So I was tumbling for a bit while waiting for my heart rate to drop back down to “I can go to sleep now” levels (yes, I know that I shouldn’t be exercising right before bed but I’m averaging about two hours of free time a day so it can’t be helped) and my page seems to be following a certain theme. There are many cats who refuse to get out of places where they shouldn’t be and many Lanthirs talking about issues related to the reproductive rights of women. And I agree that the cats should get out of there and that Lanthirs are correct and so forth and oh no, what is this? Is there a silly image on my tumblr? There is.
I will explain why this is a silly image. Disclaimer: this is a terribly distorted and one-sided image and my response will likely seem similarly one-sided. Do not be fooled. I might dislike everyone but I dislike them equally.
What you see here is the result of sloppy and unprofessional reporting. Calling it such may be giving the media at large the too much credit but I’ll pretend that no one would intentionally try to agitate racial tension. From the moment it appeared in the papers there has been a powerful effort to paint this case in black and white despite the fact that it is neither of these things, in both the figurative and literal sense.
While I don’t understand the attempt to paint this case in such stark terms, I do recognize it. Your first warning to think, “Well, that doesn’t seem right,” was when, after a few days of Zimmerman being reported as a white man, his family came forward to say, “Actually, he’s Hispanic.” If you want to be specific, it is my understanding that his father is white and his mother is Hispanic. Given the volatile nature of this story, the initial reports could have at least investigated to this extent before proclaiming, “White Man Slays Black Child!” The pictures in this image are the ones used in early reports. You can see the slant here, too: surely there were other images available but the ones the media chose were a picture of Trayvon as a smiling youth and a seven year-old mug shot from Zimmerman’s arrest in 2005 for “pushing a state alcohol agent, who was arresting a friend of Zimmerman’s”
Given the nature of most reporting these days (irresponsible and pandering) then these things shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But wait, there’s more! This particular image is distorting the issue even more frantically than the media at large. And I quote: “An A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” Really? Majored in cheerfulness, did he? I heard a rumor, and it was a true rumor, which was that emotional pandering is really not the best way to get people to deal with an issue based on the facts at hand. Speaking of facts, I don’t know Trayvon’s GPA but I do know that at the time of his death he was serving a suspension from his high school due to marijuana possession. Do I care? Does this fact have any relevance to this case? No, not any more than his GPA or his favorite candy. While it is rarely possible to include all the facts, it is wildly irresponsible to pick only those which suit the narrative you wish to present.
Side two: Zimmerman has called the police 46 times since January first? I’m not sure what I’m intended to assume from this fact because the image gives it no context. Bereft of such, it seems confusing and excessive. Why would someone need to call the police so frequently?
Context: Zimmerman was a volunteer for the local Neighborhood Watch. Why does this image exclude such easily located and relevant information if not to present an intentionally distorted viewpoint? As for the quote provided, I offer you a link with the headline, “Police: Zimmerman said Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head”.
This is, of course, Zimmerman’s account and I make no claims as to its veracity. I offer it only as an example of the wealth of easily accessible information providing possible motives for the shooting. Information like “One witnesses, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help. Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest from very close range, according to authorities. When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.” Other witnesses apparently disagree but at the very least, Zimmerman’s injuries are fact. There’s no excuse for ignoring them in favor of a line like “Shot Trayvon dead because “This guy looks like he’s up to no good””.
Deciding that this is a story about a white man who murdered a black kid in cold blood is not any better than deciding that Trayvon deserved to be shot for being black. I will actually go so far as to say that it’s worse to blindly accept this image’s version as truth. Racists are expected to be ignorant but intelligent people should know better.