Last month’s shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has sparked a world of controversy in the public arena, especially over topics like racial profiling and “stand your ground” self-defense provisions. The case appears shrouded in mystery and confusion, with very conflicting reports from shooter George Zimmerman and his attorneys, who allege that Zimmerman was acting in self defense, and representatives of Martin’s family, who claim that the boy was unfairly profiled and followed by Zimmerman, and who portray Martin as a kind, helpful, A and B high school student.
Evidence was initially slow to appear, but it eventually became known that Martin was on the phone when the incident occurred. The case is currently being reviewed by a grand jury, while in the meantime activists are expressing solidarity with Martin and his family through rallies like New York City’s Million Hoodie March, or by posting pictures of themselves in hoodies on Twitter and other websites. Even the Miami Heat got involved.
The key issue in the case may be the character and background of the Zimmerman and Martin. Zimmerman was not arrested following the shooting because police found insufficient evidence to contradict his claim of self defense. While currently immune from prosecution under Florida self-defense laws, if a court were to find that Martin, rather than Zimmerman, was acting in self-defense during the altercation, then Zimmerman could be tried for manslaughter. Attorneys in the case may draw on character evidence and witnesses and criminal background to determine culpability.
New information is now out on the case, with possible implications for the public’s view of Martin’s character. The Daily Caller made available today a history of Martin’s tweets from the last month he was alive. Shortly after his death Martin’s twitter account, with the handle NO_LIMIT_NIGGA, was disabled.
Many of the tweets and retweets found in the document make reference to sex and drugs, and a lot of them contain profanity. Others, though, express common teenage sentiments: enthusiasm for an upcoming youth fair, and observations on love, heartbreak, and dating. It’s really hard to gauge Martin’s character from two months of tweets (I advise you never to judge anyone’s character based solely on a snippet of social networking activity), and while the tweets suggest that Martin was not necessarily an innocent and naive boy, I encourage readers to remember the playful posturing of teenage boys acting tougher and more experienced than they really are. Here they are for your perusal via [The Daily Caller].