Some Thoughts On Trayvon Martin’s Death




elroy john two

Elroy John



I’m sure that Heaven is a fine place. I mean pearly gates, streets of gold, and mansions for all sound good to me. But I’ve never been there and, subsequently, cannot confirm its easy living reputation.

So I take little solace in the notion that young, slain Trayvon is up there enjoying tea and Forbidden Fruit-flavored Skittles with The Almighty. I can accept that a jury, toiling within the confines of applicable law and its associated elements, returned a logical verdict. I do not, however, accept that the verdict is just and instead; view it as the product of flawed legislation.  So in that context, what comes next?

I would suggest that it is incumbent on every breathing human being who feels even an ounce of compassion for the Martin family and the thousands of Trayvons that are killed by gun violence every year, particularly in the black community, to ensure that a repeal of the Stand Your Ground law is front and center during the next legislative session.

I would also suggest that any Democratic candidate for governor of Florida that does not challenge this state’s fetish-like fascination with guns and force Rick Scott to publicly justify self-defense laws that encourage reckless behavior among gun owners, is not worth the effort it takes to bubble in a ballot, much less canvass a neighborhood. Beyond the political and policy implications of this case, however, I believe is a larger, darker, and more threatening schism that we must resolve.

Trayvon’s killing and the roiling public debate it produced exposed yet another opportunity for an already polarized nation to further divide itself. So much so that for some it appeared impossible to even acknowledge that Trayvon was indeed a child, much less pause to mourn the senseless loss of his young life.

Left and Right alike retreated immediately to their respective camps and what could have been a moment to unite behind reform in honor of a dead boy, instead, devolved into caustic, racially-charged rancor. I point this out because there seems to be nothing that we can unite behind anymore and while I wouldn’t begin ringing the antebellum alarms just yet, I do believe an exercise in remembering what binds us together as a country and a people is in order.

So in that spirit, let’s start with this: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…

Elroy John was president of the Broward Young Democrats from Feb. 2009 to Nov. 2010.  A U. S. Army veteran and Florida Atlantic University graduate, Elroy currently works for a non-profit organization that finds housing for homeless veterans.


32 Responses to “Some Thoughts On Trayvon Martin’s Death”

  1. Chad Lincoln says:

    I’m a bit amazed at this position.

    The seeking to repeal the Stand Your Ground Law simply makes it more difficult and risky for a victim to defend themselves. Every one in American has a right to defend themselves, that is guaranteed by the US Constitution. Self Defense is a foundation to our existence in modern settings. We have the right to defend our life and our property. Castle doctrines reinforce that right while on ones homestead. The Stand Your Ground law in Florida extends that defense to acts taken in self defense as presumptive defense when away from ones home. Stand Your Ground (SYG) concepts are not laws passed by drug crazed wild eyed people. SYG is a very needed answer to the legal entanglements of having acted to protect ones life.

    It is very important to note that the Zimmerman Trial was not about SYG. It was a straight up self defense trial.

    SYG protects all citizens alike. And Yes, our minority communities are equally concerned with their right to protect their lives. SYG laws are good for all Floridians.

  2. Matt says:

    Well said, Elroy.

  3. Sam The Sham says:

    Instead of Trayvon enjoying tea and Forbidden Fruit-flavored Skittles with The Almighty, I think there is a chance he might be sipping Purple Drank and smoking marijuana some place else.

    If Trayvon was not shot, the police would have arrived at the scene to find Zimmerman beaten to a bloody pulp and they would have arrested Trayvon like the violent criminal he was.

    Shame on Trayvon’s parents for not rescuing him from the downward spiral of drugs, burglary and violence, before it was too late.

  4. The Truth says:

    The Truth is that Trayvon was black. The Truth is that Trayvon would not have attracted the attention of Zimmerman if he was white. The Truth is that if Zimmerman was black, this case would have gotten no attention.
    That is the Truth.

  5. Brett Malano says:

    @SamThe Sham. Wouldn’t Zimmerman, Martin and this nation be better off if “Zimmerman beaten to a bloody pulp and they would have arrested Trayvon like the violent criminal he was?” A gun made this into an unspeakable crime. Too many guns.

  6. South Florida says:

    Thank you for reminding people Trayvon was only a child ,teens and adults react to situations totally different , with teems being more impulsive. Secondly,Mr Zimmerman followed the child and created a confrontation , then killed him .If this is “Stand your ground” , we need ro repeal the law.

  7. Chaz Stevens, Militant Atheist says:

    The whole basis, as I see it, of this trial is the notion of “Zimmerman defending himself.”

    Before the SYG law, the burden was placed on Zimmerman to retreat.

    Had this burden still been in place, Zimmerman would have not been able to proclaim “self-defense.”


    Chad, what about my right to not have a cap popped in my ass? The right of peaceful assembly which doesn’t include being hunted down by some schmo packing a .40cal.


    So the blame on Travyon, his death sentence was due to the fact he smoked dope?

    Apparently, you’ve never been to college… If that’s the rule, we’d wipe out a good portion of the freshman class.


    SYG was legislation written by the NRA and passed by the Republicans.

  8. MonaLisa says:

    Did you see that stupid keep the peace video the Sheriff did over this ruckus? Rush Limbaugh was all over it on Friday. Broward County again a nationwide laughingstock. Commissioner LaMarca has assured Mr. Limbaugh and the residents of his District that an outside audit of who paid for this JOKE of a video is coming.


    Here is the video the reader referred to:

  9. Garl says:

    Although I can sympathize with what Elroy has said, let’s be clear about one thing…17 year olds in our society have not been “children” in at least three decades. In fact, 17 year olds have not been “children” since the late sixties. Unfortunately. With drugs and sex and guns and gangs, 17 is no longer for children.


    William “Billy The Kid” Bonney killed his first victim at 17. The year was 1877, a lot longer than three decades ago. I could give many other examples from history.

  10. Owl says:

    It’s very interesting that Elroy John and Chaz Stevens call for a repeal of Stand Your Ground (SYG). As Chad Lincoln notes this was NOT a SYG case. It was not argued. The self defense burden was not altered. Repealing SYG, even if that is what is appropriate for whatever reasons, would have had no effect on this particular case.

    I may not agree with Mr. Stevens, but I find his comments to typically be well researched. The argument here that SYG affected the self defense burden, however, is incorrect.

  11. PhantomJack says:

    It appears the people commenting and demonstrating on Trayvon’s behalf are reminding me of their opposite reactions to the ‘OJ’ trial. Enraged verses Elated. All I hear coming from them is racism.
    They fuel the media and the media reruns their edited versions over and over. Who will benefit financially from this? Money will decide how we end this. By the way, did you see the flag burning?

  12. Right on says:

    We néed more Limbaughs and less libs in this County. Good common sense approach from great Republicans and BREC members like Lincoln and LaMarca.

  13. bill livesay says:

    Elroy,it’s most likely that the little gangsta is looking up, not down from heaven as you assume.

  14. she is a joke! says:

    Elroy has a perspective but it doesn’t represent all views of the black community. The real loser in this was the state, they were a disappointment. We are a nation of laws, the jury made a decision, although I don’t agree, our laws worked. There is nothing wrong with self defense laws or SYG. I will continue to support SYG

  15. Take Your Blinders Off says:

    @Owl, didn’t you get the memo? White people no longer can stand behind SYG laws or even Self Defense laws. When confronted with thuggish behavior, it is their duty to sacrifice themselves up for the beating (or worse) for the greater good of the community.

    How about this idea? How about thugs learn that they might get shot when they start a fight? Maybe they will learn to behave more civilly next time.

  16. Fed Up with Racists says:

    I am impressed that the comments on this topic are mostly based on reality. Martin was a thug and he controlled his own destiny. SYG sucks….criminals have used it more than law abiding citizens..I know I have seen it first hand many times. But this case wasn’t about SYG. It was about self defense. GZ will be lynched by the US Government with our tax dollars wasted. Holder is KKK reborn.

  17. SYG or Anti Getting Shot in the Back Law says:

    Chaz/Tim Stevens:
    The Zimmerman case was not a SYG case. There was no SYG pre-trial hearing. There was no defense argument of SYG. There was no jury instruction for SYG.
    The only time SYG has ever been mentioned is by
    know-nothing non-attorneys like your self.
    I have long believed that you were not very bright and a reliable ponificator about things way above your I.Q. level.
    Thanks for the confirmation.

  18. tell the truth says:

    heres SYG cases – about 200 over last 7 years since law passed

  19. bill livesay says:

    A few months ago in Jacksonville some idiot (white)shot and killed a kid (Black) at a gas station because he refused to turn down the alleged loud rap music coming from his car. The shooter’s rectum must now be expanding and contracting 90 miles per hour now that the State lost the Trevon Martin case,knowing that they are going to pull out all stops to make an example of him.

  20. Duke says:

    As as white male with a concealed permit,I can tell you that being able to empathize with the plight that young black males face in our society and in our judicial system comes down to a lot more than enjoying soul food and good R&B music. Zimmerman was not worthy of the concealed permit and had no street smarts. I can say without hesitation that Zimmerman flat-out murdered this kid. This whole case was a travesty of justice and Americans should be embarrassed. The more people say this case was not about race, the more I know it is. If Trayvon Martin is white, does George Zimmerman get out of his car? 3 of those jurors went into that jury room of the opinion that the defendant was guilty. I wish they would have stuck to their guns the way Zimmerman stuck to his. But 6 white racist women were in a hurry to get back home to their 6 white racist husbands. The case is over. The Zimmerman story has just begun.

  21. Duke says:

    Trayvon Martin was never arrested for battery of a LEO. Trayvon Martin never violated pre trial diversion then got reinstated.Trayvon Martin never had a girlfriend get a restraining order against him for choking her and kicking the dog. Trayvon Martin was never fired from a bouncer job for being too aggressive. Trayvon Martin never trained MMA style at the gym. Trayvon Martyin did not have a gun. But he did smoke some weed and have pics of naked girls on his phone. Two sadistic lawyers gamed the system and the media. Something good is going to come from it all. Anybody who had a hand in what was done to this kid and his family will deal with fate. When Zims said it was all part of God’s plan, he didn’t know what the plan was.

  22. modeengunch says:

    That’s pretty strong as well as foolish language about the 6 jurors being racist. You should perhaps give up your CWP as you appear to be unbalanced.

  23. City Activist robert Walsh says:

    First of all al this chatter about self defense if it was , was it not,etc. How you get Zimmerman is simple. You petion the DoJ to bring a Civil Rights violation against Zimmerman. Forget about who hit who, who was on top, who was screaming . The proof is in the testimonals. Remember the young woman who testified on behalf of the Defense(you should have rested after the Medical examiners’ assessment) that she was broken into by, who-“two young Black guys, who then she locked herself in her son’ room w/ a pair of dirty scissors. That Zimmerman, my Peruvian German( I thought he was part Mexican and Jewish-Zimmerman?)that he came over to console her, and that fat Sheelie would babysit w/ her(yeah if she didn’t eat you out of house/home-remember she goes next for lying to the Judge about their finaces). Ok so here is the Trump card, Zimmerman did racial profile Travon in that because Travon was Black, young(just like the guys that broke into his neighbors’ home etc)that Zimmerman assumed (is the key word here)that he was up to no good, and probably was up to no good. Bingo you assumed wrong, you racial profiled this young man. Hence you have your charge. Zimmerman again assumed because Travon was Black and young that he was up to no good and basiccly he was just waiting to break into someone’ home. Forget that Travon threw the first punch, forget that travon was on top, forget that Zimmerman was the one screaming. All you need is the white girl testifying that the two black kids broke into her apt. Defense would lose. Zimmerman violated Travon ‘civil rights, hence he should face Federal charges. And the President doesn’t help matters by statng that if he had a son , he would look like Travon(maybe, Mr.President since your mother was white, you could rather have a son that looks like Ritchie Cunnigham(happy days). File the civil rights charge…

  24. Duke says:

    Now B-37, the animal lover, tells CNN that TM played a huge role in his own death and that when Zimmerman confronted him, the kid should have just run away. This crazy racist bitch would have sent the defendant to jail for shooting a dog, but not for shooting a kid.

  25. ex compassionate conservative says:

    In talking to my kids about this case I explained to them that this is an American version of a what in literature is called a Tragedy. Except that there is no hero to start off with. If this was a play we would have two entirely different, yet imperfect people in Zimmerman and Martin who will eventually come together with a mere glimmer of something good happening.

    Something simple like a hello from either or a response that was not in an emotional anger of mind could have prevented this entire tragedy. There can only be a verdict and even that will be tainted by other factors in the law, jury or judge.

    For my kids I explained that in real life I have been at HOA meetings where home owners have wanted armed guards. The HOA President stated that the last thing you want is a firearm on a non law enforcement officer because of what can happen and the liability for each and every home owner here. A neighborhood watch is just that, a watch. We have been pretty good at assisting the BSO in catching criminals because of observation instead of confrontation.

    I also explained that I almost was picked for a jury where you had young Black male accused of the death of an older black male in a dispute. Part of the defense was self defense of the young male. No gun, but many versions of what happened including a potential SYG using fists. This was part of the jury selection questioning if we were familiar with this law.

    I thought the prosecution was not good and the jury could have convicted Zimmerman of something less, but I am not a lwayer. This was part of the jury process I experienced this year in Broward County where understanding the multiple degrees of killing someone was an important part of the jury selection.

    Listening to Brian Craig on the AM radio Steve Kane Show for the past few days has shown me the further descent of his into madness. Some segments could have been played at KKK or White Power meetings. Brian started off months ago against Zimmerman. I guess his adopting a biracial child may have caused him to think of how his daughter may be looked on in life. Many of the callers were disgusting in their vileness , but Brian evolved Tea Party style and soon began to go loco.

    Any minority who needs some talking points in running against the GOP has a gold mine in using material from his show. The whole package when you include his fascination with firearms is disturbing . I do thank Jesus that he does not live in a gated community here and is the neighborhood watch person.

  26. Duke says:

    When I was a kid and would get in a fight, my dad would ask.. “Who threw the first punch?” Then my dad would talk about how smart it is sometimes to just walk away. I do not believe that Trayvon Martin threw the first punch. I also know for a fact that the kid did not just try to walk away, he tried to run away. Sanford Florida is a cesspool, and those cops who bungled the case as well as those racist people on the jury are all a bunch of turds floating around.

  27. ex compassionate conservative says:

    Mr. Nevins. You have been on the Steve Kane show in the past. Have you ever known him to be so loco?

    The other day when I was listening to Brian Craig on the Steve Kane show, he was foaming at the mouth over two white people with a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker shot to death in cold blood by blacks in Jakconville.

    This is from the Politucusa web site.

    A Jacksonville, Florida double homicide that was committed in a Golden Corral Parking lot Sunday night during an armed robbery, is being framed as a retaliation crime by black shooters against white victims for a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker. The false narrative that the white boys were killed because their truck sported a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker is being pushed by a number of right-wing web sites including InfoWars, Top Conservative News, beforeitsnews, American Crisis, and the Daily Paul. The earliest mention of the false story appears to be from a forum on the white supremacist web site Stormfront. This of course begs the question as to whether the other conservative news sites are now taking their news stories directly from a Neo-Nazi propaganda mill like Stormfront?

    Much like the bogus footage of supposed riots in Miami that turned out to be old coverage of hockey riots in Canada, the new narrative seeks desperately to find a case of monstrous black criminality versus white innocence to highlight, but alas unable to find one, the right-wing must again simply make something up and try to spread it as real.

    Today in a press conference, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office put to rest the phony story about a gang of murderous black thugs killing two innocent white males over a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker. Although two young white men were indeed apparently murdered by an armed black suspect, with three accomplices, two black and one white, they were not murdered because of a bumper sticker but rather because they were drug dealers killed in a robbery plot to steal their drugs.

    The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department released a photograph of the pickup the two victims drove to the Golden Corral parking lot and it had no bumper sticker attached to it. While Paul Joseph Watson at InfoWars alleges a police cover-up, it is not apparent that “Free Zimmerman” bumper stickers even exist. A google search and a google image search both come up empty. Also, since Zimmerman was free on bond while awaiting trial, such a bumper sticker does not even make much sense. Free him from what? The travel restrictions imposed upon him while he awaited trial?

    As the Sheriff’s Department spokesman described the ongoing investigation, he reported that four suspects are being held each on suspicion of two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery. Three of the suspects are black and one is white. One of the suspects, Avery Wood, had arranged a drug deal with one of the victims, Matthew Bohannon. The four suspects apparently planned to rob the Bohannon brothers of their drugs rather than paying for them. Jalil Graves shot each of the boys and stole their marijuana, then the four individuals fled the scene. In addition, the police found substantial quantities of marijuana in Andrew Bohannon’s home.

    While nobody deserved to be shot and killed, right wing attempts to portray this incident as a case of ruthless black thugs murdering innocent white choir boys whose only crime was a pro-George Zimmerman bumper sticker, are patently false. A bi-racial team of robbers murdered two white drug dealers in an attempt to get their drugs for free. A hideous crime to be sure, but a racially motivated execution over the Zimmerman case it was not. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office should be commended for quickly apprehending all four suspects and for immediately dismissing vicious rumors spread by white supremacists and their right-wing and libertarian enablers at InfoWars, beforeitsnews and the Daily Paul. When people are so blinded by their racist ideology that they do not even bother to fact check, they deserve nothing but public scorn for trying to fan the flames of racial animosity by spreading their steady torrent of blatant lies.

  28. Sandra says:

    Very well written article. Some of the commentors seem unaware of SYG’s direct role in the verdict. The jury instructions included language from SYG and a pivotal exception on “initial aggressor” exemption was omitted by the court. In essence, the court misstated the law to the jury.

  29. Duke says:

    What’s even more weird about this whole case is that so many Zimmerman supporters know the true source of his facial injuries and must be laughing at the state’s failure to explain why GZ was bleeding from the face and none of that blood got on the kid who was supposedly all over him like a cheap suit. How can that be?? Easy. Zimmerman’s gun was a cheap piece of crap well known for excessive recoil. One can read the reviews and see the videos online. When GZ fired the gun, it kicked back and hit him in the face. You can clearly see the 2 identical sized pinholes at the tip of the nose. This is from the “V” shaped rear site finder. The rectangular shaped cut above the upper lip was from the clip. That’s why no GZ blood on the kid. GZ didn’t start bleeding until he shot the kid. How is it that everyone but the gun nuts missed this? And they ain’t talkin. Tell me I’m wrong Sam.

  30. Found this interesting says:

  31. AMWakeUpCall says:

    One side of this issue sees an unarmed individual simply walking down a public sidewalk.

    The other side sees that individual attacking an many with a loaded gun.

    One side sees the beginning of the episode, the other sees the end of it.

    Sadly, what it should come down to for everyone everywhere is that we all have the right to walk down a public right of way without being followed, watched, and/or harassed.

  32. electric jack says:

    A few facts are in order lets start from the bottom up:
    1. It is not nor ever will be a public sidewalk its a privately owned hoa.
    2.There are zero street lights in the entire HOA/Condo complex had you libs watched Greta on Fox she broadcasted from the HOA. It is impossible to identify anyone in the dark thats total darkness….
    3. He did not live in Sanford he was raised in Miami Springs a long way south of where the incident occured.
    4. The father was an is a member of the street gang THE CRIPS.
    5. The mother did not raise him at all. an aunt did in Miami Springs where he was thrown out of school for bringing outlawed things onto school grounds.
    6. GZ got out of his truck to go to the building where he saw TM an if you have ever been inside a hoa the numbers are totally unreadable without street lights at night. Thats when TM jumped George.
    7. The Special Prosecutor has been indicted for not sharing data with the defense attys per the constitution of the USA. Thats in Tampa btw……lets park the bs. An deal in facts not what the liars at NBC decide are facts but thereal facts…..personally I pray that GZ an his attys sue NBC and comcast an put hem out of business for inciting riots, public damage, an any other reason a great team of lawyers can find…..