Haley Barbour joins Meet the Press panel on Trayvon Martin

(WMC-TV) - Sunday, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke out about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenager.

Barbour was part of a Meet the Press panel Sunday morning on NBC.

"When a teenage kid gets killed, it's terrible," said Barbour.

Barbour and other panelists discussed Martin and the controversy surrounding the 17-year-old being shot and killed by Florida neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

"If there needs to be a prosecution, have a rigorous prosecution, but let's don't jump to conclusions of things we don't know," said Barbour.

Also on the panel was Michelle Morris of NPR, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP.

"George Zimmerman needs to be locked up and no matter how we feel about these laws," said Jealous.

Florida's Stand Your Ground law was one topic of the debate.  Panelists also discussed if race has become part of the debate following Martin's death.

"Race is certainly a part of the reaction to this, and what you see is a case that touched many people in a deep way," said Morris.  "A lot of people look at a picture of this kid and see the humanity, see a kid who maybe looks like one of their kids."

Goodwin drew parallels to the 1955 Emmett Till case in Mississippi.

"That picture, the innocent looking of those pictures, may make Trayvon Martin this generation's Emmett Till, because Emmett Till was a young child, 14 years old, who was lynched by a group of white men in Mississippi for having whistled at a white girl," said Goodwin.

One thing Barbour said was different in the Trayvon Martin case is the way the Sanford, Florida mayor and others have invited federal officials to investigate what happened.

"That's what leaders are supposed to do, even when it's not popular at home to say, guys, it's in our interest, it's the right thing for the city, the state," said Barbour.  "Let's bring the FBI in here, let's bring the Florida State Police in here, let's do whatever it takes to get the card upright on the table, face up, and then we can figure out what to do."

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