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April 24, 2012

Martin – Zimmerman: Are You My Mother?

George Zimmerman out on bond
Trayvon Martin parents Benjamin Crump Vucci


In the two weeks since Evan Vucci’s powerful photos of Trayvon Martin’s family and entourage were published, they keep growing stronger. Vucci captured the family watching a broadcast of the special prosecutor in Florida announcing charges against George Zimmerman.

On a practical level, it might make perfect sense that Zimmerman’s wife and family — citing safety concerns — remain nowhere to be seen.Still, the presence or absence of relations in these photos (the Vucci photos a matrix of family, counselors, community leaders, ministers) makes it difficult, if on a purely visceral level, not to draw inferences (however accurate or inaccurate) about the character of George and Trayvon, and where they came from.

This discrepancy particularly hit home on Friday at Zimmerman’s bond hearing where the Martin family and the extended team was present to face Zimmerman, and vice-versa, while Zimmerman’s mother, father and wife (I’m not even sure how many people know he’s married) ended up testifying by telephone.

As you watch this story unfold, doing so as prominently as it is, in pictures, I’d like you to look at, and think about just how much the presentation of Martin’s “extended” family alongside images of Zimmerman, or a meager team Zimmerman, drive home the difference.

George Zimmerman out on bond

The photos of Zimmerman released from jail on bond on Sunday reflect that emotional emptiness. Whereas there’d be every reason in the world for Zimmerman to walk out of that prison with a father, his wife, his brother or simply a friend near his side, instead we got this odd, all-too-domestic photo (oh, that orange canvas bag!) of a beefy bail bondsman helping carry George’s things like the all-too-wrong mother hen.

(photo: Evan Vucci/AFP/Pool caption 1: The parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton (R) and Tracy Martin (C), talk to family lawyer Benjamin Crump, left, and Rev. Al Sharpton as they watch a news conference with special prosecutor Angela Corey (L) announcing charges against George Zimmerman on April 11, 2012, in Washington.caption 2: The parents of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin (2L), and Sybrina Fulton (2R) watch a news conference from Washington, with special prosecutor Angela Corey announcing charges against George Zimmerman on April 11, 2012. Front left are Benjamin Crump and Trayvon Martin’s brother Jahvaris Fulton on right, and in the back row are W. Franklyn Richardson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jamal 3: Brian Blanco/AP caption: George Zimmerman, left, walks out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility with a bondsman on Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman posted bail on a $150,000 bond on a second degree murder charge in the February shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin In Sanford, Fla.)

  • grammy97

    Thank you, Michael Shaw:  it’s refreshing to see this photo, and to read some text that isn’t trying to slander a dead teenager.

    Those slanders will increase now.   Zimerman’s “defense” is that Trayvon hit first.   There is no way to prove that; so the defense will have to create a false image of Trayvon.   They’ve already begun:  wherever comments are allowed, there is a mighty spew of accusations.   People who weren’t there are very busy making vicious comments against a young person who has already suffered the ultimate slander.   Matthew 12:36

  • bks

    Not to diminish the tragedy for the Martin family,  I have to say that every day that the Zimmerman case is the main story is a good day.   It harkens back to the halcyon days of the pre-9/11 Chandra Levy case.   People just cannot remember what a terrible psychodrama was playing out in this country in 2008.


  • Catherine McCallum

    Could this be part of a picture the defense is painting of Zimmerman as victim, the deserted child inhabiting a cold and empty place? Maybe it’s real and maybe we should, morally, cut him some slack. Traditionally, though, once the neglected or abused child reaches adulthood all bets are off. The prisons are full of people who were failed by their families and their communities.

    And the upshot of this is that justice – real justice – is so much harder than the eye-for-an-eye mentality which prevails in our secret hearts.

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