MG’s Weigh In : Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

Alright, so the trial is over, and George Zimmerman was found not-guilty, innocent of all charges. I completely agree with this ruling, but there is a lot that was wrong with how the matter has been handled; here is my rant.

It is so completely disappointing and annoying that this was made into a racial case. GZ is not entirely white, he’s partially Hispanic. It seems that people like making him into the white-devil that hates poor innocent black kids that wear hoodies. In fact, Zimmerman helped organize a protest forum in January 2011 regarding the beating of a homeless black man (Sherman Ware) by a local police officer. He was reported to have distributed fliers in several black communities urging people to take a stand. That doesn’t really sound like a racist to me. If you made it into a racial case, please unfriend me. To be fair, not everyone is insane; TM’s step mother, Alicia Stanley says she doesn’t believe Zimmerman targeted TM because he was black.

Just as disappointing perhaps, though not surprising, the media machine has transformed Trayvon Martin into a symbol. This individual was 17 years old with his own personality, faults, and triumphs. Personally, I believe it is a dis-service to pick and choose the best from someone’s life to paint the best picture of them for legal purposes. Maybe it’s appropriate for an obituary, but not in cases when ‘truth’ and ’emotion’ need to be separate. Right and wrong are inadequate words to try and label something as because their definitions vary from person to person, and it only complicates legal matters when the media only publishes cherry-picked positive images of TM to fuel an agenda. For instance, here is the widely circulated image of TM:

Innocent enough, but he was only 13 years old in this picture. The image is over 4 years old, and is meant to anger and resonate with African-Americans and parents. It was typically paired with this picture of GZ:

The resulting idea was something along these lines:

But media outlets refused to broadcast images like this one:

TM was 17 years old, and teenagers are assholes sometimes. That being said, these pictures do absolutely nothing in the way of describing who TM was. They are just images. Biased journalism… However, data released (By the Zimmerman defense team) shows that TM skipped school (not necessarily on the day of the shooting) and had discussions with friends regarding marijuana and fighting. This was supposed to paint a picture of a trouble-maker teen, but I digress, it isn’t much to go on in my opinion. Typical teenagers struggle with the same if not similar issues. TM probably wasn’t Satan or a Saint…

For more info, check out the Wiki article regarding mishandling of media coverage.

Some say that GZ should’ve never had a gun. If you are referring to him carrying a weapon as a neighborhood watch volunteer, you are an idiot… The goal should never be to use the weapon, but protection is protection. If you are referring instead to GZ owning a weapon, please unfriend me now. GZ was advised to get a weapon by an animal services official, instead of using pepper spray to deal with a recurring stray dog threat. He followed the rules and filed the correct paperwork, making it completely legal. Take your anti-gun viewpoint somewhere else.

I’ve heard that some people are saying GZ was looking for a fight the night TM was shot. Perhaps he was, but the evidence didn’t seem to line up before the verdict, and it obviously didn’t convince the jury. Consider the call from Zimmerman to police prior to the altercation. Note that this is the full call, not the aimed, shortened, cut version NBC was airing for a while…

Zimmerman Police Call

So he got out of the car during the call to pursue TM. While this is probably dumb it certainly is not illegal. After hanging up, on the way back to the car GZ says TM approached him, punched him in the face, knocked him down, beat his head against the sidewalk, and tried to cover GZ’s mouth to stop him from calling for help. TM saw Zimmerman’s gun, threatened his life, and then GZ shot Martin once in the chest.

There are several 911 calls where cries for help can be heard. Some say it was GZ, some say TM, regardless, the audio quality was so low that scientific analysis was inconclusive.

Prior to the case, George Zimmerman was not charged or arrested until April 11th, 45 days after the shooting. During this time several protests were held to gain media attention. The New Black Panther Party set a $10,000 reward for the capture of Zimmerman… WTF?! Two things, that’s insane, and $10,000 isn’t really that much money… The resident Chief of Police was forced to resign due to his handling of the matter. And following an FBI investigation, a 2nd Degree Murder Charge was made… Having been made aware of the evidence at the time, I can agree, it would’ve probably been a waste of time to arrest Zimmerman. If TM had been a little older, this probably wouldn’t even be in the news. In truth, I believe the only reason this went to court was because people protested and cried loud enough. There is a problem with that, but I’m not sure on which end. The case should’ve gone to court, but not because of the barking of protesters.

Now, the case proceedings… Comprised of more drama than a midday soap opera or an episode  of Grey’s Anatomy, the entire case seemed like a hodgepodge of witch-hunting and racism coupled with revenge and outrage. Opening jokes, overall seemingly barely competent lawyers on both sides, and ridiculous cross examination with inaudible answers, slang, and questionable testimony, seemed to solidify that a ton of money was spent on a circus…

Instead of allowing this insanity to continue as was, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and even President Obama began voicing their opinions… Because they all have the appropriate background in law enforcement and the Judicial System to know what the hell they are talking about… Al Sharpton is an idiot, and I completely believe he projects a negative image as a civil rights leader. I feel obligated to say, “unfriend me if you listen to Al Sharpton and don’t hear ‘crazy crazy crazy’.”

But, as I began, Zimmerman has been found innocent, by a jury of six women, 5/6 were white (not that makes one damn bit of difference), and some were mothers… Chances are he will never live a normal life because even though he is innocent, there are a ton of people who think they know better. Even still, Zimmerman did kill someone. That can’t be easy to live with, or maybe it is… Maybe he doesn’t think that he did a bad thing, because maybe it really happened like he said it did. He feared for his life, he defended himself; I would’ve done the same. But turn the tables around, what if Trayvon had killed Zimmerman. Would it be the same?

Stew on that for a little bit…

Regardless, Zimmerman, the Martin’s, DeeDee, and the lawyers will all probably get a book deal out of this. Hoodies, Skittles, and Arizona Iced Tea also probably saw a sizable bump in sales over the last few months. Though, TM didn’t buy an Arizona Iced Tea, it was the Arizona Fruit Drink, which sucks in comparison.

It’s a sad case; Trayvon died before he really had a chance to succeed or sink. Do I believe the jury made the right decision? Yes, but it really doesn’t matter. Society doesn’t care about the right decision, just the righteous one. But remember, righteous varies from person to person… Its no surprise that there have been riots in several states over the verdict. The Martin’s have filed a petition to bring this case higher to the Department of Justice. If everyone yells loud enough, maybe it will happen…

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