AYINDE J. STEVENS
By the time this article goes to print, 17-year old Trayvon Martin will have to been dead for 40 days. He will have been buried for 34 days, this coming after he was “murdered.”
Fairleigh Dickinson University has had the Hot Topics event, “Black History Black Voices: Race in the Media,” an event which I covered.
There was something that freshman Shaquille Hobson had said about young black men that somehow has made it to this piece.
Hobson said that “it is hard for a young black man to do something positive.”
Hobson may not have been speaking from experience, but rather about the epidemic of young black men being cut down in their prime. Whether it’s from the police brutality experienced in the big city, a bad home life, or just life in the “streets,” young black men have been easy pickings for a long while.
When the police arrived at the scene, they found Trayvon dead with a gunshot wound to the chest. Zimmerman was near the body with a weapon.
He was treated at the scene and sent to the police station, where he gave his statement and was released. Zimmerman claims that the whole thing was in self-defense; he claims that it was Trayvon who attacked him.
Since Zimmerman was treated at the scene, the only physical remnant proving an altercation between him and Trayvon took place is that Zimmerman has a broken nose.
This probably means that Trayvon did put up a fight before being shot by Zimmerman, however, since there is no evidence that either man started the fight, Zimmerman is still a free man.
After a nearly daylong search, Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, found his son in the last place a 17-year-old should be: the morgue.
The defense Zimmerman is holding on to is the Stand Your Ground law, a law in Florida (similar to laws in 21 other states) that allows a person to defend himself outside the normal self-defense confines of his own home.
While the law is tough to crack, Zimmerman will have to do much better.
According to a New York Times article on March 21, which gave a general background of the law, the defendant is given the “benefit of the doubt.”
The article also says that the law is used by “gang members, drug dealers battling drug dealers, and people involved in road rage encounters.”
This proves that the law is too broad and doesn’t have a good track record of actually doing what it should, which is to help defend those who really do need the law.
I’m not saying that Zimmerman is abusing the law, but rather with some of the evidence against him, parts of his story won’t hold up, if he is ever put to trial.
The response to this incident is overwhelming.
For one, people are upset that another young black male is killed in a senseless crime.
They are also upset at the police for not being forthright with the information in the case, and they are upset that Zimmerman is free.
We’ve had million hoodie marches, rallies in cities big and small in the United States, President Obama speaking about it, politicians condemning it, and here on campus our own rally.
Reverend Sidney Williams Jr. of Bethel AME Church of Morristown was a guest speaker at the FDU event and he reminded those gathered that this is not a black and white issue, it is an American issue.
Because everyone wears a hoodie. I have two. I don’t regularly wear them, but that’s not because I could suspected by the police (and I’ve seen those with hoodies being stopped by the cops), but it’s because it’s not the style I want to wear.
However, just because you do or don’t wear a hoodie you shouldn’t be suspected of a crime.
If you have been wondering why I worded the title the way it is, it’s because off the top of my head I can list at least…eight incidents where a black man has been killed by the police and all of the defendants got off.
Yes, in most cases they were fired, and I can only identify the victims in two occasions, but the m/o is the same… Black man suspected of something, police pursue, black man is shot, facts look muddy, people protest, suspect and victim are placed through the ringer, case goes to trial, sometimes a jury, sometimes it’s just the judge, but the outcome is the same.
They get off.
So if Zimmerman, who is not a cop, can get off by hiding behind some lousy law what does it mean for me if I’m next?…