He was also a physically formidable 17 year old who gave George (Dirty Harry) Zimmerman a real pasting before he was despatched with a single shot to the heart, in reality to the lung and then the heart.
Opinion about the case polarised into two broad camps. There were those who said this was a racially motivated killing, that Martin was racially profiled – whatever that means - that it was second degree or even first degree murder. This position was taken at least to a degree by the usual suspects, many ordinary whites, and most moderate blacks.
On the other side there were those who as good as claimed he deserved it. Some of the comments and innuendo to this effect was ludicrous or even disgusting. For example, the London Daily Mail revealed that Martin was “obsessed with girls and made jokes about ‘ghetto’ culture”.
In other words he was a red-blooded heterosexual teen, and had a sense of humour. He doesn't appear to have messed with white girls, so that is another point in his favour.
The available evidence suggests that Martin was both arrogant and none too bright, but this is par for the course for seventeen year old boys; black ones tend to be even more arrogant that white ones; that is not a racist statement, that is just how it is, in America at least. For the record, when I was seventeen I was if anything even more arrogant, and had nothing to be arrogant about. As we grow older we look back at our youth and not only wonder where it has gone but how could we ever have been or acted like that. Thirty years on, or in my case forty years on, we can laugh at those times.
An outrageous example of youthful arrogance can currently be seen in the antics of Justin Bieber; having achieved fame and fortune so young he has the resources to do more or less as he pleases, and has come down to Earth with a bump.
If Trayvon Martin had “suffered” the same luck as Justin Bieber, he would probably have got himself arrested at nineteen. If not, he may have looked back forty years from now and realised what a little twat he was. Unlike me he will never have that chance, and the world has George Zimmerman to “thank” for that.
A few words about Trayvon the hoodie. Last August when I was doing some shopping in Sydenham I noticed a young black kid with his hood up on a bright summer day. He was perhaps twelve years old. I watched him from a distance for a while, and he was clearly not doing anything suspicious. More recently I saw two white men in the street similarly attired, again it was a bright, sunny day, and both had their hoods up. It may look suspicious, but it is simply a fashion statement, the same way a punk haircut or a leather jacket may be one. End of.
Now what of Zimmerman? When it was revealed that he wasn’t white but Hispanic, he became in the eyes of the usual suspects a “white Hispanic”. The reality though is that race had absolutely nothing to do with this case. Trayvon Martin may have been shot by an asshole, but he was also yet another victim of America’s insane gun culture.
Although Zimmerman was given the benefit of the doubt by a jury, and the physical evidence tends to corroborate his version of events, we will never know precisely what happened that night. My personal view is that although he didn’t set out to kill anyone, Zimmerman wanted to draw his gun and make an “arrest” just like a real cop. Did Martin attack him first? If you’re clearly following someone late at night, that sort of confrontation is always a possibility, but even if Martin had, Zimmerman’s acquittal signals it is okay to shoot and kill a man during the course of a fight if you are getting your butt kicked, as clearly he was. Zimmerman’s subsequent behaviour demonstrates just as clearly that he is not the kind of person who should be allowed to own a gun under any circumstances. Whatever the truth about that fateful night, he is no manner of hero, and has only himself to blame for both his current and future predicament.