Joseph Cotto, 8/4/2015 [Archive]

Why is Trayvon Still Considered a Hero?

By Joseph Cotto

Even though more than two years have passed since George Zimmerman was found innocent, many still claim he is guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin.

A large number of these voices come from America's black community, as well as those of any race involved with 'social justice' movements. Many prominent attorneys, academics, actors, and even politicians became quite emotional about Zimmerman's acquittal.


A cadre of lawyers and media figures portrayed Martin as a hard-working teenage boy who was on the path to success before some racist thug gunned him down. This was a bad move because the facts not only begged, but pleaded to differ.

Before Zimmerman — himself multiracial — and Martin encountered one another, the youth was building a web of trouble.

Text messages which Martin sent and received in the months leading up to his death allowed the public to learn who the late teen was in his own words. Zimmerman's legal defense team released a detailed transcript of said messages.

Martin spoke about procuring firearms, handling marijuana, and being forced to leave his Miami home due to disciplinary problems at school.

It should also be noted that Martin had pictures of marijuana plants and a gun on his cell phone when he died. The teen also filmed a street fight in which homeless people fought over a bicycle. Laughter was heard as the conflict ensued.

How anybody in his or her right mind can see him as a hero is simply unfathomable.

In there lies the key.

Prominent Martin supporters know exactly what they are doing. Do they lionize Martin, who probably would have continued pounding Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk had the latter not been carrying an automatic pistol, just to peddle racial grievances?

They just might.

Since Martin's death, he has become a rallying cry for perceived racial injustice dished out by our criminal justice system. For years, a great many 'social justice' warriors have been fuming about 'Stand Your Ground' laws, 'stop-question-frisk' policies, the much greater impact of the war on drugs on minority communities, and the extraordinary levels of incarceration of young black men, among many other things.

Perhaps these 'social justice' crusaders became so race-oriented in their outlook on life that they think any time a black and non-black get in an altercation, the latter is to blame. Statistics indicate something else altogether, but reason rarely trumps belief.

What matters is the evidence, and the bottom line is this: Facts support Zimmerman's version of his conflict with Martin. There is no proof whatsoever that he hunted Martin down due to racial hatred. On the contrary: An entirely female jury concluded that Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense. Interestingly enough, the FBI conducted an investigation about Zimmerman's racial opinions and concluded that he was anything other than a bigot.

What seems obvious is that the 'social justice' crowd is furious. But in its anger over the great, existential issues of American justice and race in America, they forget that this is a story of two specific, flesh-and-blood men; not two ideologies, not two races. Human lives have to be treated carefully, according to what can be proven, but in an argument about ideology, we ignore facts.

Trayvon Martin's pop-culture legacy as child-saint-martyr has become a clever marketing scheme. So has the narrative of Zimmerman as an angry racist thug.

If our country's 'social justice' advocates honestly cared about justice, why aren't they bringing massive attention to the black-on-black street warfare in Chicago? The crickets chirp, and they grow louder by the day.

One can hardly take the claims doled out by this activist class, as well as its supporters, seriously if this is the norm.

How long will it be until someone calls that observation racist?


Copyright 2015 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at

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