There has been a court case in America. You may have heard about it. The brief facts are that a man called George Zimmerman shot and killed a teenager called Trayvon Martin. The case is on the internet and in every paper printed and I will not debate the specific detail. I do however have a bit of a problem with what had been said.
I completely understand bias in reporting. The BBC is duty bound to report the news without bias and must be very successful as those on the right complain it is too left-wing and those whose policies lie on the port side naturally enough grumble about starboard bias. The british newspapers have no such problems and are happy to affiliate themselves to whichever side they like. It is with this in mind that I have read over the last few days some of possibly the worst and inflammatory comment pieces I think I have ever read.
One commentator repeatedly calls Trayvon “A child”. The photo they use is of a 14-year-old child. On the night of the incidence Trayvon was 17. Whilst not exactly a full grow adult, he was a six-foot tall teenager. George Zimmerman was repeatedly called a racist and it was suggested that he hunted down and shot Trayvon. Trayvon was repeatedly portrayed as an innocent child who was shot as he walked back from the shops after buying a bag of skittles.
The end result is that the case has erupted in a fury of blame. I believe that the court gave insufficient evidence to convict George Zimmerman and in court you need to be proved guilty. There was sufficient doubts to the jury and they were unconvinced of a guilty verdict.
Many people are using their own agenda to shout their opinions from the rooftops about this case. The race element of the case was brought to the fore as George Zimmerman described Trayvon as “Black”. Well Trayvon was black! The newspapers made a huge amount about this and again all they did was stir the waters as much as they could. One commentator said that from this case it was OK for white people to shoot black people! What nonsense! What piffle!
The case to me was simple. A young man was seen acting suspiciously and the chap who ran his neighbourhood watch got involved. There was at some point a scuffle and a gun was fired. Was it self-defense? there was a court case and it was decided that yes, it was self-defense. Under normal circumstances that should be it. Unfortunately there are people with their own agenda who wish to make political capital out of this.
The end result is the same. A young man has had his life tragically cut short and another man has had his life changed forever. No-one wins and certainly no-one is celebrating.