In Februaury of 2012, seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman.
When the story broke a month later, we were told by Al Sharpton (who took up the cause very publicly) that we had a story about a white man who had stalked and killed a young back boy. Sharpton was marching with the family on this principal and it was understandably infuriating. This white guy was out to kill a black kid and he did it, and the police had let him go.
Some people started to challenge the picture by attempting to paint Trayvon as a thug, based on a twitter account that quoted rap lyrics and a Facebook picture of Martin with a grill. This just made it seem worse. These were not people who knew anything about Martin, and they had, in at least one incident found a different Trayvon Martin. We were expected to take these things into account. Because the white guy George Zimmerman had some bruises. We saw the footage, grainy though it was, and he did not look all that bad.
Of course, stuff trickled out later…for one thing, George Zimmerman was not “a white guy”. He was a a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic. I am pretty sure if a white guy had shot George Zimmerman while he was wandering through the guy’s neighborhood, the story would have been about the white guy who shot a Hispanic citizen. Later photos and medical information made it pretty obvious that Zimmerman did indeed take a hard beating.
So, it was clear that Zimmerman did not simply hunt and kill Martin. There was an altercation. Who threw the first punch…that is what we do not know. But there were punches thrown, and when Zimmerman realized he was losing, he pulled out the gun and fired. A lot of the information is murky…but nothing really supports the initial claims by folks like Sharpton that Zimmerman was out to kill Martin from the start. This has muddied the discussion. I see a lot of tweets from the Pro-Martin side that seem to ignore the actual facts and information we do have in favor of questionable discussion points. One example was I saw folks commenting that the room is cold, Zimmerman is sweating…what more proof do we need??? Really? Because if I was on trial for second degree murder, I am pretty sure I would be sweating my way through the trial whether I was guilty or innocent.
And that is the real problem here. The prosecution chose to pursue second degree murder. And you know what? The evidence we have does not favor a guilty verdict. The evidence we have? The prosecution should lose. But they chose second degree murder because they thought they had to due to pressure. This was a manslaughter question. Did Zimmerman think he was in danger and overreact? There just is no evidence that the killing was the plan from the start, and what I have seen of the court proceedings so far, the jury cannot find Zimmerman guilty of the charges.
So far, the defense is guilty of a bad joke and being a bit condescending to a witness. But that is part of the job of the defense and prosecution. It certainly is not proof they are losing. I know why Sharpton pushed the story hard…after all, it would have been lost in a sea of other shooting deaths. It would never have been heard. And there are issues that needed to be addressed. And yet, at the insistence of Sharpton pushing a story with little of the facts available caused a severe muddling of information. In spite of the information we now have, I still hear folks cling to the “white guy seeking to kill black men” version being talked about as if that had not totally collapsed. Hint, that version of the story is false…trying to pretend it is true is not helping the Martins and will not bring about justice.
The prosecution made a bad choice to pursue second degree murder. It made a mess of things. And, I cannot see how they can get some justice for Martin and his family pursuing the path they opted for.