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The culpability of Trayvon's parents
Posted By Jane Chastain On 07/24/2013 @ 7:37 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments
What if George Zimmerman were dead? That’s what the angry mobs that rioted after the trial wanted. That’s what the people who placed anonymous phone calls to Zimmerman, his attorneys, his parents and the Sanford police chief wanted.
So let’s go back to the night of Feb. 26, 2012. What if George Zimmerman had not pulled the trigger as he was being beaten by a younger, taller, stronger Trayvon Martin? No one really knows how many blows Zimmerman could have withstood or if one of those blows to the head could have been fatal.
Would that have made Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Jay-Z, Beyonce, President Obama and Trayvon’s grieving parents happy? Unlikely!
If Zimmerman had not fought back and Martin had landed a fatal blow, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s divorced parents, would not be media darlings. Instead, they would be watching their younger son tried for murder or manslaughter. Had he been convicted, they would watch him waste away in prison.
Had Zimmerman died, there would be no protests marches, TV interviews or magazine covers. They would be left to face this sad reality alone. Then, and only then, would they likely ask the question that no reporter had the courage to ask them, “What could you, as parents, have done that might have prevented this tragedy?
My heart goes out to these people. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child under any circumstances. There are no perfect parents. All of us fail in some way.
However, the effort to make this tragedy into a racial vendetta against the other victim in this unfortunate episode will not ease their pain. It only serves to fuel the embers of racial strife that had all but burned out in this post-Obama era. Also, it elevates the race baiters among us who should have been relegated to the dust bin of history.
Al Sharpton, at the forefront of this brouhaha, has made a career out of this kind of thing. There is no tragedy or crime involving an African-American that he can’t exploit or turn into a racist incident, often inciting riots that lead to injury and death. After Tawana Brawley in 1987, the Crown Heights Riot in 1991, Freddie’s Fashion Mart 1995 and the Jena (La.) Six in 2006, you would think he would be branded a pariah and banished by the media like David Duke. But, no! Duke was driven out of the country (good riddance), but Sharpton was given a pass, again and again.
Either, Trayvon’s parents have been “Sharptonalized” or they are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame (along with their all-expense paid trips) a little too much. This is sad.
On April 12, 2012, Fulton was asked by Ann Curry on the “Today” show what she would like to say to George Zimmerman. Fulton answered, “I believe it was an accident, I believe it just got out of control and he couldn’t turn the clock back.” It didn’t take long for those seeking to capitalize on this tragedy to get to Fulton who quickly retracted those comments.
While Fulton may feel that the end justifies the means (she now wants Trayvon’s death to heal every wrong she feels has been dealt to blacks in racist America), making Zimmerman’s life a living hell will not help.
Fulton told Anderson Cooper she wished the jury could have known her son. Really? Trayvon was not the “average teenager” that she would lead us to believe. The jury was not allowed to know that he was found with expensive jewelry and a burglary tool in his book bag. He was on his third suspension from school. His cell phone was full of messages related to drugs. His Facebook page indicated he was into “lean” or “DXM,” often called a poor man’s PCP, with side effects that include paranoia and fits of violence. As it happened, Trayvon was carrying the two ingredients that when mixed with Robitussin DM produce this dangerous cocktail: Skittles and AriZona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail (not iced tea) at the time of his death.
No doubt Trayvon would have been better served had he been held more accountable by the system and his parents.
Clearly, Zimmerman and Trayvon made mistakes. However, there is not one iota of evidence that this was a racist incident. If Trayvon’s mom truly wants to help her community, a little soul searching and honesty would go a long way toward that end.
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