Editorial: Bad decisions mean both sides lose

April 13, 2012 4:29 pm

On February 26, neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Zimmerman said Martin was acting suspicious. The man alerted police about the teen.

This resulted in a confrontation in which Martin was shot and killed. Zimmerman claimed the reason he shot Martin was self-defense.

There are several things that make this story stand out from just an average shooting.

First, Martin was unarmed. Second, despite being told by police not to, Zimmerman followed Martin.

Zimmerman was released soon after the shooting without being charged.

The race card is also played in a case like this.

Martin was an African American walking around a private gated community wearing a hooded sweater. Zimmerman is a “white Hispanic.” While unclear whether Zimmerman had any racial motivation, that is not the point. The point is that a man shot another man.

So who is the victim in this case? Is it Martin for just being a regular teenager? Is it Zimmerman for doing what he perceived as his neighborhood watch duty?
There are also more questions we need to consider.

Was Martin really acting suspicious or was it just his appearance that made him seem suspicious? Was it because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt?

Why did Zimmerman follow Martin even though the police had specifically told him not to?

It was dangerous.

And why did Zimmerman even have a gun?

Florida has a controversial law called “Stand Your Ground.” This law allows a person to use force, even deadly force, when there is belief of a threat and without an obligation to retreat. Zimmerman’s attorneys may use this law as his defense.

On April 11, Zimmerman, who had been in hiding, was charged with second-degree murder and is currently in custody.

Questions, even now, are still left unanswered in this case.

What is clear is that very bad decisions were made here, and in the end, both sides end up losing.