Trayvon Martin And An American Tragedy
April 5, 2012 by Sam Rolley
The entire Nation is a victim in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The emotionally charged national conversation that has followed the tragic killing of Martin has turned what was the story of two individuals who crossed paths and were involved in an altercation that resulted in a death into a speculative hate-fest. The obvious surviving victims — Martin’s family and the man who pulled the trigger, George Zimmerman — might have had a chance to work out exactly what happened on the night of Feb. 26 in a Sanford, Fla., suburb without the racially charged media frenzy. That will never happen now, and every citizen of the United States, regardless of race, has become a victim in the tragedy.
Those who are at the heart of making race the central issue in the Martin case have seemingly thrown aside any semblance of fact in their discussions of why Zimmerman used lethal force against the teenager. Reporter Rene Stutzman of The Orlando Sentinel pointed this out in a recent article.
When the mainstream media initially released a picture of Martin, they chose to release a dated photo of the young man when he was of a much smaller stature. This sparked the claim: It is absurd that Zimmerman needed to use deadly force against a teenager he outweighed by 100 pounds.
Stutzman retorts: “A Sanford police incident report says Trayvon was 6 feet tall and weighed 160 pounds. A spokesman for the family’s lawyers gave a slightly different set of numbers: 6 feet 1 and 150 pounds. Zimmerman is 5 feet 9 inches tall, according to the police report, but it is silent about his weight. A family member says he currently weighs about 190 pounds. Zimmerman used to be far heavier. A 2005 police report put his weight at 250 pounds, but security camera video released last week by Sanford police show him to be much trimmer.”
Given the reporter’s information, there is little question that Martin could have inflicted the injuries visible on Zimmerman’s head and face in a recently released police surveillance video.
The reporter also addresses allegations that the Justice Department is investigating the Sanford Police Department for a long history of civil rights violations, making it plausible that the officers would have no problem letting individuals get away with hate crimes.
She writes: “Not so. Since Trayvon’s death Feb. 26, the NAACP and others have alleged widespread and long-standing civil rights abuses by the department and asked for a broad investigation. But last week, DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa and FBI spokesman Dave Couvertier told the Los Angeles Times that there’s only one civil rights investigation under way: whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon’s rights when he shot him.”
Why might a reporter in Orlando be attempting to make readers examine the facts rather than jump on the racially driven hate wagon with those who want Zimmerman hanged? Perhaps she wants to do her part to avert the widespread racial violence that is liable to break out if emotional rhetoric outweighs logical consideration of fact.
In a recent visit to the area, Jesse Jackson told protesters that Martin was shot in the back of his head. Martin was shot in the chest. And Al Sharpton also said this: “Sanford is a beautiful city. It’s on the side of the water, has great potential for tourism. You are risking going down as the Birmingham or Selma of the 21st Century.”
In Birmingham and Selma, Ala., during the struggle for civil rights in the United States, a church was bombed, killing four girls; peaceful protesters were sprayed with fire hoses and brutally beaten by police; Americans were made to use segregated facilities based on race; and the leaders of the civil rights movement were arrested and thrown in jail.
In fact, while jailed, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In one portion of the letter, King, to justify the actions of civil rights protestors in Birmingham at the time, writes:
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.
Sharpton and his fellow race provocateurs have skipped directly to direct action in screaming injustice in the case of Martin’s death.
As the story continues to unfold, Zimmerman, who has minority heritage himself, doesn’t look like the racist he is being painted as.
A recent article in The Daily Caller says that Zimmerman has been active in fighting injustice against minorities in the past. He reportedly was one of very few people in his community to get involved and speak out against the Sanford Police when the white son of an officer brutally beat a black homeless man and went uncharged until community members, including Zimmerman, demanded that he be held accountable.
Reason published a list of questions that people concerned about the case would be asking if race were laid aside: Who started the fight? Did Zimmerman shoot Martin “in cold blood?” Is Florida’s “stand your ground” law the reason Zimmerman has not been arrested?
The answers to those questions from people who want race to be the central issue of the case are already defined: Zimmerman started the fight. Yes, he killed Martin “in cold blood” (explaining Jackson’s erroneous claim that he was shot in the back of the head). And, the stand your ground law is acting as a get-out-of-jail -free card for a man who committed a hate crime.
The race baiters have ignored one very important fact, however. Zimmerman has not been charged in Martin’s death, though he is already long into a trial in the court of public opinion.
If race determines how the justice system will handle the case, political correctness has sealed the fate of any American who is forced to use deadly force in self-defense. Zimmerman has been forced into hiding and his life is changed forever due to the unfortunate incident. Unless you want the same fate to befall you, if you ever must use deadly force in self-defense, be sure you are of the same race as your attacker, he/she is white or you have witnesses. If not, you may become the next George Zimmerman.