Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arrest brings us closer to truth, maybe justice in Trayvon Martin case

The wailing is stark. Frantic. Heartbreaking.

It began outside on a lawn, and its plea was loud enough to carry inside the walls of a nearby home. It traveled through the background of a 911 call, and quickly spread across the consciousness of an entire nation.

It eventually ended with the sharp sound of a gunshot.

Forty-six days of outrage later, that cry for mercy has finally been answered.

Maybe you are convinced that the pitiful wail was Trayvon Martin begging for his life. Perhaps you are certain it was George Zimmerman desperately calling for help.

Either way, a special prosecutor's decision to charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder on Wednesday should bring us closer to the truth in a case that has been long on conjecture and woefully short on answers.

This feels right. It seems appropriate. No matter what a jury may eventually decide, the idea of an armed man stalking a 17-year-old who was talking to a girl on the phone while walking home from the store deserved closer scrutiny.

So, yes, there will be those who talk today of justice.

Even if what they seek is vengeance.

And there will be others who complain of a lynch mob mentality.

Even if their concerns are more partisan.

That is how this case has unfolded ever since the glare first shined upon the nondescript town of Sanford just miles from Florida's make-believe world of theme parks.

It began with a family's search for answers, and spiraled into a political cause. There were protests and accusations. There were assumptions and leaks.

It went from a neighborhood patrol captain on a residential street to pointed questions in the mayor's office. It eventually traveled to the governor's mansion and soon reached the attention of the president of the United States.

Along the way, the apparent loopholes of a controversial law were picked apart. The credibility of a police department was questioned. The reality of racial profiling was raised and debated in both public and private ways.

And perhaps it is true that, years from now, we may look back on this moment and decide that something worthwhile emerged from the anger and the angst.

But for now it still feels like a senseless, and unnecessary, tragedy. And the scheming and preening of secondary characters makes it seem even worse.

Hopefully, the decision to charge Zimmerman will help with that. Even if you believe in his innocence, the promise of evidence, witnesses and clarification should be a welcome respite from the finger-pointing and speculation.

And maybe the story's true loss will finally be felt.

For no matter what happened in that two-minute confrontation on a rainy Sunday evening, we can only be certain that one young man's dreams were cut short, and another's may have been forever ruined.

This was the only life Trayvon Martin had, and it will always mean more to his loved ones than whatever gains are realized in the re-examination of laws and stereotypes.

It's easy to say that we are a little bit closer to justice this morning.

But for a 17-year-old in a casket, there is no such thing.

John Romano can be reached at

Arrest brings us closer to truth, maybe justice in Trayvon Martin case 04/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'


    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'


    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida


    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.

  5. Sunday Conversation: Roberto Torres talks immigration

    Human Interest


    Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, …

    Roberto Torres receives his American Dream award from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Aug. 15.