Bonita Garber – Horizon Opinion Editor
Whenever the media retells a story, there are usually discrepancies. The same is true when a narrative is verbally told and retold: exaggerations and alterations occur, and it is easy for the story to become a wild fantasy.
So, how accurate is the human mind? How reliable is the media? And, how viable are the eye-witness accounts that have been transcribed as fact?
On Wednesday, April 11, Robert Zimmerman turned himself in and was charged with the second degree murder of Trayvon Martin. But, the recent development in the case does little to clear up the many questions surrounding the events resulting in Trayvon Martin’s death.
Robert Zimmerman, the father of the shooter, George Zimmerman told CNN that Martin initated the attack on George.
“He [George] was punched in the nose.” Robert Zimmerman said. “His nose was broken, he was knocked to the concrete. Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him. In the face. In his nose, hitting his head on the concrete.”
But Robert Zimmerman wasn’t an eyewitness that night. According to an eyewitness, the fight actually occurred on the grass. So, how much credence should be given to Zimmerman’s account?
When the paramedics arrived on the scene, they administered first aid treatment to George’s head. But in the videos released to the public and available on CNN, not so much as a bandage is apparent or visible on George’s body. In fact, George did not go to the hospital for an evaluation. Now, if George had been beaten so badly that he needed to draw his weapon and kill the perpetrator; wouldn’t he have, at least, needed to visit a hospital?
Another inconsistency comes with the description of Martin’s body. The Huffington Post reported that Richard Kurtz, funeral director, “prepared the body for interment and saw no marks on Martin’s hands, face or body other than the gunshot wound that killed him.”
In a video interview, Kurtz says, “I was not able to see anything that he [Trayvon] was punching or in a scuffle fight…the actual physical look of the body did not say that to me.”
If Martin had been able to inflict life-threating physical damage to Zimmerman, where is the evidence that supports this?
The 911 call that quickly became public in the last few weeks after its release on NBC news is now being inspected. A recently fired NBC producer who released the tape has been accused of editing the call before releasing it to the public.
The phone call reveals that Zimmerman was told by a 911 dispatcher not to go after Martin.
So, if Zimmerman blatantly disregarded the dispatchers instructions, there are no signs on Martin’s body that point to a fight and Zimmerman’s physical damage did not warrant hospital care, then why did it take months to determine if Zimmerman was to be prosecuted?
What constitutes self-defense? Why did Zimmerman not receive a breathalyzer test the night of the shooting? Why is the case not receiving a grand jury? Why, if Zimmerman’s attorney is suggesting that Zimmerman suffered injuries similar to Shaken Baby Syndrome, did Zimmerman not go to the hospital? These are all relevant questions that make me wonder about America’s racial attitudes.
In the aftermath of Martin’s death, thousands of teens from cities across the nation have held walk-outs in Miami and in Sanford. According to an article on ABC News, in Florida alone, over 50 schools in Florida staged a walkout in protest of Martin’s killing. Chance.org started a petition for Zimmerman’s arrest which has surpassed 1.5 million signatures.
But there are many mixed reactions about the shooting. As reported on ABC News, Fox News Contributor, Gerald Rivera, said “the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.” He later clarified, saying, “Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand didn’t deserve to die, but I’ll bet you money if he didn’t have that hoodie on that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent an aggressive way.”
Rivera continued by stating that he doesn’t let his son wear hoodies, and that “there is no rehabilitating the hoodie…unless it’s raining out or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.”
If Martin had been a Caucasian wearing a hoodie, would Zimmerman be in prison today?
Rush Limbaugh has tried to link Trayvon’s death with the New Black Panthers, due to Martin’s drug past. Limbaugh has also insinuated that because Obama spoke out about Trayvon’s death, Trayvon’s death is also a conspiracy by Obama to get re-elected.
In a Gallup poll, more African-Americans than Caucasians surveyed think that that Zimmerman would have already been arrested if Martin had been Caucasian.
So, is the Trayvon Martin case an issue of race? Is race a factor when it comes to defining what constitutes self-defense? And, what happens if the trial goes to jury, and Zimmerman is found not-guilty?