Protest I shall.
A teenage boy was walking home. He had something in his hands. He was wearing a hoodie. He was black. This was all that George Zimmerman knew about Trayvon Martin when he called 9-1-1 as a ‘concerned citizen’ and neighborhood watch chief. Trayvon looked at the man staring ominously at him. Maybe Trayvon saw George’s lips form the words, “These assholes always get away.” Perhaps it was simply instinctual when the teenager started to run.
George pursed the nameless teen. What had Trayvon done to arouse such suspicion in Zimmerman? “Just staring…looking at all the houses.” A lot of people said that this case had nothing to do with race. I have to disagree. Walking down a street and looking around is not inherently suspicious. Strolling around wearing a hoodie and black skin apparently fits the suspicious bill.
George Zimmerman made a choice. He chose to follow a child, gun in hand. The 9-1-1 dispatcher had sent police to hassle the kid for no apparent reason, but that wasn’t enough.
A physical altercation occurred. Screams for help went unanswered. Zimmerman was bruised, Trayvon was dead.
I do not know George Zimmerman. I do not know the thoughts that went through his head then or the ones that go through it now. But I do know that he had a gun and confronted an unarmed kid just trying to get home. I know Trayvon Martin tried to defend himself.
Florida laws decided that Zimmerman had no obligation to retreat and his lawyers argued that he acted in self-defense. You are not defending yourself when you stalk your victim even when instructed to stop. You are not defending yourself when you bring a gun to confront an unarmed person. Zimmerman acted as the worst kind of vigilante- puffed from the pride of being called ‘chief’, empowered by the law that told him there was no need to stand down, and certain that he had correctly profiled a boy he did not know.
Only George Zimmerman is privy to his intentions that night. But I know that no matter what the law says or the lawyers pushed, he took a fight to an innocent kid and killed him. He is guilty. I hope he feels his guilt like an unscratchable itch, a bloated belly, a festering wound, a cracked spine. Justice has not been served. Mercy is not deserved.
I cannot know the contents of Zimmerman’s heart, but I know the contents of Trayvon’s pockets that night. His hands held Skittles and iced tea.
Trayvon’s killer walks free so we must seek justice elsewhere. Fight the Stand Your Ground laws, they are distinctly racist. Raise hell for cases like that of Marissa Alexander. Battle with your own prejudices and win.