As Dan has noted, some 35 Gay Left advocate groups have signed an “open letter asking for justice for Trayvon Martin”. Justice is a crucially important value, so let’s give that suggestion its due, by considering what it could mean.
Since the groups were prompted by the Zimmerman verdict: perhaps they mean that bad things, such as imprisonment, should happen to George Zimmerman. But why would any reasonable person think that? A jury of his peers looked into the matter as intensively as any people on Earth, and found Zimmerman not guilty of breaking any laws. The jury felt that he bore Martin no enmity and saw a strong possibility that Zimmerman acted in legitimate self-defense.
We will never know, to a certainty, what happened the night Martin was killed. But Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, has stated her belief that Martin must have thrown the first punch. (Also, she has stated her belief that Martin had profiled Zimmerman as a gay rapist – which, if Martin had, would make his attacking Zimmerman first an anti-gay hate crime.)
Jeantel has also expressed a belief that Martin did not mean to kill Zimmerman; that Martin would have stopped short of killing him, just in time. But Zimmerman could not possibly know that, as his head was being slammed into the concrete.
For sake of argument, let’s believe Jeantel for a moment, on those two points: that Martin did attack Zimmerman, but without meaning to kill him. Then any reasonable person must agree that Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die.
But people die all the time, who don’t deserve it. The only people who deserve death are the very few who have committed the most heinous crimes. Everyone else’s death is a tragedy, including Martin’s.
Without casting aspersions on Zimmerman, and based on the available evidence: real “Justice for Trayvon” would be if Martin and Zimmerman had both kept their lives that night – and Martin had then been arrested, charged and put on trial (perhaps in juvenile court) for the crime of assault.
It’s strange, how the “Justice for Trayvon” advocates always manage to leave out that last part.
The LGBT advocates’ letter does say:
Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.
We can agree on that. But the JfT advocates need to remember that the “every person” includes George Zimmerman – a Latino neighborhood resident who was patrolling his community to help it deal with a crime wave; not a gay rapist, and apparently, not anyone who deserved to have his head slammed into the concrete.