The tragic episode of Trayvon Martin is a confluence of several separate and very important facts. First and foremost, a shooting occurred that resulted in the untimely death of a young man. The police have apparently made a preliminary assumption that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense and have not arrested him or charged him with a hate crime up to now. Public outrage, particularly in the African American community, is growing rapidly fueled by the liberal press and the ubiquitous cast of provocateurs who emerge whenever cross racial incidents take place. Finally, the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death may be directly attributable to negative stereotyping of young black men in this country.
When one analyzes the situation and bundles all of these issues together, the result is a hodgepodge of unproductive emotion. It makes more sense to carefully assess the situation and deal with each of the aforementioned items separately.
Let’s start from the beginning. Zimmerman admitted to shooting Martin, but he said it was in self-defense. To this point, it has not yet been determined whether he, in fact, was defending himself from an attack. If Zimmerman is unable to prove he shot Martin while protecting himself, he will likely be convicted of some degree of murder. However, even if Martin put Zimmerman in jeopardy, the application of deadly force could be deemed excessive by a jury and result in a lesser conviction. Of course, Zimmerman could also be declared innocent of any crimes.
The police did not arrest or retain Zimmerman for any length of time after the incident causing widespread indignation. It may have been more palatable if Zimmerman had been held for questioning. Perhaps this action would have tempered the outrage of the family and supporters of Martin.
The emergence of provocateurs was inevitable and has not been helpful towards bringing this situation to a peaceful resolution. How many times has the Reverend Al Sharpton “come to the rescue of a black family looking for justice?” Often. How many times has Sharpton misread the situation or incited an overreaction from his flock? You can answer this question yourself. The death of the young man is very sad; urging violence by stoking racial insecurities is the wrong tactic at this stage of the investigation.
The liberal press has been all over this incident because of its discriminatory reporting relating to alleged police misbehavior. In the case of Trayvon, many believe the police are siding with the shooter. When it is all said and done, the press always opts to over-report violence, which enables them to sell more newspapers, and get more views.
As far as the liberal televised media is concerned, it is an opportunity to encourage debate about hate-crimes, the motivations of the alleged shooter and all types of psychoanalysis of the accused, the victim, his family and society in general. I can feel the onslaught of exposes of all the parties by Geraldo, Greta and many investigative reporters.
And finally, some are using the death of Trayvon to reiterate something we already know: bigotry and racial differences are still pronounced in our society. Are white people afraid of young black men in hoodies? Perhaps so. I am afraid that a great deal of work still needs to be done in this aspect of our society.
Bill Keller, an op-ed writer for the New York Times wrote an interesting piece today questioning hate crime laws, in effect, bravely ignoring the political correctness that usually surrounds tragedies like that of Trayvon Martin. Basically, Keller was asking whether the laws, which increase the sentences of those convicted, are fair. After all, who is capable of determining what was in the heart of a person who murders or assaults another person? The fact is, when a crime is committed and a person is convicted, the sentencing should be the same regardless of the motivations, in my humble opinion. We cannot adjudicate a more civil society or less prejudice; it must be achieved through education and good will.
The best thing for George Zimmerman, the family of Trayvon Martin and our society is to allow the legal process to play out. There is a standard procedure to follow for these types of alleged crimes. Nobody has been deprived of justice, so let’s collect the evidence and allow a jury to decide whether Zimmerman’s actions are justifiable. Reverend Sharpton should retreat back to MSNBC and continue his assault on Republicans. After the jury speaks, he can reemerge and fight against any injustices.