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March 30, 2012

Tragedy in Sanford

Joe Charlebois

Let the investigation continue, please! Fact: the killing of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy; everything else is still being sorted out.


This incident has come into national focus only because Mr. Martin happens to be black and the man accused of killing him – George Zimmerman – is a light skinned Hispanic. The lack of charges being filed against Mr. Zimmerman by the City of Sanford Police Department after the shooting have enraged and incited members of not only the local community but of civil rights groups nationally to cry racism.


The increasingly large flames of outrage continue to be stoked throughout the country by civil rights leaders, members of Congress, the New Black Panther Party and even a number of celebrities. These protestors don’t have all of the facts and neither do the authorities – yet.


Rallies to remember Trayvon and call for justice have sprung up throughout the nation. Name a city and there are probably plans for a rally if one hasn’t been held already.


What is the purpose of these rallies? If it is to bring justice to Trayvon and his family that will certainly be done. It may or may not end in the way the family would like, but that is yet to be determined.


Regrettably the beneficiaries of these rallies are not Trayvon’s family, but rather the more radical “leaders” of the black community. The New Black Panther Party has garnered nationwide attention by placing a bounty on George Zimmerman.


There is also a protest march being led in part by the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement (IPDUM). This organization is a radical socialist group that believes that police departments in the United States act as illegitimate standing armies, and that all African-American inmates are political prisoners held in concentration camps. The IPDUM has added more incendiary words to the discourse by calling Mr. Martin’s death a modern day lynching.


Because groups are misusing this tragedy for their gain, the family of Trayvon Martin has applied for trademark protection as numerous organizations have used the image and name of Trayvon for inappropriate purposes. Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, would like to be able to control the use of her son’s likeness to benefit those who are going through similar situations to the one in which she finds herself currently.


Mikhail Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party has been quoted as saying that "the family of George Zimmerman must understand an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If you kill my damn baby, we're going to kill your damn baby." This statement was made at the time a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster was issued by his organization for the capture or killing of George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman, of course, has claimed he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense and is currently free of any charges.


How can George Zimmerman be walking free? Based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in effect in Florida, a person is allowed to use deadly force in the case of self-defense if they feel they are in imminent danger to life or limb.


In many other jurisdictions Mr. Zimmerman would be facing charges of manslaughter, if not much more serious ones. Due to the uncertainty of all the facts surrounding this case, Mr. Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense is what has put Florida’s Stand Your Ground legislation under such scrutiny.


Mr. Zimmerman may or may not be exonerated of wrong-doing. But, until all of the facts are in, we should all reserve judgment on his actions.


We are now a month removed from the slaying of Trayvon Martin and there is still more and more information coming out regarding this case.


Please, let justice play out.


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