Trayvon Martin should be alive today, but of course he isn’t. He’s dead because a scared little creep named George Zimmerman shot and killed him a year ago to the day.
And all hell broke loose…
When we talk about race in America those conversations are often nervous, dishonest, awkward and less than candid. Too often we end up saying things we don’t really mean but sound right. When Whites and Blacks and other races talk about race, we’re either put on airs as we struggle to be on our best behavior and not offend. However, there are occasions where the false fronts and fake faces are dropped and we stand toe-to-toe and just let the bullets fly. We don’t get polite. We get real.
For a year now that’s what I’ve sought to do as I write about the Trayvon Martin case. I try to bring the real. I’m not trying to be impartial. I’m not claiming I don’t have a bias. I’ve chosen a side and I am on Team Trayvon, not Team Zimmerman. I’m not a vigilante. I leave that sort of thing to frightened rabbits like Zimmerman. Nor do I want anything bad to happen to him or his wife and co-conspirator, Shellie Zimmerman. I want them to be safe as houses right up until the day they are both convicted of their many crimes and are sent to prison.
I’m also preparing myself for the distinct possibility they both walk.
Do you move on? Do you put it behind you? Does your once inflamed sense of outrage cool until it grows as cold as the corpse of Trayvon?
No. Of course you can’t allow that. Not if you have the slightest sense of justice. There’s been no justice here. All we’ve seen so far is how skillful lawyers with no conscience or scruples will go to murder the truth. Why does Zimmerman’s defense team need access to a teenager’s social media? Who exactly is on trial here?
We know the answer to that, don’t we? We know it is Trayvon who is on trial. It is Trayvon, not his killer, who must prove he wasn’t some sort of thug. Some punk who went out in the rain not for a bag of candy and a can of iced tea, but looking for trouble.
After all, he was a bad kid, right? He shouldn’t have been out at 7:00 pm roaming around in the dark. Right? Just because some fool he didn’t know was chasing him in the dark and confronted him with a loaded gun he wasn’t supposed to be carrying, doesn’t mean it’s not his fault? Why, he practically made poor George Zimmerman shoot him! Zimmerman was fighting for his life. He had every right to defend himself!
That only makes sense if you concede one point. You must concede Zimmerman was correct in his conclusion that a Black kid walking around at night in his neighborhood and wearing a hoodie justifies racial profiling. Justifies ignoring police instructions not to follow and engage. Justifies hunting Trayvon through the apartment complex. Justifies terrifying an unarmed young man who had done nothing and wanted nothing more than to get home and out of the rain.
Justifies confronting an unarmed young man, fighting that unarmed young man, and pulling out a gun and shooting to death that unarmed young man once it became clear he was winning the fight.
The problem for Zimmerman is there is no justification. The Stand Your Ground law is not a license to kill. Putting your own dumb ass in a potentially dangerous situation is not a justification. Fearing for your life because you’re getting your dumb ass kicked is not a justification.
Being a coward, being an arrogant wannabee vigilante? That might be a justification. If you’re a murderous coward, that is.
On the anniversary of the murder, CNN published excerpts of letters provided to them by his lawyers sent to Zimmerman from both supporters and detractors. They illustrate how wide the racial schism is and how raw the emotions are between how Black and White America view this case .
“Murderer,” one e-mail’s subject line said.
“Please shoot yourself, you racist piece of sh-t,” read the body of another e-mail. “You killed an unarmed teen that you stalked.”
And several dictated the same, succinct line: “Hope you die in prison.”
These venom-drenched words are just a smattering of at least 400 e-mails and letters, all sent to George Zimmerman over the past 10 months.
Some applaud his lawsuit against NBC over the altering the recording of his police call, allegedly to “create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.”
Other missives — many packed with vitriol and anger — provide a glimpse into the emotion that overcame the nation when Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black teen, in Sanford, Florida, exactly one year ago.
Like the friendly letters, there are recurring themes: condemnation of Zimmerman’s conduct that night, mocking the website he established to collect donations for the legal defense and even ridiculing the physical appearances of him and his wife, Shellie.
Zimmerman is vilified as a predator in these letters, while Martin is portrayed as a “baby” or “child.” Dozens are riddled with profanity and crude anatomical references.
In contrast, others saw the racial controversy as a ginned-up conspiracy to condemn Zimmerman and made references to “the race-baiting media” and “threats by the black community and their leaders.”
“Black people take every opportunity to claim they’ve been wronged,” said one letter, while another encouraged Zimmerman to keep his head high: “Don’t let the damn blacks hold you back.”
It’s a bitter laugh when Zimmerman’s supporters say “race has nothing to do with this.” On what planet are they living on? Not the same one I’m from. Race has everything to do with this and it always did. Only a deliberately blind idiot can’t see how Martin’s race, and to a lesser extent, Zimmerman’s as well factors into how the sides have been chosen and whose cause is being championed.
For many, Zimmerman is a hero defending his hood from a thug in a hoodie. For the rest of us who only have to know the facts, not twist them, we know it is Trayvon Martin who was the only innocent victim here and the only one who was minding his own business not looking for trouble.
Trouble found him and cowardly ended his life. The story of Trayvon lives beyond his brief 18 years. He has become both a symbol and a martyr for this country’s pathological fear and scorn for young Black men. We can’t ease up, can’t let up, can’t give up. Not until this murdering piece of trash pays for his crime. But if Zimmerman doesn’t pay for his crime (and it’s not only possible he won’t, it’s likely) and he walks out of a Florida courtroom declared “not guilty” by the law, that won’t be an end for the pursuit of justice.
The law and justice are two separate things. The law may set Zimmerman free. Justice never will.
It’s a year gone by. My hoodie is on and up in support of Trayvon Martin and his family who say they will let the jury decide. That is how it should be. We must allow the justice system to go forth and hope it finds its way to the truth.
It’s slow. It’s frustrating. At times it’s infuriating, but that’s how it has to be. In the meantime, me and my hoodie say ” Geraldo Rivera can kiss my ass.”
No forgiving. Not forgetting. Justice for Trayvon.
The job’s not done. Trayvon sleeps, but I pray justice doesn’t sleep on Trayvon.
- Trayvon Martin: One Year Later, Justice Remains Elusive (ideas.time.com)
- Trayvon Martin: TrayDay ~ Hoodies UP 4 Trayvon ~ (theobamacrat.com)
- There will be more Trayvons (salon.com)
- One Year Ago Trayvon Martin Was Murdered..What Have We Done Since Then? (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)