Trayvon Martin Case: Something is Very Wrong

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford
Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

I keep thinking that there is one point the Sanford, Florida police department apparently has not fully considered: that if George Zimmerman had not followed Trayvon Martin, and had not exited his vehicle to approach the young man, Trayvon would be alive today.

It still feels like Trayvon was standing his ground. He was being followed by, and then approached by someone he did not know, who had a gun. It is reasonable to believe that the young man, frightened, defended himself against what he thought was a sure and present danger.

How come that possibility has seemingly not been advanced by the police department? In all the press conferences I have seen, not once have I seen the police say that they are considering that possibility as well.

What we have, why this case has brought out so much rage, is another example of what appears to be the willingness on the part of law enforcement to  devalue the life of a young African-American– again. Florida and indeed many states have a long history of injustice when it has come to incidents involving whites and blacks, with white people being given the benefit of the doubt and being let free. Black people have historically been discarded, devalued, as it were, and there is a sense of rage based on a history of injustice.

Isabel Wilkerson, author of the book The Warmth of Other Suns, wrote an excellent piece for CNN yesterday, describing the historical wrongs done as concerns whites and blacks as concerns crime committed and justice served or not served. That injustice, or the fear of injustice, prompted many African-Americans to  leave the South, to migrate to the North and to the Midwest, in search of  jobs, surely, but also in search for a place where they might get more justice.

That has not necessarily been the case, and everyone who is an African-American knows it. The fact that George Zimmerman has not been arrested, and the apparent fact that the possibility that Trayvon Martin could very well have been standing his ground, promotes anger that comes from an historical reality. It is not at all surprising that details about Trayvon’s apparent multiple suspensions from school, and about how traces of marijuana were found in his book bag. There has to be a reason for what Zimmerman did and how he did it; how better to do that than to create an image of a troubled, violence-prone teen?

But in spite of whatever details about Trayvon are released, it still doesn’t assuage the anger of people who are wondering why – again – it feels like a white man will get away with killing an African-American. The details about Trayvon do not erase the apparent fact that the young man was apparently approached by Zimmerman, in spite of the fact that he had been told not to do that. The details do not justify Zimmerman getting out of his car and apparently approaching Trayvon.

Something is wrong here, and lots of people know it.

A candid observation…

What If Trayvon Martin Was Standing HIS Ground?

The Sanford, Florida Police Department has said that it cannot arrest George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because they cannot find probable cause. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and because he had a cut on the back of his head and appeared to have been roughed up, they are claiming that self-defense cannot be ruled out.

But what if it was Trayvon Martin who was standing HIS ground?

Consider the circumstances, as described by news reports. The young Martin is walking home, hood on his head, minding his business. He is spotted by Zimmerman, who calls 911 and says Martin looks “suspicious.” He starts following Martin in his car, although police tell him he doesn’t need to do that. The 911 tapes reveal that Zimmerman agrees to meet police at the front gate.

But Zimmerman continues to follow young Trayvon. I am sure that the youth knew he was being followed and became nervous. Then, for some reason, Zimmerman gets out of his car. The news reports do not say that Trayvon’s body was found next to Zimmerman’s car, which would have shown that Trayvon approached Zimmerman. Rather, Trayvon’s body was found on the grass not far from his stepfather’s home in the gated community.

That says to me that Zimmerman got out of his car and approached Trayvon. Wouldn’t that mean that Trayvon felt threatened, and fought with Zimmerman, probably frightened as well as angry? Doesn’t the place where Trayvon’s body was found tell a story of his having been approached, suddenly, by this unknown man who had been following him in his car?

How come the Sanford police are not considering this scenario, which, the more I think about it, is much more likely what happened. Perhaps Trayvon yelled out to Zimmerman while he was in his car, asking him why he was following him…but the way the incident has been described still indicate that Trayvon was approached and assaulted by Zimmerman, not the other way around.

The chief of the Sanford Police Department is frustrated that this case is generating so much attention. I am not surprised; it would have been much easier to just let this case shake out the way Zimmerman has said, with another African-American young male the sacrificial lamb, “one more again.”

This is racism at its ugliest. It is the type of incident that shakes the very souls of African-Americans in this country, who have made strides not because of this country, but in spite of it.

It is a moral outrage, and an insult, and a slap in the face that Zimmerman has not been arrested, and that nobody is certain that he will be. Larger, this case speaks volumes for the raging infection called racism that is eating away at America’s very core.

A candid observation …

 

No Justice, Not Yet

Authorities are saying that the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was self-defense.

But few people are buying that explanation. This unarmed, African-American youth was walking home to his father’s house in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, when he was shot by a neighborhood watch captain, a man by the name of George Zimmerman.

To many onlookers, this case looks like another sidestepping of justice for an African-American.

Zimmerman was said to be white, but reports today say that he is Hispanic. Regardless, the case has enraged the African-American community, because Zimmerman has yet to be arrested. Police in Sanford say there is no probable cause, and the 911 tapes, which might help Martin’s anguished parents hear for themselves what happened, have not been released.

Today, a televangelist, Rev. Jamal Bryant, a preacher from Baltimore, Maryland, declared that people are going to “shut Florida down until justice” is done.

And I would suspect that Bryant’s expressed rage is just the tip of the iceberg. Black leaders in Florida are vowing to bring at least 1000 people to a City Council meeting in Sanford at the end of the month unless charges are filed against Martin’s alleged attacker.

The history in this country when it comes to African-Americans has been paltry at best; there always seems to be a reason for some unprovoked violence on a young man, and far too often, law enforcement officers and others who have murdered African-Americans have gotten off scott free.

Young Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot; as previously mentioned, he was unarmed. He was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. But for some reason, he appeared to be “suspicious” to Zimmerman. The gated community has signs up that “suspicious” persons will be reported to the police. Zimmerman apparently called police, but also apparently approached Martin. What happened next is unclear. The 911 tapes have not been released. But the aftermath of whatever happened is that young Martin was dead, shot once in the chest, allegedly by Zimmerman.

I am not an attorney, but it seems that if this was a case of self-defense, Martin would have had to have approached Zimmerman in a threatening way. Reports say that Martin was about 100 pounds lighter than Zimmerman. He was not armed. And…he had no reason to approach Zimmerman.

It seems far more likely that Zimmerman approached Martin and said something to him. Whatever was said, and however it was said, might have provoked an argument between the two…but then, what?

What is so disturbing about this case is that it is NOT unusual. African-American youths can look “threatening” or “suspicious” just by wearing a hoodie, where a white kid wearing the same hoodie might be ignored. A black kid wearing a hoodie in a gated community should not have in and of itself, however, made him a suspicious person. Yet it did, and far too often, black kids get pestered and even harassed because of the way they look.

The case reminds me of Amadou Diallo. In 1999, this young man from Guinea, West Africa, was shot 41 times and killed by four white officers who thought he was armed when he reached into a pocket. It turns out he was not; he only had a wallet in his pocket. He had been stopped by police because he resembled some other person, African-American, who was a serial rapist.

There it is again: he “looked” suspicious.

In the eyes of we on the outside, it feels like injustice is happening yet again in a case involving a young African-American male. Rev. Bryant’s response, when he heard the police say that there was not “probable cause” to arrest Zimmerman, was “you’ve arrested a lot of black men without probable cause.”

So true.

So, now the family, already aching because this young man, their son, has been senselessly shot and killed, is aching even more because it feels like they will have to fight for justice. Zimmerman walks free because there is no “probable cause.”

It doesn’t feel right.

A candid observation.

Wikipedia: The… is the debut extended play by South Korean boyband JYJ, a group formed of three of the five members of TVXQ. It was released in Japanese language under Rhythm Zone, the band’s former Japanese label as a part of TVXQ. The release was commercially successful, reaching number one on Oricon’s weekly albums chart.