human behavior

A boy not to be buried

Posted in American Culture & Politics, Race & Ethnicity by humanb on March 8, 2012

I happened upon a very unsettling news story today while surfing the web:

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 26-year-old college student who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.

At this point there are more questions than answers in the young man’s death, but this much is known: Martin was packing little more than a bag of candy and a canned iced tea on the night he was killed.

Trayvon Martin

No one knows yet what happened between the two young men that night. But when did Neighborhood Watch Teams become Neighborhood Militias? Or more specifically, Neighborhood Vigilantes? I thought the whole point of Neighborhood Watch was for everyday residents to be on the look out for suspicious activity and then to telephone the actual authorities with their concerns?

And why does anyone need to carry a loaded gun in a gated community? Stupid question perhaps, since gun rights activists claim a Second Amendment ‘right’ to carry their guns anywhere. We mustn’t forget this equally depressing story:

Hannah Kelley

Authorities say a Florida pastor’s daughter who was accidentally shot in the head in a church died Saturday at a hospital.

…. Kelley had been hospitalized since Feb. 12, when she was struck in the head by a bullet at Grace Connection Church in St. Petersburg, where her father Tim Kelley is pastor.

Investigators have said Moises Zambrana was showing his gun in a small closet to another church member interested in buying a firearm. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the other church member, Dustin Bueller, was Hannah Kelley’s fiancée.

Back to Trayvon Martin…

How is it that Zimmerman has not been charged with anything for Trayvon Martin’s death despite Zimmerman confessing to the crime? The victim’s father had the same question:

“When I asked the police why there’s been no arrest, they told me they respected [Zimmerman’s] background, that he studied criminal justice for four years and that he was squeaky clean.”

He continued: “My question to them was, did they run my child’s background check? They said yes. I asked them what they came up with, and they said nothing. So I asked if Zimmerman having a clean record, did that give him the right to shoot and kill an unarmed kid?”

This story seems to have only broken less than 24 hours ago, but I was dismayed to see so few comments, tweets, Facebook “Likes” and news articles about it.  Were this story about the daily minutiae in the lives of Maddox, Zahara and Pax, the internet would’ve been saturated with commentary.

Let’s not bury this boy too soon.

Let questions be asked – about gun laws, neighborhood watches, gated communities, racial profiling, public civility – anything.

And let Trayvon Martin and Hannah Kelley be more widely known.

Related (but less comprehensive): Yahoo News and The Washington Post


4 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on March 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Glad you are back!


  2. Deborah said, on March 9, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Let’s keep posting, keep tweeting and keep facebooking about this. Let’s get the word out about this travesty of justice to as many people as we can. Sign the petition on If you tweet and follow anybody famous, tweet the links from Huffington Post and to them. Post the links on your Facebook. Let’s use the Internet and do some good. If we can get the news station to pay some attention to this story, that would be awesome. Here is Chief Lee’s email address: Let him know how you feel.

    • Anonymous said, on March 9, 2012 at 5:39 am

      I think the word is rapidly spreading now Deborah, but you’re right that we should not let this story be buried before a full and appropriate investigation. I disagree with the language of the petition: “Prosecute the murderer of 17 year old Trayvon Martin” and the reference to his being a “child killer” though he would meet that definition in strict literal terms. I leave the courts to decide Zimmerman’s crime after all the facts are in: murder, manslaughter, reckless endangerment. I’m not a lawyer. But the important thing is that Zimmerman face the courts, that he be held accountable for his actions. We may never know all of the facts of the killing with only Zimmerman to tell the story, but we know at least that he acted directly in opposition to police orders to stay out of police business by trailing Trayvon Martin in his car. This was a crime that could have been entirely avoided.

      On a side note, you have to wonder how it is that Zimmerman ever thought that gun violence was necessary in an altercation with an unarmed boy. He’s claiming self defence, but why would a young man require a gun to defend himself against a kid with a bottle of iced tea? And was Zimmerman injured at all? We haven’t heard anything that would suggest Zimmerman was harmed by Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was reckless and trigger happy at least. Let him be fully investigated to determine what else he may have been.

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