By NICK CHILES
The news that Trayvon Martin had traces of marijuana in his system will add ammunition to those who want to believe he was a thug who deserved to die, but for the rest of the world the revelation should mean just one thing: Trayvon was a typical American teenager.
A recent report by The Partnership at Drugfree.org revealed that 47 percent of the teenagers in the United States have used marijuana in their lifetimes, while 39 percent have used it in the past year. So that means at any given moment, about half the teens in the United States could have marijuana in their systems. Let me repeat that so it’s very clear: HALF of the teens in the country have used marijuana. That translates to 8 million of our children between age 13 and 19.
Unless you believe every teen who has smoked marijuana—and the odds are there may even be one in your household—deserves to be shot down on the street, the trace elements in Trayvon’s system are about as relevant as what Trayvon ate for breakfast. Though it is a time-honored American legal tradition to blame the victim when a crime is committed, we should not let the blood results from Trayvon distract us from the question of Zimmerman’s guilt. If the man had done what he was supposed to do—stay in the car and continue to “watch” his neighborhood—Trayvon would still be walking the streets.
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