This is one of several photos provided to the press by the Martin family. The picture on the left is the unretouched photo of an approximately 14 year old Trayvon Martin as it was originally provided by the family. The picture on the right is the photoshopped version that was published and distributed nationwide by the media, in a shameless attempt to convince the public that Martin was an unthreatening, child-like victim. Demonstrators and other Martin supporters wore T-shirts and Hoodies with the photoshopped picture of Martin on them while they were protesting for law enforcement to prosecute Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman is in the fight of his life because of a fight over a year ago that ended with the taking of a human life. He is on trial, charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on the dark, rainy night of February 26, 2012. Zimmerman claims to have shot Martin in self-defense. After more than a year of multiple investigations, there is no evidence that the shooting was not in self-defense, and there is overwhelming evidence that this was, in fact, self-defense, and that Zimmerman is innocent of any wrong-doing.
Despite this, the media, many politicians, many local, state and federal agencies have misrepresented the facts of the case, and have manipulated and inflamed the passions of Americans for their own selfish purposes: money, fame and power. In disregard of the fact that Zimmerman had truly acted in self-defense, he was illegally pursued, threatened, arrested and charged with murder, and is currently standing trial because of the public pressure created by the media and other parasites.
The many large, angry demonstrations, sit-ins and other media events arguing for Zimmerman’s arrest and prosecution were organized by activist protest trainers and leaders from the Community Relations Service (a division of the U.S. Department of Justice), at U.S. taxpayer expense, on orders from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. President Barak Obama to stir up emotions based on race, foment unrest and incite violence. The FBI was also ordered to investigate whether Martin’s civil rights had been violated by Zimmerman. It is an unprecedented violation of the Constitution and the laws of our land for federal agencies to be ordered to take Martin’s side in a local criminal investigation, or to intervene and influence in any way a city, county or state issue.
The Martin family sent a letter to Eric Holder requesting that he intervene and demand the city, county and state prosecute Zimmerman. This may have been the only time that Eric Holder actually communicated directly with President Obama in the past five years, as the President soon spoke out with anger and resolve that this criminal, Zimmerman, would be prosecuted, and the Whitehouse would do “whatever it takes” to help the Martins. To show his emotional attachment to this incident, President Obama even offered that if he had a son, he would look like: either, 1) the 10 year old child Trayvon photo, or 2) the 14 year old photoshopped and hoodied Trayvon photo, or 3) the 17 year old gangsta Trayvon photo with sagging pants, smoking weed, wielding a handgun and flipping the bird. The Whitehouse did not respond to the rumor that, should the President have a son, he would name him Trayvon.
The prosecution would like to paint George Zimmerman as a mature adult, “big man”, and also a frustrated, wannabe cop, right-wing radical, gun carrying “white” man who racially profiled, and, as the aggressor, stalked his prey, then without provocation, shot and killed an unarmed boy, Trayvon Martin, in cold blood. In fact, Zimmerman’s voter registration lists him as Hispanic and a Democrat. Zimmerman’s father, a retired judge, is a Caucasian-American of German ancestry. Zimmerman’s Peruvian mother is ¼ African-Peruvian, making Zimmerman 1/8 African-American, 3/8 Peruvian-American (mostly Spanish and Indian ancestry), and ½ Caucasian-American (Hey! Isn’t our President also ½ Caucasian-American? These two men have something in common!). George is also close with his uncle, his African-Peruvian mother’s African-Peruvian brother, and his uncle’s family. Are you as tired of reading hyphenated racial/cultural categories as I am of typing them? Won’t there be a time when we can shed the chains of racially based categorizations and free ourselves of hyphenated identities? Aren’t we all Americans? Why isn’t that enough?
People of different ancestry (i.e. black, white, Hispanic, mixed) who know Zimmerman do not think he is racist, and even the Martin family insists this case is not a racial issue. George volunteered and mentored a number of predominantly black boys for a time. George admired, respected and wanted to pattern his life after the example of his role models while he was growing up: his father, a judge, and his uncle, a Sheriff. He has hopes to honor both his father and his uncle by taking courses toward a career in law enforcement and perhaps law-school and working for a seat on the bench.
Why is it that someone who wants to better himself through hard work and education, pursuing a career in law enforcement, the justice system or the military, all of which used to be considered honorable professions, is now considered by the media a despicable person with evil motives? Along with stigmatizing Zimmerman as a wannabe cop, he is also condemned as an evil person, intent on doing harm, simply because he carried a handgun. Stigmatizing people in this manner is the same basis for and is just another form of racism, and all forms of racism should be equally condemned.
Zimmerman was reportedly 28 years old, 5’7″ tall and 200 lbs. at the time of the shooting. The press demonized Zimmerman, showing rough, unflattering pictures of him in his orange prison jumpsuit, or even a younger picture of Zimmerman showing him when he was less heavy which might then create the appearance that Zimmerman strong and fit. While Zimmerman went infrequently to the gym, his personal trainer described Zimmerman as “soft”, “weak” and “all fat” (little muscle mass) and that Zimmerman had not learned even the basic element of the trainer’s beginner class: how to punch.
Martin still continues to be referred to (in the media and during the current trial) as “that small kid” who is seen in published pictures and presented in the media as a friendly, smiling, family-oriented, immature (no shaving necessary) boy of approximately 10 years of age. The published photos were provided to the media by the family and it was only later the family admitted the initial pictures that the media distributed were taken of Martin at a much younger age. However, local and national media and the courts continue to use the 10 year old photo as evidence that the Martin killing was the murder of a small child. On the contrary, at the time of the shooting, Martin was reportedly 17 years old, 6’2″ tall, and weighed 170 lbs.
The photo on the left (provided by the family) is the one the media and the trial still use to misrepresent Trayvon Martin as a preadolescent, no facial hair, smiling, innocent-appearing small boy of around 10 years old. The picture on the right is Trayvon Martin taken from his cell phone showing him at an age closer to that at which he was shot and killed. Trayvon Martin was reportedly 6’2″ tall and weighed 170 lbs. George Zimmerman was reportedly 5’7″ tall and weighed 200 lbs. at the time of the shooting.
The public was deceived by the media due to the pictures published of a younger Martin as a “child victim”, some of which were photoshopped to significantly change Martin’s appearance. and the altered audio tape (edited to sound as if Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin when he hadn’t) of Zimmerman’s phone call to police about spotting a suspicious person in the gated community and requesting police help.
Martin’s girlfriend was talking with Martin on his cell phone at the time of the altercation where Martin referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy-assed cracker”, revealing Martin’s racial profiling and antagonism of Zimmerman, a man he didn’t know except that Zimmerman was keeping an eye on Martin until the police arrived. If there is any issue of racism in this case, it is solely that of “black against white” racism on the part Martin.
That being said, the fact that Zimmerman stands on trial for murder today is largely due media and others’ misinformation and public opinion manipulation in relation to incorrect assumptions of “white against black” racism. In terms of violation of civil rights, prejudice and racism, many blacks, not without cause, focus on the struggle for civil rights from when former black African slaves were legally permitted to enjoy their equal, God-given rights to be free men and women to today’s dramatically improved, but as yet imperfect, situation that exists today in the United States.
This perspective on racism is strongly held, actively promoted and vigorously acted upon by many individuals, organizations and arms of government, including President Obama, AG Eric Holder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Al Sharpton, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Voting Rights Section of Civil Rights Division of DOJ, Community Relations Services of DOJ, NAACP, CORE, CBC, Southern Poverty Law Center and many others) and these entities tend to see most (some would say all) things through that prism.
In addition, many blacks see racism as a single-dimensional evil, where racism, according to this understanding, only occurs in a “white against black” vector. In the real world, any form of racism still promotes the ugly violation of civil rights and remains an evil, but it is truly multi-dimensional and runs in many vectors, including black against white, black against black, white against brown, brown against white, and pick-any-race/culture against pick-any-race/culture.
The race card has been played so frequently in recent times, often when race is not the issue, that for most Americans it is losing its impact. The same should be true here, where many have tried to make this self-defense shooting a race issue, but now, I believe most Americans will reject the mindlessness, accept the jury’s findings, and continue to act like true Americans (without hyphens). This madness of racialization of everything escalating to mob violence, people injured or killed, lives destroyed, homes and property damaged and polarization of the American public must stop with us.