Trayvon Martin debacle provokes youth response

by Caitlin Flood
On Feb. 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, in Sanford, Florida. Martin, who was visiting family, stepped out to buy iced tea and candy from a local convenience store. On his way home, hood pulled over his head, he appeared suspicious enough for Zimmerman to alert authorities. Though the 911 operator instructed him not to, the armed Zimmerman pursued Martin. The events that followed led to Martin’s death, but the specific details remain unclear. However, the Sanford police department’s refusal to charge Zimmerman or to investigate the case thoroughly caused a national controversy to erupt. Debate centered on two points: racial profiling and gun-control laws. On April 11, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and might face federal hate-crime charges. A trial date will be set in August.