Why?

On the evening of February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was watching a basketball game on television. During halftime, he decided to walk to nearby convenience store to get a snack. After purchasing an Arizona Iced Tea and a pack of Skittles, he was heading home. While talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone, he mentioned a strange man following him. His girlfriend told him to run and it was one of the last things she ever said to him. That’s because the man shadowing Trayvon, George Zimmerman, shot and killed him. Zimmerman’s reason following Martin? “This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something.” Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch organization, noticed Trayvon as he made his way home, claiming he had his hand in waistband and was walking slowly, looking at houses. The details about the confrontation are in dispute, but the result is that Zimmerman, who had 10 years and over 100 lbs on Martin, shot and killed a young man who was armed only with a drink and a pack of candy.

The sad fact is that Trayvon Martin’s real offense was being a young, black man. The unspoken part of this story (by Zimmerman and the Sanford, Fl PD) is that Martin didn’t have any business in the gated community where his father’s girlfriend lived because he was black. Had he been a white kid, Zimmerman probably would’ve ignored him. Can you believe that? In 2012, the twenty-first fucking century, we still view minorities as inferior to whites based on nothing more than the color of their skin. Think I’m over-reacting? Then, why did the police automatically accept Zimmerman’s story and allow him to walk away, scott-free? Why did police attempt to lead witnesses and correct statements that contradicted Zimmerman’s story? Why did they drug test Trayvon Martin’s corpse and withhold it from his family for almost three days, while doing nothing to Zimmerman? These questions are not helped by the Sanford PD’s record on race relations. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

Much has been made of what a fine, young man Trayvon was and I don’t doubt any of it. The problem with that is the implication that if he hadn’t been a fine, young man, somehow he might have deserved what happened to him. As if black kids with less than stellar upbringings are somehow less deserving of life. The truth is that we are all children of God and we all deserve to live, even the most despicable among us. It is not up you, me or anyone else to decide who lives or who dies. Maybe if we spent a little more time loving our neighbors and less worrying about  our stuff, we understand that.