CORDERO SLASH | STAFF WRITER
As many people all around the country have already heard, on February 26th, 2012 a 17 year old Black male named Trayvon Martin was horrifically gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman while walking home from a convenience store in a family member’s neighborhood.
Since the shooting occurred there has been a torrent of nationwide outcry from the Black community and rightly so; when you listen to the 911 tapes, eyewitness accounts, and realize the fact that Martin had no criminal record and no reason to be shot that night you don’t need to be an African American for your heart to go out to the family affected by this heinous murder. In fact Martin had committed no crime this particular night accept being Black while walking, which it seems has been a crime in The United States of America since its beginning. Zimmerman simply relied on his own personal prejudice in making the assumption that Martin was the perpetrator behind a series of break-ins in his gated community because he looked “suspicious” and was “Black”.
What is even worse about this murder is that the 911 recordings and witness accounts paint a picture of a scared young man screaming and pleading for his life as a 28 year old adult, who was almost twice his size and weight, pursued and ultimately killed him. The only weapon Martin had in his possession at the time of his murder was a pack of Skittles that he had purchased during a break in the NBA all-star game he was viewing with a member of his family. Another outrageous aspect of this murder is the fact that Zimmerman was not apprehended for his actions or even investigated initially. In fact, the police that visited the Florida neighborhood that night did not even question his so called self defense story in the least.
Though the US Justice Department is now investigating this case after almost a month of outcry, it is still a wonder how the shooter’s self defense claim, which was almost implausible, could work to completely prevent him from being arrested. In this writer’s opinion laws like this have no business in the America we live in today.
In addition, it is known that in the five months after this law was passed there were approximately 13 self defense shootings. This begs the question: is this Florida law really giving people in the state a license to kill? Incidents like the Trayvon Martin shooting, and subsequent inaction in regards to bringing justice to his family, just go to show how little value the state of Florida places on a man’s life, let alone the life of a Black man.
Trayvon Martin is also a symbol of the continued indifference and high disregard many people have in regards to Black America, and my heart goes out to the family as well as everyone else affected by this avoidable murder in cold blood. This young man could have been any Black parents’ son, and it is unfortunate that there had to be such a salient response to the murder before the Justice Department decided to do anything about it. In fact, if the family of young Martin were not willing to step up so voraciously and try to get the justice they deserve absolutely nothing may have been done about this murder at all. It is plain the local police department were unwilling to do anything and are still unwilling to. “They always get away with it” is one statement that Zimmerman exclaimed to the police operator he talked to that night in regards to Trayvon Martin and the presumed crime he never committed.
Though it is unclear whom “they” was, I for one think this statement was in reference to all Black males specifically when any crimes are committed they are accused of. This time let us hope that George Zimmerman himself does not get away with the robbing of a young man’s life just because of the color of his skin. Let’s hope he gets what he deserves for the pain and suffering he caused to this young man’s family, and above all, let’s hope justice is finally served in the trial to come.