A commenter made the observation yesterday that posthumous character assassination is unfair. I tend to agree. It is wrong to unfairly malign someone when they have passed and cannot defend themselves. That said, a person’s death does not confer sainthood, especially when how that person died may affect how other people may live.
George Zimmerman has his character assassinated in the media in the past weeks, as the neighborhood watch volunteer’s shooting of a teen was transformed into a narrative about a white paranoid racist with an itchy trigger finger gunning down an innocent black boy named Trayon Martin who was doing nothing more than walking home with a snack. To complete the image, the media provided pictures of a disheveled Zimmerman, and an angelic Martin from when he was younger and almost cherubic in appearance. It was “beauty and the beast,” and the media were bringing out the torches and pitchforks to kill the beast they’d created.
But real life isn’t like fiction, even if that fiction is presented as fact by news readers and journalists looking to sell profitable stories to prop up dying mediums.
As more facts emerge, George Zimmerman’s early portrayal as a white racist has been blunted by the reality that Zimmerman is multiracial himself, and is part of an even more multiracial family and circle of friends.
The harmless, innocent, nearly angelic portrayal of Trayvon Martin has now been eroded by the facts surrounding his own death where witness testimony and physical evidence suggests that he, not Zimmerman, may have initiated the contact that upgraded the confrontation into assault, and then assault with a deadly weapon as he allegedly smashed Zimmerman’s head repeatedly into the concrete.
If those are the true facts of the case, then Zimmerman merely killed Martin before Martin murdered or maimed him. This is the version of events that the physical evidence of the case supports, and why he was not arrested by the Sanford Police Department.
So who is the real Trayvon Martin? He wasn’t the saint the media portrayed, but a 6’2″ high school football player in the prime of physical shape, that hung around with the wrong kids and got in a lot of trouble.
Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was allegedly suspended from school after security officers found what they described as a ‘burglary tool’ and women’s jewellery in his backpack.
Although the school officially suspended Trayvon in October for grafitti, after he and some friends wrote ‘W.T.F.’ on a school locker, the Miami Herald claims that the real reason was that he was caught with a ‘burglary tool’ – a flathead screwdriver – and 12 items of jewellery. Martin insisted that they did not belong to him.
Trayvon was kicked out of school a total of three times, according to the documents: First for truancy and tardiness, then in October for the graffiti and finally in February after he was found with a ‘marijuana pipe’ and an empty baggie with traces of marijuana.
George Zimmerman was no villain. Trayvon Martin was no innocent. And the stories crafted to portray them as these archetypes were lies that the media have created to turn a profit through outrage. In the end, the media’s interest in this is two-fold. Their primary interest is controversy, because eyeballs sells advertising. It’s all about the money. Their secondary interest is promoting their belief system, which tends to coincide heavily with the ideals and (im)morals of the Democratic Party.
I highly suspect that at the end of the witch hunt, we’ll discover that this story, like thousands each year that are not blown up into full-fledged media spectacles, is the very human story of intense emotions, miscommunications, and sudden violence where there “right” and “wrong” is an academic determination to be made later about a deadly conflict in which death for one or the other man seemed certain.
As more facts come out to upend the media narrative, it becomes every more plausible to believe that once Trayvon Martin downed George Zimmerman after having words with him, and then began pounding his head into the pavement, that Zimmerman have every right to defend himself against what could easily be regarded as assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He may have had reason to fear that his life was in danger. The single shot he fired was to preserve his own life, not to necessarily take the life of the man attacking him. He called for help. No one answered. He did what he thought he had to do to survive.
Now, put yourself in his shoes.
Imagine seeing a stranger in your neighborhood, walking through the rain, taking actions you regard as “casing” homes in the same neighborhood that has suffered a rash of burglaries. Imagine you trailed the suspicious person as you called the authorities, and tried to keep him in sight so that the police can find and talk with him. Imagine that you made the decision to get out of your car to try to keep the suspicious character in your line of sight, only to have him double back and confront you. After a heated conversation, he punches you in the face, breaking your nose and knocking you to the pavement.
He then leaps on top of you, pounding your head into the pavement. You shout, pleading for help. No one answers. You feel the blood flowing from the back of your head, and streaming from your shattered nose down your throat, choking you. You fear for your life. You have a small pistol in holster on your belt. You fear you are about to be beaten to death. You have the means to stop it.
At the end of the day, broken and bleeding on the ground, being pummeled by a high school football player that has mounted him and seems intent on fracturing his skull by bashing it repeatedly into the pavement, George Zimmerman had two options. Do you just let yourself die at the hands of a stranger? Or do you fight for the life God gave you?
All else is just noise.