Two murders in the span of one month? Unbelievable. But that’s what transpired in feburary of 2011 when both Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham were shot and killed. Both of the cases were radically different, but each ended the same: With the unjust murder of a teenage African American.
Ramarley Graham Lived in NYC, more specifically: the Bronx. The NYPD has been cracking down on the use and trafficking of illegal drugs for some time now, and targeted Ramarley as a possible drug user. Two plainclothes officers approached him and he ran, going three blocks to his grandmother’s house. Cops swarmed the surrounding area, and burst through the door without a warrant. Because of the sheer amount of cops it was highly unlikely he would have escaped, so it s safe to assume cops knew they had time to wait for a warrant. Instead, they chased him into his grandmother’s bathroom, rushed in and shot him. The cops crossed the line well before taking the shot, but that single action makes this case that much more stomach turning. The NYPD has retracted statements and contradicted itself throughout the month, but the bottom line is that the firing officer broke the law and should be held accountable.
As bad as that is, a situation that might be even more unsettling is the murder of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon lived in Florida, and lived a normal teenage lifestyle. He stayed in a gated community and abided by the law. What he didn’t do was suspect that his neighborhood watch officer was dangerous. As Trayvon walked home from the store one night he realized he was being followed by a stranger. He put on his hood and called his girlfriend. He tried to loose his pursuer but was unsuccessful. After trying to run he was cornered by the man. Trayvon’s girlfriend listened helplessly as there was a scuffle, and then the phone hung up. She tried to call back but there was no answer. Minutes later Trayvon’s attacker opened fire and killed him point blank. The man, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested as he has claimed he acted in self defense. Recently, it has been released that although Zimmerman has not been arrested so far the case is going to a grand jury.
What does this mean for us? It’s simple really. People may try to justify their descision to break the law, and sometimes that is justifiable. Killing/MURDER is never justifiable when you are a NYPD officer cornering an unarmed kid in a bathroom, or when you are pursuing and attacking a defenseless kid going home. In America, we have one way to make sure we are truly protected, and that is to let justice have the final say in everything. A man’s job, financial standing, race or connections should NEVER give him an excuse to murder. And if Trayvon and Ramarley are to get the justice they deserve, these men need to be put away. Doing the right thing in the present is the only way to ensure a safe and equal future.