Profits over Prophecy

crefloI recently watched the newly released documentary entitled Going Clear, which exposes many of the Church of Scientology’s deeply held secrets, including prison camp type treatment, harassment of ex-members, physical beatings by church leaders and the church’s ultimate victory against the IRS to declare themselves as a non-profit religious organization.  I must admit that I thought I knew a lot about Scientology and its enigmatic founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who was once a prolific science fiction writer, but the documentary revealed a lot of arcane practices and rituals that were previously unreported.

I’ve studied many religions and I’m always fascinated by what makes people become devout religious believers.  The documentary featured former high level church members who had previously defended Scientology in the media as a sound and credible institution of higher consciousness.  Several of the former members described bizarre intimidation tactics instituted by the church leader, David Miscavige, such as constant one-on-one evaluation sessions conducted by high ranking members called Auditors, which were designed to document the church members vulnerabilities and were ultimately used to intimidate ex-members from speaking to the media.

While watching the film, I began to recall similar stories about the Mormon religion and the Church of Latter Day Saints and some of the tactics they used to intimidate former members.  In a documentary entitled, This World, The Mormon Candidate, former church members recounted being harassed by private investigators who were former FBI agents.   They also discussed being “disconnected” from their friends and families who were still associated with the church, which was also a common practice utilized by the Church of Scientology.

The irony of a church encouraging family members to “disconnect” from their friends and family members, just seems unfathomable and a complete contrast to the tenets of a religious organization.  It’s this level of zealousness that’s so intriguing; seemingly stable people who completely surrender their spiritual objectivity to an organization or to a spiritual leader, who often use that blind faith to financially enrich themselves and elevate their status among their congregants and their community.

Recently, Megachurch Minister Creflo Dollar was chastised in the press for asking his followers to donate $65 million dollars towards the purchase of a new private jet.  Dollar proclaimed that he needed the new jet so that he could continue to spread the gospel around the world, despite reports that he already owns 4 other private jet planes, several mansions and expensive cars.

According to several news organizations, Dollar’s church generates an average of $69 million in annual donations, all of which is presumably tax free.  While I’ve never attended Dollar’s church, I’ve heard that devout members are required to share their annual financial information with the church and to set up automatic monthly tithing from their checking accounts based on their annual income.

Tithing which is defined as giving a one-tenth part of something or a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to a government, is the lifeblood of any religious organization.  However, in the past 20 years megachurch ministers have found other lucrative tax free revenue streams.  Ministers such as Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Paula White, T.D. Jakes and others routinely travel the world in their private jets with large entourages, proselytizing their “prosperity gospel” and collecting large speaker fees, along with selling millions of books, tapes and producing theatrical films.

It’s the latter revenue stream that came to the attention of the U.S. Senate in 2007 and prompted an inquiry into the finances of megachurch leaders such as Creflo Dollar, T.D. Jakes, Bishop Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer and Paula White Ministries in Florida.

The Senate panel requested financial documents from each leader in an effort to determine if their lavish lifestyles violated the churches’ tax-exempt status.   According to related news articles, many of the ministers responded to the inquiry but were unwilling to provide complete financial disclosure, especially Creflo Dollar.

The rise of megachurches and their leader’s ancillary tax free revenue streams have come under constant scrutiny.  Should a minister who generates millions of dollars in book sales, speaker fees and box office revenue pay taxes on that income?  Of course they should!  Unless they can demonstrate that that the bulk of the tax free revenue is materially benefiting their donors and the communities that they serve, otherwise it should be considered taxable revenue.

Ministers like Dollar, defended their lavish lifestyles and income by proclaiming that they have routinely purchased cars and houses for church members.  While this seems admirable and altruistic, I doubt that this is a common occurrence.    In 2012, an employee of Dollar’s church was unfortunately murdered while working in a church office by an intruder.  In reaction, Dollar encouraged church members to donate to a fund to pay off the widow’s mortgage and outstanding debt.  With millions already donated to his church, Dollar who’s probably a multimillionaire, brazenly asked his congregation to take on the burden of paying off a church member’s debts.

To be clear, I’m not a hater of ministers who create massive amounts of wealth.  I think preachers should be rewarded for building a large and loyal following, and should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  The issue that I have is, how much wealth is enough?  How many planes, cars and houses does a minister really need?  Apparently, to Dollar and others, they should be able to flaunt their tax free wealth without question.

According to an article published by Urban Intellectuals, African-Americans have donated almost 420 billion dollars to black churches in the past 30 years.  If the bulk of those tithes and donations were invested back into the black communities in the form of charter schools, job training, tuition assistance and drug counseling, it’s likely that the unemployment rate and crime levels would be dramatically reduced in the neighborhoods that they serve.  But it’s clear that these megachurches are not reinvesting the majority of their donations back to the community, instead they’re being used to generate more money for the church leaders, without sharing the wealth with their most loyal congregants.

A true spiritual leader with millions in donations, should be dedicated to building institutions and programs that actually help their followers, instead of hoarding those tithes and enriching themselves.  Spiritual leaders like Gandhi and Mother Teresa could have easily taken advantage of their followers and enriched themselves beyond measure, but they elevated the true purpose of their calling over the pursuit of riches.

It would be refreshing to see these uber-wealthy ministers adopt the same mind set, but it’s unlikely since the source of their wealth is predicated on people who hope to achieve financial prosperity through the gospel.

Empire unexpectedly canceled due to complaints from church leaders and music executives

empire1

Despite the meteoric and unprecedented rise of Fox’s hit show, Empire.  The network has decided to pull the show, much to the chagrin of loyal followers who have been captivated since the debut of the pilot episode.  The show is based on a fictional family, struggling to maintain a musical empire founded by former drug dealers played impeccably by Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard.  The reason for the cancellation according to Fox, was based on continuous pressure from evangelical church leaders and disgruntled music executives, threatening to sue the network for copyright infringement…this is also an April Fools Joke!  Be sure to check out my new book, Confessions of a 40 (something) year old Bachelor on Amazon

The Intentional Grounding of Black Coaches in College and the NFL

TonyAs an avid fan of college and pro football, I dedicate a lot of my weekend hours to watching my favorite sport.  I instinctively find myself rooting for teams that have a tradition of allowing black quarterbacks to start and teams that also have a black coach.  My support of black quarterbacks and coaches evolved from a time when I recalled not seeing any black coaches and very few black quarterbacks leading their teams.  Despite African-Americans making up almost 70% of players in both college and the NFL, African-American coaches are severely underrepresented compared to white coaches.

Of the 32 teams in the NFL, only five currently have an African-American head coach – and the numbers are even worse in Division I college ranks.  To address this disparity, in 2003, the NFL introduced the Rooney Rule (named after Steelers’ former owner, Art Rooney).  The Rooney Rule required each NFL team to interview at least one African-American coach prior to making a head coaching decision.  Since the Rooney Rule has been implemented, we’ve seen the number of overall black coaches increase only slightly.  Furthermore, the number of first time black head coaches without prior head coaching experience was miniscule compared to the number of white head coaches without prior head coaching experience.

If someone were previously oblivious to the NFL and began following the league, they may ask:  Why are most of the players black and most of the coaches are white?  Is it because white coaches are simply better at coaching? Are African-Americans more suited for playing the game, instead of coaching the game?  These would all be valid questions to an outside observer, but as we know, there’s a lot more to consider when trying to answer these salient questions.

For many years, college and NFL teams only allowed a few black players to play the game – despite their obvious physical attributes.  Over the past thirty years, the NFL has transformed into a league that thrives on African-American players  — unfortunately, black head coaches were not allowed to thrive in the league.  The NFL did not hire its first African-American head coach until 1989, when the late Al Davis hired Art Shell to lead his Oakland Raiders.   Since then, there have only been 15 black head coaches in NFL history.

Recently, Rex Ryan and John Fox were released from their respective teams but wasted no time finding new head coaching jobs within days of their dismissal.  The same cannot be said for African-American coaches.  Lovie Smith who took the Chicago Bears to the Superbowl in 2006, was dismissed from his job in 2012 but did not land another head coaching position until two years later.  Denny Green and Herm Edwards both had similar experiences after being fired from their jobs.  The bottom line is that if you’re white, you have a much better chance of landing another head coaching job.

What’s the cause of this disparity?  Are NFL owners being racist? Or are they simply hiring people that they feel “comfortable” with?  Regardless of the motives, it’s clear that black coaches are not given the same opportunity as white coaches.  Many black coaches are steered towards defensive coordinator positions instead of the coveted offensive coordinator job, which is typically seen as a stepping stone to a head coaching job.   The stereotype of black coaches for a long time was that they were good at defensive schemes but incapable of being in charge of a sophisticated offensive game plan.

One of the objectives of the Rooney Rule was to give black coaches more experience at interviewing for head coaching jobs, which may have led to the hiring of coaches like Mike Tomlin, Leslie Frazier, Mike Singletary and Raheem Morris.  This was a great initiative but now it appears that most teams flaunt the NFL rule, skipping interviews with black coaches in an effort to hire more white coaches.

If the NFL was a traditional corporation, they most likely would have been sued for discrimination a long time ago.  There are very few industries where the majority of the workforce is dominated by one race or gender but not equally represented in the demographics of their managerial staff – imagine  companies like Mary Kay or Avon not having a history of female CEO’s, it would have certainly caused a public backlash.  However, in the NFL it’s simply business as usual.

Black coaches are probably reticent about the lack of opportunity because they don’t want to be “blacklisted” by NFL teams.  Until African-American coaches are given the same opportunity to fail and succeed as their counterparts, you will continue to see a gross lack of representation.  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  The NFL and college programs have come a long way in their hiring practices but there’s clearly more work to be done, to achieve Dr. King’s dream.

Eyes on the Empire

empire1Like most urbanites, I was anxious to see the premiere of Fox’s new television show entitled, Empire. It was difficult to drive around the city of LA without seeing a billboard or poster promoting this intriguing new hip-hop drama about the music business.  I typically don’t follow network TV shows, but I clearly was captivated by the hype and the unique storyline.

Once I began to watch the show, I was drawn in by the music and the myriad of complex characters.  Including, Terrence Howard as the patriarch of a musical dynasty and his convoluted relationship with his recently paroled ex-wife, played by the dynamic Taraji P. Henson.  Howard and Henson bring an instant credibility to the storyline, with their superb acting skills and on-screen presence. My biggest concern while watching Empire was, would it be authentic? Authenticity in the world of hip-hop is critical to an artist’s success and usually determines their level of success and acceptability – but there are exceptions like Iggy Azalea, who sounds like she’s a karaoke rapper that hasn’t been booed offstage yet.

Other than a few corny moments, where Howard’s sons attempt to collaborate on a hit song to appease their demanding father — I felt as though the show was realistic.  To enhance the credibility of the leading actors, Howard and Henson, director Lee Daniels incorporated flashbacks to a grittier time in their relationship as a successful drug dealer and an aspiring rapper trying to make it “big.”

The flashbacks also provide a back story into the evolution of their children’s lives and their complicated relationship with their parents.  In one scene, Howard’s middle son, who’s struggling with “coming out” can be seen prancing into the living room wearing his mother’s clothing.   Howard’s character angrily responds and picks up his son and throws him into a trash can outside.  I recently read that this was an actual event that occurred in director Lee Daniels’ life as a boy.  So apparently, Mr. Daniels who is one of the executive producers, has created a character within the show, that he can vicariously tell his personal story through as part of a fictional musical dynasty.

The inclusion of a gay hip-hop artist was quite surprising and I’m sure caused a lot of viewers to question the overall theme of the TV show.  Watching the way that Howard’s character handled his relationship with his gay son was quite awkward but also provided a real-life perspective on how difficult it must be for a father to accept his son’s lifestyle.

Despite his feelings towards his son, Lucious, the main character must decide which of his three sons will ascend to the throne of his soon-to-be publicly traded hip hop empire.  However, this narrative is severely flawed because it’s obvious that his older Ivy league educated son, Andre, is the clear choice to be the next CEO.  His other two sons, who are both artists, seem to be completely unqualified and uninterested in running a large company.  Which begs the question, how could a successful businessman like Lucious not clearly see the obvious choice? Would he risk turning over a thriving music business to his younger son, who seems to be struggling to develop his career while dealing with the temptations of being young, rich and famous? Most likely not, but the producers apparently thought it could work.

After the pilot episode was over, I felt like there were too many dynamics to consider within the story.  Lucious murders his long-time friend who was seeking to extort money from him, Lucious finds out he has terminal ALS, his wife is recently released from prison and finagles her way into his company, his sons are dealing with the return of their estranged mother, his older son his plotting with his mother to take control of the company, his ex-wife is jealous of his new girlfriend, Lucious is worried about taking his company public etc.  All of these elements didn’t have to be revealed in the pilot episode, it felt as though the director was overreaching.

Regardless of the flawed storyline, Empire certainly seems like a show worth watching and I’m curious to see how the series unfolds.  Like most of the 9.8 million viewers that tuned in last week, I’ll be watching tonight to see if the show is truly destined to become an “empire.”

Why Richard Sherman doesn’t get a “Pass”

ShermanMuch has been made about Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s rant after his team defeated the 49ers in last week’s hotly contested NFC Championship game.  Sherman made an athletic play to tip the ball to his teammate who then secured it for a game clenching interception against the 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.   Sherman was seen taunting a dejected Crabtree after the play was over and continued his celebration by throwing up a choke sign towards the 49ers sideline.  Immediately after the game, Sherman was interviewed by well-known sports reporter Erin Andrews.   Sherman still excited about his big play, proceeded to shout into the camera about how great a player he was and how “sorry” of a receiver Michael Crabtree was.   Erin had a look of astonishment on her face as she struggled to continue her questioning.

The reaction to Sherman’s now infamous rant reverberated across national news outlets and social media.   My immediate reaction was one of disbelief that an athlete would go so far to disgrace another athlete on such a huge stage.  As a former football player, I’ve dished out my share of smack talk on the field but I always shook my opponent’s hand afterwards – whether in victory or defeat.  However, Richard Sherman decided that he would let out all of his frustrations and toss sportsmanship aside in an effort to further embarrass his opponent and shout to the world about his greatness.

I knew that Sherman had attended Stanford so I decided to google his bio and I was surprised to see that he graduated with a 4.2 GPA.  While I was impressed with his academic performance, I was also confounded about how a top Stanford student athlete could unleash such a vociferous and self- aggrandizing tirade on national TV.  His rant has been the central topic of discussion on sports blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. with many supporters but mostly detractors referring to him as a thug.   Sherman responded by suggesting that the term “thug” was actually just a euphemism for the N-word.  I agree with him that the word “thug” when used to describe a black man is really just a code word — however, that doesn’t excuse his behavior or his antics.  When I saw him shouting into the camera, I didn’t see a Stanford grad with a 4.2 GPA, I saw a wannabe thug embarrassing himself on national TV.

Once the storm of criticism began to swell, many people began to make excuses for him by suggesting that he should get a pass because he made it out of Compton or because he was a great student at a renowned university.   Some have also said that he was just reacting in the heat of the moment, but his demeanor didn’t seem to change until he was forced to issue an apology by his head coach.  Since arriving in the NFL three years ago, Sherman has been known as a “hot head”, an agitator – someone who takes pleasure in disgracing his opponent.  So his post-game rant was really just an extension of his on field behavior.   I applaud the fact that he made it out of a rough neighborhood and became successful, but he’s not the first black man to ever beat the odds nor will he be the last.

I saw a Facebook post comparing Justin Beiber’s recent arrest and his past troubles with Richard Sherman’s tirade, suggesting that there’s a double standard when it comes to black people in the media.  It’s true, there’s always been a double standard!  But does that mean that we should lower our expectations of ourselves as a result?  No, it doesn’t.  Imagine if President Obama blamed his recent troubles regarding the NSA and Obamacare on the fact that he was black and came from a single parent household.  I personally believe that if he were a Republican, they would be carving out a monument for him on Mount Rushmore right next to Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt and Jefferson as we speak.

Every man regardless of his race is accountable for his own behavior.  Yes, some black men are thugs.  Yes, some black men do commit more crimes than others and there may be socio-economic issues that are the root cause but for those like Richard Sherman there should be a higher standard.  That’s why I was so disappointed in his behavior, instead of portraying himself as a smart, fearless football player – he came across as just another thug, beating his chest and looking for personal attention in a team sport.

The real tragedy in his tirade was that instead of America talking about his personal story of overcoming the odds, being a role model and becoming a star cornerback in the NFL – all we heard about was the “thug” word, stereotypes about black athletes and double standards in the media.  I’m personally tired of hearing, “Oh that’s just how black people act.” It sounds like such a cop-out.   If I embarrass myself in front of my clients, I don’t expect them to treat me differently because I’m black – I have too much respect for myself to allow that type of thinking.

Perhaps we’ve come to accept a lower standard, sagging pants, grilled teeth, fatherless children and a lack of education seem to be in vogue.  I choose to hold myself to a higher standard and I expect those with the gifts and talents like Richard Sherman to do the same but maybe I’m just being hopeful and naïve because I still believe in the old mantra – Each one teach one.

Why We Still Hurt

blackpainPresident Obama’s recent unexpected comments about the Trayvon Martin tragedy were quite revealing in the personal manner in which he described his own experiences with being profiled as an African American man.     Obama talked about being followed while shopping in a department store, noticing people lock their doors as he walked across the street and also seeing white women who clutched their purses and held their breath while they were in a confined elevator with him.

These are all very familiar themes for African Americans because we continue to be subjected to these overt acts of profiling in our daily lives.   I recall shopping at an upscale mall where I had purchased a back massager from Brookstone which came in a very large box.  I decided to peruse the mall before I took the box to my car.    As I was walking through the Nordstrom’s men’s section on my way to the exit, I suddenly saw a mall security officer leap from behind a rack of clothes as if he wanted to startle me.

He was talking on his walkie- talkie and never introduced himself or said anything to me.   I thought the whole incident was strange but as I was walking to my car, I realized that he was trying to get a reaction from me because he thought that I was a thief.

The following day I called the mall security and asked them if they had a policy of following African Americans around the mall as they shopped.   I explained to them what happened to me the previous day and that I felt slighted by this officer’s conduct; of course they denied that this was their policy, but it was obvious that this was probably standard procedure for them.

My primary reason for calling was because I was upset that I was profiled and I wanted to make sure that someone responsible heard my voice and my complaint.   One of things that really resonated with me about Obama’s statements was that he indicated that black people felt put off by the failure of society to acknowledge that this type of profiling was prevalent.

This failure to acknowledge our pain and our frustrations is the very root of many of the maladies that exist within the black community.   Without a means or an outlet to vent our frustrations about profiling and discrimination on a daily basis, many times that anger is directed towards our own community.   Escalating black on black crime in many large cities is rooted in disappointment, lack of opportunities and decades of discrimination.

In 1995 after the overthrow of the white majority rule in South Africa, President Mandela helped to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) where witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings.   Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution (Source:  Wikipedia). The result of this initiative was profound because it helped to heal some of the pain associated with decades of apartheid on the majority of black South Africans.

America has never apologized for two decades of brutal enslavement that our ancestors had to endure, nor has there ever been an attempt to reconcile the pain and the injustice of slavery.    Since we’ve elected our first African American President, I think some people assumed that we were living in a post racial society.   But the Trayvon Martin tragedy was a reminder that race is still prevalent and we still have a long way to go to achieve MLK Jr.’s dream of a non-racial society.

I often feel as though we’re becoming two different races composed of educated and affluent African Americans and a distant race of disaffected black youth who don’t feel as though they’re a part of our society.    There are many reasons why these youth feel so disenfranchised but I believe that the primary reason is the absence of strong black male role models in their life and the decline of two parent families in America.

Young black men are more likely to join a gang because the gang lifestyle represents an extended family of male role models who serve as surrogate father figures in their life.    The result is typically an early death or extended incarceration, which has not declined over the past 20 years.

I believe that we have reached a point in the black community whereby we can help those who want to help themselves and we simply have to pray for those who are lost.

Profiling George Zimmerman and how he killed Trayvon Martin

GZSince the controversial not guilty verdict from the George Zimmerman trial in Florida just a few days ago, there’s been lots of discussion about race, profiling, stand your ground laws etc. but very little has been mentioned about the actual killer George Zimmerman.   We know from the news and from the trial that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer and that he studied criminal justice for a short time.   We also know that he voluntarily started a Neighborhood Watch program in his gated community where Trayvon Martin happened to be visiting his father.

These are all descriptive facts about him but the real George Zimmerman is actually a sociopathic wannabe cop who may have committed the perfect murder.   I’m convinced that Zimmerman was a sociopath because of his actions before, during and after the killing of young Trayvon.    The textbook definition of a sociopath is a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

We know from the news coverage of the trial that in 2005, Zimmerman got into a fight with an ATF agent and was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” both of which are third-degree felonies.   Also in August 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence.

In 2008, Zimmerman applied to become a police officer in Prince George County but was rejected probably because of his prior arrest record and domestic abuse charges, but what these events really demonstrate is his history of confrontation and inability to control his anger.  It’s obvious that Zimmerman was intent on becoming a police officer and probably became ever more obsessed with his desire upon being rejected just a few years earlier.

Some controversial and racist comments from Zimmerman’s 2005 MySpace page have recently emerged indicating that he was upset about his arrest and had animus towards Mexicans and his ex-fiancee whom he refers to as his “ex hoe”.

He speaks about what he doesn’t miss about his former home in Manassas,Virginia,

“I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!”

He bragged about not going to jail regarding a case with an ex saying,

“Im still free! The ex hoe tried her hardest, but the judge saw through it! Big Mike, reppin the Dverse security makin me look a million bucks, broke her down! Thanks to everyone for checkin up on me! Stay tuned for the A.T.F. charges……”

A few days later, he spoke on getting his felonies reduced.

“2 felonies dropped to 1 misdemeanor!!!!!!!!!!! The man knows he was wrong but still got this hump, Thanks to everyone friends and fam, G baby you know your my rock!” 

Source (The Urban Daily)

Based on Zimmerman’s language and his boasting about being acquitted of the domestic abuse charges and having his felony assault charges against the officer reduced to a misdemeanor, he was not only elated that he was able to escape his charges but he seemed to gloat about his ability to evade justice.    This is the same state of mind that he had when he approached an unsuspecting Trayvon Martin on a rainy night on February 26, 2012.

Zimmerman was familiar with Florida’s “Stand your ground” laws from his criminal justice studies and his amateur police work.    He knew that he could not be portrayed as the aggressor because the aggressor cannot claim that they were standing their ground when they’re in pursuit of a potential criminal.

In listening to the 911 call he made, you can hear him paint a picture of Trayvon as looking suspicious, and peeping into neighbor’s windows and then eventually circling his car.    These were all lies that he told so that he could establish an alibi and a justified reason for confronting him.    Most importantly, he has a virtual witness in the 911 call operator to document his side of the story because he knows that no one can dispute his story.     The way he describes Trayvon and his actions were designed to portray Trayvon as the aggressor.

Trayvon likely never saw Zimmerman until he confronted him on the way home.    Based on Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, Trayvon was confronted by Zimmerman who abruptly asked him, “What are you doing here?”   Jeantel also said that she heard Trayvon say, “Get off!”  and then she heard a scuffle that sounded like they were on the ground and the phone went dead.

Her testimony clearly demonstrates that Zimmerman was the aggressor who approached Trayvon without introducing himself as Neighborhood Watch.    He never introduced himself because he wanted a confrontation!   Zimmerman knew in advance that he had a loaded gun and he knew that he needed a reaction from his “suspect” to justify shooting him.   His approach to Trayvon was similar to how a “dirty” basketball player will foul and harass another player to get a violent reaction from them.

So he confronts Trayvon and probably pushes him and that’s when he says, “Get off!” but he wasn’t saying “get off” as if Zimmerman was on top of him, he was saying “get off” much like black people might say if someone grabs or pushes them by saying, “Hey get off me man!”.

Once they’re engaged in a scuffle, Zimmerman who outweighed Trayvon by almost 50 pounds probably let him get a couple of punches in, including one to the nose.    He knew that he had to have some bruises and scars from the encounter to make it seem as though Trayvon attacked and nearly killed him.   Zimmerman probably never threw a punch, but he wrestled with Trayvon because he wanted ALL the evidence to demonstrate that Trayvon was the aggressor.

Once he got Trayvon into a state of rage, where he wasn’t backing off or defending himself he knew that he could shoot him in so called self-defense.    Zimmerman was probably struggling for his gun as they were wrestling and Trayvon began to yell for help.    It’s obvious that Trayvon was the one yelling for help because the screams stop abruptly after the shot.   If Zimmerman was the one yelling for help, he would have continued screaming in shock of shooting his attacker.

This may seem controversial, but keep in mind that Zimmerman is a wannabe cop who knows the law.    He also did not have life threatening injuries that would indicate he was completely in fear of his life.   He also refused medical care and simply wanted a doctor’s note for his job the following day.    Zimmerman probably thought that he would make a positive impression on the local police and his neighbors by killing a potential criminal.   He also hoped that he would be hailed as hero and that his hopes of finally becoming a police officer would come true.

The entire shooting may not have been premeditated but it was certainly calculated which made it so difficult to try in court because most reasonable people would never assume that someone could deliberately orchestrate a murder that seemed so random; but a sociopath like George Zimmerman knew that from the moment he stepped out of his car with a loaded gun.