Was Trayvon Martin a hoodlum who deserved what he got?

Posted on April 29, 2012

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Was Trayvon Martin an inoffensive teenager who was savagely gunned down as he walked innocently down the street? Or was he a thug who was responsible for his own death because he attacked George Zimmerman, who then killed him in self defense?

I have been surprised at the number of comments on the web that have taken the latter view.  Here are some of those comments, and the replies I made to them.

From CL
If the hoodlum came at and attacked Zimmerman like it has been suggested and threatened Zimmerman’s life, then according to Florida’s Castle Law, justice has been rightly meted out.

CL – You apparently think that Trayvon Martin was a hoodlum who, with no provocation, attacked George Zimmerman. I’d be interested in knowing how you think events played out. There are several possibilities:

(1) George was just innocently driving by in his truck when that hoodlum, Trayvon, saw him and rushed up, pulled him out of his truck, and attacked him with his bag of Skittles. Or maybe it was with the iced tea.

(2) George got out of his truck and just said a cordial “hello” to the 17-year old. And Trayvon, hoodlum that he was, went ballistic at such a greeting and attacked Zimmerman.

(3) George, against the instructions of the police 911 operator, got out of his truck and physically accosted Trayvon about what he was doing in the neighborhood. And Trayvon, being a hoodlum, reacted negatively to this stranger who first followed him and then confronted him (as his girlfriend heard on his cell phone). So Trayvon attacked poor George, who was utterly astounded at the reaction he received.

(4) Trayvon was terrified at the armed stranger who followed and confronted him. As he told his girlfriend on the phone, he walked fast to get away, but obviously was not able to. (George, during his 911 call, said that Trayvon was running). And when he was trapped by the physically imposing stranger with a gun, Trayvon, being a hoodlum, tried to protect himself. So, of course, Zimmerman had no choice but to shoot him. After all, if an armed black man accosted a white 17-year old on the street, the white teenager, not being a hoodlum, would be happily unconcerned and would feel no need of taking any defensive action.

Well, I can certainly see that, whichever way this happened, it was all Trayvon Martin’s fault. Because he was a hoodlum.

I’m sure, CL, that if you ever found yourself in a situation similar to Trayvon Martin’s, you would simply allow the stranger who confronted you to have his way, instead of acting like a hoodlum by trying to defend yourself. And then, of course, all would be well.

From JL
Trayvon Martin did not have the RIGHT to assault Zimmerman. He physically attacked Zimmerman and Mr Zimmerman responded with a lethal shot. Mr Zimmerman’s actions were perfectly legal within the scope of the Florida stand your ground legislation. The fact that he (Martin) was carrying Skittles is not germane to the argument. Thugs like Skittles too. Travon Martin was a suspended student from his high school as a result of a drug incident.

JL – Let’s take what is actually known and not in dispute about this case, and apply those facts to a slightly different scenario.

A 17-year old white kid, we’ll call him Martin Travone, is walking through a predominantly black neighborhood because his car broke down. He is spotted by an older African American male named G. Z. Blackman, who has been cruising the neighborhood in his car. Although Blackman has a history of violence, having been arrested for assaulting a police officer, he is legally armed with a gun. At some point, Blackman gets out of his car and approaches Martin Travone. Some kind of altercation occurs. Afterward, Blackman reports bruising to the back of his head. Martin Travone doesn’t report anything – he is dead from a bullet to the chest.

Blackman admits killing the white teen, but claims self defense. His claim is accepted by the police (who also happen to be black), and he is allowed to go home. Martin Travone’s parents are initially outraged by their son’s killing. But one day they read a comment on a media website that says that Martin Travone was obviously a hoodlum who attacked Mr. Blackman, since Blackman had bruises on his head. That makes the parents feel much better about the whole thing.

And of course no one is upset that a 17-year white kid, innocently walking though a neighborhood where he had every right to be, was accosted by an armed black man with a violent past, and ended up dead on the sidewalk.

From JL
What Zimmerman did was fully lawful because of the Stand Your Ground Laws in Florida. Stand your ground legislation is a VERY good idea. Zimmerman will be acquitted and he will use his new found fame to work for the NRA as a spokesman ADVANCING stand your ground laws.

JL – You and I don’t often agree, but I think you may be right when you say, “What Zimmerman did was fully lawful because of the Stand Your Ground Laws in Florida.” I notice also that in another post you imply that Trayvon Martin was at fault because he was “in a gated community where he did NOT belong.”

So, as long as Stand Your Ground laws remain in effect, black men should just understand that they put their lives on the line if they walk in gated communities, even if, like Trayvon, they think they have a legitimate reason to be there. Hey, sounds reasonable to me!

What do you think?

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