Tonawanda News


July 10, 2013

DUVALL: In Martin case, one black and white question


Tonawanda News — He scared the kid, who called Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker” to a friend on the phone. Defense attorneys argue it was Martin, not Zimmerman, who injected race into the confrontation. That seems at best disingenuous considering Martin wasn’t looking for a confrontation in the first place. He was a kid minding his own business walking down the street when Zimmerman accosted him.

After that, no one really knows what happened. We don’t know who threw the first punch. We don’t have any conclusive evidence who’d gotten the better of who in the ensuing fight.

In the sweaty fog of that rainy Florida night we only know one thing for certain: It was George Zimmerman’s decisions, not Trayvon Martin’s, that set into motion the events that led to a young man’s senseless death.

If the jury acquits Zimmerman it might be the right legal decision given the contours of Florida’s warped laws governing physical confrontation between people. That doesn’t mean it will pass the logic test. A plain reading of the facts gets you to only one conclusion: It’s George Zimmerman’s fault — whether it be through racial malice or stunningly poor judgment — Trayvon Martin is dead. Either way, he should bear the responsibility.

If there’s a question that cuts across all racial and ethnic groups, it’s this: Does it make any sense at all that it’s legal to kill someone because you picked a fight and lost?

If that’s OK in Florida — if that’s OK anywhere in America — we might have found our first truly black and white answer in this whole case.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.

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