If I was a young, black man in the United States I can’t imagine how I would be feeling a little more than 24 hours after the Zimmerman verdict was announced. Whatever those feelings were I don’t think “safe” would be among them. The people have spoken, it’s ok to stalk and then kill an unarmed black man walking back to his house.
Monsters and demons don’t exist in real life, they’re products of our imaginations. Whatever monsters and demons George Zimmerman has created throughout the course of his life were projected onto Trayvon Martin that cool February night in Central Florida. Zimmerman proceeded to muster up an almost comical bravado, no doubt bolstered by the firearm he was carrying at his side, then confront and kill an innocent person disguised as a monster, a threat in Zimmerman’s warped, fragile and cowardly mind.
Calling Trayvon a man, especially in reference to this sick farce, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. He was a child. A kid who never had the chance to grow into a man. And, thanks to George Zimmerman, he never will. We’ll never know what type of man Trayvon would have become, what type of father he would have been, what type of citizen he would have grown into.
We do however know what type of man George Zimmerman is, what type of citizen he became. A scared, awkward man who saw in Trayvon Martin that night all of those monsters, all of those demons, everyone that had ever picked on him, everyone that ever made him feel bad about himself and he was hell bent to take revenge. He was armed now and when he was finished no one would be laughing. A simple coward that snuffed out a young man’s life for no good reason whatsoever other than the fact that he had a pistol that was burning a hole in his pocket.
Zimmerman was desperate to put himself in a situation to use that gun no matter what happened. Otherwise he would have turned around and gone back to his car after the 911 dispatcher tells him clearly that they do not need him to be following this person around. It was too late, in Zimmerman’s mind, the hunt was on. This was his chance and he wasn’t going to miss it. There was a black man inside a gated neighborhood and Zimmerman was going to do something about it.
Let’s for one second imagine that a 17-year old white kid, with no criminal background, was walking home with a bag of skittles and an iced tea. Suddenly he is being stalked and followed around by a black man whom he’s never seen before in his life. I don’t care what race you are if you’re a 17-year old kid walking at night and a 28-year old man starts following you around you are going to be frightened. Especially if the man isn’t wearing any sort of uniform to identify himself. And even more especially if at some point your realize the man following you has a gun.
Now let’s imagine this fully grown black man confronted and then shot dead this 17-year old white kid because he claimed he was in fear for his life. Even though the only reason he would have ever been put in a position to fear for his life was because he continued to follow this kid around. Had he simply stopped following him nothing would have happened that night. Instead, in this scenario, a black man who continued the stalking and following of this white kid even after he was told by 911 operators to stop shoots him dead on the spot.
Is there anyone in this country, even one person, who believes that in the scenario presented above that the outcome would have been the same? Would anyone in this country believe that a black man was scared of a white kid walking with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea? Of course not. Just like we shouldn’t believe George Zimmerman. Sadly, many do. Is it because they really think that Trayvon Martin was some sort of threat to this grown man armed with a gun? No, it’s because, like George Zimmerman, far too many people in this country have disguised a constant current of underlying racism and projected it onto black men everywhere. Their monsters and their demons that exist nowhere but in their mind are projected onto innocent people, often solely because of the color of their skin and far too often it’s the innocent person that pays the price.