George M. Zimmerman, who lives in the gated community where Martin was shot, has admitted to shooting the 17-year-old. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
Higgins’ tweet gave what he thought to be Zimmerman’s address in Sanford. Not being a journalist, Higgins didn’t bother to double-check to see if the address was correct.
Lee, not being a journalist either, also didn’t check. He just shamelessly and recklessly retweeted the incorrect address to the 250,000 people who follow him on Twitter. And this, dear readers, is why the word “Twitter” also has the word “twit” in it.
Suddenly, the Sanford home of Elaine McClain, 70, and her 72-year-old husband, David McClain, started receiving hate mail and threats. George M. Zimmerman does not and has never lived at the address that Lee and others publushed on Twitter. But William George Zimmerman, Elaine McClain’s son from a previous marriage, lived there at one time.
Higgins had tweeted the wrong address. (According to news reports, he did more than that. He tweeted the address with the comment, “Like the fat punk he is, he still lives at home with mommie & daddy.”)
Lee, an African American who’s always trying to prove how black he is, and how down with the brothers he is, probably couldn’t resist what must have come naturally to him. He decided to retweet the address, the better to make his statement about the Martin shooting.
The McClains had to move from their home to a hotel. Lee, after learning of his boneheaded move, apologized. News reports indicate that he’s reached some sort of “financial settlement” with the McClains. That’s a wise move, because a lawsuit was sure to follow.
If this incident proves anything, it shows the utter absurdity of those who claim that Twitter will replace traditional journalism.