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Justice for Trayvon Martin

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There has been a spark in Florida. Whether it proves igniting depends on the condition and volume of the available fuel. It has been hot and dry across the nation for some time so we should be cautious with cigarette butts and any other sort of burning. In that case, maybe Al Sharpton should have stayed home. Too late for that now. He has broken out the tropical suits and the high-humidity hair treaments. Rev Sharpton has been one of the leading voices championing Justice for Tayvon as this movement is aptly known, calling for patience and support for the Martin family as they brace for the possibly imminent arrest of their son. 

The details of that evening are combustibly in dispute but some of the evidence is in the public domain. 911 calls record the last words of George Zimmerman, age 28, the community watch captain in this modest gated community. The one thing that is certain is that the Sanford police explicitly told Zimmerman NOT to approach the “suspicious” character who turned out to be seventeen year old Trayvon Martin. But he did, according to Martin, accosting him from the rear, gun drawn and trying to restrain Martin. He resisted this ununiformed, armed stranger and struggled with the gun resulting, accidentally he says, in a single shot being fired that killed Zimmerman instantly. Martin was taken into custody without incident, questioned in the presence of his father and counsel and released.

There are witnesses to this twilight exertion but in some regards they conflict. One question is, who was sitting on whose chest? If, as Martin contends, the larger Zimmerman was straddling him about to rain his fists down on his face, Martin would have a good claim of self defense, although he contends the shooting was accidental. But the sounds of dismay on the 911 call were plausibly coming from either participant. Martin claims it is him. The witnesses who only heard and did not see are split as to whether it is Martin or Zimmerman. The one who claims to have seen the conflict at dusk but at a distance, says it was Martin over Zimmerman at close quarters.

The coroner’s report and forensic investigation are not in. From the cop shows we know that the technicians will be able to draw many of the finest details from their art. If the bullet was fired from above, it is in the ground and will be unearthed if it hasn’t already been. If it was fired from below they will be able to tell that to a certainty. A grand jury is impaneled and will decide on an indictment of Tayvon Martin, the most probable charge would be one of manslaughter.

But waiting for indictments is not everyone’s cup of tea. The Florida latino community is up in arms. They complain that this clear crime, the open murder of a young husband defending his neighborhood from what everyone agrees is a crime wave, is being brushed under the rug. Racial overtones are unmistakable. The black community argues for cool heads and patience with the system. Sharpton offers counsel and support as Trayvon’s legal team is assembled from pro bono bigfoots and a sharp array of media defenders.

In the mean time Zimmerman’s family remains in seclusion. The patriarch of this family with Peruvian roots and cousins of all colors has released a statement defending his late son from media charges that he was overzealous in his position with the neighborhood watch, that he may have assaulted Martin for racist reasons. Neighbors mostly agree as he has aided more than a few with crime problems in this thoroughly integrated development. Unfairly adverse and conspicuously perverse media treatment has been brought down on a dead man, possibly killed in the legitimate execution of a public trust though neither paid nor trained to do so, George’s survivors say.

Justice For Trayvon moves forward. It is a sensation across the social media sites. #Justicefortrayvon trends on twitter. Meaning? Meaning a lot of people are publicly talking about it, for good or ill. There is real approbation for it though as the movement is collecting large sums of cash from small, dispersed and diverse donors. The newly formed JusticeForTrayvon Trust has seven figure deposits and takes more every day. Martin will have the finest in representation, that seems certain. In addition to straight material support, Martin also enjoys energetic demonstrations at the local courthouse, though he is not there, and in cities around the country.

While Colonel Sharpton moves things forward on the front in Florida, General Jesse Jackson is defending the supply lines. Jackson is on a flying tour speaking before La Raza groups and making other public addresses regarding the concerns of the national hispanic population that Zimmerman’s death is being subsumed under a cloud of black racial solidarity. Jackson made it a point repeatedly to explain that hispanics, blacks and indeed all “persons of color” owed it to their posterity to stick together, making a solid and growing majority as long as hispanics and blacks stay in step. But when questioned about what this might mean specifically Jackson asserted “…blacks are under attack in this country.” and the attempt to short circuit due process for Martin was an example of it.

Gun control groups and their antagonists have also made hay. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is under public assault with Martin as a hook though the facts of the case aren’t really germane. Those who abhor guns completely raise a horrified cry that Zimmerman actually carried his legal and licensed firearm. Look, look! they say. Your gun will not save you. It is more likely to shoot you. The gunners say, quite rightly, the guns are already out there. We will not disarm.

The most shameful response, though it may still prove the most prudent, has been from the so-called white community. It is unchronicled anywhere but if you are white, you know what it was. It was a great big PHEW!! and a pantomimed wipe of sweat from our brows as the unlikely named Zimmerman was revealed in his stock photo to be of hispanic origins. We will officiate and spectate at this one and quite happy we are to be off either end of the hook. But no, honky-crackers. ’tis not to be. Yes, as a practical matter, in the media and that miasmic stink we call a culture, this will be a racial melodrama like Westside Story without the romance, but you are still involved. There is the potential for a fissure in the Rainbow Coalition to open like the Cracks of Doom, exposing the lava beneath and swallowing those in the front rows. This could well be a good thing. If caused by agitation and animosity, it will prove to be a very bad thing indeed. Are Americans of any color doing their duty by voting Present? No. If the bigs of race and government are determined to hash these things out on the front lawn, so be it. AG Holder called us cowards to our whiny little faces years ago. And he was right. It’s time for courage then, even if it is rum courage, to say the simple things we all know.

Justice for Trayvon and justice for George are one and the same thing. These are not opposed ends and should not enjoy opposed camps. Justice will involve a full, public and contested airing of all the facts modern inquiry can produce. Does that mean a trial and only a trial? No. It may well be that the facts will not support a charge even of manslaughter. Should the district attorney of Sanford make such a charge without evidence, the city would be in for a nasty Sharpton-fueld lawsuit and probably will be anyhow. If the evidence on the spot that evening were thoroughly cut and dry does anyone truly doubt the police would have made their charge? Why? Believe it or not, all the infuriating and contradictory elements of our system of justice are there for a reason. If the shoe were on the other foot, would the Zimmerman camp want the benefit of the doubt and an open system of trials; Due Process, as we call it, apply to him? I suspect so. All the self-clicked photos of black Americans in “hoodies” that are papering the virtual earth imply, I hope, an objection to being railroaded rather than tacit support for violence, however justified.

Yes, I am certain this is the case in America’s big heart. I say extend to Tayvon at least half of the patience and forbearance recently, if improvidently, shown for Casey Anthony but lay on the same scrutiny. From that case Florida should know that justice is often denied through no lack of effort or competence by the authorities. Still, we live with it. We swallow it. We participate in it as honestly as we can because the alternative of frustration and revenge is far worse. We can be thankful that there has been at least ONE figure acting with propriety. When asked to comment on the Florida controversy at an unrelated Rose Garden press conference this morning, the President declined.

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7 Responses to “Justice for Trayvon Martin”

  1. Dude….you’re story is so convoluted…and so backwards that i gave up trying to read and comprehend what you were SUPPOSE to communicate.

    I sure hope you didn’t get paid for this work (sigh).

  2. “Justice for Trayvon and justice for George are one and the same thing.” This is the heart of your article, and should be the goal of everyone no matter how involved or uninvolved they may be. This includes our president, who couldn’t resist fanning the flames with his own comments on the tragedy. Someone must have reminded him about letting no crisis go to waste. There are tens of thousands of such tragedies every year, where a Latino has killed an African American or an African American has killed a Latino. While race and ethnicity SHOULDN’T matter, you can’t ignore the reality that there has long been a deep animosity between these two groups. Why is everyone so quick to rush to judgement? It’s like a bad chain reaction that starts the moment the media gets involved. Why can’t they just report the facts like they were supposedly taught in journalism school…who, what, when, where, why and how? Why not wait till all the witnesses have been questioned and the coroner’s and forensics reports are in before starting to draw what might be, and many times is, the wrong conclusion? Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should both have stayed out of all this. Why did they choose this particular tragedy to insert themselves in when there are so many to choose from? I think it’s just a matter of timing and convenience. Our president needs a crisis, any kind and proportion of a crisis to keep our nation divided and at each other’s throats, especially now, and until the election in the fall. This is why the president had to weigh in on this now, instead of trying to create a climate for jobs or securing our borders or control spending. It dissapoints me that so many have fallen for it, both on the right and the left. Doesn’t anybody just do their job anymore? It’s what the investgators are doing to try to gather all the facts so that Trayvon and George might BOTH receive justice.

  3. Full marks for Nancy. Jon, I doubt you are as clueless as you pretend but that may be my reckless optimism…. dude…. (sigh).

  4. I got lost in the reading in which Martin and Zimmerman seem to be mixed up. Zimmerman is the shooter, Martin is the dead person.

    Zimmerman claims self defense, Martin is dead.

    We’ll have to wait for all the facts to be brought out in a court of law before we can judge what happened.

  5. You should have used that new sarcasm font… it seems some folks need that spelled out for them.

    I got it but it could have been half as long and made the same point. If Mr Zimmermin had been the one who died, the media would have spun this totally differently.

  6. Thanks for staying with me, Mike. I’ll look into the font but maybe what was lacking is a little subtitled subtlety. When I flogged this out I captioned it, An emergency transmission from another universe. Each one teach one.

  7. In keeping with our modern sensibilities – each one leach one.

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