The killing of young Trayvon Martin in Florida last month is a national tragedy that deserves and demands attention and discussion.
It’s tragic that a 17-year-old boy could be shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch captain like George Zimmerman. It’s tragic whenever it happens to anyone regardless of the color of their skin. In this case, Trayvon was black, and that has brought out cries of anger and protest.
Police have yet to file any charges against Zimmerman, and what information police are now releasing points more toward Martin being the aggressor.
One question I have on that is fairly simple. Look at the photos of Martin and Zimmerman. Who is the bigger, potentially stronger person? To ask another question, is it really possible for a teenager the size of Trayvon Martin to take down a man the size of George Zimmerman and beat him up that badly? There are too many unanswered questions still left out there in this case, and if anything is being covered up to protect Zimmerman … a fuse will be lit. What are any eyewitnesses on the victim’s side saying?
Was Martin’s killing in part racially motivated? That’s not for me to say, I don’t know all the evidence. There are also reports from Sanford, Florida, that the police there have antagonized blacks in that area.
The Martin/Zimmerman case has brought out opinions from all sides. Not all of those opinions are very educated. A case in point came last week from Geraldo Rivera on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” show, that brought out a full measure of stupidity in Rivera blaming the victim’s parents for letting Trayvon go out wearing a hoodie.
So, if Geraldo Rivera’s logic can be followed through to its idiotic conclusion (since Rivera himself didn’t want to go that far), New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could be shot on any given NFL Sunday when he sees the need to pull his own hoodie up over his head, is that right? All hoodies should be outlawed, is that it? Or is it just hoodies worn by blacks or Latinos that should be discouraged, and the Unabomber should get a free pass on his choice of attire? What’s the deal, Geraldo?
With Geraldo Rivera’s brain freeze aside, there is still a national discussion that needs to take place, and it would be nice if cooler heads could prevail. I’m afraid that they won’t.
I may have converted to being a “flaming librul” thanks to Rick Santorum and his own twisted views on liberals not being Christians, but I’m still not going to carry the banner for gun control in the case of Trayvon Martin’s death.
A gun may have been used to kill Trayvon Martin, when the only thing close to a weapon that he had on him were a bag of Skittles and a container of iced tea. But it was the “cowboy” holding the gun who killed Trayvon Martin. It was the “cowboy” who was patrolling the area as a Neighborhood Watch captain who decided to take the law into his own hands and, according to 911 tapes, escalated the situation when he shouldn’t have even come close to it — especially when Neighborhood Watch volunteers are advised by law enforcement officials to 1) not engage with a suspicious person or situation, and 2) not to carry a lethal weapon of any kind, and 3) listen to a police dispatcher when they are advised not to engage with a suspicious person or situation.
The sheer idiocy of George Zimmerman’s actions in the death of Trayvon Martin should bring some form of charge against him, for the simple fact that the Neighborhood Watch captain did not follow a simple rule of thumb as outlined by law enforcement officers themselves in the following link:
Again, I won’t say that any gun control measures should be put in place because of this, and if any NRA booster says otherwise I’ll be sure to make their names publicly known, right here. What it boils down to is this: Neighborhood Watch is just that, you WATCH for suspicious activity or persons, and you report it to law enforcement officials. Neighborhood Watch volunteers are not meant to be vigilantes out of one of the “Death Wish” movies, they’re not meant to be gun-slingin’, modern-day Wyatt Earps. They’re meant to help law enforcement, they’re meant to be an extension of law enforcement, BUT NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PISTOL-PACKIN’ LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS!
I can say these things with all the knowledge, confidence, and understanding I can muster, because for the better part of 16 years spent working as a journalist in the past I worked very closely with some quite level-headed law enforcement officers, including officers who worked with the Neighborhood Watch program. And there’s something dramatically wrong going on with that program today.
Quite frankly — and here is where gun rights advocates will squeal, and be dead wrong in doing so, about how I’m wanting to take away their guns — part of what’s going wrong with that Neighborhood Watch program with all of its honorable and common sense intentions makes me take a hard look at the lobbying done by the powerful National Rifle Association, and a glaring lack of common sense by the NRA.
The Trayvon Martin case is certainly not the first time anyone has seen a tragic incident come out of a situation that was handled badly by an armed Neighborhood Watch volunteer. I can think specifically back to July 22, 2009, in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, Utah, and an incident that left a Neighborhood Watch volunteer paralyzed and the shooter convicted of attempted murder. Below is an actual news report from that case.
No, it might not necessarily be guns that kill people. It’s the idiots or the “cowboys,” among others, packing the weapons that kill people. If we’re not going to get rid of the guns, what can we do about the idiots and “cowboys” who feel more macho pointing a loaded weapon at another human? Can we see some justice take place with George Zimmerman, who never should have put himself in the position to take Trayvon Martin’s life in the first place?
If Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, that will have to be a sad lesson for anyone who ever has the desire to act out in that way themselves. In that case, it all goes back to a lesson Bruce Springsteen tried to get across in the controversial song “American Skin (41 Shots),” which dealt with the tragic shooting death of Amadou Diallo in 1999 by four plain-clothed New York City Police officers who mistook Diallo for a serial rape suspect. Diallo ran, perhaps out of confusion, and the officers fired 41 shots at him after he pulled out his wallet and it was mistaken for a gun. Diallo’s story is in the link below. Trayvon Martin’s shooting is rekindling the fire in that song.
There are many lessons to be learned in cases such as these. The big question is whether the lessons will ever truly be learned, or if it takes countless cases of a 17-year-old boy being gunned down to learn them.
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