Trayvon Martin: Guns escalate conflicts

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OPINION The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death is not merely the loss an innocent young boy's life, nor the criminal justice system's failure to provide justice, though those are wounds we struggle to bear. The tragedy is that these wounds are not unique. We have felt this pain before. Trayvon is but one of thousands of young African American men who have lost their lives to gun violence. And George Zimmerman's acquittal represents the dismissive attitude our country seems to have about those lives.

People from all walks of life are angry about Trayvon's death and George Zimmerman's acquittal. Our anger in the face of such tragedy is understandable. I share it. But I also believe that even in our darkest hours, there is hope. There is something to be learned here.

Let this be the start of a greater debate on gun laws, racism, and our national climate of fear for our own personal safety and the safety of our children.

We have to do something about the prevalence of guns in our society. If not for the introduction of a gun into the situation, Mr. Zimmerman likely would have been beaten up—something he probably deserved—and that would have been the end of it. His firearm needlessly escalated the situation far beyond where it needed to go.

This case is a very real example of a nation that puts someone's right to carry a handgun over someone's right to not be pointlessly murdered. Let me add my voice to the multitudes calling for greater firearm accountability.

And why did the situation that night begin in the first place? "Neighborhood Watch" means "watch" and "report suspicious activity," not "chase" or "pursue." What is so suspicious about walking, wearing a hoodie, and talking on a cell phone? Nothing. Unless you are black.

Although the African American community is, sadly, used to being profiled, used to grieving the loss of our young boys and men to gun violence, Trayvon's case has opened the eyes of others who are finally as outraged as we are. For the first time, I feel that something has changed. The outpouring of support from non-African Americans for Trayvon Martin and his family has given me hope that our cries for boys and men in our community are finally being heard.

Anger is a great motivator. And progress is often borne from tragedy. I hope for the African American community and for our country that this tragedy is more than just a passing media spectacle. I hope it's the beginning of something meaningful, a reevaluation of gun laws, of the violence young black men face every day, and of the way we empower our communities.

London Breed represents the Western Addition and the Haight on the Board of Supervisors

 

Comments

That was a major factor for the jury, as it screams GZ acted in self-defense.

I think we all harbor the possibility that GZ was goading TM into attacking him so he had a pretext to shoot him. But that can never be proved and the jury was correct to discount that.

And of course TM could have simply and quietly walked home rather than fight.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 10:32 am

Trayvon was caught at school with a bag of women's jewelry and a screwdriver. In texts, he discussed his love of "lean," a mixture of soda, candy, and cough syrup with PCP-like effects in large doses that causes liver damage when used habitually. His autopsy revealed liver damage consistent with heavy lean use. In texts, he tells a friend that he plans to quit smoking weed and only drink lean because weed is too easily detected. His texts also reveal his repeated attempts to purchase an illegal pistol and his having participated in fights and his desire to fight more. He posted videos to YouTube of fights in which he participated as a referee.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

Anyone on here who agree with this whack jobs story is an asshole. It's not some racial crime, it's not even a question of gun violence, it's a question of wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. But I guess a whole bunch of far left socialists in San Fran would be too high and mighty to grasp such a simple idea.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 7:11 am

Our neighborhoods are safer now that "stand your ground" has been endorsed and ratified.

Posted by anon on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 7:34 am

So you mean to tell me that if your son, brother, sister or anyone who mattered to you was profiled the way Trayvon was and got killed the way he did, you would merely dub it "wrong place at the wrong time". That's bullshit, you are a complete idiot.

Posted by NZ4298 on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

Burglars had recently been spotted in the neighborhood. They were identified as young black men.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

☼ Huge and multiracial protests in Oakland, Los Angeles, and New York City, as I've never seen before. A handful of sad anonymous cowards spewing Fox News talking points online can't stop us.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 7:12 am

by police. I've seen more people in line at Burger King. Similar racial profile too, come to think of it.

The reality is that the evidence was conflicting and so the jury did the only thing they could do - acquit.

You and your race-based agenda lost - move on.

Posted by anon on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 7:34 am

but not San Francisco

Posted by guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

JURY SYSTEM IS DEAD, NEED TO BE BURIED

Yes, our jury system has been dead long ago and now only ritual to bury is left. In serious and racial criminal cases like these; jury system is outdated because the attorneys can play social, religion and racial emotional drama rather than legal arguments to convince few partisan jury members, and these few members; like jury member B-37 in Martin case; can turn the table very easily in their favor. It is not that simple to convince legal minded and well experienced Judge, but so simple to change the mind of few semi-educated members. Secondly; the jury members get easily exhausted in few hours or days, and more eager to get rid of the tension rather than check and re-check the truth before offering her/his vote. Thirdly; it is still more easy to convince female jury members (in case of Martin) rather than male; because females can be manipulated emotionally more easily than male.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 9:40 am

Was that your point?

Posted by anon on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 11:30 am

To the people who keep dragging in Trayvon's "drug" history and academic past need to ask themselves an important question: Did Trayvon's past trigger Zimmerman to approach and engage Trayvon? No. As a matter of fact, Zimmerman had the completely wrong idea about Trayvon. If you have done your research on this case and have listened to Zimmerman's 911 call, you will hear him claim that Trayvon was "reaching in his waist" possibly for a weapon. If you believe someone has a weapon, wouldn't you stay as far away from them as possible? Zimmerman LIED during his Hannity interview MULTIPLE times. First he denied saying that Trayvon was running which is exactly what he said on the phone call. Then he claimed he got out of his car because the dispatcher asked for a more accurate location. Zimmerman has a history of racial profiling as indicated by Witness #9, whom he molested for 9 years, and as evidenced by his incessant calling of the police about "suspicious" black men. AND FINALLY, he was fired from work for using violence against PATRONS, he was tried and charged with a misdameanor (b/c his dad was a judge) for a BATTERY and assault case against a cop! He has a history of violence- something TRAYVON never had in his past. People are very stupid. If your child, who did marijuana or whatever drug they wanted, got KILLED by someone like Zimmerman, YOU WOULD WANT JUSTICE. You are all hypocrites and idiots if you fail to admit that.

Posted by NZ4298 on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

Trayvon bragged about fighting in his texts, was caught with a bag of women's jewelry and a screwdriver at school, tried to purchase an illegal gun (also in texts), and died with injuries to his knuckles and a bullet hole. It seems like Zimmerman had the right idea: Trayvon was a violent wannabe thug. If Zim hadn't gotten him, he'd be dead or in prison within five years.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

So you have evidence that the women's jewelry was stolen? If so, please prove it. Also, so what if he talked about fights and guns. Have you been living under a rock b/c you clearly didn't get the memo that Zimmerman provoked and approached Trayvon in the dark. If I got approached in the dark by someone that I thought was creepy and following me which is what Zimmerman was doing , I would pull out a weapon and defend myself. Guess what, I'm also an orthopedic surgeon so your theory of "being dead or in prison within 5 years" doesn't add up. You have nothing but logical fallacies in your statement. Zimmerman racially profiled and stalked Trayvon who DEFENDED himself. That's all that matters. You should really consider putting a bullet hole in your own head.

Posted by NZ4298 on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 3:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

Hey, I say I'm a rocket scientist so I must be right on the internet about toally unrelated matters.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 10:34 am

What does your being an "orthopedic surgeon" have to do with his prediction of Martin being dead or in prison in 5 years? That's completely irrelevant to the discussion. But let's look at the facts about Martin here and see whether Guest's prediction might have some merit:

-He was an admitted illegal drug user (whatever one's views on whether marijuana should be legal or not, he wouldn't have been able to have it even if it was legal because he was under 18).
-He wanted to purchase an illegal firearm with a friend.
-He was in possession of a burglary tool and women's jewelry (believed to be stolen) after being caught spray painting vulgar graffiti on school property.
-He had been suspended from school several times.
-His cousin implied in text messages that Martin swung at a school bus driver.
-He was a poor student who might not have graduated let alone go to college.

All of these add up to not a good start to adulthood. If he truly was smoking weed several times a week (according to Rachel Jeantel), was attempting to obtain a firearm, and not in college, don't you think it's probable that he'd be arrested at least once in the next 5 years? He'd just be another part of the statistic that says more Black males in the penal system than in college.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

So you have evidence that the women's jewelry was stolen? If so, please prove it. Also, so what if he talked about fights and guns. Have you been living under a rock b/c you clearly didn't get the memo that Zimmerman provoked and approached Trayvon in the dark. If I got approached in the dark by someone that I thought was creepy and following me which is what Zimmerman was doing , I would pull out a weapon and defend myself. Guess what, I'm also an orthopedic surgeon so your theory of "being dead or in prison within 5 years" doesn't add up. You have nothing but logical fallacies in your statement. Zimmerman racially profiled and stalked Trayvon who DEFENDED himself. That's all that matters. You should really consider putting a bullet hole in your own head.

Posted by NZ4298 on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 3:13 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

and so acted like a bigger douche than he would have otherwise.

That may well be true.

From that observation is drawn a whole host of the usual progressive moans and meaningless buzz words strung together.

What kind of cultural change would come from banning guns? That isn't articulated in the article, just more magic thinking and politician worded meaninglessness.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

Twenty children were killed last December 14 with a Bushmaster AR 15--the NRA gun nut psychos came out in droves to belittle the incident, to ridicule the victims, to insist that the 2nd Amendment meant exactly what it says "...shall not be infringed...'; in short, the NRA gun nut psychos saw the murder of 20 children as 2nd Amendment collateral damage. An attitude suitable to the sociopath in Pelican Bay Prison.

George Zimmerman was given false courage with that gun he carried; without that gun he would not have challenged Trayvon Martin--who had every right to be where he was; Martin would not be besting Zimmerman in hand to hand battle; and Zimmerman would not have shot and killed Martin. Now every NRA conceal and carry crackpot will think there is justifiable and legal right to shoot to kill just because someone has crossed private space.

Why the prosecutors did not make a lesser charge with less prison time is anyone's guess. From what was presented on the news, Zimmerman was shooting in self-defense, which is what the Jury concluded.

Last Friday, a Black thug killed two Asian-American women in cold blood--and the Black community did not show any demonstration of moral outrage. And just this morning--an 8 year old girl was killed in East Oakland (Black community) and one suspects there will be no expression of moral outrage from the Black community. The hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness of the Black community becomes tiresome.

Of the 11,000 gun homicides every year, how many are Black on Black attacks? of the 73,000 hospital visits for gun wounds every year, how many are Black on Black attacks? The Black community needs to address an important question and stop expressing hypocritical moral outrage. Expressing moral outrage is lot easier than making the existential choice that the Black community must make.

No one hates Black people more than Black people hate Black people.

Posted by StevenTorrey on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 7:16 am

that anybody "deserved to get beaten up" as Breed says of Zimmerman.

The case was "cut-and-dried" only in iits capacity to engender division and irrational thinking among fringe groups.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 8:36 am

Breed feels that she just has to play the race card.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 10:35 am

have beaten up"? For what? Being a neighborhood watch officer seeking to protect his neighbors by monitoring the movements of a young black male in a hoodie?

You should step down from office for such blatant racism.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 10:37 am

Ignorance: "lack of knowledge or information".

Let me put it as lightly and as politically correct as I can for all of the IGNORANT skinned Americans who post without forethought...

We are all IGNORANT to the happenings of that night the Superhero decided try and save the world. The only people who know FOR SURE what happened are Martin and TOP FLIGHT SECURITY OF THE WORLD....unfortunately, only one person is able to provide his side. Now lets say Martin did pounce on Batman, HE HAD EVERY RIGHT TO STAND UP AGAINST THE CREEPY "Cracker" that was hunting prey. Had ZIMMERHERO stayed in his lane, he would not have had ANY ENCOUNTER!!!!!
Whats wrong here is that too many (NOT ALL) white-skinned Americans have an excuse for their fellow white skinned peers' malicious, self-righteous, and entitled nature. There is a human problem with what SUPERMAN did that night he consciously decided to commit murder, he decided that a boys skin color was enough to suspect the boy was up to no good.
Tell me something, Trayvon haters, what does it matter who's house it was?, what does it matter how much weed the boy wanted to smoke huh? let's say he did do those things, did those factors cause his death? NO! Was it those factors that Zimmerslob acted off of when he suddenly came down with a bad case of suspicion? NO NO NO! You alls ignorance allows this commentary of speculative media gossip to circulate in debate instead of opening your "color blind" eyes to the truth of the matter.
We live in an ever-so-present racially unjust society. THIS IS A FACT!!! Its just sad, actually pretty disgusting to say the least.
Stop debating IGNORANT people....Its probably best you all go play golf somewhere with the other "superiors" (continue living lives in ignorance) and let the community of Americans (ALL races AND Ethnicity's) with human souls, common sense, and who value life, work on righting our country.

RIP Trayvon and all effected by gun violence. Many blessings to the families in suffering. Thank you to the Martin Family for fighting for justice.

Posted by Reasonably Annoyed on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

Throughout her career, London Breed has been an an Aunt Samantha for the wealthy.

As a Redevelopment Commissioner, London Breed was a constant rubber stamp vote for the rapacious Wall Street developer and sub-prime loan property dealer Lennar Corporation. Breed's votes ensured that this corporation has been allowed to proceed with developing market rate condos (while betraying its affordable housing promises to the City) on a highly toxic Navy superfund site in the Bay View Hunters Point which will likely never be properly cleaned up. Lennar has been stirring chemicals and asbestos into the air that have poisoned thousands of Bayview residents, which will doubtless lead to many premature and painful deaths in that community from cancer, mesothelioma, asthma and other diseases.

As Supervisor, she has been a sock puppet for the wealthy. She voted to install the corrupt Mel Martinez to the Port Commission.

This week she voted to permanently ban low income, the homeless, the undocumented and anyone who can not afford to pay $7 at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, 55 acres of now-privatized public space.

She is nothing more than a shill for wealthy Republicans and neoliberal Democrats.

She has a lot of nerve writing (if she actually has the intellectual capability to have written the above — one doubts) about racism, when she has done nothing to fight it and everything to help the wealthy San Franciscans extend their control over San Francisco. :(

London Breed needs to practice what she so hypocritically preaches!

Posted by GuesLon on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

"Innocent"? Are you kidding? Trayvon was NOT innocent.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Please tell us the offense he was guilty of that deserved the loss of his life or the very least denial of justice FOR his life.

Posted by Loida on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 11:52 am

I mourn the death of this innocent child and recognize that in all the possible scenarios that could have resulted from this, Treyvon's fate was sealed once GZ made the decision to pursuit Trayvon. Had they merely fought with no gun involved Trayvon would have been charged with assault and convicted thus severely limiting if not crippling his future. Had he been successful at defending his life and killed GZ with his bare hands, he would have been charged and convicted of murder. The actual outcome was obviously the worst possible outcome. So when people say Trayvon had choices, the truth is NO he didn't. His fate was sealed once GZ decided to pursuit. There is something wrong with our society when a person can be this can happen to a child and no consequence is issued to his stalker/killer.

Posted by Loida on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 11:48 am

This is a tragic story, from many respects. Who has not been a teenager and made mistakes? Who has not taken a responsibility very seriously? Happenstancely, while this court case was ongoing, I saw a woman on a TV program who was demonstrating women's self-defense techniques. In one demonstration, she lay on the floor with a man on top of her. She indicated that you are virtually helpless in this position and what you must do to save yourself is curl your legs around the attacker, thus bringing their body forward (!), putting them off balance and making them more vulnerable, and then you stand a chance of recovery. I would never have thought of this form of defense. I have tried to imagine lying on the ground being beaten--sounds very frightening; at that point I think the more vulnerable is the more innocent. If a child is being beaten severely--doesn't really matter what the before-behavior of the child was--the adult needs to be stopped.

Posted by Guest CURIOUS on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

There is text evidence that Trayvon has bragged of beating people until they bleed and brags how to punch someone to make them bleed. He openly talks about buying guns and selling drugs.

His Jewelry theft was intentionally kept under cover by the police due to rampant crime statistics at his school. Officers were fired during an internal investigation.

Trayvon was suspended for Weed, but that weed was found because he assaulted a bus driver! That was reduced to Weed to not make it an actual police crime and let the school handle it.

How can anyone say Trayvon with this violent thug history would not attack someone. He could have attacked anyone that night and Zimmerman may have saved a future persons life.

Also, there is evidence that Tracy Martin lied and covered up info relating to texts found on the phone.

Now, there will be an investigation that the State Attorneys office is involved in a cover up deleting Text records from Trayvons phone.

If this news becomes huge, then that will damage Obama and Holder bolstering the right wing Republicans for the next election. It has already been stated that this evidence wouldn't be released after trial and could be especially damaging to Obama who just gave that great speech which was heart felt and I enjoyed, but this was not the time, place or situation to say such things. Basically, this can be twisted to say Obama supports Thugs and not those who want to keep their neighborhoods safe. Just wait and watch. I wouldn't doubt if State Attorney Correy and Judge Nelson get blacklisted or fired for this crap.

Justice is not covering up to make your bias work for you.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 1:25 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

EVEN if the text messages were relevant to this murder case, which they are NOT, there is no message that he could have sent that would justify his death. For the record, your position chages things from accidental manslaughter to justified execution.. Do you realize that you are in effect saying that the content of his phone should be considered when determining if his life should have been spared? And since you want to go there, what about Zimmerman's history of violence? His needing to be placed on psychotic medication and last, but not least, the restraining order his wife put on him? That should have been examined during trial to fully understand the mindset of someone who has expressed that the events of that night were "God's plan."

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

You are wrong on all counts. A teenager bragging about things to make himself look big and bad on his phone does not a criminal make. Zimmerman, on the other hand had a real history of violence against the police and his wife was on psychotic drugs, was caught hiding money from the court and will soon again be armed without a modicum of remorse for his actions... If anything, he said that what happened that night was "God's plan"!!! I hope he remains healthy and unharmed by the public, but I have no doubt that he will be the architect of his own demise in less tha five years from now. People that thinks and behaves like him always self-destruct... Unfortunately, on their way to their destiny they tend to take other people with them.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

Of the total number of homicides over the last 4 years (check wikipedia) - in the USA, 37,605 were committed by african americans and 3,284 were committed by whites. There are on average more than twice as many whites killed by blacks than blacks killed by whites; this should be considered with the statistic that blacks are only 12% of the population. If it were a race thing, why doesn't anyone speak out that more whites are killed by blacks than the reverse for a population that is 80% white and 12% black; if this were any other country, it would appear that whites are targeted by blacks due to the discrepancy in the population vs murder rates.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/gun-deaths/

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-...

Posted by Guest on Aug. 06, 2013 @ 10:20 am

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