A young man was shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain a month ago in Sanford, Florida, a town Ive only driven through during a vacation or two.
The particular facts of the case, at least as theyve been reported, are that the victim, 17-year old Trayvon Martin, committed no crime and was totally unarmed — unless a package of Skittles and an iced tea are considered dangerous weapons. Still, the shooter, 28-year old George Zimmerman, has not been arrested or charged with homicide.
The killing and the lack of an arrest — or even any sign, until recent days, of a serious investigation into the deadly incident — have understandably elicited public outrage and protest.
That anger and offense seems as universal as anything can be. President Barack Obama as well as Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have all expressed it.
GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney called the shooting a tragedy and offered, There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.
Newt Gingrich also called it a tragedy and said, were going to relentlessly seek justice. Rick Santorum argued it was horrible that local police didnt immediately go after and prosecute this case.
The president went much further, stating that, All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen.
Yet, the trigger wasnt pulled by all of us. It was pulled by George Zimmerman.
On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera shifted blame elsewhere: onto hoodies. I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters, particularly, not to let their children go out wearing hoodies, he said. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martins death as much as George Zimmerman was.
Beware the dreaded hoodie makers and those heartless retailers!
Throughout the news coverage and political punditry the issue of race is consistently raised. Some contend that Zimmerman is a racist. On the tape of his calls with a 911-dispatcher, some say they hear Zimmerman use a racial epithet. Ive listened to the recording a dozen times and just cant hear anything.
Zimmermans father adamantly denies his son had any racial animus, since George is a Spanish-speaking minority with many black family members and friends. He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever.