Trayvon Martin Rally, Sanford (credit: werthmedia)This past Saturday afternoon, I posted the following as my Facebook status, a repost from my friend, Dr. Amy Bacharach:
I was shot and killed in a residential neighborhood. My cell phone is on me and my friend is on the phone.
I am found to have been carrying only a bag of candy and a drink. 911 calls from neighbors record my screams for help, in the moments before my death.
No one uses my cell phone to locate my family. No one canvasses the neighborhood to see if someone there knows me.
I am a John Doe in the morgue for three days. But, my body is tested for drugs and alcohol. My killer is not tested for anything. My killer is questioned and released, and he is still free today.
I am Trayvon Martin, and We are better than this.
Repost to get justice for Trayvon Martin and his family
Trayvon Martin was just a 17 year old boy walking back from a 7-11, in Sanford (a suburb of Orlando, Florida), to his dad's fiancee's house where the rest of his family was watching a basketball game. As he walked back, he was talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone, and carrying only a bag of skittles and a can of iced tea.
George Zimmerman is a 28 year old man who followed Martin as he walked home in his SUV, and placed a phone call to 9-1-1 to report the so-called "suspicious" youth. Zimmerman, an untrained town watch volunteer, was well known by the 9-1-1 operators for making numerous calls reporting "open windows" in homes and other non-issues. In 14 months, Zimmerman made 46 calls.
According to Martin's girlfriend, Martin was scared that Zimmerman, some stranger, was following him in a car. She told him to walk quickly away, which is what he did.
To interject with my own opinion here: if I was walking alone and I noticed that a large man in a car was looking at me and following me, I would definitely be freaked out. If he continued to follow me, I would assume that he was trying to hurt me or kidnap me or put me in some other horrible, unthinkable situation, and I would try to get away. If it came to blows, I would fight for my life.
But back to the facts. Florida is one of a few states with a law that says if you feel as if your life is in danger, you have the right to proceed with violence to ensure your safety. It's a self-defense law called "Stand Your Ground" that was lobbied and pushed into action by the NRA and basicially gives citizens the license to kill. Gang members are actually using this law to get away with killing members of rival gangs.
Another opinionated aside: I'm sorry, but there is a reason why we have a police force: so when danger strikes, trained officers can respond and attend to the manner according to protocol. If you are chasing someone because you don't like the way that they look you have absolutely no claim to "self defense."
This really scares me, because it opens the floodgates for all kinds of madness. Will people who have bouts of roadrage claim self-defense when they gun down another driver for moving too slow? Will that douchey guy at the bar be able to claim self-defense after blowing away because another man for looking at his girlfriend? I don't want to live in that world. Do you?
Typically, if you happen to kill in self-defense, your story gets checked out and investigated and is brought to trial. If it was truly self-defense and you have evidence to prove it, there is nothing to worry about. If I ever had to kill in self-defense, I would want the case to be investigated in order to clear my name. But then again, I'm a law abiding citizen with an absence of blood lust.
We don't really know what happened when Trayvon Martin was killed because the case has not yet been investigated-- under the Stand Your Ground law, the shooter gets the benefit of the doubt. Zimmerman claims that he was attacked and shot Martin to save his own life, but that seems fishy to me for a few reasons.
- Zimmerman was following Martin.
- Zimmerman confronted Martin, thus he is the aggressor.
- Zimmerman claims that Martin bashed his head into the sidewalk and broke his nose, yet he was not taken to the hospital, and on recently released footage just 30 minutes after the shooting, Zimmerman has no blood on his clothing or visible injuries.
There are recordings of Zimmerman gruffly demanding Martin to identify himself, without Zimmerman identifying himself as a neighborhood watchman. He chased after Martin on foot.
Later, several neighbors made 9-1-1 calls when they heard the cries for help being called out.
Two ladies in the neighborhood saw Zimmerman straddled across Martin, holding his back down with his hands.
And then there was a gun shot. And then the yelling stopped.
This happened exactly a month ago, and now it has finally gotten national attention and the case will be investigated by the US Justice Department. Thank goodness. Hopefully Trayvon Martin's family will get some justice.
There are some who are claiming that the "liberal media" is bending the truth in its reports of the case in Martin's favor. I don't know about that, because all I want, and what many others want, is to to know what happened and to get justice for Trayvon Martin's family.
Some of the comments I've read on the internet about the case blame the victim and are so horrible and racist, I had to stop reading because the level of hatred combined with stupidity and bigotry was making my brain whimper.
There is talk about filing the case as a hate crime, but I don't think that is necessarily the best idea, as the strong rhetoric takes away from the actual brutality of the crime. The real racists are going to cause such a flurry in the media and spin it to make it seem like the people defending Martin's memory are racists for seeing race in the first place. It's just a clusterfuck.
No matter which way you look at it, a boy who was well-liked and seemingly had a promising future is dead. He will never be able to share his side of the story. The least we can do is investigate Trayvon Martin's death and prosecute his killer, and reconsider this horrible "license to kill" law.