Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, was walking back from the store armed with only an iced tea and a bag of Skittles when the neighbourhood watchman, George Zimmerman, shot him dead. Zimmerman, amazingly, claimed self-defence. Even more amazing, the police did not doubt it!
The police said the tapes of the emergency calls would show that Zimmerman was right.
On the tapes Zimmerman reports “a real suspicious guy” to the police dispatcher:
This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. He’s just staring, looking at all the houses. Now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. Something’s wrong with him. He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. Can we get an officer over here?
Then Trayvon runs. Zimmerman follows – even though the police dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”
Witness accounts, when taken together, then report two men talking, then wrestling, then cries for help, then a gunshot, then silence and then someone lying dead in the grass.
In one of the tapes you can hear the cries for help cut short by a gunshot.
Everything turns on who you think was crying out for help:
- The police clearly think it was Zimmerman.
- Trayvon’s mother and a witness say it was Trayvon. (Oddly, the police “corrected” that witness.)
The cries for help do sound like that of a teenaged boy. The trouble is, Zimmerman’s voice is pretty high-pitched too so you cannot tell for sure.
Yet to believe it was Zimmerman you would also have to believe that:
- An unarmed 17-year-old boy of 140 pounds could have an armed 28-year-old man of 250 pounds at his mercy.
- The armed, not the unarmed party, would cry out for help.
- That the shooter would stop his cries for help in the same split second he shot his gun.
None of these are impossible, just very unlikely. So the cries for help are almost certainly Trayvon’s.
Yet the police chief says he sees no reason to arrest Zimmerman, no “probable cause to dispute” the claim of self-defence. The mayor says he sees no reason to fire the police chief.
Maybe they are hiding something, but it is not just them – other people think it is Zimmerman or, at least, are in enough doubt that Zimmerman’s walking free does not seem to trouble them.
Oddly, most of these people Happen To Be White. That is no accident. Even with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, it still requires you to see this case through Super Duper Racist Spectacles Tinted with Moral Blindness:
- A black person’s life has no more value than that of a dog.
- Unarmed black males are presumed to be more dangerous than armed white males.
Postscript: When Zimmerman starts to follow Trayvon he says “fucking coons” under his breath.