Screams of pain(?)
Over on the Frederick Leatherman Law blog, commenter ‘Patricia’ has a rather detailed hypothesis of how the altercation between GZ and TM occurred, in which she opines that the screams resulted from GZ having Trayvon gripped in some kind of pain-inducing ‘hold’, which he could have executed from either a superior position, or lying on his back with the youth above him trying to push himself away, but unable to do so.
The more I think about Patricia’s analysis, the more I find this idea that GZ had TM in some sort of painful ‘hold’ persuasive, and I am cross-posting here the discussion of the matter I placed on the Leatherman site.
We can ask: what would account for the KIND of screams heard on W11′s 911 call? There only seem to be 4 physically possible answers since there were only 2 people there:
1. George Zimmerman was screaming in pain for reasons he is covering up with lies.
2. George Zimmerman was screaming in pain for the reasons he told the police: Trayvon Martin was smashing his head into the ground and/or trying to smother him, and/or George was getting beaten in the face by Trayvon’s fists.
3. Trayvon Martin was screaming in anguished fear of death because George Zimmerman was pointing a loaded gun at him at point blank range.
4. Trayvon Martin was screaming in pain because George Zimmerman was hurting him physically.
Due to GZ’s thorough mendacity we can’t totally discount #1, but there’s no evidence for it so we’ll leave it aside.
#2 is essentially physically impossible by virtue of the nature of the sounds on the 911 call alone, not to mention GZ’s lack of serious injury.
#3 is what I had been assuming, but in light of Patricia’s argument I’m thinking the particular tone of the anguish is not consistent with psychological terror. I’m not talking about the INTENSITY of the distress, but literally it’s tonal quality. Even in the height of abject fear, I think a person might utter more words, and clearer words than we hear on the recording. Not just “Help!” but “Don’t” “Please” “Don’t Shoot” etc. Instead it’s hard to make out any words at all. Audio forensics expert Alan Reich has argued that the words “I’m begging you” are audible within the screams. But the fact that they are not that clear suggests they were articulated through some physical distress. the majority of the screams are really more like howls, of the kind I might make when I drop a heavy tool on the infected ingrown toenail of my left foot (as I did the other day…)
#4 not only matches the sounds themselves, but fits some conditions that seem to have been likely in the situation. In JohnW6′s 911 call, before IMHO he got ‘poisoned’ by suggestion, he describes the two men as ‘wrestling’, and all the witness statements taken together are more consistent with the men being quite close to one another on the ground, rather than some distance apart – even to the extent of one lying down and the other sitting up. The physical evidence from the autopsy and the examination of GZ suggests that this was not a struggle of blows at all, which leaves either not much struggle, or a struggle of holding and grabbing (i.e. wrestling) as possibilities. Zimmerman was able to obtain work as a bouncer. Barring the (plausible) possibility he lied his way into that gig without having any qualifications, bouncers generally have to know how to get a physical advantage on unruly patrons without permanently injuring them. Like, say, putting them in painful holds and asking them nicely to leave. I would also guess that Air Marshalls like GZ’s self-defense mentor Mark Osterman receive special training on how to gain physical control of unruly airplane passengers without permanently injuring them or causing potential harm to the flight or other passengers. Sounds like knowledge of ‘holds’ to me. It also just makes more sense that gung-ho vigilante that he may be, GZ would not go right to the gun, but would try physical restraint first. After all, it’s more manly and bad-ass c.f. Chuck Norriss.
Of course, If GZ was inflicting physical pain on Trayvon Martin, there’s no self defense claim and he’s guilty of Murder 2, even if he did only draw his gun in response to something he interpreted at Trayvon reaching for it. I’m not denying the possibility he may have decided he needed to shoot TM to keep the boy from telling his side of the story. (I think that’s possible, but not really probable…) that would be Murder 1, of course, but it would be awfully hard for the State to prove, and they can get him put away for a very long time not just on Murder 2, but even on Manslaughter with the mandatory special circumstances under Florida law.
So the question becomes, what additional evidence could support possibility #4, and do we think the State investigators will bother to go look for it. Are painful restraints part of Osterman’s skill set? Did he teach his moves to George? Did George have any other training in that area, formal or otherwise? (Martial arts courses?) Did George ever display abilities to put people in painful holds on any other occasion, either for real or even as a gag? What medical tests, if any, could reveal if someone had been restrained via a painful ‘hold’, and if such tests were not performed on Trayvon’s body at the autopsy, would his remains reveal any telltale traces if the body were exhumed for a more thorough investigation?