The real victims, as we now have learned, are the killers.

Pity the poor killers, the men - both of these killers are men - who have no other choice than to kill an unarmed person to protect life and property. They are the ones who have to live with the consequences of their actions, such as having to live with crippling paranoia or not being able to watch violence on TV. The dead do not, by virtue of being dead.

This lesson was imparted by two recent cases - one of which you've probably heard more about than you care to ever hear, and another that, despite its nexus of sex and violence, sailed under the national media radar.

The first case, of course, is the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida. Poor George Zimmerman. His lawyers said he would have to live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, in a constant state of paranoia, apparently worse than the level that prompted him to provoke a confrontation with a teenager armed with Skittles and an Arizona iced tea.

That case got all the press - and was still dominating the news early this week - because of the questions it raised about race and justice and just how insane Florida appears to be. It was easy to predict an acquittal, as Florida, generally speaking, is exempt from the standard rules of civilization.

Zimmerman didn't speak for himself, but his brother Robert did. And if you thought it was scary that Zimmerman, a wannabe cop, was patrolling the streets of his neighborhood, he appears to be the tolerant one among his siblings. His brother, speaking on Piers Morgan's CNN show, said that his brother feared people who might "take the law into their own hands" and "be vigilantes." (And irony dies yet another slow, painful death.)

He also said, "I want to know what makes people angry enough to attack someone the way that Trayvon Martin did."

I'm not sure what he's talking about. If you'll recall, Zimmerman called 911, reporting that he saw a suspicious individual, who was suspicious, apparently, by virtue of being black in his neighborhood and wearing a hoodie. The 911 operator told him specifically not to do anything, but Zimmerman followed the teenager, thereby provoking the confrontation that left the 17-year-old dead.

That didn't matter under Florida law. Under Florida law, Zimmerman did not have the duty to retreat. He was within his rights to provoke this confrontation and then claim self-defense after its fatal conclusion.

The not-guilty verdict, depending on which experts you listened to, was either wholly justified or it, in essence, legalized homicide in Florida.

And now we learn that Zimmerman was the ultimate victim here. His lawyer told the jury that it was Martin who was to blame, that his client was the only one who was injured in the encounter, pointing to the cuts on his head and his bloody nose and discounting the bullet hole in Martin's chest.

His lawyers were on the morning talk shows Monday arguing that their client should get his gun back - which he will - to protect himself from those who now see him as a symbol of whatever he's supposed to be a symbol of, establishing his self-defense claim before he drops yet another unarmed teenager.

So, from that point of view, Zimmerman, not the dead kid, was the victim.

Now, the other case, which you may not have heard about, comes from Texas, which, Texans are quick to point out, is a different world.

In that case, a 30-year-old San Antonio man named Ezekiel Gilbert had contacted an escort on Craigslist on Christmas Eve 2009 and arranged a meeting. The tryst didn't go an expected for Gilbert. The escort took his $150, but declined to have intimate relations with him. Gilbert testified that she took the money and then walked around his apartment for 20 minutes before leaving. He testified that he believed the transaction was simple - he paid money, he should get a service.

Rather than take the case to "Judge Judy," he shot the escort, a 23-year-old woman named Lenora Ivie Frago, in the neck. Frago, initially, was paralyzed and later died. None of those facts were disputed during Gilbert's trial last month.

Gilbert, surprise, was acquitted.

His lawyer argued that the shooting was justified because he was trying to retrieve stolen property. Under Texas law, a person may use deadly force to retrieve stolen property "during a nighttime theft" or during the commission of criminal mischief, protecting law-abiding citizens from thieving escorts and kids egging their homes and allowing them to shoot said escorts and kids dead.

A detective testified that Gilbert hadn't said anything about theft when police questioned him, and for his part, Gilbert said he didn't intend to kill the escort, shooting her in the neck notwithstanding.

That may seem insane, but it's Texas, running neck-and-neck with Florida in the race to be the most insane state in the union. (The real lesson from these two cases: If you're going to kill an unarmed person and want to get away with it, Florida and Texas are your best bets.)

Which brings us to the victimization of Gilbert.

He told reporters, "I sincerely regret the loss of the life of Ms. Frago. I've been in a mental prison the past four years of my life. I have nightmares. If I see guns on TV where people are getting killed, I change the channel."

So killing an escort has ruined "Lethal Weapon" movies for him.

Yeah, that's too bad.

Maybe we can take up a collection for him or something.

Mike Argento's column appears Mondays and Fridays in Living and Sundays in Viewpoints. Reach him at or 771-2046. Read more Argento columns at Or follow him on Twitter atFnMikeArgento.