What Really Killed Trayvon Martin

On the face of it and by his own admission, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claimed he did so out of self-defense. Legions of professional pundits, armchair analysts, community organizers, gun control advocates and opportunistic politicians have rejected Zimmerman’s explanation. They maintain that the “real” cause lies elsewhere: an inherently dangerous mixture of latent racism and lax gun laws. But the actual culprit in this case is far more subtle. The killer is . . .

Sugar. That’s right, sucrose.

Trayvon didn’t venture out of an apartment in Sanford, Florida, at night, in the rain, to go in search of a comic book or the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. He went to the local 7-11 and bought a package of Skittles and a bottle of Arizona Iced Tea.

A small bag of Skittles packs a 45 gram sugar punch. A bottle of Arizona Iced Tea contains 24 grams of sugar. That’s 69 grams of sugar; the equivalent of over 20 teaspoons of the sweet stuff.

“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day,” dailysugarintake.net reports. “A teenager who follows a healthy diet can take about 18 teaspoons of added sugars, according to USDA.”

The average sugar intake of teenager is about 34 teaspoons of sugar per day. Again, Martin was carrying 69 grams at the time of his death.

How much sugar did Trayvon have in his bloodstream at the time of his death (i.e. what was his blood sugar level)? I don’t think his autopsy report will reveal this fact. And yet it may be crucial to a full understanding of the shooting.

Zimmerman says that Martin instigated the confrontation that lead to his death. Zimmerman claims (through his lawyer and father) that Martin confronted and punched him without provocation. There is a direct link between sugar consumption and violent behavior. If you’ve ever given a kid a Hershey bar before bedtime, you’ve seen the frightening results.

Stephen J. Schoenthaler, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the Stanislaus campus of California State University, had a hunch there was a link between three alarming statistical curves: the number of incidences of useless violence, the increased consumption of fast foods, and the increased consumption of processed sugars. He convinced a large-scale prison facility in Virginia to help him conduct a study with inmates. Initially the prisoners were fed a typical American diet that included white bread, hamburgers, sausages, fried potatoes, cookies, sweet snacks, and soft drinks. After a few days they were switched to a whole food diet that included plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole meal bread, as well as fish and lean meats.

The results were remarkable. Once they moved on to healthy foods, behavior problems, such as violence and verbal abusiveness, immediately decreased. When they were switched back to the soft drinks and fatty foods, behavior problems returned.

Now it could be the Martin was suffering from a lack of sugar. That the Florida teen was going through sugar withdrawal. In which case he would have been on a sugar low. Low blood sugar has a negative effect on higher brain function.

(Hypoglycemia) can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose to thebrain, resulting in impairment of function (neuroglycopenia). Effects can range from mild dysphoria to more serious issues such as seizures, unconsciousness, and (rarely) permanent brain damage or death.

That’s right, dysphoria means depression and discontent. Just the kind of state of mind that might have contributed to a confrontation.

It sounds bizarre, but Zimmerman’s attorneys could choose to deploy a reverse version of the infamous Twinkie defense. They could blame the altercation and eventual shooting on Trayvon’s sugar-laden diet and the effects it had on his behavior. Especially if they can prove that A) Martin ate a sugar-laden junk food diet and B) Martin had history of “unprovoked” verbal or physical violence and/or ongoing discipline problems.

If the sugar issue rears its ugly head (as it has here), Martin’s dietary deficiencies (should they exist) could have larger implications on the the issue of violence in society in general. And attempts to limit same.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, has used his bully pulpit—and legal powers—to tell New Yorkers what they should and shouldn’t put in in their bodies. He’s cracked down on regulations regarding salt, saturated fats and, of course, cigarette smoke.

In any case, George Zimmerman seems likely to end-up in court. If so, he will have to prove there was a reason why Martin attacked him for no apparent reason. Someone should remind Zimmerman’s lawyers that you are what you eat.

32 Responses to What Really Killed Trayvon Martin

  1. avatarMotoJB says:

    Twinkie Defense? Oh come on…

  2. avatarLongtime Lurker says:

    Ditto.

  3. avatarCliff says:

    If you think government is going to go after Big SugarBeet you are nuts. *
    *The feds effectively tax sugar CANE imports out of the market.

    As a note, your hypothesis is actually pretty accurate, even though as a small ‘l’ libertarian, I am not exactly ecstatic at the gov. micro-managing folks’s diets.

  4. avatarMatt in FL says:

    Yeah, with this post, the shark has officially been jumped on this subject on this site. I can see the theoretical humor in it, but sadly, it’s not actually funny.

    When there’s more actual information, feel free to bring that out, but leave this kind of stuff to Cracked and Gawker. Let’s get back to guns.

    Applications for Concealed Gun Permits Spike in Florida
    Excerpt of note: “In Florida, the concealed weapon law is so popular that the trust fund the permit fee supports has a surplus and the 2012 legislature cut the fee from $85 to $70.”

    • avatarAharon says:

      I agree with Matt. The post can be called satire or dark humor yet in the greater sense it isn’t right. Diet does affect people tremendously both in the short and long term physically, emotionally, and mentally.

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        Heh. I see what you did there.

        I phrased it badly. I didn’t mean it’s not funny in the “How can you joke about something like this? {gasp}” way, I meant it in the “I get it, it’s just not funny” way.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Grrr. Why do they keep repeating that factual error? Washington had non-discretionary permitting concealed carry a generation before Florida, in 1961.

  5. avatarLt Dave says:

    This may not be the “cause” of the shooting , but here are the facts that the inflammation media will not tell you.

    The Sanford City website.

    [Note to commentator: TTAG has already posted the statement in full.]

  6. avatartdiinva says:

    I will write an on topic/off thread post here.

    It is clear to me that, as the contrived race baiter case against George Zimmerman has collapsed under the weight of evidence, justice will not be done in this case. (That’s a really awkward sentence!) All the Revs Jackson and Sharpton have done is to turn Zimmerman into a martyr of sorts — a victim of a lynch mob.

    I stand by my original assertion that Zimmerman will not be indicted because all elected prosecutors operate under the prime Chicago political rule — “Don’t make no waves, don’t back no losers.” To push an unwinable case to trial will that will create a tsunami of ill will after Zimmerman is acquitted is a political death sentence for those who went forward. The general public is losing interest in the case and and outside of the African-American community the tide of public opinion is that Zimmerman may be a fool but he ultimately acted in self-defense. There are only votes to lose here and nothing to gain.

    • avatarkarlb says:

      There is a reason there are “race baiters.” There has been a real difference in how African Americans were treated in the US. Perhaps to whites, it is time to get over it, but remember that the term lynch mob is a metaphor as you used it. To many African Americans, this no allusion.

      • avatar1freeman1951 says:

        In Americas history, far more non-blacks were lynched than blacks (nearly 3:1). The fact of the matter is, due to the nearly instantaneous news coverage of the civil rights movement, the lynchings of blacks during that period have had a larger impact on our collective memory. In other words, blacks do not own the exclusive right of being offended by lynchings.

        • avatarkarlb says:

          I am not sure where you heard this. From Digital History: “The Census Bureau estimates that 4,742 lynchings took place between 1882 and 1968 . . . . That means that between 1880 and 1930, a black Southerner died at the hands of a white mob more than twice a week. Most of the victims of lynching were African American males. However . . . . Mobs lynched 447 non-blacks in the West, 181 non-African Americas in the Midwest, and 291 in the South. The hangings of white victims rarely included mutilation.” While I have seen sources that put the number of non-black lynchings higher, many of these lynchings were of Hispanics, Chinese, and Other minorities. Even those numbers, though, we’re still far smaller–around 1,400–than the number of blacks lynched.

  7. avatarIdahoPete says:

    This is so tragic, but true. Guns don’t kill people, sugar kills people. Mayor Mikey, are you listening?

    • avatarDarren says:

      Oh, Bloomberg is on that like Donkey Kong, although the expected crime-lowering effect of eliminating trans fats, and now anything home-cooked from the diet of the homeless in shelters, have yet to appear. Before long he’ll be advocating a one-Snickers-a-month purchasing limit in neighboring states and you’ll have to fill out a 4473C (Candy) for every snack.

      I have a Mom. I don’t need six million government workers that I have to pay for to be my Mom.

  8. avatarJosh says:

    Oh Jesus… the Snark has metastasized.
    I see where you are trying to go with the satire/humor, but its just not working.

  9. avatarQajaqon says:

    Wow…. the train has jumped the tracks…….CRASH!

    A bullet killed Treyvon. From Zimmerman’s handgun. Held in Zimmerman’s hand(s). Possibly with Treyvon’ hand(s) over the slide.

    Both played into this outcome. NO PERSON/THING/IDEA Other than the Treyvon and Zimmerman.

    HSB

  10. avatarCharlie says:

    Does anyone else have Trayvon fatigue?

    • avatarTom says:

      Getting there. The media stupidity surrounding the case is the only entertaining thing about it.

    • avatarNCG says:

      Funny how this trial will be the “Trayvon Martin” trial, just like the “Rodney King” trial – 10 points if you can remember the names of the people who were actually on trial in the Rodney King case.

  11. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I have the answer to the nutrition problem affecting the sugar rich American diet. Soylent green.

  12. avatarMark says:

    I want the 60 seconds of my life I wasted reading this back.

  13. avatarAlaskan Nutkase says:

    ok… this is rediculous… In modern times 14 is the new 18 and 17 is the new 21. Kids are becoming mature alot quicker… This article is talking about sugar like its Meth or some other drug. So the next time somebody commits a murder or rapes a little kid they can blame it on a sugar OD. So what are we going to do, make sugar a segragated drug and start prosecuting people with too much sugar? I am willing to put money on the fact that if this kid had overpowered this SECURITY guard and got his gun from him, he would have killed him in the blink of an eye and we would have never heard about this story…

  14. avatarMides says:

    Again APRIL FOOLS DAY was 6 days ago Zimmerman. You are either joking or you are completely gone!

  15. avatarJosh says:

    Alright, now I’m pretty shocked, not at the article, but at the number of commenters who didn’t pick up on the sarcasm/satire.

  16. avatarNCG says:

    I will choose to take this comment at face value and say that kids eat way, way too much sugar – and not just sugar, but high fructose corn syrup, which is to honey as crack is to coffee. Few convenience store foods have actual cane, or even beet sugar in them. Diabetes is a massive growth industry. Sugar does affect behavior and judgement, as well. There are studies that say otherwise, but I’ll stick with the 97% of parents who agree.

    Halloween, Christmas, and Easter notwithstanding, I don’t generally let my kids eat candy (as they get older, I have less control, so hopefully I’ve taught them good judgement). A cane sugar soda is a once-a-week treat, at most. I don’t force them to eat their vegetables, they like them, because when you crave sugar, you should have a salad.

    Am I suggesting that high fructose corn syrup be banned or regulated? No. But can we at least agree to stop massively subsidizing this poison with our tax dollars?

    You may now return to your narative of Saint Zimmerman slaying the Demon Trayvon. Or whatever your choice of narrative is.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Actually, I’m getting tired of this narrative generally. We’ve pretty much burned out all the speculation anyone could possibly muster.

  17. avatarTom says:

    For more media circus effect: Coke ( under threat of boycott ) has decided to pull financial support for groups that back SYG laws. I have yet to figure out how SYG really applies into the Martin case.

  18. avatarScott says:

    Everyone who says this article was “too much” is a moron. This is SATIRE. I can’t believe how many people didn’t get this. I’m now concerned about the mental level of some of TTAG’s readership. For everyone who didn’t pick up on the genre of this article, go eat a Twinkie.

  19. avatarScott D. says:

    Where are you, you spongy, yellow, delicious bastards?

    I love the satire of this post. I’m just concerned that Mayor Mike will get ahold of it and ban all food with sugar in the same way he is going after soft drinks.

    Plus, the oversaturation of the media converage concerning this case is making me sick to my stomach as well.

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