Over the past week or so since the tragic shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by Geoge Zimmerman, there has been a lot of development in the story. Not so much in terms of details of the events that led up to that shooting, but rather in the wild speculation, reaction, and political pontification by liberals and conservatives who are seeking to use this tragedy as a means to further their own agendas.
The liberals were the first ones to flock to Sanford, FL, and to their credit, we probably wouldn't even be talking about this shooting right now if it wasn't for their initial efforts to bring national attention to the circumstances surrounding Trayvon's death. This likely would have gone down as yet another senseless killing, the kind that happen far too often all over the country and never make the news. However, that's about where the "nobility" from the liberal mainstream ends when it comes to Trayvon. Because, ever since his shooting death became national news, it has been used as tool by the left to advance their own agenda regarding gun laws and, in particular, the "stand your ground" law in FL that allows an individual to use deadly force to defend themselves, rather than being obligated to try and escape the situation by any reasonable means available first. There has also been the racially-charged rhetoric, calling the shooting a "hate crime" and portraying Zimmerman as a violent and unstable racist. There may be some truth to these claims, after all, Zimmerman has a well-documented history of calling the police to report "suspicious" persons in his neighborhood, all of whom happened to be black, and there is also the fact that Zimmerman referred to Martin as a "fucking coon" before following him, against the direction of the 911 dispatcher, while carrying a gun - something neighborhood watch members also aren't advised to do. Regardless, putting Zimmerman in the same company as skinheads and Klu Klux Klan members is at best a bit of a stretch and at worst it's a deliberate mischaracterization done simply to further a political agenda.
However, in the last few days the conservatives have decided to start weighing in on the events that took place that fateful night in Sanford and kicked this hullabaloo into a full-blown circus. While the liberals have been using the shooting to renew their fight for gun control, the conservatives have predictably taken the other side, defending the need for even further loosening of gun regulations. Unfortunately, the conservative strategy to push their agenda involves attacking the character and reputation of a dead 17-year old who was murdered for wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea in the wrong neighborhood.
There has been a recent report that Zimmerman was on the ground, being beaten bloody by Martin before he fatally shot him. This is being held up as the justification for Zimmerman's use of deadly force. Well, if Zimmerman had stayed in his vehicle - as he was instructed to do by the 911 dispatcher, had Zimmerman not followed, approached and engaged Martin - also as the 911 dispatcher instructed - he wouldn't have ever found himself in a situation where he was allegedly attacked and beaten by Martin, a boy 11 years younger and about half his size. Had Zimmerman simply "neighborhood watched" instead of trying to be a one-man vigilante justice force, he never would have ended up in this alleged altercation and Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.
Then there's the big deal that conservatives are making about the fact that Zimmerman is "not white" or "only half-white" or "he's half-latino", as if that makes any difference at all. It doesn't make Martin's shooting death not racially motivated just because the guy who shot him isn't a full caucasian. Yes, I know that was a lot of double-negatives, but the bottom line is, just because George Zimmerman is "half-white" that doesn't mean he can't be a racist, that he can't racially profile people walking around his neighborhood and that he can't act in a different manner when it comes to addressing black men he sees walking around vs. everyone else. Half-white or not, Zimmerman referred to Martin as a "fucking coon" before ignoring the 911 dispatcher's specific instructions not to follow him and confronting him while armed. Half-white or not, Zimmerman has a documented history of calling 911 dozens of times, and in each instance, the "suspicious" persons he was reporting were all black. Just because we have a black (excuse me, "half-black") president doesn't mean racism has been wiped out in America. In fact, there has been quite a resurgence of racially-charged rhetoric as a direct result of having a black president, but that's a discussion for another day. The bottom line is, there is nothing about Zimmerman's own heritage that would prevent him from carrying an anti-black prejudice.
Lastly, there is the shameful attack on Martin's character, that he was kicked out of school for having an empty bag of pot in his possession, as if that somehow justifies Zimmerman killing him. It's the attempt to portray Martin as "yet another young black criminal" out looking for trouble in a nice, gated community - as Zimmerman immediately pegged him based simply on the fact that he was young, black and wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Never mind the fact that it was only 7 o'clock in the evening, never mind that Martin wasn't looking in cars or house windows or any other behavior that would be considered "suspicious" in terms of potential criminal mischief - he was simply walking down the street, carrying candy and a drink, and talking on his phone to his girlfriend, never mind that it was a cold, wet evening and the purpose of a hooded sweatshirt is you use the hood to protect your head from the cold and rain. Zimmerman profiled Martin from the minute he saw him. He created a narrative, he assigned his own motives to Martins actions and he took it upon himself to act as judge, jury and executioner for a crime Martin not only hadn't even committed, but for which there was no evidence he was even thinking about committing.
"But what about Trayvon Martin beating George Zimmerman on the ground?"
If he would have stayed in his vehicle, as he was instructed to do, there would have been no confrontation to lead to any alleged "beating" in the first place. George Zimmerman is not a police officer, he is not required to personally confront "suspicious" people.
The motto of neighborhood watch is "If I don't call the police, my neighbor will"
It's not "If I see you looking suspicious, I'll confront you with a gun."
And, it needs to be stressed, Trayvon Martin wasn't doing anything "suspicious" to justify Zimmerman's personal interest in his activity. He was walking back to the house that his father was at, he was carrying Skittles and a can of tea and he was talking on the phone. He wasn't casing houses, he wasn't looking in cars, he wasn't intoxicated, loud, or acting erratically. He was just walking to his destination, at 7 o'clock in the evening.
The thing that is so disgusting about the politicization of the Trayvon Martin shooting is that justice for Trayvon's family is little more than a slogan for the left, who are really just concerned with advancing their gun control agenda and trying to repeal the "stand your ground" law. And, on the conservative side, their need to defend that law and advance their own gun-proliferation agenda is more important than the facts, it's more important than justice and it's more important than the life of a 17-year old boy who was killed for no other reason than because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Somewhere, in the middle of the liberals screaming for gun control and even more pointless dialog about racism that only serves to make guys like Al Sharpton relevant again and the conservative demonization of hoodies and the people who wear them and their obvious use of racially-tinged fear tactics to drum up sympathy for a guy who - let's face it - is just an ignorant bigot with a vigilante complex, in order to defend the right of people to run around armed and carry out street justice on anyone who is unlucky enough to fit the profile of a potential troublemaker is a dead, 17-year old boy who's biggest offense seems to be that he didn't know his "place" when he decided to walk to the store in that gated community while Captain Zimmerman was on patrol.
It doesn't matter what he was wearing, he was a 17-year old, unarmed boy doing nothing wrong.
It doesn't matter what color he is, he was a 17-year old, unarmed boy, doing nothing wrong.
It doesn't matter if he got into an altercation with Zimmerman, Zimmerman had no right to confront him and create that situation in the first place, because Martin was a 17-year old, unarmed boy, doing nothing wrong and Zimmerman was an armed, 28-year old man, who was sitting safely in his SUV before he made the choice to get out of his vehicle, against the instructions of the 911 dispatcher, and approach and confront Martin, for doing nothing wrong.
If you were walking home at 7 o'clock in the evening and a strange man approached you in a confrontational manner, how would you react? What if that man tried to grab and detain you until police arrive because, according to his own words, "fucking coons" like you "always get away"? How would you know this man wasn't trying to rob or assault you? How would you know this man, armed with a gun, wasn't going to rob you and then kill you afterwards? How would you react if you were approached and grabbed by an armed man?
I would fight as if my life depended on it.
So, fuck all the political bullshit, because that's all it is. When you dig past the cheap opportunism and scumbag politicization on both sides, what you're left with is a 17-year old boy who was simply walking to the house of a family friend with candy and a drink while talking on the phone, who was confronted by a strange, armed man for seemingly no good reason whatsoever and who reacted the way most of us would react if a strange, armed man confronted us - and he was shot to death for it. If you think Trayvon Martin deserved what he got, then you are a fucking idiot.