On February 26, 2012, a seventeen-year-old high school student named Trayvon Martin was killed in the community of Sanford, Florida, just north of Orlando. George Zimmerman is at the scene, a 28-year-old white male, still brandishing a handgun. He has a bloody nose, but is otherwise unharmed. Zimmerman took upon himself the duty of neighborhood watch captain for the community, and apparently frequently went on what was termed as neighborhood watch patrols. The kid was dead at the scene. He is unarmed. The only thing on his person is a pack of Skittles candy and a bottle of tea. Zimmerman tells police he shot the boy in self-defense.
What was the reaction of the police? Nothing. Nothing at all. They took Zimmerman at his word. They did not arrest him, take his weapon, check to see if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or look into his background. They simply cleaned up the scene and wrote it up as a justified killing. Over a month goes by, and Trayvon’s family wait for more to arise from the incident. It doesn’t. Finally, they demand action. They want to hear 911 tapes from the incident or to see Zimmerman arrested. Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee reiterates that there is no reason to question Zimmerman’s story. The recordings were finally released, and the boy’s parents are outraged, proclaiming that Zimmerman murdered their child. Several online petitions are circulated, one gaining over 250,000 signatures, for an official inquiry into the events of February 26. Finally, the Justice Department announces that the FBI will look into the matter. Under duress now, the state attorney of Florida relents and announces that a grand jury investigation will take place to review the evidence on April 10. And what do you know, it turns out that when Zimmerman reported Martin in his neighborhood as a “suspicious person,” he used a racial remark to describe him to police.
Now, the case has taken on a life of its own. The so-called “Million Hoodie March” featured Martin’s parents in a protest in New York City demanding that something be done. The popular website Change.org features a petition about the incident that is moving quickly toward 1 million signatures. Even international star Justin Bieber has weighed in on Twitter, spreading the unrest about the incident even wider.
It may be that no one will ever know the truth about what happened that night. Perhaps Zimmerman’s account is on the level, but there seems little reason for young Trayvon Martin to attack him. Zimmerman said that he thought the kid was on drugs or something when he talked to police, but, as we said before, all the cops found on his person was a bag of Skittles and some iced tea. The coroner may find otherwise, if they even do a true autopsy. Police implored Zimmerman not to chase the kid, but he did anyway.
The real question here is overlooked, as it so often is in these types of cases. Is it possible that Trayvon Martin was the victim of racial profiling that led George Zimmerman, a criminal science student in college, to shoot him? Absolutely. Is it possible that Trayvon was up to no good and Zimmerman did do what he did to defend himself? Absolutely. However, the most important issue here will be lost in a sea of Al Sharpton-inspired protests and marches. The real problem is why do we have ordinary citizens marching the streets with 9mm handguns believing they have the authority to do anything about what they see, right or wrong. If George Zimmerman had simply had a cell phone and not a handgun, how different might this have gone down? Yes, he might still have the bloody nose, but the kid would almost definitely still be alive, and he wouldn’t be wondering if he is about to indicted for first-degree murder in a few weeks. Thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money wouldn’t be wasted on what will ultimately end up in an FBI investigation over an incident that the average rookie on the police force should be able to handle any day of the week.
This incident elevated to the killing of Trayvon Martin because a gun was present. And Trayvon wasn’t the one who had it.
Common Sense Conspiracy fully believes in the rights of Americans to own a gun and have it in their home to protect themselves against intruders. We fully support the right to use deadly force in doing so. But when a 28-year-old wannabe cop is walking around with a 9mm in his pants “patrolling the neighborhood,” that is where the disconnect comes. That’s not a right to bear arms. Police officers are trained to deal with situations like this (assuming there was any reason to approach Trayvon in the first place), and yes, they can use deadly force, but they typically don’t use it as the first option. What Zimmerman’s real motivation was may never be known, but one thing is for sure: the matter should have been investigated. How much do you want to bet that it turns out that George Zimmerman has tried out for every police department around his area and not got a job? He obviously thinks he has the right to patrol the streets, something the neighbors probably didn’t submit to.
For the record, the official Neighborhood Watch manual says that it is important for civilians participating in the program to remember that they do not possess police powers, shall not carry weapons, and shall not pursue suspects. This is what the police is for. The Neighborhood Watch program is a good thing that has the best of intentions, but it only takes one George Zimmerman to cast doubt on the entire institution.
Someone breaks into your house while you are home. We say blow that sucker away. Someone is walking down the street looking “suspicious.” Call the police. Leave your gun in its case or drawer, or wherever you keep it.
Where’s the common sense people? Wow, that sounds like a cool idea for a website.