Trayvon Martin, Guns, & Race in America

zimmerman-martin-500x281-298x167I have been reluctant to speak about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, because of the high emotions such a case was generating on both sides.  However I feel the time has come to for me to weigh in with my thoughts and feelings.  I want to first say, like a lot of people have said, this entire situation is tragic: a young man lost his life,  a mother and father are without their son forever, Trayvon’s friends have been robbed of his voice and it all could have been avoided.

If only George Zimmerman had handled the situation differently. 

Now I want to be clear: I do not know George Zimmerman, but I do not believe that his motives were racially inspired or that George Zimmerman is even as racist.  I believe that he was a man doing his best to protect his property and the property of his neighbors,  something I believe to be every person’s right and a noble thing to do. He volunteered to be on his neighborhood watch, something far too few people are willing to do. I also want to go on record saying that, had I been on the jury with the evidence the Prosecutors put forward, I too would have voted to acquit George Zimmerman.  Having said that, I also believe that Trayvon Martin was a young man who was just trying to go to the store and return home; ironically he was trying to return to one of the homes that George Zimmerman was trying to protect.  I take issue with what some people on both sides of this issue have said about both George and Trayvon.  It made me sick to read and hear some folks talk about drug use and other supposed past bad behavior on Trayvon’s part. A if  these were reasons that made it okay for him to die the way he did.  This was a 17 year old young man and someone’s child who, by all accounts, was not out that night to cause any trouble–he just wanted to go to the store and go home. 

I also find equally offensive those folks who have called George Zimmerman a racist, a murderer, a buffoon, and who say he needs to be harmed or even killed for his actions.

On that terrible night both Zimmerman and Martin made wrong decisions that led to a tragic ending.  It should not be a surprise to anyone that a 17 year old made a bad decision, as teenagers often do.  I do believe Trayvon Martin was beating George Zimmerman after gaining the upper hand in a fight that ensued between the two of them; who got physical first I do not think we know for sure.  It is my opinion that at that time, George Zimmerman believed his life was in danger and he fired the deadly shot.  I equally believe that Trayvon Martin fought with Zimmerman, not out of malice, but because he felt that this man who was following him was out to do him harm.  This fact is something that in my opinion, not enough Zimmerman supporters appreciate and/or mention in their defense of what happened that night.

I believe in the right to bear arms and laws like stand your ground.  I believe that is very important that stand groundthose of us who do make sure that, when we are exercising those rights, we do so in a manner that will always protect those rights, because there are  far  too many people who would like to see us lose those rights.    I believe Zimmerman could have and should have done a better job in this regard. If he had, a young man would not have lost his life and Zimmerman’s life would not have been altered in the negative way it has.

And legions of anti-gun, anti- property rights, and soft-on-crime zealots would not be able to use a tragedy for a rallying cry.