I remember back in 1988 when The Accused came out that there was a lot of controversy because the victim of the crime of gang rape in the film was most definitely not the picture of innocence. Had she somehow invited what happened to her based on her behavior? Were her cries of no and stop not loud enough to overcome the image of her short skirt and heavy drinking?
If a woman is raped, even in a short skirt, even if she has in the past possibly behaved in a less than upstanding manner, is she any less a victim of the crime of rape than a nun wearing a full habit?
I guess I ask because I hear Sybrina Fulton, the incredibly articulate, dignified and graceful mother of Trayvon Martin speaking of attempts by law enforcement to paint her son as some sort of reckless youth, who practically invited a man to pursue him with a loaded, deadly weapon. She said, “They killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”
Here are the indisputable facts in this case:
A man called 911 to report what he believed to be a suspicious person in his neighborhood.
911 took a description from the man and then asked him if he was following the person.
The man said yes.
The 911 dispatcher said unequivocally, “We don’t need you to do that.”
The man, who was armed with a 9mm handgun strapped in a holster to his waist ignored the police order and pursued the person anyway.
At some point, the man got out of his car to confront the person he considered suspicious and at some point an altercation resulted.
The person he considered suspicious turned out to be a child armed only with iced tea and Skittles, and he was shot in the chest by the man.
These facts, which are not in dispute by anyone, suggest that the man who pursued, shot and killed an unarmed child (one who was doing nothing wrong at all) should be arrested.
You are not allowed to go around shooting people, much less children, right?
Now, you may say, there may be mitigating circumstances. Maybe there are additional facts we do not know. You may very well be right, but all of that is what occurs when there is a trial.
That is the entire purpose of a trial.
Each side presents their case, and a jury weighs the evidence (all of the evidence) and renders a verdict based on that information.
But that is not the standard for arresting someone.
The person who threw flour on Kim Kardashian’s fur coat was immediately arrested, and the person who shot and killed a child is free, with no charges filed, still in possession of his weapon, as if nothing happened at all.
In and of itself, this is mind-boggling, but unfortunately this story gets worse.
On top of these facts, now, the police are actively trying to sully the reputation of this dead child. They have leaked that the dead victim was caught with pot and suspended from school the month before he was killed. This is the sort of thing I would expect a defense attorney to do. It makes me personally uncomfortable, but during the course of a trial, it is expected that a defense attorney has to present some sort of defense. Often that includes painting the victim in the worst light possible. The police, however, smearing the reputation of a minor child to the press is despicable. I can only conclude they are part of this “blame the victim” campaign to make their own inaction seem more palatable.
Honestly, whether or not Trayvon Martin was caught with pot a month before he died has nothing to do with the TRAGIC events of February 26th. Whether or not he was wearing a hoodie, whether or not he looked like a fresh-faced youth or a sullen teenager, whether or not he walking or running down the street to get home to watch basketball with his dad, the facts remain the same. He was a child carrying Skittles and iced tea, in the rain, who by all accounts was doing nothing wrong, and was pursued and gunned down by a man told by the police to stand down. A man who was never even arrested and still has his gun.
As a mom, I stand shoulder to shoulder with Sybrina Fulton, and I ask for all mothers to remember who the real victim is here.