Why George Zimmerman Should Pay for Trayvon Martin’s Murder

trayvon martin

George Zimmerman probably didn’t wake up on February 26 thinking he was going to instigate a now-infamous news-making confrontation and he almost certainly wasn’t expecting to be labeled a cold-blooded killer. But he did and he is.

In the wake of his reportedly calculated attack against a “suspicious-looking” boy who, as it turns out, was armed only with a pack of Skittles, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead for no reason whatsoever besides the glaringly obvious fact that he had the misfortune of being alone, vulnerable, and black at the exact time that Zimmerman was able to flex his moxie as neighborhood watchman. Still, the Florida law that fundamentally gives the right to murder seems to be shielding him from prosecution and making him an unlikely folk hero for gun-toting vigilantes everywhere. 

It hits particularly close to home for black folks who, in addition to the basic life lessons that all kids have to learn, have had to teach our kids—particularly our sons, nephews, brothers, cousins, and male neighbors, mentees, and students—how to avoid tenuous situations with cops and other figures of authority lest they end up riddled with bullets like Sean Bell or beat in a merciless frenzy like Rodney King. We have to remember to tell them not to walk through certain communities that say to hell with a civil rights bill and make examples of young African-American men like Yusuf Hawkins, who was beaten to death back in the late 80s by a blood-thirsty gang of locals angry at his presence in their Bensonhurst, Brooklyn neighborhood.

More from The Stir: Tragic Trayvon Martin Shooting Is an American Problem Not a Black One (VIDEO)

Now it seems that we can add to the list a teenage boy walking home from the store who was apparently stalked by Zimmerman, empowered by the itty bitty bit of pathetic authority he possessed as a neighborhood watchman, that some may label an armchair bigot. In order to justify his seemingly premeditated attack on Trayvon, I think he started setting up his alibi early by calling 911 and crafting the story about a wandering black guy who seemed not only out of place in the area, but looked like “he’s on drugs or something.” No one wants a druggie roaming through his neighborhood. You’ve seen pictures of Trayvon. I’ve seen pictures of Trayvon. And there doesn’t seem to me to be even a whiff of evidence that that boy looked like anything other than a normal, average, regular, everyday teenager. He was wearing a hoodie and jeans. He was on the phone with his girlfriend. And he was walking back from the store unarmed but in the crosshairs of an alleged killer.

Had Zimmerman actually been attacked, he surely would’ve mentioned that to the 911 operator after he called for police backup. Instead of saying that he was standing at a distance peering at a suspicious-looking young black guy, he would’ve said that an altercation had occurred, that he feared for his safety, that he was calling for backup because he had already experienced the wrath of this unidentified threatening person. That didn’t happen. In fact, the 911 operator asked him if he was following this mysterious menace to society and told Zimmerman that he didn’t need to do that, that he should wait for police to arrive. It appears that he didn’t listen. So, even if there was an altercation between Zimmerman and Trayvon, the course of events that took place seem to point to him as the instigator, not the other way around.

Zimmerman’s most telling comment on his 911 call: “These a**holes. They always get away.” It seems that he’s the a**hole getting away, largely because Florida’s “stand your ground” law gives legal protection to citizens who feel physically threatened and endangered by the individual on the opposite end of their protective measures—in this case, his gun barrel. But the application of the law here does nothing but give a renegade gunslinger a smoke screen to hide behind what is appears to me to be an obvious instance of racial profiling escalated into a full-blown hate crime. It doesn’t matter that Zimmerman isn’t white. Racial prejudice isn’t relegated to just black and white. Asians discriminate against black folks, black folks harass Arab people and so on and so forth. There are all kinds of crazy combinations of race-based ignorance.

The fact that public outcry had to be the catalyst to light the fire under the justice system is pathetic. In the name of justice, Michael Vick was sent to prison for almost two years on felony charges, all but crucified by the media and animal rights enthusiasts, and practically destroyed inside out ... for killing dogs. George Zimmerman reportedly murdered an unarmed boy—unless you consider his pack of Skittles a potential weapon—and he’s roaming free. If the system fails to prosecute and convict citizens who take advantage of the legal backing to shoot and kill individuals who pose a threat to their safety, then heck, maybe we really are living in the end of days when anarchy and chaos will rule the streets. That means anyone can get it. You, me, our children. Especially if your complexion happens to fall on the darker shade of brown. 

When the dust settles from this story and the press moves on, Trayvon’s family will still be mourning their loss on his would-be graduation day, holidays, his birthday, and all of those little moments that he’ll miss and they’ll miss him. But if Trayvon can’t enjoy them with his loved ones, George Zimmerman for damn sure doesn’t need to either.

Is the “stand your ground” law applicable in this situation?

Image via AP Photo

death, discrimination, guns, in the news, law, racism


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nonmember avatar Eric Gillette

I'm Black, and I'm a registered gun owner in the State of Florida, and live in Orlando (about 10 miles away from where the incident actually occurred). Now for the record, I'd like to say that people shouldn't be pissed off about the law, because the "Stand Your Ground" Law makes Florida a great state in that if someone breaks into your home for example, you have no "duty to retreat" meaning you can "stand your ground" and use deadly force if you feel it to be necessary, and are reasonably scared for your life (and that is my loose interpretation of the law by the way, but I follow gun laws very closely). However, in this case, "Stand Your Ground" shouldn't apply to George Zimmerman. I don't say this because he's white. . .I could care less about his race, he's a man who is trying to hide behind "Stand Your Ground", when in actuality it didn't apply to him. The actual law uses words like "imminent threat" and "reasonable expectation of serious bodily harm or death" to describe "stand your ground". Trayvon was walking away from him, George ended up confronting Trayon at some point (which now has him as the aggressor, especially since the 911 dispatcher told him that they didn't need him to follow Trayvon), and in one of the 911 calls you can hear Trayvon yelling for help (some say this is Zimmerman, but I contest this because why would an ARMED man being calling for help??), after some time, you eventually hear a shot. That's cold blood.

nonmember avatar Visiopher

I don't believe the Sanford PD was hampered in making an arrest of Zimmerman by the Stand Your Ground law. I think the Sanford PD decided at the time they responded to the shooting to use the law to get Zimmerman off. Using this law to protect the murderer of a black boy was their idea and during their chat with Zimmerman at their station they likely even coached Zimmerman on what to claim and say. This is why no standard procedures were followed during the investigation such as drug and alcohol testing and the gathering of evidence. The Sanford PD thought they could hide behind this law and make this easily go away. For Bill Lee to claim his department's investigation was thourough, fair, and complete is preposterous. This is one reason he must be fired. Another is that the Sanford PD, by these actions, is actually complicit in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Charges should not only be brought against Zimmerman but also against those involved at the Sanford PD, particularly Bill Lee.

Maj Variola

If a 6'3 football player jumps you, self defense with any tool available is justified.   

Evolution works.

nonmember avatar Maria Stasch

Wow! Rush to judgement! Everyone is rushing around blaming Zimmerman without a clue as to what happened. Zimmerman did not break the law in carrying a gun. He was the only one with his blood on the back of his head, a bloody nose, and grass on the back of his shirt. He was yelling for help before the shot. He comes from a family with black members and has many black friends. Several black neighbors support him. He is a minority himself. The did comes from a bad neighborhood in Florida. Just because he is carrying candy doesn't make him the Easter Bunny. Besides, anything Al Sharpton is involved with is bogus. Remember Tawana Brawley? Here is another one.

nonmember avatar andrea

1st, I want to say Michael vick still got off easy in my opinion. 2nd This is much worse than what he did. This man is a murderer! He should be in jail!!!

nonmember avatar tragic_story

Trayvon was guilty in the eyes of Zimmerman of some percieved transgression in his own mind, most likely tinged with racial bias. Bottomline is Trayvon is the victim here and Zimmerman became an over zealous vigilante.

Who is to say that Trayvon wasn't "standing his ground" because was scared sh--less at some man who was chasing him. I would be too. So maybe he turned around and put the beat down on Zimmerman. And Zimmerman wants to say that gives him the right to kill. You can not provoke someone to fear for their life and then claim self defense if it doesn't turn out the way you expect. This case stinks and the police need to get to the bottom QUICK because people are rightfully angry.

Lastly, we need to tone the race element some, because I am a white guy with a son about the age of Trayvon and my heart desires justice. If we want to have additional conversations about why a young black male can't go about his business in safety that is another discussion... And one we should have. Along side of that however, we should discuss ALL racial bigotries because young men shouldn't have gas thrown on them and set ablaze either, like in KC. We must give vengeance to the Lord who is just in all ways to condemn the evil. Meaning seek justice through the law, but we must stop the cycle of hatred.

MrsNe... MrsNewman

He needs to pay for what he did. I don't want a person walking the streets who has no problem shoting and killing a child. Karama is a bitc* and I hope he gets his soon. 

nonmember avatar Truth

We will never know what really happen unless this case goes to trial but for all those who are making it into a race issue etc the picture of Trayvon is from when he was 13 yrs old. He was 6'3 with gold front teeth and Im wondering why the media is not showing that. Because then Obama would probably not claim him as his son! Did he desreve to die no one does if he was burglarizing etc he should have been dealt with withing the law but I think the media has corrupted this story so bad to make it look like a innocent black "child" was shot by a "white" man and so even if Trayvon was innocent it still makes him look guilty for withholding the pictures alone.

Leslie Moore

So what does everyone think about the eyewitness that claims he saw and heard the man in the red sweater (Zimmerman) screaming for help?  Not Martin, but Zimmerman.  This witness said he saw/heard from an upstairs window and called 911.  This was withheld by the police for whatever reason.   Now we find out that the media is making it seem like this is some little innocent boy who was shot?  I want to see Martins current pics.  I want to hear more about this girlfriend of his.  She could make up anything about Zimmerman.  Whatever Martin supposedly said to her has to be considered hearsay because it's 2nd hand.  That is a fact.  An unbiased eyewitness on the other hand is more credible.  Maybe Martin wasn't armed.  Doesn't mean he can't seriously harm someone or even kill someone.  This isn't a racial crime.  Minority on minority.  So I absolutely despise people who rush to judgement on either side and think they have all the "facts".  Let the police do their jobs.

nonmember avatar Gail

Have you ever been to Sanford, Florida, it looks like a ghetto. There was probably a guy watching because it is a high crime area. They have a lot of burglaries in that area. I read that the shooter was walking back to his vehicle when Travon attacked him.There was a witness to this. I have seen a picture of Travon wearing pulled down pants,below his underwear flipping the middle finger on both hands. The news have lightened his picture on the hoodie picture to make him look innocent. He was really dark and mean looking in the original photo. He was over 6'3" tall and almost 18 by 21 days. Why didn't he just say where he was going. Why did he attack Zimmerman? Why was he expelled from his school if he was such an angel?

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