Trayvon Martin’s Death Signals Deeper Problems


© Copyright 2012 Susan Stamper Brown.

The justifiable outrage over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida should give all Americans reason for pause. How could an unarmed young man carrying a bag of skittles threaten gun-carrying neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was almost twice Martin’s weight?

Certainly the situation grows more complicated as emotions soar, but a look into the crime statistics in Sanford, Florida might help to answer this question. According to, Sanford has a crime index of 3 out of 100 (100 being safest), which is one of the highest crime rates in America “compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities.”

With a population of just over 50 thousand, Sanford has 59 crimes per square mile, 69 crimes per 1000 residents, and one in 15 for property crimes. The prospect of having your car stolen is one in 255, and the probability of someone becoming a victim of murder, rape, robbery and assault, is one in 150.

These crime statistics do not necessarily give license for vigilante justice, but they certainly help to paint a picture about the conditions of a place that most of us would not want to raise a family, if we had the choice.

There are always two sides to every story, and, according to the Sun Sentinel, there is much more about this story to be told. Police told the Sun Sentinel that eye witnesses claim there was an altercation between the two men. Witnesses said Zimmerman “was punched to the ground by Martin, and his head [was] slammed into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered.”

Was this alleged altercation grounds for shooting? The Sunshine State’s “Stand Your Ground’ law says it is. Because Zimmerman claimed, and initial evidence showed, he acted in self-defense, Zimmerman was not arrested. You can view the Sanford Police Department’s official statement on the city’s website that states Florida Statute prohibited the department from arresting Zimmerman based on facts and circumstances they had at the time.

Sadly, but to no surprise, the tragic death of this 6-foot-3 teenager has been turned into a political opportunity, a circus even, by those who prefer to paint the world in black and white. But it’s seldom that simple.

Had an adult been in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, cooler heads would have certainly prevailed. President Obama’s public statement, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” did little to help matters, because soon after, conditions deteriorated. This race-baiting rally cry granted us the opportunity to peer through the same monochromatic lenses Obama uses to see life. (Remember his Boston cop comments and the ensuing beer apology party?)

Not long after Obama’s statement, activists declared war against white people. Despite the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic, the New Black Panther Party pegged the incident as a white man’s crime, and offered a $10,000 bounty for Zimmerman’s capture. Adding insult to injury, the Rev. Jesse Jackson told a large Central Florida crowd, “If it’s a moment, we go home, if it’s a movement, we go to war.”

Yes, Reverend, we should all “go to war.”  But, before we do, it would be beneficial to wisely choose our enemy.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2005, among one-on-one homicides, “93 percent of black victims were murdered by black offenders” meaning the biggest enemy of African-Americans is African-Americans.

Trayvon’s death is an indication of a serious problem brewing beneath the surface. As the saying goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.” The first item on the agenda should be a commitment to stand against those who would attempt to divide us by playing the race card. The next order of business would be to double down against crime in communities like Sanford, so residents would not feel as compelled to take matters into their own hands and “stand their ground.”

© Copyright 2012 Susan Stamper Brown.



4 Responses to Trayvon Martin’s Death Signals Deeper Problems

  • Susan, very well written on a highly emotional issue. My husband and I are FIRM believers in our Second Amendment rights, the Castle Doctrine adopted by many States, and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The liberal media only wants their side of the story told, not the truth, because it does not serve their agenda to get guns off the street to disarm the citizens. I won’t even comment on the “race” card they keep playing. How many eye witnesses were there, again? Certainly not the hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps more, who have spoken vehemently in judgment against Mr. Zimmerman, who was getting his face smashed in. If that is not a case of “meet force with force,” then I don’t know what is. Mr. Zimmerman’s nose was broken, and you don’t cause that just by accident; you have to know what you are doing. Mr. Zimmerman’s first response was also not deadly force, which IS what they teach you in concealed weapons classes. No, just by virtue of the fact that witnesses indicate his head was bashed against the sidewalk after his nose was broken tells me that Mr. Zimmerman was trying to control the situation within his own power without using any weapons. He finally reached a point where there was no alternative if he was to remain alive.

    So the question for the media and all the “supporters” and protesters is, why this kid? Why now? Let the police department do their job, which they did in this case, just like they do for all cases they investigate. We trust them to do their job the rest of the time, and for you to get involved with petitions and marches and anything else is micromanagement of a department over a situation you were nowhere near being involved in.

    For those who think Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested so that a jury can decide his fate, that is a beautiful part about self defense. The fact that someone was using deadly force on me and I was in fear for my life is defense enough, and in Florida, I am also protected from being sued by the other person’s family.

    It is very sad for this young man’s family; I am not downplaying that at all. Tragedy is a tragedy, but don’t go looking for your version of justice where it doesn’t belong.

  • Unfortunately, from audio I heard on the radio this morning, the Black Panthers have already decided that the “White Man’s law” is insufficient to deal with the investigation of Mr. Martin’s death, hence the bounty for Mr. Zimmerman. Now, who are the vigilantes?

    It seems to me that our President should have stepped up days ago to calm the situation, encouraging the Panthers and other race-baiters to let the police investigators do their jobs. But his silence is loudly voicing his approval of their wishes to use the “street law” to try, convict, (and execute?) justice.

    The death of anyone is sad. Perhaps things could/should have gone down differently and Mr. Martin might still be alive. And we may not know the whole story soon enough. I’m praying for Mr. Zimmerman’s safety in the meantime. Even in a worst-case scenario, Mr. Zimmerman deserves a fair trial before a jury of his peers. Vigilante justice will do nothing to resolve anything in this sad situation.

  • Once again the candidate that promised to unite America has shown his true colors. There is more racial unrest and lack of unity since Obama has aired his hatred for anyone not black than I can remember since the early 60s. His rush to judgement on any incident involving a black person, unless of course they are “new black panthers” threatening white voters is racist in the most offensive way. As far as Jesse Jackson is concerned, he is an opertunist that jumps on any incident to keep his name in the news. Can anyone tell me what denomination he is supposed to be, and name any church he has ever pastored. His career of hate mongering sure doesn’t suggest that he is a Christian.

    I can’t see a police department refusing to make an arrest if it is warranted, and anyone and everyone that has jumped to the assunption that Zimmerman is guilty without all the facts is a complete biggot. Every family of any person killed is always sure that the son, daughter, brother, husband, of what ever could never be in the wrong. Unless you are there and see the situation for your self you do not know. People do strange things for strange reasons. I’m not saying that Zimmerman couldn’t have killed his without reason, but I do have faith that the investagators in this case are more compedent to make that decision than people with a racial axe to grind.

  • Apparently you have no son or you would not say such stupid things. And You have never been black so you really do not know what we go through knowing our sons can get stopped for no reason. You need to visit the black community to better understand what life is like.