On Feb. 26th, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The case has made national news. Here are some of the facts:
- Martin was 17; Zimmerman is 28.
- Martin was an African-American; Zimmerman is Hispanic.
- Martin was wearing a “hoodie,” aka a hooded sweatshirt.
- Martin had no criminal record nor any violent infractions on his school record.
- At the time of his death, Martin was serving a 10 day school suspension for possessing a baggie with marijuana residue on it; this was his 3rd suspension — the first for possessing a “burglary implement” and second for vandalism.
- Martin was carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea; Zimmerman was carrying a gun.
- Zimmerman is a volunteer watch coordinator with Neighborhood Watch, an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention.
- Martin was walking from a convenience store to the home of his father’s girlfriend, when Zimmerman — on the phone with the Sanford (FL) Police Department — began following him, saying he witnessed suspicious behavior.
- The police advised Zimmerman not to do anything.
- There was soon a physical altercation, in which Zimmerman fatally shot Martin.
- At the scene of the incident, Zimmerman claimed self-defense; he had a bloody nose, blood stains on the back of his head, and grass stains on his back.
- Zimmerman has to date not been arrested, with the police department saying on March 12th that they have not found evidence contradicting his assertion of self-defense.
- On March 13th, ABC News reported there was “questionable police conduct” in the investigation.
- On March 19th, the U.S. Justice Dept. announces its involvement.
- The Zimmerman family denies any racial profiling.
- Many analysts suggest prosecuting Zimmerman is difficult due to Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, saying that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to first retreat.
- Throughout March, there has been an intensifying, articulate uproar (an observation — not a fact).
- Outrage has been echoed from many, notably from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, and Martin’s family.
- Others have brought increased attention via their public comments, including Pres. Obama, Geraldo Rivera, and Spike Lee.
- Also in response, hoodies have been donned by both Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and the Miami Heat. Obama’s presidential campaign unveiled a new “Obama 2012” hoodie.
- The New Black Panther Party has issued a $10,000 reward to any who would abduct Zimmerman.
- Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, warned of “retaliation.”
No one has all of the facts. That’s a significant reminder. Hence, here are the Intramuralist’s subjective thoughts and observations:
- Martin’s death is tragic; may God be with his grieving family.
- Prejudice is rampant — by both whites and blacks.
- God is the ultimate giver of justice; on the days I wonder if Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson sleep well at night, I remind myself that God is just. I, well, sometimes, am not.
Additional, heartfelt commentary…
The reality is that none of us were there that fateful night. None of us know what happened. Martin should not be considered guilty because he was black nor Zimmerman innocent because he is not. The color of a person’s skin speaks not to their innocence nor guilt. We cannot judge simply by means of what our eyes see nor what our heart’s believe; that speaks to profiling and social justice. The Intramuralist is thus uncomfortable with society’s immediate rush to judgment… be that judgment by George Zimmerman… or be that judgment by society in response.
While uncomfortable, also, with those who promote or politicize support or opposition for personal gain, I am most disturbed by society’s collective lack of wisdom. We would be far wiser if we would recognize that we don’t know all of the facts. We would be far wiser if we didn’t accuse or support based on skin color. We would be far wiser if we didn’t “profile” based on skin, dress, handicap, weight, party, status, education, income, etc. We would be far wiser if we didn’t think we “knew it all.”
In that respect, Martin’s death is disturbing. So is the response.