CNN's Piers Morgan invoked the death of Trayvon Martin to support his case for gun control, but the brother of Martin's accused shooter George Zimmerman had a retort ready on Tuesday's Piers Morgan Tonight.
"You would accept, would you not, that if your brother had not gone out armed with a gun that day, Trayvon Martin would be celebrating his 18th birthday today," Morgan first pressed Zimmerman. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
But Zimmerman responded with his side of the story: "You know, there's no telling what would have happened. We don't know if we would have been commemorating shortly the one-year anniversary that George was another statistic, another person killed at the hands of his attacker."
He added, "You know, you can only slam someone's head violently into the concrete so many times. You can only break someone's nose and sit on them for so long while they're screaming for help for over a minute before that person has to take some kind of action."
What was clear was that there were two sides to the debate, but the liberal CNN host was the one taking a position against his lone guest. The journalist, not a liberal guest, pushed for gun control.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Tonight on February 6 at 9:17 p.m. EST, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: And here's the thing I would put to you. You would accept, would you not, that if your brother had not gone out armed with a gun that day, Trayvon Martin would be celebrating his 18th birthday today. He'd be alive.
ZIMMERMAN: No, I wouldn't accept that, Piers, because tens of millions of Americans own guns and many of them throughout America are required to conceal their weapons. So that means that when you have a concealed carry permit, if you don't live in an open carry state, for example, Florida is not an open carry state, you're required to conceal your gun. Now we're not going to have time in this segment to get into every statistic –
MORGAN: Yeah, but you're not required to carry one, are you? That's my point.
ZIMMERMAN: When you do carry a gun, you're required to conceal it.
MORGAN: Yes, but I understand that. But it's chicken and the egg. My point is if George had not been carrying a gun that night, Trayvon Martin would be celebrating his 18th birthday with his family today. And Trayvon Martin, to remind you, had simply gone up to the store to buy a packet of Skittles and then go back to see his dad. Now my question to you again is, if your brother had not gone out with a gun that night, you must surely accept that Trayvon Martin would still be alive?
ZIMMERMAN: You know, there's no telling what would have happened. We don't know if we would have been commemorating shortly the one-year anniversary that George was another statistic, another person killed at the hands of his attacker. You know, you can only slam someone's head violently into the concrete so many times. You can only break someone's nose and sit on them for so long while they're screaming for help for over a minute before that person has to take some kind of action.
MORGAN: Yeah, but again you're slightly missing the point because of course it was your brother who was pursuing Trayvon. Right? And so obviously Trayvon was trying just to go home to see his father. And the point I guess –
ZIMMERMAN: I think it's – I think it's a shame that you repeat that and also Jonathan Capehart and other journalists like Charles Blow. They – the narrative that you purport relies on this line of "was pursuing." And it is in fact, not consistent with evidence that George was pursuing.
What is consistent, and what you did the first time I was on your air, was you cut off his phone call when he said, okay, we don't need you to do that, okay. What that means is when someone says, okay, he ran and I can't see him, that means that that person is gone from their sight. That means that the pursuit, or alleged pursuit, is over at that point and if you really want to –
MORGAN: Well, look – look. Look. Here's the thing, Robert, all this will emerge now in the trial. We know that. And I'm very aware it's a very complicated situation. But clearly we can only go on what we have heard in the public domain, where your brother was clearly told to not follow and clearly ends up following. So we will --
ZIMMERMAN: No, that's not. That's absolutely – that's a falsehood. And it's absolutely not true.
ZIMMERMAN: What you should understand and be apprised of are the actual facts. When you say you understand, that implies that you were there somehow. And you're starting to sound like Toure when he came on to you and said you're not apprised of the facts.
MORGAN: With respect though, Robert, you weren't there either.
ZIMMERMAN: With respect, I'm sorry about – I'm sorry about the delay. But what I've said is that evidence –
MORGAN: But you weren't there either.
ZIMMERMAN: – has not contradicted the statements of George. And not the statements he made to the police or the statements he made to his family.
MORGAN: Robert, Robert, Robert. You were not there either, were you?
ZIMMERMAN: No, I wasn't there either. But I know the person telling the story, better than you do.
MORGAN: Okay. Well, you're putting your brother's side, and I totally accept that's what a brother would do. But neither of us were there and we will find out hopefully into this trial exactly what happened.
ZIMMERMAN: And that's precisely why it's irresponsible to assert that in fact, the pursuit continued. That's precisely why.
MORGAN: I understand that. But of course, it's equally unfair of you to presume the opposite. So we both -- we both in the end will have a view about this. We will see what happens.