My city of Sanford  is on the world stage for now and not in a positive light. Trayvon Martin got a bullet wound to the chest on February 26th by a ‘so called’ security guard who didn’t want to obey the law.
The condos where the crime occurred are only about a mile from my house.  He was visiting his father and watching basketball when he decided  to venture to the nearby 7/11 for some candy and a drink and never came back -you have to know this story by now, it’s everywhere.  I have added a link as there are things I wrote and even cited with links that were not as how the press portrayed it factually – many of my “facts” were media filler but not quite factual, example, the 3 days of not knowing about where Trayvon was are factually incorrect. So please go back and read this red link first to get corrected facts.      http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-27/news/os-trayvon-martin-question-answer-20120327_1_medical-examiner-releases-bodies-police-force
What happened? There’s been only one side at this point and it might be a bit tainted since the Sanford Police interviewed Zimmerman after the shooting and let him go, didn’t hold him, no arrest,  let it go thinking it was an easy fix. They  didn’t investigate Zimmerman’s background, they didn’t drug test Zimmerman. They let Zimmerman go away quietly because of our “Stand Your Ground” law which gives you license in Florida to act paranoid and shoot someone and call it self defense even if you screw up. http://www.examiner.com/unsolved-cases-in-national/trayvon-martin-morgue-3-days-as-john-doe-after-mom-reported-him-missing

There were officers in the Sanford police dept. who have screwed up. They did this not long ago when they let the son of one of their own police beat a defenseless homeless man silly on a video tape and let the kid off because of his father’s position. Thank goodness their was an uproar  that made the police chief retire “early” and the video was used against this criminal son.
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/cops-son-accused-of-beating-man-walks-out-of-jail/nKJgK/
Police chief Lee on the Trayvon case has stepped down with pay. The state prosecutor has asked for FDLE to take over and they are finally investigating. A young man died when someone decided to play cop. The cops were thinking they could chalk it up to self-defense and leave it at that. Who let Zimmerman walk away because he had a bleeding head and nose and a law  he knew well enough to recite to blanket his own crime?
Where was the gun as Zimmerman approached Martin? Was it drawn? What are the records stating?  Investigate the ballistics – investigate the laws about him having a weapon on him. How did Zimmerman have the ability to carry a gun when public records show Zimmerman was arrested in Orange County in 2005 on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer – how does someone like that get to carry a weapon? What about witness tampering from Sanford police? Investigate!
I would think the adrenaline was throbbing in the last few minutes of a scuffle where two lives clashed and were  destined to change many facets of their lives, their families and of Sanford forever. Did Zimmerman think having a gun would give him a macho advantage if he pulled it on someone he thought was,  “getting away with something”?  Did Trayvon see a gun drawn and scuffled to save his own life, you bet you would too! Your survival skills would kick in to live, you’d be fighting to grab that gun away and save your own life! I’m sure Zimmerman totally panicked and fired when he got more of a fight then he bargained for.  I agonize for these parents! I agonize with Zimmerman’s parents too, all are scarred for life, scars you don’t recover from, these are opportunities for change and that’s all one can do, hope that something positive can come from horrendous pain.
The Sanford police force needs investigation.  Being a small town can kind of make you feel like you are only accountable to yourself. And being a town that does have a lot of criminal activity, it can also harden you to the facts and who is right and who was wrong and to rationalize. Do I think Sanford is the only small city to do this, no and this time it didn’t work in their favor.
The TV and internet are full of scenes with people united asking for justice, full of discussion on Facebook and talk radio. The media comes here like cockroaches exposed to light, they scatter everywhere.
Here it comes the good and bad. One cruel example of bad and wanting to be a race baiter,  Fox’s Michele Malkin promoted a photo on her site of a “stereotypical thug, gangsta black teen giving the finger” who she claimed was Trayvon and then had to apologize later when she found out it wasn’t – now come the New Black Panthers acting like mercenaries to instigate hatred, go home – and those who use Trayvon’s school suspensions to justify a killing are nuts — we don’t need race baiting and hatred spreading here!
It’s good to see media used to make people aware of wrongs in society, we need these wake up calls and  a fair investigation has to be the goal, a grand jury would be good. This spotlight on us is what brings about change. But sometimes I feel like we are being manipulated and exploited in a way for TV ratings. I see the news units with their vans and satellites and microphones and anchors in feeding frenzy waiting for their time  and “air of importance”.  The Rev. Al  Sharpton and Jesse Jackson bringing their names and notoriety and money buckets. If anyone can bring the media’s attention, both have a long history of doing that. They are making sure  this case does not go away –that should be the focus! The media will keep this in the limelight until they find their next ’cause celebre’. But even when it dies down, we must know the answers.
My city is hurt, our hearts are heavy, thank you world for sharing our grief and being supportive, I didn’t want this for a city where I walk the beat often, where so many of my photos are focused upon. This is my backyard, it’s Ft. Mellon where the rally was last week, a place right across the narrow street from the water where I take pictures. It’s a place I love to run to early in the morning if the clouds are angled just right before the ripening sun and I feel the urge of the beautiful sunrise to photograph.
It is the place of quiet boats and clanking masts,  of waves smacking at the steep sea walls or stillness on the water like a silent prayer mirroring the blue sky above. this is  where the fisherman and woman make it seem so easy,  life at leisure obeying that urge to fish and socialize while letting the Florida sun penetrate your head until the deep thoughts bake out. It’s where I hear the gulls and grackles scream and challenge each other, while gators lounge and children point in excitement.  Sanford is where I witness the daily antediluvian renewal of sun and moon exchanging positions, a place to read the faces on tourists, joggers, people in love, people in trouble, the homeless asleep by trees or on park benches, while the people owning yachts come and go in the same space, you see it all , the hard and soft of life’s edges.
I want it back to quiet and calm, I want the noise to tamp down so I can hear the facts – I want justice carried through. I want to know my police dept does the right thing on EACH case they handle and not casually dismiss something because of type-casting or nepotism. These are the people we pay a salary to protect us and our community, we want to give them our full respect, we want to look at that shiny badge and not think of a blotched few who tarnish the department, especially the chief. Take off the bandage and let that wound air. Give us hope that the scars left behind are not too deep to heal.

Pictures are from the makeshift memorial at the back entrance of the Twin Lakes condo.
A sign in front of Ft. Mellon that is actually a a flat expanse of flat grass  and not a fort.
Left over from the rally – port-o-potties. The 7/11 where Trayvon bought his skittles and tea.

Make enough noise to bring attention to the changes needed in Sanford and once under the microscope and after exposing the flaws, maybe we can find the means to bring peace back…

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