The National Rifle Association of the US has reacted to the Trayvon Martin case at least and as expected blamed to the media coverage of the repercussions of the killing of the unarmed black teenager in Sanford, Florida by an armed neighborhood watcher almost three months ago. During a convention in St. Louis, MO, Wayne LaPierre, said that the media take advantage of this case and used sensationalism against the right to carry guns and the laws of self-defense. According to a report by de New York Times, LaPierre said that “By the time I finish this speech, 2 Americans will be slain, 6 women will be raped, 27 of us will be robbed, and 50 more will be beaten,” “That’s the harsh reality we face, all of us, every single day. But the media, they don’t care. Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings, don’t draw sponsors. But sensational reporting from Florida does, ” he said.
This comments struck me because the first thing that make me fix my attention in this story from the distance was how long it took for it to make top news. So, the media was no so sensationalistic or decisive in the public alert about this case, it was the case by itself. When I first read about it from abroad, Trayvon was dead for three weeks, and the circumstances of his killing were certainly to make first lane from day one. A seventeen black boy unarmed, coming back to the home in which he was a guest with some candies an a can of ice tea purchased in a nearby convenience store and talking with his cell phone, killed by a 28 old armed man, acting as a civilian neighborhood watcher, against the advice of the police, that was not arrested or investigated because claimed self-defense. This in a state -Florida with a “stand your ground” law that gives the benefit of the doubt to the one who claims self-defense even if he or she has a reasonable possibility to retreat or escape the threat.
So a kid with candies and a cell phone dead and a man who was following him and watching him and ended killing him with a fire arm, not arrested, and the case not properly investigated because of the claim of self-defense is not a top news? Trayvon Martin was not a celebrity. And I’m sure his family don’t want the celebrity they have now. Being dead, Trayvon can’t defense himself, when some said that he attacked first his killer or some people comment that a black boy in that neighborhood didn’t have to wear a sweatshirt with a hood despite it was raining, because that make his appearance suspicious despite he wasn’t doing nothing bad, just walking.
After almost three months, and after the same president Obama commented that if he had a son he had looked like Trayvon, the killer, Georg Zimmerman, was finally arrested and charged by a special prosecutor of second degree murder, but there is no a proper first moment investigation and all the controversy has been so public that is a big damage for the case in the trial.
So Mr. LaPierre of the NRA can said whatever he wants but a bizarre story like this needed three weeks to make his way to the top in the big Media and three months to the arrest and charge of the confessed killer identified and localized from the day one.
What is at stake here is how this case has put the attention in the “stand your ground” laws that let defend your ground with guns in the street or public places not only your home and face the threat even if you can escape from it and then if someone is injured or dead, claim self-defense. Laws that the NRA like a lot, because increase selling and law enforcement not so much because increase danger on the streets
Mr LaPierre in his intervention enumerated many cases o violence that can happen in half an hour in the States, maybe supposing that all of them can be avoided if the victims have guns to defend themselves. But I also was asking myself, How many cases similar to the one of Trayvon Martin have occurred in the states with “Stand your Ground” laws that we don’t know and could have been prevented or investigated without so many guns and laws like this that give the benefit of the doubt to the ones who use them and claim self-defense? How many will happen in the future after this one?. May this case make some lawmaker reconsider what they have done or what they can do in the future with this matter and change minds, maybe if that happens and the laws changes at least in one state, and then another, the death of Trayvon Martin wouldn’t be completely useless.
- NRA Official: Media Sensationalizing Martin Case (abcnews.go.com)