My thoughts on the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case.

I'll keep it brief. There's been so much going on that's gone unmentioned (anyone notice Bradley Manning?) because of this trial.

First: I don't agree with what happened but the jury made the right decision according to the law. The district attorney blew it big time not going after Zimmerman for manslaughter or disobeying the police's stand-down order. The problem going forward is the law; and don't think it's just an issue of race - in the dark and the rain that could have been a white teenager too - although I certainly think Trayvon's race played a role in Zimmerman's decisions that night.

Second: Here's what I don't get. I've seen all the maps, where Zimmerman's SUV was, the tapes of Martin buying some candy at 7/11. I've seen where Zimmerman's house was on the map. Martin's house was closer to where he was shot than Zimmerman lived. So, if Zimmerman's life was in danger (self-defense), why was he following someone. If you were in the jungle and a lion was there that could hurt you, wouldn't you call a ranger and go in the other direction. So, up until the point where there was conflict, Zimmerman was the pursuant (or aggressor, so to say), thus not in anyway defending himself. However, Martin was being followed - and I've never seen any credible reason to think that Martin was going anywhere but his house.

Third: Basically none of the witnesses saw anything clearly. Read the transcripts. There's people saying Zimmerman was on top, there's one saying Martin was on top and absolutely no one knows what was said that started the escalation (let me guess, it started because some guy was following him in a truck on the road where he was living?) This is why the jury had to find him innocent, but also why you have to wonder if Zimmerman was actually in any danger at all (he was in his own perceived danger; he lives a life of fear, he's called the cops how many times in the past?). Was it Martin whimpering on the tape or Zimmerman?

Fourth: I have to rely on what this looks like - both of the people involved had some "fear" of what was going to happen. Why is this guy following me? What is this person doing here? One of them died, so I think that's the one with the more valid fear. Had Zimmerman "stood down", Martin is alive today and if, indeed he broke a law (I don't know what law he would have broken) he'd have been tried. Had Zimmerman not followed Martin, Martin would have lived. (Wow, the prosecution blew this case). Also, if you are going to play cop in your community, maybe you should have some sort of training where you don't get yourself beaten by a much smaller 17-year old, ok? (if that is what happened - because - don't expect to ever know anymore than you do now - you never will - and none of us know for certain except the two people involved and neither of them are going to talk). Here's what it looks like to me in quick summation: Zimmerman saw someone, followed him, an altercation occurred and Zimmerman shot Martin. Zimmerman's following instigated the conflict. Zimmerman's best "self defense" would have been for him to call the police and drive right to the station (that was an option).

Fifth: Racism does exist in this country and this is, indeed, an example. If you don't believe race played some role in this murder, you need to wonder - would Zimmerman have followed anyone else? Would Zimmerman confronted then gotten into an altercation with anyone? If I could list all the examples I've seen of racism in my life, well, I don't have time to write them all - it's more "in the hundreds" than the dozens. Being on the blond side of the spectrum, there's stuff I probably miss. Ask someone who is not white if racism exists, listen to their answer. I'm going to make the assumption here that Zimmerman isn't following me around if I walked into the housing complex. And we've all seen the link online of the black woman who got 20 years for firing her gun into the air and was sentenced the same month as Zimmerman's trial ended.

Here's my conclusion - the laws have to change. If Trayvon Martin tried to break into Zimmerman's house, that would be one thing, but it's not what happened. Martin was pursued by Zimmerman, maybe instigated a fight with him, and then was shot. I've heard Obama say "that could have been me as a kid", I've heard black parents say "that could be my kid" walking at night and being followed then shot - and it's true and that's very unfortunate - but even more dangerous is the fact that really, the "victim" (i.e. the one who actually was killed) could have been anyone. I believe Martin's race made Zimmerman more likely to pursue him, but if Zimmerman was really that intent on being "the law" he could have followed a white kid too. And some day, that will probably happen in a "stand your ground" state, where some white teenager gets killed the same way.

No comments: