If you were one of those people who watched the Casey Anthony trial for 12 hours a day and then flipped out when she was found innocent by a jury of her peers, you are probably not going to like this column. The 48-hour news cycle has been dominated by the killing of Trayvon Martin a month ago in Florida. People are OUTRAGED!
People are killed every day in this big bad world. For example, you probably didn’t hear a thing about this tragic killing at Mississippi State or even worse, the 10 people, including a 6-year old girl, who were killed in Chicago over the weekend. Why is the story of one person getting killed more newsworthy than any of the other people who died recently?
The media latched onto the Travyon Martin story with all of the dead-baby vigor that they did the Casey Anthony story, and for good reason. The news stopped being responsible for actual investigative journalism a long time ago, but even by the relaxed standards of the 24-hour news networks I’m disgusted by the media slant on this story.
Let me make some disclaimers: It’s a shame that Trayvon Martin is dead. From what little information has been reported it appears like he did not have to die in the circumstances that he did.
I say “appears” because unlike many of the people who listened to 30-seconds of a 911 take and watched the news, I am not willing to convict George Zimmerman of a crime… yet.
Here’s the cool thing about The United States of America: We have something here called “Due Process”. To summarize, we can’t just go throwing people in jail without justification. Generally that is a GOOD thing because it keeps that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing at the forefront of our rights. Right now, you can rest assured that Federal agents have joined local law enforcement in turning over every single stone possible in this case. If there hasn’t been an arrest made, they don’t have the evidence to justify an arrest.
Again, I’m basing this off of silly things like the Constitution and SOME faith in law enforcement – not a 30 second clip of a 911 call, some rambling by Geraldo and Nancy Grace, and the fact that I DVR’ed a couple episodes of CSI:Miami.
Since I am not involved in the investigation and know nothing beyond what has been reported, I feel pretty unqualified to run my mouth about how Geroge Zimmerman SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR MURRRRRRRRRRRRRDERRRRRRRRR!
Why do the rest of you think that you have the right to judge this guy?
If you’ll notice, I haven’t said a word about race in this column because while it seems to be a factor for most of the media and might be a factor in the case itself, I don’t know George Zimmerman. I know that he’s been a mentor to minorities, I know that his friends and family have come to his defense and said that he was not a racist – but what do THEY know?
I know that the media has somehow taken a guy of Hispanic origin and made him white.
I know that the media has been unable to find a more recent picture of Trayvon Martin than when he was 13 years old.
Look, I understand that the news is more about ratings than fact at this point, but I believe that the media has an obligation to get the story right. If the Sanford police have dropped the ball on the investigation, the feds are there to pick up the slack. If you believe that EVERY SINGLE law enforcement group somehow has forgotten how to investigate things like this, or subscribe to some big racist conspiracy – well then I feel bad for you.
I found some more recent pictures of Trayvon Martin. It wasn’t even hard – I just googled “Travyon Martin Pictures” and they came up. Here’s his profile pic from Facebook:
Here is a recent picture of George Zimmerman instead of the orange jumpsuit one from 5 years ago:
Now – These are NOT actual pictures of Travyon, but this is what racism looks like:
Again my posting of these pictures is not meant to say that Trayvon Martin deserved to be shot. I think it is disgusting that Geraldo came out and blamed Travyon’s appearance on his death. It’s like blaming a woman wearing a revealing outfit for being raped, and has no business in the rhetoric of this case. It’s appalling that physical appearance or wardrobe plays any kind of part in what amounts to justifiable homicide vs. premeditated murder.
There is racism in America. There is racism everywhere in the world. That’s not going to go away today, and probably isn’t going to go away tomorrow. The worst thing that can happen right now is that this case becomes about racism instead of being about the facts and merits of the case. I’ve always had a problem with the issue of a “hate crime” because there is really no way to know what is in somebody’s heart. How can the government or law enforcement decide levels of hate?
I mean, it’s not like vigilante groups are saying if the cops don’t give them justice, they will get it themselves. Good thing this isn’t about race.
I have issue with things like hoodies, Trayvon being suspended for weed, Skittles, and other distractions taking away from the rhetoric. Trayvon Martin is being called an innocent boy. George Zimmerman is being called a murderer. These revelations have been formed in the Court of Public Opinion before a single charge has been filed, before an investigation has been concluded, before the facts have been found and analyzed.
It’s irresponsible, and shame on all of you. Shame on the media for perpetuating this story in the manner that they are. Shame on the news outlets for dragging out every NAACP member that they can find to speak about this case. If you people (What does he mean, “you people”?) don’t want it to be about race, keep Al Sharpton off of my television inciting more tension and segregation. When Al Sharpton goes to Mississppi State and condemns the guys who killed John Sanderson it would be news. It would be a leader in the black community not seeing color as the primary motivating factor to get on TV and talk about injustice. He won’t be doing that, and the media wouldn’t care. Actually they would, because when was the last time Al Sharpton was involved in rhetoric that wasn’t racially charged?
I’m happy that I live in a country where people are still considered innocent until proven guilty. If the best agents in the country still haven’t made an arrest in the case, maybe you all should stop and think before you act as judge, jury, and executioner in something that is being spun for you by news outlets.
I posted something similar to this on WPXI’s website, and was called a redneck racist white gun-toting Republican. I actually laughed because not a single assertion about me was correct. (I am told that I am considered “white”, but I’ve never really been much into labels. The rest of that is patently false) and it made me realize that if nothing else, the media has done a great job of insulating itself from criticism. Here’s what I asked:
1 – Hey media, why are you using a picture of Travyon Martin from when he was 13, and not a more recent picture of the 6’3 high school senior football player that he currently is?
2 – The Constitution of the United States gives all citizens the right to Due Process. If you want to talk about the Sanford police not handling the investigation well, I’d support that point. However, the investigation is ongoing, now by Federal agents. Thankfully, it’s not being conducted by bored housewives in Pittsburgh, because nobody seems to care about KNOWING what happened when it’s a lot easier to hear a 30-second sound byte and form an opinion.
Part of me hopes that when the facts come out that it turns out that Trayvon Martin was trying to mug George Zimmerman just so I can laugh at all of this manufactured outrage. Regardless, at least I’m respectful enough of the situation to reserve judgement until such time as George Zimmerman is arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime. Ya know, crazy redneck stuff like that.
Regardless, I’m happy that there is a dialogue going on right now, even if it’s the same misguided veiled racism that has existed pretty much since the dawn of time.