Thursday, March 22, 2012

Self Defense ?

 Walking to the convenient store for a snack is an activity many teenagers often do. Trayvon Martin was one of these teens who decided to grab a snack but unlike most teens, Trayvon never made it home. On February 26th Treyvon Martin was walking home from a convent store but was stopped by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida. Nobody is sure of exactly what happened but this encounter led to the shooting death of 17 year old Treyvon Martin. When police arrived at the scene Martin was pronounced dead, Zimmerman claimed that he had killed Martin in self defense. Zimmerman had a bloody nose and wound on his head. Martin had no weapons in his possession only a bag of skittles and an ice tea. When police arrived on scene Zimmerman told them he shot Martin in self defense. Police never arrested Zimmerman or even took him in for drug/alcohol screening which is common practice by the department. 
            During the walk Martin called his girlfriend, who told him to run, then heard him talking to somebody right before she heard the phone drop. Treyvon Martin's girlfriend tried to call back but never got an answer. Witnesses from the area say they heard crying, then a gunshot, and then silence. When the arrived at the scene they saw Zimmerman standing over Treyvon Martin's body. Zimmerman called 911 before his encounter with Martin and was advised not to follow him even though he thought Martin was up to no good. He obviously ignored the suggestion and decided to take matters into his own hands. The situation sounds like Zimmerman was following a suspicious suspect, Martin, in the neighborhood. Martin was probably scared of the man following him and may have hit the man out of fear. Zimmerman may have mistaken the contact as malicious and then shot Martin. 

             I think this is a very unfortunate "accident". Zimmerman was trying to do the right thing by keeping his neighborhood safe but went to far by taking matters into his own hands. He should have never approached Martin, but instead should have waited for police to examine the situation. I think that there should have been some form of formal punishment taken against Zimmerman. If a police officer shot a defenseless teen dead, he/she would have faced formal punishment. The fact that Zimmerman went up to a teen who was probably in fear of the man and then shot him after a scuffle is not right. In Zimmerman's eyes this incident may have been self defense but he actively put himself in a compromising situation.
            I think the police kind of dropped the ball in this case. They should have investigated the situation thoroughly. They should have contacted Martin's girlfriend and questioned other witnesses. They should have also taken Zimmerman into custody and tested him for drugs/alcohol and should have tried to piece together his story. I don't think police should ever take somebody's word and not thoroughly investigate a situation, let alone a situation in which someone is dead. The Chief of Police in this town stepped down and Department of Justice is reviewing the case. There were obviously some mistakes made in this investigation. This is a very unfortunate case, many things should have gone differently and maybe someone should have been held accountable for the death of this young man. 


  1. I agree to an extent. I think based off of a lot of the reports that have been coming out about Zimmerman indicate that he is a bit of a paranoid person. There have been news outlets reporting that he has called police over 40 times this year to report suspicious looking people in the neighborhood. Having a neighborhood watch is never a bad thing, but the people who are in charge of an organization like that need to have their head on straight and understand that their job is to alert police and stay out of the way. THe fact that he took matters into his own hands, using deadly force, is unacceptable.

    1. I read an article just a few minutes ago that retracted the "40 calls this year" statement. It said that the police gave incorrect dates and that actually Zimmerman made the 46 calls over a period of close to ten years.

  2. I agree and find this to be a very unfortunate situation. It is hard to believe that the teen did not give Zimmerman any reason to be suspicious, but then again you point out there have been times where he is paranoid and over-reports incidents. If this is the case, the police should have done something about this or fired him, and because they didn't, the consequences took the life of what appears to be, an innocent young man.