Skip to comments.One fatal shot echoes across a divided US (Unbelievable!)
Posted on 03/30/2012 6:49:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
FOR a while it seemed the killing of Trayvon Martin was different.
It took three weeks for the story to creep up the Florida panhandle, seep into America's consciousness and take over the news.
But once it had, for a few days at least, the horror would overwhelm the fault lines in this divided nation.
The reporting was initially temperate, and sympathy for Trayvon and his family universal. That time has now passed and the details of the killing are just more fodder for an endless culture war.
No matter how often the story is retold, the bare facts remain chilling: on February 26 a boy carrying a packet of Skittles was shot dead by a man carrying a nine-millimetre handgun. The boy was walking home from a shop during a break in the basketball game he had been watching. The man was a self-appointed Neighbourhood Watch ''captain'' patrolling the streets of a gated community.
The boy, Trayvon Martin, was black. The man, George Zimmerman, is white.
Mr Zimmerman has not been arrested because under Florida's so-called Stand Your Ground law it is legal to kill someone you fear may be threatening you.
Mr Zimmerman says he feared for his life. Trayvon can no longer speak for himself. For weeks the story boiled away on local news broadcasts, with Trayvon's family campaigning for Mr Zimmerman to be arrested and for police to release the tapes of the 911 emergency calls Mr Zimmerman made as he followed Trayvon before the scuffle that lead to the shooting.
Reporters for three national news organisations took notice - Ta-Nehisi Coates, of The Atlantic, Charles M. Blow, of The New York Times, and Trymaine Lee, of The Huffington Post. Suddenly it was a national story.
Brooke Gladstone, the host and managing editor of the National Public Radio program On the Media, noted the role the journalists had played, and interviewed two of them. Trymaine Lee says he was contacted, soon after the shooting, by contacts in Florida and went there because he thought the story would resonate. For days it did not. ''We are still dealing with the complications of race, even in our newsrooms,'' he said.
Until the chilling tapes of the 911 call were released - in which screams of what sounds like a young boy and a gunshot can be heard - it seemed to be ''just another garden variety killing''.
Ta-Nehisi Coates says he was aware of the story and avoided it for days, simply because he was exhausted by the thought of reporting on the needless death of yet another young black man.
''Generally, this stuff just sort of goes away and, generally, covering it you sometimes suffer from a sort of fatigue,'' he said. ''When we see these cases, we see our sons, we see ourselves. It is like covering a war when you live in the war zone.''
With national attention focused, a sluggish police investigation began to move. Finally the 911 tapes were released, and soon afterwards the police chief resigned.
While there was a sense of dread in the national reporting and commentary of the case, for a time the discussion remained largely non-partisan. It is hard to pinpoint when that changed. Perhaps it was when President Barack Obama offered his sympathy to Trayvon's parents.
''If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon,'' he said at a White House press briefing on March 23. ''I can only imagine what these parents are going through.''
Two of the Republican presidential candidates attacked Mr Obama's comments.
''What the President said, in a sense, is disgraceful,'' said Newt Gingrich. ''Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be OK because it didn't look like him?'' Rick Santorum took a similar line. ''This is, again, not what the President of the United States does. What the President of the United States should do is try to bring people together, not use these types of horrible tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America.''
Since then, much of the media has reverted to type, with many voices of the right publishing commentary that tends to undermine the reputation of the dead boy, and much of the left focusing on the campaign to see Mr Zimmerman arrested and charged.
This week Democratic state politicians wore hooded sweatshirts to a press conference in support of Trayvon, who was wearing a hoodie when he died. The right-leaning New York Post called them ''race hustlers'' on its front page.
As left and right accuse one another of politicising the issue, and the media focuses on the wearing of a hoodie, less attention has been drawn to the laws that allow people to use lethal force if they believe they are under threat in public.
Professor Donald Tibbs, of Philadelphia's Drexel University, explains the laws, now in 24 states, as about ''gun empowerment.''
''The laws give the individual the right not only to carry a weapon out there but comfort in using it,'' he says. This is why they have been supported by the National Rifle Association. He says that on the facts that have been made public in the Trayvon shooting, it appears that Mr Zimmerman should not be protected by the law, because he was the aggressor.
Conversely, he says, it seems Trayvon might have been protected by Stand Your Ground laws had he killed Mr Zimmerman.
Professor Tibbs says the needless killing of a young black man is common enough to be banal.
Now, he says, the protection that was once afforded to the police in such incidents appears to have been extended to the general public. ''That is what is scary, that is what makes it dangerous to be a young black man.''
Melatonin or a permanent tan?
And we're just hearing about this now??
I had no idea there was a racial angle to this story!!
They want the Affirmative ACtion version of self defense.
BS, Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground, he was on his back getting his ass kicked.
If Martin had kept his fists to himself, he'd be alive today and the Justice Bro's would have to troll elsewhere for another gig.
Ignorance of Florida? That’s not the Panhandle.
Concept credit: freeper Vanilla Swirl
“Mr Zimmerman has not been arrested because under Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law it is legal to kill someone you fear may be threatening you.”
Which is utter bull because the Stand Your Ground law has absolutely nothing to do with this case. But with all the gun enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork to insist that it does, it’s a virtual certainty that the law will be modified, if not repealed altogether. Talk about slitting your own throat...
Yeah. Speak for me....
“Mr Zimmerman has not been arrested because under Floridas so-called Stand Your Ground law it is legal to kill someone you fear may be threatening you.”
“Which is utter bull because the Stand Your Ground law has absolutely nothing to do with this case. But with all the gun enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork to insist that it does, its a virtual certainty that the law will be modified, if not repealed altogether. Talk about slitting your own throat...”
This needs repeating.
Completely ignoring the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic and that by all accounts he was attacked.
Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome
“Can you guess what Donald Tibbs, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Charles Blow and Trymaine Lee all have in common?”
Are they Sons of Obama?
Information and facts are meaningless, here.
THESE ARE THE OPENING GUNS OF THE OBAMA RE-ELECTION!
They are soooo deer to me
Sons of Obama/Holder’s People...
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