A teenager is sheltering in a neighbourhood home from heavy rain as dusk has settled. He wanders out and ambles in the rain with the hood of his coat pulled over his head. A man cruising by in a truck spots him, believes he’s up to no good, trails him, accosts him and, eventually, kills the teen.
He tells the police he’s head of the community watch and shot the teen dead when the boy attacked him. The police accepts his story and releases him on the grounds of self-defence.
When stories like these emerge from the streets of cities in the Middle East and other countries in the developing world, Western political leaders and “rights” agencies lambast the nations as lawless and prepare to depose their despotic leaders.
The story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, slain by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, which is described here, occurred February 26, 2012, in the Central Florida gated community of Sanford. It has taken more than a month for political and judicial authorities to demand a thorough investigation of the killing and the release of the man slayer by the police.
Forget about the race issue many have been making this matter out to be, despite the five calls Zimmerman had made in a year to the police on previous occasions to complain about “suspicious” black males in a community with numerous burglaries allegedly attributed to black males.
Forget about whether Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school because authorities there found him with what was said to be an empty marijuana bag.
Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and pursued the teen on foot. Then he calls the police. To say he sees a man acting suspiciously.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around looking about,” he tells the 911 operator. “He has his hands in his waist band.”
“Are you following him?” the dispatcher asks.
“We don’t need you to do that,” says the 911 voice.
A minute later, Martin lay dead on a grass lawn in an alleyway where he seemingly was headed towards his dad’s home where he was banished for his 10-day school suspension.
When the police arrive, he is face down on the lawn, his hands under his body. His assailant tells the police he was attacked by the teen who battered his face with punches and smashed his head on the sidewalk before reaching for Zimmerman’s Tek 9 pistol.
Martin doesn’t get the gun which is discharged as nearby residents weep when they perceive that a helpless man is shot as he screams.
The police detain Zimmerman, take his gun, have him cleaned up by the EMS crew who have arrived and declared Martin dead on the scene.
At the station the police consider charging him for murder, manslaughter and unlawful killing while preventing a crime but the man who escaped jail time for assaulting a police officer seven years earlier, and who was dismissed from a security job for overzealousness, is released without charge.
He is released on a “Stand Your Ground” law which apparently allows killing an assailant during an attack. Many questions arise. Who pursued and attacked who? The unarmed teen, returning home with candy, iced tea and a cell phone he was using to chat with a girlfriend, was committing no crime. Does Zimmerman own the street? Had the boy invaded his privacy?
Why would police clean up Zimmerman? Usually they would want to collect material evidence such as bloodied and soiled clothing which may help their probe. Why weren’t his clothing and gun not kept by the police?
Was the case over because, as the saying goes, dead men tell no tales?
The teen was on the street going about his business, a man trailed him accosted and killed him then admitted killing him – with an excuse.
As someone who goes by the handle 21st Century Patriot-1831871 said in a post on a US news Web site: “A man with a gun pursued and shot an unarmed man who was doing no wrong at the time.
“Also irrelevant is all this speculation of whether Zimmerman was threatened or attacked. Trayvon was walking down the street when approached by a stranger with a gun. Trayvon was the one more likely to feel threatened, and had every right to defend himself.”
If the grand jury that has been called to examine the case fails and police do not charge Zimmerman, hopefully the parents of Martin will be able to bring a civil case of unlawful killing.
“We’re not asking for an eye for an eye. We’re asking for justice, justice, justice,” said Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin.
After all, this is the USA and not some country where Sharia law is practised or vigilante justice is condoned. Then again, it may just be the Wild, Wild West.