I'm going to be a bit busy today on various projects -- for what it's worth, tomorrow and the rest of the week are looking better by the minute -- but I wanted to do my part to circulate this item because it really does deserve to be seen and heard by as many people as possible. If you haven't yet had a chance to listen to the 911 audio that was recorded as 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was being shot and killed by a 28-year-old self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida, you really should. I generally think 911 tapes to be prurient and somewhat irrelevant to a news story, but these are exactly the opposite: they're illuminating as hell.
The question of exactly what happened to Martin -- who had simply been a black kid walking back from a 7-11 after buying something to snack on -- on the night of February 26th will likely never fully be answered. With that in mind, I don't know whether George Zimmerman, the guy who shot him, is guilty of murder or really was simply engaging in self-defense. But there are facts that are worth considering, the most pertinent of which is that Zimmerman was armed with a 9mm handgun -- Martin had nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. It was never anything approaching a fair fight. Also, Zimmerman apparently has a history of making "concerned" 911 calls in his capacity as a supposed neighborhood watch captain and neighbors have complained that he takes the defense of his community to creepily obsessive levels.
The bottom line here is that the details of this shooting deserve serious consideration and Zimmerman may very well have committed murder. To their credit, many media outlets are beginning to focus attention on the story of Trayvon Martin and that's at least partially owed to the good work of people like Trymaine Lee, Charles Blow, Don Lemon and Melissa Harris-Perry. Not so good, although completely unsurprising, is that Al Sharpton is already planning the obligatory rally at a Baptist church near where the shooting happened.
George Zimmerman -- a white "neighborhood watch captain" -- wasn't arrested. He hasn't been charged with a thing.
Trayvon Martin -- an unarmed black kid -- is dead.
Something is wrong.
The Huffington Post: 911 Audio Released in Trayvon Martin Shooting/3.18.12