I’m sure that most of you have heard by now about the seventeen year old boy that was shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain. We had talked about it for a little bit in our discussion group. I also read an article about it from CNN.com. This boy, named Trayvon Martin, was an African American child walking to his father’s house in a gated community. The neighborhood watch captain, named George Zimmerman, looks like he is Caucasian, but his family says that he has a Latino background. Either way, it is still a very racially charged issue. The watch captain had called the 9-1-1, telling the dispatcher that the boy looked suspicious and asked if he could follow him. The dispatcher said to stay put, not to follow him, and that the police would arrive at his location soon. He proceeded to disregard the dispatcher’s instructions, and continued to follow the boy. When the police arrived at the scene, the boy had been shot and killed with the 9mm handgun that Zimmerman was carrying.
Illinois is the only state that doesn’t allow concealed carry for guns, so he was perfectly legal when he was carrying the gun. Zimmerman was not charged with murder. There is a law in Florida that talks about your right to protect yourself, and it extends a person’s protection rights to anywhere, it doesn’t matter at all where you are at. Our T.A. gave an example of this, saying that if you were in Wal-Mart and you thought that someone was threatening your life, you have the right to protect yourself there. The reason that Zimmerman was not charged with murder was that he was claiming that it was self-defense. He said he felt threatened by the boy. It turned out that the boy was just carrying some candy and an iced tea.
They are still reviewing 9-1-1 tapes to see if there is anything in the recording that could turn the tables and let them charge him with murder, but as of right now, they don’t have any evidence that refutes Zimmerman’s story of self-defense. What evidence officers saw when they arrived and Zimmerman’s testimony is all that they have to go on right now. That’s why they are going through the 9-1-1 calls, so they can try to get more evidence.
The parents of Martin are obviously not happy with letting Zimmerman walk away on self-defense. They just lost their son for no reason at all, so they want justice to be done. The attorney of the Martin family said that it didn’t add up, since Zimmerman is claiming self-defense, yet he was the one who approached Trayvon. The community has also been outraged and is unhappy with the police and the whole situation. The family’s attorney also made a comment about how the 9-1-1 tapes will reveal why Zimmerman decided not to follow instructions from the dispatcher and what his mentality was when he was following Trayvon. It will give us an idea of whether he was actually acting in self-defense, or if he had bad intentions.
By Scott Masters