Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Trayvon Martin Case

First, and most importantly, it's critical to be respectful of the family.  It has to be devastating to lose a loved one so young, no matter what the circumstances.  To have the shock of the death followed by criticism of that child seems especially cruel.

 

However, few violent deaths happen in a vacuum.  Mr. Martin's death is no exception.

 

Was the shooting a deliberate targeting of a Black youth?  At this point, that is unknown.  The initial reports of racial slurs being recorded seem to be in error - enhancements support the belief that the words used were "f---ing punk" - not nice, but not a racial comment.

 

Was he just walking home (well, not HOME, but to his father's girlfriend's house, where his father was at the time)?

CORRECTION - his father and girlfriend were out.  When they returned, they thought Trayvon had gone out with the nephew of the girlfriend.

At this point, his actions have been called into question.  He was NOT a model A-B student - he had multiple suspensions, one for carrying multiple pieces of gold women's jewelry and what has been called "burglar's tools".  That characterization comes not from police, but the school that he attended.  He was serving a 10-day suspension, which does NOT happen for simple truancy and tardiness.

 

Should he have been wearing a hoodie?  Certainly, he had a legal right to do so, but - and here Geraldo has a point - it is a type of clothing associated with thugs and petty criminals.  I do have to wonder at its use that day in February - the 26th.  By FL standards, it was cool (64-74 throughout the day), and there was a light precipitation.  So, the use of the hoodie may have seemed reasonable to many.

 

So, why was Trayvon shot?  Again, not known.  The initial investigation resulted in George Zimmerman not being held in police custody, a fact that apparently infuriates many people, who think he should be in jail.  The idea that police can't just decide to arrest someone without enough evidence is not well understood (I can't imagine why not, as Law & Order is one of the most popular television series of all time).

 

The evidence - ballistics, phone calls, eyewitness statements - seems ambiguous.  The family is convinced that the screams are Trayvon's. Others have identified them as Zimmerman's.  Trayvon's girlfriend is NOT an eyewitness, although her cell records back up her statement that she was talking to Trayvon at the time of the shooting.

 

I'm not real clear about how she heard the altercation, but didn't get concerned enough to call him back - or his family.  I can't wait to hear what she has to say (she will be testifying).

 

This link seems to paint a picture of Trayvon as a thug - who had already engaged in violent acts.

 

George Zimmerman's past has been brought up as well.  He has been described by the media as "a White Hispanic".  In fact, his father is White, his mother is Peruvian.  His appearance is that of a Latino of Indian descent.

 

Much has been made of Zimmerman's background - I've heard vague references to past incidents of violence, but nothing specific.  Even though he may have had brushes with the law, they were not major enough to prevent him from carrying a gun legally.

 

I suspect that this will be one of those much-abused cases that lead people to hijack the actual facts for their own agenda.

 

It's a shame.  Both men deserve better.  They deserve a system that looks for the facts, and judges fairly.

 

Not likely to happen.

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