I think that by now everyone is aware of the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin. But what do we actually know about the case? Well, if you listened to and read media accounts in the days following Martin’s death, you would’ve seen that Zimmerman was a wild-eyed, crazy, gun-slinging, drooling white man who gunned down a thin, young African American boy who’d skipped his way to the store to purchase candy and a soda, all while humming Disney tunes as tiny bluebirds gayly flitted and fluttered around his head.
We know now, though, that many media accounts were far from accurate. Zimmerman, it turns out, is a half Hispanic man who is most likely a police officer wannabe but doesn’t meet the standard, and Martin was much older and much larger and not quite as innocent as the media wanted us to believe.
What a shock…some media sources stretched and bent and twisted the truth about the case until it turned into what it is today. And there were serious consequences. A police chief lost his job. Racial tensions are at the tipping point. Even the president of the U.S. stuck his nose in the case, saying, “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin.” That was perhaps one of the most odd occurrences in the aftermath of the shooting. But it didn’t stop there. Suddenly, it was black against white (even though Zimmerman is of a Hispanic background). The usuals for both sides came out to stir the pot until it boiled over. There were death threats to Zimmerman, and promised retaliation from non-black hate groups. It’s been near chaos at times.
What we’re seeing play out in the televised coverage of Zimmerman’s murder trial is not even close to what most of the broadcast media outlets sent to our television screens in the hours and days following Martin’s death. Actually, most of the accounting that Zimmerman offered to police has been backed by evidence—Martin most likely punched Zimmerman and slammed his head onto a concrete surface; Martin was on top of Zimmerman when Zimmerman fired his weapon, etc. Even witness testimony and the testimony from an expert placed Martin on top of Zimmerman during the struggle, which brings up a legitimate question. If Martin was on top during the struggle (a good indicator that he was winning the fight) then why would he have reason to yell for help? Certainly, common sense tells us that the loser of a brawl would be more inclined to ask or yell for assistance.
As a police investigator, I searched for fact. I did not allow personal opinion interfere with my methods of solving cases. And that’s how I’ve viewed that facts in this convoluted and unfortunate case involving the death of Trayvon Martin. Sure, if I were a Monday morning quarterback I’d say it would have been best had Zimmerman remained in his car until the police arrived. But that’s not what happened, nor was Zimmerman under any obligation to do so. At any rate, he got out and a few minutes later somebody’s son was dead. And, another son would soon be arrested for murder.
We’ve seen a lot of posturing by attorneys in this case, with each trying to paint the other’s evidence in the worst possible light. They’re taking jabs at the other’s witnesses, trying to discredit them. And the prosecution is trying its best to make George Zimmerman out to be the racist gun-slinging crazy man I mentioned in the opening paragraph. And Zimmerman’s attorneys have tried, but so far haven’t been totally successful in their efforts to change the image the media painted of Trayvon Martin, the happy little kid who was merrily skipping his way home from the candy store.
Now, I wasn’t there when this unfortunate incident took place, which means I can’t with any authority say what happened. I do know, however, what the evidence shows. Do I think Zimmerman is a fine, upstanding citizen? Absolutely not. Not even close. Is he guilty of 2nd Degree Murder? I don’t think the prosecution has come anywhere close to proving their case. Again, not even close.
Sure, Zimmerman killed Martin, but the evidence is leaning in his favor that it was in self defense. Remember, Zimmerman had the same right as Martin to be there on that sidewalk. Zimmerman was not obligated to remain in his car. All that’s in question now is did Zimmerman feel his life or welfare was in jeopardy at the time he pulled the trigger?
And that brings us to Martin. The media and the defense have offered to us an image of a little boy who only wanted one thing, his Skittles and iced tea. However, Martin was no little kid. Sure, he was young, but he was the size of a grown man, and he lived like a man, boasting about fighting and selling and using drugs (on Twitter). The defense will shortly be introducing evidence that Martin had marijuana in his system the night died.
Images taken from Martin’s cell phone definitely paint an entirely different picture of him than what the broadcast media forced upon us. And that’s not including his school suspensions for drug paraphernalia, and other offenses.
Here are some of the images taken from Martin’s cell phone. I ask you, are these the images you’d associate with an innocent and timid little boy?
For those of you who don’t recognize the plant species, this is marijuana.
In no way am I saying Martin or Zimmerman were/are bad people. I’ve never met either of them, or their families. Instead, I believe that all sides of the case, and those involved in it, should be seen before decisions are made. I am saying, however, that the media should broadcast/print the true news—fact—not some story they’ve concocted by manipulating the events and words in ways that helps them sell papers and magazines, and that increases the number of viewers and/or followers to a particular network or political party.
If the Zimmerman case was indeed about race, then so be it. However, I don’t see where it was, but the media has ignited a hot fire that that’ll burn for a long time, and it will be up to others to extinguish it while the true firebugs move on to another story they can spin. For now, though, I feel for the Martin family who has to deal with losing a son. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. But I do know that the racist fire that was concocted and fueled by the media has deepened their wounds. I just hope the Martin’s can someday know that not all whites and Hispanics judge by skin color. I also hope they can do the same.
And, I feel for the Zimmerman’s, whose son may be headed to prison for a long, long time. Zimmerman may or may not be a racist, I don’t know. But he wasn’t given a choice thanks to recordings that were apparently and conveniently edited by the media to suit their agenda.
Anyway, the Zimmerman trial will soon be coming to a close. Hopefully, the jury can wade through everything they’ve seen and heard and reach a decision they believe is the right one—a decision based on the facts of the case. And, hopefully, everyone will accept their decision, whatever it may be, and move on.
Will that be case? I certainly hope so.
*Trayvon Martin’s cell phone images – CNN