Monday, March 26, 2012

Standing Your Ground?

Yeah, I've done it so many times it's laughable at this point, right?  I spend time away from this blog, only to return a month or so later and apologize for not writing.  Who am I apologizing to?  Surely, your lives have gone on without missing this.  I suppose I am apologizing to myself because, well, I like to write.  It makes it hard when there are no issues to debate, though.  What was I going to write about - Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos and Tebow being sent to NY?  By the way, that last sentence would've been far more humorous had I written about Manning 'singing' with the Broncos, huh?  Ah, the twisted mind still lives.  Seriously, was I going to write about Kim Kardashian having flour thrown in her hair?  Actually, that will come up in this piece...but not how you might imagine.

Yes, I have now found a story far more worthy than these others on which to spend time.  Let me throw out two names and see if you guessed them before you read them.  Ready?  Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.  They are the hot items right now...for all the wrong reasons.  The law in Florida is being tested...and questioned.  By now, we all know the story.  Trayvon Martin, an 17-year old black man, was walking home at night through a gated-community.  George Zimmerman, captain of the neighborhood watch, caught sight of Trayvon and called 911 reported that "Yep, there's something wrong with him.  He's coming to check me out."  The teen, though, appears to have been going away from Zimmerman, running perhaps.  This much has been reported - Zimmerman followed him when instructed not to and got out of his vehicle.  Had he not done either of these two things, this situation, most likely, would not have occurred.  What eventually followed was an altercation that left young Martin dead and, though Zimmerman reported that he was carrying something, it appears to be a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

So here is my dilemma.  I understand the "Stand your ground," law.  I might even submit to liking the fact that it exists...were it not for the fact that it can easily be abused and, after another person is killed, can be used as a defense with no rebuttal.  For years, we've all been told, "If there is an intruder at your home, you can shoot them.  If they are anywhere outside, drag 'em back inside."  The laws, to date, have been very strict about when you can and cannot use deadly force.  Almost unfairly slanted towards the perpetrators, I feel.  Well, Florida has seen to it that won't happen anymore.  If you are being attacked, you can now stand your ground.  If you are in imminent danger, you can use deadly force to neutralize the threat.  I get it.  Someone help me, though.  How, exactly, was George Zimmerman standing his ground if he got out of his car and proceeded to follow Trayvon Martin.  I think it fair to say that a reasonable person, unless they are looking for an altercation and were truly vigilant about the neighborhood watch, would remain in their car at a safe distance until the police arrived.  That, as far as I can tell, happened in minutes.  By then, Trayvon Martin lay dead in a yard.  Was he the aggressor?  I think it safe to say there will only be one side to the entire story...unless CSI steps up.

The other issue I have is with Mr Zimmerman's vigilance.  As part of the neighborhood watch, he's called 911 46 times since 2004.  Let's do a little math.  8 years and 46 calls.  That means there were 5.75 calls per year or roughly one every other month.  A call to 911 every other month for 8 years?  Let that sink in for a moment.  My deduction?  Either that is one insanely troubled gated-community or, as I think we can safely guess, Mr Zimmerman might be a tad overzealous in his neighborhood watching.  I may very well be wrong.  I will admit that.  I have seen neighborhood watches before, however, and this would be classified as extreme.  I do not remember anyone, either, that would follow someone they considered to be suspicious, especially after being told, "We don't need you to do that," by the 911 operator.  Ironically, Mr Zimmerman's friend showed up on the morning talk shows to say how, "very, very sorry George is," and that, "for the most part, he's virtually lost his life, too."  Well, yeah, but I'm betting Trayvon Martin's family wishes Trayvon had only "virtually," lost his life rather than completely losing it.

Lastly, there are calls (as we KNEW there would be) that this was a racially-motivated hate crime.  Not sure I believe that.  I don't think that the shooting was motivated by Trayvon's race, however I must admit (again) that I do not know for sure.  I could be wrong there, too.  I do believe that there was a racial bias in the situation.  For whatever reason, I believe that George Zimmerman considered Trayvon martin to be suspicious because he was black.  Probably because, in the large percentage of cases like this, there are black perpetrators.  Please...DO NOT misunderstand me - I am not saying there aren't whites that do the same thing.  There are...and many of them.  I am merely suggesting that these biases come from watching the news.  As I explained to my daughter once as we walked to the convenience store - two black men were walking toward us and, as they approached, her grip on my hand got tighter and tighter until they passed - there are both good and bad black men AND white men.  It's the fight we never seem to get beyond.  The racial bias that has been, by someone, passed to our younger generations.  I'm not sure when...or even will end.  Suffice it to say, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are not going to help us end it.

So there it is - a new installment that calls out the situation in Florida and how we now have another race war brewing because someone went into a situation without considering the full consequence of their actions.  This is not simply an issue in Sanford, FL.  This is now an issue all over our nation and needs to be dealt with quickly.  Sadly, in my opinion, it won't be resolved.  Most likely, not in our lifetime.

Until next time............

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