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Examining the shooting death of Trayvon Martin

At a press conference, the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense circulated a “wanted dead or alive” poster for George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
At a press conference, the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense circulated a “wanted dead or alive” poster for George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

I want to make something clear: I am not making a judgment in the case of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I am however, interested in it as national news story which has captured the attention of most of the country, and as someone who spends a decidedly inordinate amount of time reading stuff on the internet.

Also, I am an extremely firm believer that there are always two sides to a story. Personally, based on what I've seen reported in the media since the story became national, it certainly seems as if George Zimmerman, at the very least, recklessly took the life of an unarmed teenager, for no good reason whatsoever. At worst, he committed a callous hate crime.

But, before passing judgment, and in light of the fact that an actual lynch mob is out to see Zimmerman dead, I thought I would go back to some of the reporting that occurred prior to it going national. The following is in part, what I've discovered:

This is a local news story on the case which cites remarks by Trayvon Martin's father pre-national news to the effect that the voice on the 911 call screaming for help was not his son's: This is a story featuring remarks by Martin's father post-national news where he concurs with Trayvon’s mother the screaming was coming from his son:

Then there is this story from Fox 35 Orlando. An eye witness, in front whose house the shooting actually took place, told the reporter what he saw:

The above story from Fox 35 Orlando and the eyewitness account given by the resident of the house in whose yard the shooting took place does seem to jibe with an account given by someone identifying as a friend of Geo. Zimmerman and who posted a comment to a story which appeared in USA Today last week. The comment was, in part, as follows: (All spelling and grammatical errors are the comment author’s)

"This is not the real story. George called 911 to report a suspicious person. As he got off the phone the kid attacked him and started beating the crap out of him and slamming his head against the walkway. All the while saying ‘you're gunna die tonight motherxxxxxx’.

George was screaming help when someone in a nearby apartment called 911 again. George's shirt came up while the kid was beating him, revealing the gun that he is licensed to carry. The kid went for the gun and they struggled for it, George ended up shooting the kid and saving his own life.

All these people on yahoo saying that he should be in jail when they don't even know what happened. George is the brother-in-law of one of our good family friends, works with my parents, and is one of the nicest most gentle people you will ever meet. He's completely devastated that this happened and has barely been functional from the guilt. No one shoots someone for no reason, and especially not George. And they need to stop pulling the race card, George is Hispanic, not white."

I'm not in any way suggesting what Zimmerman did in shooting Trayvon was or is justified. Without question Zimmerman should have followed the instructions of the 911 operator and stood down. The fact is maybe it was Trayvon Martin who felt threatened by Geo. Zimmerman. But, now you've got a group out there now printing up wanted posters for George Zimmerman reading, “DEAD OR ALIVE.” Mob justice is no justice at all. Zimmerman deserves his day in court, which I have no doubt he will see.

Finally, there’s this note in the evolving story. The official position of the White House on the case as of Monday March 19th, “The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama won't be getting involved in the case of Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old Florida high school student shot dead last month by a Hispanic neighborhood watchman in an incident that has sparked a national uproar.” That too now has changed as the shooting of Trayvon Martin has become personal for the president.


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