A man joins nationwide protests in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on March 26, 2012 in downtown of Los Angeles, California. Credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
While new evidence of 911 calls and eye-witness testimonies trickle in, it’s the definitive stances that people all across the country have taken that are the only sure thing.
What we know is that on February 26th 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida while he was visiting his father from Miami. We also know that George Zimmerman, a 28 year old self-appointed neighborhood watch captain was found bleeding from his nose standing over Martin armed with his handgun. We also know that Trayvon Martin was black and George Zimmerman was not.
These facts and these facts alone were all that was needed to stoke the fires of racial tension and self-defense laws, two topics that rarely need help to get a national dialogue going in every corner of America. When the Martin story first broke out, the vast majority of individuals cried out in lockstep that justice for Trayvon be carried out through the arrest and conviction of Zimmerman. News outlets were quick to poor gasoline on the blaze, only showing pictures of a happy Martin in his high school football uniform juxtaposed by an emotionless mug-shot photo of Zimmerman from his last arrest.
As time drew on more evidence and facts slowly took shape and the convictions held by the pro-Martin majority were put to the test. We found out that Trayvon was in Sanford because he was expelled from school for the possession of drug paraphanalia, we found his twitter account where a less-than-glowing photo of the teenager became the iconic image for the media and his tweets were common of an irresponsible teenage boy. We also kind-of, sort-of know something about an altercation between him and Zimmerman where an eye-witness accounts Martin repeatedly slamming Zimmerman’s head onto the ground and someone yelling for help.
But even as the facts come in, it gets harder and harder to dissuade the public’s feelings about what side they have taken. Does the appetite for immediate news coverage hurt us in the long run when we judge a story? What would you need to hear from this case to change your opinion about the victim or the accused? Have you attended a rally to support Trayvon? Does any new information in the last few weeks make you want to change your opinion?
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