They say 17 year old Trayvon Martin was walking home from the store with some Skittles in his pocket.
They say he was talking to his teenage girlfriend on his cellphone when he was spotted by 28 year old George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
Zimmerman found Martin suspicious.
Why? No one knows yet? We will probably never know.
The Watchman followed the kid. The kid told his girlfriend he was being tailed.
There are 911 calls from people upset that someone who seemed pretty harmless to them was yelling out for help.
There is a call where we can hear the gunshot. The single one that they say George Zimmerman fired into the teenage boy.
Trayvon Martin was dead.
Zimmerman pleaded self defense. Martin’s family, and then a good portion of an entire community, and now a lot of the world demanded Zimmerman be arrested and charged with a crime…with some crime…with some sort of crime that says you cannot shoot unarmed innocent people.
Zimmerman has a white parent and a Hispanic parent. His father says he identifies as Hispanic. Martin was black. Martin is a dead man. Zimmerman is a free one. The feds are getting involved. The whole thing stinks and the local cops are in way over their heads. And only time will tell, though even if Zimmerman goes away for good, the hard questions will remain.
First off: do we really feel safer having our neighborhoods patrolled by armed civilians who volunteer to peer into the darkness and take care of trouble? Or…is this Neighborhood Watch thing maybe one of those failed social experiments that has failed us?
And beyond that: what about the gun thing in the United States of America? Are millions and millions of handguns actually protecting us against terrorism, crime, and invasion? Or do we use these ‘threats” as an excuse to arm ourselves to the teeth.
Do handguns save us? Can we ever prove it?
One thing is certain. And can be proven. Each year, tens of thousands of young children and law enforcement officers and domestic abuse victims and night-shift clerks and nightclub revelers and high school students and many many more are all shot in the face or the heart; bullets sent tearing through their veins and their muscles and their dreams and their ideas; hot hunks of handgun lead ruining honest decent families for a lifetime to come: because someone decided that it was time for them to die.
Then they went to the store/proved that they hadn’t shot anyone before/paid their money/got their gun/and opened the gates of hell.
Random senseless gun violence has become so common that the constant news of it mostly just flows by us. In the evening/in the morning, wafting over us in the distant white noise of baseball scores and forecast highs and politicians talking talking talking until the bullets all just ooze away into the thick melted ice cream soup of yesterday.
I know there are way more questions than answers when it comes to handguns and freedom and the Founding Fathers and Neighborhood Watch time bombs out on our sidewalks in the cool dark night. I know that.
But why is just asking them considered so taboo? Who is protecting our God-given right to kill each other, to shoot down lads out eating some candy/talking to girls on the phone.
Who? Tell me: who? And why?
As an American father in the 21st century, I really have to wonder.