Saturday, March 31, 2012

People Are Strange...(Trayvon Martin)

“People are strange when you’re a stranger. Faces look ugly when you’re alone…” It seems as if Jim Morrison and The Doors were on to something. Morrison was a musician, actor, singer/song writer even filmmaker. Originally from Florida, he helped launch the 60’s rock band The Doors into superstar status before his untimely passing in Paris of an apparent heroin overdose at the age of 27. He’s been gone now for over 40 years and it seems some things still ring true and instead of Rome all roads lead back to Florida.

From the infamous “Hanging Chads” incident of the 2000 presidential election, the conviction and life sentence handed down to 14 year old Lionel Tate for the accidental death of 6 year old Tiffany Eunick while performing a wrestling move on her he saw on television, to the release of Bill Dillon, a man wrongly convicted of murder causing him to lose 27 years of his life, yes Florida has a few blemishes on its record to say the least. The most recent act of questionable behavior was in the response and handling of the death of Trayvon Martin.

Martin was a 17 year old Florida high school student killed at the hands of one George Zimmerman, a self appointed neighborhood watch captain. Trayvon was walking from the store through a prominent, primarily Caucasian, gated Florida community. The girlfriend of his father lived there and he was returning to her house. Now the details of the incident have been shaky, but what has been determined is that Zimmerman, Hispanic, noticed an unfamiliar Martin. Martin an African American stood over 6 feet tall and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. Zimmerman called 911 and proceeded to follow Martin, citing he looked “suspicious”. Zimmerman was told that wasn’t necessary but continued to follow Martin anyway.

Martin was not being disruptive or even noticed by anyone other than Zimmerman. As I stated the details are shaky, at some point Martin and Zimmerman had a confrontation. It could be heard on the 911 dispatcher’s recording and after some form of physical confrontation Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman. There are reports of the use of racial slurs initiated by racial profiling. Zimmerman’s claiming self defense, stating that Martin attacked him.

With so many holes, discrepancies & questions you would think a full on investigation would be automatic then again remember…this is Florida. The police came out taking Zimmerman’s story as gospel and closed the case…and here we are. The nation has responded; from staged protests and marches, signed petitions, even a bounty placed by the New Black Panther party for Zimmerman’s “capture” the people are demanding “justice”.

Since the story broke Zimmerman’s testimony has changed and has been unsubstantiated with physical evidence. Let’s remove the hearsay and speculation, an alleged slur & call to Martin’s girlfriend from Trayvon before he was shot, Zimmerman having a racist past or Martin being of questionable character, toss that out. Let’s just look at what’s real. An unarmed 17 year old boy was shot by an armed neighborhood watch captain in a situation where no crime was being committed and no disturbance had occurred. That warrants an investigation. For the police to dismiss it and send Zimmerman home shows their lack of compassion for Martin & his family as well as a lack of commitment to finding the truth.

I’m not claiming Zimmerman is a murderer or a racist, neither has been proven to me, I’m saying a trial is obviously necessary. If he’s convicted or even if enough evidence shows him to be innocent, so be it. Something clearly needs to be done. People of all Races have been showing their support for Martin and disgust for how this is being handled, even President Obama chimed in stating ”If I had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin.” Before this escalates further the state of Florida needs to do right by its citizens the Martin family. I only ask that the justice system get involved, let’s see what stands up in court. Also that we as a people don’t get swept away by our own perceptions, ideologies & past and make it about us and not the truth.

Trayvon Martin wasn’t old enough to remember Jim Morrison, the real tragedy is he didn’t even out live him. Show the value of his life and existence…a trial…the truth.

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