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Op-ed: Where Trayvon Martin and Matthew Shepard collide

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The Advocate
|
July 17, 2013

I could not watch the George Zimmerman trial.

Look, it was great when the mainstream media, including this website, started to pick up on the case. When people from across the country banded together to encourage the Florida judicial system to take on the case of a young unarmed black man, gunned down by a member of the local neighborhood watch who claimed that he was using "self defense" to "stand his ground." Even though he was told by authorities to leave the young man alone, to which Zimmerman apparently countered, "They always get away." Sounded pretty open-and-shut to me.

But then they chose a jury, comprised of people who would most likely not empathize with Martin. Inquiries about lessening Zimmerman's sentence were pitched. There were questions as to whether they could use a toxicology report, showing that Martin had smoked marijuana, the least violence-inducing drug of all. Then there was America's collective mocking of star witness Rachel Jeantel, and the defense attorneys beating up on a black crash test dummy. And, let's face it, this case was being tried in the American South. Florida, in particular.