Sunday, July 14, 2013

Let's Be Brutally Honest: Zimmerman Is Rightfully Deemed "Not Guilty," But It Doesn't Make Him Clean

On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was walking home in a suspicious manner... or at least according to George Zimmerman. Martin's hand was around his waistband and to Zimmerman, a watchman for the neighborhood, he looked like he was up to no good. When Martin noticed Zimmerman, Martin took off and a chase began. The chase turned into a scuffle that ended when Zimmerman shot Martin once in the heart and killed him. While it absolutely does not matter what race the two individuals were, it is vital when it comes to understanding what kind of approach the media took on this issue. Martin was black and Zimmerman is Hispanic. This started as a local issue, but due to the urging of Martin's parents, began to spread across the country and even became a topic of discussion in Congress. There was even a member of Congress that dressed in a hooded sweatshirt to spark a reaction. President Obama made a comment that he could be a child of his. The Martin/Zimmerman case turned from one of several murders that happens in America (and one of several more murders that happens across the globe) and into a racial and political issue.

One year later, George Zimmerman was declared innocent. Was this the right decision? To several, it wasn't. To others, it was. For me, in this instance, I agree with the latter. This doesn't mean I considered this to be the clean move, but from what the evidence pointed to, he was protecting the neighborhood and when shooting Martin, protecting himself. In the state of Florida, there is a "Stand Your Ground" law that encourages that you protect yourself when your life is in jeopardy as Zimmerman was in this instance. He was informed that there was no need for him to keep chasing Martin and that the police could have taken care of the situation, but Zimmerman probably felt that it was a better idea to take the issue into his own hands. This is where the fight pursued.

Though I felt Zimmerman was rightfully declared "not guilty," I do not see him as being a hero or a good influence. Zimmerman had issues with the law of his own, including an assault on a police officer in the previous decade. He eventually straightened himself out to a specific extent. Trayvon Martin had issues of his own as well, including drug issues, suspensions, and activities involving graffiti. Neither of them should be deemed as role models or martyrs. They are just subjects in a blurb of pop culture.

This leads me to the topic of overexposure. We have soldiers overseas that are shot and killed in battle, we have police officers that are shot and killed on duty, we have ordinary citizens from all backgrounds shot and killed in all different ways. All they end up being are statistics. This became a headliner and a platform to fight on when it is no different from the others. When people die in such vain, it is absolutely tragic. Death is tragic, especially when it's premature and due to another individual's train of thought or due to a short-term mistake you made. The issue in front of us is this: one man felt the need to protect himself from a man that posed as threatening and shot him dead. This is not a racial or political issue. If Zimmerman was legitimately doing his job, which evidence points to him doing such, he would have done the same thing to anybody if they were playing with their waistband and ran.

The fact that such an event occurred is an absolute shame. It was a shameful truth of the people that live in our society, as well as the actions that had to be took against them. While the end result was right, that should be that and the situation should fade. The only solution would be to come up with a plan so that specific individuals do not feel threatened to the point they feel their lives are in jeopardy.

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