Posts tagged “Trayvon Martin

Zimmerman Case Similar to the Shooting at the OK(auchee) Corral, with One Glaring Exception

The Hells Angels have a saying: three men can keep a secret if two are dead.

During the trail of George Zimmermann, what the jury heard was the version of events from the confrontation’s only survivor.   The shooter may have been telling the truth; he might have embellished certain facts, or misrepresented his true intent.  However, the bottom line in the Zimmermann case is the bottom line: investigators and jurors are not clairvoyant.  The jury did what the jury should have done when presented with the information it received: acquit the person charged with a crime the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

In my book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, I discussed a somewhat similar case in a chapter entitled, “Shooting at the OK(auchee) Corral.”  During this incident, which occurred about a year-and-a-half prior to the death of Trayvon Martin, a homeowner, Mike Fitzsimmons, heard someone inside of his unattached garage. Instead of calling the police, he decided to arm himself and confront the intruder, James Babe.  Fitzsimmons called 911 after the shooting and said, “Someone was in my garage. They ran out, they wouldn’t, they were attacking me, so I shot him.”

In the Okauchee case, the homeowner, although he alleges an attack, suffered no injuries while discharging two rounds. After the first shot hit Babe, information contained in a search warrant affidavit noted that a second round was discharged as Babe was either falling or had landed on the homeowner’s deck, as the projectile passed through Babe’s body and was lodged, in part, in a wooden plank.  Moreover, tests revealed that the shooter had marijuana in his system.

Absent much controversy, since Fitzsimmons and Babe were both white, the Waukesha County District Attorney’s office ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide.

Needless to say, Al Sharpton did not visit lake country to protest. President Obama didn’t chime into the investigation by proclaiming that if he were white and had a son the child would look like James Babe.  U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, the congressman who represents the area, did not stand in the well of the House of Representatives attired in the outer garment that Babe wore the night he died, even though there had been no recent break-ins in well-heeled Okauchee. Babe’s supporters didn’t send out Tweets promising riots, and the case barely received any attention locally, even though Mike Fitzsimmons was apparently never booked. Moreover, Wisconsin does not have a Stand Your Ground law, and, at the time of Babe’s death, the state legislature had yet to pass the Castle Doctrine.

Where, then, was the outrage from, at a minimum, the cheesehead media?

Since the Shooting at the OK(auchee) Corral lacked a racial nexus, the media types were aware that the public would care little much about the incident, although James Babe is just as dead as Trayvon Martin.

Media outlets, with the exception of taxpayer funded NPR, are for profit businesses. They need to sell what they are peddling in order to entice advertisers to fill their coffers.  Much of what is printed or makes the news has little to do with equality or justice, but, instead, the numbers on a balance sheet.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Milwaukee Police Officer Matt Knight.

All needless deaths are tragic. Both the Martin and Babe families had to bury their sons, which it is why it is important for parents, teachers, police officers, and religious leaders, to stress the value of making sound judgments. When a person stumbles into a garage that isn’t theirs or goes looking for a confrontation with someone they could have avoided, the end result might be their last day on earth or their fate in the hands of a jury.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Don’t Blame “the Gun” in Trayvon’s Death; Blame the Hucksters

Like a spectator at a gladiator fight in the Roman coliseum, I have sat back and watched the finger-pointing unfold in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. 

With his budget shot down 414-0 in the House of Representatives, his approval numbers in free fall, and a portion of his health care legislation of the verge of being ruled unconstitutional, President Obama wasted little time weighing in on Martin’s tragic death, even though the federal government arguably has no jurisdiction in the matter.  

And, of course, the usual suspects—Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton—could hardly resist jumping into the fray. Jackson would rather talk about an unjustifiable intervention by a self-declared neighborhood watch captain than a love child.[1]  While Sharpton—damaged goods in the minds of many after the Tawana Brawley debacle—is always on the lookout for ways to raise his profile.[2]

It is, however, the recent remarks of Bill Cosby—a celebrity whose candid comments regarding bigotry and personal responsibility have opened a dialogue on race relations—that are, unpredictably, off base. 

Yesterday, Washington Times columnist Deborah Simmons noted that Cosby believes that “the gun” was the impetus for Trayvon Martin’s death.

“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby told Simmons.[3]

True, guns do not belong in the hands of some people. Individuals convicted of felonies and/or domestic violence, those abusing drugs, and persons suffering from mental health issues are ticking time bombs when a firearm is figured-in to the equation.  

Yet if Cosby had taken the time to research the background of the shooter, he might conclude that, had the system done its job, “the gun,” at least lawfully, would not be an issue.

“Charged with resisting arrest without violence,” in July 2005, the Los Angeles Times reported, “he [Zimmerman] avoided conviction by entering a pretrial-diversion program, something common for first-time offenders.”[4]

Zimmerman’s former girlfriend also filed a domestic violence injunction against him. Zimmerman countered with his own injunction, although it appears the police did not investigate.[5]

Had the system done its job by placing Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, on an extended period of probation for the incident outside a central Florida night spot, the court, in all likelihood, would have prohibited him from possessing firearms while serving his sentence.

Ironically, Jackson and Sharpton continually take the criminal justice system to task for its treatment of minority offenders—often times encouraging prosecutors to send those charged with acts of violence, such as fighting with law enforcement officers, into diversion programs.  

In the Zimmerman’s case, it appears that a Florida prosecutor bought-in to the charlatanism of the Jackson/Sharpton school of justice—the ugly results of which are now in plan view for all to see. 

Unfortunately, Bill Cosby chooses to blame “the gun” instead of Jackson and Sharpton—the hucksters of criminal justice diversion, who then go on to incite the populous when those sentenced to the same diversion programs they advocate for predictably reoffend.   

Some might call it a conspiracy of sorts, while others, rightfully, the revolving door of ignorance and the politics of self-pity.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


[1] “Jesse Jackson Confesses to Love Child,”  January 18, 2001.  7 April 2012.

[2] Kennedy, H. “Rev. Al Shrapton: I Won’t Apologize for Handling of Tawana Brawley Case.”  May 19, 2011.  7 April 2012.

[3] Simmons, D. “Simmons: Bill Cosby Weighs in on Trayvon Martin Case.” April 7, 2012.  8 April 2012.

[4] Muskal, M. “Trayvon Martin Case: George Zimmerman, Mystery Gunman.”  March 23, 2012.  8 April 2012.,0,6326075.story

[5] Sieczkowski, C. “Who is George Zimmerman? Florida Shooter has Checkered Past of ‘Vigilantism’ and Domestic Violence.”  March 23, 2012. 8 April 2012.