published Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Martin will take more than a trial

Abdul Kebbeh, 6, holds a sign at Westlake Park on Sunday in downtown Seattle. Hundreds of people gathered to march in protest over the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
Abdul Kebbeh, 6, holds a sign at Westlake Park on Sunday in downtown Seattle. Hundreds of people gathered to march in protest over the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

What can you say about Saturday's all-women, all-white jury verdict acquitting neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman of both the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges from the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.?

That justice was done? Technically, perhaps yes. In a case where there were no eye witnesses to say what actually happened, jurors probably did have reasonable doubt about whether Zimmerman could be in fear for his life.

Was justice done in reality? No way.

A grown man went looking for a fight when Zimmerman stuffed a gun in his pants and went out patrolling and profiling for a "suspect." Then he followed a black teen in a hoodie who didn't so much as make a rude hand sign to him. All the while, Zimmerman muttered racial slurs and things like: "F---king punks, ... they always get away."

Then the vigilante got out of his car and followed the youngster, who was armed only with Skittles -- and, oh yeah, concrete, if you believe that Martin, in his own fit of self-defense, rolled the vigilante over onto the sidewalk before the vigilante put a bullet squarely in Martin's heart.

Not only was Zimmerman a wanna-be cop, turns out he was a dead-on shot.

But the real verdict -- borne out in post-verdict talks around the country Sunday and Monday -- is that racism and race fear are insidiously alive and well in America.

On Facebook, on television, on radio talk shows, scores of people talked about the verdict almost as a litmus test of blacks' value to society.

Candace McRae Walsh, a black Tennessean and former Chattanoogan, said the verdict was a hard thing to explain to her 13-year-old son.

Walsh, who said she saw a scenario in which both Martin and Zimmerman acted in self-defense, told her son: "It's all about perceptions, and everything is not always black and white."

She told him she saw the situation this way: It's a rainy night at o'clock, Zimmerman sees a guy walking in a black hoodie and he perceives a guy up to no good. This is what we see in the media. This is the lifestyle glorified in music videos. Martin, on the other hand, sees a "creepy ... cracker" following him. He's 17, and his adrenaline gets pumping, and he's all prepared to whip somebody's butt.

"I don't half blame the child for trying to defend himself, and I don't half blame the guy for trying to defend himself. But it all comes down to perceptions," Walsh said. "I want to see us all talk a little more."

Until then, she's having to tell her son something she wishes she didn't have to say.

"Son, people size you up a lot of times by the way you look, so I can't let you walk around with your hat turned around and your pants hanging down and your chains hanging, or you could end up in a grave like Trayvon."

It's hard for him to understand. "He heard it, but come on -- he's 13," Walsh said. "It makes me sad. I never thought the same discussion my parents had to have with me would be what I have to have with my child in 2013."

Over the radio waves, that discussion black parents have their children -- particularly their sons -- was termed "the talk." It entails advice about how to stay alive and uninjured if you are pulled over or questioned by police. It goes like this: Don't make sudden moves. Keep your hands out of your pockets and visible at all times. Speak respectfully even if you don't feel that way.

It's not a conversation many whites have to have. In fact, whites tend to tell their children to seek out police.

Even though Zimmerman wasn't a police officer, his perception that Martin was a threat or suspect drove home the stereotypes that haunt us as a nation.

Even the often-spoken concerns about protests after the verdict held racial connotations.

So, in the end, if any justice is to come from the death of a 17-year-old who just wanted some tea and Skittles, it must come from all of us. It certainly won't come from our leaders who tend only to legislate laws making fear and vigilantism easier with no sensible gun control but plenty of bills such as Florida's and Tennessee's so-called "Stand Your Ground" legislation. And it won't come from television and movies, or even from headlines.

Instead, justice must come with conversations about who we are, not how we look. It must come from setting fear aside and not letting it rob us of our senses, as it did both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

It's really a shame that neither of them -- especially Zimmerman, the adult -- didn't use a little reasonable doubt before they acted out of fear on that rainy dark night in Florida.

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nucanuck said...

How is it possible to have "stand your ground" as a defense when Zimmerman had to be encroaching on Martin's "ground" for a confrontation to have taken place.

Martin may well have been a sorry punk kid and Zimmerman may well be a well-meaning citizen, but from what we know, Zimmerman was the aggressor by any reasonable definition.

July 16, 2013 at 1:11 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Zimmerman broke every rule of being a neighborhood watch person and then some. And Florida's Stand Your Ground law doesn't give anyone the right to stalk, confront an individual then shoot them in a struggle just because their victim put up a resistance and the stalker saw he was losing. If that's the case then every criminal who stalks and kills their victim will have a defense in their favor.

July 16, 2013 at 2:40 a.m.
conservative said...

The Godless wicked Liberal/Socialist/Demoncrat media failed in their efforts to convict the man, now they want to incite riots all over America in retaliation.

Why? They all ready have them firmly ensconced in the Demoncrat party with over 90% of their vote and firmly planted on the government plantation. What else is there to gain? Do they want Marshall Law and overthrow of the government? Or do they want to damage or destroy places of business and employment? They do hate Capitalism, don't they?

July 16, 2013 at 7:44 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Zimmerman uttered racial slurs, did you get that from MSNBC?

July 16, 2013 at 8:10 a.m.
Facts said...

Despite evidence being withheld about Martin's practice of theft and his drug use, I've yet to hear any attorney for the prosecution or the family specify any other evidence that was not allowed in the case that would have changed the outcome.

As always, if the left doesn't like the outcome, you demonize the process and redefine it. The process of justice was played out. You just want a certain outcome, not justice.

July 16, 2013 at 8:37 a.m.
klifnotes said...

RE: They do hate Capitalism, don't they?

In the words of Macolm X: You can't have Capitalism without racism.

July 16, 2013 at 8:55 a.m.
klifnotes said...

No facts, history will one day prove the outcome of this trial was wrong. It may take another 25 years, 50 or even over a hundred, as in the Ed Johnson tragedy in Chattanooga over a hundred years ago. We may all be dead turned to dust by time a grave wrong is righted, and future generation will bear the burden, but the truth always win.

As Geraldo Rivera put it, "At least 5 of those 6 jurors would have shot Trayvon Martin too." But then again, this is Florida, where a mother was acquitted after lying about the whereabouts of her child. Leaving that child to rot in the elements and torn apart by wild animals and whatever else as she went out partying and pretending. Must be something in that Florida swamp water.

July 16, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Actually we ought to be organizing marches like we did in the 60's, head for Sanford, FL and march through the neighborhood peacefully every evening until justice is served.

It is impossible to believe Zimmerman was acquitted except due to incompetence of the prosecutors and racism by the jury. What evr personal history about "drugs and theft" of Mr Martin is totally irrelevant to the fact he was walking through the neighborhood armed with skittles and a bag of chips. Zimmerman initiated the encounter and was the cause of it. When you do that robbing a store, even if you are just the driver, you get charged with the crime.

Talk to a young African American in Sanford and ask their reaction if some white guy with a gun starts following them.

The whole thing stinks up the place

July 16, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.
moon4kat said...

I'll boycott everything in and from Florida until the legislators there see sense and repeal the absurd stand-your-ground law.

July 16, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.
gjuster said...

It would be nice if everyone based their opinion on facts rather than emotion. This had nothing to do with Stand Your Ground - it wasn't part of the trial - it was a self defense case. I don't know who was at fault, I do know that the prosecutors did not present a case that could win based upon the facts, not the hearsay nor the media hype. The jury had no option other than to bring a not guilty verdict

July 16, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.
nucanuck said...

I don't mourn Trayvon Martin, he was a punk. I mourn a system that didn't function as it should given the simple strait forward facts. When the person that starts an altercation and then kills and then kills his target, self-defense doesn't fit in that picture.

We know our court system is not perfect, but we should all be able to support the goal of fairness...even when the bad guy gets murdered.

July 16, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I want to hear the writer's details on Zimmerman's racial slurs used.

July 16, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.
conservative said...

Maybe she watches Nancy Disgrace who made a racial slur up.

Nancy Disgrace had the Duke Lacrosse players tried and convicted. When the truth came out Nancy Disgrace had to leave the air in disgrace for a few weeks.

She should have been off the air forever. The devil protects his own.

July 16, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
klifnotes said...

nucanuck said... I don't mourn Trayvon Martin, he was a punk.

I agree with you on everything you said in your 11:58 a.m. post, nucanuck, with the exception of the above statement. Martin was no punk. You'll find he was a typical teenager dating back to even biblical times. The only difference then and now is there's social networks such as facebook, myspace, text messaging where teens go on bragging points and up ones that offers some glimpse into typical behavior many here can't deny they did themselves as teens .

If anything in Martins prior behavior caused him to be justifiably gunned down that night, such as pics of him blowing smoke (possibly smoking weed as some have claimed--or showing off a weapon) then a helluva lot of teens, white, black and other are in the same boat as Martin, and those who've attack Martin may want to put those teens down too (a lot of'em locally) lest they find themselves in a situation one day where they may have to defend themselves from a gun-toting/trigger-happy adult then have their name smeared all across America because they chose to put up a fight.

**I believe every parent that has ever had a child abducted and later found brutally murdered, often raped and mutilated, would overwhelmingly disagree with this verdict. They likely hope and feel some level of solace to know that they're own child put up such a heroic defense, even if they lost their lives in the end. It doesn't matter if Trayvon had succeeded in scattering Zimmerman's brains all across that gated community's sidewalk. Zimmerman was the aggressor, who'd not have felt so empowered to follow and confront someone if he didn't have a gun. It doesn't matter if Zimmerman's defense say Trayvon had 4 minutes to make it back to the house where he was staying. He can't say that for a certainty anyway, as the defense doesn't know if there were circumstances that prevented him. Such as if someone has a gun drawn, and some have suggested Zimmerman had his gun out before he confronted Martin. While others suggest the gun had already been cocked, as there was a bullet in the chamber before it was fired. A person is not likely to come out of hiding if they've found a hiding spot with some stranger with a gun following them. Also self-defense experts have always warned if you feel you're being followed by a stranger you certainly don't want to lead them back to where you live. If you're in a car take a detour. If you're on foot, then try to stray away from where you live.

July 16, 2013 at 5:14 p.m.
klifnotes said...

nucanuck continued. As I went over my 3000 word limit:

Zimmerman had more than enough time to identify himself as a neighborhood watch to Martin. He failed to do that. Martin did everything self-defense experts advise to do, with the exception that Trayvon did attempt to make contact with Zimmerman, and Zimmerman could have used that as an opportunity to identify himself. On the other hand, Zimmerman broke every rule a neighborhood watch person is advised to do and then some.

Now, hopefully all these individuals who've senselessly attacked this heroic young man, who should actually be given a medal, posthumously, will consider all this the next time in the news we hear of some child having been abducted, brutally raped and murdered, and their killer use the Zimmerman defense won't be as supportive of the killer as they have been in support of Zimmerman. If Zimmerman's supporters don't believe criminals aren't already using the laws these states created that helped to get Zimmerman off the hook, and to get their own charges reduced or have themselves found not guilty, they'd best think again.

I don't give a dam/N who Zimmerman is, what color, nationality, what or who he and his parents connections are in Sanford Florida, which likely played a major role in his being found not guilty. To me he will always be the killer, who senselessly gunned down and murdered an innocent child. Btw- Trayvon Martin had just turned 17 by two weeks. He was still basically on a 16 year old child.

Bidding you all adieu on the subject.

July 16, 2013 at 5:15 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Still waiting.

July 16, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.
klifnotes said...


Milwaukee: 13 year old Darius Simmons was taking out the garbage on garbage day when he was confronted by 76 year old neighbor John Henry Spooner, who accused him of stealing guns from his home. The 6TH grader denied having stole anything from Spooner. Spooner then shot Simmons practically point blank and in front of his mother, killing him, before his mother could intervene. This was in broad daylight in the early hours of the morning. 10 a.m. The other problem is, there's no evidence Spooner had those guns in the home, and if he ever had they were likely long taken away perhaps by family members due to his aging and possible senility. Perhaps, his memory (suffering from possible dementia) had slipped back to a time when he may have actually owned guns. Having cared for two relatives who suffered from dementia, I know how they can confuse something or something over 50 years ago with the present. And doctors always advised caregivers caring for dementia patients to remove any and all weapons from the home and put away any sharp objects that could be used as a weapon. It can be like having to keep an eye on a sometimes combative, energetic 2 year old, only a confused one who is twice your size, has triple strength and can overpower you, harm you and even kill you.

Spooner was charged with murder and he's scheduled to go to trial this week. Wisconsin a Castle Doctrine state and has laws similar to Florida's and other states. Including the infamous SYG law.

It's not just Zimmerman and the outcome of his trials, but the ruling will likely affect the perhaps millions other Zimmermans out there who will now feel they can just follow and shoot some innocent fellow American then claim self-defense. Having been on the receiving end of being stalked and harassed, yes this concerns me greatly.


July 16, 2013 at 8:43 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Anything yet or should I just give up.

July 17, 2013 at 8:28 a.m.
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