This seems to be getting so much air time these days and the folks on one side of the issue are using it as an excuse to make all kinds of demands. Let me say up front that what happened to this young man was a tragedy. If the facts as we know them stand, George Zimmerman should go to jail for a very, very long time. Will he or won’t he? Hard to say. I believe that in the end, justice will prevail in this case. I guess the real question is whether justice would have prevailed if people hadn’t screamed loud enough to basically force outside looks into how the Sanford PD was handling this case. With all that said, I offer my thoughts on what happened, hoodies, the resulting “movement”, and the Stand Your Ground law…
First what happened. I don’t see how anyone can defend George Zimmerman given the facts we have been presented thus far. Now, I have heard other things claimed, namely that there are witnesses that say that Trayvon was seen on top of Zimmerman swinging away. I have also heard that while Zimmerman was following him, Trayvon was in fact the one that turned and began the confrontation. But let’s be clear, these are nothing more than other things being claimed in the news cycles. I have seen nothing thus far that backs up these claims. As such, I must dismiss them as nothing more than rumors or chaff thrown out to deflect criticism. If these things end up entering into the arena as actual facts, perhaps we may have to revisit what I think of this case. But until then, we should focus on judging what we know the facts to be as I write this when forming an opinion.
The facts as I understand them are the following:
- Zimmerman was a self-appointed neighborhood watch person. He was not authorized to carry a gun while doing so, but did have a legally registered handgun
- Zimmerman made roughly (I have heard several different numbers) between 46 and 49 calls to 911 over the past 15 months. Of these, nine (not all as claimed by many) involved “a suspicious person”, each time the person in question was black.
- In this incident, Zimmerman was told by police dispatch that they did not need him following the person. They agreed to meet him at the mailboxes, which he then chose not to do and instead chose to follow Martin.
- There was an altercation of some sort. Shouting was heard along with two gunshots. Martin was shot by Zimmerman and tragically died.
- Martin was not armed, was not engaging in any sort of criminal behavior, was on his way to the home where he was staying in the complex.
There are also two other things that I believe to be true in this case, but cannot claim as fact: First, Zimmerman is a racist. Over the last year he has operated under the premise that black men were the suspicious ones. He went door to door in the neighborhood telling people to be on the lookout for suspicious young black men. All nine calls made regarding suspicious persons was a black male. I don’t hear the racial epithet as clearly as some claim to on the 911 call, but I don’t doubt that it is what people think it is. I believe that Zimmerman is a racist. I could be wrong… but that is what I believe.
Second, from the accounts I have heard thus far, it appears to me that Zimmerman was a cop wanna-be. He was interjecting himself into things that he didn’t need to be (being the neighborhood cop). He was going to school for law enforcement. He clearly stated in the past that he wanted to be a police officer (despite assaulting one previously). He actually felt “on par” with the police as he chose to ignore their requests in this situation and handle the matter as he saw fit. That reeks of feeling that your authority is equal to or above theirs. All of this adds up to someone who appears to want the power of being a police officer without having the training or authority. Again, just my opinion, but I think a fairly easy conclusion to come to.
It is my belief that Zimmerman should be charged with murder, although I am not sure that it would warrant 1st degree murder (I don’t think he planned it). My guess as to what happened is that Zimmerman confronted Martin, possibly was retreating, but possibly not (no idea what is true in this part of the story). Martin and he fought, and Zimmerman panicked and pulled the trigger. It appears to me that Zimmerman was in the wrong. That all being said, I believe that we should wait to hear what the Grand Jury finds. Perhaps there are facts we don’t have yet. But given the facts we believe that we have, Zimmerman should go to jail for a long time. While some refuse to acknowledge that there are varying reports of how things went down, there is this report, claiming that there is an eyewitness who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman beating him prior to the shooting. That isn’t to say Zimmerman is exonerated, only that there is still more evidence to come. And before we send Zimmerman to the big house, I think we should let them sort through what is fact and what is conjecture. Hell, as awful as Sandusky was in what he did, I didn’t hear anyone screaming for him to be convicted without due process….
One thing that should be noted: of the two people who are involved in this case, only one of them has a history that would suggest criminal or irrational behavior. That would be Zimmerman. He has had several brushes with the law, including assault on an officer, reported domestic violence (which resulted in restraining order request), etc. Trayvon Martin, to the best of my knowledge has no criminal activity on his record. While I never believe the “saint” portrayal of every victim in a case like this (every single one of them was a great person, who fed the poor, got straight A’s, never, ever got in a fight, and kissed small babies), there is nothing besides a recent 5 day school suspension to indicate that Trayvon Martin was someone who was a bad kid. And I read somewhere the suspension was due to truancy, not any sort of violence, although I cannot confirm that.
As to the hoodie. There is no crime in wearing a hoodie. Further, it is not fair that anyone would suggest that it is acceptable to believe that someone wearing a hoodie with the hood up should be considered suspicious. However, I do agree with Geraldo Rivera’s sentiment that we have to protect our children by making them understand that, whether right or wrong, the hoodie does, in fact, cause some people to assume ill will. Is it right? No. Does that matter? No. We have to deal with the reality of the world, regardless of the fact that the world shouldn’t be that way. One thing that the black community must begin to accept though, is that the popular culture that they refuse to denounce is a large factor in the perception of their youth. Gangsta rap videos showing young black men in hoodies and pants below the nut-line isn’t helping to paint a positive image of young men in hoodies. It sucks, just like it sucked for the “greasers” in the 1950’s, but it is the reality that we have to deal with.
The Stand Your Ground” Law is a fair and just law. I do not believe for a second that it results in a slew of new murders that prove it is a bad law. The number of “justifiable homicides” in Florida tripled from the law’s inception forward, from 32 to 91. However, overall crime has continued to decrease since the law was enacted. And how many of those cases would have resulted in the victims death instead of the attacker? For those who really stop to think about it, would you want the law some other way? Should a potential victim be forced to run in the face of assault if standing your ground is the smarter move? Just as important, if you are attacked, believe your life in danger, and kill your assailant, should you be forced to spend time in jail, go through the experience of losing your job, spend tons of money on legal expenses, all so that two years later, it can be found that you really were just protecting yourself?
It seems to me that the law DOES NOT make proving self defense any easier. It does not make taking someone’s life any more appealing. It does not do anything other than allow the facts to be investigated BEFORE someone’s life is ruined simply because they were the victim of a potential crime. And most important, it does not apply to this case as I understand the facts of this case. That the Sanford PD has failed utterly in doing their job is not some sort of statement on the law, in ANY WAY AT ALL. That is like saying, well, that because the founders flubbed up the enactment of freedom and liberty, that the idea of freedom and liberty is flawed. Perhaps I am starting to understand a few connections to the premise of the arguments on a certain side of the aisle….. but I digress.
Now on to the hoopla around the case. Some of it is very warranted. Thank goodness someone raised a stink about this because it sure as hell looked like the inept (or corrupt, you decide) Sanford PD was willing to use an improper application of the Stand Your Ground law to allow a man to go free after killing an innocent boy. Therefore, the initial flags that went up were not only warranted, but necessary to somehow get the path to justice started. I do disagree with T-Ray’s statement that it is a local issue that should be handled locally. It stopped being a local issue when the local PD decided to not do their job. Their gross mishandling of a large percentage of this case called for outside intervention. Hopefully when this is all said and done, the Sanford PD will be purged of any inept or corrupt members. Until then, I would advocate the state formally keeping a close eye on how they do business.
As to the amplification of the madness around this case after it has become clear that a deeper investigation is underway, it is as much a travesty as the case itself. When will the race-baiters like Sharpton and Jackson ever stop? They won’t, it is the only way they can remain relevant (much like the NAACP, which should be ignored 99.9% of the time going forward). I have grown weary of the claims made against white America in general. More to the point, I am tired of the truth being ignored simply because it is far easier to fire up people with select cherry picked facts. Want an example? How about this one…
In the United States of America, when someone is killed by someone that they do not know (in other words, killed randomly), the statistics may surprise you. According to the Department of Justice (click link to see data), The percentage of stranger homicides where blacks kill whites is 17.7% and the percentage where whites kill blacks is 4.5%. In other words, when the killer is a stranger, blacks kill whites 4 times more often than whites kill blacks. Further, when blacks are killed by a stranger, it is seven times more likely that they were killed by a black stranger than a white stranger. And this despite the fact that blacks make up only 12.4% of the population. Where is the outrage over these statistics? There isn’t any, because there isn’t anything to be gained by a truth like that being common knowledge, at least not if you are an activist trying to get political action….
And that is why I despise the “movements” that rise up in the aftermath of a tragedy such as what happened to Trayvon Martin. It becomes a politicized and anti-white quagmire, where anyone who “stands their ground” will instantly be labeled a racist (as I am sure at least some will accuse me of being simply for offering the statistics above). This last week has seen school walkouts, rallies in nearly every major city, and a universal call for the arrest of Zimmerman. This despite the fact that had the situation been reversed, those same race-baiters would be holding rallies denouncing the arrest of a black man before the Grand Jury analyzed the facts. The double standard and complete omission of data in the both the reporting and the rally cries is sickening.
And as just a quick aside, do you on the left not find it odd that the only time the President ever has anything to say regarding a local law enforcement issue, it is around a case of potential racial injustice against blacks? I wish we would hear from him just as loudly in the other 4 cases out of 5 where the races are reversed. But we don’t, and that is what allows idiots like Glenn Beck to get away with claiming that Obama is a racist. There comes a time when you have to realize your own culpability in the perception others have of you.What I want is a President who doesn’t make statements meant to stoke the racial fires that are already being stoked so sufficiently by idiots like Al Sharpton.
So I am sure there are plenty of you waiting to start shooting over my bow. Let’s go ahead and get started with that…