Trayvon Martin left his Dad’s Florida home during an NBA basketball game’s halftime to get a snack at the nearby convenience store. On the way home he encountered George Zimmerman, a self appointed neighborhood watch “Captain”. George called 911 and reported Trayvon as a “suspicious” character. He told the 911 operator that he was in pursuit. The 911 operator basically told him to leave that to the police and back off. What happened next is a bit fuzzy on the details but it ended in George shooting 17 year old Trayvon in the chest and killing him. Not only is George a free man today, he was never taken into custody. There are reports that Trayvon’s corpse was tested for drugs while his shooter never was.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell did his damnedest to make this about race. He played a garbled 911 recording for a black Florida congresswoman. The tape reportedly has Zimmerman referring to Martin as an effing coon. I didn’t hear that until the idea was planted in my head by O’Donnell. To her credit, the congresswoman did not jump on the race train, and said she could not make out what Zimmerman was saying. So let’s take the obvious racial angle (Zimmerman, white, Martin, black) out of the picture.
At its most benign, what we have here is a very dangerous version of Barney Fife and hell, at least Barney had a badge. Reportedly, Zimmerman had called 911 a good 40 times in a short time period reporting “suspicious” characters. He appears to have some sort of cop-wanna-be complex going on. From what I can see, Zimmerman may well be your run of the mill nutjob. The real villain here is the Sanford, FL police department who saw fit not to arrest Zimmerman whose self defense claim stretched credibility when the only weapons possessed by Martin were a bottle of iced tea and a box of Skittles.
I do believe that when all is said and done, Zimmerman will be arrested and tried. The bigger question is how much scrutiny will be paid to the Sanford police department and the Sanford district attorney’s office. When a man, really still just a child, can be killed simply for looking “suspicious” and nothing is done about it, the system is clearly broken.