998 A Death in Florida
What the hell is wrong with us, anyway? How did we get to the 21st century and we’re still getting stories like the killing of Trayvon Martin.
First let’s clear up some stuff:
1. Martyrdom serves no purpose. And young Trayvon’s trip to martyrdom has been put under some clouds. In an era when everyone is a victim, a real victim can get lost in the static and noise. And Trayvon is a real victim.
2. George Zimmerman, the low rent neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the boy, was not held, was not arrested, has -- so far -- not been charged because of a quirky law supposedly enacted to allow prospective mugging, carjacking, robbery, burglary, rape and murder victims to defend themselves.
3. The “Stand Your Ground” law allows deadly force in some circumstances instead of requiring you to run for cover. But it does not prevent you from running for cover, and Zimmerman shot first and ran later.
4. Zimmerman said Martin was “acting suspiciously.” By doing what, walking while black?
Here are some of the other clouds confusing this case. First the “who cares” variety:
1. Zimmerman “cried for days” about the incident. Who cares?
2. Martin was suspended from school because the pot gestapo found “traces” of marijuana (not actual marijuana) his backpack.
2a. What 17 year old doesn’t do an occasional joint?
2b. Who cares?
Now for the legalistic and cultural clouds:
1. Zimmerman called the cops and then disobeyed a direct order to stay back. Later he claimed he shot the kid in self defense. Huh?
2. Early reports say Zimmerman showed signs of injury and his back was wet in a way that made him appear to have been lying on the ground. He had a head injury and a bleeding and possibly broken nose. It sure didn’t seem so in this video courtesy ABC News. (Sorry for the pre-video commercial.)
3. Authorities performed a “tox screen” on Trayvon, looking for the presence of drugs and alcohol. They found none.
4. Authorities did not do a tox screen on Zimmerman so we’ll never know whether he was “on” something that day.
5. Zimmerman’s lawyer paraded a black “friend” of the shooter to swear by all that’s holy that Georgie is not a racist. And in truth he might not be. But again, who pulled the trigger and for what reason?
6. Here come the civil rights profiteers, Jackson and Sharpton, to turn this horrid thing into a national incident. Which it should be. Maybe it would grow better in the sunlight of popular support and doesn’t need these guys to tell us what to think.
And there are questions:
1. Who started the conflict. The best answer is Trayvon Martin and he did that simply by being a young black man in a dark hoodie carrying a package of what turned out to be candy and juice, and then having the audacity to be on the grounds of a gated community where he had every right to be.
2. Should Zimmerman have been arrested? Probably. But he should have been detained and tested, not just given a cursory interview by a police department that gets called on roughly three murders a year.
3. Where are the self described and so-called “pro lifers” in this mix? Does a murder count only when it concerns a fetus? We see plenty of demonstrations for Martin, but not from these guys. They formed a mob of screaming banshees when another Floridian died and the jury acquitted her mother of murder. Is this loss of life different?
Readers of this post may be interested in an excellent story told by Dianne Thompson Stanciel linked here.
--Magic Johnson buys the Dodgers and radio WBLS, New York. Not bad for a guy who only a few years ago thought he was dying of AIDS. Let’s hope he can do better with both properties than the previous owners.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012