Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Trayvon Martin and Self-Defense

I hope most of you are by now familiar with the name Trayvon Martin.  If not, please read on:

Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old black kid who was shot and killed last month.  What basically happened was that he was walking in the gated community where his father lives, just getting back from going to the store to buy some Skittles candy.  As he was walking, 28 year old George Zimmerman, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, decided that Martin "looked suspicious" (you know, walking home talking to his girlfriend on the phone and eating Skittles) so he called the police. The police told Zimmerman not to pursue him, and that they'd be right now.

Instead, Zimmerman followed Martin in his car, got out and approached him with a gun (Martin was unarmed), and after a short scuffle Zimmerman shot Martin "in self-defense." Several neighbors called 911 while this was happening, and in the just-released tapes you can hear someone terrified and calling for help just before gun shots.  Martin's parents identify the terrified voice as his.  (I have not listened to the tapes bc I don't think I could stand it, honestly)

The police came to the scene and took Zimmerman's word about shooting in self-defense. They never questioned him, didn't arrest him, didn't even check his record (which isn't so sparkling clean, apparently, unlike Martin's).  The police said they didn't find any reason to question Zimmerman or his "self-defense" excuse.  Nevermind that Zimmerman is older and heavier than Martin was; or that Zimmerman had a gun while Martin was unarmed; or that it was Zimmerman who pursued Martin despite police ordering him not to.


I don't know about you, but I find this whole thing is baffling, horrifying, and infuriating.

In response to the public outcry, a grand jury in Florida just announced they will hear evidence about the murder, sometime next month.  This is a start, but if so many people hadn't called out this injustice, nothing would have been done.

Here are some links to more information about story:

The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin: 15 Facts You Need To Know
Trayvon Martin's Last Phone Calls Triggers Call for Arrest
Up To No Good
Why I Cannot Write About Trayvon Martin

What can you do?

1) Spread the word.  This story deserves to be talked about, and sadly it is not an isolated incident but something that happens all too often in the black community (along with other minorities).  Too often these stories are swept under the rug.  Don't let that happen.  The KONY 2012 video spread like wildfire, but here's something that's within our very borders that deserves just as much attention.

2) Sign this petition in support of investigating this case and bringing George Zimmerman to trial.

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