BILLINGSGATE POST - It could have been Tostitos, it might have been Sour Patch Kids or Fruit Loops; but it wasn't. When Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman, he happened to be stuffing his pie-hole with Skittles. While Reverend Al Sharpton decribed the victim's only crime as BWIWCWAHES (Black Walking In White Community Wearing A Hoodie Eating Skittles), more racially balanced commentors, like President Obama, said that Trayvon was shot because Zimmerman thought that he looked like the President's son.
Although the "Skittle Defense" is a quaint legal defense not recognized by jurisprudence, it is not without precedent. In 1979 the "Twinkie Defense" was successfully used by defendant Dan White for the murders of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone. White's defense was that he suffered diminished capacity as a result of his depression. His change in diet from healthy food to Twinkies was said to be a symptom of depression. As improbable as it was, this tactic worked. White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of first degree murder.
The fact that White killed Moscone and Milk was not challenged. The defense sucessfully convinced the jury that White's capacity for rational thought had been diminished by eating Twinkies; the jurors found White incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction, and instead convicted him of voluntary manslaughter.
Zimmerman, who friends and neighbors claim harbors no racial hate feelings, insists he was merely attempting to save Martin from future depression when he saw him chugging Skittles down his pie-hole that evening. Although the "Skittle Defense" is a reverse Quasimodo tactic, being that Trayvon Martin, not Zimmerman was the one eating the Skittles, it shows that Zimmerman is not without compassion for attempting to save the young black man from a life of suicidal depression.
Skittles is not the first popular food brand to find itself at the center of a major food controversy. Besides Twinkies, "don't drink the Kool-Aid" became part of the vernacular decades ago in the wake of the 1978 mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
Despite being ensnared in the Martin case, Skittles may ultimately benefit from the tragedy says a marketing expert. The many people who see Martin as an innocent victim might buy the candy in solidarity or an act of protest, he says.
Skittles have always symbolized youth and innocence. They are so brightly colored and almost pure sugar. You can see why Zimmerman's attorneys would invoke the "Skittle Defense" in their client's behalf.