Rep. John Lewis Calls Trayvon Martin Murder “Chilling”

The congressman for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District issued the following statement Thursday on the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Mr. Lewis’ statement is perhaps a little quick to judgement on the bigger issues surrounding the tragedy…

“This shooting is a tragedy. It reminds me too much of what happened in the 1930s, 40s and 50s in this country when thousands of people of color were murdered without impunity simply because their lives were thought to be cheap. The death of Trayvon Martin has a chilling effect on black parents and their children, especially their sons.

“They realize that in the 21st century they may still live in a circumstance where the law is no protection, government authorities permit the worst violence, and little is done to enforce justice. Hundreds and thousands of African American boys in Atlanta and other urban cities are killed, just disappear everyday. Of all the violence we hear about on the news, we rarely hear the stories of these boys. It’s as though no one even expects them to survive so their loss is not newsworthy.

“There are forces in America today who want to take us back. They are suppressing voting rights across the country and encouraging legislatures like that in Georgia to expand the right to carry and use violent weapons.This tragedy is a reminder to all those concerned about justice that we cannot be complacent. There is no door that closes, no wall that is built, no line drawn in the sand that prevents us from going back. The only prevention is us.

“We must get informed, know the history, be aware of current attempts to change progressive law. We must advocate and struggle against regression and injustice and march in the streets if necessary to dramatize the need for justice.”


  1. peachstealth says:

    Murder is a specific crime that depends on the killer’s state of mind. I think you’d do well to change the word in your headline to killing or homicide until just what happened is better understood.
    As tragic as this is, I’m sure the congressman knows that most African American boys who meet a violent end, meet it at the hands of other African American boys.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Murder is an unlawful killing of a human being by another human being with malice aforethought. There was pretty much intent to kill by firing the gun, it was clearly unlawful as self defense is an affirmative defense (requires proof) which is hard to make when you shoot someone in the back. I am taking for granted, however, that Zimmerman is a human being.

      • Doug Deal says:

        I later found out that the person who told me he was shot in the back was incorrect, so I take back that part. After doing my own research, it is clear they confused some of the details. So I agree with you peach.

  2. CobbGOPer says:

    “…encouraging legislatures like that in Georgia to expand the right to carry and use violent weapons.”

    I respect you, Mr. Lewis, but citizens having the right to carry a firearm is not what killed this kid. And by the way, if hundreds of thousands of black kids were ‘disappearing’ from Atlanta, I think we would have noticed by now, no? Seeing as how that is Darfur-levels of ‘disappeared’ kids?

    Again, I respect the work you’ve done for civil rights in America. But honestly it’s time to retire, before you start sounding like a senile old kook. Even more than usual.

    • Max Power says:

      if hundreds of thousands of black kids were ‘disappearing’ from Atlanta

      Read carefully, “Hundreds and thousands of African American boys in Atlanta and other urban cities are killed, just disappear everyday. ”

      I think that’s probably an accurate statement.

  3. AMB says:

    The two groups most likely to be armed and ready to shoot? GOP gun clingers and black gang bangers. Both groups don’t see much difference in the need to kill something, anything that gets in their way.

    • elfiii says:

      “The two groups most likely to be armed and ready to shoot?”

      Based on what statistical analysis? I’m guessing if you include legal self defense killings by “GOP gun clingers” you can come up with a statistically significant number. Exclude that data and “GOP gun clingers” look like a bunch of pikers compared to the gang bangers.

  4. PchT says:

    Please… can someone tell me the last time John Lewis made a comment or said anything about anything other than race. Geez the man is a nimrod…… a nice nimrod but he’s just a broken record.

  5. John Konop says:

    This is very tragic death and my hearts goes to the family of Trayvon Martin. And from what I read about this case the local police should be ashamed and dealt with severely within the justice system for how they treated this case. And the family should see the justice system properly deal with a murder case. On a macro, the truth is many us do fear crime and in general this case is not how minorities are treated in America. In fact many minorities and low income people live in fear from their own community. This situation should be used as a way to bring people together to talk about solutions not a way to tear people apart.

    1) Corroboration with police needs to be embraced ending the no snitching campaigns.
    2) We must end the war drugs which only fuels the problem in low income areas ie single family homes, unemployment……………..
    3) We must swiftly deal with unjust situations, but not blow them out of proportion and focus on solutions not politics.
    4) We must have the schools focus on creating job opportunities or 4 year college track for kids instead on the one size fit all approach which has fuelled the drop-out rates.
    5) Communities must take control back of their neighborhoods and focus on ending gangs not harassing people who like different.

    I am sure many of you even have more ideas……………The point is can we not focus on solutions?

    • saltycracker says:

      One piece of the puzzle could be for John Lewis to go to Sanford and talk to anyone that will listen to him that crime is bad regardless of who commits it, about getting their sh*t together, stay in school, get training and become responsible citizens, like him.

    • Cassandra says:

      Very good points.

      Sadly, commonsense and logic are in short supply as most people don’t care about anything that is beyond the edge of their driveway. Compelling thought is being replaced by populist Hollywood ‘reality’ films like “The Hunger Game,” tweets, and youtube-ery.

      The Trayvon Martin case may become to the Obama campaign what the Willie Horton case was to Geo. Bush.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        “The Trayvon Martin case may become to the Obama campaign what the Willie Horton case was to Geo. Bush.”

        I agree that their are definitely certain parties trying to get some political mileage out of this thing in an election year, but it is highly doubtful that the left side of the political spectrum can convert this into an election victory in the same way that Lee Atwater did for Bush 41 back in 1988, especially with very high unemployment (current national unemployment is well over eight percent and no President has been re-elected with a nat’l average that high since FDR was back in the Great Depression-era), climbing gas prices and a very shaky economy.

        The current regime can trot-out and push all of these distractive social issues and angles from here until October, from contraception to the supposed “War on Women” to playing the race card in the Trayvon Martin shooting to their hearts desire, but the simple fact will remain that this election is the GOP’s to lose.

        All of these distractive campaign ploys can very easily be overcome if the Republicans just simply focus on the economy, if they Repubs do that, they WILL win the election going away.

        • Cassandra says:

          I agree, kind of like Bill Clinton, “It’s the economy…”

          But there is more, many cannot accept what the gravity of our economic situation will be in ten years. Social issues are palpable, in the here and now, Santorum is proving that.

          I doubt that any of us can fully appreciate how utterly demoralizing the immediate effect of $5T in budget cuts will be.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            You’re very correct that social issues are still palpable and relevant today to many Americans, but it was Santorum’s remarks about contraception that the left made into an entire campaign issue to scare female voters into thinking that the GOP wants to take away their contraception and birth control.

            The GOP can talk about social issues as being relevant to the nation’s economic success and the overall future success of this nation, but when if the party is perceived as legislating what goes on in people’s bedrooms, in this case womens’ bedroom, they will lose big as they cannot afford to alienate female voters by playing directly into the left’s narratives that the GOP is a male-dominated boys club that hates women.

            The GOP already has a big image problem with Latinos, who have grown into a crucial swing vote in Presidential elections, they absolutely, positively cannot afford to have an image problem with the even more crucial female swing vote because if they do, they will be smoked in November.

            Just ask George W. Bush, who won two very close elections on the strength of receiving 40% of the Latino vote in 2000 and 44% of the Latino vote in 2004. Right now none of the remaining Republican Presidential candidates are polling above 15% with Latinos and that’s a big problem.

            The GOP does not need to wreck their chances with the female swing vote as well by getting led into the high weeds of a debate on contraception and “reproductive rights” (as the left calls it) where they can be easily demonized as a group of stodgy old men and religious fanatics who are obsessed with controlling womens’ vaginas, especially when the economy makes this election a virtual gimme for them.

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                It’ll be more like “Niagara Falls” if the Repubs screw this one up in November, which, unfortunately seems to be a distinct possibility at the current time, despite the bad economic calculus for Obama.

                • Cassandra says:

                  Assumes either Party has the ‘stones’ to turn off the faucet of Federal spending.

                  Right now in WDC, the only certainty is the pervasive blanket of Partisan gridlock which is keeping us from addressing issues of National importance.

  6. saltycracker says:

    Sanford has many neighborhoods, all price ranges, with a lot of crime issues and tensions are high.
    My relatives have talked for years of a very stressed environment that was sure to go off track one day.
    The police have been under pressure to get a grip on the problems.
    This neighborhood had 402 police calls logged in over the previous year.
    The shooter, Zimmerman was a multiracial/Hispanic.
    The shooter was a citizen, not a policeman.
    His background/zealousness creates a debate about his having a gun license or participating in a neighborhood watch program.
    Witnesses were conflicted in statements.
    Some encounter took place & the shooter claimed self-defense.
    The state is looking into the matter.

    It is a mess.

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