From the Feb. 26, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
Now, remember when all our friends in the NRA talked about how Trayvon Martin would still be alive if only he’d been carrying a concealed 9mm?
No, I don’t remember that either.
But it’s hard to believe George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida one year ago today.
And since then, it’s been a very busy year for Mr. Zimmerman.
He started a website to raise money for “living expenses,” because defending a big guy with a gun who shot an unarmed black teenager is just the Kickstarter campaign we can all get behind.
He got a lot of support from Fox News and its fans.
He even appeared on “Hannity,” where Sean gave him a downright affectionate “How ya holdin’ up, champ?” interview. It actually looked like the audition for the new Fox series “Standing Your Ground, with George Zimmerman.”
It was in that Hannity interview that Zimmerman said that even though he was really sorry, he still wouldn’t have done anything different because in his words, the killing of Trayvon Martin was “God’s plan.” Yes, apparently God wanted Mr. Zimmerman ignoring law enforcement dispatch operators telling him to stay in his car and gave him a waiver from the whole “thou shalt not kill” thing.
But, uh, George, if I may? It wasn’t God’s plan. If God wanted Trayvon Martin dead, he would have smited him himself. He didn’t — you did. And it only got classier from there.
He lied to the judge and subsequently had his bail revoked. His wife was charged with perjury too. But he assures us that really was him screaming “help” on the 911 call and not the 100-pound-skinnier teen who didn’t have a gun screaming help.
It’s been a very long and a very ugly year, with the sad and preventable killing becoming a sort of mirror for America that lets everybody see whatever it is they want to see about themselves and the country.
Trayvon Martin has not been able to have a busy year. February 5 this month. That would have been Trayvon’s 18th birthday. He’d been 17 for exactly three weeks when Mr. Zimmerman took his life and liberty from him.
And yet, I’d like to honor Trayvon Martin by pointing out something profoundly inspiring that has come from this profoundly awful murder.
See, nobody remembers where they were the day Trayvon Martin was shot; that’s because the major media didn’t report it. It was due to the ceaseless coverage of the killing by independent media — first African American radio stations, then bloggers, then repeated nonviolent protests — which caused big media to be aware that an unarmed teenager was shot and nobody was ever charged with a crime.
It wasn’t law enforcement that eventually led to Zimmerman’s arrest, nor was it the politicians or mainstream news outlets. Do you know what it was? It was a few Americans that made enough noise until the rest of the world heard it and shared their outrage. Crossing all lines of race, class, religion and age — millions of people united in a common cause.
And the cause was never about payback, or killing Zimmerman, or locking him away. What the millions of people wanted and demanded was merely an arrest: justice.
And it worked. Now Mr. Zimmerman will face trial, beginning June 10. Sanford fired the police chief that didn’t charge Zimmerman. Dozens of companies have dropped their support of “stand your ground” perpetuators ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council].
None of this is worth anybody’s life, and I’m not trying to put a feel-good spin on the loss. But for everyone who didn’t care about Trayvon Martin’s death, there were more who cared about his life. Because the loss of Trayvon Martin proved, when it comes to doing what’s right and seeking justice, millions of Americans were willing to stand their ground.