Last month’s shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. has me angry, but not for the reasons you might expect, or those thrust upon us all by the media at large.
To hear the news outlets tell it, Martin was idly walking home from a convenience store when a vigilante, hell-bent on exacting some frontier justice on whomever crossed his path, gunned him down in cold blood. Worse yet, this loose cannon was a white man, which somehow makes the crime more plausible (and reportable) in the eyes of race-baiters and other assorted news-anchor types.
Trouble is, the facts as known to us at this point simply don’t bear out the sensationalism. Certainly Martin was unarmed. Certainly Martin was in possession of a bag of Skittles and the now-ubiquitous hoodie, both of which have become symbols of “the cause.” Also plain is the failure to follow the recommendation by the Sanford police dispatcher, who advised against pursuing Martin following the report of a suspicious individual. Facts.
Speculation delivered by the likes of the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, leans heavily toward a one-man lynching party, killing African-Americans indiscriminately, simply because they are young, black and hooded.
The police report filed in the case shows a different scenario, one in which Zimmerman may well have been justified in using deadly force. Skipping over Zimmerman’s account of self-defense entirely (Officer Timothy Smith did not interview Zimmerman directly regarding the shooting) Smith documented what appears to be substantial proof that Zimmerman was under attack at some time during the incident. According to Smith’s report, “While I was in such close contact with Zimmerman, I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been lying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head.”
Another statement by Smith lends corroboration to both witness and Zimmerman’s own accounting of events, again glossed over in the rush to try Zimmerman in the press.
“Zimmerman was placed in the rear of my police vehicle and was given first aid by the SFD.” Smith reported. “While the SFD was attending to Zimmerman, I overheard him state, ‘I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.’”
In subsequent police interviews, Zimmerman reported he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Martin approached him from behind, the two exchanging words before Martin punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, then began beating him, slamming his head repeatedly to the pavement. According to the police, eyewitnesses corroborated much of Zimmerman’s testimony.
One thing in the report that the media did seize upon was the misidentification of Zimmerman as a white male, ostensibly before receiving his mug shot. Zimmerman, not that it matters to anyone except those using race as a weapon, is clearly Hispanic.
To truly understand the Martin shooting, one has to take a deeper look into the psyche of the Twin Lakes neighborhood, where burglary has become a common, if unacceptable fact of life. Jitters? You bet.
The community, besieged by burglaries, was well within its rights and, in my opinion, good judgment to institute a Neighborhood Watch program in an attempt to lessen the victimization of the homeowners. The Sanford city website, bolstering this argument, lists a full 23 pages of burglary reports in the months preceding the shooting. It’s a miracle that no one had been killed prior; climbing out of someone’s bedroom window, loot in hand.
Justice for Trayvon? Without question, a priority that should be foremost in anyone’s mind, mine included. A young man is dead, and that is a tragedy. But in the media’s rush to judgment, let’s not forget there are two parties involved here. The justice system, flawed as it may seem, takes time to work. It’s time to let the facts speak for themselves, and let the racist hucksters, and their media circus, put up tents in a different town.