Why George Zimmerman Should Pay for Trayvon Martin’s Murder

by Janelle Harris March 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM

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

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Comments 125

Facebook comment from Kathryn Marie Precious
March 26, 2012 at 6:57 AM
Trayvon Martin stood his ground when he thought he was being followed by a suspicious person and he lost his life because he only had his fists and Zimmerman had a gun. Zimmerman should have stood down when the police told him to. And yes I do believe that this is becoming a black vs white thing. When it should not be.
Facebook comment from Cw Sanders
March 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Police: Zimmerman says Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-26/news/os-trayvon-martin-zimmerman-account-20120326_1_arizona-iced-tea-suv-unarmed-black-teenager#mod-blogs

Witness: Martin attacked Zimmerman http://www.eurweb.com/2012/03/trayvon-martin-attacked-george-zimmerman-says-witnes/“The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: 'help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911," he said. Trayvon Martin was in a hoodie; Zimmerman was in red.”
Does the media have credibility on the Trayvon Martin story? Have these facts been reported yet? You decide http://trayvon.tk/
Looks like the same racists are stirring up division just as well as Obama. Duke LaCrosse players, anyone??
March 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Has anyone seen the pictures of an older Trayvon with the gold grille, the tattoos; his stuff on Facebook & My Space hinting strongly at his gang affiliations, violence and drug-dealing; know that he was currently serving a 10-day suspension from school?

And obama has to step in & stir the pot, way before the facts are in from both sides? Interjecting himself in a law-enforcement issue when no one yet knows all the facts.  (Like the Henry Gates/Cambridge cops incident).

It is irresponsibl and undignified.  Obama's reckless action does nothing except to inflame already volatile emotions, make angry people even madder and make the job of law-enforcement more difficult.

This is not leadership, people, it is failure and race-baiting.  Disgusting coming from the office of the President of the United States.

Author Janelle Harris, likewise, assumes facts not in evidence.

March 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Kathryn Marie Precious: "And yes I do believe that this is becoming a black vs white thing. When it should not be"

Thanks to race-baiters like Al Sharpton & the President who only make a bad situation worse.  Shameful.

nonmember avatar
Nonmember comment from Frank
March 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM
What a bunch of crap! Martin was a thug attempting to commit murder. His death was justified and should be applauded.
Facebook comment from Judith K Littles
March 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM

George Zimmerman killed a young unarmed boy it is a shame that it seems he will not have to answer for that.

Facebook comment from Judith K Littles
March 28, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Some of these comments are so filled with hate. It is interesting how people, who are confident that they will never be the victim of hate crimes are so comfortable with the death of a child. Also, the majority of the pictures being referenced here have been proven not to be Trayvon Martin. Which is besides the point. When did PICTURES justify shooting an unarmed child in the street. It feels like we are still in the 1950's south and people are glad to see another child killed by fear and prejudice.SAD SAD SAD 


Facebook comment from Jamie Lieb
March 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM

This entire story makes my blood boil I cannot believe that its 2012 and we still have to deal with this crap. WE ALL BLEED RED. WE ARE ALL THE SAME.. You are NO better than anyone else. ESPECIALLY not because of your TAN.. GET OVER YOURSELVES PEOPLE!!

 My deepest condolences go out to Trayvons family. May he rest forever in the fields of heaven

nonmember avatar
Nonmember comment from Becky
March 30, 2012 at 4:37 PM
I think Zimmerman shot him and then wackes his nose. The video from the police station doesn't look like he had any injuries. I think Trayvon turned on him but did not touch him and he shot him before he had a chance to do anything to him. In the process claimed that Trayvon hit him. If he was as hurt as his brother claimed he should have gone to the Er instead of waiting til the next day. I feel for his family. It doesn't take although to roll around on the grass and get ur clothes wet, but the video doesn't show no blood or grass stains on his clothes. I think he should pay with his life the lead detective wanted to charge him. If there r charges and he does go to jail he will be in protective custody if not he want live long in general pop. My fear is there will be no charges and he will be free to this again to someones else's child and claim self defense again.
nonmember avatar
Nonmember comment from Julie
March 30, 2012 at 5:49 PM
First of all it should not matter what happened before the killing the point is now that there is a man who has murdered another person and still walking around free. People see this and thinks it is ok for them to do so. So does that mean if i suspect wrong of people i can just assume what i want and shoot whoever i want in the back. Lie about it and say that it was self defense. And then have my family who had nothing to do with nething at the time stand up for me so i dont go to jail. If you really think about it... Im voicing my opinion now if the situation was vise versa and zimmerman was the one who got shot do you think that trayvon would still be out walking around on the streets even with the same lies and his family backing him up? NO... He'd be in a juvenile center. If he'd even be lucky enough to walk away from all the crooked cops, pigs, whatever you all refer them as without getting shot. Believe me this is going to go on for awhile not to mention there will be big consequences to face. Karma!!!
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