Who Really Threatened Who?
Another unarmed young minority man is murdered in a mysterious altercation with an armed white man who found the young black man suspicious. And in all too typical fashion the white murderer is allowed to go free, go home, and go live his life while the family of the black man is left wanting for answers and justice. Where have we heard this type of thing before?
Three weeks ago seventeen year old Trayvon Martin took a walk to the corner convenience store for snacks and a can of iced tea. He decided to take the jaunt during the half time break of a televised basketball game. As he was walking back home, twenty eight year old George Zimmerman spotted the young black man with the hood of his jacket up walking through his neighborhood and looking suspicious. Mr. Zimmerman was driving through the area as part of a neighborhood watch program when he decided that the young black man walking alone at night was trouble, so he used his call phone to call the police.
A recording of the call to emergency operators show that Mr. Zimmerman had no reason to suspect the young black teenager of anything. Mr. Zimmerman said that he was following the young black man who he referred to as an asshole. The operator told Mr. Zimmerman that a patrol car was on the way and that he should stop following Trayvon and he should definitely not get out of his car. Mr. Zimmerman did and not long afterward young Trayvon Martin lay dead face down of a gunshot wound to the chest. The dead black teenager had a bag of Skittles. The neighborhood vigilante was armed with a smoking Kel-Tec 9mm pistol.
George Zimmerman was never arrested nor charged with anything. The police say that there isn’t any evidence to contradict his story that the young black man attacked the armed patrolman that was following him. The only witness to what actually happened was Mr. Zimmerman and his dead victim. And since the dead black guy isn’t able to contradict anything Mr. Zimmerman said, his word is as good as gold.
According to Mr. Zimmerman, he is the victim of this tragic incident. He had to defend himself with deadly force after he had admitted that he was stalking and following a young black man who was doing nothing but walking home. We heard the tapes of the operator telling Mr. Zimmerman not to follow the guy. So we know for a fact that he disregarded instructions and was bent on creating an altercation that would lead to a young man losing his life.
While it is true that there were no other witnesses to what exactly happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, many neighbors have come forward to say that they heard a male voice pleading for his life and calling for help before hearing a gunshot and then hearing the voice calling for help go silent. We heard another 911 recording from a neighbor talking to the operator. In the background of that call we could hear the pleas for help. We heard the gunshot and we heard the following silence. But Mr. Zimmerman claims that was him crying for help as he was pulling the trigger. The police must’ve heard all of this evidence and decided that is was reasonable to mistake Trayvon’s Skittles as a weapon and ruled it an open and shut case of self defense.
According to police Florida law has a “stand your ground law,” which allows for the use of deadly force if someone feels reasonably threatened. The problem comes with the laws application. What constitutes reasonably threatened? Was it reasonable for the neighborhood watcher to feel threatened at the site of a single black man walking down the street at night? For a lot of people, based on the social programming that constantly paints young black people as little more than thugs and lowlifes looking for an opportunity to commit crime, a single black man walking in the dark wearing a hooded jacket is a frightening sight and so it’s okay to shoot to kill.
Now let’s try and look at this from the flipside. Let’s say that a young man knows that he will be mistaken as a good for nothing cretin hell bent on crime simply because he’s black. He’s walking along minding his own business when he notices he’s being stalked by a white guy in a car. After a few minutes of being followed, the white man gets out of his car and starts to walk up to the young black man. The white man is carrying a pistol so at least one of his hands is in his pocket ready to pull the gun out at a moment’s notice if necessary. The black youth has nothing but his snacks. It’s dark. Would it be reasonable to assume that the black youth is being reasonably threatened? Who actually started threatening who?
The police say there’s no evidence to contradict Mr. Zimmerman’s claim that he was only defending himself. But we know for a fact that while he was armed and dangerous he instigated an altercation with someone that he was stalking and he ignored instruction to leave it alone. We know that his Kel Tek was fired. We know that Trayvon is dead with a bullet from Mr. Zimmerman’s gun. We know that Trayvon was unarmed. Who decided to attack who?
Trayvon committed no crime and had a good reason to be where he was. He never bothered to arm himself to attack anyone. Who really made the decision, who took the steps to put themselves in a situation that was bound to go wrong based on assumptions without any foundation other than an appearance? What made Trayvon Martin so suspicious that Mr. Zimmerman had to put himself into a situation where he knew he could wind up killing someone? But based on his appearance of being black and being male and being too dead to contradict the word of a murderer, the local police department says there’s nothing criminal here, pat Mr. Zimmerman on his head and send him away to live the rest of his life.
But really, who is surprised? We saw Joe Horn get away with the murder of a couple of minorities robbing his neighbor’s house after he called 911 and reported something suspicious. Mr. Horn was instructed not to get involved by the operator. He ignored what he was told. The man took his shotgun outside and confronted the burglars. We heard him tell the burglars that if they moved they were dead and then we heard two shotgun blasts not two seconds later. He said he was in fear of his life and that’s why he killed them. He was never charged with a crime.
We saw a group of seven boot camp guards surround and beat the teenaged Martin Lee Anderson until the young black man’s lifeless body slumped to the ground. It was his first day at the camp and within hours of his arrival he was dead. An investigation ensued and, surprise, the guards were acquitted of any criminal wrong doing.
Twenty three year old Amadou Diallo was shot by four New York police officers when he was sighted walking home with a couple of bags of groceries. When he was confronted by the police who thought he was acting suspicious, Mr. Diallo reached for his wallet to identify himself. His mistake was trying to identify himself when it was already identified as being black. The police didn’t put their guns away until they had fired forty one times. They were found not guilty.
So now we have another incident. This time we have a young black man minding his own business when somebody felt that his life wasn’t worth leaving him alone or leaving him to be questioned by the police. We have a neighborhood watchman say that he found the man suspicious and based on nothing but his appearance initiated a confrontation that wound up with death. He didn’t have the right or the responsibility to say anything to the teenager let alone pull his gun out to kill him. But police say that Florida law gave him a green light to kill because he was so scared. If dude was such a pussy, so easily panicked, why was he out stalking people with a gun?
Three weeks ago a black teenager was murdered in cold blood. Odds are pretty good that eventually Mr. Zimmerman will get off without so much as a slap on the wrist. The parents of Trayvon will have to learn to grieve without justice. All the propaganda that paints black people as nothing more than criminals waiting for an opportunity will continue. Nothing will change.