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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trayvon Martin, the media and blaming the victim

Monday, April 2, 2012 | 6:34 p.m. CDT; updated 8:07 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 2, 2012

Trayvon Martin was gunned down Feb. 26 after being stalked and confronted by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

Despite being instructed not to follow Trayvon by a 911 operator, George Zimmerman proceeded to confront and then fatally shoot Trayvon in the chest.

The Sanford, Fla., police department has a history of not prosecuting when the victim is black. In 2010, the white son of a Sanford police lieutenant was let go by police after assaulting a homeless black man outside a downtown bar.

Blaming Trayvon Martin or his attire for George Zimmerman's actions, as Geraldo Rivera and other conservative commentators have done, is dangerous and feeds into racial stereotypes.

Members of the media must avoid victim-blaming and attempting to assassinate Trayvon's character. Trayvon was killed because he was a young black male in a neighborhood where George Zimmerman did not believe the boy belonged. Trayvon was not killed because he was wearing a hoodie or because he was suspicious, dangerous or armed with a weapon.

Many parents of black boys are wondering, "Is my son the next Trayvon Martin?" Traditionally, these parents have felt obligated to give their sons "the talk" on how to conduct themselves in public as to avoid being racially profiled.

James Robnett III is a Columbia resident.


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Comments

James Krewson April 2, 2012 | 7:14 p.m.

ABC News has a video showing the injuries sustained on the back of Zimmerman's head. It is apparently obvious that Zimmerman was being attacked by Trayvon.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 2, 2012 | 8:25 p.m.

I don't think anyone disputes whether or not there was a scuffle before the shooting, and that Zimmerman sustained some injuries in that scuffle. Then again, that video also fairly obviously falsifies claims of further injuries than abrasions on the back of the head.

That same report also states that a forensic audio expert says that the screams for help heard in the background of the 911 calls were almost certainly Trayvon's, not Zimmermans.

The fact remains that Zimmerman made several very aggressive decisions, to ever wind up in ANY kind of confrontation with Martin. Martin still paid a much higher price, but Zimmerman's life is basically ruined too, because of his own decisions to escalate an incredibly innocuous situation.

There could be a lesson to learn here...

Nah, just judgement, one way or the other. More proof that our public education system is an abject failure, eh?

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 2, 2012 | 8:33 p.m.

Doesn't prove that Martin attacked him It is apparently obvious that Zimmerman has an injury on the back of his head. That's all

(Report Comment)

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