Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I keep trying to write about this, but between feeling that I really don’t have anything to add, and incoherent anger I feel that we’re even talking about whether someone who shot an unarmed teen after following him for several blocks is at fault, I really think you’ll all be better off checking out these links that explain it better than I.
Mother Jones: The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained. This is constantly being updated, so check back frequently.
For those of you who have seen the right wing articles trying to discredit Martin by claiming he was suspended from school for marijuana possession (and so what if he was?), which has been discredited by the school district, that he was actually a thug according to a photo from his Facebook which is neither from his Facebook, nor him*, and it has since been discovered was propagated by Stormfront.org. ThinkProgress.org has more debunking in their article “What you need to know about the smear campaign against Trayvon Martin.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates has several articles on the Atlantic site about the Trayvon Martin case.
Angry Black Bitch also has several excellent articles on the case, including one asking why “Stand Your Ground” laws wouldn’t apply to Trayvon Martin since a creepy white guy was acting suspicious toward him and we all know that most serial killers are white dudes in their thirties… Does that sound ridiculous to you? Congratulations, then you now know why Zimmerman behaving as he did was just as ridiculous.
Look, I don’t want to talk about whether or not “Stand Your Ground” laws are good law (they aren’t). But what Zimmerman did was not “standing his ground.” He followed a teenaged boy slowly in his SUV, confirmed by Martin’s girlfriend who said Martin talked to her about a man (most likely Zimmerman) following him. Martin didn’t hang up with her until he thought he’d lost the man. And we know Zimmerman followed Martin, in his own words on the 911 call. Now there is also a 911 call from Martin that the federal authorities are examining. Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after the 911 dispatcher asked him not to.
Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this whole thing and figure out what happened, but if asked whether I’d rather lay money on the innocence of a goofy 17 year old kid, versus a racist who reported suspicious black 9 year olds to 911, and had made dozens of calls to 911 primarily to report black people being black in his presence. The jury is still out over whether or not Zimmerman did actually use a racial slur toward Martin in his 911 call, but it isn’t looking good for the self-styled “Neighborhood Watch Captain.”
*And so what if it was him. Kids… Hell, people do goofy, stupid shit on their Facebook pages. Hell, I’m dressed as a pirate on mine, and have yet to steal a single ship or cargo. I have news for you guys, all those young women with “duckface” pictures of themselves aren’t really porn stars either.
I asked the lawyer for whom I used to work about “stand your ground” because it sounds oddly like self defense to me – he said it’s quite different, since self defense in the legal sense assumes you have no other means of retreat or escape other than attacking, if attacked first. (Your legal obligation is to retreat in most states, rather than fighting back, which I guess I sort of knew, but needed the reminder.) He said it’s sort of like carrying around a little piece of your home on your person, since nobody’s legally expected to retreat from attack in their own home from an invader – on the other hand, he pointed out this doesn’t mean you can stalk someone or go spoiling to provoke a fight, and he can’t understand why Zimmerman hasn’t at least been arrested just to bond out.
At the end, he said to me, “Don’t you figure all these white people defending him for shooting an unarmed black kid secretly wish they could get away with the same thing?” I was forced to agree; I’ve already had to hear one old white person defend it, citing a few experiences she had in her younger years as an excuse. As a journalist, I see value in not jumping to full judgment until vital details of the investigation are out (as some others already have), but that means not defending Zimmerman, either.