The Problems of Left and Right: Trayvon Martin

Unless you’ve… no, even if you have been living under a rock you’ve heard of the horrible case of Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman in Florida. This shocking case has gotten everyone from politicians, celebrities, talking heads, and yes, even my grandparents to weigh in on what happened that night.

There is one thing, other than Trayvon’s death, coming from this case that I find to be tragic, and that is the sad state our media and in general our nation is in when events like this take place. So quickly have people made up their minds, taken sides, and dug into those positions that it seems like despite what the court proceedings will show the question of Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence might have already been decided. Gone are the days in which you are given a trial in which evidence in presented and a jury decided the fate of the defendant.

This case highlights the worst of both sides of the mainstream. To the left Trayvon is a martyr in the never-ending battle over racial equality, his death being a capstone on the argument that racism is still alive and well in this country and that only more government and more gun control will stop it. To the right Trayvon is a victim of the culture war, his death being the result of the glorification of the gangster lifestyle that lead to his assault of George Zimmerman for doing nothing but “protecting his community” forcing Zimmerman to take deadly force in self-defense. 

Of course, we can’t wait until the trial to learn more so the media runs with silly stories to fuel both sides. Was Trayvon suspended from school for marijuana? Did Zimmerman get fired from a security job for being too harsh?  All these questions are set up to only attack the character of each person involved and offer very little if any insight into the events that happened that night. Now, the grand spectacle has gotten a congressman escorted from floor for wearing a hoodie, the Black Panther Party putting out a bounty, an uninvolved couple being harassed because of Roseanne Barr and Spike Lee’s mistaken involvement on Twitter, many on the right donating to a “George Zimmerman Defense Fund,” and even the President of the United States making a personal comment.

There are still questions that need to be answered before anyone should be saying anything. Why did Zimmerman choose to tail Trayvon despite being advised against it by the 911 dispatcher? Why did Zimmerman have a history of making so many calls to the police? Did Trayvon assault Zimmerman? What was the exact series of events that happened that night? I find it very disheartening to see that many, despite the questions I have just put forth having no definitive answer, seem to think they know.

The truth is there is only one person now who knows what happened that night, and that is George Zimmerman. No amount of political theatre, grandstanding, or marches is going to change that. Instead what all of that shows is that politicians and pundits are willing to cash in for a quick boost by weighing their two cents, celebrities are just too important to keep their mouths shut, and roughly 300 million people are willing to have strong and unwavering positions about situations that have no bearing or repercussions on them in any sort of manner despite the fact that they have absolutely no idea of the facts of the case. One day I hope to live in a world where if something like this should happen the average response is just simply “how tragic,” with no addendum.

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