Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

The Second Killing of Trayvon Martin


The cowardly police in Sanford, Florida, who sanctioned the murder of an unarmed black teenager by a racist vigilante named George Zimmerman, have now assassinated Trayvon Martin a second time, by leaking  scurrilous and irrelevant “news” about him.  This age-old dirty-trick of cops—compounded by a blitzkrieg of propaganda from Zimmerman’s lawyer, The Orlando Sentinel, and one apparently unhinged black “friend”–has been, so far, fairly successful in muddying the narrative on the public airwaves.  So let’s take a moment to sift through the cops’ slurs and innuendoes and see where, if anyplace, they take us.

About the salient facts there is no dispute.  Zimmerman, a cop wanna-be who was also probably a small-time informant, a pathetic, chubby, Chaz-Bono-lookalike who’d twice been arrested for hitting a woman;   Zimmerman, son of a judge, safe from reprisals; George Zimmerman, who calls black kids “coons” and “assholes,” who was strictly warned not to pursue Trayvon Martin,  refused this direct order over the phone and instead grabbed his 9-millimeter gun and waddled off to blow a hole in the chest of a kid who had committed no wrong.

From the  start, I was edgy about certain elements of the outrage.  Too much emphasis on the presumed childishness and vulnerability of Trayvon Martin, about the Skittles and ski-vacations and his undeniable cuteness.  My own son is only six months younger than Trayvon, and he is of mixed racial background, with a tawny complexion; he always wears a hoodie with the hood up, along with other clothes some would perceive as “ghetto”; he is 6’1” and very well-muscled; and he loves Skittles.  He is also, by objective account, adorable and kind-hearted.  But if some oafish vigilante were to challenge his right to walk down the street, he might well become angry, and he might defend himself with a punch.

Thus today’s biggest, police-leaked “reveleation”: that, gee, perhaps Trayvon Martin was not Mahatma Ghandi with a sweet-tooth.  According to the cops—parroting  Zimmerman’s own account, since of course they did absolutely no forensic work of their own (CSI Sanford would be the worst and shortest program on TV)—Martin punched Zimmerman in the face, breaking his nose…thus, of course, provoking his own murder.

Let’s take this face-punching story at face value, though few of the details ring true (Zimmerman refused medical attention at the scene, which will confuse anyone who’s ever suffered a broken nose).  Though it is not noble or Christian of me to admit it, I hope Trayvon got a few good shots in.  The big irony here is the much-cited “Stand Your Ground Law,” quoted as a defense for Zimmerman’s actions; but if the phrase and the concept have any meaning at all, they would, rather, go to justify Trayvon Martin’s punches!

So let’s assume a scenario where George Zimmerman, with the “fucking coon” still fresh out of his mouth, stomps off to play tough-guy with the “asshole” in the hoodie, and winds up getting punked in a fight he picked but can’t finish.  Any man who lived through public high school knows George Zimmerman, and may well have had occasion to kick his ass.  But, until fairly recently, the George Zimmermans of the world did not carry nine-millimeter guns.

And so hateful, dopey, clumsy George Zimmerman pulled his trump card, his one and only answer to a world that scares and overwhelms him, and shot a hole in Trayvon Martin’s chest.

The other piece of the cop/Zimmerman leak-strategy today was to drop the supposedly Perry Mason revelation that…this supposedly “good” kid, Trayvon Martin…had been suspended from high school…for possessing an empty bag that had once held marijuana!

Yeah…so, America, how do you like your Trayvon Martin nowHe may have smoked weed!

The assumption being, in Sanford, Florida, that possession of an empty bag that once held marijuana is reasonable grounds for murder.

Let us not impose a false and un-necessary innocence on Trayvon Martin in order to pump up our outrage.  Let’s allow Trayvon Martin to be a real young man—my son, your son–with anger as well as innocence, perhaps even with marijuana as well as Skittles.

George Zimmerman did not murder some idealized vision of Innocent Black Childhood, or any other idealized vision.  No, worse—much worse.  He murdered a real 17-year-old.  And now, with the help of the local newspaper and a shyster lawyer, the cops are killing that 17-year-old a second time.

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He can be reached at:


John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?
Norman Pollack
The Election: Does It Matter Who Wins?
Nyla Ali Khan
The Political and Cultural Richness of Kashmiriyat
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“It’s Only a Car!”
October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare