Trayvon Martin and The Continental Divide

Trayvon Martin’s family has reached a settlement with the the Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners Association (Sanford, FL), in excess of $1 Million. The settlement was sealed by the Clerk of Courts, but the clerk, Maryanne Morse said that she may unseal it as it did not meet the criteria for a sealed settlement.

Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s attorney filed a letter saying that he, too wants the file unsealed so that jurors in Zimmerman’s criminal trial will be able to see bias in Martin’s parent’s testimony. What a clever guy, actually trying to prove that a 17-year-old’s parents are biased against the guy who shot their son to death. One might wonder what the rest of Mr. O’Mara’s case looks like.

In case you don’t remember the above-reference incident, these are the facts:

1. 17-year-old male, Trayvon Martin, 5’11” tall, 158 lbs, unarmed and unaware that he was doing anything wrong or suspicious was walking home in the rain with his hood covering his head, as one might do on a rainy, dark evening.
2. 28-year-old citizens watch group captain, George Zimmerman, 5’7″ tall, 185 lbs was driving around his neighborhood with a gun when he decided that Martin was “suspicious”. He called police and was told NOT to confront the suspicious individual.
3. Nowhere in Zimmerman’s statements does he say that he rolled down his window to ask the suspicious stranger what he was doing. Nowhere in his statements does he say that he walked up to the suspicious stranger to find out where he was going.
4. Zimmerman exited his vehicle, leaving the door open and followed Martin, when somehow, yet-to-be-explained, an altercation occurred and Zimmerman shot Martin, approximately 200 feet from the house to which Martin was returning after purchasing some candy and a soft drink at a local convenience store.

Those are the facts and if you can tell me how they are interpreted along party lines, you’re a heck of lot smarter than I am. Not that that’s much of a benchmark. Would our interpretation of those events have been different if both Martin and Zimmerman were Black. Or White? Or if Zimmerman were Black and Martin were White. Or if Martin was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl on her way home from choir practice?

If you’re like Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), you would only be interested in the death of an unarmed 17-year-old if it was your son. If you are FOX News (such a contradiction in terms) or almost every other GOP person of note, you blame the victim, just as you blame the President for the audacity of being Black.

How do these people talk about “one nation, under God” when that clearly is not their vision? There must be some commonality in our perception of the world around us. We know that 10 witnesses to a car accident will give 10 different accounts, but I wouldn’t expect that diversity to fall along party lines.

I noticed last year following the Trayvon Martin shooting that my daughter, 10 years older than Martin and a medical school student at the time walks around the house in the ubiquitous hoodie, fully ensconced in its head covering. From the back, she is indistinguishable from every other young person so attired, even in bright sunlight. On a rainy, dark evening she, too might look suspicious. I sometimes wonder how that scenario might have played out if it had been her walking through that Florida subdivision that night.

My prime directive has always been to avoid trouble. Had my daughter noticed a man in a pickup truck following her, I would like to think that she would have gotten herself into the middle of the street, under a light and called police. I would like to think that, but my daughter is a self-possessed, remarkably strong kick boxer who, like George Zimmerman might have taken things into her own hands that night.

Noting the suspicious guy in a a pickup truck exit his vehicle, she might have ducked between the houses either to elude him or to see if he followed her. If it was my “fight response” kicking in, I would’ve ducked along the shadows of a house to my left. As Zimmerman came around the corner, I would’ve swung my fully-extended right arm from my left shoulder, twisting to the right as centrifugal force drove the edge of my right hand into Zimmerman’s carotid artery, crushing his larynx in the process. He would not have cried out and, depending on which way he fell, I would’ve finished him off, if necessary with a head snap or a foot stomp. My back-up prime directive is to slow or halt the flow of blood to my opponent’s brain in 1 or 2 strikes.

My daughter’s got a lot more energy, still likes to put a little pizzaz in her punch. She probably would’ve come running up from behind Zimmerman with a well-placed kick to the middle of his spine, sending him sprawling. If he was still holding a gun, which I would guess he drew when he exited his truck, she would have stomped that hand into oblivion, then delivered a few kicks to the head to knock him out. She would have then called the police and waited until they arrived. That’s another way we differ, I would have been long gone, adding Zimmerman’s gun to my collection.

As you can see, things could have played out in a variety of different ways, with a variety of different participants.  How is it, though that the only things that matter are that the guy with the gun wins and the Black kid’s dead?  That is not “my country ’tis of Thee”.


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