Protecting the neighborhood
As the Trayvon Martin case continues to pick up steam, new information has been released by Sanford, Fla. police. The shooter, George Zimmerman, told police that the teenager came up behind him while he was walking back to his car, punched him, jumped on him and began banged his head on a sidewalk, and that's when he decided to pull out his gun and shoot the 17-year-old in the chest.
But let's not forget the most significant new information: Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school at some point when school officials discovered "traces" of marijuana in his backpack. For right-thinking, reasonable people, that settles it. Martin was the aggressor, and Zimmerman merely was defending himself against the attack of a teenager hopped up on weed and sugar.
As all the media talking heads bob up and down discussing this case, the one who made the most sense to me was a guy representing the National Rifle Association, who was interviewed Saturday on the radio. I didn't catch his name, so I can't give any more information about him, but I have not heard his comment since.
The NRA representative noted that the 9-1-1 tapes reveal that Zimmerman clearly was stalking Martin even after the operator told him not to. As such, the "stand-your-ground" law does not apply. You can't claim you were standing your ground when you were the one stalking the victim, he said. Obviously, his interest was more in defending the stand-your-ground law than defending the shooter's actions.
Had the Sanford police department done its job, Zimmerman's claim that he was "beaten" by Martin could have been validated by physical evidence. After all, if someone is pounding your head into a sidewalk, you're going to have wounds, but the Sanford police didn't see the need to look for any such evidence supporting Zimmerman's claim. As it stands (or so it seems), we have only the killer's word to go on, and he expects us to believe that he allowed this unprovoked savage beating to occur before he decided to pull out his gun and shoot his assailant in the chest.
Since the story went national last week with the release of the 9-1-1 audio, it has become about race, and perhaps rightly so. This case looks very much like one of those 1950s things where the white cops back up the story of the white assailant, no matter how ridiculous it is. One thing seems different, though. In the 1950s, the cops would have gone through the charade of arresting and perhaps even charging Zimmerman, knowing full well that a white jury would find him not guilty.
In the 21st-century South, the cops don't even arrest the guy. If he says he was defending himself against an unarmed black teenager, that's good enough for them. End of story.