Rest in Power

R.I.P. Rest in Power. Rest in Power is a modern, secular (non-religious), eulogy alternative to the phrase “Rest in Peace” (Latin: requiescat in pace), aka R.I.P., which historically is a prayerful request that the person’s soul should find peace in the afterlife.

It is also the name of the book written by Trayvon Martin’s parents called Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.

trayvon-martin-in-hoodie-298x300 Trayvon Martin in his favourite grey hoodie.

On the evening of 26 February 2012, Trayvon Martin was on his way home from a 7/11 convenience store with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. It was raining, he had his hoodie on, and he was listening to music and talking on the phone as he returned to the house where he was staying with his father and his father’s girlfriend. (Fulton and Martin divorced when their children were young but continued to bring up their boys together.) He was followed, shot and killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman. The details of the case, now infamous five years on, remain deeply shocking. The fact that Zimmerman followed Trayvon against the advice of the police. That he was recorded on tape saying, “Fucking punks. These assholes always get away”, yet claimed he acted in self-defence, invoking the stand-your-ground law that is currently enacted in 22 states. The stand-your-ground law means if you reasonably believe that you face imminent death, serious bodily injury, rape, kidnapping, or (in most states) robbery, you can use deadly force against the assailant, even if you have a perfectly safe avenue of retreat. In non-stand-your-ground states, when you face such threats outside your home (and, in some states, your business), you can only use deadly force against the assailant if you lack a perfectly safe avenue of retreat.

The case is also shocking because Trayvon’s body was immediately subjected to a drug and alcohol test, but Zimmerman was not. And the fact that it took 44 days for an arrest to take place and then only as a result of a national media campaign. And the fact that during the trial the prosecution was ordered to refrain from using the term “racial profiling”. And the fact that, in July 2013, Zimmerman was found (by a jury of six women, five of whom were white) not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter. All of it shocking.

About the book his parents said their grief meant it took five years to write and they never imagined they’d finally get there.



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