Category Archives: authority of neighborhood watch groups

Trayvon Martin – I Don’t Understand

I could not be living in America this week without forming some kind of personal view of the Trayvon Martin killing in Sanford, Florida by neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin who lived in the Miami Gardens Area of Miami-Dade County was in Sanford staying with his father’s girlfriend, Brandy Green, who he had visited on other occasions. He had been to a store where he purchased Skittles and Iced Tea and he was walking back to his temporary home on a February Florida evening and apparently talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone. He had probably never heard about George Zimmerman or the neighborhood watch group but he happened to be walking by the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood where George Zimmerman lived. This is a gated condo community with a diverse mix of homeowners and renters and Trayvon often played football with other kids from the community when he was visiting Sanford.
George Zimmerman, 28, is the man who shot Trayvon Martin, 17, and he is not in police custody. He is hiding out somewhere and everyone seems to be protecting him. If any one of us shot someone I believe we would be under arrest. I do not understand why Zimmerman is not in police custody. As a neighborhood watch captain he had been told that he was not to approach whoever he was watching. He had been told that he was not supposed to carry a gun. He was told that very night by the 911 operator that he did not need to keep following his “suspect”. George Zimmerman, who had wanted to be a policeman, clearly got carried away with his role and, despite a really incomprehensible “stand your ground law” overstepped his authority.  
Are we upset that Trayvon was not meek enough when confronted with someone who was following him? Zimmerman was not a policeman, he could have been a sexual predator for all Trayvon knew. Are we upset that Trayvon defended himself, that he aggressively defended himself? This seems to me a normal survival instinct that is perhaps educated out of us as we mature. We eventually learn that not overreacting, even when angry, might work out better in cases where we are presented with an authority figure or someone who believes they are an authority figure. I wish Trayvon had not been quite so aggressive in his response to George Zimmerman (if he actually was as aggressive as they say) because then he would be alive. But we do teach our children about stranger danger. It is great that people like George Zimmerman but this is not a popularity contest and it doesn’t really matter who is nicer, Trayvon or George.
Haven’t we lost enough promising young black men? In my community we hear about another young life extinguished, the life of someone who could have had a great future, or even a fine peaceful life. There are reasons this happens over and over again and although we have studied and talked about the problem we have not yet found the way to end it.
If I was presented with a George Zimmerman following me in his car on a February evening would I be nervous? Yes I would. Would I fight? Probably not. I am a female who has not been trained to fight. Do I admire someone who sticks up for him/herself? Yes I do. I do not think that Trayvon Martin did anything to warrant his death. I do believe that George Zimmerman, however remorseful, overstepped the boundaries of his very unofficial role in law enforcement. I cannot imagine what other evidence will be available at this late date. If George Zimmerman is not tried in a court of law then the justice system in Sanford, Florida needs a serious overhaul. If they don’t deal very honestly with this young man’s death it looks like there will be repercussions.