RIP Trayvon Martin
It was a little over a month ago that I heard the tragic news that Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old black youth had been gunned down in an unprovoked attack in Florida, USA. On the night of the fatal incident Trayvon was en route to his fathers fiance's house and minding his own general business. 28 year old George Zimmerman however followed the young man whom he suspected of acting suspiciously. I can only ascertain that being a black man wearing a hoodie is enough reason to be deemed 'suspicious' by many including trigger happy Zimmerman who shot Trayvon dead in what he calls an "act of self defence". There is no evidence to support his story and Trayvon was not found to be carrying any weapon. Yet, Zimmerman walks free.
I am horrified that in this day and age it is still ok for black men to be murdered in cold blood in the street on the basis that they are black. Zimmerman claims that Trayvon attacked him and upon realising he had a gun threatened to kill Zimmerman at which point ZImmerman shot him. I have two issues with this version of events.
1. When did it become ok to randomly follow people through the streets? Zimmerman was head of the neighbourhood watch committee but had been advised that if he saw anything suspicious he should contact the police. He did contact the police but instead of waiting for them to respond he took it upon himself to follow the young man. On what basis? Because he was black wearing a hoodie? Trayvon's family lived in the area so I am slightly confused as to why he had not been recognised as someone who frequented that specific neighbourhood. But irrespective of that why can a black man of any age not walk down the street without being harassed or followed?
2. Even if Zimmermans accounts were true and Trayvon attacked him does that make it ok for him to shoot him dead at close range? Since when did a gun become equal to a fist? Had he not been following him for absolutely NO reason Trayvon could not have had the chance to get anywhere near him.
Irrespective of all of this, the biggest problem in this picture is the concept that it is ok for someone to be shot dead in the street and the assailant to walk free on the basis that he claims he was attacked. There are no consistent pieces of evidence to support his claim and therefore its Zimmermans word against Trayvons dead body. Witnesses have varying versions of events and therefore cannot be taken seriously. Some agree with Zimmermans story others claim ZImmerman shot Trayvon without no good reason. I tend to believe that we will never know. What I do know is that it is not ok to shoot anyone who is unarmed and subsequently poses no real threat. Therefore Zimmerman should be behind bars as he poses a greater threat to society than an unarmed Trayvon.
This case has demonstrated a very real lack of value for the life of Black youths. I tend to be of the thinking that had this situation been in reverse and Trayvon had been the one doing the shooting and Zimmerman an unarmed half Hispanic half white 17 year old on a family visit laying dead in the street, Trayvon would have been locked up quicker than it took me to write this blog. Sometimes I really wish it was possible to switch situations for real just to be able to prove the outcome. But we cannot do that.
Another thing I take great issue with is the number of individuals who last month went crazy blogging, tweeting, facebooking, bb messaging, talking about Kony 2012. Yet how many of those same people sit silently and say nothing about Trayvon. I know nothing of Knoy other than what the sensationalists and propagandists try to feed me through social media. However I know a man from Uganda who tells me Kony has not been seen in Uganda for over 6 years and that in fact this whole Kony 2012 campaign is a ploy to enable US forces to enter Uganda and claim its oil. I am quicker to believe this than Zimmermans weak story. Yet why has the same momentum not been built around the death of Trayvon if this whole thing is about justice. Where is the justice for Trayvon? Going into Uganda is not going to suddenly bring Kony to Justice as there is no evidence that he is there. The world knows where George ZImmerman is though. In Florida continuing with his life. Meanwhile, Trayvon Martins family and friends are in grief and have not yet received justice.
I happen to have two black brothers who are 6ft 1 and 6ft 7 respectively. On a dark night on a dimly lit street if they were walking with their hoodies up would someone think they were suspicious? Would that give them the right to follow them? Question them? If they did would they answer, argue, continue to walk? Would someone think it was ok to then shoot them down? Would that person be able to get away with it by claiming self defence? That is the question I ask myself and why it is imperative to me that George Zimmerman is brought to justice so that no trigger happy racist, nervous stereotype enforcer thinks its ok to do to my beloved brothers what Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin.
President Obama said
"If I had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin"
. If I was from Florida, Trayvon Martin could be my brother. Trayvon Martin IS my brother.
Irish songstress Sinead O Connor has recently written an open letter regarding this case. Her response is truly inspiring and I would recommend you have a read:
Written by Daniella Genas