Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Personal interest news topic: Trayvon Martin case.

I'm sure everyone will have heard of the second degree murder of unarmed seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who claims to have been "acting in self defence" despite the fact that the African American teenager was unharmed - information found in the 911 call made by Zimmerman has brought to light the possibility of Zimmerman using the 'n' word during the conflict between himself and Martin, thus raising the question as to whether the incident was a case of racial profiling or hate crime.

This is a topic which interests me on a personal level because I am disgusted by both racism and the free distribution of guns in the United States. An unarmed teenager stands no chance in a fight with a grown man; particularly when the latter is wielding a fatal weapon, which as we have seen in this case, can and will be used to kill innocent people.

Zimmerman's supporters say he was acting in self defence; but my question is, self defence against WHAT, exactly? A seventeen-year-old boy who just happened to be walking around a gated community - personally I do not see simple presence in a location, even a closed location, as a crime warranting police involvement, and certainly not the death of a perfectly healthy teenager. Were Martin of caucasian appearance, would the police have been called? Would the altercation have taken place at all? Doubtful. A white youth walking around a gated community would probably have been seen as someone coming home from a party or study group; due to Martin's race and style of clothing, he was branded instantly within the mind of someone clearly harbouring prejudice against him, as a threat.

Even when we consider racial profiling & how Zimmerman (a racist) must have felt about the unwelcome presence of a black youth within his community, the fact is that Martin, as shown in the image above, is significantly slighter than Zimmerman; there is no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman could have physically restrained Martin if it came down to a true matter of self defence, for example by holding Martin's hands behind his back or even knocking him out if it truly came down to it, with ease, due to his superior strength, size and taking his age into consideration. Any of these actions, though still not ideal, would not have resulted in the death of an innocent teenager.

What first attracted me to the Trayvon Martin case was viewing a video by The Young Turks, a left-wing news channel on YouTube; their presenter Cenk made the point that they, in releasing the 911 call from Zimmerman, did not pick up on the possible use of the word 'n*gger' in the background of the call - it was actually a comment on the video which received an overwhelming amount of 'thumbs up' which altered members of The Young Turks' team to this evidence towards racial profiling and therefore, hate crime.

I will be following the case closely.

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