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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PonyC... PonyChaser

Oh, for the love of... I NEVER SAID THAT RACE DIDN'T PLAY A PART. I said that it wasn't the ONLY issue, and that Zimmerman's entire attitude - that of vigilante - should be focused on, not just the racial aspect of it.


I've listened to the 911 tape - the part in question. It is here. It sounds like Zimmerman says "f*ing punks", not "coons". Regardless, Zimmerman was completely wrong. He should be rotting in jail. Period.


Does that make Zimmerman not racist? No. Does that mean that he didn't follow this kid because he was black? NO. But is it possible that he followed Trayvon regardless of his race? YES. I am not going to apologize for thinking that Zimmerman is completely guilty and would have run down ANYONE who crossed his path.

lisas... lisasuel1

I sort of agree with Ponychaser, and here is why: As long as people keep this flowing as a "race war", and I mean BOTH sides of the battle, then we lose sight of fighting for an innocent kid.  Trayvon's name and skin color will be all that is remembered by the public a year from now.  I think we need to remember that whether it was racial profiling or not, this was a kid, someone's child, a GOOD kid who did nothing wrong and who never got to give the skittles to his little brother.  Also, Zimmerman should have been arrested from the beginning.  The "STAND your ground" law should never be applied to PURSUING the victim.  Zimmerman needs to be arrested NOW and prosecuted with capital murder and hate crimes.

Shirley Jones Pasamanick

  I am a 56 year old white woman, this is so wrong, a hot head can shoot someone a get away with it, WRONG.   I will say this blacks are not the only ones telling there kids where to walk and not walk, you would never catch me walking in an area where mostly blacks live, this is out of fear, nor will I walk in a area mostly hispanic.   this man was as wrong as any blacks doing drive-bys where children end up dead, or a white guy going on attack because the person is not of his race.  This country has gone to shit..  Any one who yeilds a gun  and shoots for any other reason than self-defence or the defence of another should be charged...  THE END

nonmember avatar Kt

The law is a ridiculously thin shroud to hide behind...Zimmerman should have been arrested and charged with murder. This PD should be investigated. I fear our society is going backwards even for all the talk about equality- I absolutely hate that I have to be afraid of my youngest growing up and being profiled while my oldest son doesn't have to be told : don't wear hoodies, don't walk anywhere at night alone, As it is- if my youngest leaves my side at stores he gets stopped and asked if he needs help finding his mom..while I'm 3 steps away from him. He hadnt even touched a thing- We aren't passed color barriers in America- even in 2012 }:-(

nonmember avatar Jessica

Why, why, WHY does this have to include anything about race? Black people need to QUIT playing the race card. If a black man is speeding then gets arrested because there were drugs in the car, he was arrested for breaking the law. Not because he was black and being racially profiled. There will ALWAYS be walls and racial barriers until people of all races can QUIT playing the race card.

nonmember avatar HS

Ponychaser, the biggest issue of race here is the fact that this white man is not in prison. Had George Zimmerman been a black man, he would have been arrested immediately and would have already been in prison. The fact this murderer is still free is the biggest racial injustice done here.

On another note, if he did in fact say "f*cking c**ns" on the 911 calln then yes, it really was a racially motivated hate crime.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Thank you, LisaSue, for that. And for helping to make my point when I so obviously failed. You said what I was trying to say, in a much better way.

Justa... Justamom283

Jenelle I'm glad you asked this question in your post. No the law should not apply when you are following someone who is not interacting with you at all.

And Ponychaser your question of why didn't Trayvon run is one that has gotten asked over again by many people who don't understand always living under an umbrella of suspension. I hadn't heard that he fled from George. This is the predicament that many young black men find themselves in. The sensible thing you'd think to do is to run when you think someone is following you. But if he had run and still been shot dead there would be people questioning "Why was he running if he was doing nothing wrong?" Trayvon was truly in a no win situation. George Zimmerman was looking for a confrontation and as it appears now Trayvon gave him no reason to have one not even running from the scene.

Kritika Kritika

@ PonyChaser I'd be afraid, but I wouldn't take off running, especially if I had no reason to fear anyone (vs if I owed money to a drug dealer or was involved in other crimes). I just don't think taking off running is the normal reaction for every day people even if you do suspect someone is following you unless you see a weapon, etc. Maybe it's naive, but he was a kid what do you expect.


 

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