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Monday, April 2, 2012

TRAYVON MARTIN was not an angel

TRAYVON MARTIN was not an angel
By now everyone knows the story.  February 26, a 17 year old black teen was coming back from a store to his fathers home.  He was carrying a bag of skittles and a soda.  The young man was cutting through yards, wearing a hoodie style sweatshirt, the preferred apparel of hoodlums.  He was unarmed.

George Zimmerman, a white man (half Hispanic) was on neighborhood watch.  There had been break-ins in the area and Zimmerman was looking for suspicious people.

Trayvon appeared to be suspicious.  A black teen in a predominantly white neighborhood cutting through yards in a jacket designed to cover his identity is suspicious.  Zimmerman rightly called into 911 to report a suspicious person.  He was told not to follow the stranger, the police would come; the police would handle it.

Zimmerman followed Trayvon.  At some point there was a confrontation.  Trayvon was shot and killed.  Zimmerman was questioned, released, and remains free based on a Florida law which allows deadly force if someone’s life is in danger.

Groups around the country are demanding Zimmerman’s arrest.  The shooting of a young black teen by a white man seems to be clearly racist and people are demanding justice.

Trayvon was no angel.  He was out of school, suspended for possession of traces of marijuana. Schools do not check angels for traces of marijuana.  He also had a history of fighting and clearly was not the kind of kid to back down from a confrontation.

Trayvon was no angel.  Trayvon should be alive today to perhaps grow up into a productive citizen.  Lots of seventeen year olds are not angels.  Most of them grow up and become productive citizens.  Many of our brave military men today were no angels at seventeen.  Many of our police and firefighters were not angels at seventeen.  It is part of the personality trait of heroes.  Many start out as tough kids with a chip on their shoulders.  They ought not to be shot at seventeen.

I don’t think George Zimmerman is a racist.  I think he is a wannabe hero who also has a chip on his shoulder.  Why did he continue to follow Trayvon?  Why did he carry a gun?  Approaching a potential criminal takes training.  Police know how to stop and question someone without causing a confrontation.  Zimmerman obviously did not.

Apparently Zimmerman and Trayvon got into an altercation of some sort.  Was Trayvon concerned that Zimmerman was a threat to him: a white guy calling out "hey you?"  Probably.  By what authority did Zimmerman have to follow Trayvon?  None.

If the police had been allowed to do their job, they would have stopped Trayvon in a non-threatening way; they would have asked a few questions and maybe escorted him to his father's house to confirm his story.  They would have ended the incident with “Sorry to have bothered you; you have a nice day now.” 

Trayvon and his father would have thought the stop an example of racism and to an extent would probably be correct, but Trayvon would be alive to grow perhaps into a troubled adult, more probably into a productive citizen.

This whole incident is a tragedy.  It is a tragedy for Mr. Zimmerman.  I am sure he wishes he could have that day back.   Whether he is ultimately arrested or not, his life is and will remain a mess.  I don’t think he is a bad or evil man; I think he is a stupid man with a hero complex. 

Should Mr. Zimmerman be arrested and be charged with a crime.  I don’t know.  All the facts are not in.  With all the publicity I am sure that his actions will not be whitewashed. 

Regardless of the outcome for Mr. Zimmerman, I hope this tragedy will help assure that police actions are taken by trained police, and not armed untrained self-appointed vigilantes with a hero complex.

It is not surprising that subway vigilante Bernard Getz pulled his gun and fired when in a confrontation.  It is not surprising that George Zimmerman pulled and fired his gun when Trayvon apparently challenged his authority. 

There is a reason that most police officers retire without ever discharging their weapon while on duty.        

10 comments:

  1. I must say I agree with your very even-handed assessment of this very sad and tragic story.

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  2. There is also a reason why the majority of countries on this planet have laws prohibiting the carrying or guns, knives or any other weapon.....If Mr Zimmerman had not been armed he could not have shot anyone!

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  3. Well done, Cranky. I agree, very "even handed" commentary. You have a great way of putting things into an understandable, unbiased way. Thank you.

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  4. We have security guards in our neighborhood and it bothers me that these dweebs are carrying guns. They aren't policemen so WHY are they able to walk around my small town with guns? They all have such attitude, too. Attitude or not, I've taught my kids to be very respectful of them and to stay out of their way...you know...because they have GUNS!!!

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  5. This was a great post and I do have to agree with all of it.....

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  6. What a tragedy. Zimmerman is at fault IMO. He wouldn't have felt threatened if he hadn't followed (as he's was told). He killed another human being and it could have been avoided.

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  7. I'm sitting here wearing a hoodie... but I don't have to worry because I'm just a white chick.
    Deadly force should never be used, especially not against a child, whether they are skipping school, wearing a hoodie and carrying a weapon or if they are actually doing something bad. Either way, they are a child.

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  8. As an Australian looking in I see the one and only solution to this is to dispense with the guns. If there were no guns there would probably be no deaths in either case.

    I hate guns for what they can do to the innocent.

    Your society is so interesting to me.

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  9. What a tragic story on so many levels. I agree, laws against guns would be a productive way to start ending the sadness...

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  10. When I was perusing the links on Glow's FYB post tonight, I was really interested in yours as I had seen a petition regarding the arrest of Mr. Zimmerman on Change.org. I didn't know the full story as the information there was very one sided.

    Reading this, however, has been very enlightening. You've presented what facts we do know and your argument is extremely valid.

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