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Trayvon Martin, tragedy and injustice

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Last night George Zimmerman, America’s most hated night watchman, was found not guilty in front of a jury of his peers. Soon afterwards, the level headed “pick your battles” Reverend Sharpton was already scheming for a civil conviction and federal civil rights investigation. Deep into the night there was a protest in San Francisco. And this morning the talking heads on MSLSD went back and forth about racial injustice in America.

Even looking at Facebook and Twitter, you would have thought that a gang of Klansmen were just acquitted for killing an 18 year-old black girl in a voting booth on election day with the deciding vote in Obama’s reelection. But if you quell all the emotion, you would see that this case was not a landmark racial injustice, but rather a compelling focal point, precedent, and lesson in political pressure, self-defense, and the burden of guilt.

Okay, let me be one of the many to deride the notion that Zimmerman was acquitted because he was white, and that Martin was shot because he was black. Let’s first start with the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic. So, we got that out of the way. More importantly, there is no proof or even indication that Zimmerman was racist at home, in the past, or even that night. You could try to infer, from his statements about “punks,” and from his willingness to follow Trayvon Martin, that he was racially motivated, but it would be pure speculation. In fact, the only racial statement made that night was made by Martin. Based on the evidence, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect that Zimmerman would have followed me with my cornrows and hoody on the same night, had there been a series of robberies in the area. Those who would scoff at that notion are so cynical of the system and racially sensitive that they are beyond reasoning.

I have both heard and read references to this case about Marissa Alexander. She is the poor woman who got 20 years for firing a warning shot in self-defense from her abusive husband. People are just now outraged that Alexander, who is black, killed her ceiling and got 20 years, while Zimmerman killed a kid and got zero. It is indeed outrageous, and if they want to protest and jeer that injustice, I applaud them. But it is only one case compared to another case, in a legal system with thousands of self-defense and fire-arm cases. I guarantee if you scour similar case law in America, you could extract any number of combinations of injustice for one race or ethnicity over another.

Interestingly enough, as unjust as the Alexander outcome was, it had entirely different circumstances from the Zimmerman case. Marissa Alexander was not convicted of manslaughter or second degree murder, but of the lesser charge of aggravated assault with a firearm. There is no self-defense mechanism in this law, and it carries a minimum 20 years in prison. She was informed of the seriousness of the crime, and that it could be charged, because her bullets passed through the floor of her children’s bedroom. She was offered a much lesser charge of 3 years, and she rejected it. Nevertheless, I concede it is a bad law. But it is a law, with strict guidelines and absolutely no consideration for race. Maybe if the prosecutor in the Zimmerman trial went for aggravated assault with a firearm instead of overreaching on murder, Zimmerman would be on his way to join Alexander.

And ultimately, that is how race did make its way into this trial, via political pressure. Originally, there was some immediate outrage from the family and community, justifiably so. Anytime someone unarmed is killed by someone armed, there should be an extensive investigation, and in most cases, an arrest. But then the media, being the reckless band of race ginners that they are, took an innocent picture of a 12 year-old boy, posted it next to a battered man’s mug shot, and told us this man hunted down and killed that boy, with no consideration for the extenuating and potentially exonerating circumstances. With black America still very sensitive about their place in the justice system, it didn’t take long for outrage to grow before any careful analysis of the situation was made. Resent and disgruntlement intensified when black leaders and pseudo intellectuals like Al Sharpton came to Sanford, Florida to rile up the community and America into believing that their very sons and daughters were in danger. As an obvious result, the state of Florida compromised sound judgment for good public relations, and put together a murder case that which most legal experts laughed at.

The real argument and history made here, is on self-defense. This trial, I believe, is now precedent on what is allowed in carrying a weapon. I was always pretty sure that you could use self-defense to shoot a murderer coming at you with a knife or breaking into your house, but I never considered that you could blow someone away for wupping your ass?!  It is a potentially dangerous precedent.  For instance, you could have people baiting fights just to be able to show off and try out their new gun. However, if you are carrying a gun legally, and you are not looking for a fight, but someone starts beating your ass, shouldn’t you be able to use it? I have been in a lot of fights, in school and in the ring. Fights happen really fast, and when you’re losing one, it feels a lot more perilous than it might be. Even if the first few blows don’t do serious damage, the next few could.

I guess this is the crux of the case right here. Did Zimmerman bait Trayvon into a fight with hope and intent to use the gun? If he did, then he should have been guilty of the reckless behavior detailed in manslaughter. But there is absolutely no evidence (none which exceeds reasonable doubt) that Zimmerman attacked Martin or provoked Martin to attack him with a predetermined intent on using his pistol. It is not unreasonable for a night watchman to follow someone in the midst of recent neighborhood burglaries, nor is it illegal. And it is not unreasonable to carry your gun if you have a permit, nor is it illegal.

I am not saying Zimmerman didn’t do it. He could have very well shot Trayvon after Trayvon had let up. Zimmerman also could have gone into the whole thing with a predetermination to use his gun. Both would have been criminal. But there is no evidence to prove that, ZERO. And that is where the real tragedy is — we don’t know. So Zimmerman goes free, because the state went for murder instead of a firearm charge. The country goes race berserk again, because people like Joy-Ann Reid, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Al Sharpton pick and choose their information to paint an injustice that is not there. And Trayvon Martin is still dead. I feel bad for his parents. He didn’t do anything wrong and now he’s gone. But I want to make sure this is clear. The last thing he did, was not buy skittles and iced tea, and walk home. The last thing he did was beat the shit out of some guy he didn’t like following him. That’s my opinion, based on facts in the investigation.

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3 Responses to “Trayvon Martin, tragedy and injustice”

  1. Thank you for the honest journalism.

  2. That is as close to perfect as I have seen in trying to objectfully summarize this case.

  3. Great points; this article sums up how I’ve viewed the entire fiasco.

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