- Faith & Family
When explaining a situation or trying to understand an issue, how the circumstance is defined can play a major role in the approach that is taken. In the case of the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, most of the discussion has centered on George Zimmerman’s right to “stand his ground.” What about Trayvon’s right to move freely about the neighborhood and stand his ground when a threat is initiated by another person?
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman told police, “With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer …, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, . . . Zimmerman then shot the unarmed 17-year-old.
This account has supposedly been corroborated by an unnamed witness who stated, “he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.”
These accounts are supposed to support Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense and validate his shooting the unarmed teenager. What we don’t know is why after being followed by Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, a boy with no history of aggression would turn on and attack a larger adult when he was 70 feet away from the safety of his own back door. There’s a saying in the Black vernacular, “don’t start nothin’; won’t be nothin’.” Basing his perceptions on stereotypes Zimmerman stopped the wrong young man and killed the wrong young man. He should not be allowed to get away with murder.
Wilmer is the host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” and is a teaching associate at Howard University.
By Dr. Wilmer Leon, Ph.D.