Actually, yes. Guns do kill people. Some of them children.

I have been reading up on the horrible, heartbreaking case of Travyon Martin, the defenseless, unarmed 17 year-old boy shot and killed by the “neighborhood watch” captain in his Florida town. This account is even more disturbing.

trayvon martin

With tears in my eyes and heaviness in my heart, I post about this. As I wrote far too recently, we are mothers. Another mother’s pain is our pain. Another mother’s loss is our loss.

I’m not sure why 90% of the Twitter folks using the #trayvonmartin hashtag right now are people of color. Oh wait–I see Anderson Cooper in there now. I had not heard of it myself until @CarolynEdgar brought it to my attention. This deserves wider coverage. Wider than Rush Limbaugh calling a woman a slut. Wider than Duke losing a basketball game. This isn’t an issue that should be divided along racial or political lines. This is about a child being murdered by an adult and the fact that his murderer is still walking free.

I can only hope that the shooter, George Zimmerman is brought to justice, and that the Martin family finds whatever peace and comfort they can in these sad days, through as much public support as we can all muster. Consider this my very small part.


37 thoughts on “Actually, yes. Guns do kill people. Some of them children.”

  1. Thank you for posting this story. There was a piece on the Today show this morning with audio of some of the 911 calls. Here is a link. I hope this awful story gets more publicity and Mr. Zimmerman goes to jail. If I understand correctly, he was sitting in his car and chose to get out and chase and shoot Trayvon .

    1. Thanks Susan. I hope people tweet, post, write, research–find the outrage in their hearts that we often save for lesser offenses.

      1. Agreed that we need outrage here. While I may be annoyed by tasteless and demeaning T shirts and diaper ads, this case deserves full voiced outrage, protest and empathy for the victim and his family.

  2. I work for HuffPo, so I happened to catch this right after it happened, and I’ve been following it closely since. I just cannot, no matter how hard I try, wrap my brain around it. I also (regretfully) listened to the 911 tape yesterday, and didn’t sleep at all last night. That this sort of horrific violence and minority hunting takes place today is astounding to me. That it happens and IS NOT a national story with outcry from every inch of this country is sickening.

    1. I can’t listen to the tape. Reading excerpts of the transcript is bad enough. “Hunting” is exactly what it is. And yes, it’s sickening on so many levels.

      1. I can’t listen to the tape, either. Just reading about his father breaking down into tears talking about his baby getting shot after crying for help…

  3. I hadn’t head about this story until now. To call it heartbreaking doesn’t even cover it. Not only does it make me ill that Mr. Zimmerman is walking free right now but that not one of those people who heard that poor kid whimpering and crying for help even attempted to help him. Yes, there were shots fired and no one wants to become a victim themselves, but I hear story after story here in Houston (we’re #45 on the most crime ridden cities…woo!) about people who are victims of violent crimes where nearby people do nothing. It’s infuriating that the police seem to be doing so little to bring this case to justice. Let’s just hope that public pressure is enough to get them to do the right thing.

  4. I also meant to say, stories like this are one more reason for despising the concealed wepons laws here in Texas. Having to assume everyone is packing is disconcerting to say the least. About a month and a half ago we had an incident of machine gun fire (not even kidding) nearby. When I heard the shots, my first thought was we were under attack! I live 30 miles outside of downtown in a sleepy suburb and yet now I’m paranoid about what people with their guns might do, even this far outside of the city.

  5. I just watched and listened to the horrible 911 calls. I’m numb. Thanks once more for being our conscience, for finding the voice that many of us only speak to ourselves, for demanding the world be a better place. We are all mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and sisters and brothers and friends. For this reason issues like this affect us all.

  6. Just caught your post on twitter but thank you for writing. I wish desperately more people would get mad about this, but sadly feel racism blinds us. Like you I think of all the things I have seen people get mad about and use social media to affect change but on this one many are silent.

    1. Thank you for writing. It seems like the outrage is growing–I just heard a rumor that the FBI is stepping in. I don’t know why it took so many weeks, but I’m glad it’s happening.

  7. Look at that beautiful child. This breaks my heart. I’ve heard about this via twitter, and I just can’t bring myself to listen to the tape transcripts. This is a tragedy and travesty.

      1. I used to love Criminal Minds…but I had to stop watching that. Sadly the worst is the local news…haven’t watched the news since I had kids. It’s way too depressing.

  8. my heart hurts reading this. What a tragedy. And so awful to know that’s it’s going to be repeated again and again and that it’s always going to be someone’s child.

  9. This is the first time I’m reading this, so thank you for posting the article. I hope we see some justice with this case.

  10. This is the first time I’ve heard about this. Thank you, Liz, for posting. Why on earth is Zimmerman not under arrest?! I’m completely outraged over this. Horrified doesn’t even begin to cover it. Like Sleeping Mom, I hope we see justice.

  11. Zimmerman claims “self-defense,” which in Florida seems to justify almost anything. And yet this 17 year old kid was carrying Skittles and iced tea. Zimmerman was driving and carrying a gun. Self-defense against WHAT, exactly? Trayvon was going to pelt him with candy? It’s so profoundly fucked up I can’t even stand it. Charles Blow, in the Times, wrote a heart-wrenching piece about Trayvon:
    Blow is the father of two teen-age boys and he says he wonders…what if, what if, what if… Thank you for posting, Liz. We should all be outraged. It’s not a Florida issue or a “black” issue or an anything issue other than this kid was mowed down in cold blood by someone who is still at home sleeping in his own bed. Are the presidential wannabes weighing in on THIS issue? Or are they too busy fretting about women’s reproductive organs?

    1. Thanks Deborah. Indeed, Charles Blow’s piece is the one I linked above. It’s a great read.

      Although I hope we keep discussing women’s reproductive freedom too. I just find it strange and a little disturbing that our collective public imagination is more easily captured by a verbal attack than the murder of a child. Both have pretty major implications.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Nate tells he he had followed it for weeks so I can’t figure out why it hadn’t come my way either. I guess more people were talking about Homeless Hotspots at SXSW than this.

  12. As city residents, I think we are always shocked when we see or hear about such blatant racial profiling, racism, and downright animalistic actions.

    Over the last few years, I have come to realize that racism is alive and well in America as I travel to rural and way out areas for my oldest son’s basketball. In fact, last year when he played for an ‘all white’ team, he earned the nickname ‘homeboy’ because he dare to fraternize with his black friends. My son was dumbstruck at the entire scenario, but smart enough to never back down and keep high fiving all his friends (black, white, and purple) at every tournament).

    Last week, a ref instructed a black kid that he was not allowed to touch a white kid on defense.

    This story about Trayvon rips my heart in half. I ache for this boy’s family and there will never be enough retribution to make it right.

    The worst thing about all of this racism is that where do kids learn it? How did adults grow up to be this way? From their parents.

    It is our responsibility to teach the next generation that this is not right. Thanks for spreading this story and maybe just maybe, it will make a small difference???

  13. This man should be in jail. It is one thing to defend yourself against someone who is actively breaking into your home to harm you or your children, but this man hunted for someone to harm. He was looking for an excuse to use his gun, and he targeted an innocent boy because of the color of his skin. There is no possible justification for what he did. It is not self-defense, and there are no mitigating factors. It was pre-meditated murder and probably also a hate crime. It is an outrage that he is walking free after what he did.

  14. Truly terrible. 🙁 I’m sorry and ashamed to say this is the first I’ve heard about this, so thank you for posting.

  15. I have always been against guns. I can’t listen to the tape! I don’t understand why Zimmerman was not arrested. I hope justice prevails. And I also pray for Martin’s family to be strong.

  16. The “Stand Your Ground Law” is poorly written at best, and sadly, seems to have worked as intended in this case. Zimmerman stalked Martin, was told not to leave his car, got out on foot anyway, and ultimately shot an unarmed boy. If he felt threatened at any time during that process, however, that mess called Stand Your Ground applied. Somebody has got to do something about that law, at very least.
    However, there’s more to this story. As much as any juror on the case might deny it, this is all about racism. I know this because of the story of Marissa Alexander, a woman who shot warning shots to defend herself against a violent boyfriend. She has been sentenced to 20 years in jail. She has 3 children. Here’s just one link:
    A woman, who happens to be African American, should have just as much right to Stand Her Ground as anyone else. Yet she has been convicted of a crime and will be incarcerated for what seems like an inordinately long amount of time, considering she shot a wall and not a person, and that no one was injured, much less stalked and murdered.
    We need to stop criminalizing young black men, simply for being young and black. It is clear that the trial focused not on the guilt of Zimmerman in the case brought by the state on behalf of Martin, but on Martin’s guilt. It breaks my heart that this “post racist” America is a figment of all of our imaginations. We have a lot of work to do. That work will start with outrage, and hopefully will lead to frank and honest discussions about privilege and race, and maybe, just maybe, we will get closer to that “post racist” society people keep talking about.

    1. Thanks Sashalyn – that’s the same point as in the Kelley article on Huffpost. Where is the NRA defending gun owners when they’re black? Nowhere, that’s where.

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. My heart is broken too.

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