Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The shooting of Trayvon Martin, justified or not?

The shooting of the Florida teen, Trayvon Martin has dominated the press and stirred vigils all over the country.  Is it a tragedy this young teen is now dead?  You bet it is.  Anytime a young person loses their life it is a tragedy.  I always think if they could have just made it past that time in their life what could they have done.  The shooting of Martin has stirred much emotion.  It has brought the issue of race back to the forefront.  Was this a hate crime? Was it justified?  Where do you stand?

I think the entire case has been slanted since the beginning.  The initial photos of Martin and his shooter George Zimmerman is where the slant begun.  Martin’s photos made him look like he was about 12 and probably unable to grow more than peach fuzz on his baby face.  Zimmerman’s were much less flattering.  His showed a heavyset, unshaved man in a county jail orange jumpsuit.  I don’t care if you are Brad Pitt, the orange jumpsuit is not going to give you a fair shake in a photo.  There have been more recent photos showing Zimmerman, clean shaven and in a suit looking like an everyday businessman.  Then the new photos of Martin look like a ghetto street thug.  So which one is more accurate?  Probably somewhere in the middle – for both of them.

tm Zimmerman, the leader of the neighborhood watch.  It appears that he was a habitual 911 caller.  As a former police officer, I know the type.  We called them scanner babies.  They would scour every transmission that came over the radio.  They would show up near crime scenes.  They were always willing to help, when in actuality they were a pain in the rear.  That is how I picture Zimmerman.  The neighborhood watch leader who took his job real serious. 

Martin, a young black teen, probably not unlike many teens his age from just about anywhere.  I don’t think he was an altar boy that he was being portrayed as.  I am not saying he was a bad kid.  But I doubt he was ready for sainthood or to be made into a martyr.  Tell me a 17 year old boy that is.  He was recently suspended for having marijuana residue in his backpack.  He was also suspended for writing obscene graffiti in the school and was under investigation for having women’s jewelry in his backpack.  Now none of these are capital punishment crimes.  But I think it does show that images (7)Trayvon may not have been just fun loving innocent young boy.

The Shooting:  What went down that night?  We may never truly know the answer to that.  There is Zimmerman’s side, the police side, Martin’s side (which we will never know ) and what the side which most directly resembles what really happened.  There are stories that martin just went for some skittles and tea, Zimmermann starts following him, a fight ensues and Martin gets shot.  No fault of his.  Then Zimmerman’s version resembles some of the story.  His also has the part where he gets punched in the face and Martin commences to bouncing his head off of the asphalt.  The endings are the same.

Florida has what is known as the Stand your Ground Law.  Basically if you are getting your ass kicked and you think it could go real bad for you, you have the right to defend yourself – with lethal force.  The law makes this case very interesting.  How so?  Was Zimmerman within his rights to defend himself, by law it looks like it.  That I know will be open for debate for some time to come.  Now, did Zimmerman have any business following Martin?  He wasn’t breaking the law and he was a self appointed caped crusader.  Honestly though why the hell did he feel the need to follow him, I don’t know.  images (5)But then again I never understood the fascination of the scanner babies either.

I think this self appointed keeper of the neighborhood got into too deep, got his ass kicked and reacted by shooting this kid.  I think he did quit following Martin and then Martin circled back around and acted like many other 17 year old, testosterone filled young men would.  He was going to be tough and he brought fists to a gunfight.  Is it a tragedy? Yes.  Are either one of them innocent? No.  Are they both to blame for the actions? Yes.  Is Zimmerman covered by the law, yes.

I think the bottom line is that this being blown into a racial killing when it is not.  There is more black on black crime, white on white crime or race on race crime that occurs everyday.  You can pick up the St. Louis paper each day and see many shootings that involve innocent participants.  You have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson there to exploit everyone they can.  I am not sure why our President felt it necessary to interject himself into this either.  I do not see him talking about each shooting victim that goes down or even the individual serviceman that is killed in combat.  The only reason I can see is that it is election year and he may just be vying for some votes.  I am not sure why Trayvon’s mother felt it necessary to trademark his name for future royalties.  I find that a little disturbing.  The fact the Black Panther Party has put a bounty on Zimmerman.  That is a great for race relations.  Racial Extremists on either side of the color barrier are idiots.   The entire situation is bad.  Where do you stand?

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