There is another side to Trayvon Martin’s death
8/16/2013, 6 a.m.
There is no question that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. There is no question that things would have ended better if Zimmerman had heeded counsel from 911 personnel and restrained himself from following Martin into the bowels of the residential complex. There is no question that Zimmerman had juiced himself into fear and hysteria on the speculation that Martin was “on something” and was necessarily “up to no good,” but a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea is hardly loot from a terminating burglary.
However, there is big contention about what happened when Zimmerman caught up with Martin. Martin was dead from a single gunshot wound, and Zimmerman had a bloody nose and a bashed head back when the melee was over.
Did Martin mouth off to Zimmerman and Zimmerman collar him? Did Martin respond to the contact by coming out swinging and taking Zimmerman down, a position from which Zimmerman believed he had to shoot to survive? Like so many things, we will never know the answer to these questions.
Of course, because of Stand Your Ground and the instructions to the jury – that if Zimmerman even believed that his own life was in danger he was fully authorized, under SYG, to take Martin out. One busted nose and a bashed in head back later, Martin is dead on the ground, and there was nothing the jury, the judge, the prosecutors, the governor or riled up, disgusted and frustrated middle-class people could do about it. Zimmerman could not be convicted of even illegal parking. This is the reality – racial patronage, platitudes, sentiments, appearances, and opinions be damned.
In fact, we know now why Zimmerman was not even arrested that squally night in April 2012, and less sentimental and platitudinous thinkers are also realizing that the trial was the saber-rattling product of a voyeuristic media yearning for the days of OJ, Rodney King and a racial judicial showdown that makes good main course for Court TV and riveting courtroom drama. Newspapers must sell, and the Nielsen ratings cannot wait until tomorrow.
Trayvon was not killed because Zimmerman hates black people. Fact is that Zimmerman is just as white as Barack Obama. Zimmerman cannot claim privileges for his whiteness anywhere in America. White people have made sure that you are not white in America until both your parents are born white. In fact there was a time when you were only three-fifths of a person if you were not white. Zimmerman would have been a three-fifther – hands down.
So, without a race-based murder or a hate crime, it could well have been self-defense. Where does that leave us?
It leaves us with context. The context that Zimmerman, like millions of other Americans, might have been terrified of a young black man he met up in the dark, even as he carried the responsibility of a neighborhood watchman to find out who Martin was and why he was in the complex. If you have ever been burglarized, you would want Trayvon Martin stopped and frisked, and you would not take kindly to Zimmerman’s cowardice.