I was really hoping it wouldn’t happen, but I can’t say I haven’t been uneasily awaiting the impending inevitability of a smear campaign against Trayvon Martin. I saw its conception, as whispers began about the theories for Trayvon’s “mysterious” school suspension. And then it began to take shape as people’s racist rhetoric and pictures flooded my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline; “he shouldn’t have been dressed like a thug”, a picture of Trayvon wearing a gold grill on his bottom teeth, a picture of “Trayvon” (that was not actually even him, but just another random black kid) giving the camera the middle finger with his shirt off, and videos and articles with ridiculous comments made by Right Wing leaders and commentators.
And suddenly, the ugly beast was birthed in full effect, and the real smear campaign commenced. Zimmerman, painting himself as the victim, reported that Trayvon was the aggressor and attacked him. The Sanford Police Station unjustifiably leaked information about Trayvon’s school suspension (he was caught with a trace-amount of marijuana), as if that had anything to do with this case. There have even been ridiculous, erroneous claims that Trayvon was a drug dealer. And in general, Trayvon has begun to be painted as the “typical thugged-out, blinged-up, gang-affiliated, violent, drugged-up” stereotype of black man, ostensibly “justifying” his murder for White America. It is devastating, and sad, and sick. It makes me weak.
His mother said, “They’ve killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”
I don’t know what is more heinous in my eyes, how the media is unashamedly ripping apart the character of a voiceless murder victim, or how certain people are so quick to jump on the smear bandwagon with their, “See! I told you so,” posts and attitudes. What I do know, is Trayvon’s suspension for trace-amounts of marijuna has nothing to do with this case, except for the fact that Trayvon probably would not have been there on that dreaded night, had he not been suspended by the “Zero Tolerance” policies of the school, because he was visiting his father during his suspension. I also know that in the United States it is statistically proven that though white kids are more likely to use drugs, black kids (making up 70% of all youth reported to authorities by schools but only 18% of the school population in the U.S.) are more likely than their white peers to be suspended from school for drugs.
Speaking of white kids’ drug use, I smoked weed in high school. And I smoked way more than trace amounts. Does that mean that it would have been okay for some self-proclaimed neighborhood watch vigilante to gun me down? Nope. But come on, are you really trying to say that the possibility of Trayvon smoking weed at some point, and getting suspended from school vindicates his murder? Please! That makes about as much sense as the picture of the random black kid who is not even Trayvon providing reason for his death.
As for Zimmerman’s reports that Trayvon attacked him, I think he’s lying. And yes, I am entitled to my own opinion. Sure, I definitely believe they probably got into a scuffle when Zimmerman confronted Trayvon, which would explain the scrapes Zimmerman received on his face. Trayvon might have even gotten in a few good punches, because he felt threatened by the strange man who had followed and then confronted him. But no, I do not believe Trayvon turned around, chased Zimmerman down, and beat him to the ground, as Zimmerman is trying to claim.
I am not professing to know what happened that evening. The truth is, the only two people who know exactly what happened are George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Most unfortunately, one of them was killed by the other one and is therefore unable to give his account. We may never know all the details of what really went down. I am not trying to paint Trayvon Martin as a perfect angel, nor George Zimmerman as an evil demon. I am merely trying to say that it is ludicrous to get caught up in the media’s smear campaign aimed at a dead child.
We don’t know all the facts, but here are some important things to remember:
It is more than a month after the murder took place. Of course Zimmerman has had plenty of time to speak with his lawyer and anyone else, working up a solid story that would protect him under the Stand Your Ground law. Let us also remember that police did not check Zimmerman for toxicity on the evening. If he had been under the influence of a substance, which he very well may have been, it could have given explanation as to why he was hyped up enough to kill someone, why his judgement was clouded, or why his recollections of the events may not be accurate.
Zimmerman was renowned for both habitually calling 911, and racially profiling young black men. In Zimmerman’s 911 call we see that he has already labelled Trayvon as “up to know good” and classed him in the category of those who “always get away”. You can hear when he begins walking fast or even jogs as he follows Trayvon and breathes heavily into the phone. The dispatcher told him they don’t need him to do that. He says ok, but you can hear that he does not stop, and continues moving swiftly and breathing heavily.
Now, the media says there is about a minute after this call where we “don’t know what happened”. That’s actually not true because Trayvon was speaking on the phone with a friend. His friend recounts, “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man. I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run.” His friend said he eventually began to run, and thought he had managed to escape, but suddenly said the “strange man” was back, which concerned Trayvon. “Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn’t answer the phone.” And then the line went dead. That does not fit with the “Now you’ve got a problem!!” kind of threat that Zimmerman is claiming.
Then, of course, we have the horrible 911 call from the neighbor, where you don’t have to be a voice recognition specialist to hear that the screams, cries and pleas for help are not Zimmerman’s. A couple of the witnesses (who only heard what was going on or saw vague figures) on the night have reported that they were told by police to say the screams came from Zimmerman, when they were not even sure what was going on. They have come back and retracted those statements.
As I’ve said, I wasn’t there on the evening, so I don’t know. But from the evidence we have, it seems to me that Zimmerman was the aggressor from the beginning, not Trayvon.