Sunday, July 14, 2013
Trayvon Martin was no Medgar Evers!
The Zimmerman trial brought that to the fore in a way that is baffling and head-shaking. The trial was NEVER about race and yet demagogues of racial division, like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton and even the lawyers for the Martin family, continuously beat the racial bigotry drum. So a young man with a history of mentoring black kids, a man who was virtually the ONLY person to champion the rights of a homeless black man assaulted by a white cop's adult son, was portrayed as a monster of evil who hated blacks and stalked Trayvon with intent to kill. It was a script from the Twilight Zone, one that evidence presented by the prosecution could not sustain. The verdict was correct. There was no way a jury presented with the facts of the case could convict. There wasn't only "reasonable doubt" that he was guilty; a conclusion of guilt would have been unreasonable!
The thing I found most offensive last night as I watched the post trial coverage was one of the Martin family's lawyers claiming, once again, that it was a civil rights issue. The man actually compared Trayvon Martin to Medgar Evers, the civil rights activist assassinated outside his Mississippi home by a white supremacist in 1963. I found that comparison so unreal and so offensive that the Twilight Zone music began playing in my head.
Trayvon Martin's death was sad; it was unnecessary; but he was a troubled young man with a chip on his shoulder. That attitude caused him to confront Zimmerman who was walking back to his car at the time (certainly not "stalking" him.). His attitude and his unprovoked attack of George Zimmerman led to his death. (Zimmerman did NOTHING wrong or illegal by walking in the townhouse community even if he WAS following the young man. (I sometime think it's too bad he didn't have a dog with him; things might have been very different.)
But how, with a straight face, can an attorney compare this troubled young adult, a teenager with a history of drug use, vandalism, burglary, obscene tweets and Facebook posts, etc. to a hero of the civil rights movement? It was an insult to Evers, a World War II vet, a father of three, a man who committed himself to serving others. Medgar Evers was a real hero whose life was trivialized last night. Trayvon Martin was no hero and his life had nothing to do with civil rights. He was a troubled kid who often looked for a fight, the kind of kid one might fear with good reason. Did he "deserve" to die? Of course not. Neither does he deserve to be turned into a hero just because he died. He was no martyr for civil rights like Evers. But it would not surprise me to see Al Sharpton recommend raising a statue in his honor garbed in the famous hoodie. Reality doesn't matter to people like him, only seeking power even at the price of shattering the truth and inflaming the racial divide.
Trayvon might have lived to become a man like Evers if he turned his life around with the help of someone like George Zimmerman who mentored black kids. We'll never know. But the reality is that he died as the kind of person Neighborhood Watch was designed to protect communities from: a petty thief who cared little for the rights of others. Sad to say thuggery is becoming the norm for many young black men. For some, black flash mob theft is the crime of choice, for others it's the violent "knockout game." Last March, a 17-year-old black teen in Georgia accompanied by a 14-year-old accomplice took it a step further. He mugged and robbed a white woman pushing a baby in a stroller. When she said she had nothing, he shot and wounded her and then shot the baby in the face killing him. Will he be the next civil rights hero held up by Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson? Somehow, I think not.