Today: Jun 17, 2024

Is the fight for Trayvon Martin over?

17-year old Trayvon Martin

Aaron Berkowitz – General Assignments Reporter

“In most stories there are 3 sides: 1 side, the other, and the truth,” said Aidian Field, 20,  junior  engineering major at the University of New Haven.

In this case, the death of Trayvon Martin erased one side to the story which made it that much harder for the jury to come to a verdict. Without Martin being able to provide his take on what transpired the night of the confrontation between himself and George Zimmerman, the jury was left with a case similar to the O.J Simpson murder trial in 1994. Both trials lacked sufficient evidence that was needed to charge either Simpson or Zimmerman with the murders of the victims in each case, which resulted in the both of them being acquitted of all charges that they were tried with. Both trials also had aftershocks that brought racial tension and animosity to followers of the case.

As to be expected, the verdict of the Trayvon Martin’s case evoked an immediate emotional response from people all over the U.S and was a trending topic on every social network (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) People voiced their frustrations and feelings of disgust with what happened to Martin, but I found that some people used social networks merely as a platform to spread ignorant messages that only added more fuel to the metaphorical fire.

17-year old Trayvon Martin
17-year old Trayvon Martin

Messages such as “Fu*k white people” and people Tweeting/sharing George Zimmerman’s address and other personal information flooded my timeline by people who were obviously disturbed by the verdict that the jury came to. I usually don’t let things like this bother me, especially if they appear on a social network, but in this case some of ignorance came from people that I was friendly with and it was offensive.

What I’ve noticed is that many people assume that this case and verdict are forms of racism or another form of discrimination. Although it is incredibly ignorant to be, it is not illegal to be racist, but it is illegal to kill someone who is unarmed and does not pose a threat. Making it clear that the purpose of the trial is to see if Zimmerman should be found guilty for the murder of Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed during the confrontation.

My hope is that Trayvon Martin didn’t die in vain and people begin to pay closer attention to all of the violence that goes on everyday in this country and not just the interracial. If we don’t begin to see this bigger picture we will subliminally send the message that it is easier to accept death if it is at the hands of someone who is the same race as the person who is killed. This is vital for us to understand because there are already so many fatal shootings and acts of violence all over our country that don’t get the publicity that this case received.

I feel as though a jury is supposed to come to a verdict based strictly off of the story and evidence that is presented to them. Regardless of the emotional effects that a case with this much publicity/coverage can have on people, the verdict should be made in the pursuit of obtaining justice. The race/ethnicity of the people involved in crimes like this shouldn’t affect the way the pursuit of justice is carried out, the evidence and truth is what ultimately determines who is at fault and what their punishment should be.

At the end of the day, the only two people who truly know what happened during that altercation on February 26, 2012 was Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Who is to say that Zimmerman didn’t feel as though his life was in jeopardy once he began to scuffle with Martin? “Trayvon Martin died so we will never really know exactly what happened that night,” said Jasmine Ortiz, 20, who is a junior and nursing major at SCSU.

This man has Trayvon Martin's name written on his cheek in honor of him.
This man has Trayvon Martin’s name written on his cheek in honor of him.

The trial was fair because the verdict was based directly off of all the evidence that was collected. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder or manslaughter and the “Stand your ground law,” that is upheld in Florida protected him so he was acquitted of all charges.

“I think that it’s very sad that Trayvon Martin was killed and that he (Zimmerman) shouldn’t have followed him but the laws in Florida protect him in this case,” said Jamie Hallissey, 20, a junior that is also a nursing major at SCSU.

Although I feel as though the trial was run fairly, I don’t believe that Zimmerman should’ve gone unpunished. Had George Zimmerman listened to the officer who he spoke with when he called into the station the whole altercation with Martin could have been avoided, sparing his life as well? We will never know what could have happened, but this should serve as a wakeup call to our country because although events such as these are tragic, there are cases like this that happen every day that go unnoticed by the media.

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