George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in February of 2012, will soon have his day in court. The truth about Zimmerman — that he is not Jewish and that he is Hispanic — came out in the days and weeks after the story first broke.
The truth about Martin — that at the time of his death he was a strapping 5-foot-11-inch, 158-pound adolescent with a gold tooth, not the bright-faced angelic child widely pictured by the media — is also fairly old news, though much is now being made in the press about that fact.
Ditto for newly released photos and texts from the youth’s phone that paint a rather sobering picture of a young man whose life had taken some ominous turns. One photo shows a gun in a black hand, possibly Martin’s.
MARTIN: Cause man dat n*gga snitched on me
FRIEND: Bae y you always fightinqq man, you got suspended?
MARTIN: Naw we thumped afta skool in a duckd off spot
FRIEND: Ohh, Well Damee
MARTIN: I lost da 1st round 🙁 but won da 2nd nd 3rd . . . .
FRIEND: Ohhh So It Wass 3 Rounds? Damn well at least yu wonn lol but yuu needa stop fighting bae Forreal
MARTIN: Nay im not done with fool….. he gone hav 2 see me again
FRIEND: Nooo… Stop, yuu waint gonn bee satisified till yuh suspended again, huh?
MARTIN: Naw but he aint breed nuff 4 me, only his nose
What all of this portends about the direction the trial will take and George Zimmerman’s fate is in the eye of the observer. For Jack Cahill, writing at American Thinker, they suggest a young man whose life was “unraveling”: A child who had been failed by his parents, by the school system, by the “sad vestiges of the civil rights movement,” and by the media. Cahill notes, for example:
Before leaving for Orlando on February 21, 2012, Martin had already missed 53 days of school that year and been suspended three times, most recently for possessing drug paraphernalia, the time before that for getting caught with women’s jewelry and a burglary tool. Why might this be relevant?
When George Zimmerman first spotted Martin near the shortcut into a community plagued by burglaries and home invasions, he told the dispatcher, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something.” Zimmerman might have been right on both counts.
Many of the details that Cahill touches upon are also highlighted in a column by Washington Post op-ed writer Jonathan Capehart. Capehart acknowledges:
That Trayvon dabbled in doobies like millions of other teens is well known. His autopsy revealed traces of THC, the active ingredient in pot. And his suspension from school after being found with an empty marijuana baggie is the reason he was staying with his father in Sanford. Still, while it was not a surprise to see two photos of potted marijuana plants, it was troubling. Where the pictures were taken and to whom the pot plants belonged is unknown. But nothing was more disturbing than the two photos of a gun. One showed a pistol with a loaded clip next to it. The other showed a hand holding the weapon with the clip close by. Where were those photos taken? Where on earth did that gun come from? Who is its owner?
These are valid concerns and questions. But Capehart poisons the waters when he speaks in the opening paragraph of his column of “the rabid hate inspired by Trayvon’s killing.” If you follow the link in the previous sentence, which is Capehart’s, you are taken to a column he wrote shortly after the killing that focuses on hateful comments by Todd Kincannon, former general counsel and executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party. In a tweet, Kincannon wrote that “Trayvon Martin was a dangerous thug who needed to be put down like a rabid dog.”
That comment and others like it are odious to be sure. But so was the general climate in the mainstream media shortly after the shooting. That presumption that Zimmerman was white, Jewish, or both and that Martin was middle-school-aged and fresh of face were undisputed in much of the reporting. What was missing from much of the reporting was coverage of a half-dozen “justice for Trayvon beatings” in which white men were physically assaulted by mobs of as many as a dozen blacks for no reason other than the color of their skin. It is ironic that when Jonathan Capehart refers to the “rabid hate inspired by Trayvon’s killing,” these attacks are ignored altogether. Likewise the $10,000 bounty placed on Zimmerman’s head by the New Black Panthers.
It is possible that Zimmerman overreacted on the night of the shooting. It is a certainty that he had he remained in his vehicle, as the Sanford had instructed, his deadly altercation with Martin may never have happened. That will be decided at Zimmerman’s trial.
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