THE BLOG
07/16/2013 12:52 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2013

Stand Up for Trayvon Martin's Good Name

Now that George Zimmerman got off for killing Trayvon Martin, the right wing is predictably trying to smear Trayvon's memory to twist the facts and the law -- in hopes, apparently, of hoodwinking the American People into thinking he got what he deserved.

America should not let that stand. The baseless rumors that Trayvon Martin was some sort of dope-crazed thug when he was a kid with a 3.7 GPA and a full college scholarship are just that -- baseless rumors, straight out of the gutter politician's handbook.

In law -- especially in matters of homicide -- someone's associations or character have zero to do with the facts of the case or the guilt of the killer. Under the laws of this country, the life of a prostitute or a homeless person has as much value as the life of a rich man.

The issue is only whether the killer killed the victim, and whether, as in this case, the killing falls within excusable parameters. Since in Florida, Mr. Zimmerman's actions are excusable, he has been exonerated; the only question remaining being whether the law in question is good law or bad law. But whether the victim "deserved" to be killed is not in question; in law, nobody deserves to die, except at the hands of the state.

Since Mr. Zimmerman was and is not an agent of the state, Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die, and Mr. Zimmerman had no right to kill him, except within the parameters of self-defense. And any marginal justification for killing Trayvon Martin evaporates in the face of the facts -- except, again, under the aegis of what may or may not be good law. It can certainly be argued -- Florida law aside -- that Mr. Zimmerman provoked the attack that prompted him to use deadly force against an unarmed teenager who bested him in a fistfight.

Naturally, none of this is stopping the right wing's mouthpieces from using emotional phrases or said baseless rumors in an attempt to twist the facts of this case into a phony, hysterical picture of what, whatever the law in Florida may be, was the killing of a 17-year-old kid by an adult who liked to play cop. Such an attempt can have no good influence on events and can only complicate any efforts to resolve this nation's problems.

I hate to imagine why anyone would want to exert such an influence; maybe it's the last desperate attempt of a clutch of politicians used to operating in the gutter who know they've lost and want to take everything down, hoping to pick up some of the pieces when it's all over.

But we don't have to let them; and a good way to do that is to give them the lie on this subject at every opportunity, instead of being polite about it.

Naturally, they'll claim they're being attacked. Let them; everyone knows what they're made of.