G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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The latest little bit of background on Trayvon Martin: he had at least a passing interest in handguns. His StumbleUpon account mostly shows an interest in basketball, but also “liked” guns. Curious for a kid who wouldn’t have been able to buy one, and curious in light of Zimmerman’s report that Martin was reaching for his gun during their fateful struggle. This isn’t conclusive proof of anything – Zimmerman was also a fan of guns – but we should throw it in the pile with all the other stems and seeds of evidence that paint a much different picture of Trayvon Martin than we were led to believe. Young men who are into drugs and fighting and burglary often use guns for different reasons than do night watchmen.
But look at how the goalposts have shifted in this entire debate. First it was the white racist who hunted down a young innocent boy in cold blood. Fox News were jerks for not running with the story of the murder of Trayvon Martin. But facts have changed the outlook of the case in a very short period of time, and Fox News is the only channel not having to spend time wiping egg off of it’s face.
And now the discussion has turned to the motives of conservatives and the right in delving into the background of Trayvon Martin. To answer liberals’ question up front, a Zimmerman defense would play out in the courtroom; I’m not sure why it can’t play out among bloggers and pundits who have uncovered evidence that is relevant to the case. Let all of the evidence out – Zimmerman’s and Martin’s backgrounds included – and see what we come up with. If the liberal media provides all of the coverage we’ll merely get rose-colored testimonies like this one from Martin’s mother:
“He wouldn’t confront anyone unprovoked, but if he felt his life was in danger, he’d try to protect himself,” said Sybrina Fulton.
Except Martin has now been tied to at least two fights – one with a guy who snitched on him for something having to do with weed and another, if Facebook conversation is true, with a bus driver. It should be mentioned that some people do believe that snitching is provoking.
Think Progress asks why conservatives are bringing up certain topics that don’t have anything to do with the case. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wonders the same thing. And at the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg focuses much attention on Geraldo Rivera and the hoodie question, as if Martin’s wearing a hoodie is what made him seemingly attack George Zimmerman. But Goldberg’s argument is basically that the fact that people of a conservative bent are asking questions about the case and digging into background facts connotes some sort of nefariousness on their part. Or it could be that conservative types tend to believe that the media won’t do their jobs without a little coaxing from their side. The media had all but convicted Zimmerman, and now that conviction is far less certain.
But why dig into Martin’s background?
The fact that he’s dead should actually warrant us doing so. According to Zimmerman, he shot Martin because Martin attacked him. If we looked into Zimmerman’s background when we believed that he was the sole aggressor – and the media surely aggressively assailed his character – then we should look into Martin’s when evidence emerges that the young man might have been the initial aggressor. And contrary to what Think Progress and Goldberg write, Martin wasn’t just a kid with a little weed and a measly school suspension. He got in at least two fights – which were discussed on Twitter and Facebook – he was caught with women’s jewelry, and he graffitied school property. He was also very sympathetic to rappers who were strongly “anti cracker”. The question is, if we’d have discovered similar facts about Zimmerman would we try to tie them together to paint a picture of Zimmerman? The answer is yes, and the media has already put all of that on canvas.