Closed minds don’t get fed

I’m sure you’re probably a lot like me and a bit burned out on the Trayvon Martin news and debate. But it doesn’t take much, as I have learned, for the embers of Imageemotion to flare up to full fury even to this day.

Last night, a Facebook friend posted a link to a blog post his nephew posted on the issue. The blogger is black, and pointed his disdain to black Americans who have gotten swept up in the contrived racial firestorm. On Facebook, I entered into the discussion because I saw people perpetuating the misinformation that had been fed to them by those with agendas. During the debate, individuals took the stance that “we all know” that George Zimmerman is guilty of a crime. When I asked them to offer one true fact to support this, the “best” argument I got was;

“He shot an unarmed kid, I said this before on someone else’s status, if a cop shows up, and there’s a dead, unarmed kid, a smoking gun, and a dude holding it, and the cop asks “did you shoot this kid?” and the guy says “Yeah, but I was defending myself”, the correct answer is “okay, tell it to the judge.””

Thankfully, we don’t live in a country where this is the rule of law. Thankfully, despite the outside pressure of certain media outlets, (hello NBC), there hasn’t been a rush-to-judgment by law enforcement and prosecutors.

Three weeks ago, I had never heard of Trayvon Martin. When I was made aware of the incident, I was outraged. I heard about a young boy who was simply walking down the street carrying a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. I heard that Zimmerman, a white man, singled the boy out because he was black and wearing a hoodie. I heard about the 911 call in which the dispatcher ordered Mr. Zimmerman to stand down and not pursue the kid. I heard the other 911 call from a neighbor in which you could hear someone screaming for help. I was sure it was the young boy in fear for his life. I heard that the police showed up and essentially shook Zimmerman’s hand and let him go home.

I was outraged. How could this happen in MY America?

Then the facts began to trickle out. The facts began to add some texture to what I had heard initially. George Zimmerman is hispanic. He tutored African American children for free on weekends. Not exactly the profile of a racist.

This young boy was, in fact, was 17 years old and 6’3″. A far cry from the mental image that had been painted with the brush of uninformed outrage.

The incident occurred at 3 AM, not during the day, say right after school, as I had assumed. This caused me to call into question what my own judgment might be like were I to see an unfamiliar person walking through my neighborhood which has recently seen a spike in burglaries. I may have made different decisions, but I also may have been suspicious.

I listened to the original 911 calls. I was, and still am troubled by Mr. Zimmerman’s assumption that Trayvon was “up to no good,” and “on drugs or something.” I heard the 911 dispatcher’s response when he learned Zimmerman was following Martin. It wasn’t an “order”, as many have stated falsely. The exact words were, “we don’t need you to do that.” Obviously, as we all know, Zimmerman ignored this suggestion.

Poor judgment, but not a crime.

It turns out the the desperate screams for help heard in another 911 call came from George Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s statement, backed up by physical evidence and eyewitness accounts, were that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, pounding his head into the ground.

When the police processed the scene, Zimmerman was taken into custody and brought to the police station for questioning. After doing so and interviewing eyewitnesses, there was no probable cause to arrest and indefinitely detain Zimmerman for the death of Martin.

The bottom line is, my mind was and remains open to the facts. Many drew a conclusion upon hearing the first bits of information from that tragic night. There was a bounty put on the head of George Zimmerman by the New Black Panthers. Spike Lee tweeted what he thought was Zimmerman’s address, but turned out to belong to an innocent elderly couple. Whether or not the address was incorrect, Lee’s motives can only be described as facilitating a potentially horrible confrontation. Since then, Roseanne Barr tweeted Zimmerman’s father’s address.

The media, the “reverends” Jackson and Sharpton, the President of the United States and other public figures have not only rushed to judgment, but have inspired and perpetuated a racial firestorm that is unnecessary and completely contrived. These are entities with an agenda. The media is looking for ratings. There is a lot of competition with cable news outlets. But rather than report the news, they’re looking to manipulate it. Jackson, Sharpton and the President? Well, when your only tool is a hammer, you need your problems to be nails. So they call Zimmerman a white man, then a “white hispanic”, whatever that is. Then they jump on the hoodie thing. Mentioning that Martin was black and wearing a hoodie was simply a description to enable police to visually identify him at the scene. But making this a racial thing serves a political and social agenda for these individuals.

If the facts prove that George Zimmerman committed a crime, he should pay the price. But our minds must be open should the facts not prove that out. It just may be that it was a case of self defense.

Again, I believe George Zimmerman made some bad decisions. He showed some poor judgment. But from what we know, not to the point of a crime.

Thankfully, in MY America, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way around.