Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I just wanted to take a quick second to throw this item up because I think it's important. There's a lot of conjecture going on right now -- and it's spreading with the usual viral speed through the social media world -- about whether George Zimmerman uttered a racial slur in the moments before he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Basically, a radio show host, Joe Madison, is claiming that Zimmerman can be heard huffing the words "fucking coons" as he's on the phone with the 911 dispatcher in Sanford, Florida; it happens while he's chasing down Martin, just before the dispatcher warns him to back off. The problem is that Zimmerman, as far as I can tell, doesn't say that at all. He says, "Fucking punks." It's pretty obvious, even to the untrained ear.
I bring this up because George Zimmerman very likely deserves to be prosecuted for killing Martin and he seems to have profiled the kid as dangerous or generally suspicious just because he happened to be black. That and the fact that Zimmerman was armed with a handgun while Martin was carrying nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea is reason enough to charge him with a crime, if not a few. You don't need to let your imagination run wild and start a psychotic torch-and-pitchfork frenzy by desperately seeking out details -- or creating details -- that confirm your suspicions about Zimmerman, in this case that he's a racist. You've already got the very clear-cut facts about the case: that he targeted, stalked and shot a black kid in a hoodie because he automatically assumed he was a threat.
The outrage over this thing is righteous and well-deserved. Let's not allow it to go off the rails into the realm of the sensational. It does a disservice to the memory of Trayvon Martin and to the fact that there may be, as ghoulish as this will sound, a truly teachable moment to come from his tragic death.