Trayvon Martin Shooting Reveals America’s Psychotic Love Affair With Guns
The case of the unarmed Florida teenager killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer — let go by cops after he claimed he shot in self-defense — will at long last go to a county grand jury in early April.
Local authorities announced the investigation Tuesday, shortly after the Justice Department stepped in to probe possible civil rights violations. The shooter is Hispanic; the victim was black.
Federal action filled a void that for many Americans, particularly blacks, recalled law enforcement inaction in the face of anti-black violence that once plagued the U.S.
Here, though, the poison may not be racism but the psychotic love affair with guns that afflicts too much of America.
Much about the Feb. 26 killing in Sanford, Fla., is not known — but many details have emerged.
We know 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking to his father’s fiancée’s house from a store, carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.
We know George Zimmerman had called cops 46 times since January 2011, reporting everything from open windows to disturbances to break-ins.
We know he saw Trayvon and deemed him suspicious. He told a 911 dispatcher, “this guy looks like he’s up to no good or on drugs or something.”
He added: “These a—holes, they always get away.”
We know Trayvon felt threatened by Zimmerman, who followed him in a sport-utility vehicle, then on foot.
We know Trayvon broke into a run.
We know the 911 dispatcher asked Zimmerman, “Are you following him?” then added, “Okay, you don’t need to do that.”
We know Zimmerman continued to trail Trayvon, that there was a chase, a struggle and a bullet.
And we know how cops explained their decision to let Zimmerman go. In 2005, gun-happy Florida enacted the insane Stand Your Ground law. Where citizens had been required to retreat from confrontations, if possible, the statute told Floridians to shoot if they felt threatened.
The number of criminal defendants claiming justifiable homicide has tripled in the state, and the defense has worked in most cases.
So Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager and police were poised to drop the matter without investigation. The first of these wrongs cannot be reversed. There is still time to correct the second.