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Injustice Isn't "Justice for Trayvon"

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 13
Publish Date: 
Thu, 07/18/2013

 

 

“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy,” remarked F. Scott Fitzgerald, as if alluding to the fatal confrontation between George Zimmerman, the watch guard of a beleaguered and oft-burglarized neighborhood, and the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who President Obama said would look like his son, if he had one.

 

To prevent this painful case from jeopardizing social cohesion, Americans must Think Again before lining up behind their preferred tragic-hero, like rabid fans of opposing sports teams. “All the world’s a stage,” and on the rainy night of their deadly clash, neither Martin nor Zimmerman followed a heroic script. “Merely players” in a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, they each displayed impulsiveness and bad judgment, sealing a heartbreaking fate.

 

It’s a fate consuming African-American men aged 15 to 34 years, and murder – 90 percent of which is black-on-black – is its number one cause. Though blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 54 percent of U.S. murders between 1976 and 2005, the majority in cities with black mayors and police chiefs. In historical perspective, the Children’s Defense Fund reported that since 1979, 44,038 black children were murdered, or 13 times more than all the black people killed by lynching between 1882 and 1968.

 

These startling statistics garner little attention, yet Martin’s killing sustains saturation coverage, activating divisions not seen since Rodney King. “Justice for Trayvon” campaigners like Rev. Al Sharpton exclaimed, “we’re tired of going to jail for nothing and others going home for something,” while Zimmerman backers quipped, “if the head is split, you must acquit” -- apparently a key argument for jurors who found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter because prosecutors couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman didn’t act in self-defense.

 

Martin sympathizers who don’t accept the difference between not guilty and innocent believe that if Martin were white, jurors would have found Zimmerman guilty. Zimmerman backers maintain that were he black, prosecutors wouldn’t have been pressured to charge him, to which Rep. Charlie Rangel countered that if Zimmerman were black, the police “would have beat him to death.”

 

Conjecture notwithstanding and before outside intervention, law enforcement officials believed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Zimmerman for murder. Legal experts concurred, including Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz who called it “a classic case of self-defense…. with reasonable doubt written all over it.”

 

Nobody knows for certain who struck the first blow or called for help during the lethal struggle. Trial evidence suggested Martin was atop Zimmerman, banging his head against concrete, when he was shot. But like any “he-said, he-said” dispute, without instant replay or Martin’s testimony, no one knows what actually happened.

 

Nevertheless, ratings-hungry media and ideologues discuss the tragedy as if they were there, inflaming passions and prejudicing Americans. They’ve transformed the tragedy into a hate-crime, as if 14-year-old Emmett Till -- whose horrifying 1955 lynching and murder went unsolved -- encountered Bull Connor, the notoriously bigoted and violent Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner.

 

Spinning a black and white morality tale -- like the Duke lacrosse faux-rape case, the Tawahna Brawley hoax, and Paula Deen’s debacle -- the media slant the news to fit their narrative. Depicted in 5-year-old photos, Martin is youthful innocence embodied, not the school-suspended, pot-smoking teen. Zimmerman, whose mother is Peruvian, is “white Hispanic,” an absurdity akin to calling Obama “white African-American.” Poisoning public opinion further, NBC doctored Zimmerman’s 911 call, portraying him as racist.

 

Upset by the verdict, the “Justice for Trayvon” mob insist the Justice Department charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations even though an FBI investigation confirmed there’s no evidence Zimmerman was driven by racial animus. If there is an investigation, Dershowitz believes “it ought to be of [Special] Prosecutor Corey… who violated Zimmerman’s civil rights” and whose “conduct bordered on criminal.”

 

Rather than uphold her duty to safeguard the rights of all citizens – even the accused -- Corey sidestepped the customary Grand Jury investigation, filing a false affidavit that excluded exculpatory evidence to obtain a second-degree “depraved mind” murder charge. After she hindered defense lawyers’ access to evidence, a whistleblower exposed her misconduct, resulting in his firing.

 

To the “Justice for Trayvon” mob, these injustices appear not to matter. More interested in vengeance, their prescriptions would hurt – not cure – what ails African-Americans. By advocating unequal application of the law and selective civil rights, today’s activists resemble their predecessors’ opponents, not the courageous leaders whose moral claims touched America’s conscience.

 

In 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed for protesting Connor’s unjust tactics. Writing from his Birmingham cell, King spoke for all Americans, regardless of hyphenated ethnicity: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

 

King’s moral and unifying voice prompted President Kennedy to declare, “Race has no place in American life or law,” a principle from which we mustn’t retreat.

 

Think Again – wouldn’t that be the best way to deliver “Justice for Trayvon?”

 

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I´m sorry, but I get tired of

I´m sorry, but I get tired of hearing Obama´s quote that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin. Appearance is completely NOT the point. Obama´s son would not have been slinking around in the dark in the rain in a neighborhood he didn´t belong in. He would have been indoors playing basketball with his friends Biff and Skippy from Punahou.

Where is the Justice for

Where is the Justice for Zimmerman?

He had to go through a painful trial and now the aftermath

To answer prior comment:

To answer prior comment: Ummm, vote for Obama and encourage the race baiters? See, he did bring his trial on himself.

Other than that, don´t they all seem to feel that they have to show their evenhandedness by balancing facts about the correctness of the verdict and problems underling that night with an unsubstantiated opinion of Zimmerman? They´re afraid to be color blind.

This is generally a good

This is generally a good piece, but for Sturm´s attempts to appear even handed, e.g. "...neither Martin nor Zimmerman followed a heroic script..."

...or variants of that formulation, to the effect that "Zimmerman was no angel" or "Zimmerman showed poor judgment" or "Zimmerman want too far," etc.

Really? What, exactly, did GZ do that could be called "poor judgment"?

I´m getting tired of otherwise good commentators engaging in this illogical exercise of hindsight.

I have a 5'11", skittles

I have a 5'11", skittles loving, hoodie wearing teen who is impulsive and who has a cocky attitude. Fortunately, he has yet to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and has not encountered any highly suspicious neighborhood watch people or law enforcement types. I do think that Martin was likely to be higher on the radar for being black, but I think that any teen who looks intimidating for whatever reason,( size, tattoos, baseball cap, bandanas etc) could provoke a fearful response.

My heart breaks for any mother who loses a child. But an unfortunate confluence of events does not a crime make. I'm sure everyone, including Zimmerman, wishes that both of them had not reacted so impulsively but when the fight or flight response takes over and the response is "Fight!" Tragedies can happen. It is a shame that some many people scream "race"when the issues are simply human "fear" and an autonomous response mechanism

This article is slanted

This article is slanted toward a mindset against Trayvon Martin & the realities of institutional racism, under the guise of appearing to be of critical both sides. Melanie Sturm gives away her prejudices with word choices & emphasis at almost every turn of phrase. She conveys she is someone who's never felt the realities of such injustice, and is too ready to cast aspersions on those who have from her vantage of comfort.

The main issue is not Zimmerman's whiteness, it's Martin's blackness. Sturm exposes her pigment bias by naming consideration that Zimmerman was whiter than Martin as "absurd." She can't be any more one sided and blunt. It's not to quibble over how much whiter Zimmerman is. The fact is, it was for no other reason than Martin was a young black male that Zimmerman labelled him a threat, a suspicious person with something wrong him, an asshole punk he was determined to not let get away - from a crime he didn't commit. Zimmerman's sense of entitlement to profile and treat as hostile a young black male, giving him no similar entitlement to simply have a right to be in the same neighborhood is the key factor. But Sturm only addresses race in favor of Zimmerman.

The stats about black on black crime placed early in the article have nothing to do with this case. Sturm puts them there to reinforce the perception all black men are suspect. She backs up her rhetoric when she mentions Martin's trouble in school and (gasp) marijuana use. She completely avoids the restraining order & assault on an undercover police officer charges against Zimmerman - things that actually exist in criminal records for one of the two individuals in this case, that show a pattern of behavior.

After excusing by way of reinforcing Zimmerman's prejudice, Sturm at least acknowledges we don't know how the fight started. But we do have Racheal Jeantel's testimony. She was credible and forthright, and unfairly discounted by many as uneducated. Her testimony undermines what Zimmerman told police about Martin jumping out from behind bushes to attack him. Also, at least one witness testified that Zimmerman was on top during the fight.

One thing I have yet to see demonstrated, and I defy someone to do so convincingly, is how a man can replicate the screams for help on the 911 call to occur from a man on his back being alternately pummeled in the face, smothered, and having his head repeatedly bashed into concrete. Those last few screams seem obviously from a young man who was doing nothing at that point (not a threat to anyone) other than yelling for help seconds before his imminent (a gun drawn and pointed at him) death. This matches the findings of audio experts whose reports were deemed inadmissible in court. It's my conjecture that Zimmerman was sick enough to put words he spoke to Martin, "you're going to die tonight," into his victim's mouth, but by writing such, I'm betraying a bias as clear as Sturm's.

To return to the crime statistics, no mention is made in this article about how black people have higher arrest records, with more severe charges filed for similar cases to whites, resulting in longer sentencing and actual imprisonment. What Sturm does do is look down her nose at a post verdict "mob." These types of connotative choices belie Sturm's supposed neutrality. For thousands of poor people, a protest march is their only direct recourse when another injustice occurs, especially this time when the media and hearts and minds of the country at large have taken notice.

Sturm's uses of "hero" deliver clues to where she's coming from. She can hide behind some idea of "heroic" as referring to the scale of this event, but you don't even have to read between the lines to see her leaning toward Zimmerman with sentimental words like "watch guard of beleaguered and oft burglarized" community. She certainly fails to note that the actual Neighborhood Watch program, of which Zimmerman was not a member, published a statement unequivocally against his tactics.

It certainly pulls at the heart strings to point out that Martin was unarmed, but one lingering idea I have is suppose he had a weapon on him that he never brandished or used in this altercation. Why would it make his death more easy to tolerate? While she lends tacit approval to Zimmerman's mindset, by relating where he was coming from, no similar consideration is given by her for the mind of the young adult, who in fear of a furtive pursuer was trying to reach the safety of his home. Instead, she piles on negative notions to make his death more acceptable, and then delivers her judgement that those who are incensed about it must be misled. Just because she can't feel it, isn't intimately aware of such things, or bothers to notice from her patrician take, the anger thousands of people feel over Trayvon Martin's death is not some "faux" tale or "hoax." They are angry because another innocent black man was gunned down, and the legal system was written and played to gain his killer's freedom. This case isn't Shakespeare, a reference Sturm throws out early to appear couched in some learned perspective, to lend credence to her tale that follows. This was murder in the suburbs.

In the rush to demonize

In the rush to demonize Zimmerman and beatify Martin, no one, including the FBI, has been able to find a scintilla of racism on the part of the former; nor has anyone been able to attribute a single act of kindness, generosity, or accomplishment to the latter.

Zimmerman was probably the

Zimmerman was probably the most "race neutral" person I have ever seen.

He was even part black himself. He was a very giving person and tried to help everyone, black, white and brown.
Travon was on his way to a bad life. Some of the withheld evidence showed he and his friends MO, was to sucker punch people right in the nose. When I was 17 and in the same situation I would have run and I was certainly not a wimp, as I got into plenty of confrontations back then. For those that place blame on Z for not talking to T, he never had a chance. T was waiting for Z in the dark and punched him before any conversation could take place.

For those that say the injuries were minor, let me punch you straight in the nose and slam your head to concrete from only 3 inches 3 times and tell me "no problem". I once had a drunk guy that was 6'6" and 300 lbs try to beat the crap out of me. He had me in a head lock and was proceeding to pound my face. I turned and bit a chunk out of his side. In a life or death situation, you do what you have to do to survive. It is an animal instinct.

I understand your reluctance

I understand your reluctance to take sides, but the truth is there was only one really impulsive person and that was TM. Zimmerman saw a person walking suspiciously in the dark and muttered the very kind of comment that a watchman in a beleaguered community might mumble. He stayed in his car, called the police and only left his car (quite bravely I would say) in order to better give the police advice as to where the possible intruder had gone. He didn't find him and was going back to his car when he was suddenly attacked with a full fisted punch to the nose....from there we know the end of the story.

The longer this goes on without an exact timeline being published for all to read allow on the air, write in their articles and articulate...the worse this is going to get. To allow people to go on the air with misinformation that goes without correction does no good.

Just my opinion of the general situation.

Zimmerman was probably the

Zimmerman was probably the most "race neutral" person I have ever seen.
He was even part black himself. He was a very giving person and tried to help everyone, black, white and brown.
Travon was on his way to a bad life. Some of the withheld evidence showed he and his friends MO, was to sucker punch people right in the nose. When I was 17 and in the same situation I would have run and I was certainly not a wimp, as I got into plenty of confrontations back then. For those that place blame on Z for not talking to T, he never had a chance. T was waiting for Z in the dark and punched him before any conversation could take place.
For those that say the injuries were minor, let me punch you straight in the nose and slam your head to concrete from only 3 inches 3 times and tell me "no problem". I once had a drunk guy that was 6'6" and 300 lbs try to beat the crap out of me. He had me in a head lock and was proceeding to pound my face. I turned and bit a chunk out of his side. In a life or death situation, you do what you have to do to survive. It is an animal instinct.

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