Lately there’s been an outcry about the case of the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black youth killed in “self-defense” a month ago by George Zimmerman. Last week, The Sanford Mayor and State Attorney’s Office released 911 call recordings after first allowing the boy’s parents to hear them.
I wasn’t a witness to this situation, and I don’t have any unpublished insider information, but what I do have is common sense. The 911 calls convinced me that, at the very least, George Zimmerman, the shooter, should have been arrested, investigated, and put to trial as soon as possible.
It is my sincere opinion that Trayvon Martin was killed in cold blood, by an at-best-delusional, and demonstrably overly suspicious man. George Zimmerman, an Hispanic man and self-appointed captain of the neighborhood watch, has a long track record of calling 911 repeatedly and frivolously. The 911 calls released last week make it clear that the case is not a clear-cut act of self-defense as local police and the perpetrator have been claiming. Based on these calls and witness reports alone, the police are remiss not to have arrested Zimmerman and launched and in-depth investigation.
Witnesses recount events including what sounded like a shot, then a physical confrontation and (what sounds like) Martin screaming repeatedly for help. 911 callers did not go out to help because they were afraid, which is understandable to a degree. But I believe neighbor involvement may have stopped the murder from taking place.
Martin’s girlfriend, unnamed at the request of her parents, was on the phone with Martin when the incident happened. She says that from his perspective, Martin became aware of a suspicious stranger (Zimmerman) following him through the complex, and that Martin tried to evade his pursuer and thought he’d lost the man. Instead, Zimmerman backtracked to cut him off. His girlfriend heard Trayvon ask, “Why are you following me?”
People who are attacking others, causing those other people to act in self-defense, do not scream for 30 seconds for help. That’s what victims do. This boy was minding his own business, walking back from the store on a quiet, rainy evening. He was then chased by an assailant and then shot, point-blank in the chest and killed, with no provocation on Martin’s part.
Think about this from the boy’s perspective. Many of us have experienced that eerie feeling of being watched or followed in an unfamiliar part of town. We may have hurried away, hoping to avoid trouble from a vaguely threatening stranger. If that stranger then cuts you off and shoots you dead, that’s unprovoked murder, no matter what delusions of suspected danger were floating through that stranger’s mind at the time. But this boy was black, and that made it OK for the Sanford, Florida, police to overlook his death and dismiss any claims of foul play.
Shame on the Sanford police for ignoring this. Shame on a community for hiding in their homes and not coming to Trayvon’s aid. Shame on people like Zimmerman, who demonize innocent people based simply on their race.
Aren’t we living in The Future yet? Aren’t we supposed to be past all this senseless violent crime and racial bias?