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The legal system didn’t fail Trayvon Martin – society did

Before I go any further, I want to make a couple things extremely clear. Firstly, I think the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that borders on a travesty. Secondly, I do feel that Zimmerman is guilty by the letter of the law.

Let’s start with some facts. Firstly, in Florida there is a law that says you are allowed to use excessive force if you have a reasonable belief that you are in danger. That’s called self defense. There is also a law in Florida that says the person who instigated the circumstances cannot plead self defense unless they have done everything possible to retreat from the situation – this is called the “initial aggressor” rule. Secondly, in US law, the judge must explain the law in layman’s terms to the jury, however the judge must not explain a law that is not relevant to the case – known as jury instruction. Thirdly, in this trial, the two parties had an argument over whether the initial aggressor rule should be explained to the jury during the jury instruction. In this case, the judge found that the initial aggressor rule should not be explained to the jury. This is explained more fully in a Huffington Post article by Alafair Burke.

The legal system did what it should do. It allowed someone to have a defense. It is not the fault of the legal system. I do not believe anyone is at fault in the result of this case. The legal system did what it does.

What did fail Trayvon Martin though is society, both at the time of his death and now.

At the time of Trayvon’s death, society failed him. How is an innocent boy walking a justification for his death? Society’s perceptions failed Trayvon here. Police weren’t given a chance to investigate the death fully before the protests started – again, Trayvon was failed by society being too quick to jump the gun.

At the bottom, I’ve embedded a video from MSNBC. It shows how Trayvon is being failed by people now. They’re making accusations that are not relevant, and dragging through the mud the name of a young boy who left this world too soon. It is my belief that society is failing Trayvon, and his family now. Let them grieve without constant reminder of the tragedy. Let Trayvon Martin rest in peace without having his name dragged through the mud or his story lifted as a pseudo martyr. Unless there is an appeal here (I wouldn’t be surprised if there is), let’s just leave this in the past, and let his family grieve in peace.

Embedding that MSNBC video didn’t work. To view, click here.


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