I actually wanted to avoid this topic, but it is becoming much too big an issue to ignore. For those of you who are not familiar with this story, a teen in Sandford, Florida was shot to death in February. Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old kid with no criminal record, was walking to the store when a security patrol neighborhood watchman spotted him and called 911 to report a “suspicious looking” character. The name of the patrolman was George Zimmerman. What ensued next was up to speculation, but on the 911 tape Zimmerman said that he was going to follow the kid. The dispatcher told him “You don’t need to do that.” Zimmerman followed him anyway and moments later Martin was shot to death by Zimmerman’s gun. Zimmerman has since claimed “self defense” and has not been arrested. The biggest issue right now with this case is that everyone wants to infuse that “r” word (You know, the one that sounds a lot like “face”). Martin was a black teen and Zimmerman was a Spanish speaking man who appears to be white (With a name like “Zimmerman” his Latin ethnicity might seriously suffer some credibility issues). Most of you who know me realize that I like to look “beneath” the surface when it comes to most matters, so at this point I would like to review this case WITHOUT involving that “r” word. Let’s just SUPPOSE that both participants were of the same ethnic background. One man calls in a “suspicious” looking character and follows him with a gun AFTER the 911 dispatcher tells him NOT to do so. He doesn’t see a weapon on the kid and he doesn’t give any “specifics” of what the teen is doing that makes him appear to be so “suspicious.” He follows the kid with a gun while the kid is trying to walk away. He confronts the kid and subsequently shoots him dead. I have a problem with this due to several factors: A neighborhood patrol watchman is NOT the same as a police officer and he should not have pursued “anyone” with a loaded weapon. If he is to in fact claim “self defense” then how you justify it when you are the one FOLLOWING the suspect to confront him? How can you possibly feel threatened when the “alleged” suspect didn’t even have a gun or any weapon visible? Also I need to state that if I saw someone following ME with a gun, I would do WHATEVER I could to feel safe, even if that means attacking HIM in “self defense.” It doesn’t take much to put some of the missing pieces together here. It is obvious that George Zimmerman was an upstanding and valuable part of the neighborhood security and I am sure that he did a LOT of good for the safety of others. To me, than means that he was a man of “good” intentions. So given this assumption, I don’t think the local police want to arrest a man of such outstanding character, because he has been active, helpful and involved with them when it comes to making the neighborhood secure. However, Mr. Zimmerman made too many mistakes when it came to this particular situation, and those mistakes cost a young kid his life. If you excuse what he did, then in essence you are saying that it is okay for “anyone” to hunt down unarmed people and shoot them based on suspicion alone. THAT is a VERY dangerous precedent to set… I don’t need the “r” word to know that this incident was handled improperly, and even though Mr. Zimmerman may be valued in his community, he should not be above the law. A young kid lost his life because he got carried away with trying to apprehend him. Unfortunately, his taped 911 call may be the most damaging and incriminating evidence against him. Arresting Zimmerman will not bring back Trayvon but hopefully it will bring some sense of security to those who don’t want to be the “next” victim of someone with a “Robocop” mentality. I sincerely hope that this issue is NOT characterized by “race” (THERE, I SAID it… Happy now?) but rather on the improprieties of how it was handled. As bad as this situation already is, we don’t need to start adding gas to the fire by throwing out “labels.” I only hope that justice can be administered without having to utilize any “racial” implications. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always, I welcome any and all contrary or supportive points of view. Have a great day.
Vocalist Lyfe Jennings and Brett Jolly in studio