George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin….A Sad Case Of Racial Assumption…
So I thought I would comment on this terribly sad story and the influence the media has played in the path of justice this case was taking. I am not saying the altered path is or is not the correct one but this case has definitely been treated differently due to the massive public outrage and the media’s usual thirst for anything that they can hype up for ratings. Let’s look at the various angles on this story and as we do, keep in mind that because most of the information coming out is being filtered through the media so while you can get your information in this way, you should certainly take it with a grain of salt.
- First off, the official story, or as official as you can find with the countless interview and reports circulating all over the place. From what I have been able to surmise, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain calls 911 to report a “suspicious person”. This is the first red flag in my opinion. The reason I say that, is as a neighborhood watchmen, while I can understand calling the police for a suspicious person, you are not a police officer so for Zimmerman to instantly call 911, a call reserved for emergencies usually, just because he saw someone doing nothing more than “looking suspicious” seems like an instant overreaction to me. I live in a fairly family based neighborhood myself and if I saw someone suspicious walking around at night, while I may call the non-emergency number of the police to have them check it out, I certainly wouldn’t rush to dial 911 and run after the person as if I was a policeman chasing a bank robber. This brings me to my next point.
- The next red flag in my opinion is the haste and urgency with which Zimmerman pursued Martin despite the fact that Martin had seemingly done nothing other than being considered by Zimmerman to be suspicious. Think about it, Martin could have easily just been someone Zimmerman didn’t know but Zimmerman pursued him as if he had just witnessed some horrible crime. Additionally, and this is another questionable fact in the story, Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin despite the fact that the 911 operator specifically told him “We don’t need you to do that”. Onto the next suspicious action by Zimmerman.
- The last known contact with Martin was a phone call he was on with his girlfriend. She has stated that she heard someone ask Martin “what he was doing” and Martin responded by asking the person why he was following him(he asked Zimmerman why he was following him). Now, at this point, if you think about it, it doesn’t seem that Zimmerman had identified himself at any point as a neighborhood watch representative so from Martin’s perspective, Zimmerman likely appeared as an adult he did not know who he has now seen following him at night for some unknown reason. When you consider this fact, it is easy to assume that Martin, only being a teen, was likely afraid or concerned not knowing who this adult was who was following him.
- This is the point where the story starts to get confusing and clouded as far as the facts go. To read the story and Zimmerman’s claim, after momentarily losing Martin, he crossed the teens path again and when he did, the two exchanged words and Martin punched him in the nose. He then said Martin pinned him on the ground and began slamming his head into the pavement, at which point he was able to grab his gun and shoot Martin, killing him. When police arrived, Martin was dead and Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and from the back of the head, which would be the case if things had gone the way they had been described by Zimmerman. This was seemingly the reason that the police ruled it, at least initially, self-defense. Had this been a typical case, you have to wonder if it would have ended right there. To be fair, Martin had no history of crime or violence and was only carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of ice tea so it is hard to imagine why he would attack Zimmerman. That is unless you consider what is my final point and the reason I think Zimmerman will be convicted of the crime he has now been charged with.
- You see, for all the scenarios given so far, the following one seems to make the most sense to me. Imagine Martin, a teenager, a black teenager who like many black teens, is ignorantly profiled by police and others as being “suspicious” just because they are black, which is beyond ridiculous. He is walking home, seemingly having done nothing other than purchase ice tea and Skittles, when he notices, not once but twice, an adult following him who as far as I can tell never identified himself. It seems likely that if Martin did become hostile it was likely he did so out of fear over an adult coming after him when he had done nothing wrong. For his fear, a reaction many of us would have in this situation, he lost his life.
- In the end, Zimmerman, for all his self-defense claims, disobeyed a 911 operator, pursued a kid who hadn’t done anything wrong, and when the kid reacted to what could easily be construed as harassment by Zimmerman, Zimmerman killed him. Additionally, as a neighborhood watch member, other than notifying the police of suspicious activity, he had no right to either assume Martin was a criminal or to pursue him in the same manner that a policeman would pursue someone they just saw commit a crime. That type of pursuit is exactly what Zimmerman did and had he listened to the police dispatcher and simply left Martin alone, this story never would have made the news, Trayvon Martin would still be alive and the police would have most likely checked Martin out and found he was just a kid, unarmed, walking back to his folks house. Zimmerman may not be a complete racist, but he is certainly guilty of negligent behavior, numerous times, that led to the death of a seemingly innocent teenager and for that I believe he will be convicted of what he has been charged with. A black teenager walking down the street, no matter gated community or not, should not be assumed to automatically being a violent criminal to be pursued in such an urgent and confrontational matter.