Monday, March 19, 2012

"Someone Was Screaming, 'Help! Help! Help!'"

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


Steven D Skelton said...

Why this is just becoming national news? Help me here Chez. This doesn't make any sense.

White (ok hispanic, but still white) guy shoots unarmed and baby faced teen in a gated neighborhood, and it's three weeks before it becomes a national story?

Admittedly, I'm no media expert. That said, it seems to me that this is a local story the night it happens. The next day it gets picked up nationally. When the shooter hasn't been arrested...say a week later...I would expect a shit storm to erupt.

But instead there was crickets for three weeks.

I know the 911 tapes just came out and that stoked the embers...but surely the local reporters knew the story the next day. Surely they interviewed neighbors who reported the kid screaming for help. Certainly they learned that Zimmerman has long been a concern to the residents of the community.

I could understand the press giving the DA a couple of days to get his shit straight...but after that why weren't they following him/her around town and sticking their mics in his/her face?

Why didn't the local civil rights agitators speak up?

Pulitzer prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts works at the herald and hadn't mentioned this until Sunday. I can't imagine he was unaware...and his columns from the last three weeks haven't exactly been uber-timely. Why did he wait so long to write about it?

How could a story this fucking juicy just lay dormant for three weeks?

Anyone got an answer?

DragonIV said...

And thanks to that stupid "stand yer ground" law in Florida, he's going to stay uncharged. Sad, but likely true.

Jadine said...

I watched this on the news this morning and although Zimmerman claims it is his voice you can hear crying for help in the 911 tape, Trayvon's mother swears it is her son's voice crying for help (which makes more sense since Zimmerman was the one with the gun). As a mother, I know the sound of my child's voice and particularly if it is a cry of distress. I can't help but think that Zimmerman was just itching to use that 9mm. Zimmerman needs to be charged with something.

Anonymous said...

On the tape, Zimmerman admits to following the "suspect." Exactly how is that "standing your ground." Is it too much of a leap to believe that some people are interpreting this law as open season?

Benoit from Ottawa said...

Dear Steven D. Skelton: Fark has the answer, I think: the media get on it in a frenzy when it concerns a pretty, young, white female.

I'm sorry. It *is* just as bad, just as grossly unfair as you (probably) think.

Benoit from Ottawa said...

Self-righteous wannabe cop with a gun.


"Security" has come to mean "insecurity".

Steven D Skelton said...


The media does love a missing pretty white girl.

But they love this sort of thing as well.

The best working theory I have for lack of coverage is that there haven't been any marches or protests.

But that's where I'm confused. If I'm a civil rights activist, this is the kind of story I fucking live for. Within days I would have a crowd whipped up and my face would be in front of every camera in the state of Florida.

But that didn't happen. Does not compute.

It can't possibly be that none of the usual suspects heard about it. These guys have staff searching for this kind of stuff.

Is it possible the activists ceded to a family wish to keep out?

I don't know.

NoxiousNan said...

That is the voice of child in major distress pleading for his life.

The police told Zimmerman not to follow Martin and he ignored them.

If Zimmerman gets away without charges - which I believe he will - then the Stand Your Ground law should be renamed Feel Free to Hunt Your Prey Down.

Anonymous said...

The moment Zimmerman decided to follow/pursue the teen is when the stand your ground defense fell apart. Zimmerman will be charged - only a matter of time.

Anonymouse said...

Well I guess this is progress...whereas before its only a news story when a rich white kid gets wrongfully killed, now its any rich kid gets wrongfully killed, its a national tragedy.