Brief Thoughts on Trayvon Martin


July 18, 2013

No one should be surprised that George Zimmerman was found “Not Guilty” of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman followed Martin, was recorded by his own 911 call saying “fucking punks” referring to the 17 year old boy, said that Martin looked like he was “up to no good”, and stated in the same conversation that “these assholes, they always get away”. Zimmerman disregarded the dispatcher that said that it was unnecessary to follow Martin and confronted, but that was not enough to convict him. He shot him in the chest, but that is not enough for a conviction either. Martin was found unarmed with nothing but a package of Skittles on his person, but that is not enough for a conviction. Zimmerman will not be imprisoned for murder and no one should be surprised.

There are quite a few technical reasons why Zimmerman should have been acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The fact that there was a scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin gives credence to the self defense argument, and Zimmerman did accrue a few wounds to the back of his head from the alleged fight. He could have been fearful for his life after having his head banged against the pavement by the teenager and overreacted. None of Zimmerman’s blood or DNA was found in Trayvon Martin’s clothes, on his body, or under his fingernails, and none of Trayvon Martin’s DNA was found on the gun, but Zimmerman was probably terrified. Martin was shot at close range in the chest by Zimmerman’s gun under these circumstances, but no one should be surprised that he has been acquitted. Then, Florida law is written in a way that could only convict a sociopath killer.

Murder Section 782.04

The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life ….

So, the prosecutors also made a mistake by attempting to convict Zimmerman on second degree murder instead of the more appropriate charge ‘manslaughter’.

Manslaughter Section 782.07(1)
The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter, a felony of the second degree ….

However, regardless of all the valid reasons that led to the discharge of George Zimmerman from a Florida prison, everyone should have expected that he be released from confinement unscathed. In my lifetime, I have yet to see a Black man who was injured by a White man be jailed because of his crime. Last year, a Bellaire, Texas resident was shot in his own driveway by a White policeman because he looked suspicious, and the officer was found ‘not guilty’. He nearly died because of the gunshot wound and it cost him a professional baseball career. In just the past five years, the news has covered an elderly White man who shot a Black robber in the back while he was fleeing from his neighbor’s house. The elderly man was not charged with a crime even though he called 911 to report the break in and they explained to him that shooting that man was punishable by law. He was advised him not to leave his house, but barked at the robber who fled anyway. The man shot the robber and the entire conversation and shooting was recorded through his call to the police. In the past ten years, newspapers reported a man walking home from the store, being stopped by the police department, and being shot 22 times when he tried to pick up his wallet. They claimed that they thought it was a gun, and no one was convicted of a crime. Rodney King took a beating so severe from the police in 1991 that he almost died from the wounds. It was videotaped by an amateur cameraman, but every cop was found innocent of police brutality. 50 years ago, Black people were being lynched in the streets by Klansmen and many of those men were never charged. Acquittals for White men who maim, injure, or kill Black men is not a new occurrence, and you should not be surprised by it.

This guy being found innocent was a foregone conclusion.

What should surprise you is the ignorance that was shown by some of the members of the Black community once the verdict was announced. People began to riot and break into the homes and the stores of people in their own communities. Because this small selection of people were enraged by an unfair, but easily-predicted outcome, lives have been torn asunder. White people and even Latinos are being attacked in the streets behind this verdict, and that is unreasonable. People have made a martyr of Trayvon Martin because of his tragic death, but he is not a martyr. His parents should be consoled for their loss because no person should have to bury their children, but people lose their kids everyday to violence. And, though this crime has an apparent racial tone, most of these types of deaths do not. The truth is that Trayvon Martin is a kid that fell victim to the stereotypical ignorance and maliciousness of one man, George Zimmerman. And, no should be surprised that he was found not guilty because most White males are acquitted of their crimes against Black men. But, no one should allow the poor decision of a 12 person jury to propagate the same type of ignorance that Zimmerman showed Trayvon in the streets of the inner city. Ignorant acts reinforce stereotypes, and stereotypes kill. Ask Trayvon Martin.


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