities to practice playing innocent and blaming the victim after they've committed the crime. If the prosecution wants to establish that Zimmerman is the kind of guy who is capable of assaulting and even murdering someone and then playing innocent victim, a history of cutting his teeth as a sexual assailant helps establish that narrative.
There is this account from Think Progress of an investigation interview of a co-worker which both supports bigotry and racism/ethnic bias, and the description of Zimmerman as having two very contrary 'faces', where one face is deceptive with someone in a position of dominance, authority or power, while treating someone younger, weaker, or subordinate to dominate or bully.  The comedian referred to in this article is Jeff Dunham, the ventriloquist.
In another interview, this victim of bullying described the same lying pattern of denial, the same manipulative and deceptive manner of Zimmerman, consistent with witness #9 above:
During his tenure at CarMax back in 2008, Zimmerman routinely antagonized his Arab-American co-worker, who complained to management.
“The guy was so convincing when he was confronted by management to the point where I doubted my own self. I would not be surprised if he got away with it [Martin murder accusation],” said the unidentified man. “He's got, like you say, 'A good poker face.' Great poker face. That pretty much summarizes this guy's personality. Great poker face.”
But this isn't the only interview where a co-worker has had a bad experience being harassed by Zimmerman, and describes him as manipulative, and as having two faces.
There is this interview last week from ABC news / Good Morning America:
There was this report back in March from a former co-worker who described him as a Jekyll and Hyde personality - as having two very opposite 'faces' he could present, and as someone who could become violent when he failed to dominate someone, when someone didn't do what he told them to do - in this case a woman, but it is something that could as easily be true of a teenager who didn't behave in a submissive or subordinate manner to Zimmerman: The New York Daily News reports the former co-worker saying Zimmerman — who made between $50 and $100 a night — was fired from his job as a security guard in 2005 for “being too aggressive.” Usually “he was just a cool guy,” he said. “He liked to drink and hang with the women like the rest of us. But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped.” From the report:
He had a temper and he became a liability. One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted. It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage. She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out.
While the source conceded that Zimmerman “loved being in charge” and “loved the power,” he said. “Still, I could never see him killing someone. Never.” It can be true of those who seek careers in law enforcement - as Zimmerman had - that they desire to feel powerful, to be in authority over other people.  There are numerous academic studies of this phenomena, like this one, and this essay.  An authoritarian personality tends to see people as conforming, which they define as good, and as not conforming or as being outliers / outside of conformity and challenging the role of authority, which they see as bad, rather than more tolerant and nuanced views of differences.  Authoritarian personalities are also more inclined to resort to violence to enforce conformity and to fall back on violence to resolve conflicts, particularly in law enforcement where at least some training models for law enforcement perpetuate force, as noted here. If the multiple accounts of George Zimmerman are correct, that he wanted to be an authority figure with power over other people, and if it is correct that as is true with many criminal justice studies students that he identifies people as 'insiders' and 'outsiders', and that he targets those he sees as outsiders as fair victims to try to bully, harass and intimidate or exploit; and that further, as it appears he has no problems with lying to authority to avoid accountability for that conduct, then all of these related patterns would seem to be consistent with Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin.  A black teenager in a hoodie, who is not submissive but is instead challenging or confrontational would be exactly the kind of person to trigger fear as well as anger, to trigger violence from Zimmerman for that failure to be submissive to Zimmerman's self-styled authority.  There is a pattern here of who Zimmerman tries to dominate  or bully - women, those who are younger, and those who are identified as 'outside' or in conflict with authority or who are regarded as vulnerable - like a Muslim Arab-American immigran.  For Zimmerman, his pattern of 911 calls indicates strongly this is, for him, consistently black teens like Trayvon Martin. And unfortunately when there are negative consequences for those actions, it appears consistent that George Zimmerman will lie, deceive and be manipulative to try to avoid those consequences for his actions, based on these accounts of people who know him.

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