Laying on the Ground- The Trayvon Martin Murder
By: Brentton Walker
On February 26th, 2012, a 17-year-old African American Male named Trayvon Martin was gunned down in Sanford, Florida, after returning from a trip to a local convenience store while holding skittles and a drink. “George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, spotted him and called police. A 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that officers were on the way and not to follow the allegedly suspicious person. But Zimmerman still got out of his car, later telling police he just wanted to get a definitive address to relay to authorities”(cnn.com). After a brief encounter, a physical altercation broke out, resulting in the shooting of Trayvon, enraging millions of people around the United States of America.
Justice was not done, because the Judge and the Jury did not follow the law. George Zimmerman repeatedly admitted to killing Trayvon Martin, yet The Stand Your Ground Law was used to protect him. “Prosecutors never accused Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, of being racist. But they did argue that he wrongly and spitefully prejudged Martin as one of those “f***ing punks,” as he’s heard saying under his breath in his call to police” (cnn.com). With this being said, Zimmerman had already profiled Martin, had a pre-conceived notion of what to look for in a suspicious character, approached and provoked Trayvon to engage in an altercation with him. For clarification, The Stand Your Ground law, according to Online Sunshine states:
“A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred” (leg.state.fl.us).
Mr. Zimmerman was a registered gun owner. Every gun owner (including myself) knows that with great power, comes great responsibility. Just because he had a gun did not give him the right to pursue Trayvon for probable cause. In fact Trayvon hadn’t committed a crime. He was not a police officer and should not have acted accordingly. He acted out of impulse, instead of following directions from the 911 dispatcher. Just because he had the firepower to pursue, gave him no right to kill Trayvon. The Stand Your Ground Law wrongfully stood to protect George Zimmerman as he executed an innocent, unarmed, 17-year old with skittles and a drink. Arizona, among other states also honors this law. In this case, justice was not served.