Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

The Zimmerman Case: I’m Not Sure We’re Entitled To An Opinion

Before nodding off to sleep last night, I checked in with Facebook.

“Not Guilty!”

“Please pray for these poor parents!” (insert picture of Trayvon’s parents)

“Don’t worry. Justice will eventually be served!”

“Finally! A not guilty verdict!”

There were status updates for the verdict. There were status updates against the verdict. But many of my Facebook friends had an opinion and they weren’t shy about voicing it.

But me? I don’t have an opinion. I don’t feel like we are entitled to an opinion. Except for George Zimmerman, that is. Because he was the only person who lived to tell about it. Which is incredibly sad. Because I would love to hear Trayvon Martin’s side of the story.

So, here’s what I/we know. A young man was walking through a neighborhood. Another man, concerned for the safety of his neighborhood (or so he says) , deemed the situation suspicious. An altercation ensued. A death occurred.

That’s it. That’s all we know. Because every eye-witness account is contradictory. Because there isn’t conclusive evidence either way. Because every family member and every friend of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin thinks their friend or family member is innocent.

We could listen to evidence and opinion and conjecture all day/week/year long. But we’d never hear the real story, what really happened. Even if we heard it from Zimmerman and Martin themselves, we’d have to sift through their words to guess at whose version is the truth.

Sound bites on the nightly news. Op-ed pieces floating around the internet. We never get the whole story. We get sensational headlines. (Who even reads the entire article anymore?) We get biased interviews. We get rants and raves from attention seeking journalists, experts and by-standers.

I feel for the jurors. The incredible burden of finding the truth. Their task was beyond difficult and heart wrenching.

I feel for George Zimmerman if he indeed, feared for his life and felt he had to pull the trigger. A man is now dead at his hands. What a burden to bear for the rest of his life.

And I feel for Trayvon Martin and his family. A life cut short. A grieving family. Their burden is beyond comprehension for most of us.

Burdens all around.

But no opinion here.

I’m not sure we’re entitled to an opinion.

 

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Evolution Of A Hot News Story. Or How The Media Creates Mass Hysteria.

Day 1: I read about a young, innocent 17-year old boy, Trayvon Martin, shot by a crazed vigilante, George Zimmerman, in Florida. The crazed vigilante was patroling his neighborhood with a gun and it appears he singled out Martin because he was black and wearing a hoodie. Martin was armed only with a cellphone, a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. The nation is outraged. Twitter feeds light up. People are demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.

Day 4: I see a picture of George Zimmerman and he looks Hispanic to me. I think, of anyone he should be more sensitive to racial profiling, since he, too, is a minority. (Although, not for long.) I see a picture of Trayvon Martin. He looks all of 12 years old. He looks like a baby. How could he have been a threat?

Day 12: Citizens across the country are still outraged. Protests are being organized demanding Zimmermans arrest. I wonder how in the world he couldn’t have been arrested yet. This is outrageous.

Day 14: The friend Martin was talking to on the phone says that she heard Martin saying, “Why are you following me?” He tells her he has to go. He hangs up. Five minutes later, he is dead. I wonder what happened in those five minutes. Did Zimmerman chase Martin and then gun him down? Did they have a conversation? Did they argue? Could it have escalated to the point that Zimmerman did, indeed, feel he needed to defend himself? Nawwwww. He’s the psycho vigilante and Martin is the babyfaced victim that the media has portrayed them to be. I’m sure of it.

Day 15: Clever pictures of Skittles and cans of iced tea are popping up all over the internet with the caption “Not A Weapon.” I post said picture on my Facebook page to join the crusade.

Day 24: Geraldo Rivera claims that Martin’s hoodie is responsible for his death. Apparently, he thinks black men and boys shouldn’t wear hoodies, a common fashion statement among all people, of every race and gender. What an idiot.

Day 25: Rallies are popping up all over the country. Celebrities and politians are giving their two-cents. Zimmerman is still not arrested and has gone into hiding (legally.) I wonder how the authorities don’t have enough evidence by now to arrest the bastard. Sure, some inconsistencies are popping up, but he shot an unarmed man. How can this happen?

Day 29: Updated pictures of Martin and Zimmerman are now appearing on the internet. Martin now looks 17 years old and his full height of 6’3″. Zimmerman is now seen in a suit, not the old arrest picture, of which all charges were dropped. I also read that Martin was visiting his father while suspended for 10 days from school for possession of an empty baggie with trace amounts of marijuana.

Day 30: The Orlando Sentinel reveals that, according to police reports and Zimmerman’s account that has been corroborated by witnesses, that Martin knocked Zimmerman down with a single punch and then proceeded to slam his head into the pavement several times. This occurred while Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle and Martin approached Zimmerman. A witness states that Zimmerman was crying for help and then shot Martin twice at close range. It’s starting to make sense why, perhaps, Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested yet.  I take down clever picture from Facebook page.

Also Day 30: Martin’s mother is applying for a patent on phrases involving her child’s name. She says she is doing this to ” protect intellectual property rights for use in projects to help other families in similar situations.” Huh? This sounds fishy to me. But since I’ve never been in this situation, I’ll give her a crazy-because-I’ve-just-lost-my-son-in-a-tragic-horrific-way pass.

Day 31: Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman, a black friend of George Zimmerman, feels compelled to speak up for his friend. He confirms that George was attacked. He says that he is remorseful and suffering from post-traumatic stress. He can’t stop crying. Oliver describes a man who is caring and the farthest thing from a racist. I realize this is Zimmerman’s friend, so I take it all in with a grain of salt. But he is black. And he is on national television, supporting a very unpopular man. I take it all in with a minuscule grain.

The only two people who really know what happened are Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

Tragically, Trayvon can’t speak for himself. He is dead. Please, don’t tell me that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. I won’t believe you. Why anyone needs to carry a gun on their person is beyond me. I’m aware that people kill people. But guns sure make it easy. This is not the wild west. We are a civilized nation. I want a world where guns, used to kill people, are unneccesary. Using guns to kill people is barbaric. There has got to be another way.

As tragic as Trayvon’s death is, the news that has trickled out oh-so-slowly certainly casts doubt to his complete innocence. Did he provoke George Zimmerman? Was there an altercation? Did he deserve to die? No. But should we cast stones at Zimmerman if we don’t know the whole story?

The media, at the start, led us to believe this was a hate-crime. Pure and simple. Then, slowly, information starts oozing out on both sides that creates doubt and suspicion. No real answers. Peppered with opinion and speculation. News stories that are short and factual. New stories that indirectly point blame.

But no one really knows anything. We are going to have to let the authorities do their job. Once a full investigation is complete. We might finally know what happened.

And by then? We’ll all be on to some new crusade.

I don’t know who is innocent. Both men are victims. Of many things.

But I do know one thing.

Geraldo Rivera is still an idiot.

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Filed under Be-Causes, In the News, Observations