Thoughts on Treyvon Martin

I’ve been silent on Treyvon Martin thus far and will be no longer. I’ve been silent because I tend not to comment on court cases in general. I think everyone, including George Zimmerman deserves their day in court and I have no right to meddle in that.

But I’ll sum up my thoughts with several points to ponder:

1) George Zimmerman takes is role as a neighborhood watch almost obsessively in my opinion.

2) George Zimmerman also has the right to protect his home and to keep his neighborhood safe from robbers and other criminals.

3) It seems odd to me that Treyvon Martin was “minding his own business” in the rain in a neighborhood that was not his own.

4) Treyvon Martin does indeed have the right, however, to walk where he wants.

5) George Zimmerman called 911 and should have stopped being involved at that juncture. He is not a police officer and does not need to take the law into his own hands.

6) Anyone who thinks that Treyvon Martin wasn’t the one screaming on the phone needs to see their audiologist. It’s clearly a young voice and doesn’t sound like Zimmerman’s voice.

7) The big question is “Who rushed who?” How did the tussle begin? Based on the screams heard on the 911 call I believe that Zimmerman attacked Martin and Martin tried to stave him off as best he could. Zimmerman seems like a big guy to me in comparison with Martin. In the struggle, Martin probably did what he could to get away from Zimmerman and in that struggle Zimmerman retaliated by shooting Martin.

8) Regardless of any of the above, Zimmerman did not have the right to shoot Martin. In fact, he did not have the right to even touch him. He could have simply asked Martin “Can I help you?”

9) The issue here is stereotype. A young black man with a hoodie in a neighborhood that is not his own is not necessarily a criminal. The problem is that too many believe that they are. The second problem is that sometimes that person IS a criminal and when criminals get approached sometimes they take matters into their own hands and get nervous and attack. This is why George Zimmerman should have called the cops and stayed in his home if had concerns.

10) The fact that Treyvon Martin was a pot smoker, suspended from school, got into fights before and was interested in getting a gun is irrelevant. While he certainly was not a stellar citizen, he still has the right to walk on the street without being shot.

11) George Zimmerman’s background is also irrelevant to the case.

12) The police really mucked this case up and should have minimally brought Zimmerman in and charged him immediately.

I believe that Zimmerman unjustly and unnecessarily killed Treyvon Martin because he was walking in his neighborhood and he PRESUMED him to be up to no good. I wonder if Martin was a white kid walking around, if Zimmerman would have jumped to the same conclusion.

Two personal stories: I grew up as a white kid in a predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhood. It was not easy. Sometimes I’ll admit, I was scared to walk down the street in my own neighborhood and I was mugged in front of my own house for TWO DOLLARS. The money isn’t the issue, the issue is that I could have gotten hurt. There were three guys who jumped me. Two were black and one was white. I knew them by name. One “set me up” by pretending that he was “kidding around” and threw me up against a car, “play fighting” as we called it. He was older and stronger than I was and I was terrified. The other two guys grabbed my hands and searched my pockets and took my money.

Color did not come into play here. But the fact that these guys were known as “troublemakers” was important. It made me afraid of them and with good reason. One of the guys indeed did kill someone with a gun, the murky details say it was an accident, but the fact that he had a gun disturbs me. The other two also had police records.

What did we do? We called the cops.

We left it to them and they did have me look at mugshots, etc. But nothing more was done. No arrests.

But I never saw two of the three men again. And “Mr. Set-up” was still present in the neighborhood and was a constant problem. I occasionally still have nightmares about him. Bad people are in fact real.

But I never went and got a gun to shoot him. Neither did my parents.

So I know what it’s like to live in a neighborhood where you live in fear from time to time.

But I also know racism when I see it. The great majority of people in that neighborhood were wonderful people. I had friends in the neighborhood and it did not matter if they were white, black, Hispanic. Color was not a determinate of friendship. And we didn’t make assumptions about people based on their color. We made assumptions about people based on what they did in the neighborhood, how they acted towards others and whether or not they were good neighbors.

My second story needs a fastforward to my years in radio. Ralph Snodsmith was one of our talk show hosts and one day Ralph was running late. He left his car illegally parked in front of our building and ran to the elevator. He tossed his producer the keys to his Mercedes Benz and asked him to park it legally around the block.

His producer happened to be black.

A cop saw him coming out of the car and immediately pulled up and asked him questions:

“This your car?”

“Nope. It’s my boss’ car.”

“What’s his name?”

“Snodsmith”

“OK hold on.”

It checked out, naturally, but had I, a white man who was not the owner, gone and parked that car would I have been stopped?

Probably not.

When the producer returned I had never seen him so angry. And I realized just how tough it was to be him simply because of the color of his skin.

And so we pray today for anyone who has faced racism in their lives. We pray for Treyvon Martin. We pray for people who are afraid in violent neighborhoods.

And we pray for justice. God’s justice that redeems all suffering and pain.

And death.

Today’s gospel asks the question “Who is Your Neighbor?”

Perhaps that’s exactly the question for all of us to meditate on today.

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7 Comments

  1. Whoever wrote this piece is a very foolish person and my response to you would be; Treyvon Martin was the aggressor. The back of George Zimmerman’s skull was split multiple times, his nose was broken and it was Zimmerman calling for help! In the beginning of the investigation both George’s family and Treyvon’s family agreed to this. Trayvon’s family later changed their story. Zimmerman was on his way to his car when Martin jumped him. Everything Zimmerman said in his statement was substantiated by police testimony during that trial. (That is why Zimmerman was found NOT GUILTY!) The only injury to Martin was a bullet hole in his chest and it was proven in court that Treyvon was on top of Zimmerman and facing him when he was shot. But fools don’t usually look at facts.

    Zimmerman was out protecting his property against real threats that were reoccurring in his neighborhood. All citizens have the right to protect their property. And all citizens have the obligation to act as police up to the limits of their ability when there are no police at hand. That was the reason a neighborhood watch was put in place to begin with. That is why Zimmerman reported seeing Martin looking suspicious. Martin chose to confront Zimmerman and teach him a lesson, (or worse!?). And this is what happens when you bully someone and make them fear for their life. In this Republic citizens have the right to use “deadly force” when “when they believe” someone is threatening their life. It’s called “The Right to Life”. Protecting one’s life is not a privilege granted by the government but an inalienable right guaranteed by the Constitution. No one can try to deny anyone the Right to Life without risking these same consequences. (Unfortunately, the unwanted unborn have no means to defend their Right to Life so our liberal friends simply classify them as non-human and suck their brains out to rid themselves of the burden!)

    By the way, if anyone would like to revoke this right they would need to overthrow the Republic and subdue the 150 million or more citizens that still believe in it!

    Too bad for Trevon that he was also raised to be fool! His dysfunctional family taught him to hate and now this do-good-er comes along and chooses to publish a piece of garbage to support that hate.

    Amen Brother!

  2. A fool, am I? I suppose I have been called worse. People let’s not have any personal attacks huh?

  3. “you believe…” with out any proof. good thing our justice system relys on proof because that is what was presented in court. good dedision.

  4. Sorry GodGoogler I should not have taken my anger out on you and called you a fool. I should have written “foolish article”. Please accept my appologies.
    And John, yes, if someone is threating your life you have the right to defend yourself. If they send you a death threat you can have them arrested. If they jump on top of you and pound you head against a concrete sidewalk and “you believe” they intend to kill you, you have the right to use deadly force to stop them. In that case the only way you could possible prove they intended to kill you would be to let them kill you. George Zimmerman believed he was going to die. Again, that is why Zimmerman was found NOT GUILTY!

  5. Thanks True,

    Apologies accepted. I would agree that you would have the right to defend yourself in that instance. However, I don’t think the defense proved that this actually happened. It may have happened, but I don’t think they proved it.

    Again, I think the question comes down to “who rushed who”? And I don’t think we’re ever going to find that out. The possibility also exists that Martin tried to run past Zimmerman and knocked Zimmerman down if he tried to tackle him and it was there that his head hit the concrete and he could have broken his nose in that case too. Zimmerman may not have let go of him at that point and the screams in that instance would be Treyvon’s and Zimmerman may well have shot him during that time.

    I firmly believe that the screams are Treyvon’s and I have a pretty good ear from my years of working in radio. The Florida audiologist may well have been biased and the one from New Jersey claimed it was Martin. That said, it’s clear that Martin was not a stellar citizen and I do believe that Zimmerman had the right to question why he was there. I just think he took matters into his own hands and then when all hell broke loose he decided to shoot him.

    I would also say that I know what it’s like to be afraid in a neighborhood where you suspect that someone may have a weapon or is up to no good. Zimmerman may have suspected that Martin had a gun and therefore took his gun to protect himself and I think that was a huge error in judgement. Let the cops do that.

  6. Apostle Sharon Stone July 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

    There was no real justice. The justice of this world is unjust. But God’s justice is righteousness. Man’s justice is tainted, warped and one-sided. Where it should be for the victim (I don’t believe Zimmerman was a victim in this case), they turn on the victim and make them the perp.

    The dead cannot speak. they cannot give any opinion on the affairs of the living. The Bible says this in Proverbs 6:16-19: These six things fourth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look,a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that doeth discord among brethren.

    I see all these things acted out on Zimmerman part in this case. Had he simply asked Treyvon Martin, Can I help you? we would not be reflecting on this today. He would have done justly of he had obeyed the 911 operator and called the police and not take matters into his own hands. Though this court has aquitted him, he has an eternal soul that God will judge. I pray that we all learn from this and if the fruit of God’s Spirit remains in us, that self control would be our keep.

  7. Catholic news and links August 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    [...] wants us to understand that we need not fear one another. I’ve been writing a series of posts on my personal blog about the George Zimmerman verdict and death of Trayvon Martin, which include reflection on my own [...]

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