Trayvon Martin

The Trayvon Martin case is but another example of a high profile, racially charged incident being tried in the media and the court of public opinion prior to the facts being known. Emotions are running high because it reminds us as a nation of our not so distant past when incidents like this were much too common. It also reminds us our prisons are full of young black men. It causes white people to feel guilty because they feel the flush of fear when they see a young black male on a lonely section of street in a bad neighborhood. It gives aging media hounds who love to trump with the race card another chance to try to become relevant once again.

What are the facts as we currently understand them?

It is a horrible tragedy that a young a man lost his life and his parents and loved ones have been blindsided by unimaginable grief.

George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch Captain, was over zealous, as evidenced by the excessive number of 911 calls he made. But, we do not know if his shooting of Trayvon was an unwarranted use of force for the circumstances.

Trayvon Martin had been expelled from school three times. He had been caught with a burglary tool, jewelry that did not belong to him, a marijuana pipe, and he had skipped school. This does not indicate any guilt in his encounter with Zimmerman, but it does fly in the face of media portrayals of the model teenager with a bottle of water and bag of Skittles.

Both Martin and Zimmerman were suspicious of each other as evidenced by their phone calls. Was Zimmerman suspicious of Martin because he was black? Was Martin suspicious of Zimmerman because he was known to be overzealous? Nobody knows.

There was a fight. Zimmerman was injured. He had a broken nose and injuries to the back of his head.

Way too much has been made of the hoodie! Let’s stop trying to reduce this tragedy to a symbol!

Zimmerman was charged by police on the scene, but was released.

Therefore, a state investigation and grand jury is definitely in order and are in the works.

There was a time and place for demonstrations prior to getting the state investigation, but now they are only knee jerk reactions and opportunities to stir up hatred. The facts simply are not known!

Zimmerman is in hiding, fearing for his life. That is not indication of a desire for justice, but a very real fear of vigilantism.

Justice is slow and it should be so that each side can make their case, the facts can be made known, and judgment passed according to law. Patience is in order. The best thing that could happen is for the demonstrations to stop and the media to stop hyping it up so that justice can be done.

Maybe racial profiling was involved. Maybe an innocent kid was shot and killed. Maybe Zimmerman should have been arrested, but he should not be fearing for his life. If the facts prove otherwise, then shame on all of us for jumping to conclusions! Shame on us no matter what for this rush to judgment and vigilantism!


About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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  1. My article might sound pro Zimmerman, but, in fact, I intended it to be an indictment of vigilantism and a call for justice through our legal system. Normally, I am the advocate for the underdog. I cringe when I hear stories like one I heard from a black friend who recounts being spit on during a high school wrestling tournament or Professor Henry Gates talking about the need to be nicely dressed and well-spoken to keep from being profiled by the police. My call is to treat everyone with equal human dignity and for justice to be applied equally to all. Neither racial profiling, nor vigilantism is justice!

    • Hi Glenn. Well said again sir. In this case, as I understand it now, the shooting was deemed as justified based on Zimmerman fearing for his life because he was “getting pounded”. HOWEVER……

      As a law enforcement officer, I am embarrassed that Zimmerman was not taken into custody while the investigation was conducted and for this reason. One of the most important aspects that the courts use when determining when a cop uses any force is whether or not they put themselves in a position that required that force. More simply put, what other options were there.

      In this case, it is very clear to me that Zimmerman pursued this kid and therefore put himself in the position that required him to shoot.

      Just my .02!

      • Mike –

        Thanks for clarifying what happened and what should have happened. Sounds like shoddy police work, like so many have saying.The investigation should bring the facts to light.

        So, why hasn’t Zimmerman been arrested?

        Mike, your comments really helped to understand this thing, Hence, the value of an interactive platform.

      • Thanks Glenn and I’m glad you understand. However, remember that my thoughts are just that; my thoughts. This is clearly a situation that went wrong and for a lot of reasons.

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