- Politics and Social Issues
George Zimmerman Justice or Justification
As protests are on-going across the nation in response to George Zimmerman, I figured I'd try to approach the situation with a different perspective from both that of the protesters and that of the defenders.
Disclaimer: I don't know all the facts of this case and what I write here is what I know to the best of my ability. You don't have to take my word for it in any way. I welcome differing views on the subject at hand, but this is not intended to spark more feud that there already is.
For anyone who's unaware Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old who died on February 26th from a single gunshot wound inflicted by George Zimmerman's gun. Reports say he was staying with his father for some time after being suspended from school. It is claimed that his suspension was due to being in an unauthorized area on school grounds.
He is said to have been a good student who didn't get into trouble. His English teacher said he was cheerful and wasn't involved in violent altercations.
Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watchman who on the night of the fateful incident called police about "a guy who looked suspicious". Though one witness claims to have seen Martin beating him up, no one claims to have seen what initially happened in the incident.
Many neighbors called the police after hearing what was going on, he claimed self defense and was let free. Many believe the incident was racially motivated and others say Zimmerman wasn't a racist. His attorney said that Zimmerman wept for days after the incident.
Statements For Prosecution
Martin's parents showed concern at the devastation of not only losing a son, but at the fact that charges weren't brought forth against Zimmerman. Many have criticized the Sanford police for not investigating the incident and questions are raised about it being a potential cover-up.
Trayvon was said to be coming back from an errand to the store, in-which he was carrying a can of Arizona tea and a bag of Skittles. Logs say he had been talking on his cell phone just before the incident, which was apparently his girlfriend, who didn't want to be identified. She said he told her a strange guy was following him and she told him to run. She said she heard a brief conversation and his headset went silent. Martin: "Why are you following me?" Zimmerman: "What are you doing here?"
Zimmerman is said to have made a number of non-emergency 911 calls for things like kids playing in the streets and seemingly had a tendency to call about suspicious looking African-american males. Zimmerman himself is said to have had a history of violence. In 2005 he had a charge of resisting arrest and battery against a police officer and domestic violence in 2007, in-which he had a restraining order against him. He countered with a restraining order against his ex.
Statements For Defense
Zimmerman told police he had gotten out of his vehicle to check the street he was on and was attacked while heading back. He claimed he was screaming for help and no one would help him so he shot Martin because he feared for his life. An unidentified witness says to have seen the scuffle take place and noted Martin as the aggressor.
Zimmerman's attorney said he cried for days after the incident and hadn't returned to work since. Many say that Zimmerman talked calmly to police and the phone conversation has Zimmerman say he didn't know where Martin was and he agreed to meet police somewhere.
Zimmerman is said to have had wet grass stains on the back of his shirt a broken nose and blood on the back of his head. Police statements say they had no reason to doubt Zimmerman's claims.
Many criticize the media for painting Martin as being a model student and painting Zimmerman as being a hardened criminal. It's claimed that the photographs commonly used for Martin are from when he was younger and none of them current.
The media's first reports indicated that Zimmerman was white, signaling a possible desire for more controversy. The picture of Zimmerman show him in a prison outfit, painting him as being guilty. The photo commonly seen is of him from 2005. Many say the pictures of Martin baby him when he stood over six feet tall.
Many are sick of how the media poorly informs the public and distorts the truth, my main criticisms came from watching a 10 o'clock news report on the incident. The news showed footage from 2 protests that had taken place. One of the protests was led by Al Sharpton and the other was led by the New Black Panthers. I'm sure many people had less sympathy for the family of Martin upon seeing that.
What I see is the media creating division so the incident looks more like a race war than anything else. When facts aren't accurately presented, people jump to conclusions and one may wonder if the general public ever will have all the facts.
How Will This Play Out?
Much of my view on the case is based on the 911 call made prior to the incident which led to Trayvon Martin's death. For starters Zimmerman called the police reporting someone looking suspicious and the conclusion I jump to with that is Martin looks suspicious simply for being outside. I understand Zimmerman's possible concern due to apparent burglaries in the neighborhood, but that in no way excuses what ultimately happened.
He was obviously frustrated while talking to police and him using foul language about Martin, indicated not necessarily that Zimmerman was a racist, but a clear stereotype. Though he claimed he had gotten out of his vehicle to check the name of the street he was on and was attacked while heading back to his vehicle, it doesn't seem to add up.
With all his previous calls to police and the fact that he was neighborhood watch, how did he not know the name of the street he was on? If Martin was talking to his girlfriend and she apparently heard the initial confrontation before his headset went silent, one has to assume she lied about what happened.
According to an eye witness, Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him up, but if that's the case, that still doesn't say Martin attacked Zimmerman, if Zimmerman confronted Martin and Martin got the upper hand in the scuffle, I don't see how self-defense would be a fair claim, plus it would prove that Zimmerman lied.
If Martin initiated the whole thing, then it doesn't matter if Zimmerman was racially profiling or not, he has self-defense in his favor if he was merely protecting himself. Ultimately in either case, this whole thing is stacked full of emotion and it's almost better if the public hadn't known about it.
I think the biggest reason for all the public outcry lies in the fact that Zimmerman's a free man, not because he got away, but because police took his self-defense claim without question. It's claimed that he foiled an attempted burglary earlier and maybe he thought he was doing the same thing here, but this time he wasn't wearing a superhero costume, this incident turned him into the villain, rather he wanted to be or not.
We'll all have to see how this case plays out, but until then, my heart goes out to the family and everyone else affected by this or any other tragedy.