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What Kind of Man Could Trayvon Martin Have Been?

Yet another young life halted from reaching its full potential due to gun violence and racism

(Image: ThinkStock)

The police readily accepted Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin in self-defense. Defending their own stunning (in)action, the police cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, which supports a person’s right to do just that (as opposed to retreat) when they feel they are in danger. But as details of the case continue to trickle out, including Zimmerman’s 911 call and Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend’s account of their phone conversation moments before the shooting, it is unimaginable that Zimmerman’s arrest would not be imminent (of course, it’s incredible that he was still free as of this writing…).

But Zimmerman isn’t the only problem here. It’s not just his gun that killed Trayvon Martin, it’s his attitude, his presumption that a young Black man in a hoodie is obviously up to no good. Law enforcement, in this case, completely reinforced that attitude. No doubt, they helped to create it in the first place. We all play our role in tolerating, thus perpetuating, a culture in which assaulting a Black male’s character—or his very life—is accepted as a justifiable norm, and justice is slow (at best) to follow. How do we stop this? We have to stop it.

As of late Monday, after a national outcry that included online petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of anguished and angry citizens and growing pressure from the media, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would be launching an investigation into this incident as a hate crime. Perhaps that will help address the issue of putting confessed killer Zimmerman behind bars. But what of the police in this matter? What of the neighbors who didn’t come out when they heard cries for help? What of our nation’s cynicism and callousness every time a Black child goes missing or dead? What of the untold losses to our communities, our larger culture and our world that these climbing numbers of lost Black male lives represent? Why don’t we ever talk about that?

President Barack Obama was once 17. In high school, he no doubt ate candy, drank iced tea, loved sports, had girlfriends and big plans for his life even though he came from relatively humble means. Given what became of his life, we can now say there are no limits to what a Russell or Teddy or Carter can achieve. But we can’t say that about Trayvon Martin or the next young Black male to be shot for no reason other than the most fundamental, most stubborn racist views. Somebody, please tell me, what are we going to do about that? It will no longer do for us to simply shake our heads, wring our hands, and pray that they rest in peace. True justice for Trayvon Martin has to be bigger than what becomes of George Zimmerman or the local police in this case. That’s what we need to pray—and to work—toward.

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  • Meredith

    I am an anguished black mother, and I am ready to give money, march, sign petitions, pray, fast, do whatever is necessary to stop this senseless violence.

    Everyone needs to read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, especially police officers (and pseudo police officers).

    • Morgan

      This is so sad and upsetting, that everytime I see another account of this young child in the media I want to scream! Where is our compassion? Why don’t people put themselves in another’s parents’ shoes? I hope that George Zimmerman is found and prosecuted to the highest extent of the law. There was no self-defense, just a crazed manic running the streets with a gun out to find another black male to taunt because obviously he is unhappy with his own life. I’m with Meredith, that fasting and praying is the ONLY thing that can work. God knows the truth, and what He can do, no man can stop!

      • aruba19

        Morgan says: “everytime I see another account of this young child in the media I want to scream!”

        Scream on. Trayvon Martin was no “young child”. Many 17 year old men have served in uniform and entered combat. At almost 6 feet tall and 160 pounds Trayvon was a young man capable of violence as he proved by starting a physical altercation by somebody who was lawfully patrolling the private property upon which he was standing. It was just his bad luck he brought fists to a gunfight. He lost. I am sure even somebody as blind as yourself has learned all of this in the months since you posted the above? In future, don’t listen to stink stirring racists like those church-less “preachers” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and you won’t end up looking quite so misguided.

  • XPHALCON

    I don’t know what kind of life Trayvon could of had, even with his recent troubles with school and drug possession. But I do know for sure that many black people do not want Zimmerman to get a fair trial.

    • Sydney

      Do not speak for a collective. I want to see a fair trial. I BELIEVE THAT WE ALL DO. We want justice for this child and his family.

  • John

    My sister is currently a Christian missionary in Africa. Guess what the vast majority of Africans think of “African”-Americans? And I quote (a view my sister says is often shared by Africans): “They are a bunch of complainers.”

    Bill Cosby is right – Black folks in our country need to stop complaining and straighten up.

  • Tone Are
  • Chaka

    well according to the police reports Martin didnt have a criminal background or drugs in his system because although he was dead they still drug tested him, did they touch Zimmerman?? NO!!!!!!!!

    • readthenews

      Gee that’s funny because CNN says the opposite
      “The autopsy report showed that Martin died of a gunshot wound to the chest fired from within 36 inches and that he had traces of marijuana in his blood and urine.
      In his 911 call just before the shooting, Zimmerman had speculated that the teen looked like he was “up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.”
      Martin’s blood contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to autopsy results released Thursday. The autopsy was conducted February 27, the day after the teenager was shot dead.
      Toxicology tests found elements of the drug in the teenager’s chest blood — 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of one type (THC), as well as 7.3 nanograms of another type (THC-COOH) — according to the medical examiner’s report. There also was a presumed positive test of cannabinoids in Martin’s urine, according to the medical examiner’s report. It was not immediately clear how significant these amounts were.”—http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/18/justice/florida-teen-shooting/index.html?eref=igoogledmn_topstories

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  • whiteman@gmail.com

    Racist? Who said that? Oh yea, the black people… That’s what they always cry out loud when something happens to a black person!! REGARDLESS of whether it was or not!! Nobody said a thing about the 5 black kids that jumped the mexican kid in California last week and beat the shit out of him! NOBODY said SHIT about that. BUNCH OF COWARDS!
    I am always happy that we have people with black skin from other countries, they also say that blacks in the United States are the most racist anywhere in the world; like everyone owes them something. Nobody owes you shit. Stop having babies that the white people pay for while you’re on welfare getting FAT. Loser black fathers having multiple kids and going to jail. Again, white people paying for your damn black kids!!

  • jettsmom

    what kind of man? A THUG! Got what he deserved!

  • bob

    I am so tired of people blaming and making excuses………..black people wake up………..how long are you going to blame others and make excuses……….he was a thug pure and simple…………..defend until your death………..and go another hundred yrs and accomplish nothing…………funny how you are the only race that does not succeed…………….so sad…………and yet you have a few that are so great but does not matter…………still another excuse and blame……..how pathetic

  • Mike

    Its a damn shame how we as Americans are so racist in this society. We have absolutly no regards for human life. I just can’t believe some of the comments that are said on here. wow! I can’t believe someone would say he’s a thug and that he deserves to be shot. Anyone that says that should be behind bars. I see white and hispanic kids wearing hoodies and acting all wanna be thugs. Do they deserve to be shot?? Trayvon Martin didn’t do anything wrong. He wasn’t committing any crime or anything. A kid is dead, his parents are hurting and we here we talking about Black people this and that. This isn’t a black and white thing. If you want to blame someone, blame the media. They’re the one’s that are making this into a racial issue. A man shot a kid and he deserves to be put behind bars period.

    • aruba19

      Mike says: “Trayvon Martin didn’t do anything wrong. He wasn’t committing any crime or anything. A man shot a kid and he deserves to be put behind bars period.”

      Yeah, pure as the driven snow, Travon. Never mind this 6 foot tall, 160 pound “kid” was on top of a smaller man, pounding his head into the ground. Unless you think Zimmerman broke his own nose, blacked both his own eyes, gashed the back of his own head then scuffed Martin’s knuckles to make it look like he’d been beating on something? No matter what you think Zimmerman “deserves”, he deserves the right to defend himself against physical violence and that’s exactly what he did. And as for who to blame, try Sharpton and Jackson along with the media.

  • Eve

    A “kid” 6′ tall and a football player, attacked a short hispanic man after the man had started heading back to his vehicle.

    Trayvon might have grown up to be a good man, possibly, but statistically he’d grow up and commit more crimes and wind up in jail. Sorry ~ the truth hurts. More black men are in jail because more black men are committing crimes.

    I wish more young people would get married and stick together to raise their children. This epidemic of broken families and unwed moms is what is leading to young men being anchorless and getting killed over pride issues. Wake up USA!

  • TheJuice

    Hey my brothas and sistas, thanks for not rioting for justice for Nicole when I got off. Everyone knows I did that, haha, that was some funny sh*t! But seriously, glad you don’t care about justice when it means ya got to put a brotha away!

    • dave duke

      hey juice ! hows that jailhouse football club doing.you realy showed how (smart) you are nowdays! see you when you are eighty or ninety!peace out brah!

  • TheJuice

    It’s great I get all the ass I want! Not was fine as Nicole, but in here, “head is head”. Just glad I didn’t fry for going all vegomatic on on brown and goldman. I made Manson look like a p*ssy. Uhh, I mean I hope they catch the real killer soon, I think it might have been Zimmerman.

  • realistic

    hey whiteman@gmail.com. remember that time when some black guys shot a hispanic guy and his daughter. alot of hell raised up that day. there were even hispanic mafias talking about killing black people. so you just stfu about things you dont know what you are talking about.

  • Kevin

    Well…if he had his way. He would have grown up to be a thug gangster who pimped out women…isn’t that the black role model these days?

  • Kevin

    Oh and for the “everyone’s racist” flag bearers… Racist and Prejudice are not the same thing. Racist people do not like x race. (period)…Prejudice people have pre-conceived notions about a group of people. So quit calling everyone racist…learn your history…and remember that over 40% of American families came to this country AFTER the Civil War!

  • Kevin

    One more thing…why is it alright to have a blackenterprise.com but if we had a whiteenterprise.com, then we would never hear the end of it? Why if we have a black president…do we still have affirmative action? So, a black person can become president, but can’t keep it together for a job interview? Yeah, yeah…I know..here come the flags but honestly…I don’t care anymore. Call me what you want…just know that I am part of a new breed of tired family man being called racist because he is sick of the gold toothed, acrylic nailed, Lexus driving, rude cell phone talking person in the grocery line paying with FOOD STAMPS that I helped provide to them. Enjoy it while it lasts…enjoy it while it lasts ;)

  • Mike

    doesn’t look like a good kid to me, I can smell misleading bs, this site is full of it. It’s obvious peoiple on this website are not interested in truth, they want to be pushed into a fight, as Obamasreelection campaign is using death as political fodder,and insight racial hatred. = Nothing new. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ElxW3sCgkTM/T3BSvxWwrQI/AAAAAAAAA8U/XSb_z1fQ5sY/s1600/trayvon.jpg

  • Jamesomar

    The punk thug would have grown up to be a punk thug. His parents taught him hatred from day one.
    I am waiting for them to be charged with child neglect.

  • aruba19

    “What Kind of Man Could Trayvon Martin Have Been?”

    That is the DUMBEST damned question I’ve ever seen. ALL people exist as potential no matter what age they are. What could you have been had you learned how to write music? What could she have been if she’d never had 8 children. What could I have been if born rich or black or any number of other things? What could Trayvon have been had he not brought fists to a gunfight? It’s a moot point and who knows? Better to forget what might have been an worry about what is.

  • rod paulson

    There is a street corner somewhere in the city that is missing a drug dealer……………..this kid was a punk that would never have amounted to anything. Nice try though……….

  • Kindasparkly

    How about I go start “whiteenterprise.com” and blog about the white people being targeted by MOBS of black teens, to be beaten and robbed.  No I wont do that, because that would be un-PC- because I’m white. My brother was beaten unconscious by three black classmates- and they got probation.  Why did they beat him? They wanted his sneakers.  

    As far as Trayvon- yeah it sucks whenever a young person dies.  But why are we acting like this is something more horrendous than it is? And why is Zimmerman being painted as a “maniac running the streets with a gun”? You know who was a maniac running the streets with a gun? John Allen Mohammed- A.K.A. the D.C. sniper.  

    This is all blown out of proportion by a media hungry for race tension because our BLACK president is up for re-election. This is ridiculous, and to be fair Zimmerman cannot receive a fair trial anywhere in this country as is guaranteed to him as a citizen… soooo drop the charges.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MWVMLQSNR434XPU7IKJ7ZTTKEY Vladimere

    Trevon was already on his way to a life of crime.  

    I was born white raised to not be prejudice, but the day I die I will be prejudice, thats because my whole life I have African Americans telling me I am.