EDITORIALS

TRAYVON MARTIN – The Perils of American Gun Lust

The Robbery

After watching key testimony during the George Zimmerman trial, I admit, I was not surprised by the verdict.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t find the result disturbing.

Zimmerman (29) is the Sanford, Florida neighbourhood watch co-ordinator who shot and killed seventeen (17) year old Trayvon Martin on the evening of February 26, 2012.  Zimmerman apparently came to the conclusion Martin was a “suspicious person” as evidenced by his recorded call to a Police dispatcher; “This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something,” he said.  He could also be heard saying, “These assholes, they always get away.”

During the call, the dispatcher advised Zimmerman that he need not continue following Martin, however, Zimmerman failed to heed this advice and subsequently became involved in a violent confrontation that ended when he fired a bullet into the seventeen year olds chest.

The investigation revealed Martin had committed no crime and was simply walking home after a trip to a local 7-11 Store.

The trial was a typical judicial gong show that started off with an inappropriate defense team “knock, knock” joke and evolved into a confusing ordeal with star witness Rachel Jeantel when she took the stand and proceeded to confuse the Judge, Prosecutors, Defense & Jury with street jargon retorts that may or may not have had origins in the English language.  Enter lead investigator Detective Chris Serino who provided favourable testimony for the defense when he testified he believed Zimmerman’s version of the events was credible.  His generous characterization of the defendant was subsequently stricken from the record as improper testimony, nonetheless, his comments were heard by the jury and may have influenced their finding.

As I watched his testimony I was shocked by what seemed to me to be an obvious attempt to undermine the Prosecutors case, a theory openly discussed by CNN’s legal panel covering the story.

In the aftermath of the not guilty verdict, much has been said about racism, profiling and the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws that currently exist in more than half of the States in the U.S.  What I find shocking is I haven’t heard a whisper about the role that American gun lust played in this case.

The Trayvon Martin case was the perfect storm, a deadly combination of a several contributory factors that included;

  • an overzealous neighbourhood watch wannabe cop guy
  • a loaded Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm pistol
  • a black teen wearing a dark hoody
  • a predisposed idea of what a “suspicious” person is

Coming behind horrific mass shootings in a number of U.S. States, you would think the contributory issue of an armed society might have had some probative value in the media post mortem.  According to recent surveys, the US has the highest number of armed civilians in the world with an estimated 270 million total guns.  That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents.

For me, the Trayvon Martin case is more about the perils of American gun lust than it is about racism and racial profiling.

If George Zimmerman didn’t have the inalienable right to bear arms, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.

If George Zimmerman was an overzealous neighbourhood watch wannabe cop guy in Canada, Trayvon Martin might have been inconvenienced, annoyed, delayed and at worst, offended by Zimmerman’s baseless suspicions.  He certainly would not have been killed for going out on an early evening jaunt to 7-11.

I have little doubt Zimmerman would have been properly charged and convicted of Manslaughter had this incident occurred on Canadian soil.  Concerns for soft Canadian Justice aside, the law in this Country still frowns on armed neighbourhood watch coordinators profiling & killing our teenaged citizens.

The scariest thing of all, with his acquittal, George Zimmerman gets his gun back.

FACTOIDS: 

RECENT U.S. MASS SHOOTINGS:

  • Aurora, Colorado – July 20, 2012 (12 killed – 58 injured)
  • Oak Creek, Wisconsin – August 5, 2012 (6 killed – 3 injured)
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota – September 28, 2012 (6 killed – 2 injured)
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin – October 21, 2012 (3 killed – 4 injured)
  • Newtown, Connecticut – December 14, 2012 (27 killed – 1 injured)
  • Santa Monica, California – June 7, 2013 (5 killed)

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