What Really Happened To Trayvon Martin?



I’m not shy about jumping into a conversation based on the information available, even though I know new information may turn up that could change our outlook on it.  In that sense, I’m sort of like President Obama.

But I’ve had little to say about the death of Trayvon Martin because I’ve yet to find any definitive facts that I can hold onto and use to determine what really happened. [Click here for a helpful timeline of the case from the Orlando Sentinel]

On the one hand you have an unarmed teenager, gunned down by a stranger while walking home from a store. That’s the story of an innocent victim of an outrageous crime.

On the other hand you have eyewitness accounts corroborating the shooter’s claim that he fought with Trayvon. And if he was, as at least one eyewitness reports, lying on the ground getting beaten, then using deadly force may not have been illegal under Florida law.

But just because it’s not illegal doesn’t make it right.  Was the shooter, George Zimmerman, a racist jerk, as many allege, who just wanted a chance to shoot a black man? He certainly went out of his way to follow the teen around. Maybe he started it, got more than he could handle, then ended up on the ground and killed Treyvon to keep from getting his butt kicked.

George’s father says George can’t be a racist because George is is Hispanic, speaks Spanish and grew up in a multiracial household.  There have been media reports that Zimmerman used a racial slur in his 911 call, but both law enforcement and CNN say that, after repeated listening to the 911 audio, they cannot confirm that claim.

I’d like to think that Zimmerman’s race is irrelevant to his guilt or innocence, but thanks to race-baiters like Al Sharpton and the New Black Panther Party, we’re beyond that, alas.

One fact that many people don’t realize is that Trayvon was shot back on February 26th. I can see why the Martin family is so upset.  How much more time do the police need to investigate and issue a report to the DA?

Ah, but according to former Sanford, FL Police Chief Bill Lee, that’s the problem.  Florida law requires the police to find some evidence that the shooter wasn’t acting in self-defense. With few eyewitnesses, evidence of a fight, and nobody who really knows what happened except the shooter, will the police EVER be able to prove Zimmerman broke the law?

If this young man didn’t try to hurt Zimmerman and ended up dead—and it turns out nobody did anything illegal—that would be truly disturbing.

How does this terrible story get even worse? We could also end up with a race-based political prosecution of Zimmerman that has nothing to do with the facts of the case– just to calm Al Sharpton down.  I’m not saying the guy’s innocent, I’m saying it’s looking less and less likely the facts and evidence will matter.

If we lose an innocent young man and the principle of innocent until proven guilty, that’s the worst outcome of all.

Michael Graham
Radio talk show host, columnist for the Boston Herald, stand-up comic and former GOP political consultant. Learn more about Michael here.

Natural Truth of the Day

For several months now, whenever the topic of enrollment in the Affordable Care Act came up, I've been saying that it was too soon to tell its ultimate effects. We don't know how many people have paid for their new insurance policies, or how many of those who bought policies were previously uninsured. For that, I said, we will have to wait for Census Bureau data, which offer the best assessment of the insurance status of the whole population... I stand corrected: These data won't be available at all. Ever.-- Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View.