It has been a year since Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. I have my suspicions about why it is taking so long to bring George Zimmerman to trial. Perhaps the delay has to do with waiting for the “stand your ground” decision. Perhaps the delay is about letting emotions die down. However, given the strong support for gun owners right now, this may not even be the best time for this case to be tried. Can we expect to see the kind of objectivity that is needed to sort out this emotionally-charged scenario?
There are three points I would like to make about this case in which we are trying to attribute guilt to a teenager walking to a convenience store to get a package of Skittles, apparently just because he did the unthinkable thing; he defended himself.
1. Why doesn’t “stand your ground” apply to Trayvon Martin as well as George Zimmerman? He was in his own neighborhood or at least a neighborhood where he spent part of his time with his father and his father’s girlfriend. And if “stand your ground” applies to both of these young men then it should be eliminated as a consideration because it won’t help either the living George Zimmerman or the deceased Trayvon Martin. Set “stand your ground” aside in this case.
2. Everyone seems to accept the reasoning that because George Zimmerman is a member of a minority group there couldn’t possibly be any racism involved. But George Zimmerman is a very light-skinned Hispanic man and he was looking for the thieves who had been around the development who obviously had darker skin than he did. He did assume that since Trayvon Martin had darker skin than he did and was traversing the neighborhood that he was probably one of the thieves or that he was guilty of something. He was so upset when police did not respond immediately to his call that he took the law into his own hands. If it looks like racism and smells like racism, it probably is racism.
3. Did Trayvon Martin defend himself too well? We will never know what was going through Trayvon’s head when he caught George Zimmerman following him and then realized that Zimmerman had a gun, but in the culture we live in, Trayvon’s response to this stalking might be considered a normal reaction.
George Zimmerman killed an innocent man because he jumped to some incorrect conclusions and acted on them – a set of circumstances which, historically, has led to much injustice. He is guilty not of standing his ground, but of vigilante justice. Sometimes good people do bad things.
As for the Martins – America still feels your loss and we are sorry for it.