Melissa Harris-Perry did a segment over the weekend about the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, a few weeks ago, and it's well worth watching, especially if you want to get up to speed on this story. The controversy surrounding this shooting is starting to garner national attention, and for good reason.
Though the incident is still under investigation, what we know at this point is gut-wrenching enough. Martin, a 17-year-old, African-American high school student with good grades, was visiting relatives in a gated community. A neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, saw Martin walking, followed him, and called 911 to report the teenager acting "suspiciously," adding, "This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something."
The police asked Zimmerman, who apparently had a habit of calling 911 with alarming frequency, to back off. He did not. Though the details remain sketchy, there was apparently some kind of confrontation between the 28-year-old Zimmerman and Martin, leading Zimmerman to shoot and kill the teenager.
Martin was unarmed, carrying nothing more than a bag of candy and an iced tea. No charges have yet been filed against the shooter, though an investigation is still underway, and the matter has been brought to the attention of the FBI. For more details, I found Adam Weinstein's piece on the controversy really helpful, too.
I'd also note Melissa's conclusion: "Despite Zimmerman having injuries consistent with self-defense, he also had a gun," she said. "Trayvon had a bag of Skittles. His name is Trayvon Martin. When innocent children are killed, when their parents are left to wonder if their children's lives matter at all, at least we can remember their names."