The nation is stunned by a story of a young man who went for a walk and never made it home. A young man who went to a store, in the early evening, bought a soda and Skittles, and ended up being shot and killed. George Zimmerman is the man who caused the death of Trayvon Martin. So much has been reported, debated, and discussed involving this case. I do not wish to repeat what has already been stated, but to visit some of the issues that surround the known details. Issues that make one wonder how something this horrific could have happened.
The concept of Neighborhood Watch lends itself to defining. To most it means people keep their eyes and ears open to anything unusual or suspicious occurring in their immediate surroundings. It is a method of assisting law enforcement in preventing crime. It is not meant as a vehicle for those who want to act as authority, or to become a hero. Those who patrol usually do not go out alone, but walk together in a group. George Zimmerman called the authorities and then for whatever reason, decided to pursue Trayvon. This is baffling since this young man wasn’t causing a disturbance; he wasn’t harassing anyone, wasn’t peeking in the windows of homes, or pulling on the door handles of cars. How suspicious could he have been?
This idea of a hoodie being a symbol of fear and concern is racism in disguise. Millions of people wear hoodies every day. Why does it suddenly take on another connotation when worn by a young black man? How did an article of clothing come to be a feature of a stereotype? In my opinion, George Zimmerman already decided that this was a person up to no good. His approach was most likely aggressive and inducing of fear. Most people would shout, or try to run if a stranger was coming towards them. Remember, this kid was doing nothing wrong. One can only imagine what was going on in his mind as he saw this grown adult approaching him. That being the case, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense appears twisted to justify his actions. What could this boy have done to cause Zimmerman to pull out a gun and shoot? There is simply no excuse.
As a parent, you can see the pain in the eyes of a mother who has lost a son. You can hear the hurt in the voice of a father who feels he wasn’t there for his child in his time of need. They did everything right in raising Trayvon, only to lose him in the end. I believe that there will be charges filed against George Zimmerman. My hope is that the investigation is being done carefully so that a trial cannot be dismissed because of mistakes in police work. In the meantime, a nation remains filled with anger, disbelief, and sadness caused by the heartbreak and loss of an innocent young man. Americans want to believe that we have made much progress in the rights for all people, in race relations, and in freedom granted to all. This case painfully makes us realize we still have far to go.