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Why Trayvon is important PDF Print
Monday, April 02, 2012 11:42 AM

I don’t know about you but the Trayvon Martin case has me riveted. I’ve even allowed myself to watch HLN and actually pay attention to what they are saying.

When the shooting of a 17-year-old African-American boy by a 28-year-old half-Hispanic neighborhood watch guy first came to light, all you saw were pictures of a smiling, baby-faced boy and the mug shot of his shooter. I can call him that because no one is disputing that George Zimmerman shot him, least of all George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is saying it was self-defense. He claims he was attacked by Martin and feared for his life. Martin’s family is saying the youth was just going to the store to gets snacks before watching a game.

Zimmerman was packing a 9mm. Martin had picked up Skittles and iced tea from the convenience store.
That’s where I kind of got stuck. A young man with Skittles and iced tea; an adult man with a gun.

At first glance, with shots of the two side by side, it was easy to make a hasty judgement about what happened that fateful night. The media loves to break things down to good and evil. I know I’m the media but perhaps gentler and kinder than some.

On the left you had the smiling Martin and on the right was a frowning, imposing-looking Zimmerman with the collar of a jailhouse jumpsuit showing. One’s the victim; one’s the aggressor. The photos make it clear who is who.

Or do they?

The photo of Martin was several years old. More recent photos show him as 6 feet tall with several gold teeth and wearing a sleeveless T-shirt. He had also been suspended from school for marijuana residue in his backpack.

The photo of Zimmerman was six or seven years old and taken when he was booked on the charge of assaulting a police officer. The charge was later dropped. Newer photos show him clean-shaven in a suit and tie and several pounds thinner.

We know you can’t judge a book by its cover. We’ve heard it enough and most of us have experienced that moment when something is nothing like what we thought it was.

Why the Trayvon Martin shooting is so important is because the nation is waiting to see the justice system work. We need to find the truth. A lot of people aren’t looking for “the truth,” they’re looking for their truth. Very different.

People change. Trayvon Martin was no fresh-faced kid. George Zimmerman seemed to have made better choices with his life.
One thing’s for sure, we’ll never know what really happened that night. But what we do know is that everything isn’t always what it appears to be at first glance. Zimmerman wasn’t arrested that night. Police seemed to believe his claim of self-defense. He was also treated for injuries.

Martin can’t tell us his version. The family is saying he was a good kid and the only smudge on the linen is the marijuana thing. Not such a shocking thing for a 17-year-old. Just look at the numbers.

I hope it all gets sorted out. I want the right thing to happen here. If Zimmerman did feel his life was in danger, I feel he had the right to defend himself. If he was a gung-ho neighborhood vigilante, he needs to pay for his actions.

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it, when really, not so much.


Last Updated on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:23 PM

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